Zen Approved – Design Element Providers

By: Chad Bell

When it comes to adding personalized elements to your site, you may be confused about where to find inspiration. Here you will find a list of recommended sites with inspirational design elements to help better achieve your dream website. Our top picks will help you find stylized elements, including color schemes and combinations, stock images and graphics, and interactive user components. Choosing such elements will not only help the designer achieve your ideal design, but will also help to speed up the overall development process.



Kuler – www.kuler.adobe.com

Kuler is a web-hosted application for generating color themes that can inspire any project. No matter what you are creating, Kuler allows you to quickly experiment with color variations and browse thousands of themes from the Kuler community.



Jupiter Images – www.jupiterimages.com

We’ve noticed that Jupiter Images has the best modern and professional stock photos. It provides stock photography and stock illustrations with over 500,000 royalty-free images to choose from. You can find everything from lifestyle themed images to holiday to sports themed images. Individual image pricing varies depending on the image size and resolution (web, low, medium, high, or very high).



Fotolia – www.us.fotolia.com

Fotolia is the first worldwide social marketplace for royalty free stock images, allowing individuals and professionals to legally buy and share stock images and illustrations. It offers the largest image bank of free and affordable royalty free photos and illustrations perfect for any medium, web or print. Photographers and designers constantly update Fotolia with thousands of new photos and illustrations each day.



FlashXML – www.flashxml.net

If you are looking to add that extra design element that makes the users experience much more interesting, then FlashXML has just the components your looking for. The FlashXML team strives to build the best Flash components and come up with a new standard in the field, where you can actually customize your components without using Flash software and without special skills other than using your mouse. Your website’s visitors will love the interactivity.


These sites will help you personalize your site and have it looking the way you want it. Whether it be Kuler for your themes, Jupiter or Fotolia to provide great images/illustrations, or Flash to make your site that little bit more exciting, you will find all your need in terms of design.

Instantaneous Advertising to Millions of Consumers

By: Chad Bell
Imagine a time when lead generation was created through trade papers, customer response cards and classifieds. Many SMB (small to mid-sized businesses) can relate to the agony of waiting by the phone in hopes the next caller would be a sale. As generations grew older, technology improved vastly as “out with the old” and “in-with-the-new” became forefront for all businesses.

Like CUTTING COSTS? Then listen up!

Today’s online advertising distribution model is keyword and cost-per-click (CPC) driven. If you have a product, pay-per-click advertising can help you sell to millions upon millions of people in less than 1 hour of setup.

No more waiting for editors approval, budget sign-offs or printing schedules. Say goodbye to hiring “lead generators” and hello to opportunities today!




Google AdWords allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to share with the world their product or service…at this moment.

Using the keywords “cell phones” I’ve pulled up some examples, and don’t be fooled by the Sprint example – a SMB can compete or do better than the big conglomerates.


See the search ad just above Sprint – wirefly.com (Have you heard of them? I sure haven’t). The idea is to visually show you that YOU can have an ad up and running ASAP.

And isn’t that the whole idea?


Your options are not just limited to search either…As you can see using Google’s “Display Network” Sprint also has ad’s on web pages they think their potential customers frequent. As is the case here:


Sprint & Wirefly can both be found on mobile search as well. In fact, Wirefly has a higher position than Sprint. The underdog scores again!

The point is is that SMB’s now have the opportunity to advertise in the same arena as corporations, its fair game and completely different than the old advertising model used before.

SMB’s owners should feel energetic knowing their voice can now be heard!


Matthew David is the author, editor, and owner of Google AdWords Certified,

which provides specialized AdWords services for small to mid-sized business.

Read his blog. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

3 Elements of a Strong Brand Identity

By: Chad Bell
When people hear the term “brand identity”, they usually think of a logo or a slogan. But exactly what goes into creating these identifiers and what makes one brand more recognizable than the others? As the Internet inevitably becomes inundated with your competition, it will be increasingly important to properly define the unique personality of your business.

Not unlike the factors necessary to establish the overarching goals and viability of your business, the 3 major variables to consider when identifying your brand are company vision, consumer needs, and competitive environment. To effectively communicate the identity of your brand, ask yourself these questions:

Company Vision

What does your company strive to accomplish?

What are the practical features associated with your services?

What are the positive attributes of your brand?



Consumer Needs

Who is your target audience?

What drives their purchase decisions?

How can you connect emotionally with your audience?



Competitive Environment

What makes your brand different and better than others?

Who are my competitors targeting?

How is your brand positioned against the competition?

It’s easy to think of your brand as simply a reflection of the people behind it and the services it provides. But you don’t operate in a vacuum, and neither should your business. Company vision, consumer needs, and competitive environment should all be considered to establish and consistently communicate a strong brand identity.

WordPress Tutorial 2 – Part 1. Quick & Easy Tips for Images & Galleries

By: Chad Bell
Learn how to add images and galleries into your WordPress blog or site quickly and easily in just 6 minutes.

Next up, watch our WordPress expert optimize the ways you can display images with the popular NextGen plugin.