The start if the new year always has a way of turning our gazes forward. For some this is reassuring… for others, intimidating.
This reflective infographic shows where the American populace stands on a variety of different issues that have taken center stage in the 21st century. For example, the ever-pressing issue of our abused environment. A very convinced 72 per cent majority believe that by 2050, there will be a global energy crisis.
Americans were much more optimistic about the next forty years of technological advancements. A full 81 % foresee computers communicating the same way humans do. Many also see space travel for the common man as a possibility in 2050.
Looking at this infographic prompted me to question some of my thoughts on the future. The surveys were very revealing. The population is on the fence about more than a few things. More than half think another world war is on the horizon.
In such turbulent times, what do you think the next forty years hold?
Cheers everyone, have a phre$h new year.
Setting up a business used to be a cumbersome process, requiring a commercial lease, sometimes even before the first customer comes in the door. Now setting up a business online can be done in less than a day, and more brick and mortar businesses are turning to the web to find customers.
Despite this positive trend, there are still a few common mistakes that small businesses are making in their online marketing efforts – ones that can be voided.
Any pro will tell you that the key to productivity is delegating. Yet, for some reason, many small businesses still try to tackle digital marketing entirely by themselves.
Forbes reports that upwards of 70.8% of small businesses do ALL their marketing in-house. Only about 4.4% of small businesses are outsourcing to a third party, agency, or contractor.
Yet it’s the small businesses who outsource who are happiest with the results for both increasing sales and bringing in new customers.
Yes, finding an affordable graphic design service and reliable SEO company can be tricky – but spending time getting up to speed on marketing, if you haven't done it before, takes away time from your primary business. Getting help will almost certainly beat taking the DIY approach.
Sometimes businesses think they can get away with a local listing on Google, but the opposite is also true. Sometimes businesses invest purely on a fancy website and forget to optimize the local business listing.
Trends show that consumers aren’t following local searches with website visits as frequently as in the past. Instead, they are relying on the plethora of information given right in the SERPs as part of Google My Business Listings.
Google My Business (which is a hub that replaced Google Places) provides opening hours, phone numbers, addresses and directions, and reviews of local businesses. It can even provide wait times for restaurants.
With all this information given right in the SERPs, there’s less need for consumers to bother with a website visit.
A Bright Local study found that, after a local business search:
With Google My Business replacing local websites, why are so few local businesses using it? Bill Hartzer reports on a review of over 9,000 local businesses. It found that:
It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to optimize a Google My Business listing. So, there is really no reason for local businesses to be missing out on this marketing opportunity.
Google My Business isn’t the only platform replacing websites. There are many online directories and review sites where consumers go to find local businesses. Yet, many businesses missing these opportunities.
Bite Size Media reports that only 33% of local businesses have a Yelp listing, 21% have a Yahoo listing, and just 19% have a Yellow Pages listing.
Hacking isn’t just happening in the political sphere with elections. The MIT Technology Review warns that cyber threats are something website owners need to worry about in 2018. The threats that small businesses should worry about include:
According to Inside Small Business, hackers love small businesses because they have fewer security measures in place. Research shows that anywhere from 43% to 61% of breaches are targeted at small businesses.
Despite the risk, 51% of small businesses aren’t allocating any budget to reduce the risk.
Cyber attacks cost businesses revenue – 38% of those attacked lost more than 20% of their revenue. The attacks also have other costs, such as losing reputation and customer loyalty.
Small businesses should look at investing in better security can be viewed as insurance against potentially devastating losses.
This goes along with the “not securing website” mistake. As Google writes, an HTTPS certificate is an internet communication protocol. It allows data to be sent through three layers of protection.
Google announced that, as of July 2018, all websites without HTTPS encryption will be marked as “not secure.”
According to EuroDNS, fewer than 30% of websites are using an HTTPS-encrypted SSL certificate. These websites face many risks, including:
It’s possible to get a free HHTPS-SSL certificate, so there’s no reason for small businesses not to take this step.
A Google report found that the average mobile web page takes 22 seconds to load. Note that this is for all mobile sites. It is likely that small business pages take even longer to load than their big-business (and bigger budget) competitors.
This statistic is alarming because 53% of visitors will leave a mobile site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. For online retail, a one-second delay can decrease conversions by up to 20%!
Practical Ecommerce backs up these findings. They report that a 100 millisecond delay in load time can decrease conversions by 7% and bounce rates increase by 103% when load time increases by 2 seconds.
Slow load time is particularly devastating for ecommerce, but local businesses are also impacted. The same Google report found that consumers are more likely to abandon a mobile site if it takes too long to load. Small businesses could be losing 53% of mobile traffic if their site takes more than just 3 seconds to load!
Because of strict laws, virtually all small business owners know that their storefronts must be accessible to people with disabilities.
Yet, few realize that their websites should also be accessible.
People with disabilities use various tools to help them access the internet. For sight-impaired people, for example, this could mean using a screen reader. People with motor impairments might use tools like mouth sticks or voice commands.
If a website doesn’t meet certain standards, it could be difficult or even impossible for people with disabilities to access the website.
There is no denying that social media is important for small businesses. Being present on social media can boost branding, customer loyalty, sales, and new leads.
But social media isn’t the end-all of online marketing!
According to stats at Blue Corona, 32% of small businesses are only investing in social media.
What about all the other methods of digital marketing – like local SEO, email marketing, Adwords, content marketing, or coupon deals?
As Entrepreneur notes, diversifying digital marketing methods means benefits like:
So, while small businesses certainly don’t want to stretch their budgets to cover all digital marketing methods, they should think outside of social media to get better results.
The sheer number of platforms and tools for online marketing can be overwhelming, but the key to remember is that you have to start somewhere. Marketing drives the continuous growth of businesses.
What mistakes do you think are the worst in small business marketing?
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Today’s marketing world is increasingly visual. No matter how great your product or content is, it won’t get noticed if it doesn’t have stunning visuals to accompany it. Luckily, there has been a surge in affordable graphic design services.
Whether you need a logo, infographic, website layout, brochure, or something unique, these platforms are great places to go for graphic design services on a budget.
If you still haven’t heard of Fiverr, then you are missing out on a platform for finding dirt-cheap graphic design services. Yes, a lot of the services actually do cost just five dollars – especially jobs like logos, business cards, and simple banner ads.
For anything more time-intensive or creatively demanding, you’ll need to pay more than five dollars. Most sellers offer a variety of options and add-ons (such as paying extra for more revisions or certain file formats). You save money by paying only for the design services you actually need.
Even the “expensive” graphic designers on Fiverr can be relatively cheap, since the platform taps into global talent. You can typically find a professional quality logo, brochure, banner, book cover, or even custom illustration for under $50. The platform has more of a product focus, where design services are offered with a focus on the product and the price, for example “$20 professional logo”. As a result many of the freelancers operate under screen names and you're often not sure of the identity of the person hired.
*Be wary of any graphic designer that seems too good to be true. It's impossible to completely verify the freelancer's portfolios showing examples of their work. Since gigs are cheap, it is also easy for service providers to build up fake positive reviews. Luckily, Fiverr has a dispute policy and money can sometimes be refunded when the work is not up to par.
Formally known as Elance, Upwork is one of the largest platforms of freelancers marketing their services. As expected, there are plenty of affordable graphic design services to be found.
Using Upwork is fairly simple. You create a public job, set the budget, and wait for freelancers to apply. Or, you can create a private job and invite only selected freelancers to apply. Either way, you’ll have a large pool of candidates.
Upwork has a freelancer based focus, as opposed to a product based like Fiverr. Real names are used and Upwork may required identity document verification. Freelancers upload work to their portfolio and even have tests to prove skill knowledge. You may still have to weed through lower quality freelancers, but Upwork also has a “job success score” that helps to rate freelancers based on past work.
The reviews on Upwork tend to be more reliable. Especially if project costs are higher, it would be costly for a freelancer to get friends to write fake reviews. You can also check the history of the reviewer, which means it is easier to spot fakes.
Hiring a graphic designer online can take a long time. You first need to narrow down the candidates, and after hiring spend time communicating with the designer to make sure the parameters are understood. For simple jobs it might make sense to just do the work yourself.
PicMonkey is a good solution for people who want to take a DIY approach to graphic design, but are intimidated by Photoshop.
You won’t be able to create stunning logos or visuals from scratch with PicMonkey. However, the service does allow you to easily touch up existing photos, make collages, create album covers, and create social media ads using templates.
The platform is heavily marketed towards small business websites and bloggers, particularly ones who want to expand their social media presence without having to add an additional member to their staff.
Canva is a popular design tool that’s free and easy to use without any design experience. The site offers templates and is popular among bloggers, content marketers, small business owners alike. Designed for work, school, and play, it even offers design tips for non-designers.
The interface is intuitive and easy for anyone to use. Whether it's creating presentations, magazine covers or simple marketing materials, you can create beautiful graphics with the provided layouts. Even for designing mockups this would be a great place to start.
For more efficient teamwork, Canva offers a paid service called Canva At Work which allows integration with several team members.
Design Pickle offers an innovative flat rate approach to affordable graphic design services. Instead of charging you on a per-project basis, they offer unlimited graphic design services for a flat monthly fee. They were created for the average non-creative small business.
After signing up for the service, you are matched with a graphic designer who will be primarily responsible for your designs. They've pre selected a team of designers trained for high volume work. If that designer goes on leave, another one will fill in, ensuring on call design services.
While you do get unlimited work each month for the fixed price, the jobs are queued up in your dashboard. You set which ones have priority and these are done first. Turnaround depends on the total request volume and complexity.
The service fits people who can answer yes to the following question: “Can I reasonably explain or show what I want in an email?” If you have an eye for design and know exactly what you want, or you only need simple tasks done regularly, you may find these services valuable.
While some platforms are better for certain types of design work, it is ultimately about how you use the platform.
Whether you want to use one of the affordable design services listed above or another, make sure you follow these tips.
Don’t think you can ask for a “design for XYZ industry” and get great results. For graphic designers to succeed, they need details about what you want.
This doesn’t mean you necessarily have to give details about color psychology and contrast ratios. However, you should include in your project description:
Finding a good quality, affordable graphic designer can consume a lot of your time. So, when you do find one, you don’t want to let him or her go. That is why it is so crucial to look for long-term relationships.
How can you tell if a graphic designer is interested in long-term working relationships? Look for:
It might seem counterintuitive to pay more than necessary within a competitive market. But once you've invested in a freelance hire, monetary incentives can often pave the way for a more productive relationship. As with most employees, designers enjoy being rewarded for consistent work that exceeds your expectations.
What are your favorite sources for affordable design work?
Whether you work in marketing, research, education, or the non-profit sector, infographics are likely a part of your everyday life. Even if your sector hasn’t jumped on the infographic bandwagon, it is likely that you see infographics as you scroll through social media and blogs.
Despite how widespread infographics are, there is still confusion about what exactly qualifies as an infographic.
According to Merriam Webster dictionary, an infographic is defined as:
A chart, diagram, or illustration (as in a book or magazine, or on a website) that uses graphic elements to present information in a visually striking way.
If we go by this definition of an infographic though, then virtually all types of visual information would be considered an infographic.
Even signs like the one below would be considered an infographic.
While useful, we generally now appreciate infographics to be more detailed and complex than a simple sign.
Wikipedia expands on the definition of infographic by saying that,
Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.
The key term here is complex information. Hence why street signs aren’t considered infographics by modern standards.
I also like how Venture Beat defines infographic as a “Picture painted with data. Take a quick look and a story emerges from numbers. Look more closely, and a complex narrative emerges from dense clusters of information.”
There are a lot of design and marketing agencies that have broken down infographics into types. However, it is hard to find a consensus amongst them.
As one designer points out, the breakdown of infographic types depends on how you define the different between data, information, and knowledge. These terms are highly subjective, which explains why we still don’t have a widely-agreed upon definition of infographic, nevertheless the types.
The Harvard Business Review guide Good Charts lays out four types of infographics: declarative, conceptual, exploratory, and data-driven. In this classification system, the types overlap each other, such as declarative-exploratory.
However, I prefer the simpler breakdown of infographic types by Column Five Media. They define three main infographic types: Data visualization, information design, and editorial infographics.
As a consumer, understanding the types of infographics can help you better gauge the value of the information presented.
You’ll be able to ask yourself questions like how many data sets are being presented, and is the infographic trying to elicit a response from me? Considering that infographics have long been used as a propaganda tool, this insight can help you avoid being manipulated with data.
Many of the early precursors to infographics, such as line graphs and charts, are types of data visualizations. The difference is that today’s data visualizations often present huge amounts of information.
There is a lot of debate about the difference between an infographic and data visualization. Some would argue that they are completely different things. However, the common consensus is that data visualizations are a type of infographic, but not all infographics are data visualizations.
Example of Data Visualization Infographic
With these information design infographics, the data is not specific numbers. Rather, the data is concepts which are visualized. Some examples of these information design are timelines, how-to steps, flowcharts, comparisons, hierarchical, and anatomical illustrations.
Example of Information Design Infographic
It used to be that text-based editorials were found in newspapers and magazines to supplement the objective news reporting. Now, there is a growing trend towards editorial type infographics.
Example of an Editorial Infographic:
Long before humans invented alphabet systems, they communicated with visuals. The human brain is hardwired to process visual information, and it does it much more efficiently than it processes text information.
Another reason that infographics are so powerful in today's era of the internet, is that they capture attention. Our attention spans have drastically shortened because of the constant stimulus we receive. In this era of goldfish brains, learning needs to be micro.
Infographics are one of the best ways to present huge amounts of data in small bites, thus making them a very powerful learning tool. They are also great for marketers who want to get their message across as quickly as possible. Color visuals increase comprehension, learning, and retention by over 73%. The appeal lasts: Eye tracking research on news pages has shown that 87% of people who saw an infographic also read the accompanying text, whereas only 41% read the text of a typical page with heading and text.
The key to having content go viral is to make it shareable. Your readers see the content and believe that sharing it makes them look good. They then want to share it with their friends, coworkers, and grandparents. Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content (Buffer, 2014).
We humans are visual thinkers, so it is no surprise that infographics have been around since even before civilization. The earliest examples of infographics are arguably cave paintings which many experts believe were used to communicate information about animals and hunting methods. There are also prehistoric examples of constellations maps and land maps. However, the combining of data and art didn’t develop until the 1600s.
Maps had been around for long before the 17th century, but this is when the principles of measuring and marking distances as well as special geometry were laid down. As a result, we see a huge jump in the quality of maps during this century.
Christoph Scheiner is usually credited as the person responsible for making the first modern infographic. His map of sunspots was printed in 1626.
The end of the 18th century in Europe was a Golden Age for sciences and arts. The date 1786 stands out as when a Scotsman named William Playfair published his work “Commercial and Political Atlas.” The work contains the first examples of a bar chart. Playfair also is credited with inventing the line, area, and pie charts.
The 1800s was the era of charts. Many government offices started using visual charts for statistical analysis. The popularity of charts led to major innovations in their types and styles.
Suddenly, we had more attractive charts as well as new types like bubble charts, contour plots, and 3d charts.
Infographic charts also started to influence history.
If it weren’t for John Snow’s 1841 cholera map (which showed cholera outbreaks linked to a common water source), he probably wouldn’t have been able to convince public officials that cholera is spread by water. Thanks to his visualization, the well pump was removed.
In 1860, a map of slavery influenced the course of the Civil War. By seeing which areas held slaves, the Union was able to determine which areas would fight harder to keep slavery – and which ones might switch sides.
One of the first infographics to combine multiple data sets was made in 169 by designer Charles Minard. He visualized Emperor Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia, showing the number of forces, distance traveled, temperatures, and rivers crossed.
Florence Nightingale was amongst the first to use infographics for activism. Her 1858 infographic of mortality of British army was used to convince the Queen to provide better medical care for soldiers in the Crimean War.
Up until this period, infographics were mainly used to convey data within scientific circles and niche audiences. The booming 1900s found infographics being adopted by mainstream media.
People were moving to cities during this time and public transportation was getting complex. Infographics were made to help the public navigate. The first few attempts at mapping the subway systems in NYC were far from ideal. It wasn’t until 1967 that subway routes were given their own color on maps.
Computers and software finally became affordable and small enough to make it into homes. Design software suddenly made it possible to visualize data quickly without having to hand-draw visualizations.
The result were infographics which were much more complex, such as network graphs, dendrograms, sunburst charts, and chord diagrams.
Now is the era we are familiar with. With the huge demand for visual content, everyone from marketers to government agencies to nonprofits have adopted infographics.
The push towards visual content also means there’s been a surge in bad infographics. It got so bad that a 2011 article in the Atlantic called the infographic trend a “plague” and “endemic in the blogosphere.”
By the end of the decade, marketers realize that they can’t make an impact simply by putting content in visual form. Consumers are demanding more to capture their attention.
Living in the information age means we are getting inundated with huge amounts of data daily. A Telegraph report found we consume the equivalent of 174 newspapers per day – which is five times more information consumed daily in 1986.
That statistic was reported in 2011. Since then, the amount of information overload has only increased.
With so much information overload, people have become very picky about what they consume. Content doesn’t even stand a chance without a visual strategy.
Thus, there is a huge push to transform content into visual form. In an article about how infographics jumped the shark, Flowing Data creator Nathan Yau comments on how infographics are replacing the blog post format.
Infographics have gotten longer to fit into the blog format. Posts that used to be long lists of favorite things and best methods have shifted to something more visual.
We've also seen more infographic trends like interactive, 3d, and motion infographics.
Infographics have grown to great lengths, quite literally. Keep scrolling..
Online users have also gotten immune to the visual pull of infographics. Without a good story throughout the infographic, people get bored.
Thus, it is no surprise that infographic design best practices include making a narrative flow. When done well, the narrative will engage consumers as they scroll down the infographic. The message is clear and there is a strong visual focus.
The final piece to pull it all together is a Call To Action or conclusion. Because, without a CTA guiding you in how to react, what was the point of consuming the infographic? Data only becomes knowledge when it can be put to use!
After hours of staring at visuals on the web, it'd be nice to have a few pieces to look at on the wall. Decorate your room, fill up that blank wall, or just put up a handy guide for regular consumption. We've found a few interesting infographic posters that'll spice up your wall!
What a web of whiskey can be woven! This chart breaks down the many types of whiskey you can line your bar with in”a spirited taxonomy of the ultimate amber elixir”.
Kitchen related infographic posters easily make our list of favorites – timeless, useful, and alluring all at once.
75 Myths that have been debunked, ranging from bats are blind, we use only 10% of our brain, to you can see the Great Wall of China from space. Gotcha already?
59 illustrated facts about the illustrious San Francisco. Detailed facts can be viewed here
A comprehensive diagram of beers with recommended types and drinkware. For the barroom, bedroom, anywhere you'd like to think about beer.
There are now 7.5 billion people in the world but it's a bit easier to represent them as 100 people.
A visual guide to the heights and lengths of mountains and rivers in Europe from the Victorian era.
A tremendous chart of every cosmic exploration from the Luna 2 in 1959 to the Dscovr in 2015.
Kids are like sponges, sopping up the information all around them. This poster is a fun and savvy introduction to both animals and professions! The Wolf Web Designer? Right on! You can even tell your kids this was printed with vegetable ink.
25 cocktail recipes you might need in your Friday night arsenal. This tribute showcases ingredients and scaled recipes as well as how the drink is typically garnished.
When non-Americans ask about our political system, I prefer to send them this poster. We'd written about it here.
Orcas, commonly known as Killer Whales, are majestic animals with no natural predators. For the orcaholic or orcaphile.
64 famous guitars from 75 years of rock and roll history.
A primer on how startup funding works, going from the founders to a (hopeful) exit.
With the advent of computers, digital learning transformed from a futuristic ideal into a realistic possibility of daily life, changing our ideas about education. The technologies offered new ways to look at the educational process and improve it in unprecedented ways. By the end of the 1990s, the concept of e-learning had been already coined, opening the doors to the ever-growing field of digital education.
Although everyone realized the potential of digital education from its early days, nobody suspected the massive growth of over 900% that occurred between 2001 and 2017. Surpassing everyone’s expectations, e-learning become an industry with a huge impact and an exponential growth that still continues today.
Although the changes in the e-learning industry are only limited by our imagination, there are predictions that suggest that 2019 and 2020 are a favorable period for the expansion and development of online courses. A trend of rapid growth has already been noticed. From getting a degree remotely to learning practical skills with the help of AI or gamification, the options are endless.
Higher education is the domain that has known the greatest progress due to technology. In fact, e-learning has not only brought new ways of learning, but it has also improved traditional learning. Using online tools, a student enrolled at a traditional college or university can vastly improve his experience. Online courses, online tutors, custom writing services, and electronic books are there to help students learn easier and better.
The reality is that custom writing services have become an important facet of higher education. Despite the fact that the Earth changes quite frequently and in most of the cases it is hard to stay up to date, something hardly ever changes. Whether student is learning online or studying in the university or college, he or she always thinks “Maybe it is better to pay someone to write my paper?”. It depends on what answer is the best but almost always it is preferred to say “yes”. A student exploring e-learning will inevitably come across these online offers that can improve his studying methods significantly.
E-learning has opened the doors to better education, improving people’s chances of learning in a convenient and stimulating way that was hard to come by before. Although the statistics are impressive, typical students who want quality education are attracted to the benefits presented below:
MOOCs are massive open online courses that allow students to enroll in online courses provided by world-class universities. Computer access can thus give anyone from anywhere in the world access to the latest information and the experts in their field. MOOCs have gradually become the greatest promotors of e-learning, bringing together millions of users. These are the most popular platforms in 2019:
Together, these websites host tens of thousands of courses, covering any possible field of human knowledge from art to science, technology, and even practical skills.
There are fields of study where e-learning has almost a transformative power, and many students couldn’t even how to study without digital tools. In these fields, e-learning statistics and facts reveal great progress:
Considering the rapid growth of e-learning, the future of this innovative industry looks bright. In college or university or outside of it, students from across the world can benefit from digital tools for a rewarding and efficient learning experience.