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.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fix your search rank with super glue not duct tape

Why Duct Tape Isn't a Long-Term Fix for Poor Search Rank

SEO Tape

Most of my clients, know just enough about SEO to be dangerous. Not meant to be a put down, as I probably know less about their field than they do mine.  They've heard the term SEO, they're not ranking, and they need to do something.  That something, is to talk with an SEO...this is where I come in.

I sit down with a client and they give me the lowdown. Then they throw some questions at me and hope I can give them a sensible answer.  I try my best.  It goes something like this:

It's Broke

  • Our Website is "better" than the competition, how come it doesn't rank? Well turns out the competitor (whether by accident, hard work, or both) has established themselves as an industry authority.  Or they've been lucky...it happens.
     
  • Can't you throw a couple of keywords into the meta tags? Sure, that's a good start, but you need some substance behind it.  Something for the search engines to "digest".
     
  • Will I rank #1? Ah yes, my favorite question. Sure it's possible, IF you work really hard at putting together a compelling website. One that differentiates itself, by offering visitors something useful or buzz worthy.  *See the glue approach below.

I suggest to them two methods for improving their website's search rank. A choice between duct tape or super glue.  The analogy seems to work.  I mean, what can't be fixed with duct tape and super glue?

The Fixes

  • The Duct Tape Approach: It's often temporary and won't hold together forever
    Submit your website to paid directories, create a high budget pay-per-click campaign, engage in "questionable" link bait practice and ...cross your fingers.
     
  • The Glue Approach: It's sticky and can create a lasting bond
    Craft a website with a mix of keyword rich content, integrate social media feeds and social sharing, establish author credibility, deliver a pleasant user experience, write clean code and ...repeat.
SEO Glue

I've seen both approaches work, however, I wouldn't put my faith in the tape holding up.  As for the glue, well that comes in a variety of flavors.  I would go with a super glue or epoxy resin rather than a generic white glue.  Caution, wear some gloves when your handling that stuff!  You might want to bring in a professional :-)

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 21, 2013

Google Sites Web Launch for A Neu Design Interiors, Inc.

Latest Google Sites design project launches

A Neu Design Interiors, Inc. hired us to redesign their company website. Their primary requirement was to have an easy to manage website that showcased their home remodeling work.  Long-term they hope to attract quality leads by implementing a search optimization strategy, centered around social media and content-rich blogging.
A Neu's new Google Sites features responsive architecture which adapts to fit the users device

Technology summary:
  • Google Sites (CMS)
  • Picasa 3 (image management)
  • SimpleViewer (gallery template)
  • Google Drive (file hosting)
  • Google Analytics (visitor engagement measurement)
  • Google Webmaster Tools (SEO)

Site features:

  • Responsive web design (RWD)
  • Social media hooks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest)
  • Micro blog with RSS
  • XML photo gallery
  • Search optimization

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, May 20, 2013

Manage Google Sites Permissions

One of the most powerful features of Google Sites is the ability to control user access.  For example, you can create a private site (hidden from the general public).  This private site can be accessed via a secure login as defined in the Sharing and Permissions settings.

The workflow we use when developing a new Google Sites website is to initially set permissions to "Private".  This way we can freely collaborate with stakeholders without concern of a random visitor stumbling upon the work-in-progress. We rough-in, then refine the site's content as a team.  When ready to launch, all we have to do is "flip the switch".

Here's a tech post on how to make your entire Google Sites visible to the public:
https://lajuett.zendesk.com/entries/23826192-Make-your-Google-Sites-public

Note, permissions can also be set on a individual page basis.

Google Sites permissions - Ready for the world.

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.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Photo Gallery for Google Sites

Photo Gallery Solution for Google Sites

SimpleViewer Picasa gallery in Google Sites

After hours of research, I finally came up with a method for displaying Picasa photo gallery thumbnails in Google Sites.  The default Google Sites Picasa gadgets (single photo and album slideshows) were not flexible enough (in my humble opinion).

My solution was to utilize the new html hosting features of Google Drive and linking, via iframe, to the exported Picasa folder.  It requires a few steps, but the final product is impressive.  It even adapts (responsive) to mobile devices!

Here are the steps:

Get SimpleViewer app
In Picasa (desktop version)
  • From Picasa 3.9, export your photos as HTML
  • Choose the SimpleViewer template
In Google Drive
  • Upload the entire folder created in previous step to Google Drive
  • Set the folder permission sharing to public
  • Copy the folder ID
In Google Sites
  • Add iframe gadget to page
  • Set URL to "https://googledrive.com/host/YOURFOLDERID" *important
  • Resize gadget to best fit your website
  • Save page

Here's the finished Google Sites photo gallery which dynamically pulls in the html, scripts and images from my Google Drive:

https://sites.google.com/site/aneudesigninteriors/gallery

Let me know what you think.

Updated on 3/25/2014
A few readers have had trouble finding the correct album URL. Here are are Google's help instructions: Host webpages with Drive

Note: The free version of SimpleViewer has a limit of 50 photos per gallery.

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, May 13, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Strip Steak

Bacon Wrapped Strip Steaks


My first attempt at cooking bacon wrapped steaks on my propane fueled Weber grill.  They turned out great!

Ingredients:
  • 4 NY Strip steaks (3/4" thick)
  • 1 package of bacon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
How to Cook:
  1. Coat steaks with olive oil.
  2. Add salt & pepper or desired seasoning.
  3. Wrap bacon tightly around steaks and fasten strategically with toothpicks.
  4. Heat grill to 400 degrees.
  5. Place steaks in middle of grill over direct heat.
  6. Sear steaks for 5-7 minutes per side. (watch for flare-ups due to bacon grease).
  7. Move steaks to non-direct heat and cook to for additional 5 minutes or so per side.
  8. Check steaks for "doneness".  (Mine were medium well).
  9. Remove from grill.
  10. Let stand for 5 minutes, then remove tooth picks.
  11. Serve and enjoy.
Bacon wrapped strip steaks ready for grilling.
NY strip steaks wrapped in bacon just hitting the grill.
Weber grill set to 400 degrees
Timer set to 7 minute cook time per side.
Bacon wrapped steaks ready for consumption along with some BBQ beans.
Lessons Learned:
I would probably use aluminum foil next time because the bacon does tend to stick to the grill a bit.  No major problems though. How can you go wrong with steak, bacon and beer?

         

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.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Logo Design for Custom Jewelry Co. in NYC

Company Logo Design by LaJuett

A New York city based custom jewelry manufacturer hired us to design and develop a new company logo.
Logo design by LaJuett
Logo design and branding for jewelry company in NYC.

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.

Tag...You're It

Marketing Materials Designed for Valle Baseball

We recently completed a glove tag design for Valle Eagle Training Gloves.  The tag will be attached to gloves being sold via their Rochester, NY storefront as well as their network of Online retailers.

Specifications:
  • Size: 3"x3.5"
  • Paper: Double-sided glossy card stock
  • Design Software: Adobe Fireworks CS3, Corel Draw X6, Adobe Acrobat
  • Fonts: Twenty Eight Days Later, Franklin Gothic
  • Output: PDF @ 600dpi

For more info about Valle Eagle Training Gloves, visit their Website.
Valle training gloves tag

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.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Salmon Creek waking up from winter slumber


Android 4.2 panorama photo - Salmon Creek in Hilton, NY
HDR Camera+ photo for Android 4.2 - Salmon Creek in Hilton, NY
HDR Camera+ photo for Android 4.2 - Salmon Creek in Hilton, NY


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.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Responsive Google Sites Website Design

Responsive Website Design with Google Sites

New responsive design website deployed using Google Sites.  The new Wild Cane Tours site features an integrated Google Map, micro blog and e-commerce gadget.

Utilizing Google Sites' responsive design framework, the site will also detect mobile / handheld devices and render the screens appropriately.

What Is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design method which provides optimal viewing experiences across a wide range of devices (desktop computer monitors, smart phones and tablets).

Custom Google Sites website design with responsive template.

More Information

Check out Google's recommendations for building smartphone-optimized websites:


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.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Google Apps Marketplace Vendor

We are officially approved as a Google Apps Marketplace vendor for Google Sites design.

The Google Apps Marketplace is a one-stop shop for tools you need to run your business.

You can find our Google Sites web design listing and vendor profile in the Custom Application Development section of the Apps Marketplace.

Google Apps Marketplace Vendor
View our vendor listing

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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