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Resourceful Designer: Strategies for running a graphic design business

Offering resources to help streamline your home based graphic design and web design business so you can get back to what you do best… Designing!
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Resourceful Designer: Strategies for running a graphic design business
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Now displaying: November, 2022
Nov 28, 2022

One of the perks of running your own design business is the freedom it provides. You have nobody to answer to but yourself. Ok, sure, there are the clients. You do have to answer to them, to a degree. But it’s your business, so you can dictate how you respond to them.

If you don’t want to work Friday afternoons, you can take them off. Nobody is stopping you if you want to try a new design technique or different software. And you get to decide how much you charge for your services and can change your rate any time you like.

The freedom of working for yourself is one of, if not the main reason people choose the life of, and I’m going to say it, even though I disagree with the term, the life of a freelancer. It felt dirty just writing that. Want to know why? Listen to episode 17 of the podcast titled “Being a Freelance Graphic Designer Could Hurt Your Business.” It will make you rethink calling yourself a freelancer.

But where was I? Ah, yes, the freedom of running your own design business. For many of us, it’s the ultimate dream. I will never work for an employer again. And I know many who feel the same. But, just because you’re working for yourself, running your own business, doesn’t mean you’ve made it.

I hate to burst your bubble, but the purpose of every business is to grow. A business that doesn’t grow will eventually fail. Many business studies have proven this. And your business will never grow to its full potential because of one thing holding it back. And that one thing is you.

Yes, without you, there wouldn’t be a business. However, you are also one of your business’s most significant liabilities. How can that be? It’s because of your limitations.

Your limitations may include skills you lack. It may be a lack of time, the time to do things or learn things. Your knowledge may be limiting you. You can’t expect to know everything. Or it could be any number of things.

Don’t feel bad. I’m not singling you out. Everyone has limitations.

What will help your business grow is knowing your limitations and finding a way to overcome them. And one of the best ways for business owners to overcome their limitations is by working with people who offset those limitations.

In other words. Your business will grow when you learn to outsource and hire subcontractors to do what you can’t or shouldn’t do.

I know this may seem like a foreign concept. The whole point of going at it alone is just that, to be alone. But being alone will only get you so far. You need a team if you want to grow beyond your limited capabilities.

I speak from experience. I ran my design business for several years, all by myself. In my mind, it was my business. Therefore I had to do everything myself. My clients were hiring me, after all.

I didn’t take on the project if a client asked for something I couldn’t do. I was limiting my growth. I once turned down a $50,000 website project because I wasn’t confident in my skills with PHP and MySQL. I kick myself to this day for that one. But I couldn’t do it, so I said no.

And I kept at it, Trudging away, taking on only the projects I could do and passing on the ones I couldn’t.

At the time, I was making decent money and thought I was doing well. But my business wasn’t growing. Year after year, my income was pretty much the same. It wasn’t going up as needed for growth. I had reached what I like to call now, my solo limit. I could only take my business so far on my own.

I didn’t know it then, but I was holding my business back. It wasn’t until I started reading more business books and listening to business-related podcasts that I realized that most successful entrepreneurs don’t work alone. They have a team that works with them to accomplish their business goals and help them grow. If I wanted my business to grow, I would have to build a team.

Now I didn’t jump in with both feet and hire a bunch of people. I took it slow.

The first job I outsourced was when I ran into an issue with a client’s e-commerce website. I wasn’t sure how to handle the problem. Given enough time, I could probably fix it, but I had no idea where to start or how long it would take.

Instead of spending hours researching and troubleshooting it myself. I hired a sub-contractor online who was an expert in that e-commerce platform and paid them to fix it for me. It cost me $100 for what I’m sure would have taken me an entire day’s work to accomplish, if not more. Plus, I could charge my client a premium fee for the fix and profit from it.

That’s the case with most contractors. Sure, you have to pay them, but you mark up that expense and make a profit when you charge your client. So there’s no downside to paying a contractor.

That was my first experience in hiring a sub-contractor. And it was such a good experience that I started looking for other ways outsourcing to subcontractors could help me.

Fast forward several years, and now I have an expanded team of contractors I can turn to for all sorts of situations. And through them, I’ve almost tripled my income compared to my pre-outsourcing days.

I removed myself as a liability to my business by hiring people to help me.

Building your outsourcing team.

To clarify, I’m not referring to employees when I say hire. I’ve never had an employee, so I can’t help you with that. I’m talking about hiring subcontractors. These are people you outsource work to on an as-needed basis. When a situation arises where you require help, you hire someone for the task.

You’ll work with some contractors regularly, and some you’ll only work with once or twice.

You should constantly look for people to add to your team. When you meet or hear of someone with a particular skill, file away that information for when you need it.

This team you’re forming is just for you. You don’t even have to tell the people on your team that they’re part of it. They’ll find out when you hire them.

All you’re doing is building a personal database of people whose skills may be helpful someday. That’s your outsourcing team.

What subcontractors can you hire?

So what kind of subcontractors can you hire for your business? The possibilities are endless, but here’s a short list of the more common people designers outsource to.

Photographers

Hiring a photographer, instead of relying on the client to provide photos, allows you to control and get the exact images you need for your design.

To learn more about dealing with photographers, listen to episode 3 of the podcast, where I talk with Brett Gillmore, an award-winning commercial photographer in Calgary, Alberta, here in Canada.

Illustrators

For those of us lacking in this particular talent, hiring someone is the only way to include custom illustration work in your designs.

Even if you’re an accomplished illustrator, you may need someone with an illustration style or technique outside your comfort zone.

I have several illustrators on my outsourcing team for this very reason. One specializes in caricatures, another in technical drawings, another is good at watercolours, and another is good with markers.

I have people with different illustration styles, such as Japanese manga, vintage looks, and modern cubism. I even have one who makes people look like the Simpsons characters.

The idea is to know as many illustrators as possible should I need their skills.

Copywriters

Unless you have a degree in journalism or another writing discipline,  you should consider working with copywriters whenever possible.

Copywriters do with words what we designers do with pixels. They turn simple sentences into compelling messages. When designers and copywriters work together, it creates magic. And that magic allows you to charge much more for your services.

Including a copywriter on a website design project can increase its value from $5,000 to $10,000. Clients who understand the importance of a good copywriter are more than willing to pay a premium price for them.

Web Developers/Coders

Websites are versatile, and the ecosystem is ever-expanding, so it’s understandable that one web designer can’t do everything. Outsourcing parts or even entire projects to web developers allows you to offer much more to your clients.

In most cases, you hire a developer to do things you don’t know how to do. But there are also times when you may want to hire a developer to help speed things up if you believe they can complete a task more efficiently than you can.

In most cases, it’s more beneficial to pay a sub-contractor for three hours of work than it is for you to spend six hours doing the same task. And while the sub-contractor tackles whatever task you give him, your time is freed up to work on other things.

So even though you’re paying for the subcontractor’s services, you’re making more money than if I didn’t hire them since you can charge the client for their time while you’re making money doing something else during that same time. It’s almost like double charging.

Outsourcing possibilities are endless.

I can go on and on with people you can hire. Some people specialize in SEO, Social Media, Online Advertising, Sales Funnels, Building Email Lists, Translators, etc.

Sometimes you outsource to someone for something you don’t want to do. Such as removing the background on over 300 product photos for a catalogue. I’d rather pay someone to do this than sludge through it myself.

Every one of these people can help grow your design business.

What to look for in a subcontractor.

When looking for someone to outsource work to, you want to find someone with the skills you seek that are reliable, trustworthy and easy to deal with.

In my limited experience, you are better off finding multiple subcontractors who each excel in a particular skill than finding one person with a general knowledge of various skills.

Someone with a specialized skillset may charge more, but their expertise is worth it. You are better off paying a bit more for someone specializing in a specific area.

Where to find subcontractors.

There are many places where you can find subcontractors to outsource your projects. However, the best place, in my opinion, is through your existing network. It’s much easier to work with someone you already have a relationship with or with a subcontractor vouched for by someone you know.

The subcontractor that helps me with website projects is someone I met through the Resourceful Designer Community. One of the illustrators I’ve used over the years is someone I went to school with. Another developer I’ve used was recommended by a designer I know. When my first copywriter took a job that prevented her from doing side work, she recommended a fellow copywriter I could hire. These types of hires are always the most lucrative in my experience.

But if your network doesn’t have the people you need, there are plenty of places online you can turn to for outsourcing help.

My favourite places to find subcontractors are Upwork.com, toptal.com, freelancer.com and fiverr.com.

These platforms often offer you two options when hiring subcontractors. You can either post a job posting that lists the position or skill you’re looking for, along with how much you’re willing to pay and let those interested apply.

Or you can search these platforms for people with the talent you’re looking for and reach out to them individually to see if they’re interested in taking on your project.

I’ve had success with both methods. However, I prefer to approach them myself.

Considerations when outsourcing to a subcontractor.

Some things to consider when hiring a subcontractor are where they’re located, their familiarity with the language you speak and, of course, price.

Time Zones.

These online outsourcing portals connect people from around the world. It’s not unheard of if the perfect person for your project lives on the other side of the globe.

You must consider if time zones are an issue. Are you ok working with someone who is going to bed as you start your day? In most cases, it probably won’t be a problem. However, if deadlines are pressing, knowing your contractor won’t see your instructions for 10-12 hours may be a problem. If that’s the case, you may want to refine your search to people geographically closer to where you are located. Most platforms allow you to do this.

Language Barriers.

Be wary of language barriers when hiring someone to outsource to. Understanding a language and being fluent in it are two different things. You don’t want issues because of a misunderstanding in communication.

Some online platforms will indicate what languages a subcontractor is fluent in. Keep that in mind when hiring.

Rates and Price.

Rates and prices on these platforms vary significantly. Due to the various living costs worldwide, contractors charge different fees for their services.

Typically, you’ll pay higher for a subcontractor in North America than someone in an Asian country. Is it worth paying more to work with someone in a closer time zone who speaks your native language? Only you can decide.

You must consider all these things when hiring someone. Where they are located, their comfort level with your language, and the rate they charge for their services. Weigh each of these and choose the perfect subcontractor for you.

Build your outsourcing team.

There is so much more when it comes to hiring a subcontractor. Entire books are dedicated to the subject. But I hope my little scratch of the surface gives you an idea of how and what to look for when outsourcing and expanding your team.

I know it’s in our nature to do everything ourselves. It’s tough to relinquish control. But I want you to remember something. Clients don’t hire you to do a job. They hire you to get a job done. And sometimes, the most efficient, practical and cost-saving way to get a job done is to outsource it to someone who can help you.

Your clients will appreciate your ingenuity.

So the next time you are unsure how to handle a task or find yourself with too much to do and too little time to do it. Or maybe you don’t feel like doing a particular job yourself. Remember that you are not alone. There’s a world of people ready to join your team and help you grow your design business.

Don’t be the liability that holds you back from growth. Learn how to outsource.

Nov 14, 2022

This episode is sponsored by Sticker Mule. Get 10 Custom Stickers for $1, plus free shipping. Visit stickermule.com/resourcefuldesigner


It’s well-established that it’s easier to get a new design project from a past client than to land a project from a new client.

You can run a successful design business with only a few good recurring clients. It’s the 80/20 rule. 80% of your business will come from 20% of your clients. Therefore you must keep as many clients as you can.

For the first few years of my design business, I had less than a dozen clients, and less than a handful of those clients kept me busy on an ongoing basis.

According to Invesp, the probability of existing clients giving you work in the future is 60-70%, while the likelihood of getting work from new clients is 5-20%. So it’s easy to see why client retention is so necessary.

Clients know a talented graphic or web designer when they find one. But it takes more than being an excellent designer to keep them returning. I’ve said this many times on the podcast before. Clients prefer to work with a good designer they like rather than an amazing designer they don’t like.

The best way to keep your clients happy and coming back is to ensure they like you. And you do that by providing excellent service and building relationships with them.

It’s best to do everything possible to ensure your clients feel valued, appreciated, and satisfied with your services. Here are nine tips for doing just that and keeping your clients returning. And you’ll notice repetition as I go through them, as many of these tips play off each other.

Here are nine ways to make clients love working with you again and again.

1) Be Proactive

Make sure your clients understand what they should expect from working with you. Be proactive and set expectations upfront, so there aren’t any surprises down the road.

Being proactive shows your professionalism and positions you as a leader instead of an order-taker. Clients will appreciate this and quickly learn to trust you.

Think about the entire relationship—you’re trying to land a client, not just a design project. And if you can change your mentality and think of them as partners instead of clients, you’ll find the relationship even easier to build.

Don’t fall into the trap of viewing client projects as transactional, one-off projects. Instead, think of them as long-term relationships.

Being proactive may also mean learning about your client and their industry. Do some homework and learn a little about them and their industry before meeting with them. Clients will appreciate your effort and are more likely to trust you with their project.

Don’t forget to keep in touch after the current project ends, as I discussed a couple of weeks ago in episode 303 about following up with dormant clients.

If you do a good job setting expectations at the start, many clients will return to you for future projects.

2) Be Honest

It’s easy to tell clients what they want to hear, but delivering on those promises is much more challenging.

A good designer is honest with clients about their limitations and how they plan to work within those constraints. It’s ok to tell a client you don’t know something. It’s even better to show the client how you’ll overcome those shortcomings.

A good designer should be reliable enough to stick to their commitments. However, If you encounter any issues or setbacks during a project, be honest and let the client know. Clients want to work with someone they can trust and who will be truthful with them. If you are not honest with your clients, they will not return.

So be honest with them from the start. This means being upfront about your prices, services, policies, limitations and timelines. You should also be honest about any problems or concerns your clients may have.

If you are honest with your clients, they will appreciate it and will be more likely to come back to you. After all, honesty is the best policy for running a successful business.

3) Be Timely

If you’re a freelancer, you know how important it is to be timely. Deadlines are critical; you will not get repeat clients if you’re not meeting them. That’s why ensuring you’re always meeting your deadlines is vital.

If you’re consistently meeting your deadlines, then clients will take notice. They’ll see that you’re reliable and that they can count on you to get the job done. This will keep them coming back to you time after time.

So if you want to keep your clients happy (and keep them coming back), ensure you’re always meeting your deadlines. It’s the best way to ensure their satisfaction and ensure that they keep coming back for more of your great work.

4) Be Flexible

You need to be flexible with clients. If you’re unwilling to adapt to their needs, you will lose them as a client. Yes, It’s your business, and you set the ground rules for how clients deal with you. That’s part of being a professional. But it’s not worth holding your ground if it means possibly losing a good client.

For example, if a client insists on using their project management software instead of yours, or the deal is off, you must decide if this is something worth taking a stand on or if you can be flexible to appease the client.

In today’s ever-changing world, designers must adapt to their client’s needs, or they will quickly become outdated.

Clients hire you for your expertise, but they expect input as well. If their contributions fall on deaf ears, they won’t enjoy working with you. And you know the outcome when that happens. After all, you aren’t as experienced in their field as they are. Learn from your clients by talking and listening to them.

Being flexible and adaptable shows that you are a business willing to change and eager to meet your client’s needs. This is key to keeping your clients happy and returning for more.

5) Be Organized

For clients to keep coming back, you must be organized.

It’s easy to lose track of things when you work alone, but if you want to be successful, you must be organized. Here are a few tips to help you stay organized:

  • Make a list of everything you need to do so nothing gets overlooked, and tackle one task at a time.
  • Invest in a good physical or software planner to keep track of projects, tasks, deadlines, appointments, and other important dates. All your important dates and times should be viewable in one location.
  • Keep your work area clean and clutter-free. It will help you focus and be more productive. I often struggle with this, even though a clean desk allows me to work better.
  • Take breaks throughout the day to clear your head and relax. This will prevent burnout and help you stay fresh.
  • Delegate tasks whenever possible, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

The more organized you are, the more professional you’ll appear to your clients, which will keep them coming back.

6) Be Professional

I’ve already mentioned being professional several times so far. Maybe I should have moved this one closer to the top.

As a business professional, and that’s precisely what you are, you always want to ensure that you put your best foot forward. This means dressing appropriately and acting professionally at all times.

If you are unsure what attire is appropriate, err on the side of caution and choose something more conservative. Remember that first impressions are important, so take the time to present yourself in the best light possible.

In addition to dressing and acting the part, it is also essential that you provide a high level of service to your clients. This means being responsive to their needs, meeting deadlines, and following through on promises. If you consistently provide a positive experience for your clients, they will be more likely to come back to you.

Lastly, be careful with jargon. Using industry words may make you feel more professional, but it could alienate your clients and create misunderstandings that may create a wedge between you. Dropping jargon allows you to communicate clearly and effectively with your clients by putting you on the same page.

7) Be Reliable

Clients will come back again and again because they trust you. They know you won’t let them down. And they know you’ll deliver quality work on time.

If you want your clients to keep coming back, they must know they can count on you. Whether it’s showing up on time for appointments or completing the work you promised, being reliable is key to maintaining a good relationship with your clients. When your clients trust that you will do what you say, they are more likely to continue working with you.

8) Be Trustworthy

One of the most important traits you can possess as a business owner is a trustworthiness. If your clients don’t trust you, they won’t come back. It’s as simple as that.

Here are a few ways to make sure you stay trustworthy in their eyes:

  • Always be upfront about costs and fees. Don’t try to hide anything from your clients – they’ll appreciate your honesty, which will build trust between you.
  • Follow through on your promises. If you tell your client you’re going to do something, make sure you do it! This will show them that they can rely on you and trust what you say.
  • Be transparent in your dealings. This means being honest about the quality of your products or services and providing accurate information about pricing and availability. Additionally, you should be clear about any deadlines or expectations for your clients. Being transparent in your dealings with clients will build trust and goodwill that will keep them returning.

9) Be Responsive

When it comes to keeping clients, responsiveness is critical. If you want returning clients, you must be responsive to their needs. This means being available when they need you, within reason, of course, and being able to address their concerns promptly.

You need to adapt to changing circumstances and respond quickly to new ideas. You should be willing to adjust your habits and designs as required.

Please take advantage of your client’s feedback and learn from their opinions. This will help you hone in on the areas that matter to them.

Being responsive shows your clients that you value their business and are invested in their success. It builds trust and rapport, which are essential for any lasting business relationship. So if you want to keep your clients coming back, ensure you are always responsive to their needs. It might take some extra effort, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Turning new clients into recurring clients shouldn’t be complicated.

Keeping clients coming back, again and again doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember, clients, don’t want to look for another designer. It’s as much trouble for them as finding new clients is for you. They’re hoping you’re “the one” they can stick with for the long haul. So it’s up to you to become that person.

By following these nine simple tips, you’ll create long-lasting relationships that will benefit you and your clients by providing them with excellent customer service, going the extra mile, and making them feel special. And you can ensure that your clients will be happy, satisfied, and loyal to you and your design business for years to come.

Nov 7, 2022

Google. Very few brands have transitioned beyond their original intent. But Google is one of them. What started in 1998 as a small company launched by two Stanford U students to promote their new search engine has grown to become one of the world’s largest conglomerates.

Not only that, but the name Google has evolved to become a noun, an adjective and a verb. Don’t believe me? Google it for yourself.

And even though Google now offers a wide gambit of technological solutions to improve people’s life. At their core remains the search engine.

Did you know that there are over two trillion Google searches every year? It’s hard to fathom how big two trillion is, so let me put it in perspective. There are over 5 billion searches on Google every day. That’s 228 million every hour, almost 4 million searches every minute. That’s a lot of searching.

With an entire planet using them to satisfy their curious minds, Google must ensure its platform is easy to use. Easy enough for young children and seniors alike. You type in what you’re looking for in the search bar, and Google provides you with possible answers. It’s that easy.

Of course, Google’s results aren’t always what you’re looking for. But they make it very easy to try again with another search.

But what if I told you some simple tricks could help you get better results on the first try?

Here are 16 search hacks to help you find things faster on Google.

1) Use quotation marks (“”) in your search.

Enclosing your search term in quotation marks will return results with that exact phrase.

For example, searching for “How to start a graphic design business” will only show results with those words in that exact order. Using quotation marks in your search makes it easy to find precisely what you’re looking for.

NOTE: Using double quotations (“““") tells Google what’s inside them MUST be in the search results.

2) Use a minus sign (-) to exclude words from your search.

If your search produced nonrelevant results, try eliminating words by placing a minus sign in front of them.

For example, if you want to know the top speed of a Jaguar, the cat, not the car. You could search for “jaguar speed -car” This will eliminate searches about the jaguar motor vehicle.

3) Use Site: only to show results from a specific website.

Not every website has a search bar. But that doesn’t matter if you know Google’s site search function. Adding Site: followed by the website you want to search, along with your search term, will return results only from that website.

For example, to find out how many computers you can install Photoshop on, you could search for “Site:adobe.com how many computers can I install Photoshop on?” The results will only give you answer from the Adobe website.

4) Use an Asterisk (*) as a wildcard in your search.

An Asterisk is a star-looking character you get by pressing Shift-8 on your keyboard (*). Replace a word in your search with an Asterisk to see results with multiple possibilities.

For example, if you’re planning a trip to Disney land. Searching for “best * at Disney Land” will return results for the best food at Disney Land, the best rides at Disney Land, the best hotels at Disney Land, the best shows at Disney Land, etc. You get the idea.

The Asterisk is very useful when combined with the Site: operator. For example, if you want to find results only from government websites, include site:*.gov in your search string, and you’ll only get results from websites with a .gov extension.

5) use OR or AND in all-caps to find multiple results.

Using OR or AND returns results from both sides of the operator.

OR can be used to find multiple results. For example, you could search for “Christmas decorating ideas in blue OR Green.” You’ll get results showing blue ideas and results showing green ideas.

AND can be similarly used to combine results. Searching for “Christmas decorating ideas in blue AND green” will show you results with ideas that combine blue and green.

6) Use Intitle: to find results from a web page’s title.

The Intitle: operator can be very useful in narrowing down your searches by only displaying results that include your search term in the web page’s title.

For example, if you search for intitle: “communicating with your design clients,” Google will show you two results. Episode 284 of the Resourceful Designer podcast on https://resourcefuldesigner.com and the same podcast episode on YouTube. That’s because no other web page in Google index has “communicating with your design clients” in the title.

Intitle: is very useful for finding relevant pages specific to your search and not just mentioning your search term somewhere in the body.

7) Use Allinurl: to find results from a web page’s URL.

The Allinurl: operator is similar to the Intitle: operator, except this time, the search term is in the URL of the website instead of the title.

For example, typing “Allinurl: Resourceful Designer niche” will return every web page containing the words Resourceful Designer and niche in the URL.

8) Use Filetype: to find specific files.

This is one of my favourite Google hacks. Using Filetype: lets you find specific file types such as .doc, .png or .pdf.

Say you want to find a user manual for something you bought second-hand, such as a treadmill. Searching for the treadmill’s brand name and model number and including Filetype:pdf in your search query will show you results of PFD files of your treadmill’s user manual.

This is one of my favourite Google Hacks. I use it all the time to get vector logos from companies in combination with the site: operator I mentioned earlier.

For example, say I’m designing a poster for a local event, and I need to include sponsor logos on it. Contacting each sponsor to find a vector version of their logo can be tedious. But if they’re a well-established company, you can sometimes search their website for pdf files and extract the vector logo yourself.

Just search for site:[the company’s website] Filetype:pdf. This will show you a list of all the PDFs on that company’s website. It’s then easy to look through them and find one that has a logo you can extract. Filetype: has saved me countless hours over the years.

9) Use Related: to find similar websites.

I find this one useful when doing research. By typing related: and entering a website URL, Google will show you websites it thinks are similar to the one you entered.

For example, searching for related:shutterstock.com will show you websites Google believes are similar to Shutterstock.

10) Use Cache: to see a website’s cached version.

Cache: is helpful if the website you are trying to visit is down. Or if you want to buy a domain and see how it was used before.

I used this recently after an Instagram ad and purchasing something from the resulting website. The item I received wasn’t at all as described in the ad. And when I went back to the website, it was gone.

Luckily, I found a cached version of the site using Cache: and the site’s domain name and managed to find their contact information. After several back and forths, they agreed to return my money.

11) Use Link: to find pages that link to another page.

This one is useful if you are interested in website backlinks and where they originate.

Enter Link: followed by a URL; the search results will show you all the sites that link to that page.

This is an excellent way of finding out who links to your website or a competitor’s website.

12) Use the Plus Sign (+) to include specific websites or terms in your search results.

You can use the Plus sign (+)similarly to the Site: operator. Searching niche+resourceful designer will show results containing both niche and Resourceful Designer.

You can also use it as a quick way to narrow down a search. For example, you can search for “famous quote+Henry Ford,” and you’ll get results containing quotes from Henry Ford.

13) Us a Tilde (~) to find approximate words.

The tilde is the wave-like line usually found on your keyboard’s key to the left of the number 1. Press Shift to type it.

Tilde is helpful if you are unsure of the spelling word’s spelling or if there are multiple spellings of a word.

For example, since I’m in Canada, I spell the word colour with a “u.” But while searching for a new printer, I would get the best results by typing “best ~colour printer.” This way, I’ll get results showing the best COLOR printers and COLOUR printers.

14) Use brackets () in your search to isolate parts of your search string.

Brackets allow you to combine multiple methods I’ve shared above in a single search string.

Similar to a math problem, such as (2+3) x 2 = 10, where you solve what’s in the brackets first and then the rest of the equation, adding brackets to your search string can help focus your search.

Here’s an example of a search combining multiple methods and using brackets to separate them.

Site:aiga.org (conference OR workshop) AND (Photoshop OR Illustrator)

15) Search a range of numbers using two dots (..)

If you want only to see results between a range of numbers, use two dots between the numbers.

For example, typing “who won the Super Bowl 1996..1999” will show results containing the Super Bowl winners from 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.

16) Use @ to find something on social media

If you’re searching for something and only want results from social media, include @ and the social media platform. For example, “Taylor Swift @twitter” will return results containing “Taylor Swift” found on Twitter.

Google can do so much more.

There you have it, 16 hacks to improve your Google searching and help you find things faster. And that’s only scratching the surface. Google has so many other uses as well.

Need to figure out a math problem? Type it into Google search.

Need to do a quick conversation from Fahrenheit to Celcius or miles to kilometres or convert anything else? Type it into Google search.

Need to know how much your money is worth elsewhere? Do a quick currency conversion in Google search.

Are you planning a trip? Search [City Name] to [City Name] to get flight costs from multiple airlines.

Need to know what time it is anywhere in the world? Type “Time in [city]” to find out.

Don’t know what a word means, type define before the word to learn its definition. You can also type etymology before a word to find its origins.

Google can also be used to translate languages, get stock prices, find weather forecasts, and so much more. It is a wonderful tool.

And I hope that after reading this, you’re now more proficient in using it.

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