Image App Bonanza: 10 Apps to Spice Up Your Content

According to ContentPlus UK, articles with images get 94% more views than those without. We have become scanners, racing through online posts and sifting for useful information.

Arresting images stop us in our tracks, and pull us into the surrounding text.

Beautiful butterfly image

This is a roundup of apps that I’ve personally road-tested for image manipulation. With the exception of PicMonkey, they are all installed on my iPhone right now.

Go forth and create fun, interesting photos. Just don’t let me catch you putting a “sunset” filter on your plate of salad. Don’t do that.

1. PicMonkey

Web app, Free with premium features
Handy, easy to use app that is great for banners, overlaying text, and resizing images. It covers much of the territory of Photoshop, without the long learning curve and big expense. My 8 year old kids started playing with PicMonkey and were cranking out great stuff immediately. Check out the “collage” feature.

2. KitCamera

Mobile app, Free with 99cent enhanced version
Successor to KitCam, which was acquired by Yahoo, and it’s the Swiss Army knife of mobile image editing apps. Great for live shooting as well as editing after the fact. This one is complex, but includes tons of pro photographer goodies, including filters, high speed shooting, and live editing. Check out the social sharing tools.

3. Vhoto

Mobile app, Free
Have you ever taken a great video, and wanted to pull a still image out for a thumbnail? Here’s your app. Vhoto will automatically find and suggest the best quality still images from a video clip. Use old videos or shoot a new one. Check out the Vhoto user community.

4. Flickr

Web and mobile app, Free with premium
Yes, I know you thought Flickr was gone. It’s not gone, but it’s been revamped, and looks better than ever. The mobile app is very easy to use, and will automatically sync up your photos if you like. Includes filters, pretty strong editing tools, and sharing. Did you know you can also upload videos?

5. Overgram

Mobile only, free
This app does one thing, but does it beautifully. Instantly add cool text to your Instagram photos. Choose font, size, text, and colors, and then save. Check out the beefier, paid Over app for even more editing tools.

6. Bubbsie

Mobile only, free
I had to include one completely fun one. Bubbsie makes it dead easy to create a “meme” image, by placing a thought or conversation bubble overlay on your images. Take a new photo, or overlay on an existing image from your gallery. Check out the picture frame feature.

7. Pixlromatic

Desktop, web, and mobile, free
The cool thing about this one (which I agree is unpronounceable), is that it’s so cross-platform. Use it almost anywhere. Take a photo with your webcam or device, or upload one from your library, and then enhance it with textures, backgrounds, and frames. Easy to use immediately. Check out the fun overlays (bubbles, fireworks).

8. Colorsplash

Web and mobile (special app for iPad), free
An App Store Hall of Famer, Colorsplash is the easiest way to colorize your photos. Turn your image black and white, and then selectively add color back to certain portions. Your colleagues will wonder how you did it. Check out the customizable brush sizes/shapes.

9. PhotoToaster

Mobile, paid app
Touch up, edit, crop, and highlight portions of your images in one app. Combines some of the best bits of ColorSplash and Pixlromatic, in an easy-to-use interface. Great for beginners, with lots of pre-sets. Check out PhotoMotion, from the same company, which lets you turn photos into videos.

10. PopAGraph

Mobile, free with premium upgrades available
Another cool tool for editing your photos, but it has some unique capabilities, including the ability to have separate filters on the background vs the foreground, multi-frames, and captions. Check out the video creator, with music. Share directly to Vine from within the app.

Have fun!

Note: I have zero affiliation with any of the above apps or companies, and no-one solicited these suggestions.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

Why You Shouldn’t Put Your Title on a Business Card

By Rob Young

If you’ve sought help to create the perfect business card you’ve probably found many people insist that you include your title on it. While including your title on a business card has its uses, in some cases it does more harm than good. Whether you’re the founder of a startup or an employee in an international company, these are a few reasons you might consider removing the title from your business card.

business cards

It can make you complacent

Printing ‘CEO’ on your business cards after you’ve just launched your start up might make you feel important, but it could be counter-productive. While it can inspire some people to take bold decisions and work night and day to ensure their business is a success, more commonly this false sense of importance clouds judgement and contributes to a false sense of achievement that leaves you vulnerable to complacency.

Leaving the title off your business card is a great (and free) way to remind yourself that you still have plenty to achieve – who knew that getting rid of a title could provide so much motivation?

You can appear egotistical or delusional

If you’ve given yourself a fancy sounding title in the hopes of impressing potential clients, business partners or even your employees, be prepared for the opposite, especially if you appear young and inexperienced. At best people could think that you have an inflated ego, which might put people off from working with you. Worse still, you might just come across as delusional, with an unrealistic and immature approach to business.

It limits you

A job title is meant to give people an idea of what you do, but sometimes it can unintentionally give them a false impression of what you don’t do – and if someone thinks you’re incapable of doing something and chooses not to pursue a relationship with you your business card might as well have been a blank piece of paper. Leave the job title off your business card and you give yourself the flexibility to adapt your responsibilities and abilities to the individual situation. And remember, as long as you have a pen handy, you can always add information to a business card.

Going incognito has its benefits

You might imagine that it’s always best to introduce yourself as the boss, but if you’ve ever seen Undercover Boss you’ll understand the value of being able to assume a different role. Whether it’s trying to leverage a better deal with a supplier or find out what other people really think of your company, the ability to be a chameleon in business comes with many benefits.

It’s a conversation starter

Maintaining a little bit of mystery is a great way to pique someone’s interest. Remove your job title from your business card and you’ll find that people will start asking what exactly it is you do. This is a great opportunity to really sell yourself and the business you represent – you don’t have to reply with just your job title. Just bear in mind that removing all your details from your business card will only make you look foolish and incompetent.

It looks elegant, bold and chic

It’s universally accepted that your business card shouldn’t be overloaded with information. Being ruthless and leaving out unnecessary details is a straightforward way to make an impact with your business card. Think your title is a necessary detail? Think again. Your email address or contact telephone number is essential – your title is an extra.

To avoid politics and resentment

Titles could lead to resentment and jealousy in a company. You could say that such employees shouldn’t be appeased by leaving job titles off business cards, but if something so simple could lead to a more productive company culture shouldn’t it at least be considered, especially when there are so many other reasons to ditch titles?
Do you really need that title?

Of course there are plenty of valid reasons to include your title on a business card – if you’re dealing with businesspeople with inflated egos, for example, they might consider titles important enough that they only want to deal with people they believe to be on their level. What’s important is that you don’t assume your job title should automatically be on your business card. Instead weigh up the pros and cons and do what’s best for your business or career.

Author’s Bio: Rob Young is Head of Online Marketing at business card printers MOO. He likes to share his knowledge and experience on a number of topics including networking and design.

Photo Credit: antoniocasas – via Compfight cc

Instant Impressions: 7 Popular Web Design Trends

By Teddy Hunt

The Internet is continuously involving, and people are constantly finding new ways to attract others to their website. Design trends are about as shifty as fashion, so it’s important to keep your website updated with the latest that web design has to offer. With that said, here are seven of the most popular web design trends spicing things up in 2014.

Funky Typography

Funky as in experimental, not funky as in overly complex and unreadable. Graphic designers are having as much fun as ever playing around with fonts and injecting them with flare. These fonts are spicier than your average serif or san-serif like Times New Roman or Helvetica. As the web further expands and more people take to creating their own websites, the need to branch out and come up with unique fonts that stand out is more important than ever before.

Super-Sized Navigation Menus

There’s been a plethora of fancy navigation menus designed, tested, and approved over the past few years, with mobile responsive design (we’ll get to that later) and HTML5/CSS3 influencing that. But the most recent trend seems to involve super-sized menus that expand to huge blocks of content and links. These menus are commonly found on websites that publish great volumes of unique content in high volumes. Although it takes up a lot of space on the page, it provides visitors a broader choice to navigate your website.

Mobile-First Design

The purpose of mobile-first design is to develop your website so that it has a responsive layout that’s accessible by mobile users without sacrificing quality. Essentially, you want to cut of the excess fluff and keep the critical elements. From this perspective, it’s easier to scale up your website’s design to devices that have wider screens. Mobile-first design emphasizes the mobile experience and becomes the foundation for the entire layout. Just make sure that you’re not committing mobile web design mistakes when designing your website.

More Videos

Website visitors are spending less time reading text and more time watching videos and looking at pictures (infographics). With that in mind, it’s time to trash the boring blurbs about what your company can offer and showcase that point in video format (don’t make them too long, though).

Not only is this media format more popular today, but it’s also easily sharable on social media, resulting in more views and greater brand awareness.

Endless Scrolling

Guess what? Scrolling through an in-depth website is easier and faster than clicking through 25 different links to get access to the information you want — and graphic designers are noticing.

These websites aren’t cluttered with content on long scrolling pages, either.

Designers use new website design techniques to format and organize the content in a way that’s easy to read and comprehend. Endless scrolling design can change the layout and design of the page as your scroll further, making you forget you’re scrolling through a lot of information to begin with.

Simple and Subtle Color Schemes

color wheel

The days of eye-popping graphics, complex animations, and crazy color schemes are coming to an end — at least for now. If you’re a smart graphic designer, you’ll use one or two colors instead in the future. One of the more popular trends today is to use a single bright color and a single clean background color like red, teal, or orange (including images or black and white text on top). Not only is this effect minimalistic, but it’s user-friendly.

3D Transition Effects

Whether it’s in animated image galleries, elements, or navigation menus, 3D animations are becoming more popular by the day. You can create 3D effects using jQuery; although, CSS3 has slowly caught up. Unfortunately, not all browsers support these types of animations, so designers avoid using too many on one page. Check out these 3D animated code examples to work from if you want to give a shot.

What website design trends do you expect in the near future? Have you implemented any that make your website stand out better than before? Leave a comment and share your thoughts on the subject.

Author’s Bio: Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer with a focus on technology. When not behind a computer, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors and resides in Tampa, Florida.

Photo Credit: Viktor Hertz via Compfight cc

Working With Designers Should be Joyful, Not Painful

By Paul Biedermann

working with designers should be joyful

Good designers are hard to find and sometimes even harder to work with. But it doesn’t need to be this way.

It is common for a client to ask for something and then wonder why the designer won’t just give them what they want. After all, “the customer is always right.”


That may work in a fast food restaurant or a shoe store, but when it comes to working in the area of professional design communications, it gets a bit more complex than that. And really, you — as the client — shouldn’t want it any other way. In fact, if a designer isn’t asking questions and challenging assumptions, they are probably not very good and you won’t be realizing the full power of what design can bring to your business.

The key is to not interpret pushback as being difficult, but rather as a welcomed and necessary part of the process for doing good work. In other words, the way to begin a project with a designer is not by telling them what to do, but rather by laying out the objectives to be achieved and then letting them recommend a solution. Designers are problem solvers, not decorators. Design usually satisfies a host of different needs and requirements, and that means a defined process is necessary to get there.

So, if a designer seems like they are giving resistance and aren’t listening to what you want, it is possible that they are simply trying to pursue the path to success, which isn’t always as clear cut as it may seem. It may also include redefining the problem in order to proceed most effectively and arrive at the best solution for your business. And if they keep coming back to the same questions, it is likely they haven’t yet received the information they need to do their jobs well — so rather than writing it off as being difficult, it’s worth keeping an open mind that perhaps they really have only your best interests at heart.

The best design experiences occur when the designer and client work in collaboration, each respecting the other’s contributions to a successful outcome.

The perfect client:

• Clearly articulates the goals, objectives and problem to be solved.

• Provides any supporting information and practical considerations pertinent to the project.

• Is timely in reviewing preliminary designs and responsive to any communications

• Understands that the designer is as interested in the successful outcome of the project as they are.

A good designer:

• Pays careful attention to the goals of the project and what needs to be accomplished.

• Requests any details, information or content necessary for proceeding with the project that hasn’t already been provided.

• Stays on top of the schedule and keeps the client engaged at key phases throughout the duration of the project.

• Understands that the client is the ultimate decision-maker and does what is necessary to ensure as smooth a process as possible for an effective design solution.

This is a quick summary, of course — but these are the key roles and responsibilities that any successful design collaboration requires. If friction develops at any point during the process, it is usually because one of these points is missed.

Don’t make the mistake of dismissing someone who is persistent for a “defensive designer” with a big ego. Those exist too, of course, but it is usually a matter of someone who has practiced their craft for a long time, knows how to get the job done, and is passionate about what they do. Respect their expertise and they will respect yours, and it will likely be a fruitful process for both of you — and the project wins.

The design process can be fun, challenging and invigorating. For that to happen, it is important that each side fulfills its basic responsibilities — working together, which also means letting the other side do what it does best.

Embracing ambiguity during the often “murky” process of design can have a big payoff down the road — but it also means trusting your designer, so make sure you hire a good one!

Author’s Bio: Paul Biedermann is the Creative Director/Owner of re:DESIGN, a small design agency specializing in Strategic Design, Brand Identity, and Visual Content Marketing — intersecting smart design with business strategies that reach, engage, and inspire people to action. Blending traditional and leading-edge media tactics. Paul consistently delivers integrated, award-winning results for his clients. Connect with him on Google+ or Twitter.


Image via Creative Commons, Amber De Bruin.

Three of the Best Website Builders for Time-Crunched Graphic Designers

By Teddy Hunt

OK, so perhaps you’re a graphic designer who knows he or she can create one hell of a website that impresses visitors. But sometimes there’s just not enough time, and you have to leave the hard work to the Internet. Whether you want to create an online portfolio to showcase your work, or a website that people can visit when they need your services, there are plenty of options out there to meet your needs and get a functional website running.

With that said, here are three of the best website builders available if you’re too “busy” to do it yourself.

lazy designers


Wix currently has more than 43 million registered users, with about 45,000 new ones joining every day. This website builder works well for photographers, musicians, small businesses, and yes, designers. It’s especially great if you’re a beginner so to speak, since it’s relatively easy to use and features a “Help” function that’s well thought out and easy to use. Here are some other pros and cons of Wix to think about before taking a test drive.

  • Impressive templates. Wix includes more than 280 templates or you can create a customized one.
  • Drag and drop interface. Simply choose what you need (text, pictures, slideshows, etc) and put them where you want without restrictions. Although it’s not the easiest builder to use out of the three, it works well.
  • Support and help. As stated earlier, Wix provides unmatched support and help. There are buttons you can click on for answers when you’re stumbled all over the website. With a VIP plan, you get one-on-one support.
  • Advertisements on the free version. Unfortunately, if you’re using Wix for free, your published website will include ad logos on the side and bottom of it. All three of these web builders have ads in some form or fashion in the free versions, but Wix has a considerable amount more. You’ll have to upgrade to get rid of the ads.
  • Can’t change templates. Once you decide on a template, you’re stuck with it. So choose wisely.
  • Won’t manage complex e-commerce needs. Want to build an online store? Stay away from Wix.


If you’re looking for an easy-to-use website builder that doesn’t sacrifice reliability, look no further. Weebly is perfect for graphic designers who want to showcase their portfolio without much effort put into building the website. Here are some other pros and cons of Weebly to think about before taking a test drive.

  • The best drag and drop builder on the market. Yes, even better than Wix. There isn’t an overwhelming amount of tools, but still more than enough to build a functional and professional website.
  • Free. Not only is Weebly free for most users (or really cheap for those who want to upgrade), but the advertisements are minimal. No limits. No credit card information required. No pressure to upgrade.
  • Range of templates. Even with a free account, there’s a template for everyone (and you can change it).
  • Won’t manage complex e-commerce needs. See con about Wix.
  • Limited amount of designer-caliber templates. But Weebly is changing this rapidly, so it won’t be a con for long.
  • Basic blog functions. If you want to blog on your website, you’ll have to get used to the basics. Unfortunately, Weebly lags behind when it comes to blog post organization and management. Also, you can only promote your posts through Facebook and Twitter.


Squarespace launched in 2004 and has since used memorable marketing videos, good publicity, and stunning example websites to push itself to the top of the website builder food chain. It currently runs more than 1.8 million websites. Although most probably won’t appreciate what Squarespace has to offer, graphic designers most certainly will. Here are some other pros and cons to think about before taking a test drive.

  • Commands your attention. The templates on Squarespace are beautiful and rich with imagery, making it look like you poured your heart and soul into designing your blog or website.
  • Responsive templates. Meaning you can resize your browser and your content will automatically adjust to provide your visitors with an optimized viewing experience. This is so crucial for end user engagement. It’s critical to note in web design the advancement of photo quality coupled with the popularity and on-the-go convenience of tablets.
  • Extensive styling options. Squarespace offers them, other website builders don’t.
  • More difficult to use. Simply put, you need to invest some time and effort before taking advantage of all the tools that Squarespace offers. If easy is what you’re looking for, look elsewhere.
  • Drag and drop feature not as smooth. Wix and Weebly’s drag and drop interface seem to work smoother.
  • You can customize everything without going into codes. This is actually a con for the average Joe, but to an experienced graphic designer this might not mean much.

All three of these website builders work well. It all comes down to your wants, needs, and abilities.

Have you used one of these before? What was/is your experience like?

Author’s Bio: Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer with a focus on technology. When not behind a computer, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors and resides in Tampa, Florida.

Photo Credit: anoldent via Compfight cc

Effective Logo Design that Reaches Your Target Audience

Guest Post
by Christopher Wallace

The Best Logo for the Best Customers

In today’s fast-paced, competitive environment, getting your business noticed is not only a top priority but also a critical one. The marketplace is getting more crowded all the time and every business is in competition for the most precious commodity out there—customer attention. And when you think about it, what better way can there be to get that attention than an effective logo?

Next time you see the Golden Arches or the Playboy Bunny, notice how these images instantly convey messages about their brands that a thousand well-written words could never come close to matching. What about your favorite sports team? Try watching a game without seeing the team logo. You can’t. Instead, count how many times you see that logo displayed—on the players’ uniforms, in the stadium, on the programs—just about everywhere. Are logos important? You bet they are!

So what makes an effective logo? People have their opinions. Some favor simplicity, while others insist that pizzazz is king. Some think letters, numbers, and symbols are all you should see. Others favor pictures and drawings. Some insist on including the business name, while others prefer to let the audience figure things out for themselves. Which of these is the right approach?

Well, the plain fact is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It all depends on your business and the demographic you are targeting. A dynamic, eye-catching, attention-grabbing, and memorable logo can do wonders for your business. But it can also be useless if it doesn’t attract the customers you are trying to reach. Here are some common things to remember when trying to find the right logo for your business:

  1. Make it adaptable. Think about all the places your logo will need to be displayed—and then make sure the logo is designed in a way that makes it stand out in every setting. A few things you should consider: Does the logo still look good when you shrink it down? Will it retain its appeal when the colors are removed and it appears in greyscale or black and white? Can it stand out against the backgrounds of the different places where it will be showcased?
  2. Make it original. You may have the best-looking logo on the planet. But if somebody else thought of it first, then it’s not really yours at all. Before you go with it, do some research! Is there already a logo out there that looks a lot like yours? If so, you run two risks: (1) the possibility of a lawsuit; and (2) the likelihood of confusion between your brand and the other one. Before settling on something, do some checking online. One good resource to use is Tineye. Another is Google images.
  3. Make it timeless. Avoid saddling your logo with trendy images that will soon be out of date. An ideal logo should be able to withstand the test of time. If you have to change your logo every couple of years, then your brand will never have a chance to cement itself in people’s minds. Ask yourself this: how many logos do you see today that include images of bell bottom pants or cassette tapes? Remember that today’s trendy craze is usually tomorrow’s old news.
  4. Make it relevant. You know what your business does. But that doesn’t mean that others know. Your logo needs to communicate your product or service. You want it to become your calling card for brand recognition and loyalty. If customers look at your logo and scratch their heads because they can’t figure out what you sell or what you do, you will very quickly be forgotten. Make sure there is a recognizable tie-in relating your logo to your business.
  5. Make it meaningful to the right people. The important thing here is to completely understand your target audience. This means understanding not only your target demographic (i.e., gender, age group, household income range, marital status, etc.) but also what makes them tick. You want to understand how your target audience approaches life, what traits they exhibit, and what their attitudes are. Are they risk-takers? Do they like to spend money? Are they tech-savvy? Only after you know answers to questions like these will you be able to design a logo that reflects both their profile and their feelings.

In today’s business climate, a sharp and distinctive logo is a must. It will make your business stand out but it can also do a lot more. It can inspire trust, create brand loyalty, and generate instant recognition of your business. But it will only do these things if it is designed with a lot of care and forethought. That logo may look like just a little piece of art but in reality it can make a huge difference to your bottom line.


Christopher Wallace, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, has more than 20 years experience in sales and marketing. At Amsterdam, a leading provider of personalized pens , promotional pens , and other personalized items such as imprinted apparel and customized calendars, Christopher is focused on providing quality marketing materials to small, mid-size, and large businesses.

Thank you, Christoper! Your list is thought provoking! Great timing for this. :)

–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!

Reach Out and Touch Someone with Your Company’s Blog

In the small business blogging world, there are good blogs and there are not so good blogs. That being said, how would you rate your blog?

As a small business, what is your goal behind having a blog in the first place? Do you use it as an opportunity to promote your company’s products and services? Is it more of a forum for you to get things off your chest or talk to other business owners? Or is it just something you felt you had to have given your competitors have one?

Like many small businesses that sport blogs, the initiative to grow the blog is often there, but the time doesn’t seem to be. What ends up happening is the blog takes a back seat to other more important matters, the content becomes stale, and next thing you know you have a blog whose hits become less and less.

Growth is Possible

If your company’s blog is collecting dust on the Internet, there are means by which to grow it and enhance your company’s online profile.

Among the initiatives to employ are:

  • Who is my audience? – If you haven’t already answered this key question, you’d better. You can spin your wheels on your blog if you don’t know the answer to this question. In order to make your company blog stand out, you need a niche, something that sets you apart from the competition;
  • Determine the time factor – It is important as a business owner with a company blog to determine how much time and effort will go into it. If you have a marketing person/team in place, the blog typically falls to them. If not, and you are the one primarily responsible for the blog, set time limits each week as to how much time will go into the blog;
  • Good copy is imperative – Whether you are writing your company’s blog or a staff member is it is imperative that it offers good copy. Your content needs to be interesting, useful and timely. Make sure that the blog provides both current and potential customers with information that peaks their interest, is important to their lives and is up to date. Also, keep the blog postings relatively short, given that the time demands on readers are greater than ever;
  • Just as important as good copy is, your blog needs a clean look. How many blogs have you visited where the design is cluttered, hard to follow and looks like a kindergartner laid it out? If you’re not a design guru, find someone who is so that the blog looks and acts professional;
  • Reach out to others – Another key is linking to other blogs and commenting on other’s posts. When you scratch someone’s back, they will hopefully do the same in return;
  • Respond to comments – In the event you are getting comments on your blog, by all means respond to them. This shows the reader that you are engaged in the conversation brought by others, along with getting you noticed more throughout the blogging community;
  • Know your metrics – If you’re writing a daily or weekly blog but not checking the statistics, what’s the point? Company bloggers want to know how many people are clicking on the blog, what demographics do they represent, when are they clicking on the blog etc. Find the right analysis program to track your numbers and see what your traffic reports look like.


While these are just a few of the areas you should zero in on, remember, YOU control the look and sound of your company’s blog.

Don’t expect the company blog to itself bring in a ton of revenue, but look at it more as a component of your overall strategy to reach out and touch someone, in this case, customers.

Photo credit:

Dave Thomas is an expert writer based in San Diego, California.  He writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs at Resource Nation.

Look Who’s Entered to Win a FREE SOBCon Trip — OR Get a $250 Discount

150 People to Fine Tune Your Web Presence


Suppose you could take a weekend retreat away from the noise of the Internet …

  • to focus on your business with the support of a mastermind team
  • to get quality time to interact with the top people in social media
  • to get the best information AND time to discuss how you’ll apply it
  • to work with sponsors who are doing the same thing
  • in a room limited to 150 people — all focused in the same direction
  • without worry because the food and the wireless are outstanding.

Imagine a weekend work retreat with these people totally invested.

Here are the entries to win …

  1. Jon Swanson @jnswanson wrote How Becky McCray Changed My Life
  2. Leia Ferrari @lferrari2 wrote My BlogCrush confession
  3. Cynthia Smoot @ohsocynthia wrote Getting Back to Basics …
  4. Kristin Rielly @geekgirls wrote Opportunity Can Be the Greatest Motivator
  5. Ria Sharon @RiaSharon wrote How Our Relationships Matter
  6. Deb Brown @debworks wrote The Virtual Meets the Concrete
  7. Ellen Nordahl @ElleLaMode wrote Inspiration to Embrace Uncertainty
  8. Laura Maly @laura_maly wrote Online Thoughts Crash Into Reality
  9. Esther Crawford @faintstarlite wrote My Internet Addiction
  10. Glenda Watson Hyatt @glendawh wrote Lives Change When the Virtual Meets the Concrete
  11. Jasmin Tragas @wonderwebby wrote Virtual Adventures and Girl Scout Cookies
  12. Ken Trump @safeschools wrote Inspiring Person: Liz Strauss
  13. Paul Merrill @paulmerrill wrote How Chris changed my life
  14. Teri Conrad @tlchome wrote The Doctrine of Stephen Jagger
  15. Susana Molinolo @foodplayground wrote #SOBCon2010
  16. Lynne Jarman-Johnson @LjjSpeaks wrote Work + Fun = Passion
  17. Erno Hannink @ernohannink wrote Als online ondernemer doormodderen of in stroomversnelling – SOBCon 2010
  18. Stephen Sherlock @SherSteve wrote Hitchhiking with Aloha
  19. Hope Bertram @windycitysocial wrote SOBCon2010 – Getting to know Hope
  20. Connie Roberts @ConnieFoggles wrote Connecting Is The Easy Road To Blogging
  21. Carole Hicks @carole_hicks wrote SOBCon2010 – The People Who Have Made a Difference For Me
  22. Deb Hildreth@adlex wrote I am …
  23. Hollie Pollard @commoncentsmom wrote They Don’t Even Know
  24. Chris Burdge @b_WEST wrote #SOBCon2010
  25. Pieter van Osch @pyotr wrote Online Creativity Accelerated by Off Line Event
  26. Lisa Grimm @lulugrimm wrote Reflection: Inspirations From the Web
  27. Dave Murray @DaveMurr wrote #SOBCon2010 – To Everyone, Thank You for Being Here and for Helping Make This Ride All the More Meaningful
  28. Nathan Hangen@nhangen wrote 3 People/Places that Have Inspired and Educated Me for Online Success
  29. Nerissa Marbury @OneEpiphany wrote The Person I Secretly Admire (or use too)
  30. Lynn Reidl @lynnreidl wrote Peace of Mind: a Concrete Reality
  31. Phil Gerbyshak @philgerb wrote Big C Communities Matter: #SOBCon2010
  32. Tamara @unexperiencedmom wrote Liz Strauss Labeled Me an SOB!
  33. And this just in from

  34. Jordan Cooper, stand-up comedian @NotaProBlogwho wrote Nigerian Spammers Changed My Life

Would you write a blog post to get a chance to win a FREE SOBCon Weekend?

An Expense Paid Ticket!! AND the BlogIt EarnIt Discount

Here’s what they did to enter

Now, we’ll put all of the entries in a random drawing and choose one lucky winner. We’ll announce the winner at the Webinar on February 15th. The winner will receive:

  1. a free ticket to SOBCon2010 – $895.00 value
  2. airfare and three nights at Hotel 71 – up to $1105 in hotel and airfare

A total package value worth as much as USD $2000 – nontransferrable, nonrefundable.

And remember as a thank you for sharing a story, we’re sending everyone who enterred a special code to take $250 off the $895 FULL conference rate – that’s over a 25% savings!

If you can’t make to SOBCon2010, you could “pay it forward” and pass the discount on to one of your friends — or offer it back to us as a gift for us to pass on for you.

Don’t Miss the FREE SOBCon Webinar Monday

Join us at noon EST on February 15th), to kick off a special SOBCobn2010 Webinar with Chris Garrett, Chris Brogan, Amber Naslund and Liz Strauss

We’ll be announcing the FREE SOBCon Trip contest winner and a new special limited time offer!

SOBCon2010 Webinar
Mon, Feb 15, 2010 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST

We’ll be talking strategy and tactics for our online business.

We’re doing everything we can to bring you all the value, the experts and expertise, and the time to work and network that you need to make your business outstanding and extremely profitable in 2010.

What could you do with a weekend of the time, expertise, and support you need to focus your business?

We’re all coming for the same reasons.

–ME “Liz” Strauss

Register Now!! for sobcon-vmc Make the investment.

Why Can’t We seem to Keep Things Simple?

A Guest Post by Kyle Lacy

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I was asked to write this guest post about the power of simplicity in blog design and honestly, I was at a loss for words. What does it mean to have simplicity in blog design? Are we discussing the concepts of the layout design? Or a universal view of all things blog? I am not here to talk about the back-end coding of a blog, the rules of user interface design, or minimalistic thoughts on design…but the ability to give your readers the easiest way to read your valuable CONTENT.

It is easy to say that the simpler the design the better. I mean… look at Google and Yahoo. Google has one of the simplest website designs… ever. The design hasn’t changed much since the creation of the search engine. While Yahoo… in all of the search world glory… has everything but a kitchen sink. Google has proved that simplicity wins in design but where does simplicity fit in blog design?

I could give you a list of the top 10 reasons why blog design should be simple… but honestly… we don’t have the time. There is one reason why your blog design should be simplistic in nature…

Readers should have the ability to scan your content without experiencing a headache or stress… which will eventually lead to a heart attack.. which none of us want…NO READER DEATHS!

I’m taking the Google route. Simplicity in blog design is key because YOUR content must be easy to scan by the reader. I am not here to preach. In no stretch of the imagination is my blog even close to simplistic… but it is closer than most. What do you want the visitor to experience when surfing your blog and your content?

Remember, your content is king. Design around your content.

Since design is the main topic of conversation in this post.. I wanted to share with you 5 blogs I find extremely BRILLIANT when it comes to simplistic design.

1. Blog What? Design

2. AI Alex

3. Dive Into Mark

4. Design Intellection

5. I am Neato

They focus on the content… period.

Kyle Lacy oversees a company called Brandswag, which focuses on design, branding and social media education. With offices in Indianapolis and Oklahoma City, Brandswag helps business owners connect with their customers and sustain profitability by presenting consistent images and messages in the marketplace. He recently finished writing Twitter Marketing for Dummies which can be found on

Kyle, thank you! This is the best on the subject I’ve seen in a long time.

–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!

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