We all want to stay trendy and relevant, and the web is the place to do it.
Any brand or business will benefit from keeping up with the times, and getting on board with trending topics while they are still developing is a great way to gain exposure and ensure a place in the ongoing conversation.
Getting the timing right can be a challenge, however, as content destined to go viral is tough to discover before it does so.
Waiting too long, on the other hand, makes your content just another bandwagon post if it already has.
Making a splash on the internet is often a matter of luck, but persistence and an eye for opportunity can help get you there.
Just paying attention will only take you so far, so in this post we will cover seven platforms that enable you to tap into the ebb and flow of a digital audience’s attention as easily as possible.
The number one culprit for our dropping workplace productivity might be a good place to start being productive, in this case.
A ton of trending content makes its debut on one of Reddit’s countless communities. These communities, called “subreddits,” target specific hobbies, topics, or disciplines. They are an excellent pulse check of what is hot with this particular group, right now.
Each subreddit also features filters at the top of the page that enable you to view recent, top, hot, or controversial posts – and almost every post comes with comments, a timestamp, and sources to investigate.
If the best-performing hiking posts all get started on a specific outdoorsman’s blog, a sporting goods manufacturer has just discovered a direct line to what their customers care about.
2. Pinterest Explore
Pinterest is a more visual alternative to Reddit, with images taking up the majority of the screen’s real estate. A favorite of creative types everywhere, Pinterest has risen to become the largest social image sharing website, and is where many bloggers are able to rise from obscurity for the first time.
A recent development, Pinterest’s “Explore” section was launched right at the end of 2016. This new service offers filters to help you spot pins that are starting to gain momentum, and you can even choose specific categories to search through.
Every New Year’s Day, posts abound that deal with resolutions and 30-day challenges. This could easily be an opportunity to create a challenge of your own and have it make the rounds, doubling as a tool to inspire potential customers.
BuzzFeed may have a bit of a stigma attached to it as a place where reposts are the order of the day, but there is no denying that it helps serve niche content to a much broader audience.
This exposure from their posts almost always leads to a surge in social media attention, and a quick enough person could easily mooch off the inevitable rise in related search traffic. BuzzFeed writers do their homework, after all – they find trending content for a living!
4. Google Trends
Where will people wind up when they are curious and want to read more about a recent trend? Google is a safe bet, as the most popular search engine in the world. Thankfully Google offers a variety of tools to help us track their users’ interest in any topic.
Google Trends allows you to follow the search history of keywords, compare related keywords to get a feel for how searches are carried out, and view all of this information as a convenient set of line graphs.
This is great for forecasting seasonal trends. Notice an uptick in Halloween searches in September? You can be one of the first in your niche to put Halloween content out for your followers to discover.
Buzzsumo takes some of the grunt work out of hunting down trending topics, and is a powerful tool for the savvy content creator. The previous 24 hours of big hits all over the internet can be analyzed for free and mined for potential content under the Today’s Trending Content section.
Where this site really shines, however, is in its paid services. All of the most-shared content around a given topic – or from a specific domain – can be filtered through and monitored for any developments worth taking advantage of.
Additional information on who is sharing, how many links the content has earned, and the content’s success across the full spectrum of major social media platforms is also available to be picked through. If you are browsing popular posts and see health and wellness products like your own performing particularly well on Facebook, you can adjust your advertising accordingly to favor that platform. Buzzsumo Pro is easily an investment that could pay for itself in time, as for every ounce of hard work put in a pound of effort is saved.
If you are following a large number of blogs, news sites, and YouTube channels, it may help to have an organized means of sifting through the bulk of what is posted. Feedly is a longstanding favorite for RSS feed aggregation. From the in-browser app interface, you can designate categories for sorting your feeds, and read through them at will. You can also set alerts to go off when certain keywords are mentioned, search across feeds for specific terms, or discover related content producers based on what you have already followed.
There is no clearer sign that a topic is starting to trend than numerous blogs all covering it within hours of one another. Knowledge is power, and Feedly is the perfect way to keep the knowledge from becoming too messy.
7. Trend Forecasting Services
Riding the waves of trending content on the web is an art form, and some people just do it better than us. Some websites are devoted to discovering trends at the source and broadcasting them to the world. Some of these websites are free, but if you are looking for the big guns you might need to shell out a little dough.
Two popular services are Trend Watching and Trend Hunter, each of which have active, free communities of businesses and individuals working to keep each other on the cutting edge of trending topics. Beyond that, both function primarily as paid professional tools for trend forecasting, and cater to some of the world’s largest companies among their clientele.
In particular, Trend Watching specializes in analyzing the market and developing strategies for its paid members. Many of the most tantalizing features may seem prohibitively expensive, but these are services that cater to businesses at the cutting edge, and there is no doubting their influence and credibility in the dynamic online environment.
All of the tools mentioned above are just starting points – the greatest payoff will always come from researching your specific industry and finding the curators who cater specifically to your audience. A healthy amount of success can be had just by observing the ever-changing darlings of the Internet.
This is not to say that you should always be a follower, though. Sometimes forging ahead on your own leads to greater success, and becoming the epicenter for a new hot topic or product can help establish your brand as a mainstay. Too much regurgitated material lends itself to looking dull and lifeless. Without any unique personality to your brand, the eyes you have worked so hard to attract can just as quickly depart for the next viral post.
5 Simple Steps to Design a Pricing Table That Converts
Your pricing table design might just be the most important page of your entire website.
Are you optimizing it to its full potential?
Once your potential customers reach the end of the sales funnel, they are looking to make an important decision: does your product or service fit the bill?
Your pricing table could be the answer to everything they have been searching for… or it could mire them in a realm of indecision and hesitation that ultimately leaves them bailing and looking elsewhere.
As one of the most important pages of your website, it is worth optimizing your pricing page for conversions, because this is one of the places where that optimization will make the biggest impact on your bottom line.
Keep reading to learn the five simple steps you must follow to create a useful, attractive, and highly-converting pricing table.
1. Make Comparisons Easy
At its most basic level, a pricing table is a tool your potential customers can use to compare the degrees of service you offer and how much each tier costs.
Since your goal is to make things easy for your visitors – friction doesn’t convert – display the information in a format that is easy to draw comparisons from. Here’s how:
Display Information in Adjacent Columns
As the name might suggest, tables work well to display your pricing options. This isn’t a time to get creative – there’s a reason every pricing table you can remember displays tiers of service side by side.
Emphasize Your Prices
It’s what people came for, after all. Emphasize your prices using size and placement: prices should be one of the largest pieces of text on the page and should be situated above the fold.
Don’t make your potential customers scroll with trepidation to figure out what each plan costs.
Keep Information Concise and Skimmable
If you’ve done a good job creating a well-converting sales funnel, you can do your talking elsewhere; your pricing table should be a bare-bones summary of the most essential information so it is easy to compare different levels of service.
Use Symbols (Within Reason)
Visual pieces of information, such as symbols, are interpreted by our brains more quickly than text.
In a pricing table this is great news; you can replace all those yeses and nos with clearly distinguishable symbols.
Consider using a symbol to mean yes and a blank space to mean no; this helps to prevent clutter and also removes visual confusion.
A check mark and an X are surprisingly similar at a first glance, and can also be interpreted to mean different things.
Use Strike-Throughs to Compare Missing Features
Your potential customers aren’t just interested in what features each plan has; they are perhaps just as interested or even more interested in what each plan lacks.
In fact, a missing feature considered essential to the visitor is one of the most compelling reasons to increase to a higher level of service.
To make it easier to compare missing features, strike-through the features that lower-tier plans lack. Missing symbols can also do the trick.
Notice how Dropmark uses de-emphasized, grey text to show just how many features are missing from the free version that can be found in their other plans.
Sum Each Tier Up with a Visual
Remember how I said we process visuals faster than words? You can use this to your advantage by using a visual to summarize each plan.
At first glance, your visitors will understand the hierarchy between your plans: which tier is the lightest, and which is the fullest-featured.
I like the way Mailchimp does this on their pricing page. The animal representations are a funny and snappy summary of the differences between their different service tiers.
2. Offer a Suggestion
Now that you’ve made it easy for your potential customers to compare your different levels of service, there’s something you can do to make it even easier for them to make up their minds: you can offer them a suggestion!
This works because it helps visitors avoid falling into a paradox of choice, where the mental drag of needing to decide between so many options outweighs the perceived benefits of making up your mind.
Here are some ways you can help your potential customers come to a decision.
Highlight a Popular Choice
Most Popular. Best Seller. However you label it, you can’t go wrong with highlighting a suggested choice. This is usually your middle-of-the-road option, but if your most popular option really is the highest tier, don’t hesitate to let people know!
Teachable does a great job emphasizing their middle-of-the-road option with both size and color contrast.
Explain Your Target Audience
Many services are used by people from a variety of backgrounds. If this sounds like your business, you can better serve the needs of your visitors by noting what type of customers each service level is for.
Decision making is hard. A free trial can help delay that decision until a later time – hopefully, a time when your potential customers are better-informed because they have already tried your product or service.
3. Use Pricing Psychology
Sure, your visitors came to this page for the price, but there are so many ways you can soften the blow of a high price, or anchor your services at a higher perceived value.
Display Your Plans in Descending Order
Because English speakers read from left to right, we are naturally inclined to begin visually scanning a page from the left side.
By placing your highest priced plan on the left side, you are anchoring your services at a higher price point.
From that point, it is easier to stomach the prices of your other tiers because they are not moving upwards – they are moving down!
Anchor the Price Higher with a Supersized Option
Take your price anchoring to new heights by offering a supersized option, with extra special features and “unlimited” options.
Your goal isn’t necessarily to make any sales on the supersized option – though you more than likely will make some – but rather to anchor the price at an even higher level to make your high-end plan feel more affordable.
Many customers will not opt for the highest price plan on principle, simply because they do not want to pay for the highest price plan.
This pricing table from Crazyegg is a great example of price anchoring with a supersized option. They have used it to highlight their “Plus” plan, rather than “Standard,” as the most popular option.
Drop the Cents
Unless your product is very low-price, cents are completely irrelevant to the person making a decision. By leaving them out of your design, you are cutting two digits out of the equation – which makes the price feel smaller, even though in reality it is exactly the same.
Show a Monthly Breakout of the Annual Price
This is a common and highly effective pricing psychology trick, but you need to be careful how you use it, because it can be seen as rather deceptive! If you offer annual plans, instead of highlighting the total annual price, you can highlight what it breaks down to on a monthly scale.
Even though you are highlighting the monthly price, be sure to include the true annual price somewhere on the pricing table, even if it is de-emphasized.
Downplay Your Free Plan
Trying to convert more of your free users to paying customers? De-emphasize your free plan on your pricing table. If you put it front and center, more of your free users will stay free users.
4. Leave Room for Customization
In some cases, your pricing might require more flexibility than a typical pricing table with several tiers can offer.
If that is the case, consider baking in some customization options to really help your potential customers feel in control of their purchasing decisions.
Add the Ability to Toggle Between Monthly and Annual Billing
This common feature makes it easy for your potential customers to weigh the pros and cons of different billing options.
Freshbooks uses fun, playful writing and a special offer to draw attention to their annual billing options.
Create a Pricing Calculator
Do you have more complicated pricing variations than simple tiers can get across?
Though it will likely involve some development time, a pricing calculator makes things simple for your potential customer, and they can be kind of fun, too.
Ticketleap includes a pricing calculator on their pricing page so potential customers can see the impact their service will have on ticket profits.
5. Address Concerns Prior to Purchase
Before your customers will open their wallets for you, they need to be sure that your service will meet their needs, and that there aren’t any hidden downsides.
Assuage those fears with guarantees like a risk-free trial, options to upgrade or downgrade service at any time, or other relevant concerns.
Offer a Free Trial
What better way to address your customers’ concerns than letting them try before they buy?
Your customers are human with real worries. Address those worries with guarantees that show you understand their needs.
Here are some examples of one-liners designed to minimize FUDs – fears, uncertainties, and doubts.
Risk-free for 30 days
Try before you buy
Upgrade, downgrade or cancel anytime
YNAB (You Need a Budget) does an incredible job calming any fears their target audience might have. This is especially important for a piece of software that you connect all of your financial information to!
Live chat is a feature that you can have across your website, but it can be especially important for in-the-moment questions and concerns from visitors to your pricing page.
Again, live chat will not suit every type of business so think whether this will benefit your target audience before investing in it!
There you have it – just five simple steps for optimizing your pricing table to convert!
Here is a quick checklist of the information above.
Make Comparisons Easy
a. Display Information in Adjacent Columns
b. Emphasize Your Prices
c. Keep Information Concise and Skimmable
d. Use Symbols
e. Use Strike-Throughs to Compare Missing Features
f. Sum Each Tier Up with a Visual
Offer a Suggestion
a. Highlight a Popular Choice
b. Explain Your Target Audience
c. Funnel Signups to a Free Trial
Use Pricing Psychology
a. Display Plans in Descending Order
b. Anchor the Price Higher with a Supersized Option
c. Drop the Cents
d. Show a Monthly Breakout of the Annual Price
e. Downplay Your Free Plan
Leave Room for Customization
a. Add the Ability to Toggle Between Monthly and Annual Billing
b. Create a Pricing Calculator
Address Concerns Prior to Purchase
a. Offer a Free Trial
b. Calm Concerns Before They Are Concerns
c. Offer Live Chat
If possible, design your site with large product imagery in mind. Sure, you can set it up so that your customers can click to zoom, but why not make it that much easier by designing your site so that product photos take center stage?
If this is not possible, at the very least offer a high-quality zoom so that your customers can take a closer look.
You’ll also want to lightly edit and clean up the raw image so the colors are true to the product, and also shown in the best possible light.
Small tweaks such as image crop, color correction, background removal, and image enhancements can all be done inexpensively using an unlimited graphic design service.
If you’re going to drop $1000 on a watch, you better have a good understanding of the details, right?
Not only does their product page design place the watch front and center, but their zoom gives the option of rolling over different parts of the watch to take a closer look.
2. Present a Consistent Product Line
Now for some advice for across your whole product line, not just one product.
Pick a default photo angle to use across your entire product catalog, and stick with it. Using a similar “look and feel” not only makes your choices seem more intentional, but it overall lends a feeling of professionalism to your website.
Consistency in your product imagery is good for another reason, too. It helps your customers make purchasing decisions from the catalog, because it makes it easier to compare products at a glance.
Shooting your products from similar angles makes it that much easier to see which features are present on one model and absent on another.
Joybird takes this to an extreme. All furniture on their site is shown from the front against a white background in a standard grey color (except for furniture that is only available in leather).
Since all their furniture is customizable to the colors of your choice, differing colors in the default photo would distract from subtleties in the design.
3. Offer Multiple Views
In real life, your customers can walk all around your product, pick it up, and turn it around in their hands.
On the web, they are stuck with the couple of views you present to them – so choose wisely.
Use alternate angles to answer the questions your customers might have about your products.
Look at similar products to your own on Amazon. Amazon has a feature where customers can ask questions of others who have purchased the product.
Through your research, you should discover the most common questions people tend to ask about products like yours. Then, use your product shots to answer them.
Zappos does this exceptionally well, showing their shoes from all angles: the top, the bottom, both sides, the back, and the front.
If that’s not enough for you, they even included a product video, showing a model walking and turning while wearing the shoes.
Showing your product in use helps shoppers on your website better envision your product in use. They can more clearly see how it would enrich their own life.
This is the same reason IKEA displays their furniture in fully furnished rooms around their stores.
In the center of the store, you can see all the different armchairs, sofas, or beds side by side, and go down the line trying them out. But only in the furnished rooms off to the side is it easy to understand what they feel like in context.
Also, on a white background it is extremely hard to determine scale. Placing your products in a real environment makes it easier to understand how big they are.
I like how Made sets up their product photography on their site.
Each product is shown first on a white background (there’s that consistency!) but then in a room in the following shot.
Would you have thought to stack the letter trays with the box if it didn’t show them configured that way in the second photo?
5. Use Props to Emphasize Quality
While it always helps to have a product shot on a white background, as I just covered it makes sense to have shots with more context to them.
The props you use say a lot about what you want to convey to your customers about your product.
The best example of this I can give you involves a flashback to 2008, when Steve Jobs unveiled the brand new MacBook Air. Onstage, Jobs held up an ordinary manila envelope.
Then, he unwound the red string and pulled out the world’s thinnest laptop. The prop emphasized what they wanted to say about their product – this laptop is very thin.
Handmade protein bar producer Kutoa surrounds their products in the ingredients they use for their product shots.
Not only do these photos convey the realness of the product, but they put a taste in your mouth by showing you chewy cashews and juicy cherries, much more than a close up shot of the lumpy bar ever would.
6. Bring in a Personal Touch
What’s the ultimate prop?
Well, the people that use your product, of course!
Not only does seeing your product in use by other people give a better idea of what it’s like to experience your product, but it can actually raise your conversion rate.
Including a person on their product page more than doubled their conversions.
You can also use the people in your photographs to direct your customers’ eyes. Eye-tracking studies have shown that we follow the portrayed person’s gaze.
For example, if the person is looking out at us, we meet their gaze, and find our eyes drawn to the same spot: their eyes.
If, however, the subject is looking elsewhere – perhaps at your CTA – our eyes follow the path of that gaze and read the CTA.
Lens replacement vendor Lensabl has a large video on their homepage showing different customers with their glasses.
These customers make silly faces, wink, blink, wiggle their frames, and raise their eyebrows – generally looking straight ahead (which, incidentally, keeps your gaze right on their product), but sometimes looking toward the CTA.
7. Create a Positive Mobile Shopping Experience
Mobile shopping, or mCommerce, is a growing trend.
If you’ve ever tried shopping from your phone – and chances are, you have, since 62% of us have – you’ll know that it is a frustrating experience.
Products are difficult to see; websites are poorly optimized and require a lot of pinching to zoom; and in one particularly frustrating instance I had to zoom out and zoom in every time I switched to the next field of a form.
Because mobile shopping is so difficult, it can lead to a lot of cart abandonment. So rarely is mobile shopping actually an easy, frustration-free experience.
One time I was pleasantly surprised, though, was with Warby Parker. When I bought my glasses there, I did a lot of research, looking around their site to pick the perfect frames.
I was delighted to find that their product images, which I’ve showcased before for having a cool rollover effect where the model’s head follows your mouse, actually have an even better experience on mobile. Turn your phone slightly to the left and right, and the model’s head turns in the same direction.
8. Explain Your Product in Motion
Sometimes, nothing will describe your product better than a little bit of motion.
One example is fidget spinners – often sold in super generic packaging, you would have no idea what the point is until you see one in motion. Animated gifs are perfect for occasions like these.
Even better if they play on the product category page itself. Click here for an example from Colossal.
You can’t see it in my screenshot, but both the kinetic sculpture and the 3D puzzle toy have animated product shots that jump out at you just from the archive page. Here’s the animated gif itself – I want one just from the image!
Online, your customers can’t experience your products for themselves. All they can experience are the visuals you provide for them, so choose wisely.
Here’s a quick summary of the tips explained above:
Start with large, zoomable photographs that are professional quality and well lit.
Use consistent product shots across your entire product catalog to make it easy to compare products at a glance.
Answer your potential customers’ questions with product shots from a variety of angles.
Show your products in use to make it easier for your customers to imagine using them.
Emphasize your products’ quality with carefully selected props.
Include people in your product images and use their gaze to draw your customers’ eyes.
Create a delightful, not frustrating, mobile experience.
Show your product in motion to give instant understanding of the value of your product.
2017’s Biggest Creative Trends According to Stock Photo Sales
Trends come and go. Being aware of the design trends that are currently gaining popularity can make your brand look more modern and with the times.
While redesigning your website around a current trend may not be the wisest choice – especially if the trend is here today and gone tomorrow – there are still a lot of ways to tap into current design trends.
Social media graphics and blog post featured images are a great way to tap into current styles in a more temporary way than a website design.
So how do we learn what trends are on the up and up?
Of course, we can simply observe what trends we are seeing more and more, but we are biased by the sites we choose to frequent.
By observation alone, you are also more likely to only catch wind of certain trends when they are at their peak, at which point it may be too late to use them to their greatest potential.
One way to find the trends as they are gaining momentum that works surprisingly well, however, is to take a look at trends in stock photo sales.
From this more impartial data we can see commonalities between the base elements that designers are bringing to the table, and draw conclusions about how trends will catch on.
Each year, Shutterstock releases its annual Creative Trends Report compiling data about stock photography purchases.
The 90s may be dead and gone, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost that wistful nostalgia for days gone by.
Crazy patterns and bold neon prints are alive and well, and making a splash in our Facebook and Instagram feeds.
According to Shutterstock, nostalgia imagery is up in sales by 213% over last year.
Headspace is a meditation app popular amongst the same twenty-somethings who are nostalgic for simpler times.
In this image, they use a crazy background pattern made up of a variety of simple shapes tossed together to draw attention to a limited time offer. It worked, earning the app over 400 likes on this image alone.
Some of the items shown are pieces from their desk collection, which is good news, since it earned over 14,000 likes.
Top down views – both still images and videos – are perfect for showcasing products and collections.
According to Shutterstock, organic textures are having their day right now, up by 74% from last year. These are the patterns found in nature, such as marble swirls and tree rings.
The Plant Society is a business all about organic texture – after all, they sell plants. I love this speckled pattern from an Aspidistra Shooting Star.
Even if you’re not in the potted plant business, you can use organic backdrops for your product shots; Starbucks does this all the time on their own Instagram feed. Here’s a shot with a sea of lush mint in the background to introduce a limited edition mint mocha drink, which is at 475,000 likes and counting:
Maybe it’s just riding the heels of the first hints at summer weather, but tropical imagery has definitely been more and more on the radar.
Shutterstock describes it as “a feel-good trend inspired by vivid colors, lush vegetation, and exotic fruits.” Overall, according to the service, sales of tropical-themed stock imagery are up by 44%.
I’m loving this shot by Method promoting a tropical dish soap, with pretty palm fronds in the corners. It earned nearly 300 likes from their followers.
It’s the perfect relaxing, jewel-toned palette to get you imagining ocean breezes – exactly the sort of associations they want you to have with their soap.
Muted Color Palette
In addition to tracking stock photo sales in different categories, Shutterstock also tracks what images see the most popularity on their social accounts.
Muted color palettes were the foremost social trend by their measure.
If you look, you’ll see this trend almost everywhere on Instagram right now, but I wanted to highlight this customer image Airbnb re-shared to their followers. It’s the exact sort of serenity many of their customers hope to find on vacation, and earned 21,500 likes.
Another social trend that ranked highly was Reflection. This trend also ranked in the report for sales, increasing by 140% over last year.
But what is “reflection,” when it comes to stock photos? It means taking the time to “contemplate and appreciate the moment,” whether that is through meditation or just stopping to smell the roses.
This image shared by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel is actually another re-share from a customer. It pays to have artistically talented customers! The image earned over 2,400 likes.
From nostalgic neon patterns to stoic self-reflection, the Shutterstock Creative Trend Report paints a picture for us of what trends are on their way up, and what is absent tells us what is on its way out.
How you choose to use these trends is up to you. Using them in your social media branding, blog post images, and social images is a great way to briefly indulge in a trend without committing to it, like you do a website re-design.
Doing so will make your imagery more appealing to your audience – these things are trends for a reason, after all – and make your brand feel more aligned with the times.
Since image collages is a newer feature on Twitter, there haven’t been as many case studies, but the story is sure to be the same there.
If you think about it, it makes sense – this collage of images creates a sort of “album,” which intrigues your followers into exploring the rest. Facebook will also create this kind of update when you add photos to an existing album.
How many times have you idly clicked through a friend’s photo album while scrolling through Facebook? This, in turn, indicates to Facebook that your post is high-quality content that they should continue to show to more of your audience, increasing your overall engagements.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some brands doing great things with multi-image collages on Facebook and Twitter, and I’ll show you how to create more effective posts taking advantage of this awesome feature.
Multi-Image Collages on Facebook
Brands use the multiple image post feature on Facebook for different reasons, but always to eye-catching effect. Here are a few of my favorite examples from the past several months.
Canyonlands National Park in Utah frequently posts beautiful landscape shots from different corners of the park. These incredible shots from a recent storm netted them thousands of likes and shares:
Maersk Line, the largest container shipping company in the world, has a surprisingly engaged social audience for a B2B brand. And it’s no wonder, with the dramatic photographs they share and the memorable commentary that accompanies them.
FIFA Women’s World Cup recently shared these photos from the final match and ensuing celebration, which were liked and shared thousands of times.
Notice how the final image makes it obvious that there are more images to see – giving viewers a reason to engage by clicking through the album.
Sword & Plough, a company that repurposes military surplus fabrics into sturdy and fashionable bags, used the collage feature to share some behind the scenes shots from a photoshoot.
The update gave them a chance to tease upcoming product shots and earned the small company some likes in the process.
ModCloth, another fashion brand known for their incredibly enthusiastic fan base, used the collage feature to share some shots from their customers.
Their customers regularly submit photos of themselves wearing ModCloth fashions to their product pages, and this user-generated content is a great marketing tool for the brand.
And last but not least, my favorite example. Props to Social Media Examiner, a blog for businesses about how to more effectively use social media, for this super creative use of the collage feature.
They offer up a valuable tip, starting with a wide “cover” image introducing the tip, and subsequent images walking the viewer through step-by-step. Their followers literally have to click through the images in order to reach the last step, and it’s useful content that led to many shares.
Whether you are offering up photos from an event, images of your product, shots from your customers, or even a step-by-step tip, these multi-image updates will help increase your engagements.
Create Your Own
Creating multi-image posts on Facebook is very easy. Simply use the image uploader and select more than one image. The tricky part is the order you upload the images.
Facebook will attempt to create the best-looking collage it can out of the images you provide, and it all has to do with the aspect ratio of the first image you upload. After that, images appear left to right and top to bottom. (Don’t worry, if you upload things out of order, you can still drag and drop the images into the right order before you publish.)
Regardless of the shape of the images, if you only upload two, they will appear side-by-side like this:
If the first image you upload is square, Facebook will go on to create a simple grid:
Any more images after the fourth will be accessible by clicking on the final image, as shown above.
If the first image you upload is wider than it is tall, the wide image will be shown atop the others, like in the Social Media Examiner example above:
Any more images after the fourth will be accessible by clicking on the fourth to expand the album.
And if the initial image is taller than it is wide, the images will collage like the ModCloth example above:
Understanding the way that Facebook creates these collages will make it easier for you to decide how to format your images and the order to upload them.
Multi-Image Collages on Twitter
Facebook isn’t the only place you can post an update with multiple images; Twitter also allows you to attach up to four images to a single tweet.
This is good news for anyone who has ever wanted to share several images at once on Twitter, since photo blasts (posting a string of tweets with images all in a row) can cost you followers. Let’s look at how some brands are using Twitter image collages:
Etsy, a handcrafted goods marketplace, frequently shares gorgeous product imagery from their sellers. This recent update highlighting some creative products for kids was heavily retweeted and favorited:
The official Twitter account for Major League Baseball uses multi-image collages constantly to share shots of games and players:
There is a lot of room for brands to stand out with Twitter image collages, and it’s territory many businesses have not yet explored, being a relatively new feature.
Create Your Own
Twitter image collages are more straightforward than Facebook’s. Nothing is based on aspect ratio; instead, the collage is always arranged in this format (numbered to make the upload order clearer):
Unlike on Facebook, images cannot be reordered after upload, so you’ll need to upload them in the order you’d like them to appear.
Multi-image collages are a powerful way of increasing engagements and adding interest to your updates, and in some ways they are underutilized by brands.
You can really stand out on the timeline with them, especially when you use them in clever ways, like as a step-by-step guide or to tell a story.
Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only places where image collages reign supreme. Pinterest and Instagram collages perform well, although they take a bit more effort since you need to collage your images before uploading.
If you have an audience on Google+, their collages work similarly to Facebook’s, except for one particularly eye-catching difference: they allow animated gifs!
Ultimately, if you’re going to use multi-image updates anywhere, use them on Facebook. Because of the way the Facebook algorithm works, the more people who click on and engage with your updates, the more Facebook will show your update to your followers; an image gallery gives them a strong reason to engage.
I would love to see the create ways you use multi-image collages on social media.
Share your best posts – or great examples you spotted on your timeline – in the comments below!
They are annoying, they are rude, they are distracting, and common sense tells you to stay away from popups. But there is one massive reason why you should use them on your website, and that is because they work!
People generally hate popups, finding them irritating at the best of times and downright disruptive at worst.
For anyone who owns or manages a website though, popups are a double-edged sword.
Whilst they can be annoying, they have also been proven to workover and over and over again.
So what’s a confused website owner to do?
The trick is to use popups at the right time and place, along with choosing the right message.
Now we will go through all the different types of popups, the pros and cons of each, plus where, when, and how each could be used to convert highly without scaring away your visitors.
Time-based popups are set so they are displayed after a visitor has been on your page for a certain amount of time.
Using time-based popups is a good way to reduce bounce rates as you can set for your popup to be displayed after a longer time (say 60 seconds), to make sure your popup is only shown to someone who has engaged with your site for a little while.
It also reduces the annoyance factor of having a confronting popup shown as soon as you load up a page.
Time-based popups will take some trial and error – plus a good look at your analytics – to figure out the optimal popup display time.
Content-based popups will only be displayed on the pages that you specify.
Content-based popups give you complete control of where popups appear, which means you can tailor the content of the popup to that page. This helps increase the relevancy of your popup, which will increase your conversion rates.
Takes more time to implement as you will need to create multiple offers for your different pages.
A scroll-based popup will show when a visitor scrolls to a specific percentage down a page. Most commonly set so the popup shows at the end or at least half-way down the page, this type of popup is another good option for making sure someone is actively engaged with your content.
Unlike the Time-Based popup option, setting a percentage will not require a trial and error approach to ensure prior visitor engagement.
You may miss out on converting visitors who don’t get to set specific point.
Pop-outs are a little different to other popups. Instead of popping up and blocking the entire window – which forces visitors to take action – these pops out of the side of the browser and still allows visitors to continue browsing.
Pop-outs are less disruptive to the user experience than traditional popups.
At the same time, because visitors aren’t forced to interact with the pop-out, they are more likely to be ignored
Saving the best till last, exit-intent popups are always my top choice and what we always recommend.
These type of popups only shows when a visitor is about to leave your site. So when a visitor is about to click the back or close button of the browser, the popup will show.
Exit-intent: Yes (Pro plan only)
Price: Basic $49/yr, Plus $99/yr, Pro (includes exit intent) $199/yr
OptinMonster has been around for a long time, and their popup plugin is still one of the best today. Unlike a lot of the other plugins, OptinMonster works with any HTML site, and not only WordPress. It’s packed full of features, including the all important exit intent as well as an easy-to-use visual editor, A/B testing, analytics and page level targeting.
Price: Free, Starter $10/month, Pro $100/month
SumoMe is ridiculously easy to use and the free version lets you do the basics of collecting emails and adjusting where and how often a popup is shown. Upgrade to the Pro plan and you get to fully customize the popups, as well as A/B testing, analytics, and some nice popup design templates.
One of the most popular popup plugins of all time in CodeCanyon, this nifty plugin allows you to custom build a variety of popups from email signups to social shares. Sadly, no exit intent technology but otherwise a great option for the price.
Price: Standard $47, Plus $77, Pro $97
A great, affordable option that includes all the features you look for, including exit intent, A/B testing and decent analytics. The only weakness will be the slightly dated look of some of the 36 template designs, they can be customized, but this will require some knowledge of HTML and CSS.
Price: Personal $49, Business $87, Developer $164
If your priority is ease-of-use, then Pippity should be on your shortlist. This plugin promises 5-minute popup creation and easy customization of popup designs. Add in some handy features like A/B testing and analytics, this will suit anyone looking for a simple and headache-free experience.
So Whare Are You Waiting For?
Now that you know which type of popup is right for your business, it’s time to get started to using them on your website! If you make sure to choose a type of popup and message that brings value to your visitors, you will enjoy popup success.
Are you using popups for your business? What kind of success have you had? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Updated 2020] Where Graphic Designers Go to Find the Best Free Stock Images
Choosing strong optics sets the stage for the overall success of a design. To help you do the same, we reveal the graphic designers’ super secret list of all our favorite places to find the best free images and photos.
Ever spent hours and hours looking for that perfect free stock image for your website or project?
I know your pain. Finding the perfect free stock image is hard.
The good news is that in the last few years, tons of different sites have surfaced offering original, high-quality, and free images.
But only if you know where to look.
I’ve compiled a list of our team’s all-time favorite, often little known, super secret (no, not really) places to source free, do whatever you want, images. Take a look, and here’s to better stock imagery!
Type of photography: Landscapes, architecture, travel, people, and more Size of collection (approx): 5100 Searchable collection: Via search bar and Stock Up Updates: Every weekday License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
With a vast collection that ranges from scenic background imagery to useful lifestyle snapshots, Barn Images is a great resource for all kinds of content creators.
Type of photography: Landscapes, people, fashion, business, animals and more Size of collection (approx): 6870 Searchable collection: Via search bar Updates: Everyday License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
A free stock photo platform project by Shopify. Contributers from around the world are encouraged to upload their high-resolution images to help users find the perfect free stock photo.
We particularly like the large selection of shots featuring a wide diversity of people of all ethnicities and ages.
Type of photography: Nature, scenic, city scenes, everyday objects Size of collection (approx): 480 Searchable collection: Via Stockup Updates: Weekly License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
Life of Pix has an ever-growing collection of extremely high-resolution photography.
There’s a nice mix of wildlife and scenic images mixed with city landscapes and day-to-day modern life close-ups.
Type of photography: Nature, cityscapes, people, and objects Size of collection (approx): 5150 Searchable collection: Via search bar on website Updates: Unknown License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
IM Free claims to be a source of all kinds of web design resources, from web templates to icons, and all kinds of free photos. It collects high-quality photos from a number of sources.
The photos are organized into general categories, the largest of which are nature, cityscapes, and people.
Type of photography: Nature landscapes and the occasional close-up Size of collection (approx): 930 Searchable collection: Via Stock Up Updates: Daily License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
If you need a nice landscape shot, or a floral close-up, Free Nature Stock is your go-to resource. These photos make great background shots for websites or social media images.
Type of photography: Funny, whimsical, and quirky take of everyday objects and landscapes Size of collection (approx): 460 Searchable collection: Via Pexels (not complete) or Stockup Updates: Weekly License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
If you’re looking for free images that are a little different and unusual, Gratisography is the place to go.
From the close up of a cat’s nose to a guy using a tin can telephone, you’re sure to find something that will set your visual content apart.
Type of photography: Landscapes and cityscapes from exotic places Size of collection (approx): 310 Searchable collection: No Updates: Every few months License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
Coffee Travel Book is a collection of CC0 travel photography from around the world. Visitors can submit their travel photos to be featured. This collection is great for illustrating inspirational travel articles or social media content.
Type of photography: Landscapes, people, objects, and more Size of collection (approx): Unknown Searchable collection: Via search bar Updates: Weekly License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
StockSnap.io is another high quality curated CC0 photo repository. Contributors can create an account and offer up shots of their own to be featured.
The collection is searchable, and filterable by date, views, downloads, favorites, and “trending.”
Type of photography: Landscapes, objects, texture, slice of life images Size of collection (approx): 397 Searchable collection: Via Pexels and Stockup Updates: Infrequently License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
Jay Mantri is a talented photographer and frequent contributor to Unsplash. On his website he offers up many of his shots for free.
There are a lot of landscapes, abstract or texture shots, and shots that include a fair amount of negative space, making them perfect for web designs or featured images.
Type of photography: Architecture, nature, people, textures, urban Size of collection (approx): 370 Searchable collection: Via sortable image category Updates: Weekly License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
Perfect for blogs and eCommerce stores, ISO Republic has a fantastic collection of photographs that have been contributed by a large community of worldwide photographers.
There’s an easy to use and helpful category based sorting system, and the photographs are very high in quality, making them perfect for use as hero images or blog post featured images.
Type of photography: Vintage photos of…everything Size of collection (approx): 550 Searchable collection: Via Stockup Updates: 5 new photographs added daily License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
When we’re looking for vintage style images, our first stop is always New Old Stock.
With a fascinating collection of real vintage photos (they’ve been publicly archived), these images will add authenticity to your project.
Type of photography: Landscapes, city scenes, everyday objects, and people Size of collection (approx): Unkown but it’s large Searchable collection: Via Pexels (not complete) or Stockup Updates: 10 new photographs added every 10 days License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
With 10 new photos added every 10 days, there’s always something new to choose from on Unsplash.
Their photographs are well known for their quality, exceptional lighting, and Instagram-style effects and filters.
Pro tip: Get all Unsplash photos delivered straight to your Dropbox using Stokkr
Type of photography: Landscapes, city scenes, nighttime photos, and objects Size of collection (approx): 250 Searchable collection: Limited search on site, and search via Stock Up Updates: Monthly License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
Picography offers a limited selection of their high-quality photos for free on their website, and an even larger collection for paying members.
There is a wide range of landscapes, city scenes, people, objects, and animals, making it a useful collection for all kinds of creatives.
Type of photography: People, landscapes, abstracts, everyday scenes and objects Size of collection (approx): 600 Searchable collection: Via Stockup Updates: Unknown License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
With a collection of high-resolution photographs ranging from portraits to technology, Splitshire is perfect for bloggers, social marketing gurus, website owners and of course, your humble designer.
Type of photography: Lifestyle, technology, landscapes, fashion, architecture, food, everyday scenes, and objects Size of collection (approx): 1200 Searchable collection: Yes or via Stockup Updates: Unknown License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
With almost too many photographs to choose from, it’s a good thing that Kaboom Pics have its own search functionality, complete with a comprehensive tagging and category system.
There’s a large collection of quality photos, with a particularly intriguing selection of lifestyle shots that will set your project apart.
Type of photography: Technology, objects, and people Size of collection (approx): 1150 Searchable collection: Via search bar, Stock Up, and Pexels Updates: Frequently License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
Negative Space is a great free photo source for creatives because of their large collection of iPhone, Macbook, and other technology and web design images.
Type of photography: Landscapes, cityscapes, texture, and people Size of collection (approx): Unknown Searchable collection: Via Pexels and Stock Up Updates: Infrequently License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
Cupcake is the personal free photo repository of Nilsson Lee, a frequent contributor to Unsplash.
The photographs available here are extremely high quality and all seem to have a similar desaturation effect over them to tie them together.
Type of photography: Travel photography, cityscapes, people, and objects Size of collection (approx): Unknown Searchable collection: No Updates: Every few months License: Free for personal and commercial use Attribution: Not required, but appreciated
Moveast is a great collection of travel and “slice of life” shots by a Portuguese photographer. They are great unique shots, especially for giving content a touch of charm from a distant land.
Bonus: Free Stock Images & Photos Search Engines
When I’m looking for a specific image, having a search engine that indexes from some of the best free stock photograph sites can be a life-saver.
Below are two search engines that we use frequently to find the best of the best with the click of a button.
Type of photography: Hand-picked from free image sources Style of images: Artistic Size of collection: 2800 Updates: 5 new photographs added daily License: Free for personal and commercial use. Attribution: Not required, but appreciated if the original source is used
An absolute time saver if you’re looking for something specific, Pexels is a search engine that hand-picks and indexes images from some of the free sources above.
They pick only the best, highest-quality pictures, as well as making sure that all images are free for both personal and commercial use, with no attribution required.
The site has an easy to use search function, with a large library that’s updated daily.
Type of photography: Indexed from multiple free image sources Size of collection: Unknown Updates: Daily License: Need to refer to the source for individual usage guidelines Attribution: Need to refer to the source for individual usage guidelines
Stock Up is another search engine for free stock images, only it indexes and tags photos from multiple free photo websites rather than handpicking them individually.
This gives the site a wider range of photos to search from, but it also means that licensing and attribution requirements differ depending on the source.
So make sure you check each individual source before using the image.
Currently, Stock Up indexes the following sites (some of which are featured above): Unsplash, Life of Pix, Jay Mantri, Startup Stock, Splitshire, MMT, Public Domain Archive, Refe, Magdeleine, Kaboom Pics, Good Stock, Skitter Photo and New Old Stock.
A great alternative to Pexels and I usually use both when searching for a specific image to cover all bases.
With so many sites offering high-quality, unique and free stock images there’s no excuse to use the cringe-worthy stock images of old.
Perhaps most important of all, these sites all offer their images free for both personal and commercial use, making them highly flexible to use legally.
If you simply don’t have time to go through each site to find that perfect image you can always use a stock images search engine.