As humans, we all struggle at times to stay excited about certain tasks at hand. We get bored; we get frustrated; we get distracted (ooh, cat gifs!) and our art suffers for it — we stop writing our novel, we stop writing our next song.
Sometimes you just have to stop and remember why you are doing it in the first place.
But seriously… we recently dug up an old article on Lifehack that reminded us of some simple ways to stay motivated. The article is mostly focused on general life motivation, but it can easily be applied to your creative career as well.
You can read the article in its entirety here, or check out our summary below.
How to keep your creative life fresh and active
1) Remember the reason(s) you’re doing it in the first place: A feeling of accomplishment? Personal gain? Cold hard cash? One little step closer to your bigger goal?
2) Have fun: Ask yourself, “what can I do to make whatever it is I am doing more enjoyable for myself (and maybe others)?”
Continue Reading . . .
Creative fonts for your website
If you’re like me, you’re not really in a position to shell out dough for web-design services, so you’ve taken it upon yourself you get good enough at Photoshop (or whatever design program you use) to do some of the work yourself. I’ve been using Photoshop for over a decade, mostly self-taught, and with a platform that expansive, I think it’s safe to say I don’t know how to do 98% of the things it’s capable of. But, I do know my way around PS well enough to make show posters, album art, logos, Facebook and Twitter banners, and other design elements I can use online. And best of all, I don’t charge myself for my services.
When designing something that used text, I used to just go with the font options included in Photoshop. This was fine, but I eventually started noticing that the same fonts I was using – and which I had begun to associate with specific bands/brands I was working with – were being used by everyone else, too. This didn’t surprise me once I thought about it, but it quickly made all my stuff seem a lot more generic.
So, I started searching around for more unique fonts that would work with Photoshop. Turns out there is no shortage of spots on the web to grab some great new fonts, and a lot of them are free to download and add to your stash. If you’re looking to add some textual variety to your DIY web design, check out these resources:
Image via shutterstock
We often think of a website as just a few pages on the web, and back in 1999 that was a pretty accurate description. But in 2013, things are quite different. Today a website needs to be much more than a “page.” Your website should be an experience. What do I mean by that? Well, let me give you a few examples of media experiences: movies, TV shows, radio, eBooks, blogs, photo galleries, animations, video games, video chat, social media websites, apps . . . The list goes on and on—and what’s interesting is that all these things can happen on your website. Now, I’m not about to recommend that ALL these things happen on your website. That would be a bad experience. You need to pick and choose your media and curate a positive experience for your website visitors.
How, you ask? Well . . .
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10 reasons why you and your website are stuck in the past
1. You own stock in Adobe, and you’re waiting for Flash to make its big comeback. And while all other web designers have abandoned Flash, you’re loyal as a dog. An old, half-blind, narcoleptic dog that’s developed a bad limp.
2. Following your dreams got to be a bummer, so you quit pursuing your art back in 2006 and got a real job as a bean-counter. There are lots of beans to count too, so even though you now have the money to pay some web genius to make a great archival site for your music / writing / paintings / etc. (RIP!), your mind is always focused on that next bean. Leave those beans on the table for a moment and make sure your website has current content and works on mobile devices. Then, by all means, count those beans.
3. You think your website is like some damn Van Gogh hanging in a museum. A website should be an interactive experience that works great on all devices. Think of your website, not as a painting on a wall, but a two-way window where you can interact with your visitors and fans.
4. You LOVE bold text, blinking fonts, visitor tickers, and anything with flames. 2003 was your big year, and ain’t nobody gonna forget it!
Continue Reading . . .
“But wait – don’t I want them to come back to my site?”
Yes, you do. All the time. So don’t make their experience an awkward, annoying one, and they just might return for more.
It’s 2013, and the web-surfing public has lost nearly all patience for things on the web that don’t work/look/act right. They’re a fickle bunch, and they’re always one click away from ditching your site and never looking back. This doesn’t mean you need to have a site that is a non-stop carnival of excitement that no human could possibly drag themselves away from, but it does mean you need to have a site that doesn’t leave people rolling their eyes, shaking their head, or rage-clicking their “back” button.
Here are some things that might give people a great reason to run screaming away from your site, vowing never to return.
* Flash intros. It is not 2002. Lose it.
* Not being mobile-ready. If someone visits your site on their phone or tablet and it quickly turns into a game of expand-and-scan, they’re bound to bail.
Continue Reading . . .
Let your friends help you build a smarter website
Is your website helping you achieve your goals to the best of its ability? There are a number of metrics you can use to determine how well your content is performing: traffic stats in Google Analytics, the number of comments per blog post, the number of likes and shares in the social media realm, a boost in sales, etc.
And I recommend you take all those factors into consideration. But one of the most fun ways to test your website’s effectiveness is to host an informal focus group.
According to Wikipedia, a focus group is:
… a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members.
If that sounds intimidating, look at this way — five of your friends bring their laptops over to your house for pizza and beer*; they sit around your living room and you ask them questions Continue Reading . . .
We just added a new payment option for your HostBaby account. You can now pay your monthly bill or your yearly fee using PayPal. Exciting right? I know; you can hardly believe it. You’re completely flabbergasted. Well, it’s true!
In all seriousness, we know this makes it easier on a lot of folks and it’s been an often requested feature. We’re always striving to make HostBaby better for our clients. And this is just one more step in that direction.
If you’d like to change your reoccurring billing to PayPal here’s how you do it:
Continue Reading . . .
Embedding widgets on your website
In an earlier post, we answered the burning question: “what the heck is a widget?” and in this post, we listed 5 essential widgets for your site. Here, we’re going to show you how to add a couple of those third-party widgets to your website.
As you already know, HostBaby gives you dozens of useful and professional website tools to help you grow your online presence and your fanbase. One such tool is our drag-and-drop widget feature, where you can quickly and simply embed calendars, videos, and apps. And with our code snippet widget, you can easily embed third party applications like your Twitter feed or YouTube Video onto your website.
As you learned from our earth-shattering post about HostBaby’s wiki page, our Wiki is not only a good place to go with any of your webhosting questions, but also a good place to get a thorough tutorial on how to add these widgets to your site.
Adding a Twitter widget to your HostBaby website
To add a Twitter timeline widget to your site, simply click here, or follow these steps below: Continue Reading . . .
I’ll begin by saying I’m not here to talk about hosting fees, which are usually fairly reasonable. If for some reason you are paying more than 20 dollars a month for hosting, you should start this exercise by signing up for HostBaby. Then you should consider the following:
I’ve made a claim: Your website is costing you money. I imagine that’s not exactly a surprise to most of you. But what I want to emphasize is that you may well be missing out on money that you could be making. In all likelihood there are people visiting your website right now that could be persuaded to buy something if you only whispered the right sweet nothings into their ears.
Are you really taking advantage of all the cheap resources, tools, and knowledge available to monetize your website? Are you guilty of any of these common mistakes?
1. You’re Paying Too Much for a Designer or Developer
Professional designers and developers will charge you anywhere from $30-$200 an hour to build and maintain a website, and many do good work. But you should only invest that kind of money if your business is making enough to afford this luxury on an ongoing basis. And if you DO hire a designer you MUST make sure that they build you a content management system–so you can make changes to the website yourself. Otherwise you’ll be paying your developer 100-dollars-an-hour to add performance dates to your event calendar. Continue Reading . . .