Launching a video marketing campaign is an excellent strategy for any business. Every marketing format is valuable and has its place, but video has demonstrated a unique ability to inform, inspire, and entertain customers by telling a story.

More and more businesses are using video to market their product or service and to increase engagement, action, and sales. According to Digital Sherpa, when businesses use video in marketing campaigns, they see up to a 51 percent increase in conversion rates. Not only that, but while only 20 percent of website visitors will read a full page of text, a whopping 80 percent will watch a video.

However, just throwing together a video about your business or product is not enough. The most successful marketing videos may not all be the same format, length, or style, but if you watch the popular ones, you’ll see that they share some characteristics.

Here are five key elements of successful marketing videos:

1. Emotional Appeal

Humans have been using storytelling since the beginning of time as an important way to connect with others on an emotional level. In fact, studies have shown that when people feel an emotional connection, or empathy, their brains are stimulated in a way that impacts their decision-making.

These days, with so much of our daily interaction being digital, remote, and text-based, this human connection is more important than ever. WestJet Airlines understood this emotional element when it created its Christmas Miracle: Real-time Giving video company. With 175 WestJet employees helping out in three airports, they handed out miracles to more than 250 (very surprised) customers flying to Calgary during the holidays. Not only did this event make a big difference in the lives of these passengers, but the video now provides powerful marketing content for countless potential customers.  

Don't have an airport-sized, miracle-making budget? Fear not. Royalty-free video clips are a great way to enhance the emotional element of your marketing video. 

2. Useful Information

Once you’ve connected with viewers, you need to give them a reason to stick around. Make sure your marketing video establishes the customers’ problem, presents your product or service as the perfect solution, and then showcase the specific benefits of your product that will change their lives.

The information you share may go into some detail if it’s a complex service, such as Panorama9’s “IT-MAN” video for its cloud-based IT management service. Using eye-catching, old-school video game graphics allow the company to explain - with animation and narration - how their service will make your IT department’s job easier.

On the other hand, the useful information shown in your video can be as simple as a product demonstration, like Buff’s “How To Wear Buff Headwear” video. At first glance, their colorful headbands may seem straightforward, but Buff created a fast-paced, upbeat video to demonstrate the myriad of uses, from practical to fashionable, for its product.

3. Call To Action

Having captured the viewer’s attention and demonstrated how your product or service will solve a problem or fill a need, a third crucial element is the call to action. Rather than rely on the consumers to make that leap for themselves, it’s important to direct them what to do next. It may seem obvious, but it is critical to end your video by saying “visit us here,” "call us today," or by including a text overlay with your website’s URL to make the transition to action easier.

Effective CTAs include:

  • Specials/discount coupons
  • Newsletter signups
  • Useful/informative downloads
  • Contact information

One of the case studies done by Versio2 shows that adding a clear call to action vastly improves the odds of generating new leads; one of their clients increased their leads by twelve times per month.

4. Strategic Targeting

Who is your audience, and, what is your message? To make your marketing video even more effective, you’ll need to speak directly to a specific group of people rather than try to endear yourself to everybody. Target audiences may be teenagers, new mothers, sports enthusiasts, or those of a certain age or income bracket. Those who will and/or can most relate to your products and services comprise your target audience.

Once you’re clear on who your audience is, it will be easier to direct your message, tone, and images to them. Dollar Shave Club’s successful product video “Our Blades Are F***ing Great” was an instant, edgy hit because it appealed to a very specific audience: young men. This simple video (featuring one of the founders talking about the product) speaks to the target demographic in their language and gets right to the point.

5. Production Quality

Yes, we’ve all seen countless viral videos on YouTube that capture millions of views, regardless of how low budget they look. In general though, the best way to get noticed as a business is to ensure high-quality video production values. This doesn’t necessarily mean A-list actors and a million-dollar budget, but it should look as professional as your company is.

Let’s face it—looks do matter. Content is definitely important, but a viewer’s first impression will determine his/her continued interest. Studies have shown that 33% of viewers will click away from an online video in fewer than 30 seconds.

So, to ensure top-quality:

  • Shoot close-ups.
  • Avoid zooming.
  • Light the set well.
  • Choose a plain, pleasing (uncomplicated) background.
  • Use a tripod.
  • Ensure high-quality sound.
  • Enhance with music.
  • Don’t overdo it with the special effects, graphics, or text overlay.
  • Use high-quality stock video (like the below) where needed. 

Producing a short, emotionally-appealing, solution-oriented marketing video will increase your odds of success by way of leads, conversion, word-of-mouth advertising. And, with some marketing savvy, a lot of love, and a little luck, your product video might even go viral.

If you're looking for high-quality, royalty-free stock video clips to help create your marketing video, Bigstock now has thousands to choose from. See them at Bigstock Video.
AuthorBrian Masefield

It might seem like a strange idea to include video on your photography website, but there are many great reasons to do just that. According to Digital Sherpa, 100 million people watch videos online each day, and a whopping 75 percent of them go on to visit the corresponding website afterwards. In fact, watching video makes up one-third of all online activity, which means that any photographer who is serious about marketing their website needs to get in on the action.

Before you run out and randomly film something just to embed it on your site, you’ll need to decide what kind of video content you’d like to produce, and what style you’ll use. Here are four great ways to use videos on a photography website—and some creative tips on how to make them compliment your brand.

Introductory Videos

Statistics from Invodo reveal that visitors who watch a video will stay on your website for an average of two minutes longer than non-viewers, and they're 64 percent more likely to take advantage of your services. So, an introductory video is a great way to catch your audience’s attention and to keep them on your website. Here are some things to consider for your introductory video:

  • Tell the story of your brand in a personal, relatable way, versus simply selling your service. Share what you love about photography, how you got started, or a funny story about a past experience.
  • Shed some light on what inspires you to create your images, and how you put that inspiration into action.
  • Discuss the equipment, effects, or special techniques that you prefer using and why. Stick with your favorites. The more interested you are, the more interested your audience will be.

There are many ways to showcase your business in an introductory video, but the most important thing to remember is that photography is a very personalized service. Your goal should be to create something that helps you emotionally connect with your audience. Create something genuine so that your viewers trust and identify with you.

Product Videos

Product videos are one of the most popular types of online video, and with good reason: they increase the chance of viewers purchasing your product or service by an average of 74% percent. This kind of video enables you to go into much more detail (than text and image) about what you offer. As a photographer, your product videos should include some of your best images.

Show samples of your favorite projects. Detail the types of prints, gallery wraps, books, and other products you offer. Talk about what the customer will get from a photo session or wedding shoot.

Here are a few tips for making the most of your product videos:

  • Make sure you have the model and property releases for any images you’d like to use within the video.
  • Keep videos short and sweet to maximize shareability on social media platforms.
  • Include a narration to provide details about the work the viewer is seeing, just as you would if you were showing your work in person.
  • Use a discreet watermark on each image you display. This is not only to prevent theft, but to help potential customers associate your name with beautiful photography.

If done right, your videos will act like mini portfolios, except with more information about what you have to offer. Your video will also have much greater reach on social media than slideshows and online galleries.

Event Videos

In the corporate world, event videos are normally recordings of presentations, board meetings, and other important events. You can put a creative twist on this theme by filming a behind-the-scenes look at your creative process. Filming a portrait session or product shoot comes with a number of benefits, including showing people and potential customers:

  • Your personality and creative process.
  • How you work (which can help make them feel more comfortable with you).
  • What they can expect during a photo shoot.

When creating portraits of people, get their permission first and ensure that your subjects are comfortable with being filmed as well as photographed. You don’t want to inadvertently alienate a customer.

Video Testimonials

Few things build brand confidence like the assurances of delighted customers. Video can take testimonials to a whole new level of credibility. Think about it this way: 88 percent of consumers are influenced by reviews when making a purchasing decision. So, a video testimonial of a positive review has the potential to be sales-driving powerhouse.

The best part is that video testimonials don’t need to be too complicated. As long as you can ensure clear audio and good picture quality, you can create these reviews with your phone when you deliver prints, or ask your customers to shoot one themselves and email it to you at their convenience.

What Video Style Should You Choose?

So, now that we’ve discussed the types of videos photographers can create, let's discuss different video styles. For photographers, there are a few styles that really stand out:

  • 2D and 3D animation videos are a great way to tell your story and/or show your creative process. They work very well with both humorous or emotional themes.
  • Live action videos show just that—you and your subjects in the studio, in action. This is also the preferred style for testimonials.
  • Whiteboard videos work well for imparting facts, statistics, and clever graphics to show how your photography benefits your clients.
  • Screencasts are a great way to showcase your photography. Use them to create miniature portfolios or event slideshows.
  • Stop motion videos are similar to animated ones in that it’s a creative way to tell a story with some fun.

Just because your photography business is about the still frame doesn’t mean you can’t market yourself with video. In fact, many photographers have added video to their repertoire of services, which makes this a fantastic opportunity to show off your skills. And, since 81 percent of marketers are already using online videos to increase brand awareness and sales, it's a great time to get on board.

AuthorBrian Masefield

When it comes to editing photos, some post-processing mistakes are inevitable. Even seasoned pros misstep from time to time. You most likely have the basics down: you can sharpen images without over-pixelating them, remove noise without making your subject look unnaturally smooth, and straighten tilted horizon lines. However, you could be making some rookie mistakes without even realizing it.

From filter flubs to color corrections, here are three of the most common mistakes photographers make when editing photos.

Embracing Every Fad

People seem to go crazy for the next new filter or effect ... until the next new one comes along. Keep in mind that when you hop on the trend train, all the nifty tools you slaved over will look dated in a couple of years. Proper exposure, natural colors, and interesting – but not overdone – compositions are key principles that lend a timelessness to great photography, but there are many popular processing gimmicks you consider avoiding, such as:

Selective Coloring: In the late 1990s and early 2000s, photographers were delighted that editing software allowed them to add a pop of color to black and white photos. This trend led to so many selectively-colored images that the fad rapidly became one of the most widely known photographic clichés of its time.

Lens Flares: Natural, on-camera lens flares can be beautiful if done well. However, if you use a Photoshop filter to paste one in randomly, it will almost always look fake.

Sepia: Sepia tones were never intended as an aesthetic effect. Rather, film processors in the late 1800s used sepia pigments from cuttlefish to make images more durable. Modern photographers don’t need to make digital images durable.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography: HDR is a processing technique that lets you use several exposures to create an image with a luminosity range that is impossible to obtain in a single exposure. This technique often results in surreal, and obviously unnatural, images.

Of course, just because a particular technique is a fad doesn’t mean you can’t use it to create art – just keep in mind that these filters and effects are tools and don’t overuse them. Learn when certain post-processing techniques are appropriate to avoid looking like a newbie.


Overdoing Colors

It’s easy to tweak brightness, contrast, and saturation in digital photos. It’s also easy to blow your colors way out of proportion. Here are some specific dangers to dodge when editing color.

Whitening: Many beginners push things too far when whitening the eyes and teeth of their subjects. A bit of whitening is perfectly fine, but too-bright teeth make your model look like he left the white strips on too long.

Contrast: As you adjust the contrast slider on your images, keep an eye on the dark and light areas of the picture. Too much luminosity, and you’ll lose the detail in the bright spots. Too much contrast, and the shadows will turn into stark black voids.

Colors: Every lens and camera renders color a bit differently, which means it’s often necessary to bump up the overall saturation, or the saturation of a particular color. However, if you take it too far, your images will go from colorful to cartoony. Similarly, avoid excessive de-saturation unless you’re intentionally trying to create a pastel look.


Abusing Curves

Curves are something of a mystery to many photographers, even to some with years of processing experience. To put it simply, curves manipulate tone and contrast, and give you a way to expand or compress the tonal range of your image. If you don’t understand exactly how to adjust the curves, you can end up with clipped shadows, blown highlights, and an array of odd colors.

Curve adjustments work on a give-and-take system. So if you use luminosity curves to increase the contrast in your shadows and highlights, you’ll lose detail in the midtones. Use the RGB curves to remove a greenish cast and you may find that certain parts of your image turn red.

In order to use curves without abusing them, learn how to read an image’s histogram, get a firm understanding of tonal ranges, and master your image-editing software. This will help you avoid odd color casts, or darks that are too dark and lights that are too light.

Because photo-editing effects or corrections are the most basic post-processing tools, it can be easy to go a little too far, which can lead to an amateur or over-processed look. Remember that it’s okay to push boundaries on occasion, but doing it too often will only lead to a catalog of clichéd content.

AuthorBrian Masefield

We all know that even a beautiful photo can sometimes be just a little too soft. You might be going for a richer, sharper look than what your photo is giving you. This super-quick Photoshop tutorial will help you easily sharpen up any photo. Let's take a look at this beautiful royalty-free Bigstock photo of a woman in nature with her dog. It has a nice, natural foggy look to it, but I'd like to sharpen it up. Let's go!

1. Open the photo in Photoshop


2. Copy the background layer. You can do this quickly by hitting Command-J (control-J on a PC).


3. Set the blending mode to Overlay. With the new layer selected, use the layer palette's pull down menu and select Overlay (by default it will be set to Normal). 


4. Add a High Pass Filter. With the new layer selected, go to Filter>Other>High Pass. Use the sliding tab to adjust to your preference.


Ta Da! Look at that sharp photo!  


Here are a couple of other examples of how of photos look before and after the High Pass Filter treatment:

Hope you liked this quick tip. Be sure to also check out How To Create Sparkling Eyes, and other Bigstock tutorials, right here on our blog. Have fun.

AuthorCristin Burton

Does your dog beg for the spotlight? Does your pussycat love to strike a pose? Well, we've provided some tips below that'll help purrfect your photo skills when framing your pretty pet. We've also compiled an inspiring assortment of royalty-free dog and cat images that are truly bow-wow-worthy. Have fun.


What goes for humans, goes for pets, too. Just as flash blinds our human eyes, it can frighten our little furry loved ones, causing them to lose focus. Outdoor photos change that instantly, as do photos that are naturally lit by open areas of your house.



The attention should be focused on your animal, not the bed, pillows, toys, clothes, and anything else that may be behind your favorite animal. If you're trying to create a nice environment, go for simple backdrops and easy locations. Certain lights and colors will compliment your little fur monster's natural colors and textures.



Pets don't necessarily pose for photos like humans do, so it might take a bit of work to get them to look exactly the way you want them to in a photograph. First, try playing with them, and making them feel more comfortable in their natural element. Then, surprise them. Have someone call out their name, or make a sound that will attract their attention in the direction of your camera.



If you're into taking "cute photos" of your pet all the time, that's ... fiiiiiiiiiiine, but it can look repetitive as a collection. Think of each photo as an attempt to broadcast your pet's whole personality. A combination of portraits, cute things, odd actions, happy accidents, and all the things that encompass the daily life the two of you inhabit.



There's a photographer by the name of Theron Humphrey who has a precious coonhound named Maddie. Humphrey takes photos of Maddie on things. The secret to getting her to stay? Food. At least in the beginning, that's how it went. We can't say for sure that she still needs the food - she's probably used to being a starlet now. Still, if you want your pet to "stay," try training them with food or treats as a reward, so that they know there's something to look forward to afterwards.



If the rest of the photo is blurry and the eyes are in tact, then you probably have a decent photo. So much of your animal's expression is in its eyes. Particularly if you own a non-vocal animal, their eyes can tell you everything, and that's definitely something worth capturing.



Zoom in to capture less, and you'll end up saying more. Try filling the entire frame with their eyes and nose, or just focus on the wagging tale with a simple background to compliment the movement.

Begging for more? Check out our Dress Your Pet lightbox, below, filled with even more royalty-free, downloadable cuteness.

AuthorAshley Hefnawy

One of the most common photography techniques is to shoot against a seamless white background to keep all the focus on the subject. This may be cool for a product catalogue, but when designing a website or brochure, a white background might not work. The good news is that it's easy to remove white backgrounds with Photoshop or similar editing software. With these four steps below, you’ll be able to make overlays, and use graphics in a way that looks clean, finished, and professional. (Note: If you're using a Pen Tool, scroll down to the bottom of the post for an advanced tip!)

For this tutorial, I'm going to use this very pretty royalty-free Bigstock photo of a pink flower.


Step 1: Unlocking the Background Layer

The first thing you’ll need to do is unlock the image layer. When you attempt to remove the white background on a locked layer, it will either stay white or change to whatever color you have selected for the background. Unlocking the image layer lets you erase parts of the image so that the background becomes transparent.

Go to the Layers panel along the right side of the window and double-click the lock symbol on the Background Layer. This will bring up a “New Layer” window. Click OK to replace the Background Layer with a new, unlocked layer. Alternatively, you can right-click to create a duplicate – but unlocked – copy of the background layer that supports transparency.

Step 2: Deleting the Background

With the image layer unlocked, select the magic wand tool and click on the white background. Press the Delete key, and a gray checkerboard pattern should appear in the areas you’ve just deleted. The checkered pattern lets you know that the bits of the background you’ve deleted are transparent.

Keep in mind that the magic wand tool isn’t always perfect. Before you press the Delete key, make sure that the tool didn’t inadvertently select something you wanted to keep, such as white clothing items or lettering. You’ll also want to make sure that it deletes everything that you don’t want, such as shadows on the backdrop. You can adjust the amount of color that the magic wand selects by changing the tolerance in the Options bar. You can select “Add To Selection” or “Subtract From Selection” settings from the Options bar as well. Use the “Add To Selection” setting to select everything you want to delete, and the “Subtract From Selection” to de-select everything you want to stay.

Step 3: Cleaning Up the Edges

Unless you’re working on a line drawing or an image with similarly hard edges, it’s likely that you’ll need to go back and clean up the edges of your subject once you’ve deleted the majority of the white background. To do this, zoom in on your image and use a small eraser to remove any lingering bits of the background or any other elements you don’t like.

The key to cleaning up the edges is in knowing when to use a hard-edged eraser and when to use a soft-edged eraser. You can adjust eraser brush hardness in the Options bar. A hard-edged brush will give you a clean, sharp line. Soft-edged ones, on the other hand, let you adjust the radius and opacity of the eraser, which makes them ideal for edging around elements that aren’t well defined, such as frizzy or wind-blown hair.

Step 4: Saving Your File in the Right Format

Once you’ve removed the background and you’re satisfied with the cleanup job, you’ll need to save the image. This is the most important part of the process to remember, not only because you’ll lose the work if you don’t save it, but rather, the image will revert to a white background if you don’t save it correctly. You also need to know which file formats support transparency and which don’t.

Avoid saving your file as a JPG or BMP, since they don't support transparency. Instead, go to the File menu and click “Save As.” Then select PNG, TIF, SNAG or GIF as your file format. PNG is the most widely-supported format, which makes it the best choice. However, any of these formats will save your file with a transparent background. Keep in mind that if you used a soft-edged eraser for translucent edging, the GIF format won’t support partial transparency, so you’ll need to choose one of the other formats.

Once you’ve mastered these steps, removing a white background is an easy process that can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. Cleaning up the edges with an eraser is the most time-consuming part of the process, while remembering to save your file in the proper format ensures that you won’t have to go back later and do it all over again.

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 11.27.35 AM.png

The best part is that these steps work for any background that you want to remove – not just plain white ones. Even though it will take a little more time to separate your subject from a busy background, these steps will help you get started and ensure your work looks professional. Have fun!

*Advanced Bonus Tip: Use the Pen Tool Instead*  

Compared to using the magic wand (mentioned in Step 2), the pen tool is an advanced, potentially faster, and more accurate way to remove the background from your photo. If you have mastered the pen tool, outline the subject of your photo and make a closed shape. Then go to your paths window and with that path selected, go to the window’s drop down menu and select “Make Selection”. You’ll be prompted to select "New Selection" and you can even soften the edges of the selection by adding a feather. Now, with your selection made, you can hit Command + Shift + I to invert your selection, or make the exact opposite selection. Now, hit Delete. Your background will disappear. Ta dah! 

AuthorCristin Burton

This method to punch up the vibrancy and saturation of a photo is mega fast and easy. For this example, I'm using this fun Bigstock photo.

1. Open the File in Photoshop.


2. Duplicate the Background Layer. A quick way to do this is to select the Layer, and then hit Command- J (Control-J in Windows). Otherwise, in the Layers palette, you can drag the Background Layer to the New Layer icon at the bottom of the palette.


3. Change the blending mode to Hard Light. With the new top Layer selected, use the pull down menu in the Layers palette and select a Hard Light blending mode.

Blending mode pulldown menu

Blending mode pulldown menu

Select hard light blending mode

Select hard light blending mode

4. Adjust the Opacity (optional). If you feel the vibrancy is too much, you can pull it back by lowering the opacity of the top layer. 


Ta dah. Here's our final beautiful vibrant product! 

But why stop there? You can go on to give the model in your photo sparkling eyes with this quick Photoshop Tutorial. Happy creating.

AuthorCristin Burton

Did you know that you can make your own Photoshop brushes? It's true! In this quick tutorial, I'll show you how to make a custom Photoshop brush out of this Bigstock vector. Start by opening the vector in Adobe Illustrator

In the Layers palette, find the part of the vector that you would like to use as a brush. Select it. 

Make sure that the shape is pure black (#000000) and at 100% opacity. Then, with the shape still selected, hit command-C (or Control-C, if you're on a PC) to copy it.

Then go to Photoshop, and open a new document at 300 dpi. Hit command-P (or Control-P on a PC) to paste the object. You will get a prompt. Leave the selection on Smart Object and click OK.  Click Enter on your keyboard to place the object.


With the Smart Object selected, go to Edit>Define Brush Preset.

You will be asked to name the Brush Preset. In this example, I am naming it "distress". It will be saved in your Brush Presets. 

To use your new brush, open a new document. While in the Brush tool, select the pull-down menu. Look down at the bottom of your brushes and there it is. Select it!


Now you can paint with that brush. In this example, the brush I have made acts as a texture, or a way to distress things in Photoshop. 

In the following image, I have made a box and then used the Eraser tool with my new brush to distress the box. 

And of course, if you go to the Brush palette, you can flip or rotate the angle of the brush.

So, I can now distress a different edge. 

Please Note: You can use any shape as a brush, and it doesn't have to be a texture. You can turn a butterfly vector into a brush and use it to scatter little butterflies on photos. You can also take your logo and turn it into a brush to use as a watermark. 

I also recommend checking out the Adobe Brush app. With this app, you can take photos, or anything saved in creative cloud library, and turn it into a brush. The brush will be saved in your library and you can simply open up Photoshop and load the brush. Give it a shot!

AuthorCristin Burton

As part of a creative team, I can tell you that every element of our day affects the final products we create. From the organization of our desks (or lack thereof), to the food we eat, it all plays into our individual end results. This includes the music we listen to. Some people prefer wordless or ambient tunes, while others prefer a more intense or varied sound. 

So, we asked some of the team to answer this question: What songs inspire you to create? Scroll through their answers for some sonic inspiration. And, give 'em a test for yourself the next time you're browsing our royalty-free images, or anytime you're at work on your next creative endeavor. Happy listening.

1. Neu! - Hallogallo

Dan Reiss, Head of Content Marketing

"This is classic German Motorik. It feels like I'm setting out on a road trip or journey, which is a good headspace to be in when I start a project."


2. Silver Mount Zion - God Bless Our Dead Marines 

Lindsay Comstock, Staff Writer and Curator

"I like really anything Efrim Menuck (including Godspeed You! Black Emperor) when I'm writing or working on photos. This song in particular has a motivational marching rhythm but is the perfect mix of disjointed and abstract and dark and politically-charged to get the creative juices flowing."


3. Vitamin String Quartet - Mad World

Sarah Maloy, Content Marketing Manager

"Most anything by Vitamin String Quartet [works for me] because it's familiar enough music that it doesn't distract me, but it's also more instrumental and soothing."


4. The Beatles - I Am The Walrus

Doug Levy, Managing Blog Editor

"John Lennon is indisputably one of the preeminent geniuses of the last century, but rarely did he let his inner freeform poet loose as freely with the Beatles as he did here. If trying to decipher these lyrics doesn't put you in a more creative mindset, nothing will."


5. Yann Tiersen - Comptine d'un autre été : L'Après-Midi  

Rob Checkal, Social Media Manager

"This short, but poignant composition takes me on an inspiring journey to heaven and back. The calming, crisp piano intro relaxes me instantly. As the song progresses, so too, does the intricacy of it. That intricacy plays into my mind's eye in a way that no other song can." 


6. Nils Frahm - Says

Ashley Hefnawy, Associate Blog Editor

"Anything ambient, spacey, layered and evolving from a mellow build-up puts me in the perfect mindset to create. Nils Frahm has a way of doing exactly that by simultaneously engaging my mind and settling me into calmness."


7. Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism 

Brian Masefield, Copy Manager

"It's eight minutes of mood, metaphor and melodrama. There's very few lyrics, but a whole lot of melancholy. It's great to have a consistent vibe in a song to get lost in - even a sad vibe - without a distracting amount of chorus and vocals. Yet, it's still pop, still accessible. And I love me some non-distracting, easily-accessible poetic pop."

What are some songs that inspire you to create? Let us know in the comments!

AuthorAshley Hefnawy

Last year, we shared some tips for blogging on Squarespace. And we even shared updated tips when Squarespace changed some things around. So, we've decided to keep sharing the blog tip love with our Wordpress-using friends.

One out of every six websites­­ - that’s roughly 60 million - ­­uses either, the self-­hosted installation, or, the hosted service. But, just because you’re using a great platform doesn’t mean that your blogs will automatically become popular. You’ll need to customize your WordPress blog to stand out from the crowd. Read on for five easy tips to do just that. 

Choose a Clean and Responsive Theme

WordPress has hundreds of free and premium themes available. Look for ones that include responsive design, which means they adjust their display to make your site readable no matter the screen size of your reader's device. With 60 percent of all traffic coming from mobile, that's important for keeping viewers. 

Aura Premium Mobile is a great theme choice for those who wish to optimize for a mobile audience. Crissy is a well­-regarded blog and magazine­ style theme for those who want to offer the best experience to both mobile and desktop visitors.

Use Widgets to further customize your blog by adding online forms, site navigation, or social media links. But remember, first impressions count, so make sure the design of your blog has a strong impact when viewers visit your site without cluttering it with content and graphics.


Create an "About the Author" Page

Once people read your awesome content, they’re naturally going to be curious about who you are. Your author bio serves to introduce yourself, and it can be as detailed and personal as you want it to be.

WordPress gives you the ability to create both blog posts and static pages, and using the latter is ideal to create a space where readers can learn more about you. From the "Pages" menu (usually on the left side of your WP dashboard) choose "Add New." Title your page in an SEO-­friendly way, such as About the Author of [your blog’s name], and write a short bio, which may include linking to your other online works.

Adding a professional and representative photo puts a face to your name and creates both transparency and connectability. WordPress also has a plugin for a customizable “About the Author” box that goes below each post.


Optimize to Get Your Posts in Front of More Readers

No matter how beautiful and sleek your blog looks, and no matter how amazing your content is, you will not gain the repeat viewership you seek if no one can find you. There are a number of WordPress plugins that can help you optimize your content to attract more attention from search engines.

Inbound Writer suggests phrases that searchers use when they are looking for content on the topics you cover. Scribe is a plugin developed by Copyblogger that analyzes the tone of your posts to ensure consistency throughout your site. It also boosts your SEO with custom meta descriptions and title tags.


Get Social

According to Entrepreneur, traffic from social media is set to become more important than search engine queries. Almost half of all internet users between 18 and 32 use social networks to find new content. Assuming you are already using social media to promote your posts, you should also make it easy for your readers to do the same.

A number of quality WordPress themes, such as FastForward and Aruna, have sharing buttons built right in. If you fall in love with a theme that does not have this option, you can easily add it by implementing sharing plugins like Simplified Social Sharing.


Appeal to More Visitors with Multimedia

Capture the attention of your readers by embedding interactive elements and multimedia into your blog posts. Use colorful and attractive images, YouTube videos, infographics, SlideShare presentations, podcast interviews, and other types of multimedia to keep visitors engaged.

If you’re interested in data visualization, the WordPress plugin Visualizer makes it easy to incorporate nine different types of charts into your posts. Use charts to help impart practical information or just for some whimsical fun along the lines of viral hit GraphJam. If you don’t have a YouTube account or podcast, just use a plugin like Zemanta to find related content without ever having to leave your WordPress dashboard.

With some experimentation, social sharing, and SEO savvy, you'll not only have a great WordPress blog, you'll have a blog people will want to follow and share. Good luck.

AuthorBrian Masefield