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September 2022 - SEO TOP AGENCY

Design Doctors: The RSNL Creative Approach to Brand Building Online  

Pivoting from in-house design work to launching their own creative agency, Devyn Grammar and Dino Valdez have the antidote to branding woes.

Spotting the need for full-spectrum branding work for fledgling companies in and around Newport Beach, California, design partners Dino and Devyn launched the RSNL Creative agency three years ago.

Since then, the agency has grown to encompass over 20 team members serving as many different clients. With a huge emphasis on personalized service and high-quality output, RSNL Creative has become a trusted name for those looking for engaging, creative websites, branding, and marketing.

The Birth of an Agency

Dino started creating websites seven years ago when he started accepting side projects from friends. Having always possessed decent computer skills, and being an adept problem solver, he took to work with ease.

Although he enjoyed building websites, at first he wasn’t in it for the money. He remembers two client projects which stood out for the insanely low fees he brought in: “A 70-hour project for a couple of hundred US dollars – now that you look at it, it is ridiculous. But it was a learning experience.”

Some time later, Dino joined a team where Devyn was already working as a designer. When the need came down for websites to be built for a number of associated brands, Dino answered the call.

It wasn’t until the pandemic rolled around that Devyn and Dino branched off to create their own enterprise. “We understood that we could make websites for people on our own,” recalls Dino, “Everyone needs a website – each brand understands the need for an online presence.”

“That’s how our business took off,” adds Devyn, “A good 70% of our business revenue comes from website design creation.”

As with Dino’s early forays into web design, running a creative agency is proving to be an ongoing learning curve. “We try to slowly move from a day-to-day job to business management,” reflects Devyn, “It’s been a hard journey. Because we are designers, we don’t have business backgrounds.”

Organic Growth in a Herbal Niche

soft drinks cans and mushroom chocolate

Given RSNL Creative’s location, the agency works with many brands which sit comfortably in the hip, Southern Californian zeitgeist. “Most of our clients land in cannabis, CBD, health, wellness, and eLiquid industries,” says Dino, “From branding to websites, we do a lot of cannabis-related sites.”

Given the emerging and highly regulated nature of the industry, the agency has to be highly aware of the limitations within the niche. “A lot of the day-to-day is to ensure our client sites are running optimally, that our clients have updated products,” explains Dino. “The marketing and design teams are in sync with what’s going on with websites to ensure we are doing our scheduled email campaigns, social media outreach – this kind of stuff.”

A typical workflow starts with Devyn and Dino checking in and seeing what they’ve got going on with their teams. They check in with the developers to make sure that they understand the scope of the new projects, and send some invoices off. Making sure that everything is in line is key so they can stay on track with any launches of products or campaigns.

“We have an indoor cycling client, a gym, aviation, polishing, transportation services, coffee, and a ton of different businesses,” explains Devyn, “So our day goes getting on the call, meeting a new business, figuring out the best way how to tell their story, then Dino goes in and tries to mind-map how the workflow of the websites is going to be, UI wireframes, everything.

“Then from there, we’re ready to send this to the respective places.”

Diagnosing and Delivering

The founders like to call themselves “Design doctors”, because of the process they follow when embarking on a new project. First, they listen to their customers’ design, marketing, and web presence pain points. Then, Dino and Devyn diagnose their customers’ needs, and prescribe a solution.

Then comes the division of labor. Devyn’s team handles everything from branding and packaging design to brand visuals. This then gets passed off to Dino’s team, which handles all the web UX/UI development, and from there, they launch the brand.

RSNL Creative now consists of around 20 people working together. Devyn and Dino work from their office in Newport Beach. The design team, 5 developers, QA, and the rest of the team are international, distributed all over the world.

Over the years, RSNL Creative has created websites for so many brands that the ongoing joke has become “we make your website better than ours”. Their promise is: “Our website looks like this so yours can look amazing.”

Owing to this heavy workload, Dino and Devyn are increasingly trying to step away from the hands-on creation of websites to take a broader view of their business. “As business owners, we realize that you hire those who are more capable than you,” says Dino, “There are still times when I like to work sites myself – it’s still a passion.”

Platforms Chosen for Performance

Space gods website screens

That RSNL’s website is hosted by Hostinger will come as no surprise; it is, after all, the very reason they’re featured on our blog. However, Dino and Devyn are so satisfied with their experience of building their WordPress website on Hostinger’s infrastructure that most of their clients now have the same setup.

“We are flexible,” says Dino, “If the customer comes to us, they usually want us to give them the best solution. When that happens, 99% of the time we build a WordPress site for them on Hostinger.”

When they first unofficially launched their business four or five years ago, Dino was deep in research on the best web hosting platforms. While their own website was always hosted by Hostinger, they experimented with other options – like Bluehost and Hostgator – for their clients’ websites.

“To be honest, I landed on Hostinger because of the price point, and after using it more and more, I’ve discovered the customer service is phenomenal. I’ve always been happy with how quickly and how efficiently the customer service responds and helps to solve things.”

Currently, it’s only Devyn and Dino who have access to the entire Hostinger platform. Despite having a background in design, the pair never struggled to get to grips with Hostinger. “I really enjoy the UI, it’s very intuitive. A web hosting platform has a lot of settings and functions to be aware of. I like how Hostinger arranges all that information. At this point, I am very familiar with Hostinger, and I can set up a client project and take it off the ground in 30 minutes.”

So why pair Hostinger with WordPress? As with their hosting options, Dino and Devyn spent time weighing up different content management systems too. They had experience using tools like Magento, but felt that WordPress made the most sense for their needs.

“I feel like it’s a good balance as it is very customizable,” says Devyn, “We can make the design changes, but it’s also user friendly on the back-end. Say you have a client in health and wellness, and she wants to write a blog – we can create her a custom website but then she can go and post her own posts because we’ve shown her how. So the clients are able to create their content as well.”

Building the Infrastructure for Future Success

Since mindful growth has always been a hallmark of the RSNL Creative agency, it’ll come as no surprise that Dino and Devyn have their eyes fixed firmly on the horizon and things to come.

At the moment, the main challenge facing the agency is the bandwidth of its founders. Devyn points out that she and Dino carry an outsized burden when it comes to the success of the brand; “We’re basically wearing a lot of hats day-to-day to try to make the business run smoothly.”

Plans are already afoot to augment their current team with new professionals who will grow their capabilities. First on the agenda is building their own marketing team to help boost the agency’s own profile, and onboarding a project manager to help with infrastructure.

“We are still working on infrastructure and building that bridge between us and the teams. That’s where we’ll have a project manager jumping on board,” says Dino. “We’re only two people.”

It seems these design doctors aren’t shy of a little self-diagnosis, and have a clear vision for their own course of treatment.

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wpadmin September 30, 2022 0 Comments

Ine Agresta: How to Turn Your Art Into Your Business

Ine Agresta is a woman of many talents. Between studying fashion design in Uruguay and an art and design master’s degree in China, her passions have taken her around the world on a winding path driven by a lifelong commitment to creativity.

“I’ve been doing artistic things since I was a child, but I really got started in China. There, I started to take my art seriously. I began my first shows and coached workshops, and that’s when I knew I wanted to take the next step, so I decided to make a website.”

Despite her background in design, the experience of building something on her own and working for herself put everything in perspective.

“I realized I didn’t want to work for a studio.” Instead, she wanted to be an individual, independent artist, and achieving that goal meant creating an online portfolio to display all her work in one cohesive online environment.

Finding Inspiration

Three soft sculptures made of wool

Ine specializes in textile art and soft sculptures that are embroidered and painted by hand. Her work takes time and patience. Both are requirements that are often in short supply when trying to launch a new career, especially as an artist in need of materials and a space in which to use them.

Creativity is difficult to grasp at will. It’s why so many people devote so much time to learning how to enter the ‘flow state,’ a mental space offering the freedom to access that impulse consistently.

Getting into the flow is a process. Ine has spent time defining herself, and it all begins with the narrative.

“My brain works a little bit like a product designer. So, every time I make something, there’s a story behind it.”

That story is driven by her social experience, one that is simultaneously intensely personal and one that she has seen and felt widely across the globe first-hand.

“I’m not one of those artists who can have a blank canvas for them to start throwing paint at. I develop concepts and translate them into pieces – it’s a structure.”

One method of creating artistic encounters that resonate with people is attempting to express those universal truths that lie in every individual. The search for self-definition and self-determination, as well as the fight for the agency to achieve it, are some of those very common denominators.

“It’s about the process of becoming. We always struggle to become a certain version of ourselves, and normally that’s where my inspiration comes from.”

Often, a significant part of Ine’s practice has drawn on her experiences as a woman.

“I’m becoming a woman. It’s an eternal thing that evolves through time. All my life, I’ve been fighting a little with the idea that women should be or do any one thing in particular.”

“I continue to work on myself, I discover more daily, and I want to show it to the world because it might make sense for someone else too.”

More Than a Social Media Artist

Three drawings of a woman sitting down

Social media, Instagram, in particular, has proven to be a popular tool for artists getting started.

Ine has, of course, made use of Instagram in her projects. The ability to amass a following and speak directly to those people can be beneficial.

Yet, there are limitations inherent in social media platforms that simply were not designed to operate the same way as a website.

“There are projects that I start only on Instagram. Hopefully, they would move into real life, but it’s a way to start.”

Creating a Professional Portfolio

Building your own website might seem intimidating, but content management systems have made the process accessible to anyone regardless of their technical or design skills.

For Ine, the benefits of having her own website were plain to see. “A professional website is the key to standing out in the art world.”

As a self-made, independent artist, Ine knew instinctively that she would want to be in control of her own website.

“I’m not the best at doing things with computers, but my friend reassured me and recommended Hostinger.” What started as a suggestion from a friend quickly grew into a new passion.

“You can do it yourself, and I love it. It’s very easy to create a website and edit it too.”

As an artist, Ine needs a space to showcase her new projects and display her development as a professional.

Websites offer design flexibility that social media does not. Just like her artistic inspiration, Ine finds that her website is always in the process of becoming.

“I’m changing all the time, and so is my website, I’m always adding new projects there, and it has become convenient for me.”

What’s more, Ine is sure that since creating her website two years ago, her online presence has grown dramatically, and crucially, she is also selling more art and making more money from her passion.

“Having your own website as an artist is the only way of being present in the world. You’re able to show people your work in a professional way, and that makes all the difference.”

“These days, I get emails and offers from people all around the world, and it’s amazing because you really can reach anyone, anywhere.”

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wpadmin September 30, 2022 0 Comments

The Top 5 Cloud Security Threats To Be Aware of in 2022

Organizations around the world are experiencing significant changes in the business environment. Remote work, digitalization, and evolving regulations are only a few of the changes companies deal with. The last thing an organization needs is a cyber incident that can have far-reaching impacts, including data loss, loss of reputation, and recovery costs.

Cloud computing promises improved cybersecurity when compared to most legacy on-premise systems. But many organizational leaders aren’t fully aware of the threats and vulnerabilities that come with cloud computing. However, cyber threats are steadily increasing, targeting unassuming SMBs with little to no additional cybersecurity protocols for their cloud implementations.

Staying on top of the latest cybersecurity trends is essential to protecting sensitive business and personal data. Let’s talk about the top five cloud security threats that every organization needs to be aware of in 2022.

How secure is the cloud?

Before we dive head-first into our discussion about cybersecurity threats, let’s talk about cloud security. How secure is the cloud anyway?

In a nutshell, data stored in the cloud is more secure than on-premise implementations, but you’ll still want to have backups and other security controls built for the cloud. Data stored in the cloud is encrypted, so only authorized users can access sensitive information. But if those security keys and credentials get into the wrong hands, it could be a disaster.

Businesses operating in industries such as banking and finance will need to deploy extra security tools to keep company and consumer data safe. Some of those security features for banks include debit card blocking, EMV chips, and internal security controls.

cloud unprotected by bubble

Cybersecurity threats you need to know about

The cloud offers organizations a seamless way to communicate, collaborate, and access crucial business information remotely so that teams can be more productive and managers can have more visibility throughout their systems and data. But there are many cybersecurity threats that businesses should watch for.

Here are the 5 top cloud security threats of 2022:

1. Data breaches and data leaks

Our world is more connected than ever before, thanks to powerful technologies like the cloud. But with a more connected environment comes a larger attack surface for hackers to take advantage of.

Data breaches and leaks often occur quietly and discreetly on your network without teams knowing until it’s too late. This way, cybercriminals can get even more data from you to use for nefarious purposes. For example, some hackers sell your customer data to third parties, post it in forums on the “dark web” to be used by other hackers, or can even hold it for ransom, refusing to give access to business data without payment.

2. Data loss

Another major cybersecurity issue in the cloud is data loss. This usually happens after your system has been breached and bad actors begin to steal your data quietly behind the scenes. Storing data in the cloud can quickly become difficult to manage, and some organizations may skip a few scheduled backups or vulnerability scans to avoid the problem.

But if your data is stolen and held for ransom, you will be forced to pay to have your data given back to you. That is unless you have sufficient backups to support your organization in the event of a serious data breach.

3. Access management

With so many organizations using cloud applications and solutions, there is an increased need to manage who can access your network and who can’t. Most organizations do this with password-protected applications, but that’s not always enough to protect your business data from unauthorized users.

Access management is an ongoing process of identifying, tracking, and controlling authorized users’ access to specific systems or applications. It involves creating policies and processes to maintain access privileges such as zero-trust, MFA, and identity management activities.

4. Insecure APIs

Another top threat against cloud implementation is insecure APIs. Many organizations’ APIs are openly exposed to the Internet, which is a major issue since businesses typically depend on APIs for mission-critical applications and processes. In 2021, 94% of businesses experienced an API-related security incident.

APIs still contain security flaws that must be addressed by each organization according to its security needs. APIs are just as susceptible to a breach as other weaknesses on company servers and networks and should be regularly maintained to avoid data loss.

5. Misconfigured cloud storage

Finally, cloud misconfiguration rounds out our list of top cybersecurity threats for organizations. Although the cloud has been around for nearly a decade, it’s still a fairly new technology that IT professionals are still learning how to implement properly. Many organizations use a professional service for cloud storage configurations, but some prefer to do it all in-house.

If this is the case for your company, it’s important to ensure that your data configurations are secure and structured according to security standards.

laptop and phone in a bubble

Cloud security best practices for small businesses

Now that you know what your business applications in the cloud are up against, let’s discuss some best practices that can help protect your small business from threats and serious cyberattacks.

Protect your network

Use proven and trusted cybersecurity tools to protect your network. Some examples include tools like firewalls, antivirus software, data backups, VPNs, and risk assessment monitoring. These are all standard tools that every organization should have in their cybersecurity toolbox.

Be proactive

Waiting for a cybersecurity attack to happen before jumping to action to protect your assets is the worst thing a company can do. Teams need to be proactive about cloud security to protect from hidden threats on the network.

Some of the most crucial ways to be proactive about cloud security are through:

  • Regular software updates
  • Requiring all workers (especially remote workers) to use a VPN
  • Implementing a password manager to generate and encrypt passwords
  • Doing your due diligence when it comes to investigating the security standards of common add-ons, extensions, and applications that your organization uses

Get cyber liability insurance

It’s not a question of whether a data incident will happen; it’s when. Costs related to cyber incidents include legal defense, regulatory fines, data breach response activities, and in some cases, ransom. In addition to cloud security tools and protocols, sign up for cyber liability insurance to keep your resources protected when an attack inevitably occurs.

Keep your cloud assets safe

Businesses today have countless systems and applications linked to the cloud. While this increases a company’s risk exposure, a few cloud security threats are more serious than others.

Organizations can protect themselves from the top 5 cloud security threats of 2022 with different security controls built for cloud implementations. Do a cloud security audit, create a plan with your security partners, and implement cloud tools and training to help mitigate the risks associated with using the cloud for business operations and storage.

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wpadmin September 29, 2022 0 Comments