Logo Design

logo design

Properly designed, they communicate to your employees and your customers that your company is credible, trustworthy and professional. Your business image depends on a logo design that is polished and distinctive. Your logo is the cornerstone of your brand.

Not only does a high quality logo show your customers that your business is professional, but it also differentiates you from your competitors and creates a powerful memory in the minds of your customers. When they need your product or service, they’ll think of you. Imagine as you hand out your next business card. Instead of a passing glance, your prospect stops and admires the style and colors of your logo. You feel a deep sense of pride, that everything your business stands for has been perfectly communicated in just a few seconds. Congratulations, you’ve made a lasting impression.

You want to have a successful business which means you simply cannot afford to have a poorly designed logo.

Good logo designers are not only able to design you a professional logo, but they will also make sure that your logo is distinct and unique so as to create a long lasting impression. Therefore the question that now comes to mind is, do we really need logo designers or can just anyone design a corporate logo? The answer to this question is not as simple as it seems. While the obvious answer may be no, the fact of the matter is that we do need professional logo designers because they are specialists in their field and are able to produce quality work that is distinct and one of a kind.

Logo designers understand the importance of a corporate logo. They know that designing a logo is no child’s play but that the success of a business depends on it. Professional logo designers are important because designing a logo is not just some haphazard exercise. There is deliberate and well convinced thought that go into making a logo that represents a company and the image it wishes to portray. Logo designing is more than just selecting the right color of a logo, it is about creating an image that aptly represent a company in every sphere that it is presented.

Logo designers therefore are of great importance to any business as they can help create logos with a powerful impact and reach. Think about Apple’s logo or the logo of Windows, besides the obvious there is more than just what meets the eye. These logos are not only powerful because they represent a company, but they are powerful because of what they stand for. Good logo designers know how to capture and depict the essence of a business in a single small image. They realize that a solid logo design communicates a company’s identity simply, clearly, and powerfully all at the same time.

There are many different price points when it comes to logo design.  Most of the time you will find that you get what you pay for but luckily, with today’s technology, sometimes you can find a diamond in the rough.

There are a few places you can look for a good logo designer.  Of course I think you should always use a “local designer” but if you don’t know who to trust, then pay close attention.

There are basically three different places I’d recommend you check for logo design:

  1. Fiverr.com – The prices here will vary but if you are not familiar with Fiverr, let me help.  It basically is a website where people all over the world offer to do small “Gigs” starting at $5.  I don’t have a recommendation for a specific person but you can do a search and get an idea of their portfolio and reviews if you want to work with them.  Check out Fiverr. 
  2. 99Designs.com – This is a great platform for logo design.  The downside is for a brand new business, you may find their prices a little bit on the higher side.  Starting at $299 99Designs will give you approximately 30 designs to choose from. Then you get to choose the logo that best fits your brand. With 99Designs you can also get your entire branding identity done at once, including your logo, business cards & more! Check out 99Designs.
  3. Local/Freelance Graphic Designers – It’s not always easy finding a local designer to you that can deliver what you need, but there is a good chance they’re there. You can check Facebook by asking for recommendations from your friends or you can do a Google search.

Now, remember when you are choosing the designer for your logo that your logo is the “face” of your brand. This is one of those things you don’t want to just settle on.  I also feel the need to let you know that doing a google search and using an image off of that search for your logo is a BAD IDEA. 

I had mentioned in the “Naming A Brand” blog post the importance of your design and how your brand will look with that design.

Just wanted to show you a few bad examples of “Logo Design”

Kids Exchange:

While there is no problem with Kids Exchange, without a space or capital letters you may see kid sex change… That is the problem with not having spaces or utilizing capital letters.

Mega Flicks:

Let’s be honest, it’s 2019 and there is a good chance this place may not be open. But, technology and Netflix might not be the reason this place is closed.  Mega Flicks is not a problem at all but with small spacing in between the letters you might find the logo looks like Mega F█cks … (Sorry I’m trying to keep this clean).

As you can see, not having a professional help with your logo design could cost you.  There are some DIY Logo Design Software available if you feel like you would like to give it a go.

The first, if you’re familiar with it, is Photoshop or Illustrator by Adobe. If you have these and not sure how to use it …. There are a ton of FREE Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator tutorials on YouTube.

Want an awesome logo? This is one of my favorites that I’ve found while I was doing the research for this post.  It’s called LogoJoy.  I ran KanBanBoardz (This is the new side business I’ve used while putting all of the DigiToolBag trainings together.) and got some awesome designs to look at. 

Basically, you put in your business name and tagline (optional) then the software will give you a few design templates to choose from and then you will select an icon.  The software does all of the design work after that.  

Once you fine tune your logo with LogoJoy you just need to buy the files…

There are 3 different options (at the time of me writing this)

Basic – This option is just so you can take your idea as a concept to a designer to customize and make it 100% original and yours! (at the time of my writing this, the Basic option is $20)

Premium – This option is only for the design but will get you all of the files you will need to use your logo on your website as well as anything else you will ever need it for. (at the time of my writing this, the Premium option is only $65)

Enterprise – This is a steal!  I haven’t used this myself because I am a designer. This option will not only give you the logo which is basically the “Premium” package, it also gives you business card designs, a social media kit, and more! (at the time of my writing this, the Enterprise package is only $90)

Seriously, this is going to be a short-cut for inspiration and design that a lot of people will be falling in love with.

Now that I’ve covered all of that, I hope it was helpful.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or for a faster response shoot me a tweet to my personal account @cjhallock.

Be Great & Stay Boosted!

Talk Soon!

Stock Photos Ultimate Guide | Always Up To Date Free/Paid Stock Photos

stock photos

Welcome to DigiToolBag’s Ultimate Guide to Stock Photos

Ever wonder how stock photos work? I’ve been marketing online for over 14 years now and found one of the most important things in marketing online is high-quality photos.  This includes the use of stock photography.

I’ve used both free and paid stock photos. I mostly use three to four different sites when I’m looking for photos I can use in my websites or on social media.

The following is a list of FREE & Paid Stock Photo Sites & Specials.

Stockfresh.com – This is a stock photo site that I’ve used the most over the last 6 years.  If you have a high need for stock photos each day you can get a subscription that will save you hundreds of dollars.

Pexels.com – Not a lot of options from search, but it does have some extremely nice photos. In fact, it is normally my first search when I’m looking for a stock photo.

Stockvault.net – Another awesome free stock photo site I’ve used recently. One thing that is different than Pexels is that it has a lot of vector style stock photos where Pexels does not

Unsplash.com – This is one of the first stops I make when I’m looking for a really high-resolution stock photo and want it free. The users on this site upload their images for free to use commercial and personal rights with no attribution required.

Okay, not all stock photos depict women laughing while eating salad or awkwardly posed scenarios. In fact, the world of stock photos is pretty vast and far too many business savvy people don’t realize the potential of using stock photos for your business, let alone using them if you make your own website.

Stock photos can be bought from aggregate sites for various purposes, alongside stock illustrations and video footage. Buying stock photos is a great alternative to hiring a photographer to take a few photos. Not only that, the process of buying stock photos is very easy. You only have to purchase credits or pay for the photos in local currency and click to download.

There are many websites that have various types of microstock photos for sale. I can list all the different sites but, instead, I’d rather just tell you StockFresh is what I’ve personally used for years. IF, you are wanting more limited use and willing to pay. If you are wanting something else then by all means, check out the sites listed above.   And the best part is… you can get started using stock photos for your business-related purposes today.

 

How To Use Stock Photos in General

Some people might frown at using stock photos, but let’s be honest: no one has the time or money to always hire a photographer. Stock photos are great for circumventing time and money costs involved with photography. Plus, if you’re savvy with search, you can find practically anything you need via a stock photo website.

How To Search For Stock Photos

You might have trouble finding ‘the right stock photo’ when getting started. To find photos that match what you need, depending on the stock photo website, you may need to enter in as many relevant keywords as you can.

Something like ”smiling woman happy outdoors summer beach palm tree’ (just an example) may bring up photos you might need to build a web page dedicated to a, let’s say, a vacation resort in Florida.

But please keep in mind that some sites work better with single keywords like “nature”.

 

How Stock Photos Work

It’s easy to use a stock photo. All stock photo websites will have a ‘Download’ button on the photo’s individual information page. You can choose to download the photo in most resolutions (sizes). Many will have the largest size available, but you may have to purchase an additional license to download.

Most images are perfectly usable under a ‘standard license,’ which enables most microstock photos to be used in most applications. You can reach the terms and conditions regarding licensing at any stock photo site. Just make sure you read the license information before you buy or use any stock photography. It’s pretty important you understand the term of use before, well, you use any stock photos!

After educating yourself, buying and downloading your photos, it’s time to use them. Most stock photos can be edited, manipulated and transformed into graphics suited for use on the web in graphics editing programs like Photoshop. Just give it a shot yourself!

Keep in mind, depending on the license, these photos can be used on social media sites, your personal blog, inside your self-published book and many other uses. Get creative!

I hope this helps you understand how stock photos work.

Talk Soon,

CJ

How To Find The Perfect Name For Your Website & Social Media

what you should know when you are naming a brand

Your website name is very important. But, naming a brand for your domain & social media handles could be the most important part of your marketing.

A domain name is like a virtual identification card. It’s a way for people to verify your online presence. Many mistakenly believe having a bad domain name is better than not having one at all, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Having a bad domain name can backfire and even cause you to lose customers and/or visitors. Having a bad domain name makes you look unprofessional while a good domain name leaves a positive impression and fosters a feeling of trust within your visitors.

A well-chosen domain name will also allow your website to rank higher in search engine results, which in turn allows your site to be seen by even more people.

Since your domain name will be on your social media account, other web properties, promotional print/swag, and more if you choose to take it over the top, you’ll want to choose a name that is reflective of what your website is.

Now that you understand the importance of a domain name, it’s time to make a list of potential domain names for your website. You don’t just have to use your company/product name.

In fact, it might be better not to if your company name is long or difficult to spell. One company had a difficult name to remember so it launched a website for its most popular product and found that customers were able to remember that domain name. This resulted in better customer/visitor conversions and higher search engine rankings since more customers were searching for the product than the company.

If you’re the face of your brand, you might consider using your name as your domain name. For instance, Gary Vaynerchuk and Mark Cuban are two people that are the face of their business. If that’s the case for you, then you’ll want to use your name as the domain name.

I would recommend you put together a list of 5-10 names that you would like to use. Do not get attached to any of these because in a few minutes we are going to eliminate a few of them.

Once you’ve come up with a list of potential domain names, go through and cross out anything that’s too long.  Sometimes the best name is a longer name depending on what you are doing for your website.

Try to stay around or under twenty characters so your domain name is easy to remember. Think about how easy it would be for someone to remember it.

Cross out anything that might have negative connotations. If you’re using several words write them without spaces to be sure that your domain name wouldn’t be potentially offensive. One of the examples that I found with this is a children’s clothing shop that was called Kid’s Exchange.

Kid’s Exchange didn’t look bad when it is punctuated properly but when people look at the name without punctuation it could look like something way worse!

I first saw this looking for examples of bad logo design for a social media business conference I was hosting.  The logo is all together with the same font and the letters are all different colors so it runs together.  This made kidsexchange look more like kid sex change.  From a branding point of view, this could be a very negative tick on your website.

After you’ve gone through your list and crossed some out, rank these domain names in order of your most favorite ones to your least favorite ones. Go online and research which domain names are available without any active trademarks and also has matching availability with social media profiles.

Watch the video training now, or follow along with the blog

Naming a Brand Video Trainings

 

 

You can use a FREE tool called KnowEm to check total availability.

http://knowem.com

use knowem naming a brand

Once you find a name that meets all of your requirements. You will want to finish the search of with checking for any of the other social media sites that you may use that is not on the homepage. You can check these by clicking on the Social Networks tab.

The Social Networks check on KnowEm is broken down into categories. So depending on what social sites/apps you are wanting to check you need to find that category and click on “Check This Category”.

Don’t worry if some of the sites are taken especially if you honestly never plan on using them. You should only be concerned if it is a platform that you will use or at least setup and point to your main social media platforms. (Contact me on Instagram @cjhallock)

Once you have found a name that you really like, that’s available on social media, for your domain (.com) & isn’t trademarked, make sure that no one else is using a similar name for something dishonest, spammy or offensive.

While this might seem like a very boring task, you don’t want your website confused with a similar website that’s not ethical. Even if you aren’t associated with them, it doesn’t mean people won’t automatically think about them when they visit your website.

how to use knowem to find the best domain & social media handles

NOTE: While you may want to use different extensions I highly recommend that you ONLY MOVE FORWARD WHEN YOU FIND A .COM. If you want to use a .net .org or one of the fun extensions such as .yeah, you can. But, you would be better getting the .com and building your website there then forward the other domain(s) to your main website. (More on that later)

If you do not see a social media site you want to check on the main page (like Instagram) you can go to the “Social Networks” tab and check each category of social sites. It automatically checks the “Blogging” category for you. If you want to check each of the other categories all you need to do is click “Check This Category” button for the desired category.

Run a search on Knowem.com with your desired username/domain and don’t forget to use a notebook or the Website Design Workbook to track your progress until you find the perfect name for your business.

With KnowEm, naming a brand doesn’t need to be a stressful task.  I hope this has helped you find the best name for your brand.  Comment below if you found your brand this way. Just be sure to secure all the platforms you are planning on using so no one else tries to be a punk and take it.

Why Every Website Needs A Blog | The Power Of Blogging

website blog

If you want to have a website, don’t just make a squeeze page and static sales letter and be done with it. Always implement a blog platform on your site so that you can take advantage of one of the most powerful forms of social media in existence. Remember the state of the internet. Content is “KING” & having a blog can help you grow your website traffic!

A blog is very easy to set up. If you’re using a hosting company with cPanel, then it’s even easier! All you have to do is log into your cPanel and install WordPress with the FREE web applications provided by HostYak.

Choose the platform you want most people to choose WordPress and click the New Installation link. Fill in the form with your administrative name and password. The directory you choose can be something like /blog which will make the blog appear on your URL like this: www.uronlinebrand.com/blog.

Once you finish the installation, you can go through the blogís dashboard and fill in all of the additional elements you want your blog to have. You can change the theme, for example.

There are many free and paid themes online that will match your niche topic perfectly. You can have one custom designed for you by a graphics designer who specializes in WordPress.

Watch out for the free themes, because they often insert links to their own sites (some of them very seedy) and they could have other ads strategically placed in the theme itself, distracting your customers from what you want them to see. We use GeneratePress for DigiToolBag.

Make sure you include some smart plugins with your blog. You can search and install free plugins that help your blog function better. For instance, some will remove spam from your blog. Others will create a sitemap for Google bots and other search engines to follow. You can create contact forms using plugins, too!

Make sure all settings are properly listed. For example, under settings, go to privacy and ensure that your blog is visible to the public. Sometimes it defaults to be private and youíd never know, thinking instead that your website was a complete failure!

If you’d like your URLs for each blog post to help you get indexed for your niche keywords, then go to settings, and click on permalinks. Choose the custom structure and paste this in the blank area: /%postname%/ because it will put the title of your blog post at the end of your URL, instead of something like yourdomain.com/blog/page3.

Once your blog is installed, the best thing you can do is start posting! Make posts on your blog frequently & daily is best. The more you post, the more Google and other search engines will come by to see what content you have that can be passed along to the people who use their search engines.

Secure Password Creation To Help Keep Hackers Out

how to create a secure password

No sane person would ever like someone else reading his or her email. Or for that matter some other person using her password and breaking into a financial institution. You should, therefore, choose a strong, secure password in such a manner that would be a hard nut to crack for others and easy for you to remember. The more random and mixed-up you make it, the harder it is for others to crack. Mind you, if your password is compromised, the password crackers will even take over your identity.

A password, if too short, is vulnerable to attack if an attacker gets hold of the cryptographic hash of the password. Present-day computers are fast enough to try all alphabetic passwords shorter than seven characters. We can call a password weak if it is short or is a default, or which can be rapidly guessed by searching a subset of all possible passwords such as words in the dictionary, proper names, words based on the username or common variations on these themes.

On the other hand, a strong password would be sufficiently long, random, or which can be produced only by the user who chose it, so that ‘guessing’ for it will require too long a time.

For maximum security, the user should follow some simple guidelines:

1) Passwords should preferably be at least 12 characters long.

2) Passwords should contain a mix of numbers, upper case & lower case letters, and special characters (%&3Ac_hT4@m7!).

3) Passwords should not contain a dictionary word from any dictionary, be it French, Spanish, medical, etc.

4) Each password should be different from the user’s User-ID and any permutation of that User-ID.

5) New passwords and old passwords should differ by at least 3 characters.

6) Avoid picking names or nicknames of people, pets, or places, or personal information that can be easily found out, such as your birthday, address etc.

7) It’s wise to stay away from common keyboard sequences, such as dfgh678 or abc345.

8) Never form a password by appending a digit to a word. That can be easily guessed.

9) Avoid writing your password down or storing it on your computer.

10) Never share your password with anyone else.

Once you finalize your password, I’d recommend you use a service like LastPass or OnePass to keep your passwords secure.

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s discuss two amazing tools you can use to help create a secure password.

The first tool we’re going to cover is PasswordsGenerator.net which helps generate secure passwords for you and then will give you a phrase to help remember it.

You do not “have to” use the password generator but I do recommend that you test the strength of your password you want to use and never settle for anything below “Strong/Very Strong”.

Password Strength Checker

This is one of my newest additions to my “Best Free Online Tools” list!

PasswordMeter.com is (in my opinion) one of the websites everyone should use! It does a complete test on your password and will check the strength or complexity of your password. The stronger or more complex the password, the more secure!

I tested the password I got from PasswordsGenerator.net and you can see below how Password Meter will test your password.

Now you have the resources … So go get secure! 🙂

P.S. I know there are some people who still feel the need to keep a “log book” of their login/password information as a physical copy. If you feel like you would rather do that, here is a cool password log book that should help you.

How a Small Business Can Create a Big Brand

how to create a big brand around your small business

Most small business owners will scoff at the mere mention of the word branding for their business. At a juncture in their business where every penny is being watched to ensure movement toward eventual profits, branding hasn’t even entered the equation.

The real truth is that all businesses – big or small – have a brand within them. It’s a matter of finding a way to bring it out to make your company stand apart from your competitors.

Many small business owners neglect the branding process because they feel it’s an expense they can’t afford. But branding can help position you as the expert in your niche – and it can catapult your profits upward faster than many other components of your business strategy.

While it’s true that the big businesses shell out big bucks to make a brand for their company, it really isn’t necessary to spend that much money. Branding is what sets you apart from other companies offering the same type of products or services as you.

It could come from your logo, awesome customer service, the quality of the product you put on the market, or the buzz you generate in your niche. The next time you watch television, actually pay attention to the commercials.

What are some of the brands you see in the companies that placed those ads on the air? State farm insurance has a commercial jingle that says, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” It’s not only their jingle – but also a brand because it invokes feelings of trust in their target audience.

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get a brand for your company. Figure out what you want to be known for and develop a tagline or motto for your business.

What makes the store Payless shoes stand out from their competitors? The simple fact that the customer pays less for a pair of shoes than most shoe stores! They created branding right in their business name.

Branding is not something you have to break the bank to get. Figure out what your company or product’s strong points are and build from there. Let your business grow and get your company’s image developed by providing a brand to make you stand out from those you’re competing against.

 

Top Five Business Name Generators – Reviews & Suggestions For All

business name generators

Business name generators can save you time and reduce stress when you are starting a new business or brand online. I’ve started over 100 websites as side projects over the last 15 years. Like many others, the biggest thing I’ve had a problem with is coming up with a business name. Whether it is just a blog, a tech startup, an affiliate website or a business site, coming up with a name is always difficult.

I’ve spent countless hours coming up with names before only to find that the domain isn’t available.
One way I’ve found to come up with business names that also will ensure you pick a name that has an available domain …

Business Name Generators!

There are a lot of different name generators out on the web and I’d love to break them all down but while doing research for this post I came across a great breakdown of name generators.

There are many components that go into creating a good website or blog, but one of the most important – and sometimes overlooked – factors is having a good domain name. Something that fits well with your business name and purpose, something that’s memorable and not prone to misspelling, and something that taps into your targeted keywords to enhance your SEO efforts.

You can spend hours brainstorming the right business, website or blog name, but there are some great tools available online to give you a huge range of suitable options in a snap. Business name generators are not a new concept, and there are tons available. Although, not all are high quality. I wanted to put a bunch to the test and give you the skinny on some of the tools I thought yielded the best results and proved simple to use.

To test the many business name generators I stumbled across online, I imagined myself to be in the business of selling rock band tee-shirts, looking to target and incorporate the keyword term ‘band tee’ for SEO, and because it would most clearly explain my hypothetical business in a nutshell.

Here are the five best business name generators I recommend trying out for yourself.

Lean Domain Search

WordPress’ parent company Automattic recently acquired Lean Domain Search, so it was naturally the first tool I tested, and it set the bar extremely high for all of the other tools that followed.
I plugged ‘band tees’ into Lean Domain Search and was presented 4989 available domains.

But the sheer number of suggestions wasn’t the only thing that impressed me.
Using Lean Domain Search, when you select one of the domains suggested, the site double checks the domain is still available but also checks that the related Twitter name is also available. For example, when I clicked ‘BandTeesPro.com’ I was shown that @BandTeesPro was available on Twitter.

I was also directed to register the domain with three popular providers, making the task simple.
Another bonus of using Lean Domain Search is that you can browse the list of suggestions on your webpage, or you can copy the entire list to your clipboard with the click of a button and paste it into a document to come back to later.

Panabee

Panabee stands out from the plethora of ugly domain name generators online thanks largely to its attractive, quirky interface, but it also delivers on functionality.

Using this tool, you’re presented with a list of .coms and international domains (some of which are already taken, meaning you need to click through to see availability) as well as lists of related terms for each of the words plugged into the system.

You’ll also be presented with a brief list of Google AdWords currently targeting those terms (for example, in my testing Panabee displayed a selection of other businesses promoting band tees) to give you an idea of the kind of competition you’ll be facing online.

You can change domain extensions, to .biz, .org and more, and when you click a domain name suggestion and you’re automatically directed to GoDaddy, offering further related suggestions and purchasing options.

Domainr

Domainr is slightly different to the other tools I came across, but it has a twist on the domain generator concept that got my attention right away.

It doesn’t offer suggestions for related words and a pile of possible domain name options, but it does offer suggestions for domain extensions that can be used to give you a shorter domain, and a point of difference.

When I plugged bandtees into their search field I was presented with a brief list of 13 options, some available and some unavailable, and some including some clever domain extension use I wouldn’t have ordinarily considered, such as:

  • Bandte.es
  • bandt.ee/s
  • b.an/dtees

Integrating your domain extension into your name isn’t for everyone, but could be a good option to check out if you’re looking for something a little different – particularly if you’re working in the tech and innovation industries.

Name Mesh

Enter your targeted words and hit search and Name Mesh offers a selection of common short domains, similar domain suggestions, SEO-focused suggestions, fun suggestions and mix suggestions to help you find a domain name that’s perfect for your business blog or website.

Domains are marked red or green to indicate their availability, and you can hide unavailable domains and set a maximum character length in the settings. You can also click a domain option to see its social availability on Facebook and Twitter, and turn additional extensions on and off (such as .com, .io, .co, and .net) to give you more or fewer options.

Domains Bot

Domains Bot is simple to use with a clean interface. Simply enter your keywords and hit the Search button, then further refine your list by allowing or disallowing synonyms for each of your keywords, selecting which TLD extensions to include, your price range and more.

You’ll be presented with a list of available and already-registered domains, and information about social availability for each suggestion. Hit the Buy button next to the suggestion you like and be directed to a list of registered providers and prices.

Have a suggestion for a great tool I’ve missed here? Be sure to share it in the comments!

I am still working on more research into finding the best business name generator.  For now, these are on the list!

Talk Soon!
CJ Hallock

 

PS. Once you find a good domain it is always recommended to do a trademark search just to play it safe. You also should check to see if you can get the social media handles with that same name.  So once you use the business name generators and find a name you might want to move forward with, I’d recommend the next step. Follow along to this post to find the best domain for your business or side project.  I’d ask that you read the full post but you can skip to #6 and check everything from social media availability to domain availability and also check to make sure no one has the name you want to be trademarked.  🙂