13 Examples of Non-Profit and Charity Sites Using Divi

Non-profits and charity organizations have turned to the web to get their message to the public and share the news about the work they do. Of course this means they need websites to display their information, share their news, ask for workers and volunteers, and ask for donations. Several of these organizations have websites built with Divi. In this article we take a look at 13 examples of non-profit and charity sites using Divi.

Whether you need inspiration for donation systems, use of images, videos, layouts, etc., these 13 non-profit and charity websites are sure to have something to help you with inspiration for your next design. The websites are in no particular order.

1. World Help

World Help includes a styled mega menu with CTA (call to action), sponsor cards within the drop-down menu, and a blue line with shadow to set the menu apart from the rest of the page. The full-screen image has a donation box in an overlay using a donation widget. A live chat stays on screen on scroll. The next section provides links to pages and includes hover effects. The next sections include a child search to help you choose who to sponsor, interactive world map, blog posts, newsletter signup, and custom footers with links and icons. The site makes excellent use of color and layout design.

2. Light House Foundation

Light House Foundation displays a full-screen image slider with CTA’s, a top menu bar with links, a section with CTA’s, a four-column section with links showing their focus, a section in parallax showing past projects, a section about the team using a slider, a section showing partners, and footer with links. Donations are handled through the Total Donations plugin. The site makes great use of color and overlays.

3. Cura Brazil

Cura Brazil displays a full-screen background image with logo in Flat Design colors. A CTA remains at the bottom of the screen and shows a logo and donate button that slowly changes color. Scrolling reveals a full-screen video with section styling, an about section with artistic use of true parallax and a CTA, a section with stats, a team section with a chart showing the number of team members by category, a styled section with application button, and subscription form. The site is a great example of using Flat Design and parallax usage.

4. Jungle Aid

Jungle Aid includes a full-width image with tagline, an about section with text and embedded video, a four-column section showing their services within blurbs, a section with progress stats, blog, sponsor logos displayed within a slider, full-width subscription form, full-screen image, and links. A few of the sections include appropriate images, such as plants and doctor’s tools, on both sides of the screen in parallax. The menu includes a CTA. The site makes great use of color and icons.

5. Families Course

Families Course displays a full-screen image with tagline. Scrolling reveals a menu, an about section with image and text, a section with three styled blurbs, several sections with alternating text and images, a testimonial over an image with overlay in parallax followed by a section with the company’s logo. The site makes excellent use of color and fonts.

6. Wheelchairs Against Guns

Wheelchairs Against Guns displays a full-screen image with logo, mission statement, and CTA in parallax. Scrolling shows the menu with CTA, a styled section with stats, an about section with text and embedded video, an information section, testimonials, a support CTA with social icons, and contact info. The site makes great use of color and section styling.

7. The Pledge To End Bullying

The Pledge To End Bullying has a full-screen image with overlay, logo, tagline, mission statement, and buttons for each of the regions that are covered. Scrolling reveals a section with sponsor logos and a two-column about section. It doesn’t include a menu or footer until you click on a region. The regional pages include an information section with embedded video, a signup form, stats, and lots of information. The top menu includes links.

8. Car Donation

Car Donation displays an image with background, CTA, information, and contact info – so all of the most important details are placed “above the fold”. Scrolling displays icons with step-by-step instructions, information with contact info and CTA, a section showing how the donation is used, an information section about the charity with CTA, and a custom footer with links. The site makes great use of appropriate images, color, and fonts.

9. Global Autism Project

Global Autism Project displays an extra-large logo above the menu that disappears on scroll. The full-screen image is clickable and includes a message to readers. The menu includes a CTA. Social buttons and a chat-box remain floating on screen. Following this is a full-width signup form, a full-width image with information, a CTA, information about working with them, a blog slider, and signup form. Donations are handled through an embedded Donately form. The site makes good use of branded colors and icons.

10. Camas Washougal Community Chest

Camas Washougal Community Chest includes a full-screen image slider with mission statement and CTA. Scrolling reveals an about section with large block icons as links to various pages. Following this is an about section with CTA and footer – both using branded colored backgrounds. Forms are downloadable PDF’s. The site is simple and maintains a clean layout.

11. Frontenac Youth Services

Frontenac Youth Services includes a full-screen image with CTA. The image has a torn look across the top, giving it a styled look. A message bar with contact info remains at the top of the screen and can be closed and opened by the reader. The next section uses stylized images with links to services. A two-column section displays a donation CTA and bar chart followed by a CTA in parallax and an overlay, and a blog section. The Success Stories page uses an interesting design with backgrounds and overlays. The background shows through for the title while the article uses an overlay. The articles are displayed with various column designs. The site makes great use of images, color, and backgrounds.

12. GodFreds Foundation

GodFreds Foundation displays a page grid with links to the various pages. Following this is a blog section, an embedded video, stats using circle counters, and a footer with links, search, and Facebook feeds. Donations are handled through a Total Donations form. The Volunteer page uses a two-column layout with an embedded WuFoo form and a styled FAQ column. The site design is simple and uses bold colors that match with the branding.

13. Mortar

Mortar displays a full-screen image with logo and tagline in parallax. Scrolling reveals a full-width menu, an about section that includes an embedded video, an information section with text and an image, a section with stats that uses the same branding design as the logo, an information section followed by blurbs, and contact info. Between several sections are a sections with media quotes in parallax. WooCommerce is used for the shop. Donations are handled through PayPal. The site makes great use of color branding.

Final Thoughts

These 13 examples of non-profit and charity websites built with Divi go to show that Divi can be used to create interesting designs for any type of charity website, whether it’s just a simple brochure or a site with donation system, events, and even courses – no matter how complex or simple.

These sites a great for providing ideas for donation systems, layouts, colors, images, video, icons, effects, navigation, and more. These websites are sure to inspire you for your next non-profit design.

What are some of your favorite elements of these Divi non-profit and charity sites? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Image via VLADGRIN / shutterstock.com

The post 13 Examples of Non-Profit and Charity Sites Using Divi appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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How to Structure and Run a Successful Web Design Client Meeting

So, you’ve setup a client meeting. Next comes a whirlwind of emotions. You’ve experienced the thrill from the initial sense of accomplishment (fistpump!), only to realize you haven’t done anything yet. You may also realize that this meeting is important, and what you do from here on out will make or break the relationship. It’s a scary prospect, but the good news is that it is entirely in your hands. This post will give you some essential tips on how to pull off a successful web design client meeting.

Developing a website can be a largely solitary endeavor, which makes it easy to forget the human connection. Every professional website designer learns at some point that websites have a lot more to do with people than code. For a client, whether you are the right fit comes down to two things: trust and effective communication.

To a lesser extent – awkward small talk, sweating, nervous laughter, and the possibility of rejection are all part of the recipe for success. Interpersonal skills may not come as naturally to those us of who are more introverted, but with a little preparation and practice, you can come off as competent and confident at all of your client meetings.

Create a Strategy

A strategy essentially answers two questions. Where are we going and how are we going to get there? After you’ve done some digging, you can begin to flesh out a basic strategy. This is a solid starting point to help you achieve your objectives. To do this you can analyze your client’s past behavior and look for patterns to understand their strategies.

It’s important to find actions you can take to solve problems. Say you are in charge of redesigning an online t-shirt store. Some questions you may want to answer for SEO might include:

  1. What T-shirts are users viewing the least?
  2. Why aren’t people viewing them?
  3. Can we find ways to increase page views for this product?

Tell the Story of Your Strategy

How to Design a Successful Client Meeting for Web Developers

Image by 4zevar / shutterstock.com

Your ideas will be much easier to relate to if they resonate in the hearts and minds of the audience. If you don’t communicate your ideas in a clear, compelling way, how can you expect others to help you? Some of the most successful brands have rich backstories. Perhaps the most famous corporate backstory is that of Apple – founded in a garage by two college dropouts named Steve in the late 1970s. The language you choose can also help frame your ideas. The power of emotionally charged language is illustrated in famous motivational speeches, such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream SpeechJust One for the Gipper, or the final Battle Scene in Braveheart.

Obviously, we don’t need to match the level of rhetoric used in those speeches – especially when we are assigned to do something less intense, like the redesign of a tax preparer’s website – but we can take some cues from those famous speeches. All of them have two things in common: they are incredibly inspiring, and they appeal to emotion. It can be very exciting for your client to see a roadmap to success, especially if they believe in the story wholeheartedly. It’s your job to get people excited about change and to embrace what’s ahead.

Keep the following tips in mind when you are communicating the story of any given strategy.

  • Strategy is, essentially, the answer to simple questions like who are we? Where do we go? How will we get there?
  • What compelling aspects of your strategy needs to be told?
  • Sell the story of tomorrow. Strategy is the story of change. What will be different? Why will it be different? What is your role?

Let Your Client Know What’s in It for Them

Before you make any contact with potential clients, you should have a clearly defined value proposition. This boils down to “What’s in it for them?” Your client needs to know what can you do for them and exactly how you going to do it. This is one area where it’s more than acceptable to toot your own horn. You can let your work speak for itself, but it’s always helpful to do a little bragging.

  • What do you do? Be clear about what your role is, including things you won’t, or can’t do. Try to avoid surprises!
  • What is your objective? How are you going to achieve it?
  • Use concrete examples of how you are going to make things happen. Are you going to strengthen their social network? Emphasize certain values? Set target goals?
  • What’s in it for them financially? This is an instance where the vanity of metrics and charts will serve you well.
  • Show examples of your experience. Qualify yourself with case studies, links, visual aids, live demos, or anything else that demonstrates competence.

How to Prepare for a Successful Client Meeting

How to Design a Successful Client Meeting for Web Developers

Image by vladwel / shutterstock.com

Even if your meeting is informal, make no mistake about it – it is an interview. Being prepared will not only help you avoid hiccups during the meeting, it can give you a clear sense of direction. This will instill confidence in your would-be client, and show that you are aren’t afraid to make decisions.

Send an Email Reminder

Send an email reminder to your client with all the details of your meeting. You can automate this to make things easier as we mentioned in our post on the Ultimate Guide to Client Onboarding. I like to send three separate reminders before the meeting:

  • Immediately after the appointment was made.
  • A week before the meeting.
  • The day before the meeting.

Setup a Phone Call Reminder

I like to call with a reminder 72 to 24 hours before the meeting. Automated phone calls can add a professional touch.

Do Your Research

In order to do the best job possible, you should have some insight into your client’s business. What are their goals? What past strategies have they used? Do some research on:

  • The Industry. Find ways to learn about the field your client works in. For example, if you wanted to help someone set up a website for a non-profit organization, you might want to find some resources on non-profits, like this free course on the Essentials of Nonprofit Strategy. Another way to learn about a particular niche is to browse through industry trade journals.
  • The Client. You should take some time to get to know the individual or group of individuals you will be speaking with. Getting a feel for someone’s personal style and how they do business can help you gain a deeper understanding of your role.
  • Background Information. If it’s an established organization, take a look at their mission statement. This is a great way for you to learn about your potential client’s core values and the purpose of their business.

Prepare an Agenda

You are the in charge of facilitating this meeting, and it’s up to you to keep the ship afloat. You don’t need to plan things word for word, but it helps to have some sort time-table that includes topics you want to discuss.

  • Prepare lots of questions. Try and get as much of the information you need as possible.
  • Keep a list of relevant topics handy. I like to make a checklist of things that I need to go over.
  • Get answers to important questions. Try to get any pertinent information relating to your strategy.
  • Use storyboarding and wireframing. These methods can be great collaborative activities.
  • Prototypes and swag make great gifts. It’s always a good idea to give people something they can hold or see.
How to Design a Successful Client Meeting for Web Developers

Image by KittyVector / shutterstock.com

I recently had a meeting with a client about his website redesign. Before I made an agenda, I wrote down a quick list outlining the things I wanted to cover, along with estimated time-limits:

  1. Introductions and small talk – 10 minutes.
  2. Compare notes on industry insights – 7 minutes.
  3. Show some case studies of similar sites – 10 minutes.
  4. Showcase the content inventory table and get feedback – 10 minutes. After I build a sitemap, I like to start each website design by taking inventory of all the content I want to add for each page. Download this free content inventory spreadsheet from MaadMob(.xls).
  5. Show storyboard samples 1 and 2. Get feedback – 30 minutes.
  6. Talk about basic SEO services and other marketing services. Get feedback – 10 minutes.
  7. Ask a ton of questions throughout.

Setup a Mock Interview

Okay, we are not all great speakers, but practice can help bridge that gap. Try setting up a mock meeting with a timer. Use anyone at your disposal to practice in front of – including your dog, mother, or the mirror if no one else is around. There are lots of resources like Toastmasters International or Public Speaking Meetups that have meetings where you can practice public speaking so you’re more confident at the actual meeting.

Wrapping Up

One of the things I love most about web/info design, is that there are so many different skills you get to learn and practice. Just like everything else, practicing your people skills may seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it is very rewarding. Hopefully this post inspires you to design a successful client meeting. Remember, a little enthusiasm goes a long way and genuine interest leads to genuine insight.

Do you have any experiences that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Article thumbnail image by Dim Tik / shutterstock.com 

The post How to Structure and Run a Successful Web Design Client Meeting appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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11 Examples of Sports Sites Using Divi

Sports covers a lot of topics and this means there are a lot of websites to be inspired by and a need for many more. They use branded colors and images, and provide lots of stats and information on events. Sports websites are always in need of unique and interesting designs. In this article we will look at 11 examples of sports sites using Divi to inspire your next Divi design.

Some are about sports, some are about teams, a few sell sports-related products. Some provide training and one is a popular sports reporter. All have something interesting. The websites are in no particular order.

1. Elite Loyalty Sports

Elite Loyalty Sports mostly uses a one-page design full-width image background with image slider showing team players. Next is a clean about section with tan background. The next section use two-columns to display services. Following this is a full-width tagline in true parallax in an overlay, a four-column section with clients in project modules, team members with large circular images, a contact form, and a styled footer with contact info. The page called Elite in the News displays links to articles with spinning hover effects. The site uses branded colors and makes great use of images.

2. Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins includes a full-screen image with branded logo, hamburger menu with right-side vertical menu, and dot navigation. Scrolling reveals football stats for the 2016 season. Following this is a section with embedded videos with links. Next is information about the book with CTA, information about the training camp with CTA’s and supporting videos, a slider with sponsor’ logos in white against the red branded background, a CTA with hover effects, and footer menu. The site makes great use of branded color.

3. OZ Tennis Leagues

OZ Tennis Leagues displays a full-screen image slider with CTA. The top bar includes links for calendar, submitting scores, and for login. A four-column section that matches the branded colors provides info followed by a three-column section with matching icons. The page includes CTA’s, a project section, testimonial slider, stat counters, CTA, and partner logo. Social icons in the footer are in different colors. Tables are created with Table Press and payments are handled through Stripe. The sites makes great use of branded color.

4. Run and Fun

Run and Fun displays a full-screen image in parallax with tagline and CTA. The logo in the right corner changes and each one links to a different website. Following this is a section of blurbs with information. Company stats are shown in the next section using number counters. Information is shown in a three-column section followed by a testimonial slider, CTA over a patterned background in parallax, blog posts, project gallery, information about a book with CTA, and contact form. Events are displayed using the EventOn plugin.

5. Croatia Football Training Camp

Croatia Football Training Camp displays a full-screen image with link to the About Us page. Scrolling reveals the menu, and about section with embedded map, client logos, and a contact form. Small sections in parallax are used as titles for the sections. Each of the camps have their own pages which use the same layout and includes image sliders, about sections, videos, and contact info. The site uses a consistent design throughout providing the needed information in a logical format.

6. Stewert Motorsport

Stewert Motorsport displays a full-screen background video with logo, tagline, and CTA’s in an overlay. Scrolling reveals a logo and menu, each with different colored backgrounds. A three-column section shows circled images with information and CTA’s. It includes several about sections with image sliders and Facebook feeds in a sidebar. Following this is a quote in parallax and a contact form. The site uses branded fonts and bold colors.

7. Seaholm Boy’s Swimming and Diving Team

Seaholm Boy’s Swimming and Diving Team displays a full-width image slider with logo in an overlay and an about section. The next section uses a colored background with blurbs and links to pages next to an event calendar. Following this is a section with colored blocks with CTA’s and a countdown timer. Tables are displayed with Table Press and include download and print features. Events are displayed using the Timely All-in-One Event Calendar. The site makes great use of color.

8. FPro Sports

FPro Sports uses a full-screen image with tagline, a media logo slider, and CTA in true parallax. The top bar includes styling and social buttons. The next section uses a left sidebar to showcase Twitter feeds and CTA’s while the body section displays info and CTA’s. Following this is a two-column section with posts. Inside the War Room is a blog page with posts and hover effects. The site makes excellent use of color and CTA’s.

9. Mayhem in the Mountains

Mayhem in the Mountains is mostly a one-page design that includes a full-screen image with CTA in parallax. Scrolling shows an information section, an information section with CTA, a section with schedule and pricing, a section with downloadable registration form, a link to accommodations directory, a contact form, and custom footer with sponsors’ logos. Parallax can faintly be seen in most of the backgrounds. It’s just enough to add some visual flare without it bringing attention to itself. The Schedule/Results pages display events using the SportsPress plugin. The site makes excellent use of parallax and overlays.

10. Spiral Cycles

Spiral Cycles uses a full-screen image with tagline and CTA in an overlay. Scrolling shows an about section, three CTA’s in boxes, a full-width map that doesn’t auto-scroll, a shop section, CTA, and testimonials. The footer includes Tweets and a menu. The shop loads more products as you scroll. Services are displayed with a pricing table. The site makes great use of color and layout design.

11. Ocean Kayak

Ocean Kayak uses a full-screen image slider in parallax with CTA overlay. Scrolling shows an overlapping section with three product categories using hover effects and two text boxes with unique image placement. Next is an information section with video followed by a CTA and footer with menu. The page Find a Dealer uses a searchable map. The kayak product pages display products in project modules. The product pages use detailed product descriptions using text and images in a two-column design. The site makes great use of product imagery.

Final Thoughts

These 11 examples of sports sites using Divi are excellent examples of the various types of sites that can be created with Divi. You can create amazing designs for any type of sports website and include all of the necessary features including events, stats, shop, images, etc.

These sites a great for providing ideas for layouts, colors, fonts, images, video, navigation, event calendars, stats, and more. They are sure to inspire you for your next sports design using Divi.

What are some of your favorite elements of these Divi sports sites? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Image via Alexander Ryabintsev / shutterstock.com

The post 11 Examples of Sports Sites Using Divi appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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8 Key Elements Your Video Marketing Strategy Needs

It’s probably not a surprise to you when I tell you that each year people are spending more and more time consuming digital video. So if you’ve abstained from the video marketing revolution up until now, it’s quickly becoming something that you can’t ignore.

But video marketing is more than just throwing up a video you took with your iPhone and waiting for the views to roll in. As you might expect, you’ll need to put in a little more thought and effort than that.

To that end, I’m going to give you some fundamental tips for crafting your video marketing strategy. That way, you can successfully grab your share of the ~1 hour of digital video that the average American watches every single day.

Let’s jump straight into the tips for crafting your strategy…

Make Sure You Have a Clear Goal

Imagine investing significant resources and time into developing a video marketing strategy, only to find yourself asking, “was that actually successful?”.

It might sound a bit silly. But it’s a very real situation you might find yourself in if you don’t define clear success metrics before you start your video marketing strategy.

So, before you ever publish your first video, define what success “is” for you. Ask questions like:

  • Do I want to increase my brand awareness? If so, high view counts and engagement numbers might mean success.
  • Do I want more leads? If so, tracking opt-ins might be your success metric.
  • Do I want to retain more customers? If so, churn rate might be your metric of choice.

You might have other goals as well – you don’t have to choose from my list. All I’m trying to stress is to figure out something to strive for before you go any further.

Figure Out Your Voice and Style

Once you’ve figured out your overall goal, it’s time to develop a voice. Video marketing isn’t just about what you say. It’s also about how you say it. You want to develop a consistent style that you can use across all of your videos. Here are some questions you should answer:

  • What is your tone? Are you playing it straight-laced and professional? Or are you the irreverent brand that’s not afraid to break the rules?
  • What type of visual aesthetic do you want? Do you want crisp, modern graphics? Or will you go for sketches and fun animations? You want to develop an aesthetic that people can instantly recognize.
  • Which sound effects will you use? You’ll likely want sound effects beyond just your voice. So figure out what vibe you want for the music and effects you’ll use in your video.

Above, you can see how CoSchedule uses a very specific aesthetic in their videos.

Keep Things Short

When you sit down to craft your video marketing strategy, remember that you’re not trying to film the next Titanic. You don’t want to spend the time producing hours of footage, nor does your audience want to watch it.

When in doubt, shorter videos are better. Wistia compared video length with audience engagement and found that as a video’s length increased, the audience engagement dropped. For this analysis, audience engagement is defined as “% of people who continued watching the video”:

There’s even more data that backs up creating shorter videos. For example, LocoWise analyzed 1,000 Facebook pages and found that the average length of a video view on Facebook is only a measly 18.2 seconds. And the average length of a video was still only 55.3 seconds.

That’s not to say that longer videos can’t buck the trend. But as a general rule, you want to build your video marketing strategy around shorter pieces.

Dedicate Real Resources to Production Value

Back when YouTube was new, the production value was nothing like what it is today. Amateurs threw up shaky handheld footage and had success. Oh, the good old days…

Now, even a solo-YouTube channel has studio-level production values. So if you want your video content to compete, you need to dedicate enough resources to actually produce a quality product.

You don’t need to rent out a studio, but you do need excellent sound quality, HD video, and, ideally, an operator who actually knows how to catch both. You should also invest some money in proper lighting and a tripod.

If you’re wondering how much it’s going to cost for a freelance videographer, SmartShoot put together a great list of prices from a survey of over 120 videographers. A small marketing job with a single camera and no assistant typically costs ~$984.

If that’s out of your budget, you can get started without a professional by reading a bit about basic videography. But you should probably stick to basic concepts if you’re flying solo.

Choose Where to Distribute Your Videos

Video is booming right now. There are multiple competing networks generating billions of views per day…each. So you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to distribution channels.

But too much choice can be a bad thing. You want to focus your distribution efforts on the channels that maximize what you consider a success.

If you’re going for brand awareness, that likely means pushing your content out on YouTube, Facebook, and maybe even Snapchat/Instagram.

If you’re trying to generate leads and retention, you might want to keep your video closer to home. Consider writing a blog post with the video as a focal point. That way, you can easily push viewers towards your opt-in channels.

Remember That It’s Not Just About View Counts

Many marketers obsess over view counts. Views are the most important measure of a video’s success, right?

Eh, maybe.

There certainly is something to be said for tracking the raw number of views that your videos get. But it’s far from the only metric that matters.

Why’s that? Because you probably want people to actually pay attention to your videos. So to find out how engaged they are, you’ll also want to measure data like:

  • Drop-off rates. That is, how many people watch a video to the end? And if they don’t make it to the end, at what point do they stop watching?
  • Social shares. Shares are a good metric for how valuable viewers found your content.

So yes, pay attention to view counts. But pay attention to the other stuff, too.

End With a CTA

Fading to black is great for movies…it’s not so great for video marketing.

You would never create a landing page without a CTA, right? Well, it’s the same for your videos. You always want to close by pushing your viewers to complete an action.

So what should you tell them to do? That depends on the goals you set out at the beginning (remember – you should have specific success metrics!).

If you want to primarily boost brand engagement, you might push them to watch other videos by asking them to subscribe and suggesting some videos to watch next.

On the other hand, if you want more email opt-ins, the end of your video is a great time to push them towards your squeeze page or your sales team:

Actually Promote Your Videos

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s applied all over the place. But when it comes to content marketing, it’s the idea that you should spend 20% of your time creating content, and 80% of your time actually promoting that content.

The same idea applies to your video marketing strategy. Creating awesome videos is great! But only if people can actually find them.

So never think that you can just put up a video and call it quits. At a minimum, you should follow these promotion practices for every video:

  • Share it on all of your social channels
  • Write a blog post around it
  • Send out a newsletter blast

Wrapping Up

Don’t go in blind with your video marketing strategy. Compared to text, video is a significant investment. So you want to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row before you jump into creating content.

Remember to think about:

  • What your goals are
  • Your aesthetic
  • Your distribution channels

And always look at the video metrics which matter and end with a CTA!

Now, over to you: Are you planning on creating a video marketing strategy in 2017? If so, how are you planning to implement it?

Article thumbnail image by Vector.design / shutterstock.com 

The post 8 Key Elements Your Video Marketing Strategy Needs appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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Nathan B. Weller Answers Community Questions & Talks Content Strategy- The Divi Nation Podcast, Episode 37

Hey Divi Nation! This week the tables have been turned and the interviewer becomes the interviewee. In today’s episode, guest host Josh Hall, interviews me!

Since the early days of this show there have been members of the community suggesting that I should be a guest on the show. As a longtime WordPress user and big fan of Divi (obviously) I was always willing, but wanted to focus on sharing other people’s stories. Since, you know, it’s my job. But after several requests (and a whole lot of other Elegant Themes staff came on the show as guests) I decided it was finally time. So when Josh reached out to me about it I was happy to say yes. Today’s show is the result!

Nathan B. Weller Answers Community Questions & Talks Content Strategy- The Divi Nation Podcast, Episode 37

In today’s episode Elegant Themes blog contributor and previous guest of the Divi Nation Podcast, Josh Hall, interviews our regular host (me). In share my WordPress story, talk about how I got involved with Elegant Themes, and how I keep up with managing a blog that produces 700+ blog posts and 300+ videos a year. I also share a much abridged version of my presentation for this weekend’s WordCamp San Diego called, “7 Keys to an Effective Content Strategy”.

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Preview of My WCSD Presentation: 7 Keys to an Effective Content Strategy

The sections below are the same points I’ll be going over this weekend (in much more detail) at WordCamp San Diego. I plan on recording the presentation myself in addition to their official recordings. That way no matter what I’ll be able to share the end result with you all.

In the meantime I hope these keys give you something to think about in terms of your own content strategy. Whether it be your blog, social content, YouTube, or something else.

Your content strategy needs…

Key 1: A Compelling and Believable Brand Story to Tell

Your brand is a story you’re telling the world. One in which all of the available storytelling elements—you, your team, your products, your services, your website, your design aesthetics, your content, your community, everything—it’s all being used to craft a story that people care about. That they want to be a part of.

Key 2: A Realistic Return on Investment

Personally I think the term “Return on Investment” or it’s shorthand, ROI, are often over-complicated.

To determine your return on investment, you don’t need to hire an accountant or someone with an MBA to figure this out for you. All you have to do is answer these two questions:

1) What am I putting into this?

In terms of time, energy, money, or other resources.

2) What am I getting out of it?

(Then, deciding if it’s worth it.)

Pro-Tip: if your main focus is blogging, it’s probably not a good idea to set your heart on establishing a direct 1:1 relationship between publishing a piece of content and generating X number of sales. It rarely works that way.

Key 3: Advantageous Positioning

For those unfamiliar with the term, positioning is simply taking stock of how you measure up to your competitors and then finding an area of focus that gives you an advantage over them; if not overall then with a particular segment of your target demographic.

Key 4: Well Organized, Data-Backed Content Planning

This is where most people START, and that’s a mistake. If your content plan is not directly informed by your brand values and achievable objectives that provide a return on your investment, then you’re going through a lot of trouble for a fraction of the impact your content could be having.

But assuming that it is informed by those things, its effectiveness will be greatly enhanced all over again with a written plan. Preferably in a digital format like a google doc and/or spreadsheet. That way it’s easily accessible, updatable, and always being referenced and refined. A plan that selects things like content topics, content types/formats, and content priority based on the data available to you via analytics, survey results, and any other source you can get your hands on.

Key 5: A Streamlined Content Production Workflow

Whatever types of content you decide to create you’re going to want to develop, refine, and most importantly stick to a clearly defined production process. Even if it’s just you. But especially if you have a team of collaborators.

For us at Elegant Themes that means we have a system for assigning people their topics, a production handbook everyone has to follow, a submission process, and editorial process.

By clearly outlining and in some areas documenting things in detail, we’re able to identify friction points quickly and address them.

Key 6: A Dependable, Repeatable, and (Preferably) Automated Promotional Playbook

There are a lot of schools of thought out there about promoting content. You’ll find that a lot of “growth hackers” recommend these meticulous and time consuming promotional strategies that often-times take longer to implement than it took to create the content in the first place. And that’s fine. In fact, if you’re starting from scratch with virtually zero organic traffic then that might be your best option.

But personally, I’d only do those elaborate and time consuming methods until I found one or two promotion channels that worked dependably and that grew dependably. Then I’d hit those hard every time and leave the rest of the traffic on the table.

That might sound crazy to some people but I’ve found you get about 70-80% of the traffic you would get if you were going all out, and you spend a fraction of the time and energy on it. Time and energy that you can then spend creating more content.

Note: this is the perspective of someone who publishes two blog posts and a video a day. So there’s a lot of pressure to make sure new content is always being created. If you have a low volume strategy you may want to spend more time on promotion.

Key 7: Meaningful Metrics and Analysis

The great thing about creating content for the web is that everywhere you’re publishing and sharing, there’s most likely some form of free analytics for you to view. Use it. Learn what each metric means and inform your content planning and production decisions based on what you learn.

A content strategy is a living thing. It should always be responding to new information and changing circumstances.

See You Next Week!

Well that’s all for this week’s episode. I’d like to thank Josh for initiating this whole thing and everyone who submitted questions via Facebook for participating in this interview too.

I hope you enjoyed our chat as much as I did. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

The post Nathan B. Weller Answers Community Questions & Talks Content Strategy- The Divi Nation Podcast, Episode 37 appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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5 Actionable Tips and Tools for Content Marketing

5 Actionable Tips and Tools for Content Marketing

Content marketing has evolved into something you not only should use but something that is essential for the success of your business. It is inevitable you may make some content marketing mistakes as you perfect your strategy; however, there are countless things you can do to pique the interest of your audience. Take a look at these five things you should know about content marketing so you can add value to your business.

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Andres Paz Soldan – Building Sites for Rock Stars & Hotels with Themify

It’s been a while since we shared with you a customer story. And what better way to bring it back than with the story of Andres, a passionate freelance web designer whose skills paired with our themes allowed him to create some amazing sites for his clients! Read more about his story below and check out his featured sites:

Andres profile image

Finding Themify = Improved WorkFlow

My name is Andres Paz Soldan and I am the freelance Web Designer behind the small business called Design Today. I was always curious about how websites worked and wanted to customize my personal blog. I found some limitations for non-technical users and I needed to do something about that. Years later, I learned how to make themes from scratch, and it was awesome because WordPress is simple and powerful. However, there were still some issues and the budget was not accessible for all my clients. I could not afford to lower the costs because it takes a lot of time and effort to do this.

I started looking for something that would help me give my clients a quality product for an affordable price, and that meant that I urgently needed to improve my workflow. I spent 3 days browsing the web looking for options. When I found the Themify website, I fell in love with the Ultra theme and decided to try it out for a very important project: http://www.octavia.com.bo. Octavia is the greatest rock band in Bolivia and I needed to make it impressive for my portfolio and the client:

Octavia homepage
Base Theme: Ultra

The learning curve was very fast, I learned how to use the Themify Builder in 20 minutes and then got deeper into customizing the theme to the point that I met every single requirement that the client made and I exceeded the expectations: they loved their website.

Working with Themify

In 4 months, I made more than ten websites using the Ultra theme and my clients were surprised with the quality of my work. Thanks to Themify, I was able to close the price gap for small businesses, entrepreneurs, bloggers and other clients that can now afford to have an incredible website for a reasonable price.

I spent 3 years trying many different frameworks, builders and themes for WordPress and I would have lost many projects if it were not for the Themify Themes. There are so many options that no site looks like the other. I installed the WPML plugin and it was a breeze to translate the sites and make them support multiple languages. Here are some of my featured sites:

  • hotel cristal samana image
    Project:
    Hotel Cristal Samana
    Base Theme: Ultra
  • crusoe research image
    Project:
    Crusoe Research
    Base Theme: Ultra
  • sariri bolivia image
    Project:
    Sariri Bolivia
    Base Theme: Music

It is amazing what you can do with the Themify themes, but that is just not the best thing about them. I want to highlight that they have the best customer support that I have ever had. They helped me through every single step I needed and they were kind, patient and perseverant. I definitely recommend this product to non-developers and web designers that aim for high productivity through a simple and beautiful framework. Thanks to all the guys at Themify, keep up the great work and congratulations for everything you have achieved so far.

– Andres Paz Soldan

Share Your Story Now! How have you used Themify for your site? Whether it’s for your business site, personal blog or portfolio, we’d love to hear your story and share it with other people! Please contact us.

The post Andres Paz Soldan – Building Sites for Rock Stars & Hotels with Themify appeared first on Themify.

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15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site’s Widgetized Areas

WordPress widgets give you the ability to do just about anything. So, it makes sense why then developers are always finding interesting new ways to implement them. Widgets make it easy to add content and features to your site with just a drag and drop. By default WordPress comes with some helpful widgets such as search, categories, text, and meta. But you’ll soon find that there are lots of things you may need a widget for, such as:

  • Advertisements
  • Event Promotion
  • Media Galleries
  • Social Media Links
  • Related Posts
  • Contact Forms

If you aren’t a wiz with widgets, don’t worry. This post goes over 15 of the best WordPress widgets you can use to supercharge your website. Let’s jump right in.

1. Jetpack’s Extra Sidebar Widgets15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

I’m a big fan of Jetpack. If you don’t know already, Jetpack is a suite full of “modules.” Modules are basically plugins. Like plugins, each Jetpack module adds functionality or features to your theme.

Even if I am using a theme like Divi, there are a few Jetpack modules that I always activate when I install a new site. The Extra Sidebar Widgets Module is one of them. It adds 15+ widgets you can place in any widgetized area of your website. Below are a few of my favorites. For the full list, visit the Extra Sidebar Widgets support page.

Price: Free | More Information

2. Jetpack’s Related Posts

Many people use Jetpack just for this module alone. Displaying related posts is a great way to increase traffic and engage your audience. The Related Posts module displays thumbnails of similar posts your readers may be interested in. This plugin is simple to setup and loads quickly.

Price: Free | More Information

3. Jetpack Site Stats

Any area of WordPress can be widgetized, including the Dashboard. Site Stats arms you with a useful set of analytics tools to monitor traffic. This widget shows up on the Dashboard screen. It displays stats on your site’s traffic based on:

  • Page Visits
  • Top Posts & Pages
  • Clicks
  • Search Engine Terms
  • Referrers
  • Subscription Activity

Price: Free | More Information

4. JetPack Social Media Icons

Add social media icons to any area of your website, and easily customize them with CSS. As of now, there is support for: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, GitHub, YouTube, Vimeo, WordPress.org, Flickr, and Google+. See the documentation for a current list of social media sites supported by this module.

Price: Free | More Information

5. Sidebar & Widget Manager for WordPress15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

This popular widget manager for WordPress gives you complete control over the widgetized areas on your site. It is flexible and easy to use. Create responsive layouts for your widgets in seconds, without coding. Let your imagination run wild.

Features:

  • Drag and drop functionality – no coding.
  • Display or hide widgets on any page or post.
  • Vertical or horizontal alignment.
  • Replace any theme sidebar.
  • Optimized for large installations.

Price: $23 | Learn More

6. WooCommerce Products Visibility | Hide Products, Categories and Tags by User Role15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

This WooCommerce plugin allows you to control the site-wide visibility of products on your website. This free plugin gives you a cost-effective way to get advanced eCommerce functionality out of your site.

Features:

  • Easy to use and set up.
  • Hide or show products based on user role.
  • Hide or show tags based on user role.
  • Combine tags, products, or conditions for user role.

Price: $22 | More Information

7. Easy Google Places Reviews15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

Posting reviews and testimonials on your site is one way to promote your business. Add this widget to any of your sidebars to display Google Place Reviews directly on your website.

Features:

  • Display up to 5 Google Place Reviews.
  • Display reviews based on max rating.
  • Randomize order.
  • Add a “write review” button.
  • Customize layout and colors.

Price: $19 | More Information

8. Facebook Events Calendar For WordPress15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

This plugin lets you integrate a public Facebook events page with your WordPress website. You can add an events calendar anywhere on your site as a widget or via shortcode. This plugin is clean, simple, and to put it plainly, it works. You can also toggle between list and calendar mode. See the live demo to check it out.

Features:

  • Showcase your Facebook events.
  • Display your events as a list or calendar.
  • User friendly layout, with tooltip.

Price: $16 | More Information

9. WooSidebars15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

WooSidebars gives you more flexibility when it comes to WordPress widgets. This clever plugin allows you to control the display of your widgets by context. For example, you may want to display an advertisement on a certain post or page category. Simply set the conditions and watch it work. This is a great option for WooCommerce custom sidebars on small sites.

Price: Free | More Information

10. Contact Form 715 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

This plugin allows you to manage multiple contact forms. It’s free, flexible, and has been translated into many different languages. After you create a contact form, you can paste the shortcode into any widgetized area you wish. This extremely popular contact form has over 3 million downloads.

Price: Free | More Information

11. MapPress (Free Version)15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

It’s easy enough to embed a Google Map into any text widget, but if you want to start adding features, you will have understand JavaScript. That’s where this plugin can help. The free version of MapPress allows you to add a Google Map with driving directions to any area of your website. This plugin works well and it is easy to use. It’s a good choice for sites that need to display local info like restaurants and other brick and mortar shops.

Price: Free | More Information

12. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

Google Analytics contains the most comprehensive set of tools for web analytics. This plugin creates a Google Analytics widget in your WordPress Dashboard – so you can get real-time stats on your site’s visitors, acquisition channels, and traffic source details. There are a few Google Analytics plugins for WordPress in the official repository, but this is one of the most popular.

Price: Free | More Information

13. Meta Slider15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

You don’t need to hire a developer to create a decent slider. This is hands down one of the best free sliders out there. If you don’t mind making a few adjustments here and there, it outperforms many paid plugins. Meta Slider comes with a built-in widget functionality. You can also use a shortcode to add a slider to any post or page. This plugin comes with four sliders:

  • Nivo
  • Flex Slider
  • Responsive Slides
  • Coin Slider

Price: Free | More Information

14. Image Widget15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

This is an extremely lightweight plugin that can bump up your productivity. Image Widget does one thing. It allows you to add image widgets to your site without all the hassle. This plugin gives you easy options to manage your images and it automatically handles alignment and resizing. Plus, it has optional fields for things like title, description, and links. All-in-all, a good choice for adding images to your sidebar, footer, or any other widgetized area.

Price: Free | More Information

15. Juicer15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site's Widgetized Areas

Juicer is a feed aggregator that allows you to create your own social media hub. This plugin is an affordable alternative to those thinking purchasing a software aggregator service like Twine Social. You can build social media feeds from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google Plus, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, RSS, Spotify, Slack, LinkedIn, Flickr, Vimeo, Hashtags, Yelp, and DeviantArt. The pricing plans range from free up to $99 monthly.

Price: Free | More Information

Wrapping Up

I usually come across new widgets when I need to solve a specific problem. Most of these widgets are free, yet well-written. I am usually okay with sacrificing a cool user interface for a few bucks.

What about you? What are your favorite WordPress widgets? We are always excited to hear new suggestions. Feel free to share in the comments below.

Article thumbnail image by PureSolution / shutterstock.com 

The post 15 Powerful WordPress Widgets That Will Supercharge Your Site’s Widgetized Areas appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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