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We bet your fancy website is making people violently ill (literally)

(MARKETING) Your fancy, self-animating website might be making people violently ill, even if it is insanely beautiful. Sorry…

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web design accessibility ill

Interactive websites with dynamic content take time to build, but — when properly created — such websites can hook a potential customer before they’ve even seen your product pitch. Unfortunately, that same website may be making some of your customers violently ill. Literally.

You’re probably familiar with current website design trends: self-animating content, vivacious pop-ups, infographics which populate as you scroll down, and videos (oh my God, so many videos) dominate the landing page.

While this is a fantastic design choice in and of itself, having such a large number of moving parts also means that you may be excluding people who suffer from motion sickness or migraines from your content.

Virtually any unsettling or unexpected movement can trigger vertigo or a splitting headache for people with these conditions, so they’re liable to skip your website entirely. Forever.

Dynamic web elements are a huge problem in this regard, but you should also be on the lookout for things like optical illusions, complex backgrounds, and other trippy aspects of your website. Even things like 360-degree videos which move slightly as you scroll or a black-and-white pinstripe background can be enough to cause problems for people with motion sickness — if it’s complicated enough to strain your eyes, it’s probably alienating people, and they’ll never say a thing about becoming ill, they’re just gone.

Luckily, there are a couple of things you can do to mitigate the damage caused by your website, the first being a disclaimer. Just like some websites include epilepsy warnings, your site might benefit from a “dynamic content” warning which targets would-be users who have anything from mild vertigo to full-blown inner ear issues.

Like any other physical impediment, web-triggered motion sickness deserves an accessibility feature.

Your first step should be to simplify your website’s landing page, making sure to minimize the fancy animations and cut back on things like scrolling text, pop-ups, and flashing lights (in other words, keep it as static as possible).

You should also consider including a simplified version of your website — even if it’s just a basic (ugly) HTML version — for people with photosensitivity or motion sickness.

Migraines, light sensitivity, and motion sickness are common enough issues that optimizing your website may be the step you need to begin converting a significant portion of your intended audience.

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.

Real Estate Marketing

Improve your SEO research with this free browser extension

(MARKETING) Ubersuggest makes search engine keyword research insanely easy–and free. This Chrome extension can help you boost your visibility.

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Search engine optimization (SEO) research is a fairly gatekept process, and it can be challenging to break into the industry without spending either a lot of time or a lot of money. Ubersuggest, a keyword extension for Google Chrome, disrupts that process considerably.

Ubersuggest Chrome Extension 2.0: The Ultimate Keyword Research Tool is an extension similar, in many ways, to any extension you might use in your Chrome browser: easy to install and largely contingent on browser integration. However, Ubersuggest puts prime keyword research results right in your URL bar, making it both incredibly useful and supremely convenient to access.

And, like most extensions, Ubersuggest is completely free to install and use.

The way Ubersuggest works is relatively simple. After installing the extension, a user simply types a word or phrase into an empty URL bar; Ubersuggest will then display pertinent information about that word–namely how many searches per month it has and the most recent cost per click value.

Upon searching for the word or phrase in question, Ubersuggest will also generate a sidebar chart with comparable terms and the pertinent usage and CPC values for each word, a breakdown of shares, domain score, and the SEO conversion percentage (e.g., how many times users clicked that word) for Google-based searches.

Ubersuggest even works in YouTube and Amazon search bars provided you’re on the pertinent websites, and you’ll notice information about domains appear under search results even when you’re not looking for SEO information.

The only noticeable shortcoming of this service is that it doesn’t necessarily account for searches performed in other engines–Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.–but given that Google encompassed almost 92 percent of search engine activity last month, it’s a minor shortcoming indeed.

Neil Patel, Ubersuggest’s creator, promises to keep updates to the extension coming. “My goal is to make major releases to Ubersuggest every month if possible,” he mentions in a post for the latest release. One such release looks to be a dashboard expansion for the extension icon when clicked.
Patel also wants to ensure that users of prior versions of Ubersuggest uninstall and reinstall the extension in order to utilize YouTube and Amazon keyword features.

Given how expensive keyword research can be, this extension is a godsend for anyone looking to beef up their online marketing for virtually no overhead.

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Real Estate Marketing

Steal this Apple marketing method to crush your competitors

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Apple is a $2 trillion monolith of a company, and for countless good reasons. One of the primary reasons is their powerful marketing – one could argue they’re more famous for that than their actual product. Alex Garcia has a clear and concise guide to the process Apple uses to create compelling website copy, and it’s something you should absolutely try in your next round of marketing.

Garcia, a known marketing expert, breaks Apple’s copy down into 13 distinct techniques, the majority of which can be lumped into 3 categories:

  1. Appealing to customers
  2. Appealing to experts
  3. Appealing to the algorithm

Like any good marketing scheme, the majority of Apple’s techniques fall into the first category, but the overlap between these groups is what makes Apple’s copy stand out.

When appealing to customers, Apple tends to make things as simple as possible, sticking to a modern adaptation of the phrase “less is more.” This is a process that involves anything from rhyming (yes, seriously) and using alliteration all the way to creating short, energetic sentences that place the reader in the driver’s seat.

Apple also likes to focus on specific product details – edgeless screens, faster chips, camera abilities – as individual selling points, complete with supporting images. In theory, this makes it easier for the consumer to keep track of the benefits of the product.

And that energetic copy, often stemming from short sentences with the words “you” and “your” appearing organically, always accompanying those product details.

For what Garcia identifies as “scanners,” the most impressive information comes first (and uses the largest font), with the rest of the information following an “inverted pyramid” format in which details taper down from largest benefits to smallest benefits.

Apple’s overlap between experts and consumers is similarly notable. For the casual consumer, mentioning the new chip speed or information about the retina display on an iPhone stands out as impressive. And for experts who know how to read the specs they’re seeing, that first impression means just as much. Apple’s inclusion of those specifications in their copy (often in finer print than the bold, consumer-oriented headlines) makes all the difference.

Finally, search algorithms can flawlessly index Apple’s marketing copy due to copious use of keywords (words that don’t feel like keywords to the average consumer) in order to ensure that Apple products are recommended to as many undecided would-be buyers as possible.

Make no mistake: Apple has a metric truckload of other reasons for their success, many of which are well-outside of the grasp of most companies. But their marketing copy, and the confidence with which it is implemented, is something from which any business can learn. Before your next marketing push, consider how you’re appealing to all three categories, while your competitors only consider one (consumers).

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Real Estate Marketing

6 logo design trends that will instantly boost your branding

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Outdated branding can be a big red flag to anyone viewing your website or social media – check these logo trends to improve yours for 2021!

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Logo design sketches being drawn on paper and hands pointing to various designs.

When you click a website or open a marketing email, nothing (and I mean NOTHING) is more discouraging than a sloppy or outdated logo. It’s the first thing a consumer equates to the quality of the goods or services being offered. In short, if your logo looks like it was designed using Windows 95, it doesn’t matter how good your product is – no one’s going to believe you.

Here are 6 current logo aesthetic trends that will give your branding new life:

1) Minimalist design
A timeless aesthetic. Classy. Clean. Minimalism gives the viewer less to scrutinize and is an easy way to achieve professionalism. The best part is you won’t have to update every couple of years when trends change.

Pro Tip: Try using sans-serif fonts, as well as thin lines and clean geometry.

2) Custom Fonts
I LOVE seeing custom fonts. We’re all used to Helvetica, Poppins and – God forbid – Papyrus. When a logo is made with a familiar font, it’s too recognizable – and feels like an 8th grade made it.

Pro Tip: You can go nuts with custom fonts, but make sure to keep it legible. What’s the point of a cool logo if people can’t read it?

3) Gradients
Everyone’s doing color gradients this year (think: the Facebook Messenger app icon). Gradients are eye-catching and make the image appear to be 3-D. They will also certainly not be going out of style in 2021.

Pro Tip: Make sure your selected colors print well before committing to them.

4) Text destruction
Use psychology on your potential consumers! A logo that’s unfinished or has a letter is missing will likely have viewers fixated and try to mentally complete it. This means instant attention on your brand!

Pro Tip: Don’t go over the top – you still want it to be recognizable.

5) Planned chaos
Twisted letters, random geometric shapes, and more! 2021 is a year that is inspiring some out of the ordinary designs that look interesting and sophisticated.

Pro Tip: I keep stressing this but it’s true – have fun with it, make sure it’s understandable, especially for this trend.

6) Balance
On the other side of the spectrum, balanced, orderly logos are trending right now. If you want a symmetrical and clean logo to give your brand a grounded feel, try a balanced approach.

Pro Tip: While they are inherently professional, these kinds of logos can become boring pretty easily. I recommend adding a little zest of some kind to work in tandem with the balanced-ness.

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