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Deciding to break out on your own and start a small business is a bold move. So bold, in fact, that some people think all you need in order to do it is the appropriate amount of gumption. In our current culture, there is a certain amount of glamour assigned to the entrepreneur – from eccentric celebs to startup success stories, there’s no shortage of encouragement out there. But when it comes down to brass tacks, the business of self-employment should not be taken lightly.

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With the return of Daylight Savings Time here in the US, we are finally starting to see springtime on the horizon. And as the northeastern part of the country finally starts to thaw, you can feel the excitement about shedding winter layers and actually taking time to think about style again. With that in mind, we thought today was an excellent time to feature a Webs user website that we really enjoy: Man Of The Hour Magazine.

Not only is this an excellent online magazine website example, the site is jam-packed with insightful lifestyle articles. As described on their Facebook page, Man Of The Hour is “dedicated to cultivating the emerging generations of sophisticated men.” If you’re thinking about starting an online magazine or journal and want to emulate this website, take a look at the 3 things that make this a site successful:

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user-generated-content

Does an inexpensive, highly effective marketing tactic that requires minimal time investment sound too good to be true? Well it’s not – and it’s called user generated content (UGC). The best part? Other people do most of the work for you.

Okay, that last bit might have been a bit hyperbolic. While it’s true that a UGC campaign does center on content provided by outsiders, the best campaigns do require some time investment from the marketer running them. There is planning the campaign, and then effectively leveraging the materials that are generated by it, but everything in between is up to brand advocates – your current and potential customers.

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Small Business Marketing Trends

As a small business owner, you wear many hats. CEO, accountant, HR manager, marketing director, and more. In your marketing function, knowledge of upcoming trends is important – especially when they will directly effect you!

There are lots of articles out there about marketing trends, and how small business owners can reach their customers, but wouldn’t it also be helpful to know how larger companies plan on marketing to you? We think it would, so today we’re going to discuss a recent study that looked into just that.

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Desinion Website Screenshot

We’ve talked before about the value of user testing for your small business website, and a few ways to go about it. But have you ever wanted to get the same unbiased feedback to help you make other strategic decisions? Whether it’s a logo, a user experience flow, a new ad, or some copy you’re trying out, getting measurable feedback early in the process can help you save money and get better results.

So, how can you get a significant number of opinions in a way that’s easy to read and base decisions on? Desinion. Every now and then a product or service comes along that seems so fantastic that I just can’t believe that it’s really as inexpensive as it seems. Desinion is one such service. There are free and paid options ($19/year), both of which seem to provide a really excellent value.

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Example Site Header

Perhaps the weather is perfectly fine wherever you are, but here in the Washington, DC area, it’s cloudy and in the mid-twenties. Which is why today’s Webs user example site will feature a tourism company in the state of Kerala, India, where it’s in the mid-eighties right now.

In addition to beautiful imagery and a nice-looking layout, the Swapna Kerala Holidays website succeeds at one of the most important things for a business in the travel industry: establishing trust. Whether within their own country or to the other side of the world, most people get a little anxious around travel. Which is why it’s so important for a company that serves travelers to convey through their website that customers are in good hands when choosing their services.

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Web Design Infographic Header

Sometimes it’s fun to take a trip down memory lane. Whether it’s reminiscing about at the early days of the internet, as in BMW’s Super Bowl commercial, or looking back at the history of web design.

If you’re in the mood to do the latter, you’re in luck! Today we’re sharing a fantastic infographic from Spark Pay (formerly AmeriCommerce) that takes a detailed look at how things have changed – from design to browsers to screens – from 1990 to today.

So put on your biggest baggy jeans, grab your giant mobile phone, and hop in your time machine as we go back…to 1990.

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YouGov BrandIndex BestBrand Logo

Each year, research firm YouGov BrandIndex polls millions of people to track the public perceptions of thousands of brands. They release their findings in annual and mid-year BestBrands reports – and 2014’s is out now.

It’s important to keep in mind when looking at the last below, that these are not the most valuable brands – that kind of metric is likely to stay more stable over time (barring ground-breaking innovations or PR nightmares). To put together the list of Best Brands, YouGov asks respondents, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” This not only measures the respondent’s own awareness of the brand, but also gets at their perception of the perceptions of other people toward a brand.

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Example website

It’s Friday afternoon, which can certainly make you feel like dancing. Which is why we thought a great choice for today’s example site would be www.peterlovatt.com – the online home of Doctor Dance.

Peter Lovatt is a Dance Psychologist in England, where he is a Principle Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. Lovatt also runs the university’s Dance Psychology Lab, which sounds like a pretty great place to hang out. Perhaps not surprisingly, his website is also a great place to hang out, because it is well-branded, easy to navigate, and full of rich imagery.

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File Types Infographic

As a small business owner, you have undoubtedly found yourself taking on many roles you might never have imagined yourself in; accountant, HR manager, marketer, and even graphic designer. If you promote your business, you will likely end up creating some kind of visual collateral for your brand, either by yourself or with a professional designer.

In creating that promotional material, you will have to decide what file type to use (or your graphic designer may request a certain type). Do you know where to start? If not, don’t feel bad – lots of people are confused about which type of image file to use when.

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