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The checklist every company needs when redesigning a website

(MARKETING) Web design is deceptively complicated, and failing to meet the proper criteria can leave you with the cyber equivalent of a ghost town. Here are some crucial steps to take before you publish (or republish) your website.

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website redesign

Web design can be a huge pain in the rear even for seasoned veterans, and the arduous list of things that can go wrong all but guarantees that you’ll miss something crucial before going live. If you need to update (or create) your company’s website, make sure you’ve met the necessary criteria before you click that “Publish” button, even if it’s a revamping done through a firm.

Your initial steps should involve determining the purpose of your website and cleaning up the website’s copy to match that purpose. For example, if your website’s primary goal is to serve as a call to action for customers looking to purchase your products, any additional information or services listed on the site should be appropriately categorized and removed from the landing page.

You’ll also want to ensure that your website’s copy is clean, easy to understand, and thoroughly proofread. Nothing pushes potential customers away more quickly than misspelled messages or overly technical explanations.

The importance of optimization cannot be overstated, and that concept applies doubly to your website’s mobile performance. If you don’t have an accessible mobile version of your website, you’re kissing a huge amount of revenue goodbye. Remember that, while your mobile site should stand out, it should also endeavor to mirror your desktop site as closely as possible to facilitate a sense of continuity.

Accessibility is actually a pretty complex issue in and of itself, so you’ll want to make sure that your website meets all of your country’s standards for basic web design in addition to meeting — and, if possible, exceeding — the standards for disability-related challenges such as those faced by blind or epileptic visitors. This can include anything from making sure your links are functional to creating a spoken version of your site for the blind.

While important, the above is not an exhaustive list of your website’s crucial criteria. Your website should also include some form of the following:

  • Reviews or links to social discussions about your goods or services
  • Relevant, high-quality photos and videos
  • Standard web conventions including having your website’s logo in the top-left corner and the search bar in the top-right corner

Once you’ve checked off these requirements for your site, it’s not a bad idea to have other people go through the website with the same criteria in mind. Peer review — especially from both a professional developer and someone on the consumers’ side of the process — will be a substantial aid in allowing you to find and plug the holes in your website’s design.

Mindfulness is only the first step in creating a flawless website. As long as you adhere to the above requirements and recommendations, your website should stay relatively active and frustration-free.

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

Business Marketing

Pantone Color of the Year is ‘Classic Blue,’ hoping for calm this year

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Pantone picks a new color every year to represent what the globe may, or should be feeling. This year they chose Classic Blue.

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pantone classic blue 2020

Heading into 2020 with what is assured to be a contentious election, with forests in the Amazon being decimated, with global warming melting polar regions faster than a butane torch and political violence escalating in just about every part of the world, Pantone has decided to harken back to a more calm, confident and connected time with its own Blue period.

Pantone announced the color of the year for 2020 and its Classic Blue (PANTONE 19-4052). The Pantone Color Institute selects its Color of the Year, forecasting global color trends and suggesting what it will be the “it” color for the coming year, according to the company’s website.

Pantone color of the year classic blue

The Classic Blue may remind you of the color of Facebook, the Democrat Party, and a pair of Levi’s; the organization said it is attempting to harken back to a feeling of comfort and protection, even as technology races ahead and we humans are left to play catch up and attempt to process in its aftermath.

In a press release, Pantone described the denim-like tone as “solid and dependable,” and “non-aggressive and easily relatable.”

“Imprinted in our psyches as a restful color, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge,” according to the website.

“We are living in a time that requires trust and faith. It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on,” said Leatrice Eisman, Executive Director of The Pantone Color Institute.

The color is said to be an “anchoring foundation,” evocative of the “vast evening sky” and to increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.

For more than 20 years Pantone has been choosing a color of the year and it consults a whole host of experts who seek out color influences and trends from the world of music, fashion, movies, media, etc.

In his article on Web Designer Depot, Ben Moss said of the choice, “Classic Blue is a color that harks back to a time when we hid our head in the sand and pretended everything was fine. It’s the color of the pre-2008 crash, the color of Facebook pre-privacy scandal, the brand color of your parents’ bank. Classic Blue is about as 2020 as Helvetica.”

As an alternative to the Pantone choice, Moss said a more forward thinking color for the time would be cyberpunk pink.

This is not the first time Pantone has been taken to task for its color choice. At a time when the Great Barrier Reef is dying because of the impact of global warming, The Pantone color for 2019 was Living Coral. That choice was seen as tone-deaf from some of those in the design industry.

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Business Marketing

Upwork revealed its top 100 skills job seekers should aim to have

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Upwork released a list of the top-100 highly sought after skills in freelancers, and there are probably skill you didn’t even know were sought after

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upwork skills

It’s about to be a brand new decade, and we freelancers know that with each passing year, the competition gets more and more stiff. Luckily, Upwork has our back as they’ve recently released The Upwork 100, which ranks the top 100 in-demand skills for independent professionals.

The list, whose methodology was developed by the Chief Economist, Dr. Adam Ozimek, PhD, at Upwork and he found the following trends in regards to the skills. First, U.S. workers are supercharging global business. Second, the average hourly rate is higher than the majority of workers in the overall U.S. economy. And third, A diverse range of industries in the Fortune 500 leverage independent talent.

Listed below is the list in its entirety, according to their quarter three research. Us independent workers can see where we need to brush up, and perhaps be inspired to take on a new skill!

The Upwork 100: Q3 2019
1. .NET Core
2. TypeScript
3. Landing pages
4. eBooks
5. Android
6. Electronic design
7. Presentation
8. Sketch
9. Research
10. Technical recruiter
11. Bank reconciliation
12. Slack
13. Google Tag Manager
14. Sourcing
15. Amazon Web Services (AWS)
16. Video post-editing
17. LinkedIn recruiting
18. Data visualization
19. Interviewing
20. Interior design
21. System administration
22. Kubernetes
23. Data scraping
24. Technical documentation
25. Project scheduling
26. Adobe Premiere Pro
27. 2D animation
28. Firebase
29. Customer retention marketing
30. Salesforce Lightning
31. DevOps
32. Selenium
33. Accounts receivable management
34. Microsoft Windows Azure
35. Database design
36. AutoCAD
37. Usability testing
38. C development
39. Accounts payable management
40. Lead generation
41. Product descriptions
42. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
43. Circuit design
44. eLearning
45. Google Docs
46. Docker
47. GitHub
48. Redux for JavaScript
49. Business planning
50. Data entry
51. Motion graphics
52. Infographics
53. Architecture
54. ASP.NET
55. Asana
56. Instagram marketing
57. Shopify development
58. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
59. Architectural rendering
60. PostgreSQL administration
61. Salesforce app development
62. Python
63. Magento 2
64. Link building
65. MongoDB
66. Bootstrap
67. SEO writing
68. Web scraping
69. Animation
70. Network security
71. 3D rendering
72. Agile project management
73. Administrative support
74. Data mining
75. Internet research
76. English grammar
77. Squarespace
78. Elasticsearch
79. Startup consulting
80. AWS Lambda
81. Branding
82. Media relations
83. Appointment setting
84. 3D design
85. Bookkeeping
86. Romance writing
87. Budgeting and forecasting
88. Product design
89. Financial accounting
90. Adobe After Effects
91. Zendesk
92. Accounting
93. Virtual assistant
94. Google Cloud Platform
95. Postgre SQL programming
96. Tax preparation
97. Embedded systems
98. Audio editing
99. Google Analytics
100. Amazon S3

This helps us to not only see what the current climate is like, but may also remind us of skills we forgot to include on our resumes. What do you think of this list? Comment below with your thoughts!

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Business Marketing

Startup pays $10K for people to leave The Bay

(BUSINESS) Get paid $10,000 to leave the Bay Area? Spoiler alert: MainStreet admits it’s a gimmick… but a gimmick for the greater good.

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MainStreet employee

Decide for yourself whether there’s a touch of irony to three former Google employees in San Jose launching a company that will pay workers $10,000 to move out of the Bay Area for work. Irony or no, that’s exactly what the founders of MainStreet are offering as they rev up a combination tech recruiting/coworking start-up that they hope will shift jobs away from traditional tech centers and make them available to everyone.

The $10,000 bonus is the splashy hey-y’all-watch-this that’s supposed to get everyone’s attention.

MainStreet co-founder Doug Ludlow flat-out admitted to The San Jose Mercury News that it’s a gimmick, both temporary and payable only after a year at that. But it’s a gimmick in service of MainStreet’s mission, which has a broader, greater-good tone.

MainStreet’s plan is to recruit employees working from home, to provide training and co-working services in metropolitan hubs where they have a collection of companies seeking remote workers, and to connect those companies with those workers – all with the goal of creating more tech jobs in areas that aren’t Silicon Valley or New York (or Austin, though we’re never mentioned). Their launch language, touted their long-term mission of “creating a million new jobs in rural and suburban areas over the next decade.”

To start with, at least, they don’t mean Manor or Marfa. The MainStreet team told The Mercury News their first target is Sacramento, where they hope to have an office space open for business in a few months. Salt Lake City and Portland also get mentioned.

So you take their $10K, and you move to Sacramento. (It can’t be that bad.) What do you get out of the deal? MainStreet promises connections with companies looking for remote workers, training in best practices for working at home, and the possibility of available office space to overcome the dreaded isolation/lack of office social life that research sometimes shows can be a drawback to not braving a commute and sitting in a cubicle all day.

That office space is part of the draw for employers as well. You’re trying to staff your start-up, say, and you can’t afford Silicon Valley rents and neither can your new hires. But you can afford Sacramento and the like, so you decide to give that a shot. You decide to work with MainStreet, because they can connect you with remote workers in the area. And because you’re one of several companies that have decided Sacramento is preferable to San Jose, there’s enough of a need that MainStreet can provide a physical space for folks in your remote workforce.

Win-win, it sounds like. It does kind of remain to be seen, though. The MainStreet goal of managing a million remote workers for all the remote locations that don’t exist quite yet is lofty. But if they can follow through with support for both employees and employers, gaining the trust and buy-in for both? Well, heck. Sign me up.

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