Envato https://envato.com Design & creative inspiration Tue, 16 Jan 2018 05:40:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 https://assets.wordpress.envato-static.com/uploads/2016/08/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Envato https://envato.com 32 32 Are You Harnessing the Power of Semantic Search On Google? https://envato.com/blog/semantic-search/ Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:48:27 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=62103 Google search’s ability to find content directly connected to the words we put in, as well as matching our intent, never fails to amaze. This intelligent and predictive search capability is known as a semantic search. Keywords certainly aren’t the only important factor with it comes SEO and it’s becoming increasingly important to also incorporate […]

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Image: Searching by LuckyImages

Google search’s ability to find content directly connected to the words we put in, as well as matching our intent, never fails to amaze. This intelligent and predictive search capability is known as a semantic search.

Keywords certainly aren’t the only important factor with it comes SEO and it’s becoming increasingly important to also incorporate SEO strategies that will harness the power of semantic searches on your website. At its simplest, this involves anticipating the user’s intent and determine the context of what they’re searching.

However, to implement such strategies, you’ll need a basic understanding of the system around semantic search.

What is a Semantic Search?

Simply put, a semantic search is a more intelligent search that takes a look at a user’s history and general context of words searched for to give relevant results.

The “intent” of your search is for what you are searching, while the “context” is for what you mean to search. To give an example, if you search for the “Beatles”, how does Google know to show your results for the band instead of assuming you made a mistake and misspelled a search about insects?

Google uses the vast amount of data it’s collected about you as a user, as well as trends for similar searches and results, to determine the context and, therefore, what you actually want to find when you search “Beatles”.

Image:The Beetles Clipart by Jumsoft

Semantic searches are what allows Google to interpret conversational questions, autocorrect your spelling in searches, and provide images and graphics that also match your queries.

Semantic Search: How Does Google Connect the Dots?

In 2013, Google launched the Hummingbird algorithm which was the biggest overhaul to its search engine since 2009. Because people communicate through conversation, not keywords, Google felt it necessary to make serious changes. According to Google’s Senior Vice President Amit Singhal, the new algorithm was designed to better understand questions and quickly answer them.

Hummingbird understands that words have multiple meanings, so it uses search history, user location, spelling, intent, and context to better understand what you are actually looking for when you type in search words. Because of this, Google is able to quickly analyze full questions. From there, it’s able to identify and rank answers to those questions from previously indexed content.

Google is able to deliver all this information through the use of a search engine component that used to be called the Knowledge Graph, which is now known as the Knowledge Vault. Google isn’t the only search engine with a vault of user knowledge. Bing, Yahoo, and others also utilize the same sort of system in an attempt to dredge up the most relevant search results for users.

Why Is It Important to Use Semantic Search Tactics?

Using semantic tactics for SEO is important for the same reason that stuffing keywords into content was essential ten or fifteen years ago: good SEO puts your website at the top of search results.

This means:

  • More clicks
  • More page views
  • More unique users
  • More conversions

Of course, the real reason semantic tactics are essential is because older SEO strategies are simply not as effective. At this point, some popular SEO strategies that were popular even a year ago have become obsolete, such as the concept that more links mean higher rankings and that single keyword-rich content is essential.

How Do You Improve Your Semantic Search Score?

When developing content to do well in a semantic search, create it with the user in mind. This means you need to develop high-quality content that is worthwhile and substantial.

Ask yourself, “If I were searching for my product, what information would I want to know?” Then, create content that supplies that information—not just information about the product but the type of content that your target market will want to read.

Making essential information easy to locate on your website is another way to improve your semantic score. In fact, you’ll notice that Google sometimes answers a search question by providing, at the top of the search results, an excerpt from a webpage that concisely responds to the question (also known as featured snippets).

With links, like content, more isn’t necessarily better—it’s all about quality. Linking to relevant sites with stronger semantic scores will bolster your score more than linking to many irrelevant, low-ranking sites.

Though jamming keywords and alternative spellings of keywords into content is an obsolete SEO strategy, keywords, especially long-tailed keywords, are still important. Part of creating targeted content is to effectively use tools like Google Keyword Planner or keyword.io.

semantic search

The subsequent content should not only utilize the keywords you’re trying to rank for, but also using associated keywords that will help develop context for search engines. For example, when writing about running, you might also include information about shoes, trails, tracks, fitness, diet, and other information that will be relevant to your target market.

Recall that Google, Bing, and Yahoo had their own versions of the Knowledge Vault. It turns out that they all got together to determine keywords and tags for the best user experience. Take advantage of this by marking up content with tags defined by Schema.org.

How social media sites impact your semantic search score is a bit more complicated than you might expect. Yes, social media is the second best digital marketing channel after a website, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will improve your ability to rise to the top of a semantic search.

Google’s Matt Cutts explained in 2014, that there was an absence of social signals from the Google Search algorithm. Nonetheless, Google does crawl social sites for data, just as they would any other site. This means that it’s likely that links published on social media pages will be marked as credible backlinks and thus influence a page’s rank.

That aside, your social media sites do influence the content showing up in user’s search results, which makes them exceptionally important to develop as part of any digital marketing campaign.

Tools That Improve Semantic Searchability

There are a variety of tools (and SEO plugins) that can help you develop and test the semantic searchability of your content.

Answer the Public is a visual search tool that fetches and maps keyword suggestions when you search Google and Bing. It attempts to provide insights into the motivations and emotions of the people behind specific search queries.

semantic search

Take advantage of the Google Suggest Feature, which is the autocomplete function you’ll notice when searching. The suggestions presented based on a keyword or phrase typed in can give you insights into relevant and frequent searches.

semantic search

One of the best keyword tools for semantic search specifically is the Semantic Link Search Tool. This tool will help you determine which related keywords you should be including in your posts. Keywordtool.io is also a great tool, as it collects keywords from Google, Apple’s App Store, and Bing autosuggestions based on language, country, or religion.

semantic search

In addition to these, there are other useful tools available to improve your semantic search score, such as Google’s Data Testing Tool, Yandex Checker, Text Razor, and Semaphore.

Are You Harnessing the Power of Semantic Search?

Harnessing the power of semantic searches is straightforward: create quality content. By focusing on intent and context, you’ll naturally be producing posts that will do well and include related single keywords and long-tailed keywords.

Of course, in addition to creating relevant posts to your target market, there are still plenty of ways to tweak content in order to improve your semantic search score.

What are your best tips for excelling with semantic search? Tweet your thoughts at @envato and we’ll share the best insights!

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Subscriptions and Freelance Tools Worth Paying for To Grow Your Business https://envato.com/blog/subscriptions-and-freelance-tools/ Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:21:38 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=59884 If you’re ready to scale up your toolset with paid subscriptions that will enable you to be more efficient with time, here are our top picks for any freelance business.

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Clockwise from top: Adobe Creative Cloud, Envato Elements, Mailchimp.

When you’re just getting started as a freelancer, it can be hard to justify adding any new expense to your fledgling business. In the early months of going out on your own, it can take some time to become profitable (and get paid!) and at the beginning, your focus is primarily on making rent and praying that you’ll be able to eat more than oatmeal and ramen noodles for every meal.

Luckily, for many freelancers, this survival state mentality is only temporary. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you’re wasting time and money by not adopting the use of some paid tools that make it possible to run your business more efficiently.

If you’re ready to scale up your toolset with paid subscriptions that will enable you to be more efficient with time, here are our top picks for any freelance business:

Bookkeeping: Quickbooks

freelance tools

Image Source: Quickbooks

As you add clients and additional expenses to your business, it will become increasingly more difficult to keep track of these things without a system in place. The best bookkeeping systems include reporting features and the ability to search for individual transactions in need of follow up.

Using a tool like Quickbooks allows you to integrate all related financial accounts, like a business bank account, credit card, and/or Paypal account, so no transactions slip through the cracks. Most CPAs are very familiar with Quickbooks, which will come in handy come tax season when mistakes can result in numerous fees for your freelance business.

Quickbooks plans start at $10/month and scale up depending on the specific features your freelance business requires. An alternative paid bookkeeping option is Freshbooks, and a popular free option, if you’re still pinching pennies, is Xero.

Design Tools: Creative Cloud

freelance tools

It’s not the tools that make the artist, but the right equipment can help you bring an idea to life as it was intended. Whether design makes up the majority of your job or not, people in the creative space often find a need to access tools like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Dreamweaver.

The barrier to entry is low now that Adobe has switched these applications to subscription pricing that starts at $19.99/month for access to a single app and $49.99/month for access to all of Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps.

If you’re still in survival mode and don’t necessarily need advanced graphic design features, a popular alternate image creation tool is Canva.

Design Assets & Education: Envato Elements

freelance tools

The best design tools won’t get you very far if you don’t know how to use them. That’s why a subscription to Envato Elements includes access to hundreds of design ebooks and courses. Envato Elements also grants access to hundreds of thousands of stock photos and other graphic assets that will help you to distinguish yourself on your next client project.

Business Management: AND CO

freelance tools

Image Source: AND CO

AND CO is an app made up of many useful and connected features for managing your freelance business. The app’s functionality starts with creating contracts, which automatically generate invoices, which are directly connected to your payment collection mechanism (via Stripe or Paypal). It also handles time and expense tracking for a more detailed look into the administrative aspects of running your freelance business.

You could purchase subscription access to AND CO on their website starting at $14/month, but may be excited to find that it’s also included in a subscription to Envato Elements.

Social Media Scheduling: Buffer

freelance tools

Image Source: Buffer

To continuously drive leads to your freelance business, you need to stay top of mind with your audience. Creating a solid social media strategy is an essential element of inbound marketing that can take an hour or less of your time each week—with the right tools.

Buffer is a social media scheduling tool that will allow you to batch out the task of content scheduling, with tons of useful features, like the ability to add content to a publishing queue (perfect for content curation efforts) and a built-in post time optimization feature, based on data from your own social profiles. Buffer’s free plan is pretty limited, so upgrade to their Awesome plan for just $10/month.

Popular social media scheduling alternatives include Hootsuite and Sprout Social.

Conference Calls: Zoom

freelance tools

Image Source: Zoom.us

If you work with individuals, connecting to discuss project details is as simple as placing a call. But when you’re working with teams or companies where each employee works remotely, it’s a bit tacky (and potentially problematic) to be using your phone to merge multiple calls.

Zoom provides the perfect online/video/call-in conferencing solution. Free plans are available, but you’ll get cut off if a group call goes longer than 40 minutes. Zoom’s Pro plan costs just $14.99/month with unlimited meeting times for each call, for up to 100 participants.

Email Service Provider: MailChimp

freelance tools

Image Source: MailChimp

Offering services to clients is just one way to make money in your freelance business. Once you start to make a name for yourself, you can use the power of your influence and audience to make money with passive income opportunities: online courses, affiliate marketing, and the like.

In order to make these money generating activities work, you’ll need to be building your email list from the start. It all comes together with a good email service provider (ESP). MailChimp is a great ESP for beginners, as they offer free plans up to 2000 subscribers. Unlike many other ESPs on the market, they also offer free email automation capabilities.

Other popular ESPs include ConvertKit, InfusionSoft, and AWeber.

Project Management: Basecamp

freelance tools

Source: Basecamp

If you adopt just one app for managing client projects and contractors, let it be Basecamp. You can use Basecamp as a hub for everything relating to client projects, with features that allow for easy communication between parties and file sharing. If you work with contractors, a tool like Basecamp takes the most important information out of your head and makes it easy to document progress so that you have a larger available capacity to think creatively.

Basecamp offers a flat rate of $99/month with no limits on projects or users. Asana is another popular project management alternative that offers similar functionality with free and low priced premium plans.

Task Management: Todoist

freelance tools

If projects and business activities are made up of a lot of little tasks, you might instead organize activities using a task management tool like Todoist. Todoist operates on a slightly more bare-bones basis than the aforementioned Basecamp but is ideal for quickly assigning tasks to yourself or contractors. Deciding between Basecamp, Todoist, or a combination of these types of tools ultimately comes down to personal preference and your own ideal workflow.

Todoist is free and offers a Premium version available for just $28.99/year. Wunderlist is another popular task management alternative.

Freelance Tools Worth Paying for To Grow Your Business

As a freelancer, you have to play most, if not every role in your business—including taking on administrative tasks you never thought you’d ever have to deal with. If your business is just getting started, you can get by with free tools and by patching processes together. Eventually though, you’ll want to enable your growth by investing in tools that can help you to be more purposeful with the time you spend managing your business.

What are your favorite subscription tools that have played an important role in your business? Tweet your thoughts at @envato and we’ll share the best suggestions!

Read next: How the subscriber share model is disrupting the subscription economy

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Hire Yourself to Write the Copy for Your Design Portfolio Website https://envato.com/blog/design-portfolio-website/ Tue, 05 Dec 2017 21:15:35 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=60244 Creating content for your design portfolio website can seem overwhelming, but here's how to break it into easily digestible steps.

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Image: Envato Elements

Creating the written content for your online portfolio can seem like an overwhelming prospect when considering the entire process as a whole. Each page requires multiple necessary elements for telling the story of your business and work, while also encouraging visitors to get in touch with you to discuss business opportunities. If writing really isn’t your thing, the idea of sitting down and getting everything done can be something that ends up getting pushed back indefinitely.

Don’t let overwhelm get in the way of creating a design portfolio website that’s perfectly representative of you, while driving leads for new business opportunities. Here’s how to DIY the copywriting for your design portfolio website, one manageable page element at a time:

Home Page

The homepage is arguably the most important page for your business, where visitors first land to learn more about you. As such, it should be constructed with care, incorporating multiple conversions factors encouraging visitors to move deeper into your website (or get in touch), while also telling the story of what makes you unique.

Here are some important elements to include on your design portfolio website’s homepage, with a few tips for writing them:

  • Heading: The h1 tag of your website is just as important to search engines as it is to your website’s human visitors. You should use it to incorporate your most important keyword while also using it to communicate the purpose of your website and the type of clients you serve. For example, my portfolio might use a primary heading saying something like, “Maddy Osman is an SEO Content Machine who works with Fortune 500 companies”.
  • Slider Content: Many modern portfolio themes involve the use of a slider to immediately grab a visitor’s attention. If you’re using a theme with a slider, you’ll have to come up with slider content that includes headings, a phrase or short sentence, and a call to action for each slider. Use your slider to call attention to something new and exciting (like a new portfolio piece/case study), or an important action/page you want to guide visitors to (like your blog or contact page).
  • Feature Items: In many ways, feature items act like slider content: drawing attention to desired conversion activities. Unlike sliders, they tend to be more permanent page elements. Use your feature items as an opportunity to send visitors to your most important web pages: your portfolio, your contact page, and a blog or about page. Give them a title, sentence or two descriptions, and relevant calls to action (“Learn More” would do just fine).
  • Testimonials: Testimonials shouldn’t live on their own page, but rather, should be strategically woven throughout your entire design portfolio website. The good news? You don’t have to create any original content! The bad news? If you don’t currently have any testimonials to work with, you’ll have to start asking past clients and collaborators for their input. For best results, ask people to leave public recommendations on LinkedIn as a public record, then copy over for use on your homepage, service pages, and wherever else they’re most appropriate.
  • Email Newsletter Call Out: Not everyone looking through your website wants to be a client right now, so you’ll want to incorporate some type of conversion mechanism for staying in touch. Create compelling copy for why someone might want to sign up for your emails: general copy about “email updates” will not interest anyone. Consider creating a lead magnet that brings value to subscribers in exchange for their email address.

Other homepage elements you may want to include (but don’t necessarily need to create copy for) include:

  • Features for your most recent or most popular blog posts
  • A feature area with links to relevant case studies or recent portfolio additions
  • Client logos to show social proof for working with you

About Page

Image: dekko theme

Writing an irresistible about page is no easy feat, so consider making the job a bit easier by separating your writing into a few distinct pieces:

  • Who You Are & Why You Design: Though your about page should honestly be more about connecting with your visitor than launching into a detailed autobiography of your life, most visitors click through to this page because they want to learn more about the person behind the portfolio. Take some time to talk about some of your quirks and what got you into this profession. You could also talk about where you live and your industry involvements. Just remember that brevity will be key when it comes to talking about yourself so as not to distract from your design portfolio website’s conversion goals.
  • Who You Serve: Tell the story of your business through the examples of the clients you’ve worked with. As long as you don’t have an NDA with them, feel free to name drop some of the companies you’ve designed for, and some of the positive things you’ve helped them to achieve through your work. This is also an ideal place for weaving in another compelling client testimonial or two.
  • What You Do: Give people an idea of what to expect when working with you. What areas do you specialize in? What are your favorite types of projects? Have you won any awards for the work you specialize in? Use this part of your about page to answer any questions clients might have about working with you—you could even incorporate the use of a FAQ area if you’re frequently being emailed about certain questions from prospective clients.

While you’re working on the copy for your about page, you might also consider drawing inspiration from examples of awesome about pages.

Services Page(s)

A service page or individual service pages give context to how you provide that given service as an individual.

If you have just one service page, it’ll probably need:

  • A heading with your most important keyword
  • A subheading for each offering
  • A 1-2 paragraph description of each service offering, with a call to action to get in touch after each one

If you have one page per service area (recommended), you’ll want to think of content in terms of:

  • A heading with your most important keyword
  • A quick 1-3 sentence description of the service
  • 3+ “Feature Items” that focus on unique and compelling elements that you bring to providing that service

More so than any other page on your design portfolio website, it’s a good idea to directly embed contact forms on service pages.

Contact Page

Image: Illustrator theme

Your contact page won’t require a lot of copy, but rather the smart arrangement of multiple options for getting in touch.

If your graphic design business targets local business, it will be essential to provide the NAP on your contact page (and footer). This abbreviation refers to the company’s official name, address, and phone number. You’ll get bonus points with local SEO if you also embed a Google Map with your businesses location on your contact page.

Here are a few ways you can encourage people to get in touch on your contact page:

  • Phone Number and Address: Especially if you work with local businesses.
  • Contact form: Conversion best practices suggest that the less fields, the better, but when it comes to B2B services, it’s recommended to ask for the contact’s name, phone number, email address, a subject line, and a message.
  • Calendar scheduler: A tool like Calendly can empower potential clients to book time to talk to you based on your own calendar availability.

Blog Page

The main consideration for creating copy on your blog page is the blog itself, which is definitely outside of the scope of this article! That said, there is one particular page element worth focusing on that you may have to create some copy for—the sidebar.

Some people choose to go without a sidebar, preferring not to distract from the actual blog content. But here are a few blog sidebar content elements you might consider incorporating:

  • A search bar: If you have a fair amount of content on your blog, this will help visitors find the articles most relevant to them. In terms of necessary content, you might create a custom title for your search, like “Search through our content archives”.
  • Related posts: This functionality can be accomplished through the use of a WordPress plugin or a built-in theme feature. Again, all you really have to do is give it a relevant title.
  • Email signup: If people are digging the content you create, make it easy for them to subscribe to get more. Include a compelling call to action or lead magnet, similar to what you’ve already written for your homepage.

Hiring Yourself to Write the Copy For Your Design Portfolio Website

Broken up into bite-sized elements, the prospect of doing the copywriting for your own design portfolio website seems completely achievable. For best results, give yourself enough time to focus on each individual element. Don’t try to rush the process, which can break down under a tight deadline.

What other tips would you give to a person undertaking the task of copywriting their own design portfolio website?

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Live a Digital Nomad Lifestyle with These Tools https://envato.com/blog/digital-nomad-lifestyle/ Sun, 26 Nov 2017 21:06:46 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=60195 As part of a transition to a digital nomad lifestyle, you’re going to have to downsize—a lot.

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Image by Grey_Coast_Media

The term “digital nomad” gets thrown around a lot as the ideal for making money doing what you love, in a way that makes you location independent. Severing your connection to physical locations and time zones enables you to make world travel more than just a once-in-awhile vacation plan. As a digital nomad, you can bring your work just about anywhere you please, jumping from country to country as often as you’d like.

It’s not all fun and excitement—a digital nomad lifestyle certainly takes discipline and processes to be effective. Here’s what you need to know to get started:

Digital Nomad Lifestyle Basic Needs

As part of a transition to a digital nomad lifestyle, you’re going to have to downsize—a lot. But don’t get rid of everything! Here are some essential physical possessions you’ll need:

  • A Good Computer: Digital nomads conduct the majority of their work through their laptops. Stray away from Chromebooks: you’ll need something with as much (or more!) computing power than a good desktop computer.
  • A Stable Internet Connection: Ok, this isn’t technically a physical possession, but it’s definitely a need on par in importance with your computer. Before settling into a coffee shop for the day in your country of choice, make sure to test the free wifi to see if it will suit your needs. Traveling and working domestically, you might opt to invest in a hotspot so that you never have to rely on anyone else for internet access.
  • Chargers: If you’re posting up at a coffee shop or coworking space all day, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to get work done, without getting shut down because of low battery issues. Remember to pack your laptop charger, phone charger, and chargers for other gadgets you want to keep at full battery.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: No matter where you work, it’s important to stay hydrated. Traveling with a reusable water bottle makes it so that you always have a receptacle to hold water.
  • Headphones with a Built-In Microphone: Headphones and music make it easy to block out the noise around you so that you can settle in and get work done. With a built-in microphone, they also enable you to take client calls that you can hear clearly in public places.
  • A Good Computer Bag: The standard laptop bag probably isn’t big enough for a digital nomad who may plan to be out and about all day long. Instead, opt for a backpack with a pocket for your laptop, a water bottle holder, and various zippered areas to organize everything else. An affordable option is Mancro’s Laptop Backpack on Amazon (their bestseller in the category).

The Essential Digital Nomad Toolset

Once you’ve got the basics covered, you’ll want to start thinking about what tools you need to make use of to help bridge the gap between your new digital nomad lifestyle and your existing business.

Here are a few essentials to get you started:

Skype

digital nomad lifestyle

Once you start traveling internationally, you won’t be able to rely on cellular data to stay in touch with clients and other collaborators (unless you can stomach the bill for doing so!). One of the most popular tools for communicating with people around the world is Skype. It’s reach and popularity make it ideal for setting and executing meetings—whether using audio or video. Skype is free to use so long as you and your contact are using wifi, but you can also purchase credits for calling phone numbers through Skype.

Zoom is another tool you might consider investing in for making it easy to conduct meetings with clients from anywhere in the world, as you can call in via phone or computer.

Paypal

digital nomad lifestyle

Image Source: Paypal

Adopting the digital nomad lifestyle means that you’ll probably pick up clients from different corners of the world. Normally, collecting payments from international organizations can be a challenge. However, Paypal transcends international boundaries and makes it straightforward to accept payments from practically anywhere.

One potential caveat involves a payment processing fee (2.9% + $0.30 per transaction) or international fees (4.4% transaction fee plus a fixed fee based on currency received), but both of these fee types can be considered a cost of doing business. In most cases, you’ll be able to claim these fees as tax deductions—just make sure to confirm with your accountant. 

Google Drive

digital nomad lifestyle

Image Source: Google Drive

If you’re sharing documents with clients, you need a solution for doing so that is both convenient and secure. There are plenty of options for cloud-based document sharing, but Google Drive has it all:

  • The ability to collaborate with others in real time
  • The ability to set permissions and various levels of access to documents
  • Version control and commenting/suggestions

Though you’re limited to 15 gigabytes of data for free, you can upgrade your data access at any time starting at $1.99/month for 100 gigabytes. Dropbox is another excellent option for cloud-based document sharing. 

Calendly

digital nomad lifestyle

If you make frequent use of Google products, it’s probably safe to assume that Google Calendar is one of your go-tos. When you’re working with clients all over the world (or just in a different timezone than you), you’ll need an easy scheduling solution that doesn’t require you to calculate time differences. Calendly shows clients your availability, and allows them to set meetings in their own timezone. You can get by with the basic free plan, but there’s additional functionality in their Premium plans, which start at $8/month.

Business Administration: AND CO

digital nomad lifestyle

Image Source: AND CO

Doing client work is just one part of running your business. Whether you like it or not, to keep your business running, you need to play multiple roles besides those that clients hire you for: Accounts Payable & Receivable (invoicing), Legal (contracts), Debt Collector, Accountant (preparing taxes), and so on. You may seek help with any (or all) of these roles, but as the person in charge of your business, you must have some general knowledge of everything going on.

AND CO can help you manage your business from anywhere, with tools to help you carry out all of the aforementioned roles and easily onboard new clients. It’s included as part of a subscription to Envato Elements. Check out AND CO’s ebook, Anywhere, for tons of practical advice for living a digital nomad lifestyle.

If you work with contractors and other collaborators, you’ll also want to be thinking about how to best collaborate with your team across time zones.

Traveling Around

A final area of consideration when it comes to living the digital nomad lifestyle is the aspect of travel. The following tools can help you find the best deals on flights as well as city-specific information you’ll need to properly rock the digital nomad lifestyle.

Hopper

digital nomad lifestyle

Hopper is a mobile app that tells you the best times to fly from place to place based on historical data. It’s ideal for someone with a flexible schedule, making it easy to plan flights when pricing will be at it’s lowest.

Scott’s Cheap Flights

digital nomad lifestyle

Hopper relies on big data, but Scott’s Cheap Flights relies on actual people who scout out mistake fares and other ridiculously low priced flight options. You set your desired departure cities and Scott’s team sends email alerts for ridiculously cheap international flight deals with instructions for how to book—often through multiple emails each day. It’s ideal for serendipitous travel, which is perfect for the digital nomad lifestyle.

Nomad List

digital nomad lifestyle

Planning your next digital nomad move? Nomad List gives you an idea of what to expect in each city as far as internet accessibility, rent, nightlife, weather, and even safety.

Workfrom

digital nomad lifestyle

Wondering where to spend your day? Workfrom provides location-specific options for getting work done, remotely. It provides a number of search filters for picking a location based on noise levels, public or private accessibility, and which options are open late.

The Digital Nomad Lifestyle

If you’re just starting to consider the digital nomad lifestyle, this list is really just the tip of the iceberg as far as what you’ll need to be successful. Before selling all your possessions and breaking your current lease, make sure to do your research and plan out exactly how you’re going to pull this off.

If you’re ready to break into the digital nomad lifestyle, know that you’re not alone in doing so. Leave your questions in the comments below to connect with other digital nomads!

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22 Gifts for Graphic Designers and Developers https://envato.com/blog/22-gifts-graphic-designers-developers/ Thu, 09 Nov 2017 21:56:54 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=60209 We’ve got you covered with a wide range of gift ideas for graphic designers and developers that range from super practical to a little goofy.

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There are many different occasions for which to give gifts during the year, regardless of what exactly you celebrate. On top of gift-giving holidays like Christmas or Hannukah, there are plenty of additional gift-giving occasions to be thinking about: birthdays, graduations, and other rites of passage.

Whether or not you’re a designer, we’ve got you covered with a wide range of gift ideas for graphic designers and developers that range from super practical to a little goofy, but all that would certainly be appreciated.

Books for Designers

If you’re looking for Christmas or other winter holiday gifts, you might consider the gift of education. After all, New Year’s Resolutions are just around the corner!

The Design of Everyday Things

Gifts for Graphic Designers

The Design of Everyday Things is a book that transcends many different types of design to focus on the concept of usability. It inspires to reader to diagnose potential usability issues in the objects they interact with, while also finding appreciation for objects that are genius in their simplicity of use.

Don’t Make Me Think

Gifts for Graphic Designers

Building on to the concept of usability, Don’t Make Me Think offers guidance specifically with regards to the field of web design. The book is a quick read and separated into easy to digest chapters and really should be considered a must-read for any designer who creates for the web.

HTML For Babies

Gifts for Graphic Designers

The designer with kids will totally get a kick out of this board book. According to the book’s creators, it’s never too early to start developing! There’s also CSS for Babies and Javascript for Babies if the baby in question is especially precocious.

Thoughts on Design

Gifts for Graphic Designers

Who’s the greatest graphic designer of all time? Besides you, another top contender is Paul Rand, who’s credited as the designer for well-known and iconic logos that include IBM, UPS, and ABC. Though the original text was written in 1947, it still manages to be relevant today, even after many new technical advances in graphic design.

Adult Coloring Books

Gifts for Graphic Designers

Many artists experiment with different mediums. Sometimes inspiration hits when you get away from your norm. As such, adult coloring books can make for the perfect gift for the creative designer in your life. This particular option is “optimized” for stress relief—ideal for decompressing after a day of client work gone wrong.

Envato Elements

Gifts for Graphic Designers

Give your designer giftee the gift of on-demand learning with a subscription to Envato Elements. In addition to stock photos, graphic assets for projects, and lots more, your giftee will receive access to 170+ ebooks, from favorite designer publishers that include Smashing Magazine, Packt Publishing, and A List Apart.

Practical Gifts for Designers

If you’re the practical gift-giving type, there are plenty of gifts for graphic designers that you can give to make their lives a lot easier or help them to be more productive in their work.

House Cleaning

Quick turnaround design projects can mean neglecting everything around you to finish up on time. Help a designer in your life pick up the slack with the gift of someone else cleaning up their house or apartment. Handy is a great marketplace for cleaning services around the United States.

Meal Delivery

In a similar vein as the above designer gift idea, a gift card to your recipient’s favorite meal delivery service might mean the difference between them eating well or not eating much at all in the middle of a tight deadline. Grocery delivery would also fall under this category as a nice gesture for the busy designer.

Mug Warmer

Gifts for Graphic Designers

I can’t count the number of times my tea has gone from piping hot to cold with nary a sip during an intense project. Ensure that the designer in your life always has a piping hot cup of their favorite beverage when they need it by gifting them a mug warmer (bonus points if can plug into their USB slots).

Pixel Ruler

Gifts for Graphic Designers

The usefulness of this tool will vary by type of designer, but it’s certainly something any of them can appreciate. If the designer in your life is involved in web design, you might also consider the same company’s Website Stencil Kit.

Planner Mousepad

Gifts for Graphic Designers

What’s coming up in a day or a week? This mousepad literally puts this information at your favorite designer’s fingertips. The brand behind it, Knock Knock, offers other fun notepads and organizational tools, like this similar week organizer.

Dot Grid Book

Gifts for Graphic Designers

If you’re not a designer, it may surprise you to find that many online designs start on paper. Specialty notebooks, like the dot grid books offered by Dotgrid.co, provide a structure for sketching out designs. Note that the company is based in the UK as far as shipping.

Tech Toys for Graphic Designers

Don’t commit to buying your favorite designer any big technologies unless you’re a rich millionaire with money to blow—specialized equipment (like a fully loaded iMac) can quickly add up to several thousand dollars. Instead, consider these affordable luxuries that any designer would be excited to receive as a gift:

Moleskine Smart Notebook

Gifts for Graphic Designers

Most designers know of Moleskine, who’s journals provide another option for drawing designs before manipulating them on a computer. This particular notebook allows you to turn hand drawn elements into fully functional digital files through a smart connection to Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s amazing what technology can do these days.

Smart Charging Station

Gifts for Graphic Designers

Most designers own multiple screens, if only to be able to test their work across devices. Give the gift of organization (and a consistent full charge) with a smart charging station. The best ones have USB ports built in.

Clip on Smartphone Lenses

Gifts for Graphic Designers

Not all designers are photographers, but most can appreciate the enjoyment of creation—regardless of the medium. Clip on smartphone lenses make it easy to take beautiful photos outside of the normal smartphone standards. Unlike lenses made for bigger cameras, clip on smartphone lenses are quite affordable.

Card Decks for Designers

What is it with designers and card decks? There are so many on the market to choose from! Here are a few games and practical card decks for designers:

The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog

Gifts for Graphic Designers

If this doesn’t make sense to you as a gift giver, “The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog” is the text used for previewing how a font will look, because it includes every letter in the alphabet. This card game is a typeface memory game, perfect for the designer in your life who nerds out about fonts.

CMYK Playing Cards

Gifts for Graphic Designers

This card deck is perfect for the color-obsessed designer you’re shopping before. How gorgeous would a game of poker look using this set?

Pantone Postcards

Gifts for Graphic Designers

These aren’t cards to play with, but rather to send to others. These are perfect for the designer in your life who still sends snail mail.

Website Deck of Cards

Gifts for Graphic Designers

These cards aren’t a game, but rather a tool for mapping out the information architecture of a website. They’re perfect for the web designer or UX designer in your life.

Apparel for Designers

Whether introverted or extroverted, most designers want other people to know what they do. These articles of clothing will help them shout their profession to the world.

WordPress Ugly Christmas Sweatshirt

Gifts for Graphic Designers

It probably doesn’t get more nerdy than this WordPress ugly Christmas sweatshirt. As a bonus, it’s super warm and comfortable, capable of covering even the most persistent holiday food baby.

You Are the CSS to my HTML Shirt

Gifts for Graphic Designers

It’s a modern day love story, told on an appropriate medium: a t shirt. Bonus points if purchasing a matching pair of 2 for a designer couple.

There’s No Place Like Home T Shirt

Gifts for Graphic Designers

This shirt will definitely resonate more with a developer than a designer, but we’re all nerds here.

Gifts for Graphic Designers and Developers

If you’re scrambling to find gifts for graphic designers and developers in your life, the good news is that you now have plenty of options to choose from.

What other gifts for graphic designer and developers would you add to this list? Let us know your additions to this list in the comments!

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The Elements of Envato Elements https://envato.com/blog/elements-of-envato-elements/ Fri, 03 Nov 2017 00:09:32 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=59895 Envato Elements is a subscription service for designers that includes graphic assets, educational resources, and business management tools.

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Envato Elements is the freelance designer’s ideal resource for growing and managing their business. It’s not exactly new to market, having launched in August 2016, but new features and resources are constantly being added to Envato Element’s library each week. As of this writing, here’s a snapshot of what’s been happening in some of the most popular categories:

envato elements

Whether graphic designer or web developer (and everything in between), there are hundreds of thousands of reasons (and counting) to look into subscribing to Envato Elements.

If you haven’t yet been properly briefed, here’s a deep dive into the elements of Envato Elements:

Unlimited Downloads

Some stock image resources limit your access to assets you’ve legally purchased, which can be problematic if you’re not very organized and are constantly re-downloading said assets. With a subscription to Envato Elements, there are no download limits—you can access your favorite assets from Envato’s extensive library whenever and wherever you want, as many times as you need them.

Here’s what we’ve got (as of this writing):

1695+ Fonts

envato elements

Finding the perfect font for client design projects can quickly rack up fees and drive project costs sky high. Being able to download and test fonts in your project without having to pay additional costs to do so can simplify the design process considerably.

340,000+ Stock Photos

envato elements

Search Envato Elements’ massive stock photo collection by tag, orientation, background, and even by the photo’s dominant colors. Your clients will definitely appreciate you having access to options outside of the same tired free stock photos everyone else is using.

39,000+ Graphic Assets

envato elements

Envato Elements’ graphic asset specialties lie in 3 major areas:

But Envato Elements isn’t just an awesome resource for graphic designers. Additional options free to download with an Envato Elements subscription include tons of useful resources for web design. Here are some relevant categories to browse through:

Envato Elements also offers several freebies that allow you to get a taste of the quality of the graphic assets included in a paid Envato Elements membership:

envato elements

Commercial License

If you plan to use any images for use on business mediums like your website, social media, and promotional materials (and for those of your clients), you’ll need to ensure that those images include the right permissions and that you use proper attribution when necessary.

Being legally compliant with image use can be hard to understand, but DIY Photography put together a nice guide that takes you through the in’s and out’s of licensing if you’re interested in the details. Regarding graphic assets you download from Envato Elements, a commercial license is included with your subscription.

1,000+ Courses on Tuts+

envato elements

When it comes to the individual elements of Envato Elements, this one piece makes up over half the value of membership on it’s own. Envato Tuts+ represents tens of thousands of hours invested into developing resources that empower people to get paid to do what they love.

Existing subscribers are loving these courses:

240+ eBooks

envato elements

Prefer your knowledge delivered in book form? Great, because Envato Elements can accommodate this preference with ease. Get your knowledge drop in the form of the published works of favorite web design voices behind A List Apart and Smashing Magazine (to name a few). Envato Elements’ ebook library delivers expert information as you need it for various client projects.

AND CO membership

envato elements

Image Source: AND CO

Rounding out the features of Envato Elements is an essential product for running your freelance business: AND CO.

AND CO offers a set of connected tools that work together to save you time. For example, you can customize (and e-sign) contracts, then automatically set up invoices, and accept payments. Connecting things even more together, you can also use AND CO to track time and expenses.

AND CO’s paid plans start at $14, and include a laundry list of compelling features, but all of them are already included in a paid subscription to Envato Elements.

What’s Next for Envato Elements?

With thousands of graphic assets being added each week, new courses and ebooks added periodically, and new features being introduced to this extensive bundle on a regular basis, Envato Elements will continue to grow.

The Elements of Elements

The features that make up everything you get with a subscription to Envato Elements support the many different facets of a freelance design business: access to education to build new skills, creative assets to use in projects, and a tool for improving business administration in the background of it all. A subscription to Envato Elements is an affordable luxury for freelancers who want to step up their game, take on exciting new projects, and earn more money while doing what they love.

Ready to explore Envato Elements for yourself? Sign up for a subscription.

How has the use of Envato Elements positively impacted your business? We’d love to hear about it! Tweet @envato, and we’ll share our favorite responses.

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What’s It Like to Be a Freelancer in New York City? https://envato.com/blog/whats-like-freelancer-new-york-city/ Sun, 08 Oct 2017 00:49:59 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=58573 Check out this 7-minute video from our friends at AND CO about the lives of 4 freelancers in NYC.

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Ever wondered what it’s like to make your living, hustling for yourself in Big Apple?

Directed by award-winning creative and filmmaker Daniel Soares, AND CO’s short film SOLO NYC (above) explores the lives of 4 independent workers, painting a compelling picture of what it’s like to work for yourself in America’s largest metropolis.

Over the course of the film we follow the lives of Helen Levi, owner of her own pottery business, Zipeng Zhu, a hilarious, daring graphic designer, Adriana Urbina, an upstart chef running a pop-up dinner series, and Alex Trochut, an icon in the world of typography. We get a chance to experience what each of these individuals lives is like — the joys and struggles that make up their day-to-day. We also get to experience a taste of what it is like to work in New York City, while realizing that many of the experiences lived are near-universal for independent workers.

Working in NYC

One unavoidable part of living in New York City is the high cost of living, a clear point of connection between all of the freelancers profiled. Alex Trochut summarizes it best when he says, “I think in New York, you really need to be making cash all the time. If not, the city doesn’t allow you to stay.” Adriana Urbina echoes this issue describing the way she looks to save space (and cash) while running her restaurants, “I have to put plates under the bed to cut some expenses.” While making money is an acute issue for many freelancers no matter where in the world you work, it’s hard to deny that NYC’s real estate market and cost of living adds an extra layer of pressure.

Another aspect of living in the city is the constant confrontation between dreams and reality. In a memorable line, Zipeng Zhu shatters the illusion that New York is “just like the movies.” It’s nothing like that; for one thing, it smells all the time, he notes. And yet, because of the city’s unique magic, Zhu is grateful to the city and what it has given to him. This odd juxtaposition between glamor and grit, between aspiration and grim realism, marks the city and makes it a unique place to call home.

Image: Helen Levi, owner of Helen Levi Ceramics, and a freelance potter and photographer.

A final key element of New York City is its scale and diversity. Or to use the words of pottery artist and business owner Helen Levi, “There are so many opportunities in New York. So much more audience for different types of things.” There is a great deal of opportunity to be found in niches; in a big city those niches are easier to find and market to. While the internet has aided in this problem of access in previously unthinkable ways, there is still a home court advantage when it comes to the question of direct opportunity. Few cities can compete with New York on this dimension, giving birth to a vibrant, varied freelance scene, prone to risk-taking.

Universal Freelance Truths

Beyond these specific descriptions of the New York experience, SOLO NYC examines fundamentals aspects of freelance life beyond the role of the city, both negative and positive.

In many ways, Helen Levi, has the type of job that most people wouldn’t think of as something that can actually support her. With a great deal of nuance and poise, Levi recalls a time where a person visits her studio and mentions how creating ceramics is a creative release after getting off their full time job. “It used to be that way for me,” Levi laments, describing how her initial passion-turned-job is not always about loving what she does. Rather, it’s about running a business that she is responsible for. It is not an escape from pressure, but pressure itself, a feeling echoed across professions and locations.

Zipeng Zhu runs an independently owned and operated creative studio, DAZZLE, from his Brooklyn home.

More positively, Zipeng Zhu describes the pleasure he gets working out of his own Creative Studio (aka his living room, he explains cheekily). Zhu mentions that a 9-5 schedule is suppressive to his creative process, leading to him quitting his job. Many would likely feel the same, given the choice to craft their own ideal schedule. Talking about his new freelance life, he discusses the perks in terms of having freedom and control over not only his schedule, but in terms of picking the clients and work that he truly enjoys. Wherever in the world you choose to work, these are benefits enjoyed by many freelancers, and are certainly not location-dependent.

Finding Balance

Certainly, the life of a freelancer can seem to take on one of two extremes: the starving artist or 5+ figure months as a successful entrepreneur. The truth of the matter for most ‘slash workers’ is somewhere in between these two.

As a freelancer, some days you’re higher than high, signing an awesome new client or finally collecting on a big payment. Other days, you’re disillusioned because you’ve just lost an important source of income, or have overburdened yourself with work (and deadlines are looming). These extremes can hit a person harder than similar situations at a corporate job, because at the end of the day—it’s all on you.

No matter where in the world you are SOLO NYC makes for a compelling watch, precisely because of its discussion of these issues, and the way in which depth is added to them through personal anecdotes. In the course of just under 7 minutes, not only will you learn what it’s like to ‘make it’ in the frantic, addictive chaos of New York City, you’ll realize just how many similarities there are among other independent workers. Around the world, a new category of individuals are building their lives and taking control of their destiny, one bite of the apple at a time.

Get an AND CO membership free with a subscription to Envato Elements.

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