How to Avoid a Google Penalty

The words “Google algorithm update” are commonly followed by the following emotions: panic, confusion, terror, and frustration. 
Having seen strategies crumble as a result of Google’s frequent changes, it’s hard not to worry about your business taking a hit. 

However, Google isn’t out to be the bad guy. In fact, most algorithm updates aren’t intended to derail businesses. They’re designed to encourage them to make improvements. 
So rather than allow the fear of receiving a Google penalty cripple your efforts, check out this infographic from QuickSprout for some actionable tips on how you can avoid them all together. 
From focusing on relevancy to diversifying your anchor text, these tips are sure to save you from the headache that accompanies an unexpected penalty. 

Want People to Share Your Visual Content? Avoid These 6 Common Mistakes

In the perpetual race to stand out on social media, visual content is pulling in front and kicking up speed.
According to Socially Sorted, the image-focused Instagram is now surpassing Twitter in daily mobile traffic. And Facebook posts with images generate an estimated 53% more likes that solely text-based posts.

While many have noticed the trend and jumped on board, there are still many marketers out there spinning their wheels without traction. There is an invisible, constantly changing culture on social media platforms determined by popular demand, and if you aren’t abiding by the unwritten rules, you will find yourself left in the virtual dust.
Here are some of the leading causes of harm to social media relevancy when it comes to visual content — and how to fix them.

6 Visual Content Mistakes People Make on Social


Mistake #1: Your images don’t reflect your brand.

Think of your brand image as a combination of your businesses beliefs, services and your unique value-add to the world.
Now, ask yourself: Do your images reflect this?
Your fans followed you for a reason. Either they like your product or what you stand for. Or, in most cases, they like both. This means you technically already know what your fans like — and creating visual content that reflects that will help massively boost your chances of them sharing it.
The example below from Nike’s Instagram Account doesn’t display their iconic “swoosh” logo in the photo, but it does display the lifestyle that’s inherited with their apparel. This is a great example of how you can embody brand essence without obvious visual elements, such as a logo.
Try using images that are related to what you can offer with your goods and services, rather than putting your logo on every piece of content you put out there.

Mistake #2: Your designs don’t stand out.

Among the millions of posts flooding through social media every day, do you think mediocre visual content will separate you from the crowd? If no one notices your content, they’re certainly not going to share your stuff.
One way to dramatically improve the overall look and feel of your designs is to experiment with different color palettes. What are the feelings you want to evoke from your social media audience? Understanding the impact of color on your audience is key to appealing to their emotions, and encouraging them to share your content. Try and replicate that feeling with the colors you choose.
Image Credit: WebPageFX
One of my favourite ways to experiment with color combinations is to extract different hues from images with a color picker tool, like the Eyedropper Chrome extensionTake a look at the two color palettes below:

From the left, the first is sun drenched and warm evokes a familiar or nostalgic feeling. The second is bright and modern, immediately evoking a happy or “vacation” feel to the image. Try finding images you like, and use the color picker tool to extract different hues and create a mood.
Another way to stop the mindless scroll when you browse social media? Edit and enhance the photos you post. Up the saturation, adjust the contrast, add a filter. These are techniques to help make your images look more professional and unique.
Here’s a great example of a jaw-dropping enhanced image from the @weddingideas_brides Instagram account.

Remember: Your goal is to draw the audience in.

Mistake #3: Your images are low-quality.

If you’re using low-quality images, you won’t “wow” your followers — and, in turn, they might not share your posts. Your visual content is a direct reflection of the quality of your brand, and it will also reflect on your followers if they choose to share it on their accounts.
If you think you don’t have the budget or resources to hire a photographer or purchase professional stock photos, don’t freak out. Luckily, there’s a ton of high quality content out there that’s also totally free.
Along with choosing high quality images to promote your brand, consider this checklist:
  • Are your images a high enough resolution so they don’t appear pixelated on larger devices?
  • Can you read the text on the images clearly?
  • Do your photos and graphics appear as if they were professionally done?
Below is an example of a lower quality Facebook profile photo that wasn’t formatted to the correct size, creating an abundance of dead space around the image and hard-to-read text:

While you may provide a great product or service, it’s important to ensure your online presence matches that same quality.
Now, consider the next image from Elite Daily’s Facebook Page and take a mental inventory of what draws you in:
Elite Daily consistently accompanies its blog posts with striking, high-quality images. Notice how the image in this Facebook post is also highly relevant to the topic. That’s another important factor in boosting the shareability of the post.

Mistake #4: You didn’t format your design for the right social platform.

If you don’t format your designs for the right platform, then your images will appear cropped and low quality — and that’s not going to impress your audience.
Always check the correct dimensions for your social media content designs before you even start designing.
Below, I’ve pulled out three designs optimized for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Notice the difference in shape between. This shows why correctly formatting images is essential to keep them looking their best.

Mistake #5: There’s too much text.

People love visual content on social media because it’s easy to digest. Too much text on your images has the opposite effect. A picture is worth a thousand words — and in an age where our attention spans last only 140 characters, it’ll serve well not to overwhelm your audience.
Be quick, concise, and let your visual content do the talking for you. 
Check out the image below from Peek’s Twitter account:
The image is a simple picture taken from the window seat on a plane. No text; just the reader’s imagination of the possibility of travel. Consider keeping your pictures and graphics clear of overlaid text, or only using text where necessary.
Have a lot to say? Your best bet is to grab your reader’s attention with a compelling image, and then direct them to a blog post or website that offers more information.

Mistake #6: You’re not following the trends.

Trends, especially on social media, flourish because of popular appeal. If you don’t tap into popular social trends, then you’ll miss out on a huge opportunity to get your visual content shared.
Take the time to explore other brands’ social media pages that are generating a high level of success with their visual content. One way to do this is to search for your brand keywords in Pinterest and keep a note of content with a large amount of pins. By replicating posts with similar visual content, you’ll be instantly increasing the chances of getting your content shared.
Of course, don’t forget to add your own personal touch or flair. That’s what makes your brand unique, after all. But in the case of social media, a little research can go a long way.

Over to You

If you’re already using visual content on your social media pages, you’re off to a great start. Even if you’re not a design pro, all it takes is a bit of research and the right tools to become a visual marketing pro.

Image compression: File types – RAW, S-RAW, M-RAW and JPEG


A RAW file is the image data exactly as captured on the sensor. Any settings you apply in white balance, Picture Styles and some other areas are only appended to the image as a small header file. This means they can be changed later in RAW conversion software such as Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (supplied with the camera).
A RAW file is often referred to as a ‘digital negative’ because the data can be processed and printed in different ways to produce different results – just like the negative from a film camera. Also, like a film negative, the RAW file never changes. When you open a RAW file in a software application, it is actually a copy of the data which opens. When you save this, it creates a new file on your computer. The original RAW file can then be opened again (as another copy) and worked on to produce a completely different result.
  • Can be modified after capture
  • Maximum flexibility
  • Widest range of colours recorded
  • Largest file size
  • Needs computer for processing



Introduced with the EOS-1D Mark III, S-RAW provides all the advantages of a RAW file, but in a smaller file size. An S-RAW file has approximately one-fourth the pixel count and approximately half the file size of a RAW image. Just like RAW images, S-RAW images can be adjusted and processed with Digital Photo Professional software (supplied with the camera). S-RAW will appeal to wedding photographers, for example, who do not need full resolution for wedding candids, but who do need the post-production control RAW offers.
  • Smaller file size than RAW (so more images can be captured to a media card)
  • Lower resolution than RAW



Introduced with the EOS 7D, and also on the EOS-1D Mark IV, M-RAW provides all the advantages of a RAW file, but in a smaller file size. Depending on the camera an M-RAW file has approximately between 55-60% of the pixel count and approximately two thirds the file size of a RAW image. Like RAW images, M-RAW images can be adjusted and processed with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software (free in the box with the camera).
Shooting M-RAW files might appeal to wedding photographers who don’t need full resolution for wedding candids, but who do want the post-production control that RAW offers. It could also be of use to sports/action photographers who will get an increase in the number of frames when shooting in bursts due to using a smaller file size. M-RAW is also worth considering if you are not planning to make prints larger than A3 size.
  • Smaller file size than RAW (so more images can be captured to a media card).
  • Increased burst shooting possibilities.
  • Lower resolution than RAW.



A JPEG image file is a RAW file that has been converted by the in-camera DIGIC processor and saved as a compressed file. It can be saved at different image sizes and levels of compression to give different file sizes. The camera takes the RAW file and applies the camera parameter or Picture Style settings to the image to create a new file.
These settings cannot be changed once the JPEG file has been saved. It is possible to make some colour and exposure changes to a JPEG file, but you will be working at 8-bit depth rather than the 12-bit or 14-bit depth offered by EOS digital cameras.
This may not be a problem if you are making minor changes to the file and printing at sizes up to A4, but it might be significant with large changes or bigger prints. Also, a JPEG file is compressed each time it is edited and saved, and can lose some data each time.
There are two aspects to every JPEG file: Large, Medium and Small refers to the image size (the number of pixels recorded); Fine and Normal refers to the amount of compression used when saving the file. Large/Fine gives the maximum quality; Small/Normal the lowest.
  • Smaller file sizes (more images can be stored on a CF or SD card)
  • Images are easy to view, mail and print than RAW files
  • Reduced post-processing flexibility
  • Reduced colour depth and resolution
  • Need to get everything correct in-camera (some computer processing is possible)

Not Sure How Your Home Page Should Look? Here Are 10 Things to Include

How should the home page on your website look? What features should you include and what should go where?
You could of course go with something completely different from the norm but if you want something tried and tested that you know will deliver results you just need to take a look at some of the world’s most successful companies.
Go Globe have put together the infographic below showing the layout trends of the Fortune 500 companies websites.
Not Sure How Your Home Page Should Look Here Are 10 Things to Include

5 Smart Ways to Increase Your Facebook Page’s Organic Reach [Infographic]

Does it feel like your Facebook Page’s organic reach is slowly slipping away from you?
You’re not alone.
According to Ogilvy, organic reach for brands on Facebook has seen a shocking 49% drop from peak levels in October 2013. 

While it’s easy to point the blame at the Facebook News Feed algorithm and assume there’s nothing you can do to buck this trend, there are actually a few ways to get back some organic reach for your Page. Check out the following infographic from QuickSprout to learn some actionable tips for combatting the effects of Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm. 

7 Ways to be More Productive


You’re really, really busy, but how much are you actually getting done? If you’re getting overstretched, our productivity tips will help you to work smarter, not harder.

When you run your own business, it can often feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, but being busy isn’t always the answer. By making a few changes, you could increase your productivity while reducing your stress levels.

At Vonage, we’ve learned a thing or two from our close contact with entrepreneurs, home workers and start-up businesses. So here are our seven tips for turning ‘busy’ into productive:

1. Plan Your Day

Make your first task of the day your plan for the day. If you plan while you’re feeling fresh, you’ll still feel in control by the end of the day.

2. Be Realistic

Work out how much time you need to complete your daily schedule. If you set realistic goals, you’re far more likely to finish on time.

3. Set Routines

It’s easy enough to spend a whole day just replying to emails. Try and set aside separate time windows to catch up on email, calls, paperwork etc.

4. Prioritise

It sounds obvious, but make sure that business-critical tasks are always at the top of your list.

5. Take Breaks 

Taking regular breaks, even for five minutes, keeps your brain fresh and helps you get more things done.

6. Get Creative

Can technology help? Vonage VoIP systems come with a range of time-saving features such as conference calling, visual voicemail or ‘do not disturb’, which sends all calls to voicemail.

7. Have Fun!

The boring jobs are the ones we don’t want to do. Think of ways to liven them up. Listen to music, relocate your meetings to the park and turn dull into fun.

How to Use Pinterest to Generate Revenue

Home to countless cookie recipes, laughable memes, and perfect last-minute gift ideas, there’s certainly already a lot to love about Pinterest.
But what if we told you that the content sharing service had even more to offer?
The simple truth is this: Amidst the ab workouts and IKEA furniture hacks, there lies a huge opportunity for businesses to use Pinterest to drive revenue.

And with nearly 30% of online American adults using Pinterest, this isn’t an opportunity you’ll want to leave on the table.
To help you get a handle on how to make Pinterest work better for your business, make your way through the infographic below from QuickSprout. It includes insight on what the most popular categories are and how to drive more engagement. Check it out to get the background you need to start putting your own Pinterest strategy into practice.

6 Tips to Create Amazing eCommerce Product Visuals that Wow Your Customers

So you’ve got yourself an online shop, you’ve invested time and money marketing the site and driving targeted traffic, but you just aren’t selling anything?
There are a number of factors that could be stopping people buying from you, one of which could be the way in which you present your products. Are your product images doing you and the product justice?
For tips on how to wow your customers visually and start generating sales take a look at this infographic from MineWhat.
6 Amazing Tips to Create eCommerce Product Images that Wow Your Customers

29 Marketing Metrics That Will Show How Successful Your Strategy Is

Are you looking for ways to measure the success of your marketing strategy? Need some guidance on the metrics you need to monitor?
Understanding what works and what doesn’t is an essential part of any marketing strategy. It gives you the valuable information you need to spend more time on the techniques that are working, and highlights areas where you need to improve.
For some guidance the guys at Curata have included 29 metrics in the infographic below.

29 Marketing Metrics That Will Show How Successful Your Strategy Is

12 Steps to Massively Increase Your Number of Blog Email Subscribers

If you want to build a sustainable blog readership email subscribers should be the one metric you look to improve. Whilst social media can be great source of referral traffic social networks can change their platform at any time, you’ll always be in control your email subscribers.
For ways to massively increase your number of email subscribers take a look at this infographic created by Backlinko for HubSpot.
12 Steps to Massively Increase Your Number of Blog Subscribers