Miilu Timeline Features: Events vs. Segments

Miilu’s Timeline feature is one of the most vital aspects of the Miilu app itself! This feature is where event coordinators can partner with clients and vendors to piece together the schedule for a big event!

The Miilu app was created with simplicity in mind, and with only having six main features, the app is quite simple! However, we believe in explaining the functionality of the app to our users so that there are minimal questions about how to use Miilu. Therefore, this article will look at the purpose of the Timeline Feature and the differences between Timeline Events and Timeline Segments!

HOW DO I VIEW THE TIMELINE FOR MY EVENT?
When you are on your home screen, just click on the event you want to view the Timeline for, and then click on the Timeline feature! (We told you this was simple!) 😉

WHAT IS A TIMELINE EVENT?
Timeline Events are the black boxes you see as a list in your Timeline. They are individual events that, when put together, create the day-of schedule for your couple’s big day!

WHAT IS A TIMELINE SEGMENT?
Timeline Segments are the black, bolded headings listed throughout your Timeline. The primary purpose of Timeline Segments is to categorize your Timeline Events as you go throughout the day (Getting Ready, Pictures, Reception, Dancing, etc.) so the list is organized and easy-to-read!

HOW DO I CREATE A TIMELINE EVENT?
• When you are viewing your Timeline, click on Add Event/Segment.
• When asked, “Would you like to add an event, or a segment?” select Event.
• Fill out the Title of your Timeline Event, the Start & End Time and make any notes needed for that particular event. Press Save Timeline Event.
•Then, see the event pop up in your Timeline with an “Added” label on the event! That is all there is to it.

HOW DO I CREATE A TIMELINE SEGMENT?
• When you are viewing your Timeline, click on Add Event/Segment.
• When asked, “Would you like to add an event, or a segment?” select Segment.
• Fill out the Name of your Segment, along with the Start Date & End Time!
• Press Save Timeline Segment, and see the Segment pop up in your Timeline!

DO I ALWAYS HAVE TO CREATE MY TIMELINE EVENTS AND SEGMENTS BY HAND?
No! Miilu also provides pre-existing, yet customizable templates you can use. You can also add your own templates you have created to an event. To do either of these things, click on the Notebook icon and then choose your preference, as shown below! Also, you can create your own templates by going to miilu.com and entering your templates on a desktop! To learn more about templates, and other aspects of Miilu, visit our support site. You can also take an in-depth look at every single characteristic of the Timeline feature on the site!

Our greatest hope is that Miilu saves you time and allows you to plan events stress-free by managing timelines in a simple way! Tell us how you have used Miilu to save time and create timelines in the comments below!

The Scoop on SEO: Basic Elements

In today’s article for “The Scoop on SEO” series, we are sharing the basic components of SEO used on your website! Check out the elements you need to be aware of to be successful in the SEO world!

Note: Be aware that every content management system has a different way to implement these various elements onto your site!

• Content: Content creation is key for driving traffic to your site. Through blog posts, service pages, interviews, lists and more, there are several methods of creating content you can use to keep your audience engaged! Check our our content-specific article and take an in-depth look at the different types of content that are popular today!

• Keywords: SEO keywords are IMPORTANT! These are the phrases used in your content that will, if used correctly, place you higher in search engine results! You may be asking yourself, “how do I know which keywords are going to be successful?” RESEARCH! There are plenty of tools on the internet to research what keywords are working: SEMrush, KWFinder and AccuRanker are keyword tools that will help you find what will be useful for your particular business. Taking time to research keywords on the front end can make a huge difference in optimizing your SEO and seeing results down the road!

• Meta Title & Meta Description:
The purpose of meta titles and descriptions? They describe your content and how it relates to what a user is searching for. Think of the title as a header for your content, and the description as the short summary of your content. The title will show up on browsers, external sites (think social media) and the results pages of various search engines.

The description will be where you want to “hook” the reader, whether that’s through a call-to-action or giving them a hint of what you offer so they have to keep reading to learn more. For both your title and description, you want to make sure they are both compelling and relevant! If you would like to rate your meta title and description for recommended lengths, add the Yoast plugin to your site.

• URL: Your URL is the web address of your site that shows up in the bar of the user’s browser! URL’s are important because the terms that you use in your URL show up in a search engine’s results, as well. The content after the / in the URL, called a slug, is also taken into consideration when ranking for search. You want to keep your URL succinct, and you want to be sure to use your relevant keywords. For example, for “Optimizing SEO On Your Site,” we would suggest removing the words “on” and “your.”

• Alt Text: Visuals are of great worth when it comes to SEO, as an aesthetically pleasing visual can be appealing to your audience! You will notice that when you are on a search engine site, there is an “images” tab that shows when you search for something — and sometimes, images appear even before text results! For these two reasons, alt text is important. Alt text is what will appear in the place of an image if the image fails to load on a viewer’s screen; it is used to describe your image to entice your readers. It’s also important to make sure your site is accessible for those who may be visiting your site that are visually impaired; in fact, accommodating visually impaired site visitors is why alt text originally formed! Alt text helps your site rank higher in SEO because you’re catering to everyone when you add the alt text. Keep in mind to be descriptive and specific!
• Links: Links are great for ranking with SEO, because links show that you’re providing your audience with additional content and guiding them to additional resources. There are two types of links: inbound and outbound. With inbound links, you’re creating a flow that guides your visitor throughout your site based on the content they’re interested in; for example, see the first paragraph of this article 😉. Additionally, inbound links can come from other websites, which tells search engines that your content is worth promoting on other sites, increasing your SEO. Outbound links allow you to reference additional content that your site resonates with, while also encouraging that website to link to your content. 
The more links you have, the more likely you are to rank in SEO. However, it’s important to note that search engines evaluate not only the quantity, but the QUALITY of your links. Fake friends are easy to see through — and that applies to links, too!

• Heading Tags: Heading tags tell search engines what your page content is mainly about with H1, H2, H3 and so on. Your most important content titles (usually the page or post title) should be tagged with H1, followed by sub content titles as H2 and H3. You’ll primarily want your content to reflect the keywords you’re trying to rank for.

We hope that this article was informative in regard to the basic elements of SEO!
Be sure to check out our previous SEO articles, The Scoop on SEO for Your Business and The Scoop on SEO: Creating Content! Also, be on the lookout for our next article about link scheming vs. link building!

Tips & Tricks: Capturing the Golden Hour Glow

“Golden hour.” These are two words that immediately make us think of dreamy hues, happiness, nostalgia and Kacey Musgraves (shameless plug: her “Golden Hour” album is absolutely magical!) While golden hour, technically speaking, is the first hour of light after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset, most wedding references to golden hour are referring to the hour that occurs in the evening. Oftentimes, golden hour shots are some of the most spectacular shots captured at a wedding! So, what’s the secret? What’s the best way to take golden hour pictures in the best possible light? Here are Miilu’s six tips & tricks for photographing stunning sunset shots and capturing your couple’s “golden hour glow!”

USE MIILU’S WEATHER FEATURE
Depending on where you live and the season you are in, golden hour may be more than an exact 60 minutes, or maybe even a little less. Regardless, you are going to want to head outside at LEAST an hour before sunset to make sure you capture the photos. Miilu’s Weather feature tells you a month before your event when sunset will be so you can coordinate your shot list and plan with the event coordinator accordingly!

KNOW YOUR LOCATION
When the time comes to skip the soup being served or sneak out while guests hit the dance floor, you want to know exactly where you are taking your couple! Plan ahead and look beforehand to see where there are opportunities for golden hour shots around the reception venue. Hiking all over creation is not going to be an option when time is limited, so find an ideal spot and stick to it!

LOOK OUT FOR THE LIGHT
Since the sun is technically “setting,” the light is going to be changing throughout the hour you are shooting — sometimes rather rapidly! Make sure to keep your light settings adjusted as the amount of sunlight that is available starts to decrease!

ANGLES AWAY
Did you know that there is an actual word for the so-called “glow” that surrounds couples at golden hour? It’s “flare.” When light hits your camera lens and scatters — BAM! You get the full flare effect as a haze comes across you image. Flare can make for GORGEOUS photos, and the key to using the flare technique correctly is positioning yourself at the best angle for the photo! Finding the best position may take a couple of tries, so don’t be afraid to move around, all up and down!

KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE (RIM) PRIZE
Rim lighting looks AMAZING in golden hour photos. If you catch the light at just the right time, a slight glow will surround the subject of your photo against the darker background you are photographing. The light will appear to be outlining your couple. Just hide the flash right behind the couple, and then point the flash back directly at your couple. VOILA! A silhouette worth SWOONING over is coming right up!

IT’S ALL ABOUT THAT APERTURE
Well, maybe not all, but aperture definitely is an important part of golden hour photography! Make sure that your aperture is set to a larger opening so that more light will travel through and hit the sensor in your camera — essentially adding more light and warmth to your photos! (Side note while we are on the subject of settings: make sure your white balance is also manually set, and not just on auto, to avoid any of your images having a “blue haze” over them!)

If you have not noticed, we are a huge fan of golden hour shots — and we hope these tips and tricks are beneficial as you snap wedding day portraits! Got any tips you would like to share when it comes to capturing the golden hour glow? Have any further questions or comments about golden hour? Let us know in the comments below!

Note: the second photo in this article is credited to Kathy Thomas (@kathythomasphoto).

How to Be a Boss at the Bookkeeping Game

As we have said in previous articles (and will continue to say!), there is much more to photography than standing behind a camera all day. The same principle applies to event coordinators; to be a successful event planner requires more than having an eye for detail and being an organizational guru! To be successful as a “small business owner” means being successful at running a business!

One of the most important aspects of any business is FINANCES. Some see keeping track of income and expenses as a scary process, but “Mo Money” doesn’t have to mean “Mo Problems;” in fact, there are plenty of systems out there that will help you keep your books, but get rid of stress! Here are five of our favorite financial systems for small business owners!

SYSTEM: Quickbooks Self-Employed
COST: Plans currently available from $7-$17 a month

Quickbooks Self-Employed targets “freelancers,” whereas Quickbooks Online targets “small businesses.” I have been using Quickbooks Self-Employed for over six years now, and I will say that there are many reasons I have remained a dedicated customer!

Affordability is a major factor, as Quickbooks Self-Employed is obviously quite cost-effective. While each plan will differ with what features are offered, I have the most basic plan and function quite well as the sole proprietor of my business! I can send and track my invoices electronically, track my mileage automatically and calculate my estimated taxes quarterly. However, if you are looking for a more involved accounting system, or have team members to take care of, the next option may be a better fit for you!

SYSTEM: Quickbooks Online
COST: Plans currently available from $12-$75 a month

In the most simple version of Quickbooks Online (which is still highly affordable!) business owners have the ability to manage expenses and cash flow with ease! Whether you are wanting to manage team members who are 1099 contractors, track sales and sales tax, accept payments or simply track your income and expenses, Quickbooks Online covers a wide range of bookkeeping activities.

SYSTEM: Wave
COST: Features range from free to $35 a month

Wave is an award-winning financial management software for several reasons! First, multiple aspects of the software are free and unlimited to the user. For example, the free accounting feature allows for unlimited bank and credit card connections, income and expense tracking and guest collaborators. Invoicing and receipt scanning are also free features users can utilize! However, if you must do payroll, there is a monthly fee involved. Also, one of Wave’s most unique capabilities is that they offer a Pay-Per-Use plan for online payments! Click on the link above to see the exact charges for this asset!

SYSTEM: Zoho Books
COST: Plans currently available from $9-$29 a month

Zoho’s major plus is that everything involved for one project is organized for you into a neat timesheet! So everything for one client — from the tasks you are working on for them, to sending out your invoices to them — is in one central location. If you are not a fan of having distinct sections for every aspect of your work for a client, and would rather organize your income and expenses BY client, then Zoho would be a great fit for you!

SYSTEM: Xero
COST: Plans currently available from $9-$60 a month

Xero is distinct in that it offers payment plans by where your business is currently at — early, growing or established! Xero also has over 700+ tools and ways to connect with other apps for CRM, point-of-sale, time tracking and more! The list is fairly extensive, making Xero a great choice if you want to go more in-depth with your business bookkeeping, but still have elements of simplicity and clarity on the table. They also take high security measures to protect data for both you and your customers.

What are your favorite ways to keep track of finances for your business? Do you have suggestions for great bookkeeping software, or have tried and found success with the ones mentioned above? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Using Miilu to Collaborate With Florists

From chrysanthemums to carnations, roses to ranunculus, daisies to daffodils…no matter the type of flower, the floral arrangements are a significant part of a wedding day! As an event coordinator, you want to be sure that all of the flowers, from the bridal bouquet to the petals the flower girl throws going down the aisle, are exactly what the bride has envisioned! After all, flowers play a big part in adding vibrancy and style to the wedding day; you want to be sure they are visually pleasing. Want to be sure your florist is kept in the loop and all floral planning goes properly? Here is how you can use Miilu to work with the florist and be the coordinator of your client’s dreams!

ENSURE ALL FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS ARE PLANNED IN ADVANCE
Miilu’s Collaboration and Messaging features allow all communication to be kept in the app, which makes referencing all conversations easy! Get rid of multiple Google docs, phone conversations that get lost in translation and chains of email messages, and just keep all discussion in one central app! You can invite the florist and client to download the Miilu app at no cost to them by going to the Collaboration feature and emailing them an invitation. Then, you can create a group message with the florist and client and talk about every aspect of the floral arrangements — bouquets, boutonnieres, even the centerpieces for the reception tables!

CONNECT THE FLORIST NOT ONLY WITH YOUR CLIENT, BUT WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Miilu is an event planning “hub” of sorts — and the florist can collaborate with not only the client, but the photographer, as well! This is important because, for example, if the florist is providing floral arrangements that will drape on the ceremony arch, the photographer will want to be sure they capture this detail before the ceremony takes place! Yes, the photographer could talk to the event planner or the client, and have a “middle-man,” but isn’t direct communication easiest?! And, you can choose to be a part of their conversation through a group message, if that is what you prefer, to be certain all details are taken care of!

MAKE SURE THE FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS ARRIVE ON TIME THE DAY-OF
Miilu’s Timeline Feature allows every member of the Miilu app to see the day-of timeline, along with any updates or additions made to the timeline by any member, while planning the event! This means that every member should know what time they need to be where the day of an event by simply glancing at Miilu, meaning your florist will know where to be at ALL times.

MAKE CERTAIN ALL FLORAL DETAILS ARE TAKEN CARE OF
Miilu allows for notes to be made on every timeline event in the timeline. Therefore, the florist can make important notes for every floral arrangement as he/she pleases; things like how many bouquets for the bridesmaids or boutonnieres for the groomsmen are needed, where to place the bouquet to toss so the bride knows where it is at the proper time, the color pallete for the wedding…and every note is in one primary place! You can view these notes as well, and, as reiterated previously, see to it that all details are meticulously taken care of without micro-managing your vendors!

Florals will bring the style and design of your wedding together, and can add an extra touch that guests — and most importantly, the BRIDE — will remember forever! Oftentimes, brides will even press flowers from their wedding as a permanent souvenir. That shows how important making sure the floral arrangements are taken care of is…it’s a way of taking care of your client, and isn’t that what this wedding coordinating biz is all about?!

Have you used Miilu to collaborate with florists and make sure every dreamy wedding arrangement is in place? Let us know by dropping a line or two in the comments below!