60-Second Solution: Newsletter Signup on Your Home Page

People will be more inclined to add their email address to your newsletter list if you make it quick and easy for them to sign up. A simple one field form on your site’s home page can help grow your newsletter list, increasing your readership.

If your site design doesn’t allow for adding the form easily, get creative! My site has a slider at the top, but you can just as easily make it a popup. Take advantage of every opportunity to increase your email list.

60-Second Solution: Photoshop Custom Shapes for Graphics

Photoshop csh file iconDesigners are always on the lookout for a variety of images they can use in designs for their clients. One thing most designers have in common is Adobe Photoshop.  Photoshop gives designers the ability to add vector shapes to their artwork. Photoshop custom shapes are found in the Shape Tool on the Tools panel in Photoshop. The default shapes are kind of boring, but you can add custom shapes to your library by searching and downloading Photoshop .csh files.

Since the shapes are vectors, you can scale them to and size you need. Select the little blob, and at the top you’ll see a menu option to choose your shape. To add shapes to your tool, click on the options arrow and select Load Shapes… then locate the shape library you downloaded and the new shapes will be added to your collection. I’ve found arrows, animals, borders, household items and more.

You don’t have to spend time drawing, tracing and scanning in the shapes you need. Find what you’re looking for in a custom shape library.

60-Second Solution: Call Links for Mobile Devices

Having a telephone number on your site is great. Clicking on it to make a phone call? Outstanding! Remember, as more people use smart phones, your have to expect that users might be viewing your site on one. And if they can reach you by clicking on your phone number, you’ve just made it easier for them to become a customer.

There are three mobile technologies that you can easily click to call. I’ve given code examples below:

Phone

<a href="tel:+97229919443">+972-2-991-9443</a>
 
It’s recommended that you use the international format for your number. You can test this by clicking here. I might even pick up.

Skype

<a href="skype:jmaimarc?call">Skype Me!</a>
 
If you want to test a Skype call, click here. Echo123 is Skype’s testing account. The Skype icon in my navigation bar above initiates a chat, not a call.

Google Talk

<a href="gtalk:call?jid=jmaimarc@gmail.com">Call me on Google Talk!</a>
 
If you want to test a GTalk call to me, click here. The GTalk icon in my navigation bar above also initiates a chat, not a call.

60-Second Solution: Give Your Site A Font Facelift

fontsOne of the better technologies to come out over the last few years is the ability to use fonts in your Web pages without turning them into graphics first. The CSS3 @font-face specification allows designers to use virtually any TrueType or OpenType font available.

Google Webfonts is one of many growing, free resources for you to get started with giving your site a fresh, new look with Web fonts. It’s easy to try out dozens of new fonts until you find the right one for your site. You may need to tweak your sizes to make sure the text on your site stays legible.

Arial, Verdana, and Times New Roman can finally get some rest; they’ve done their fair share for all these years.

If you would like help with giving your site a new typeface, contact me.

60-Second Solution: Tighten Your Facebook Integration

fblikeFacebook is a great social media site for reaching large and diverse audiences. Make sure you’re maximizing you reach by making it easy for visitors to find you on Facebook, and vice versa. Facebook has a wide range of easy to implement tools that can get your site visitors connected to your Facebook page or profile.

When you visit my cooking blog, http://cooking.marcgottlieb.com/, if you’re signed into Facebook but haven’t liked my Facebook page for my cooking blog, you’ll get a slide down alert prompting you to like my page. If you would like me to add this code to your site, contact me and let me know.

60-Second Solution: SMM in Your Email Template

smmiconsMake sure your email template contains links to your social media channels; Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Wherever you’re sending your content, make sure your users can find it easily.

Icon sets in a variety of sizes and styles are widely available online. They should be easy to include, and help your viewers find you wherever you’ve got content online.

Online viewing habits are in a constant state of change. Don’t overlook opportunities to market your social media channels.

SMM stands for Social Media Marketing and refers to driving traffic or increasing awareness of your site, product or service through social media channels.