Dinner with Jetpack

Jetpack logo on a green background

The head of the Jetpack team lives in Albuquerque. I live in Albuquerque. When the Jetpack group got together for a meetup of their own in Albuquerque, they decided to invite the entire WordPress community to a Dinner with Jetpack meetup.

The meetup was in a Thai restaurant near the UNM campus. Jetpack people from all over were there. Australia, Argentina, and several other far-flung locations. I talked with the guy from Australia about ways Jetpack could get Pinterest to work with WordPress without adding blocks of code to new posts. He gave me some ideas I will try.

I talked to a woman from Wyoming who works in HR and hired all these Jetpackers. She came down to ABQ to meet them in person.

It’s refreshing to go to a WordPress meetup, but this one was particularly nice because so many people came. I talked to bloggers, WordPress developers, and WordCamp organizers. I saw some former students. I saw people I’d met at WordCamps. I even saw a woman who was in the same hotel in Chicago as a BlogHer convention I attended and happened to be on the same plane home that I was on. Everyone wanted to talk about blogging and social media and topics I love.

Thanks to the Albuquerque WordPress community for a great evening.

10 Places You Should Share Your Design Work

10 Places You Should Share Your Design Work

The social web has made sharing more important than ever, especially for graphic designers who are continually seeking new (and potentially lucrative) clients. Now, sharing your design work is more than simply publishing a portfolio; it’s engaging in a community and making real business-networking connections that can pay huge long-term dividends. Portfolio-driven and personal/professional websites aside, here are 10 places you should share your design work.

Facebook

Facebook is perhaps the best platform for sharing your design work. What makes Facebook (and other social sites) perfect is the fact that potential clients are likely not surfing portfolio websites – but they are paying attention to designs being shared here.

Pinterest

Rapidly growing in popularity, Pinterest is a great platform for setting up your own board to showcase your design work.

LinkedIn

Post your latest designs to the business community; with a few good connections, you’ll have the work and the references needed to land great contracts.

Forrst

Share and collaborate with other creative professionals, some of whom might just hire you for their own projects.

YouTube

Whenever you create an outstanding design, take 90 seconds and make a video that discusses your decision-making process. Share your video on other social sites and quickly establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Dribbble

Dribbble isn’t just for designers; a lot of potential buyers browse Dribbble these days.

DeviantArt

Still one of the most popular sites for designers, DeviantArt has a robust community that’s happy to “reshare” your posts.

Creattica

Unlike many other sites, Creattica reviews each work before publishing it. That third-party validation is critical and results in potentially thousands of shares across a wide network.

Press releases

Whenever you complete a big project for a client, offer to submit a press release announcing it. This is especially true for newsworthy releases such as a new website launch or redesign. The press release should include the fact that you were the designer; when it gets picked up by media sources, everyone will know your name.

Business and marketing blogs

Most graphic designers focus on getting posts published on design blogs, but designers aren’t your clients. Instead, post design-relevant information on business and marketing blogs to establish your expertise and talent.

Where else can you share your design work?

Author’s Bio: Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint.

Yes, Pinterest Can Help You Grow

I do something a bit eccentric with Pinterest. I keep track of books I read in the two book clubs I belong to. I could be doing better with Pinterest, and I’ll bet you could, too.

Pinterest screen shot of book club board

A screen shot from one of my book club boards at Pinterest.

Are you missing out on the value of Pinterest? Apparently it’s a secret traffic getting, marketing tool known only to women. If you’re missing out, you may suffering from male-Pinterest-blindness, or you may be like me and not yet organized to harness the full potential of this site.

Lauren Bacon, the genius behind Curious for a Living recently posted Why Pinterest is Seriously Valuable (and What It’s Teaching Men in Power). Here’s a small Snippet of what she said.

This morning, I read Kevin Roose’s New York Magazine commentary on Pinterest’s valuation with a familiar combination of amusement and irritation. Now, to be fair, the headline (“It’s Time to Start Taking Pinterest Seriously”) is the worst part – but I’m pretty confident he didn’t write it, so I’ll just shake my fist at that headline writer. (Perhaps New York would consider “It’s Time for Men to Start Taking Pinterest Seriously”?) But the body of the article is frustrating to read, as a woman in tech, because it feels like Roose is having a series of “Aha” moments that he could have had ages ago, if only he’d looked outside his own personal preferences and seen what has been patently obvious to every women I know in the tech sector: Pinterest is a freaking gold mine.

Further, she states,

Tech sector leaders – startup founders, VCs, and so on – need to climb out of their solipsistic holes and start targeting users that aren’t themselves.

There are plenty of convincing facts in this article at Curious for a Living to encourage men to take a look at women’s spaces. I suggest you read every word of it very carefully.

BlogHer’s Master Class

BlogHer, which absolutely pays attention to the needs and habits of women, recently held a Pinterest Master Class. They published the class so that anyone can learn how to make the most of Pinterest as a marketer or a brand.

At BlogHer, we like to share the knowledge. Here is our Pinterest Master Class — a series of three videos equaling an hour of content — all focused on getting the most out of Pinterest. We want to share the expertise we’ve developed with digital influencers — and with brands — who want to learn how to better leverage the enthusiasm of the powerful female consumer for this digital marketing space.

Jory Des Jardins, a co-founder of BlogHer, led the class. The Pinterest Master Class videos are available on BlogHer, YouTube, and right here.

BlogHer Master Class: Harness the Power of Pinterest (Part 1 of 3)

Pinterest Best Practices and Busted Myths (Class 2 of 3)

BlogHer Master Class: Harness the Power of Pinterest (Part 3 of 3)

This session is the most helpful in terms of thinking about how to create and produce images that will work with your blog and bring in traffic from Pinterest.

Pinterest is about getting up to scale with good content. Get organized and start pinning.

Useful Links: Web Developer Toolbar, Pinterest, WCAG levels, Responsive Images

I urge all my students to use Chris Pederick’s Web Developer Toolbar. Recently Cynthia Says, which the toolbar uses for a number of tests, added CAPTCHA. Here’s an article that tells you how to replace Cynthia Says with the WAVE tool in the Web Developer Toolbar. Since WAVE is a far better tool than Cynthia Says, this is a good idea for everyone anyway, even if Cynthia Says hadn’t suddenly rendered itself inaccessible.

Pinterest for Designers has tips for getting started with Pinterest and using it to support your brand. The part of the article I found most interesting was the list of boards to follow for ideas about typography, print design, web design, package design, color, logos, and general inspiration.

Responsive Images – Interim Report from Bruce Lawson lays out the current state of things.

Understanding WCAG Level from Karl Groves can help you come to grips with WCAG priority levels.

 

Pinterest Secret Boards and Instagram Web Interfaces

Let’s talk about how storytelling and a sense of shared experience can make a brand stand out and achieve success. Look at the letter below from Pinterest. This is a brilliant piece of outreach that I’m sure every person with a Pinterest account received just like I did.

Hi, Virginia!
I had two thoughts driving home from the hospital with my wife, Divya. The first was, “I can’t believe I’m a Dad.” The second was, “I hope I can get our new baby, Max, out of that new car seat when we get home.”
During the first couple weeks, we started to figure out all the little things that are second nature for experienced parents: changing diapers, swaddling a wriggly infant, and doing every household task with one arm. As usual, Divya was a few steps ahead of me. When our doctor suggested we buy a humidifier she said, “Oh, I already have one!” When I was getting Max ready for his first bath, she pulled out a neat homemade bath kit, complete with a tiny towel, comb and toothbrush. I felt like I’d forgotten to read a secret New Baby Instruction Manual. In an exasperated moment, I remember asking Divya, “How did you figure all this stuff out already?!” She looked at me and and cheerfully replied, “I just follow other parents on Pinterest!”
Over the last year, there have been so many ways, big and small, that the Pinterest community has made my life better. I’m happy to say that I’m not alone. We’ve heard from teachers who use Pinterest to plan lessons, chefs who share recipes, and museums that pin their archives. We’ve also heard from millions of people who’ve been inspired to pick up an old hobby or try something new. It’s honestly more than we ever expected when we started Pinterest. We’re humbled to be part of such a positive, warm and creative community.
Today, we’re excited to continue this tradition with a new feature we hope will make Pinterest even better—secret boards. Secret boards give you a place for things you’re not quite ready to share yet, like a surprise party, special gift ideas, or even planning for a new baby. We’re testing out the feature by giving everyone 3 secret boards. You’ll find them at the bottom of your profile. We can’t wait to hear what you think!
On behalf of our team here at Pinterest, thanks so much for pinning, inviting your friends, and sending us ideas for how we can improve. Most of all, thanks for sharing your inspirations. With your help, we’ll make Pinterest a little better every day.
—Ben & the Pinterest Team

For comparison, take a look at the way Instagram announced that the mobile app was going to have a web interface. What they have there is well written and friendly just like the Pinterest letter. But Instagram’s notice leaves out one very important fact. The web is merely a display – the guts of the display and the ability to edit what shows up on the web all still happens in the mobile app. For a Flickr user like myself, it was hard to wrap my head around the idea that I couldn’t do anything with the stuff on the web except look at it and share it. You have to go back to the mobile app to do more. Knowing that in advance would have saved me some frustration.

I know the Pinterest letter doesn’t tell me anything about how to work with Secret Boards. Maybe when I get in there are create my first secret board I will discover hidden snares and fume over unanswered questions. But right now, I’m feeling like Pinterest won the +1 for good user communications.

4 Tools to Add a Pinterest “Pin it” Button Anywhere

Pinterest is more than a social networking site, it is a new addiction. Just as Facebook and Twitter have become a daily part of the average citizens life, so to has Pinterest become a pinnacle of the day to day actions of many women in particular. Making social media the official drug of the modern day, and growing in use by the moment.

But do you feel like your recent Pinning just isn’t enough? Do you wish you could expand it to other pages and sites? Especially since so many are either not compatible with the Pin It button or actually blog direct repinning now?

If this has become your greatest online desire, then you are in luck. There are four different tools that will help you to expand your current Pinterest arsenal.

Pinvolve

Pinvolve

Originally, there was no need for this tool unless you were a frequent double sharer, and so needed to be able to work more quickly and efficiently. But now, Facebook has blocked users from repinning directly from their site. Which is weird, given the fact that you have a logon option using your Facebook account.

The reason that they did this is unclear. It might be that grown slowed a bit for awhile, and they decided to start putting some distance between the two. Or maybe because Pinterest has more appeal for women than men, and so cleaves their user base in half.

Which is where Pinvolve comes in. It allows you to create a link between the two, so you can pin images found directly on Facebook like you used to. It works as a Facebook app, so you just add it to your Timeline. It lets both you and your friends use it, for your own content. Which might be a little annoying, as you have to put it on your profile first.

But the general usefulness makes it less aggravating, and it is worth adding.

Pin It Button

Pin It Button

This is a general Pin It button that has been slightly extended as a Chrome plugin. It works by increasing the number of websites that allow you to pin images. Think of it as an update to the original, which isn’t compatible with many sites on the web thanks to their style of older coding, and the relative newness of Pinterest as a site.

You can also see the “pin count” for each website you visit, similar to those that show how many times you have been tweeted or shared on Facebook. So when you combine it with other tools, such as Pin Search, you have a really comprehensive toolbox that allows you to get the most out of Pinterest.

Pinterest Button Extension for WordPress

Pinterest Button Extension for WordPress

What could be better than a Pinterest button for the blogging powerhouse WordPress? Not much. You can finally add a Pin It button to your WP blog, thanks to his excellent extension by WooCommerce. It is easy to use, and great as it will specifically configure to your blog when you integrate it into your general widgets.

Of course, there is one downside. In order to use it, you have to have the WooCommerce extension, which can be downloaded through their official WP plugin profile. But it isn’t a huge inconvenience, and it is the best WP Pinterest button I have found.

Flickr

Flickr

Pinterest has been accused by many sites as promoting (if indirectly) the pilfering of copyrighted images without proper credit. Which has led to many refusing to participate in pinning, putting up blocks similar to those used by Facebook to keep from content being pinned on their site.

However, Flickr is one of the first to get around this by allowing pinning that also includes direct attribution with every taken image. This includes an active link and a mention of the photographer or artist name.

For the first time, people on Flickr can participate and even gain a certain amount of followers through this method. It is a great tool.

Conclusion

Pinterest is an excellent website with a lot of potential. As the popularity of image sharing spreads, the tools for better utilizing the resource will increase. Until then, these four options give you a way to expand your pinboards across the web.

Guest Author is the SEO manager at PsPrint, Chicago commercial printing company specializing in business card and poster printing among other popular services. Find him in Google+

Diving into Pinterest: How to Market Your Brand Effectively Using Pinboards

pinterest $$$

Pinterest is one of the most popular websites on the net as of late and it is no surprise that big brands are starting to take notice and utilize the influx of users for their marketing efforts. When you first look at Pinterest it appears to be nothing more than a place for people to share photos of weddings, cupcakes, recipes and crafting ideas.  This is true in essence (in large part to their mainly female demographic), and the aesthetically pleasing Pinboards are easy to use, but there is much more than meets the eye. This begs the question, how can one leverage Pinterest to gain more traffic and potential clients for their business?

1. Show off your brand’s personality and taste

Pinterest is a great place to showcase your brands image and work, if you want . . . however it would be much wiser to show off a much more fun and light side of your business. Interacting with like-minded pinners and sharing relevant pins that say more about your company than strictly business is a great way to help grow your following while at the same time remaining relevant to your interests. There is nothing wrong with having a few boards that are related to your company’s image. The best companies boards I’ve seen will not only provide their business boards, but will also show off their staff’s picks of movies and books as well as anything else that tickles their fancy. Making your brand stand out by showing off some personality is a great way to get noticed and help grow your Pinterest profile.

2. Make Sure Your Content is Marked

As a web designer I know all too well the perils of stolen content and potential copyright infringements, they happen all the time. So when it comes time to start sharing my work with the world of Pinterest, I felt like it would be good practice to include a watermark as well as a footer accreditation to my images.  This gives me exclusivity over them and if they are shared and repinned,  the users that see them will know they are my content. This would apply well to any photographers, artists, musicians, and graphic designers especially.  Giving the users a way to find their way back to your website is vital and you will notice the results in your traffic increases once you implement this small but critical step.

3. Lend a hand – Tutorials

Pinterest not only allows for you to pin images, but you can also include videos and this is where the real power comes into play. By showcasing simple how-to’s or tutorial videos on a wide array of subjects related to your business, you can tap into users looking to learn more about a certain niche subject and in turn they will share and repin your posts which means more traffic for your business.

Infographics are another great method of “lending a hand” and oftentimes infographics will provide a ton of insightful info about your business or certain aspects you’re looking to promote.

4. Use Pinterest’s Gift Section

Pinterest not only allows pins, but if you are running an e-commerce platform and have a tangible product or service you would like to offer, you can utilize the dedicated gift section on Pinterest that allows you to tag images by price when uploaded. This gets them automatically listed in the Gift’s section which can help drive traffic and potentially sales for your merchandise or services.

5. Help other pinners find your content

In similar fashion to Twitter, Pinterest allows you to include #hashtags in your descriptions which in conjunction with labeling your pins and boards will make them much easier to find if people are searching for your brand or product. Users can search by pins, boards and people so you should do yourself a favor and make sure you use keywords that are easily recognizable and allow yourself to be easily found.

Pinterest is a great community much like other social networks on the internet today and the same rules apply. Provide quality content, don’t spam your products incessantly and interact and engage with other members of the community to help build up trust and brand awareness. Pinterest has proven it is here to stay, so hop on the pinboard and see what kind of positive results you can drive to your business.

Guest Author Lorne Fade is an Internet search marketer for 9th sphere a Toronto SEO, web design & marketing firm.