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12 Days of Christmas FREEBIES Bundle is HERE!!


12 Days of Christmas Freebies...IS...BACK!!! That's right everyone!! If you missed my 
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FREEBIES EVENT, or if you weren't able to download each of the 12 sets a couple of years ago, I am now offering the entire 12 sets as ONE bundle starting TODAY!! 

The bundle will be available for FREE until December 25th {2016} at midnight.

You will get the coordinating borders, patterns, and accents in one easy bundle {see previews below}. Click the image above to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers shop and download the bundled set. 

Please share the link and remember to leave feedback. Remember... it pays to leave feedback on TpT! Earn points and use those points as credit to buy more stuff!! 

WHAT YOU WILL GET IN THE BUNDLE... 














Thank you everyone for stopping by and I hope you have a very Merry & Bright Christmas!!







Website in a Night with Weebly

Oh my Goodness!! Hi Everyone!!!

I have not written a post since April, but I wanted to pop in and share a really neat experience I had last night at the Weebly Headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.


I was invited to attend the Weebly, Website in a Night Event (#wein), and of course, I accepted! I have had my website through Weebly for about three years and I have now designed about 5 Custom Weebly sites for clients. You can say I am a bit of a fan.

This was me on the way to the event. We hit some traffic and I was worried that we might arrive a little late, but we were there 20 minutes early.
My biggest fear???  Seriously!! I really do not like arriving somewhere and having to go to the bathroom before I say hello to everyone...it's a real problem people.. haha  video

As a pop in, my website was featured and I got an opportunity to share my site, my story, and a little bit of what I do. Sharing what I do is actually a challenge at times because I am bit of a creative everything...lol  My husband came along with me and was able to get a photo of me while I had my few minutes of fame. Totally RAD!

Although I love to share what I do, I especially love meeting new people and getting an opportunity to share my knowledge with other creative people.

The moment we arrived, we were greeted with smiles and an entire team of hard-working Weebly staff members ready to teach, connect, and offer help to those who registered to attend. By the way, the entire event was FREE!!

I had a blast sharing my story, but I was really looking forward to learning some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) while I was there. I arrived prepared to take plenty of notes and I filled a few pages before leaving (and I might have brought home a few free pens).


I tried to stay active on Instagram and Snapchat (@the3amteacher) as much as I could, but I found myself so immersed in great conversations that I mainly failed to share tips during the bulk of the event. Instead of trying to create bits and pieces of what I learned, I thought I would share some great takeaways I left with and include a few really helpful links that you all can check out below.

TAKEAWAYS ON SEO
1. Adding a content specific description to your website or blog can help boost traffic to your site. It is also good to add descriptions to blog posts, specific pages and product pages to help search engines find you.

2. Descriptions should be no more than 2-3 sentences and should be content specific.

3. Meta Keywords can help your site show up more frequently in search engines, like Google, if you choose words that are content specific to your site.

4. You should use no more than 15 to 30 content specific keywords separated by commas, but do not use adjectives or excessive repeated word combinations. Using too many repetitive words can actually cause more harm than good and you could potentially get flagged or penalized for doing it. For instance, if you are a plumber and you list the word, plumbing over and over in every place you can add Meta Keywords, you will most likely get penalized and not show up (so I was told).

5. I learned that I have a LOT of work to do on my Weebly website product pages. I have optimized my own site using the settings, which helps the home page and main information, but I have not taken advantage of the advanced options for SEO on my individual page links or my product pages. This is something I added to my list that I will be working on in the weeks and months to come.

Even though the SEO tips were designed for the Weebly site, this new knowledge can be applied to any site or blog to help your sites get seen. It is not just the amount of traffic that's important, but targeting the RIGHT traffic to your site.

A little peek into the SEO session
video

Click the images below to link to the amazing SEO Weebly help site. They have some great tips and directions to help get you started.




SEO was one area that I have really been needing to learn more about, so I was really happy to gain some knowledge in that area. I hope the links above are helpful to you as well. Weebly has provided incredible support and a wealth of knowledge to their customers and I feel really honored to have been a part of their event.

Everyone who attended had a story and a dream and I found myself so intrigued and inspired by those around me.

At one point during the event, the coordinator Dana Walsh, came up to me and told me that there was someone who wanted to meet me and had some questions.

To my surprise, the young man was a HIGH SCHOOL student who had created his own education company based on the needs of his teachers and we sat down and talked for nearly an hour! This young man was incredibly brilliant and I just want to give him a little shout out. He created a company called, Connected EDU and he built it as a way for educators to collaborate and share ideas (not resources) with one another. The concept is that new teachers can find a place to get help and support and seasoned teachers can be mentors to new teachers. The site is in it's beta form or testing phase, but this incredible young man has big ideas and I just know he is going to make such a huge impact. I feel so honored to have met him!! Below is his card (I cropped out his phone number, obviously), but feel free to check him out and follow him.. I have a feeling he is going to make some positive waves in the field of education through online collaboration and learning.



That pretty much wraps up the night with Weebly. If you are looking to create a website, I highly recommend that you, at least, take some time check out Weebly. They are an incredible company that continues to grow.  www.weebly.com

I will leave you now with a fun little snapchat photo I took this morning.. I just LoVe this app!! The image below is probably the closest thing to a white winter I will have here in Arizona.. so I am embracing the "idea" of winter... while it is still in the high 80's here!!



Thank you for visiting and I hope you learned a little, laughed a lot, and just enjoyed spending a little time reading my blog.












What Makes a Product Really Stand Out & Get Noticed??

Although I don't consider myself to be an expert of marketing or digital product branding, I do get asked this question quite a bit...


I really enjoy what I do and I thought I would share some of the tips and advice I have learned over the years. I often feel like I fall short when it comes to my own product brand and marketing, but I seem to excel when helping others.. go figure!!

I believe that there are three KEY ingredients to making sure your digital products really stand out...


#1 LAYOUT & DESCRIPTION
Your layout is not the actual colors or clipart you've included in your design, but how you have placed those items in a product preview to draw people in. I always work in grids.. I like to see that elements are placed evenly, proportionately, and balanced on a page - no matter what type of page you are creating. 

Now... I do have a Masters degree, but I did not earn my degree in art or design (maybe now I wish I had..lol). This is just my own "eye" and how I am able to creatively and objectively look at different designs elements. 

Think of it this way... the layout of your design tells a story... what story is your layout telling? 

Is your story random, messy and not well thought out? Or does  your story show you took great care and time to think about how to use the space you had?  Having white space is also not always a bad thing... especially in design. Just because there is space for more images, doesn't mean you need to fill it up with more.

Having too many elements in a layout will distract people from the visual story you are trying to convey. Keep the design and layout simple - I know you have all probably heard the saying, less is more.... but it's true... LESS is MORE.. in design. You want people seeing your product preview to know exactly what it is you have and to focus on the content. 

Leanring how to design an effective layout takes time, practice and many do-overs to get it right.. haha.. Just take a look at some of my old previews.... OR DON'T!!! There is always more to learn and I take pride in knowing that I am a life long learner of as many things as possible.. LOL

#2  FONTS HAVE FEELINGS TOO
Using clear and easy to read fonts on your product covers is VERY IMPORTANT!! If I can't read it, then I surely will not be buying what you are selling. Keep it simple, clean, and bold and people will be able to read the previews even when they are only 200 pixels wide on the web.

Every font has it's own "personality" and tone... Use fonts that reflect a "personality" that complements the purpose of the product. If you take a little peak at my PORTFOLIO, notice how the fonts I chose for each design takes on its own personality that complements the overall design and nae of each blog. Those choices didn't happen by accident, people. I often spend more time choosing fonts than doing anything else in a custom blog design. I can literally spend hours searching for just the right font that complements each design. It is a process, but it's an important process. 

Think of the fonts you choose as your online "body language".. what are your fonts relaying to those reading?  I recently read a great article about WHY FONTS MATTER that talks about how fonts can relay our emotions and what we are feeling... just like colors (but I'm not getting into colors today.. that could be an entirely other post). It might be a good idea NOT to create a product cover while you're mad.. haha

I love design messages that help us learn... like the design of this T-Shirt from Amazon

If you thought the shirt was funny, there is an entire Facebook Community dedicated to spotting reasons as to "Why Fonts Matter". Check out this Facebook page, WHY FONTS MATTER and be prepared to laugh, but also be prepared to start thinking about your own font choices and what messages your font choices are conveying... it's really important!!
Here is an example from this FB page:
I am pretty sure the person who chose this font was not thinking that the style would make this company look like it says KKK boxing!!! Font styles can play tricks on our eyes and on the way we feel about a company or product... start thinking about your fonts.

I have had clients in the past ask me to use specific fonts together that look terrible when paired. Even when I have literally begged that client to "trust" me, I end up having to appease the client and use the font combination requested... 99.99% of the time I do this, the client will ask me to change the fonts once they have seen their decision and how it looks in relation to the overall design - I kid you not!! 

Make sure if using more than one font, that those two fonts complement one another as well. test it out, print it or get some fresh opinions if you are unsure. There are so many of us Teacher or former teacher bloggers that would jump at the chance to help and share our knowledge and input with you. Don't end up sitting for hours by yourself feeling frustrated when you have a community of amazingly talented peeps to give you some tips.  

#3 EXCLUSIVE CLIP ART AND REAL PHOTOS
Do you want to really make your products stand out and get noticed?? Use real photos taken by YOU or create your own clip art that no one else has. There is nothing more appealing than a high quality image or unique clip art! In my Clip Art 101 Course, I am teaching teachers and bloggers- just like you- to create their own images! Come join us - I would love to teach you what I know... 

Just imagine if you could create a quality product and then illustrate the entire thing using your own unique art!! You would certainly have something unique. I get asked all of the time why I do not sell the art I use in my Hello Business Planner or my End of the Year Memory Coloring Book.  The reason I do not sell the art I used to create these two products is because I wanted to create a product that was completely unique each time. 

I noticed the other day just how many product covers look exactly the same while scrolling through TeachersPayTeacher (Actually, Teachers Pun Teachers right now... hilarious!), so why not stand out with your own clip art OR photos. 

I like being different... I really do..  Try it... try it, Sam I am... (lol)


Last Thoughts/Tips
Staying consistent in your preview designs with branding will also benefit you in the long run. This is something I have a difficult time doing, because I like to change things up! It's hard to be consistent. Its NOT impossible, but it does take work to become recognizable and familiar. If you create a good brand identity or hire someone to do that for you, then you are on the right track already.

If you don't yet have a TpT shop and you are struggling to figure out how to begin, I always suggest starting out with a blog and begin connecting with people. Blogging was really my starting point and I had no idea how much it would positively impact my life. I have made incredible friendships, learned so much, and I have grown both as an artist and as a business owner through the relationships I made through blogging. 

If you need a little help, you can always hire me to create a custom blog or website design -that's right... I also design Weebly websites! You will have to email me for my website package pricing. Click HERE to hire me or email me at 3amteacher@gmail.com I am always ready to help create a unique design and get you started on your own blogging.business journey OR to help you get a fresh new look. Either way, I really do love what I do. 
(I do not design Wordpress blogs - email me about my Weebly package instead)

I certainly continue to grow and learn - and I am far from being an expert in design, but I do love sharing my knowledge - I hope this little bit was helpful.

Have some suggestions or tips on how to make a product really stand out and get noticed? Comment below with your tips! I would love to learn your secrets as well!!


Your friend,
Michelle



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