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FREE: New Screensavers/Wallpaper for Spring!

FREE SPRING WALLPAPER and SCREENSAVERS via KristaSmith.ca

I’m not sure where you live but here in Nova Scotia it’s been a loooooooooonnnnnnng winter.

In the past fourteen days alone, we’ve received just over 90 centimeters of the white stuff (that’s 35 and 1/2 inches!) here in the Halifax area. SERIOUSLY.

You’d think as a Canadian, I’d be use to snow. The thing is we live in a Maritime climate. A typical winter for us means 10-15 cm of snow followed by rain a few days later that washes the white stuff away. We generally have cold temperatures but our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean brings a mixed bag of rain and snow.

To be heading into Easter next weekend with HUGE piles of snow everywhere is just not the norm here in Nova Scotia.

I decided today to cheer myself up and design a new spring wallpaper/screensaver for you.

It’s free and ready for you to add to your devices! (If you need instructions on how to upload them, you can watch the video I made in this post.)

Enjoy! And Happy Spring!!

FOR YOUR COMPUTER (just click on the image and when it opens in a new window, right click and save):

FREE Spring Wallpaper/Screensavers for your Computer, iPad, iPhone via KristaSmith.ca

FOR YOUR TABLET/MOBILE PHONE:

 

FREE Spring Wallpaper/Screensavers for your Computer, iPad, iPhone via KristaSmith.ca

ENJOY!

xo,

K

 

WHY IT'S TIME TO FINALLY get ready for mobile design via KristaSmith.caIt’s time, pretty lady. Google has made a decision that will impact how your website shows up in search results. And it’s starting on April 21, 2015.

My inbox has been flooded with emails the past couple of months from clients, colleagues, and friends asking why they are getting a notification from Google that their beautiful website has mobile usability errors. Or, they have noticed the buzz on social media talking about Google making changes and rewarding websites who are recognized as mobile friendly.

What exactly is Mobile Responsive Design?

I made the move early last year to design exclusively in mobile responsive design. Many clients have asked me why there is an increased cost to a mobile responsive design. The most simplistic answer I can give you is that with a responsive website, your web pages fluidly morph to the screen it’s being viewed on. There is no need for the double tap or the pinch & squeeze to zoom in or out to see content on a mobile responsive site.

Think about it like this: when you’re viewing a site on a large desktop monitor, then switch to a mobile phone, the screen size difference is tremendous. Mobile responsive coding ensures that whatever size your screen is, the text and images are readable. For the developer of your site, this means they need to not only code your site to be beautiful on large computer screens, but then also code in changes to the elements of your content so when it’s viewed on smaller screens, your viewer’s experience is the same. This involves shrinking images, having text rearrange itself, and most likely having blocks of content move to different locations on the page. This doesn’t automatically happen. Your web designer/developer has to write lines of code to make this happen. And she has to do this so your site will look cohesive on a desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone.

Here’s what you may have noticed show up in your inbox:

Mobile Friendly Design Email

What’s the bottom line?

You can no longer ignore that your website is not mobile friendly.

What criteria do search engines like Google use to give its mobile friendly designation?

According to Google’s blog post about this,

A website page will receive the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

How can I tell if my site passes the test?

You can hop over to Google’s mobile friendly test page HERE. Just enter the full url of your home page and you’ll get your results. If your site is mobile friendly already, you’ll likely get a score like this:

Yay! You passed the mobile Google screen test
If you’re site isn’t mobile friendly, it’ll likely look like this:

Failed Mobile Test, darn
If you’re curious what your site looks like across different devices, I discovered this neat website that allows you to even click and scroll within each one! AM I RESPONSIVE?

Oh, no! My site is not passing that damn test? What can I do?

Firstly, breathe. I would guess over 80% of the sites I’ve tested in the past two months don’t pass the test. Rest easy: you are not alone. In my opinion, you have three options:

1. You can invest in mobile responsive design. There are many developers (me included) who are offering reduced design packages for clients looking to keep their current look and have it redesigned in a mobile responsive format. I *get* it! You LOVE your website and so do your ideal clients! I’ve done this for several clients in the past six months.

2. You can simply change your theme. You’re most likely already running a WordPress theme on your site. There are many WordPress themes that are already mobile-ready. If you don’t have a custom designed site or your site is feeling a little old, it might be just the answer for you! The built in default Twenty-Fifteen theme could be a perfect fit for you.

3. You can easily add a WordPress mobile plugin. There are lots of great WordPress plugins that will make your site mobile-ready. They are generally easy to implement and you’ll be ready for the impending Google deadline date of April 21 in no time. The disadvantage of using a mobile ready plugin is that your website won’t look like it does on a computer screen. They’re fairly generic and not as beautiful as your custom design. The upside could be that you absolutely adore the simplicity of how it looks (which would be a huge win-win!). WPtouch is the plugin that Google is recommending people use. There is a free version as well as an upgraded paid version with more design options.

If your website has no mobile friendly solution, I encourage you to find a solution that best fits your needs right now.

If you listen to your intuition and have a hunch that it may be time to either make your current design responsive or that it is time to start fresh with your own custom mobile responsive design, let’s connect and see what kind of magic we can create.

I’d love to partner with you to explore your options and together we’ll find the best solution for you.

 

**If you’re interested in the April 21 deadline, you can read it directly from Google HERE.**

How to create a custom graphic for a blog post  using Canva,com via KristaSmith.ca

All around the interwebs lately I’ve had clients and colleagues ask me how they go about creating a custom graphic for their blog posts.

Are you curious why adding an image to your blog post or on social media is a savvy online move? I’ve outlined my top five reasons here:

  1. Bigger engagement – it’s true. Your followers or users are much more inclined to engage with you when there is an image attached to your post. I’ve personally seen at least a 5x increase in engagement when I share a an image compared to sharing a text only post.
  2. You can create an emotional connection — you know the adage, “A Picture is Worth 100 Words”? There’s truth in that.
  3. It builds a stronger visual component and breaks up heavy amounts of text content on a page. Your reader will appreciate you so much more :)
  4. You can improve your SEO by adding appropriate descriptions & tags and make it easy for social media sites to index your image.
  5. It can build your brand awareness – by choosing the same brand elements to add to your blog post images, you’ll be further helping people recognize your brand when they see it online.

I’ve created a video tutorial to walk you through how I’ve started to use Canva for my Instagram followers. I’ll also show you how I’ve created the blog post image you see at the top of this post!

 

A New and FREE E-course just for you :)

Hello Beautiful! February is here and I've been in full on creation mode since January began. I'm hoping you've been nourishing your own creative inner self too! I've just finished an intensive weekend course called Pattern Camp by Jessica Swift. I loved every second of learning new things. Being a student again took me back Read the full post here...

Happy New Year to You – Screen Savers for Your Computer & Mobile Devices

January 2015 Wallpaper for your Mobile Device created by KristaSmith.ca

It's a time of new beginnings. New ideas. Dreams. Plans. As we enter into 2015, I'm so excited for what's possible. I had amazing feedback from you last month with the wallpaper screensavers I created for you! I was inspired this morning to create three more choices for you for January. Here's my favorite on my iPad: All you Read the full post here...

Five Things You May Be Missing on Your Contact Page (and How They Can Improve Your Client On-boarding Process & Bottom Line)

Five Things You May Be Missing on Your Contact Page (& How They Can Improve Your Client On-boarding Process & Bottom Line)

One of the pages on a newly designed or redesigned website that often isn't given as much thought as the essential about, services, or portfolio page is your contact page. The page that people land when they're ready to reach out to you. Some web visitors will land here after spending time getting to know you either on Read the full post here...