Monday, December 30, 2013

Navigating Social Media in 2014


10 Social Media Practices to Focus On in 2014


My top ten list of social media practices to utilize in the upcoming year.
  1. Publish often - Daily or weekly if possible
  2. Listen and respond - Let your customers know that you care
  3. Don't talk down to your audience - Be clear and succinct
  4. Integrate with your core website - Hook into existing streams and feeds
  5. Experiment - Try social networks you have not yet used (Tumblr, Instagram, etc.)
  6. Hash it out - Use hash tags to help people find your content #ilovehashtags #organizeandtag
  7. Comment and reply - Converse about things you are passionate about
  8. Be generous - Share your knowledge
  9. Establish authority - Own your niche
  10. Be thoughtful - Humility and kindness go a long way
Happy and prosperous 2014 to all!


Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Google Maps Engine Pro - Test Drive

Google Maps Engine Lite/Pro Demo

Google Maps Engine allows you to layer your data on top of Google’s base map and create your own maps.


Google Maps Engine Lite and Pro help you create interactive custom maps to share and publish to the web. You can map data such as store locations, to showcase and advertise your business. Import location data from a spreadsheet, add layers to visualize different types of content, or add places, lines, and shapes.

Key Features

  • Draw - Add lines, shapes, or place marks on the map.
  • Import - Add a CSV file, XLSX file or spreadsheet from Google Drive with geographically-specific data including addresses, place names, or lat/longs.
  • Layer - Hide or show different content to better understand your map.
  • Style - Make your point visually with different colors, place-mark icons, and line widths.


Going Pro

For commercial purposes, I upgraded to Maps Engine Pro.  This allows me to embed the interactive maps on my client websites.

Demonstration

The demo map below is for recreational purposes.  I'm mapping all known locations of rare Willys Jeep forward control vehicles.

Animated GIF showing some of the functionality of Google Maps Engine Pro.
Here's a quick run through of some of the common mapping functions: Adding locations, linking to images, editing data, etc.
Demo created using LICEcap simple animated screen capture app.

Embedded Google map (click to view)
Custom Google Maps can be easily embedded on websites via copy/paste iframe code.



More Information

Google Maps Lite - Introduction video on YouTube
Watch a short Google Maps Engine Lite overview video on YouTube.




Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Monday, December 16, 2013

New WordPress 3.8 UI Design

Customize Your WordPress 3.8 Admin Screens

WordPress has gotten an overhaul. WP 3.8 brings a modern new look to the admin dashboard.
New WordPress 3.8 features:
  • Updated UI design
  • Open Sans font for better readability
  • Responsive for viewing on mobile devices
  • Faster load times
  • Customizable admin themes
Learn more about WordPress 3.8: http://wordpress.org/news/2013/12/parker/

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Season's Greetings!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

1959 Jeep FC-150 rendering done in Google Drawing. GooglePlus auto-awesome snow effect applied.
One of the real joys of the Holiday Season is the opportunity to say Thank You for our acquaintance and to wish you the very best for the New Year!

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Google Snippets in Search Results

Google Snippets in Search Results

Snippet Discovery

I recently discovered a unique occurrence of Google snippets that appeared in a Google search engine results page (SERP).  It happens to be one of my portfolio pages, so naturally, it peaked my interest.
A Google snippet is a description of or an excerpt from the webpage.  A snippet refers to the description portion of a Google search listing.
Take a look at the SERP snippet below:


Note, the snippet is made up of an element count (40+ items), the meta description, and four excerpts from the page.

Page Rendering in Browser

Here's what the portfolio page looks like when rendered in the browser:


Underlying Page Code

In this case, it appears as though the Google bot has gone into the page code, and parsed out the top four image descriptions.  What's interesting is that the page contains an html table with alternating rows.  Images, followed by the company name and location.

Consistency and Stability Rewarded?

Other than minor updates consisting of adding new rows (images, links, and text) which follow the same pattern, the overall page structure has remained very consistent for 5+ years.

My Conclusion

Having established web pages with consistent code patterns must be easier for Google to understand.  I guess using html tables is not always bad thing. :-)

Have you come across similar snippets? If so please let us know.

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Social Media for Small Business

Social Media for Small Business - Don't Over Complicate Things!

Social Media for Small Business


I get a lot of questions from customers regarding social networking. The majority of them feel it is something they should be doing.  But many have a fear of taking the plunge... due in part to concerns with not having enough time.

Being active on social media doesn't have to be overly complex.  A few minutes a day can get the job done for 99% of the small businesses out there.  Here are some thoughts on how a small business can benefit from being "social".

What Is Social Media?
According to Wikipedia, "social media refers to interaction among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. It introduces substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals."

Why Small Business Should Incorporate Social Into their Marketing Efforts
Audience Reach + Relationship Building = Establishing Authority
"Social media give us the opportunity to create relationships, foster communication, & build trust."
Which Social Networks are Best Fit?
  • Facebook - Business pages on FB are a way to connect with folks on a personal level.  
  • Twitter - Good for promoting events, news and specials (i.e., restaurants).
  • Pinterest - Pinning is a simple sharing tool for retailers/manufacturers whose brands lend themselves to images.
  • Google+ - A way to reach a professional or technical audiences that might shy away from the other social networks. Myself included ;-)
  • LinkedIn - B2B companies who cater to the professional market.
     
Managing Content Doesn't Have to be Time Consuming
Of course this depends on how often you want to engage with your audience.  But a few updates per week, to show that you are active, can go a long way.  You should always be listening and responding to questions and comments.

Time saving social sharing tools such as Hootsuite, can help you author once, and publish many.  A single post can be shared across all of your social networks, with the click of a mouse.

Measuring ROI
You can measure "social signals" (likes, plusses, favorites, comments and shares).  Don't be afraid to ask customers how or where they found out about your company.

How To Get Started
  1. Claim and Verify - I recommend, at minimum, customers claim their business pages on all of the major social sites listed above.  They should be reviewed for accuracy and consistency.  Things like phone number, address, hours of operation, should all be verified.
  2. Publish - Post updates or share links a few times per week...industry news, tips and tricks, product announcements, etc.  This will help establish credibility and authority on a particular subject matter.
    For example, if you sell or fix widgets, let folks know about innovations, trends, and success stories.
  3. Listen - Social networks are set-up to notify you (email or SMS) when someone sends you a message, leaves a comment or replies. It's important to respond in a timely manner.
  4. Adapt - You may find that your target audience is more active in one particular stream. If most people are engaging with you via Google+ or Pinterest, then you might want to focus more effort there.
Summary
Most small business owners (like myself) are juggling numerous tasks. Adding social to the mix can sound daunting.  But social media doesn't have to consume hours of your day.  A few minutes per morning is often enough time for you to stay connected with your "followers".

A successful social media campaign doesn't happen overnight.  It takes time to build trusting relationships.  However, if you OFFER your target audience VALUE, being "social" can help bring in a completely new channel of business.

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Google Sites Not Indexing? Try This SEO Fix

I recently received this question from a client needing SEO help:
"I have a website for my company XYZ...the site is a Google Site. For some reason, my site is not indexed at all. Can you help?"


Diagnosing the Problem

Using Google Webmaster Tools, it became quickly apparent that Google was aware of the website (site was verified and an XML sitemap was uploaded).  But for some reason the search engine was not indexing it. The first thing I looked at was the robots.txt file to make sure no-follow wasn't blocking the Google bot.  Seemed OK.  Next I took a look at the page's source code...here's what I found:

Page Source (Before):
 

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
X-Robots-Tag: noindex, nofollow, nosnippet
Last-Modified: Wed, 06 Nov 2013 19:27:23 GMT
...

This is a problem!  Digging deeper...when I looked at the Google Sites Sharing and Permissions settings, it was set to "Anyone who has link can view". This was causing the website to be invisible to the search engines.

Google Sites Permissions are set to "Anyone who has link can view"


How to Fix the Indexing Problem

It's a simple fix, the Google Sites permissions need to be set to "Public on the web - Set Google Sites Permissions to "Anyone on the Internet can find and view".

Set Google Sites Permissions to "Anyone on the Internet can find and view"



Here's what the page source looked like after applying the change:
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
X-Robots-Tag: noarchive
Last-Modified: Thu, 07 Nov 2013 13:18:23 GMT
...

I then toggled back into Webmaster Tools and asked Google to re-fetch the website.

Fetch as Google


Results: Google SERPs Now Showing the Client's Website!

It took 3 days, but after making the change to permissions, Google has successfully indexed the Google Sites website, and it is ranking 3rd when searching for company name XYZ (beneath their LinkedIn and Facebook business pages).

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Google Web Designer Review


Quick Review of Google's New Web Designer

Google Web Designer user interface
Yesterday, Google announced the launch of Web Designer, a new tool for building interactive HTML5 sites and ads.  The beta version is available for download here.

I have kicked the tires a bit.  Overall, I am excited with Google's foray into the world of HTML5 editors. Here are my initial thoughts:

The Good:
  • Cost: It's free to download, at least the Beta version is.
  • Animation Timeline: Keyframes are used to "tween" animation points on the timeline. (Size, rotation, XYZ coordinates, etc.). It reminds me of an old Flash animation app called Swish
  • Hooks: Using the Components menu, you can link to external iframes, galleries, maps, tap areas, and videos.
  • Preview: Ability to preview the ads directly within the UI.  You can also preview in local browsers.
  • Publishing: Quick process with "zip" option (contains all related files for easy upload).
The Bad:
  • Flexibility: The workspace is not very customizable.  For example, the side menus cannot be undocked or hidden.  They are collapsible, but scrolling is still required to access all options.
  • Editing: It can be difficult to select/modify specific elements on the stage without changing into "Advanced" animation mode.
  • File Imports: I have not found a way to import PNG files with transparent backgrounds.
Summary:
Years ago, I produced ad banners for AOL YP using Adobe Flash and Fireworks (animated GIFs).  Google's Web Designer is much easier to use, but doesn't have the equivalent graphics prowess.  It's a Beta drop, so hopefully we'll see improved file importing and editing capabilities in the future.

All in all, this is a great start!
Demo File:
This simple demo is a 3 page ad with simple animation loop (page 1), a embedded YouTube clip (page 3), and a link to my G+ page (page 3).

Embedded iframe below... non-iframe version can be viewed here.


For more Info: Visit the official Google Web Designer website: http://www.google.com/webdesigner/

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CMS Site Launch: Advanced Technical Solutions - DNN 7

NEW WEBSITE POWERED BY DNN 7

ATS in Rochester, New York

The Brief (i.e., Requirements):
  • Internet showcase for local IT services
  • Reach new customers via Web search
  • Define Online brand identity
  • Establish credibility and authority and in IT space

The Method:
  • Design: Modified skin with custom graphics and CSS tweaks
  • Platform: DNN 7 with add-on extensions (Blog, JotForm, Nivo Slider, JQuery)
  • SEO: Author unique page titles/descriptions, XML sitemap, Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics
  • Social: Integrate blog, add hooks to Twitter, add links to Google+, Facebook and RSS

The Result:
  • Marketing vehicle will reach potential clients in Rochester, NY area
  • Clean UX parallels the feel of client's print collateral
  • Content is managed via DNN 7 cloud hosted CMS


Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Summary of Webmaster Tools Search Appearance Overview pop-up

A look at the new "Search Appearance Overview" pop-up window that appears in the updated Webmaster Tools UI.

I didn't catch this until recently, but Google has added a nifty little tool to help explain search results elements, and how we can influence the data they contain.

Next time you login to Webmaster Tools, look for the Search Appearance interactive pop-up tool. It's accessed via the information (i) icon located in the left-hand menu:

Webmaster Tools Search Appearance Overview
Webmaster Tools Search Appearance Overview

When you hover over and click specific elements, a bubble will reveal helper text along with clickable links over to Google's Webmaster Tools help screens.

Source: Google Webmaster Tools

Title Element
  • Write informative, relevant descriptions in the HTML title tag for each webpage.
  • In Webmaster Tools use the HTML Improvements feature to help optimize the title tags on your site.
Snippet Element
  • Provide an accurate, succinct summary of the page’s content in its meta description tag. Write informative and relevant content for the page's body.
  • Use the Webmaster Tools HTML Improvements feature to help optimize the meta descriptions on your site.
Sitelinks Element
  • Sitelinks are generated algorithmically depending on the website and the user query. You can’t “activate” sitelinks.
  • If you don't want a page to appear as a sitelink, you can demote it in the Webmaster Tools Sitelinks feature.
Search within a site Element
  • The search box is triggered algorithmically based on the website and the user query — Google displays it when they think it might help the user refine their search.
URL Element
  • How to influence - Organize your webpages in a logical structure.
  • You may also want to consider using breadcrumbs.
  • The Webmaster Tools URL parameters feature allows you to give Google information about how to handle URLs containing specific parameters. 
Event - Rich Snippet Element
  • Mark up the relevant parts of your webpages to help us understand your content.
  • Use Webmaster Tools Data Highlighter to tag your event data. Check the Structured Data dashboard to see if your marked up content has been crawled.
Breadcrumbs Element
  • Mark up the content in the body of your webpages.
  • Check Webmaster Tools the Site Navigation Element part of the Structured Data dashboard to see if your marked up content has been crawled.
Product - Rich Snippet Element
  • Mark up the relevant parts of your webpages to help us understand your content.
  • Check Webmaster Tools Structured Data dashboard to see if your marked up content has been crawled.
Author Information Element
  • Verify authorship of your content by associating it with your Google+ profile.
  • Check Webmaster Tools Author Stats to see which author profiles are associated with your content.

It's a great interactive teaching aid, and hopefully the first of many to come.

More information can be found here:
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/3187759?hl=en&ref_topic=2576876

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New websites developed using DNN portal solutions

New family of websites powered by DNN 6

AutoCrafting Solutions in Rochester, New York

The website redesign for AutoCrafting.com was recently completed. We took three existing html based websites and migrated them into a single installation of DNN 6 as "child portals".

DNN (formerly DotNetNuke) is evolving rapidly. DNN has been my "go to" web CMS platform for a few years, and it's getting better with every update.

Here are a few takeaways.

DNN Strengths:
  • Portals allow you to host and manage multiple websites under one CMS installation
  • MS Office style editor seems to be more intuitive for corporate clients
  • Vast library of add-on modules (plugins)
  • Scalability for enterprise level websites

DNN Weaknesses:
  • Native blogging engine is not as feature rich as Wordpress
  • No single-click updates
  • Hosting is a bit more pricey ($20/mo versus $8/mo)
  • Skins a.k.a. themes tend to be more "corporate" versus "creative"...but this is slowly changing

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Friday, August 16, 2013

New Google Sites for Stowe Law

Stowe Law Firm website overhauled using Google Sites CMS

New Google Sites website designed and deployed for local law firm
The Brief:
  • Internet showcase for local legal services
  • Reach new customers via Web search
  • Solidify Online brand ID

The Method:
  • Design: Custom graphics designed in Adobe Fireworks CS3
  • Google Apps: Google Sites framework with Google Docs and Google Maps
  • Search Engine Optimization: Author unique page titles/descriptions, XML sitemap, Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics
  • Social Media: Integrate Google+, Facebook, and micro-blogging gadget

The Result:
  • Marketing tool will reach local audience and attract new business
  • Site style is clean and professional which parallels the client's existing brand
  • Content maintenance is accomplished via Google Sites browser-based Web CMS

Visit The Stowe Law Firm website

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Monday, August 5, 2013

ICON Creations Custom Google Sites Deployed



The Brief:
  • Online showcase for new bridal line of wedding rings and custom jewelry services
  • Site needs to attract new wholesale customers as well as a motivated sales team

The Method:
  • UI Design: Custom graphics developed in Adobe Fireworks CS3
  • Google Apps: Google Sites framework with Google Docs and Google Drive
  • Photo Gallery: Implement SimpleViewer Flash/mobile HTML5 gallery linked to multiple Flickr sets
  • SEO: Author unique page titles/descriptions, XML sitemap, Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics.

The Result:
  • Website features custom UI which ties into the client's cutting edge jewelry theme
  • Site updates are facilitated via linked Google Docs, Google Drive and Flickr XML feed
  • Marketing tool will reach national audience and help recruit top level sales force

Visit the ICON Creations Custom website: http://www.iconcreationscustom.com

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Making the Cut - Karl Driesel's New Google Sites Website


The Brief:
  • Create a website that is easy to find via keyword search
  • Site will attract new customers and sell products

The Method:
  • Design wood grain theme using Adobe Fireworks CS3
  • Utilize Google Apps platform: Google Sites, Gmail, Google Docs
  • Implement E-Commerce: JotForm with secure PayPal backend
  • Search optimization: Keyword rich page titles and descriptions, micro-blogging gadget, XML sitemap, Webmaster Tools, Analytics.

The Result:
  • Website features custom UI which ties into the client's wood crafting theme
  • E-Commerce enables client an inexpensive method of reaching and selling to national client base
Visit the Karl Driesel Inc. website: http://www.karldrieselinc.com

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summertime Logos

Here are a few summertime logos designed for clients in the Rochester, NY area.
  1. Folk Foto - Sports Photographer
    • Usage: Facebook page, photo proof watermark
    • Software: CorelDraw X6
    • Fonts: Highway Gothic
  1. American Legion Baseball Team - Hiscock Fishbaugh
    • Usage: Uniform logo
    • Software: CorelDraw X6
    • Fonts: Marketing Script
  1. ProMuscle Nutrition - Supplements, diet books and custom nutrition plans
    • Usage: Brand marketing
    • Software: CorelDraw X6
    • Fonts: Masque
  1. Team Valle - 14U Travel Baseball
    • Usage: Baseball uniform, signage
    • Software: Adobe Fireworks CS3
    • Fonts: MLB Tuscan


Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Valle Gets a Responsive WordPress E-Commerce Site

 

Responsive website design with WordPress and WooCommerce


The Brief:
  • Create an ecommerce site that is visually appealing, stable and easy to use
  • Integrate with social media

 The Method:
  • Strategy: Main function of site is to showcase and sell the Valle Training Glove line.
  • Web Design and Development: Valle wanted to be portrayed as an innovative industry leader. The overall style for the website is "sporty" and fresh.  High-end photography is key.
  • Technology: Built using WordPress CMS platform.
    • Plugins: WooCommerce, WordPress SEO, WP Smush.it
    • Theme: pk2012 Sold!
    • Widgets: MailChimp, Twitter

The Result:

The Valle Training Glove website is responsive, easy to navigate, and matches the existing brand.


Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Local Business "Pitchin" Clients with Google Sites

New Website: Fastball-U.com – Classes now in-session

Local business gets new Google Sites powered website

The Brief:

  • Use the website as a means of attracting new pitching students
  • Create a website that is easy to find via search
     

The Method:

  • Focus on optimization for search and responsive mobile device rendering
  • Light-weight and modern styling
  • Utilize Google Sites platform to enable content maintenance via a web browser
     

The Result:

   

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Lessons Learned from a WordPress E-Commerce Project

Responsive WP e-commerce Project

WordPress Responsive E-Commerce Website
Responsive WordPress ecommerce website design for Valle Training Gloves

Launched a WordPress e-commerce website yesterday.  The project was a conversion of an existing DotNetNuke website.  Here are my takeaways from the development process:

The Good:
  1. Themes are inexpensive, plentiful, and super easy to install
  2. Plugins are copious, one-click activation makes life easy
  3. WooCommerce set-up is intuitive
  4. Dashboard navigation is straightforward
  5. Quality hosting providers are abundant

The Bad:
  1. Theme documentation is sparse
  2. WP forums can be slow or unresponsive, so you will be on your own when troubleshooting
  3. Small changes to CSS can cause issues in responsiveness "mobile" view
  4. Media (images) can be a pain to upload and replace
  5. Performance can be sluggish

In Summary:


The development process was fairly straight forward.  But like every other WP site I have developed, it seems like there are always issues with managing media files.  (Uploading, cropping, scaling, replacing, thumbnails).  Third party plugins can help alleviate some issues.

Theme customization is trial and error.  Deviating too far away from the original look and feel of the WP theme will almost always cause grief.  By comparison, customizing DotNetNuke skins is much easier.  I don't like the segregation of PHP code snippets, especially when and open and close tags span multiple files.

For a website where blogging is the "core" feature, WordPress is the way to go.  Coupled with WooCommerce, it's also a legitimate platform to quickly launch your next Online storefront.

Website URL:

http://valletraininggloves.com

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Google Sites Gets Much Needed Update

More Customization of Google Sites Themes Now Possible!

Earlier this week, Google Sites added improved functionality to enable more theme customization.  The update removes previous limitations set on the sizing of text, specifically in the horizontal navigation interface.

To access the new Google Sites features:
  1. Manage Site - From the "More" menu, select "Manage site".
  2. Themes, Colors, and Fonts - From the "Manage Site" screen, select "Themes, Colors, and Fonts".
  3. Customization - Select "Horizontal navigation" to set font size, colors and backgrounds. When finished, Click the "Save" button.
  4. Result - Horizontal navigation font size is now customizable.  Previously the nav text size was locked at 10pt.


These new Google Sites features enable customization of elements which were previously unchangeable. This flexibility is a welcome UI improvement for Google Sites web designers, site owners, and visitors alike.

Next up?  We'd like to have the ability to center align horizontal navigation links.  Hopefully the engineers at "Team GS" have that in the works!

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett operates a website design and marketing agency where he supports his clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Responsive website developed for "Navigate the Exchange"

Responsive website design with Google Sites cloud based CMS

The Brief:

  • Use the website as a means of educating consumers about the new healthcare exchanges
  • Create a website that is informative and easy to use
  • Integrate with Google Apps
     

The Method:

  • Strategy: The main function of this site is to educate and guide consumers through the new healthcare exchanges.
  • Web Design and Development: Navigate the Exchange wanted to be portrayed as professional and authoritative. The overall style for the website is contemporary and clean.
  • Technology: Built using Google Sites CMS platform.  The CMS allows for easy management and updates – from anywhere in the world.
     

The Result:

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett operates a website design and marketing agency where he supports his clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Business Card Design Techniques

How to design your company's business cards

Digital marketing is replacing traditional print advertising for many companies.  However, a professionally designed and printed business card is still a great way to show off your biz.  To "plant seeds" with potential customers and guide them to your website for more information.


Here are some tips to help you on your way:

It's important to use elements consistent with company branding.  Logos are a great starting point.  I like to use shapes or angles from the logo and incorporate into the card's background.  Be sure to include all relevant contact info including your website address.  Readability is important, so don't go too small with lettering.

Dawn of the Digital Press

A digital press enables printers to offer "small run" print jobs.  Because of this, set-up time and costs are less. This allows for experimentation, more color and diversity in your card layouts.

Business Card Options...

Some additional things to consider:
  1. Orientation: portrait or landscape?
  2. Bleeds: ink prints to edge (requires cutting after printing $$$)?
  3. Colors (full color or spot color)?
  4. Fonts (typefaces should match logo)?
  5. Elements (icons, text, photos, symbols)?
  6. Copy (tagline, contact info, URL, email, phone)?
  7. Print Process (digital or offset)?
  8. Single or double-sided?
  9. Paper Type (card stock weight, finish - glossy or matte)?
  10. Quantity (small or large run)?
  11. Resolution (minimum 300 dpi)?
  12. File Format (PDF, native app, vector or bitmap)?

Paper or Plastic?

If you are looking for something different, specialty houses can print cards with raised inks, waterproof lamination, unique die cut shapes, on plastic, wood, or metal.

Self Service

Self-service business card websites can help you develop a professionally looking card. Pre-perforated ink jet paper is also available for you home printer.  When designed properly (MS Word or Publisher), these are a viable option for thrifty home based business owners.

Need Help?

If you want a work of art, it might be wise to look up a local designer.  A professional graphics person can make your business cards stand out. They speak the printer's language, and help you avoid expensive mistakes...many of which don't show up until after printing thousands of cards $$$.


     

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett operates a website design and marketing agency where he supports his clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

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