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6 Hot Trends of Graphic and Web Design For 2016
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Trends in the design industry are always changing. They either improve or fade out similar to the clothing styles, hairstyles and other trending industries. Everything eventually evolves. Many of the design trends of 2016 were introduced in 2015, while many others returned with an improved version. You need to master these trends if you are working in the design industry. Here are the hot trends of graphic and web design for 2016:

 

1.  It’s all Getting Flat Again

Well, flat design has been on an upward and downward trend ever since its introduction. The trend is back with a bang this year yet again, replacing the skeuomorphic design trends of the past years. Flat design is simple, classic and focuses on the practicality of a design. Switch to flat design if you have not already!

2. Videos & Animations

Videos and Animations have replaced majority of the slider sections in websites. Not only do the animations and videos look beautiful from design perspective but are also among the major marketing trends for this year. You need to incorporate a catchy video in your website to score big this year!

 

3. Bold and Playful Typography

Typography continues to impact the design industry. Similar to 2015, the trend will continue. But this year, you will experience a lot of fancy scripts and complex scripts. Typography needs to reflect the overall theme of a design and an out of date font can make the entire theme look unprofessional. Make sure the typography you use across your print or web designs reflect the true nature of business.

 

4. Add Some Illustrations

Though formal images and photography are the most popularly used elements across the web, the trend is also switching towards artistic side. Many business brands are using illustrations in the form of vectors to get the message across their audience.

 

5. Hamburger Menus

The concept of hamburger menu was introduced in the mobile web designs for the limited space. The trend has caught up with the desktop version of sites. Many designers are focusing on the beauty of design without worrying about adjusting the menu. Achieving sleek and stylish look with hamburger menu has become easy.

 

6. Natural Photography Over Stock Pictures

Stock pictures still used on a number of websites today is slowly getting replaced with images depicting natural environments.  As a designer, you need to reduce the use of images and focus more on adding the glitz and jazz for a natural focus. Photographing real things will help you achieve just the appearance you are looking for!

You can let us know about the trends you think we have missed for this year.

Medialinkers, Web Design Agency in Atlanta has been offering innovative web design services since 2002. Contact Us for more details.

wordpress
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Introduced only as a blogging platform, WordPress has turned into a  powerful CMS platform giving web developers the option to build all types of websites. The platform is equipped with multiple extensions, plugins and themes to extends the functionality without requiring a major effort at the coding end.

 

Being an open source platform, it has a vast community which works on improving its performance,  making it a competitive tool in the market. Just like there are a number of themes available well-suited to the appearance of any WordPress site, there are various WordPress plugins which can be used to enhance a site.

 

You can either install the already built WP plugins or hire professional services of Medialinkers web development to develop and customize the plugin for your website needs. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular plugins that are essential to 100% optimization and functionality of every WordPress site:

 

WordPress SEO by Yoast

 

Ask anyone and they would tell you the benefits of WordPress from SEO perspective. WordPress by default supports SEO, but needs some tweaking with respect to the important on-page SEO tags including Title, Description, Robots and the Keywords tags. Fortunately for the likes of developers or webmasters, there is a simple solution available in the form of WordPress SEO by Yoast.

 

WordPress SEO by Yoast is a SEO plugin that has everything in a single module. It provides a complete set of tools and helps in checking the MetaData entry in the same format displayed by Google through its snippet on the search results.

 

It also provides verification of Google Authorship for a WordPress website. It creates XML sitemap capable of notifying search engines and supporting images automatically for content updates on web pages. It also helps in the integration of social media to check title, description and image optimization for Facebook and other social media platforms.

 

Jetpack

 

Jetpack helps to supercharge a site with multiple functionality in a single package. It is a combination of different plugins such as Site traffic insights, Optimization, Social sharing, CDN services, Contact form, Centralized management, Email subscription form and user engagement.

 

W3 Total Cache

 

Enabling cache feature in a site helps to increase its speed. W3 total cache is a potential WordPress Performance Optimization framework designed to enhance UX pagespeed guidelines. It helps in increasing the server performance through CDN integration to decrease the estimated page download time. It requires a learning curve for the newbies but when done properly implements significant differences in a site’s performance. Another popular plugin used for caching goes by the name of WP Super Cache.

 

WP Forms

 

Contact forms are critical to the functionality of any modern website. Every site has a contact page where a contact form has to be put. Some other form requirements of a website include:

  • Contact form
  • Order forms
  • Payment forms
  • Email Subscription forms

WP forms plugin provides a drag-and-drop interface to build a form through a few clicks instead of working at the coding end. The professional version provides advanced functionality and features to achieve the aims of online marketing.

 

Google Analytics

 

 

Google Analytics plugin helps you in implementing the GA tool to track traffic details with a few clicks instead of working on the coding end of a website.  It also provides an option to trace and not trace specific user roles, support for the eCommerce, universal and classic codes. It also gives an option to work on eCommerce funnel setup and tags with an additional code tracking.

 

Clicks by Yoast is a popular alternative but GA is a popular and advanced option.

 

WP- Optimize

 

WP-Optimize is a plugin used for optimizing WordPress sites and database in particular. It helps to clean the unwanted elements such as stale comments, auto drafts, unapproved and spam comments along with other unnecessary things in a database. In short it helps to enhance the performance of a WP site.

 

Wordfence

 

Security is often tagged as an issue with WordPress platform. Wordfence is a popular security plugin which can help in this regard. It is powered by an updated Threat Defense Feed, and the WordFence Firewall stops an individual from being hacked.  Wordfence Scan sends a notification in event of a security breach. The Live Traffic view shares real-time visibility into the traffic and security attempts on a site.

MailChimp

 

MailChimp is a successful email marketing solution offering multiple ways to designing a site by sending email newsletters. The plugin is used by 7 million people around the world. It also sends, track emails, view analytics, manage subscribers, create nice email templates and set up autoresponders.

MailChimp lets you create email campaigns to handle sending of emails each time your blog is updated. It also helps in creating customizable sign-up forms and checkboxes with the different forms on a site. The Mailchimp wordpress plugin makes managing the email marketing campaigns a simple experience. The installation is simple and provides an API key for connecting the MailChimp account with a plugin.

Akismet/Disqus

 

Askimet is a great plugin to filter and moderate spam comments that are unfortunately still practiced by some SEO professionals. Comments, if not filtered properly are used by hackers to enter into a database and site’s code through an indirect way.

Graphic design service
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Some people are blessed with good idea while others aren’t. It is just the matter of your brain activity. You can increase your creative skills to design quality websites and other stuff by practising a few easy to implement activities. Medialinkers graphic design team suggests indulging into the following activities:

 

Take a Walk

Walking increases creative skills by 60%, as per a Stanford University study. Whether you walk indoors or outside, it will stimulate the creative matter of your brain to produce quality designs.

 

Go for a Run

Similar to walking, going for a jog or running a few miles has the potential to enhance your creative skills. Buckle up and start running.

 

Focus Your Thoughts through Meditation

Meditation helps in moving past the annoyances which may worry you each day. It will clarify your mind and help you direct your thoughts at one point. According to different studies, meditation helps people in becoming more imaginative.

 

Ask Opinion of Another Individual

Asking for the input of another person can open up new ideas and options for you. Moreover, they will help you look at the problem with fresh eyes to focus on the details that you may be missing out on.

 

Visualize

A lot of artists keep notepads beside their beds so that then can note down the ideas just when it hits them. Sit in a comfortable place and let your mind wander to hit some inspiration.

 

Start Writing Something

According to science, writing helps to stimulate the visual parts of a brain. This is because you picturize the scenes when writing which is why doing some search will jumpstart your artistic skills.

 

Focus on Blue or Green Color

Blue and Green color tones are an excellent way for enhancing the creative skills. A research found blue color to generate twice as many ideas for people than they otherwise developed looking at red.

 

Sitting Next to a Box

Sitting next to box will make you think outside the box. This may sound strange but is infact true.

 

Gesculate

People who talk with hands find it natural to gesticulate. Using both hands helps in shaping up new ideas.

Content Marketing
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If you have spent sometime  in marketing you would know that the user-generated content is useful but at the same time also pose a lot of risk as a marketing strategy.  However, when done right, it also pays more than other types of content marketing strategies.

 

A social media and tech-savvy audience appreciates to be a part of regular conversations. The user rant, organic user reviews and conversation are the base of successful campaigns. Medialinkers SEO suggests following content marketing tips for your brand:

 

Giving Customers a Voice

It is tempting to maintain absolute control over a content piece mentioning your brand. But the users are intelligent and know the main difference between a junk SEO article and meaningful content. Consumers are also interested in checking out the opinions of other consumers instead of reading plain promotional pieces. Consumers want to be included as part of a conversation instead of what they want to think.

 

All the expert marketers including the CEO of Crowd Reviews.com suggest user-generated content as a great way to let consumers in your marketing strategy.

 

Be Creative

There are a few myths regarding content marketing. First being it a numbers-driven strategy with success measured in keywords, backlinks and quantity of placements without considering its quality. The second is that you have to push content in a single direction from marketer to consumers only for maintaining control.

 

Depending on machinic SEO methods such as article spinning and placing fake reviews may elevate the listings temporarily but despite the increase, make your brand suffer in the long run. This also not results in any significant increase in the actual revenue. A good content strategy needs to include user opinions instead of just useful content.

 

Check the Emotional Connection

Customers need to find a meaningful connection regarding your brand. The young tech-savvy platforms help users to respond positively than they do when provided with a direct advertising method such as TV commercials.

 

Needless to say that content marketing is a great way to market your business, however, it needs to implement the above mentioned tips to offer further benefits to your brand.

Logo Design
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We often discuss web design predictions for every year. As much as a website design is an important aspect of any business, logo is another crucial part. Though a logo is a small part of any business, it can take your brand to the next level. Some of the logo design trends suggested by the Medialinkers web design team are shared below:

  • The Monoline

Monoline design is actually a line art which forms a logo. Monoline logos are the logos crafted from a single line which does not change in weight. It can also be built with a single strand of wire. The monoline gives a bare bone look to the popular web iconography. Single monoline is a monotone giving your design an artisanal and crispy look without a clutter. The monoline nature lends itself to help build design work beautifully to make your brand pop remain legible. Of course, the monoline isn’t for everyone, some niches can work this look in better than some. The monoline is not for every person, but works really well in some niche. It is mostly suitable for food and beverage, salon and small boutiques. But it is versatile to work for other markets.

  • Wordmarks

Creating a wordmark logo is not a new concept. Popular examples include CNN, Coca-Cola, Disney and McDonalds. Wordmark logos are typographical in design working as a visual symbol for a brand. They are also minimalist by nature as far as type, color, shape and other design elements are concerned. Wordmarks are designed to deliver visual identity. When compared to the traditional graphical logos, it helps in increasing the brand recall to keep the design content within the text. This reduces the chances of clutter. Wordmark is used for a lot of niches but requires careful planning and creativity. The great thing about wordmarks is that they are timeless.

  • Negative Space: Don’t be Afraid to be Negative

Negative space is commonly used in the web design industry. The trend has made its way into logos as well. Negative space also helps in establishing balance to set harmony between used elements especially useful in logo made of multiple type and shapes. Negative space also adds to a design even when you are paying less.

  • Duotones

Duotone is a popular trend for logos this year. A lot of companies have started doing it.

  • Handmade Look

This year focuses on authentic and unique designs for a better user experience. The handmade look will become a common logo trend in 2016. As the name says it, the logos appear like sketched with designers incorporating a dynamic and playful look without any reason. The handmade design seems personable to make everything looks good.

SEO Basics
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Search engine optimization is a complicated process to understand for newbie internet marketers. However, this article covers the basic terms in layman language to help you clear your concepts. SEO is crucial to marketing your business online and increasing its traffic in the long run.

 

Given below are three significant aspects of SEO, shared by Medialinkers SEO team.

 

Backlinks

 

Backlinks are simply urls pointing to your site from other relevant and authoritative sites to boost its credibility in the search engines. High quality backlinks are considered as votes of confidence among search engines and is really one of the most crucial aspects of making an entire SEO campaign successful.

 

Conversion Optimization

 

Any Search engine optimizer can drive multiple traffic to a site, however if that traffic is irrelevant or not converting than it would not do much good to your business. The goal of a site is to make users take some action such as vote on a picture, purchase a widget and fill a form. This is similar to having a billboard showing your products and services, as people can drive past it all day. But having all that traffic won’t matter if the users are not paying attention and converting to sales.

 

Schema Markup

 

Similar to writing high school and college essays that require different formats such as MLA and quotation practices among others, a coding a site too needs to follow valid steps. This is called Schema markup. A well written schema markup helps the search engines to read a website and alternatively push its rankings for more traffic and users.

 

SEO is similar to conventional marketing these days instead of tricking the search engines as was done in the past. Just like television advertisements and print advertisements are all about grabbing user attention by putting the best design and ad copy, it also depends on these two offers a great user experience. Remember that SEO today is all about pleasing the users. If you please your users, search engines will automatically give credit to your site to push it upwards in the rankings.

UX design
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Designers are always looking for ways to incorporate simplicity as far as user experience design is concerned.  According to Robert Hoekman Jr, simplicity is overated when talking about the UX design. The semantic variation is also quite confusing at the same time. Simplicity means a clean design, complexity of experience and obviously the programming part. The slight differences in each of them vary from users, Medialinkers web designers Kennesaw to customers and stakeholders.

 

What exactly is simplicity?  To a lot of designers, simplicity is an objective of every design. It is a relative word that can be defined only after measuring it with something complicated. At most times, simplicity turns out to be something complicated.

 

You can Google a good example of simplicity in a UX design. When it comes to defining simplicity artistically, Google itself is a perfect example. It only presents a search bar for the user, which auto fills the search queries based on complicated algorithms before searching a list of relevant search results. You can also compare this with Yahoo search engine, bombarded with options and information.

 

Google’s interface and experience is simple to the user even though the backend of application is not. Simplicity has to deal with a lot of intuition. When a user experience makes the end result delightful and simple user experience, it makes the end result simple. As a designer, do you instinctively know what you are doing? Are you aligning it to your behavioral experience or expectations?  The simple interface of Google is the main reason behind its popularity. It is designed in a fashion easy to understand for a user to find what they are searching for and to do it quickly.

 

User experience is also threatened with the simplicity of an interface design becomes an expense of usability for example when the buttons are not labeled clearly, elements are buried and the user is not familiar with a navigation. The simple design also has to be strategic and take into account the customs of users.  Simplicity is also connected with how you would guide someone to make decisions intuitively.

 

User Experience in the Instant fulfillment Age

 

When it comes to functionality, simplicity and maintaining consistency, what a user expects from experience is perhaps as important as accounting for the fact that users today are accustomed to getting what they are looking for. Today, everything is about instant satisfaction and this has to be considered when designing a user experience.

 

Users expect a high level of utility and flashiness these days. Though there are opportunities to build user experience and interfaces, everything has to be appropriate to the end goal, of the user and of the design. You will definitely want the user interface to turn away the user, through a bad user experience.

 

Rather, you want to offer the user what they came for in a prompt manner that is easy to follow and understand. Best way for grabbing attention and building interest is to offer a single core idea, allowing users to make a binary decision about it.

 

Simple User Experiences Instead of Complicated Requirements

 

Though simplicity translates to minimalism, it is about giving users what they require. Simplicity prevails by giving users just the information and medium they require when dealing with complicated applications.  Redesign a dental application requiring numerous complicated but important elements. The team designs the experience to contain all the necessary elements, only showing to users what was necessary for the desired results at that time.

 

Even though simplicity’s semantics can be debated, it is just about one thing, serving the users with what they require and why they need it in the most clear-cut way.

Google Introduces Ads in Local Listings
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Local search results have been changed by Google again and this time Google Maps will have an effect on brick and mortar service providers. Brian Barwig  is a local SEO specialist who noticed ads appearing in the local finder results, reached after clicking “More places” from a local three-pack in the Google main search results.

On the bright side, the addition of ads in the local finder results means that service providers and retailers who are not featured in the local-three pack can get to the top results when users click to see more listings.

The ads featured in the local finder will depend on Adwords location extensions similar to Google Maps that also started displaying ads around 2013. However, unlike the map results, the advertisers in the local finder results will not get a pin on the map results.

Google spokesperson also hasn’t offered additional details other than saying that they are working on new local business formats.

Changes were announced by Google about how to display ads in Google Maps. It will only show the ads included in the Maps location extensions, while the regular texts won’t be featured. Google has also edited the advertisers and removed Maps from its list of Search Partners in the Adwords help pages.

What this means?

Marketers using location extensions will be able to have their ads displayed in maps to see an increase in clicks and impression when ads are displayed there.

Marketers not using location extensions but choosing Search Partners will see a drop in clicks and impressions with ads not showing in Maps.

Including the Maps in the Google search inventory means inclusion of more advertisers in Maps ad auctions. The emphasis lies on location extension in line with Google’s continuous reliance on structured feeds and data, as can also be attested by retailers participating in Google Shopping.

For more news, stay tuned to Medialinkers SEO firm blog.

SEO Tips
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Wondering what makes search engine optimization so important? Check out important statistics such as:

  1. Email and Search engines are the two most important user activities.
  2. 75% of people do not go beyond the first page when searching
  3. Search engines generate traffic to content sites

When looking to build your SEO business, you have to consider the above-mentioned statistics. When developing an online presence, you have to embrace SEO. By planning an effective search engine strategy, it becomes easy for your clients to find a company online. No doubt, search engines are the perfect way for generating traffic to a site, but how do you get around it?

To some people search engine optimization seem like a difficult process; however it is not as complicated as it sounds. But it is still a challenge at the same time. You also need to ensure using the right methods for increasing the search rankings.

A few tips to consider as suggested by Medialinkers SEO agency are as follow:

SEO requires time to give results. Implementing the tips mentioned below will not increase the website traffic instantly but over time, you will start seeing effective results such as rise in rankings and more people visiting your site.

  1. Writing Quality Blogs

Writing quality blogs help in higher rankings in the search engines. This is number one method of improving the search engine optimization of any site. Make sure whatever you post on a blog is relevant and informative to your readers. Instead of only posting about your company, try to share informative blogs as much as possible to build client’s trust.

You also need to promote your content through social media to gain as many readers as you can. This will help in gaining high search engine rankings, as content creation and promotion do not work without each other as far as improvements in SEO are concerned.

  1. Quality Links

Another way to improve SEO is through earning site links. A site becomes trustworthy in users’ point of view with more links pointed towards it. These links work a long way in pushing it to higher rankings. However, just focus on generating quality links as low quality and spam links only hurt the search engine rankings.

  1. Analysis through Right Tools

Creating an effective SEO strategy is quite challenging, however with the help of some tools, it becomes somewhat easy. Important tools to consider for site analysis include names such as Moz Open Site Explorer, Link Detox and Google Webmaster Tools.

There are some other tools which can be used to improving the SEO of your site, but the main issue is about figuring out the ones beneficial for your business.

Bottom Line

SEO is important to the success of any business, whether a digital agency or a brick or mortar. Follow the tips mentioned in this article to increase your web traffic over time. Over time, you will see the benefits of using SEO for your business.

Kennesaw SEO
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SEO rules are always changing which makes it important for the marketers to stay on top of their SEO marketing campaign. SEO is a technique which makes people search for your site. This means that you need to implement the changes accordingly to not fall short of users and Google expectations. Medialinkers SEO Services shares a few tips to help SEOs in managing their work better.

  1. Not All Viral Content Helps

Since content is an important part of any digital marketing campaign, millions of content pieces are published on a daily basis. To make your content stand out, you need to create incredibly rare content. Even though you don’t know what will capture the attention of users, you still need to focus on creating something unique and rare to make it go viral.

However, you also need to understand that not every business requires creation of a viral content. For example, brick and mortar business needs the right advertising type to boost and establish a business for users. For local brick and mortar business, chasing viral content is only waste of time and money. So in short, you need the right type of advertising to make things successful instead of just viral content.

  1. Stay Away From Bad SEO

Methods which once skipped Google’s eye now work against a site and fall under the category of spam work. The good news however is that the Google rules have not changed since day 1. Google always wanted site owners to keep users happy and this is exactly what the strategy is about still today. If your site delivers informative unique content, links to other authority sites and is compatible against the latest technologies such as mobile web then you are going to be rewarded in the search rankings.

  1. Stay Away From Duplicate Content

Considering how Google has tightened its noose around the duplicate content, you need to stay away from it. However, to make sure if another site copies your blog post you don’t get penalized by it. To avoid this, you can implement canonical tags when republishing content on a site. It will not harm your site, but you still need to track the sites using content without your permission due to the copyright issues.

  1. Incoming Links do not always help SEO

Incoming site links are a great way to boost rankings in the search engines, but not all sites help the cause. For example, sites having some sort of authority issues do not contribute towards the growth of rankings. Irrelevant sites and questionable domains hurt search engine rankings. Instead of quantity, only focus on quality.

  1. Go For Relevancy

SEO these days is all about relevancy. The HTML tags, image descriptions, sub headers, titles and all the other page attributes need to be related to a website’s purpose or the page.

  1. Doing it Yourself SEO

Automation can help manage a lot of SEO tasks. Whatever, information about website traffic and customers can be read with data processing software for a beginner to understand the game? To be on the clear side, anyone with some experience about the latest trends will know how to fix issues.

There is a learning curve regarding the SEO work, but you can still hire resources to manage the SEO needs. You just need to use tools to automate some work where you can.

  1. Responsive Web Design and Mobile Friendly

Everyone today in a restaurant, library, doctor’s office or a baseball game is focused on their Smartphone, instead of talking to people around them. This means that your site needs to be responsive and mobile friendly too to cater to the ever increasing mobile users’ percentage.

Sites which are not responsive or mobile friendly do not show up in the mobile search results and are a major factor behind potential business lost. In fact, mobile searches form majority of local SEO work. When targeting locally, you need to dominate the mobile SERPs. So instead of ignoring the mobile platform, hire a professional agency as Kennesaw web design to convert your site into a fully responsive site, making it mobile friendly for your requirements.