The Joys Of Moving A Business

Since starting Tiger Studios in 1999 I have moved five times but all within the state of Colorado. Now I am on to a new chapter and moving all the way to Florida. I am not saying that the previous moves were not hard, but a cross country move is a whole different ball game.

By Kim Adams

Since starting Tiger Studios in 1999 I have moved five times but all within the state of Colorado. Now I am on to a new chapter and moving all the way to Florida. I am not saying that the previous moves were not hard, but a cross country move is a whole different ball game.

Keep Your Head On Straight

I would imagine that moving any size business is a challenge. First are the distractions. You know that you need to pack your stuff, but you also have projects to complete. And when you pack your stuff you have to be careful that you don’t pack too much, end up needing something before you leave and then having to open up previously taped boxes to get to it.

Don’t Drop It!

Then there is a matter of delicate computer equipment. I am optimistic that my movers will do well by my iMac but I will still worry that something will happen. It’s my lively hood — how can I not be a little worried. Unless you actually keep the original packaging of your computer (and who does this) the movers have to “make do” with boxes that they have. In addition you also have to worry about sensitive electronic and paper information. Do you pack it or keep it on you?

Can You Hear Me Now?

And while the movers are taking all your stuff across country, how are you going to keep doing your business? In my case I am using a 13″ laptop — which will take a little getting used to after having a large iMac. On top of that you have to make sure you have all of the files you might need while waiting for the movers. Make sure your applications open correctly, you have your passwords and the files that you might need. And very important, still get emails and phone calls from clients.

Where Did All These Boxes Come From?

Once you finally have all of your boxes in your new location make sure you can set up your business quickly. Have a box labeled to be opened first that contains your equipment cables, phone, peripherals and any other items you would need right away. Sometimes it takes you a few weeks to go through all those boxes and you don’t want to have to wait that long to be able to print because you packed the cable in the wrong place.

In Closing

So in case you want to join the insanity and move your business, here are some tips:

  • Insure your expensive business equipment for damages
  • Backup all of your files on an external hard drive and keep it with you
  • Label the cables for your equipment — so you know what cable goes where
  • In a long distance move make sure you can still operate your business – have a laptop, the files you will need, make sure you can still get email and phone calls
  • Place items you need to reopen your business fast in one box — label it Open First!

Using QR Codes in Graphic Design and Marketing Efforts

I have started to work with QR codes in my graphic design projects and find them functional and effective. You have probably seen them in the airport, on magazine ads, a business card at your last networking meeting, even on an envelope. Or maybe your only exposure has been my tweets about this very topic.

By Kim Adams

Learning to love these easy to use graphics

I have started to work with QR codes in my graphic design projects and find them functional and effective. You have probably seen them in the airport, on magazine ads, a business card at your last networking meeting, even on an envelope. Or maybe your only exposure has been my tweets about this very topic.

Tiger Studios Contact qr_code
Scan this code with your phone, iPod or tablet to get Kim Adams’ contact information.

What is a QR code?

A QR Code is a graphic that is square and made up of small boxes in a seemingly random pattern. The code is used on various printed material from as large as a billboard to as small as a business card. This simple graphic holds information that can be scanned by a handheld device such as a phone, iPod or tablet.

When scanned it can give the user a web site address; contact information including name, title, phone and address; social media links or just a simple message.

Why would I want to use a QR Code?

Being able to scan a QR Code is a major convenience for your customers. With a simple scan of their device they can add all of your contact information into their address book. No typing necessary. Or they can go right to your web site and order the product they saw highlighted in your print ad. Convenience for them, profit for you.

How do I use a QR Code?

Depending on the amount of content your code contains, your code can have many complex boxes or only a few boxes. The example on this page is more complex because it contains a lot of contact information. Using a free online service, a code can quickly be created, downloaded and added to your marketing material.

In order for the code to be scanned successfully it needs to be large enough and detailed enough to work. If the printing of the code is too fuzzy or small the code will not work. There also needs to be enough contrast for the code to be clear. That is why you usually see codes in black on a white background.

That does not mean it needs to be that way. Codes can come in colors and even with graphics. It depends on your application and what makes sense for the design. Always keep in mind the usability of the code—if it does not scan it is not working for you.

Web Site Maintenance. You or a Web Company?

When I typically start working with a client on a web site project I ask them how they want to make updates after the site is live. These days you can’t just create a web site and forget about it for a couple years until you do another redesign.

By Kim Adams

Should you make your own web site changes?

When I typically start working with a client on a web site project I ask them how they want to make updates after the site is live. These days you can’t just create a web site and forget about it for a couple years until you do another redesign. The client’s answer will affect and steer the project in one finished direction or another.

Before you start your web site project you need to ask yourself a question. Do you want to take over the maintenance of the site and do it yourself, or do you want someone else to take over that task? There are some pros and cons for each.

Do-It-Yourself Web Site Maintenance

Pros

If you decide to maintain the site yourself you will probably end up with a content management system solution since it does not require you to know HTML or programming to make content changes. Want to make a change to your content or add a photo to the site at 4am? Go ahead. No waiting necessary.

Cons

But do you have that time to spare in your busy life? Maybe 4am is the only free time you have to work on the site because of all of your other business duties. What if something goes wrong when you upload a file or you want to add a new page to your site and you are not sure how to do it? With no webmaster in place you could be on your own for troubleshooting. Taking up your precious work day time trying to fix your site when you really want to be making money selling your services or products.

Using a professional and experienced web company

Pros

When you have a web company or webmaster on hand, you just send them a list of changes and let them do the work. That way you have time to do what you are good at—concentrating on growing your own business. No stress, no mess. You won’t be getting bogged down in the small details that make your site function. The Webmaster helping you with your sites maintenance will already know the coding or programming necessary to easily make the changes you requested.

Cons

When using a web site company for your site updates you will have to pay a monthly retainer or an hourly fee. Not all webmasters have quick turnaround for changes so make sure you choose a company wisely. If the company who put your web site together was not reliable during that project process chances are things will not change during the maintenance mode on your site. You will also have to spend a little work time to project manage and make sure the tasks are completed, completed correctly and completed on time. Again, depending on the company you choose to work with this process can be very easy or very difficult.

Email Marketing for Your Business

So you decided to try email marketing. Congratulations! Starting up an email newsletter or an email marketing campaign is not a difficult task. There are some basic things you need in order to get one up and going.

By Kim Adams

So you decided to try email marketing. Congratulations! Starting up an email newsletter or an email marketing campaign is not a difficult task. There are some basic things you need in order to get one up and going. It is a great way to market your services and products while keeping your name fresh in your prospective or current clients mind. Here are some tips to help you with your process.

What Is Email Marketing Really?

An email newsletter or email blast is just a one page web site you email to people. The email contains content on a topic or an event that you might be hosting, and can have graphics and links to other web sites. It is mailed directly to your audience’s Inbox and viewed using software, like Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail.

Choose an Email Distribution Service

Do not send out your email blasts using you own email software—unless you only have 20 emails to send out. Using a service such as MyEmma, Mail Chimp or Constant Contact will be much better for you as you grow your distribution list in the future. Their email distribution services are set up to handle large volumes of email addresses without getting marked as spam. As a bonus, you also get analytical information on each email blast you send out, telling you how many people opened your email for example.

Create a Branded Email Design

I would suggest hiring a designer to design and set up your email marketing templates. I usually set up the email design to work with a clients existing web site design so there is consistency between the two pieces. Doing this allows you to build your business brand to your customers. The approved design is coded and added in as a template that can be easily used over and over again. Just add content.

Content, Content, Content

Once you have your design, next you need good quality content that will be useful to your target audience. For email newsletters, topics should be relevant to their business problems, so you can show your current and future clients that you are an expert in your field. For email marketing for products, highlight one product for each email with a link to allow your customers to go to your web site and purchase your product. While writing your content you might find you have images to go with it. Just like your web site, you need a server to host any graphics you might use for your email campaign. If you are using an email service like I described above, you will have “Library” or “Media” space to place these graphics on a server and show them in your email.

Don’t Get Marked as Spam

Because of anti-spam laws there are a few things you have to have in your email before it is sent out to your clients. You need to have the physical business address somewhere on the email to show you are a legitimate business. You also have to have an opt-out or unsubscribe link on the email so people can unsubscribe if they are no longer interested. This is where email distribution services come in handy as they usually automatically add that information at the bottom of each of your email blasts.

Business Cards Are NOT Dead

Recently I updated my business cards in preparation for a conference and noticed I had a lot of old unused cards left. Most of my business is done via the phone or email so I don’t give out a lot of business cards. That made me wonder about how useful these cards are now.

By Kim Adams

Recently I updated my business cards in preparation for a conference and noticed I had a lot of old unused cards left. Most of my business is done via the phone or email so I don’t give out a lot of business cards. That made me wonder about how useful these cards are now.

Why We Still Need Business Cards

Even in this very connected world we still need business cards. What are you going to do if you are at a business meeting with a new prospect, or making new contacts at a networking event? Are you just going to tell them your email address and hope they remember it? I know that if I don’t write things down right away I forget and I am sure many of you out there have the same problem. Business cards contain your contact information so you can hand it out to people and they don’t have to remember or write down your information. It’s right there. Making it easier, and more likely, that they will contact you in the future.

Update Your Business Card Now

Been a few years since you updated your business cards too? You could be missing out on an opportunity to give people more information about you.

Make sure your contact information, including business phone number, cell number and fax number, are still correct or relevant. Remove old information. Revise your title to be more descriptive or to reflect your new position within your company. Are you active in social media? List the URLs where potential clients can interact with you via social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

Has your company’s branding changed since the last time you had your cards made? Revise and refresh the design so all of your print and web collateral match and look cohesive. Make sure you take full advantage of space on the front and back of your business card. Think of these cards as very small representatives of your business, skills and capabilities. A graphic designer can really help you with this part of the process so you look professional and stand out from the free templates that printers might be trying to give you. You don’t want your business card to look like everyone else’s.

Add A QR Code For Better Results

Consider adding a QR code to your card. (What is a QR Code? Check out my previous post about QR Codes here.) People will be able to take your card and scan your contact information directly into the address book of their phone or other electronic device. That way if your card is lost your information is not. Increasing your chances of hearing from them in the future.

What Information Should You List On Your Card

You definitely need your name, email address, one main or most often used business phone number and your web site address on your business card, at a minimum. You want to make sure that people can easily contact you when they have a job that only you can handle.

Other information could be a list of your social media accounts, fax number, your business address, business organizations or affiliations you are connected with, and even a list of your skills. Again, a graphic designer can help you choose what information should be on your card.

Don’t Forget About Card Readers

Some people scan business cards right into their computer so keep this in mind when you are designing your card. Make sure there is enough contrast between the background of the card and your contact information. Doing this will better ensure that your information will scan correctly.

Business Card Alternatives

People don’t tend to keep business cards for long, and because of their size are easily lost. Think of alternative out-of-the-box ways that will make people want to keep your card. Come up with a useful application that your prospects can use every day or week. Create a bookmark with your contact information and list of skills in an attractive design. Make a perpetual calendar that stays on your prospects desk and reminds them that you have skills they need. Brainstorm and come up with some fun alternative ideas.

Why Good (Graphic and Web) Design Is Good Business

First impressions are everything. If you are not giving the right business image, or impression, to your prospective clients you could lose out on their business. How do you project the right business image? Let’s use an example. If you go to a business meeting you usually dress in business attire.

By Kim Adams

First impressions are everything. If you are not giving the right business image, or impression, to your prospective clients you could lose out on their business.

What Impression Are You Giving Your Clients

How do you project the right business image? Let’s use an example. If you go to a business meeting you usually dress in business attire. Clean, pressed, professional clothes, not jeans and a tee shirt. Unless maybe you are the CEO of Facebook. You want to give your prospective clients the visual impression that you are confident, know what you are doing and can handle their problems and needs. That impression should translate to your online and offline business marketing. So if you are showing your web site or brochure to the same prospective clients, you want to give them the confident, professional “business attire” impression instead of the “jeans” impression of your company.

Make A Good Business Impression With Design

A poorly designed web site, or printed marketing piece, could cost you potential clients and revenue. It’s all about impressions. If the design looks old it could be saying that your business is stuck in the past, or worse no longer in business. If the design is amateurish it might say to your prospects that you don’t take your business seriously. So why should they? You always want to project a professional look and feel to all aspects of your business’s marketing and collateral pieces. You and your business want to be taken seriously, so take the design elements of your business seriously.

Are You Making A Good Impression Now

Consider the print collateral you currently hand out to clients. Review the web site that you many not have looked at in the last year (or two). Do these items truly represent the business impression you want to show the world and the vast number of potential clients you want beating down your door?

5 Tips On Picking A Domain Name For Your Web Site

As the client and I are gearing up to work on a new web site project, before work on the design even starts, I ask the client what their domain name is. Clients who don’t already have a domain name ordered usually ask me what I would recommend.

By Kim Adams

As the client and I are gearing up to work on a new web site project, before work on the design even starts, I ask the client what their domain name is. Clients who don’t already have a domain name ordered usually ask me what I would recommend. Hopefully my tips will help you when you are going through the same process.

Use Your Business or Product Name

My suggestion is to use your business or product name when creating your domain name. Unfortunately, with about 644 million active web sites out there your first choice of domain names might not be available. This is when you need to get creative. If the full name of the business is not available try these tricks.

  • Shorten or abbreviate the name
  • Consider using a hyphen or adding a number
  • Add your location (state or city) to the name

Domain Names and Search Engines

In the past, you could create a domain name that was keyword rich and it would help you with your ranking in the search engines. For example, I could have used www.webdesigncompany.com, which is one big keyword, instead of my company’s name www.tiger-studios.com. Today that practice only helps you to a small degree and there are draw backs. Using keywords instead of your business name will not help build brand awareness among your current and future clients. Stay with using your business name or product name and only use keywords if it makes sense.

Length of Your Domain Name

I don’t recommend really long domain names from a usability stand point. The more a user has to type the more likely, I feel, the domain name might get misspelled. Domain names can be anywhere from 3 to 63 letters.

Beware Where You Buy Your Domain Name

Sometimes hosting companies offer free domain names with their hosting packages. Beware of these offers. You may not really own that domain name. Once you terminate your account with that hosting company you could also lose the domain name that you had for years and created a following with. Make sure before you complete your initial order that when your hosting contract ends you will still have the rights to the domain name. You don’t want to start your search engine rankings from the start again with a new domain name.

Buy More Domain Names

Domain names are inexpensive which means buying multiple domain names and linking them to your main web site is an easy business decision. But why should you purchase more than one?

  • To protect your brand purchase the same domain name in .com, .net, .biz, etc.
  • If your business name is easy to misspell buy the domain names for the most common misspellings
  • If your business name is available as one word (www.businessname.com) consider purchasing variations of the same name (www.business-name.com, www.bizname.com, etc.)

Email Newsletters Or A Web Site Blog For Marketing Your Business?

Thinking about expanding your online marketing efforts and trying to decide what would be the right choice for your business? Both email newsletters and web site blogs are good for marketing your business but for different reasons.

By Kim Adams

Thinking about expanding your online marketing efforts and trying to decide what would be the right choice for your business? Both email newsletters and web site blogs are good for marketing your business but for different reasons.

Direct Marketing With Email Newsletters

Email marketing is a very focused way to “push” information to your customers and prospects. It is a sales oriented means of communication. Because of this an email is a great way to directly contact your customers about your various products and services. It is also a more effective way to generate direct sales.

Content in email newsletters tend to be more about your company, new products you are now offering, sale notices, or case studies.

If you decide to use email marketing, make sure the email highlights just one product or service at a time. Make sure you don’t just mention your brand new offerings. Remind them about your tried and true products, and your available core services. This strategy will help keep you in their minds.

A good rule of thumb is to send emails every month but not more than twice a month. You want to be on your customer’s mind but not annoy them in the process.

Indirect Marketing With A Web Site Blog

A blog is a more passive means of marketing. You are creating information that will draw new prospects to your site and your business through search engines. It is an effective content management strategy for your web site, creates quality keywords related to your business, which get found in search engines, and brings your site traffic and new customers.

With a blog you don’t directly communicate with your customers. It is a great way to build a brand, become known as an expert in your field and find prospective customers.

Blog posts tend to be smaller and more frequent than email newsletters. Write about various topics that your prospects would be interested in, and make sure you add in a post once in a while about your company’s products and services.

Protecting Your Business Against Natural Disasters

What would you miss if a tornado, lighting strike or fire hit your office today? In light of Hurricane Sandy and the wild fires in Colorado, would you be able to start your business up after a natural disaster?

By Kim Adams

colorado-lightningPhoto © by Kim Adams

What would you miss if a tornado, lighting strike or fire hit your office today? In light of Hurricane Sandy and the wild fires in Colorado, would you be able to start your business up after a natural disaster? Could you start up your business right away or would you have to start from scratch?

Being in a tornado prone area, I am used to preparing for the worst. Here are some tips to help keep your business going after any kind of disaster.

  • Inventory items in your office with a camera. Make sure the date stamp will be on the photos. Remember to open all drawers and take pictures of their contents. Keep this information in a safety deposit box or uploaded online for easy access when your insurance company needs them. Consider doing this every year.
  • Keep credit card receipts for large purchases handy, this includes all of your computer and electronic equipment, for proof for your insurance company.
  • Make sure your insurance coverage covers all of the hardware, software, supplies and furniture in your office.
  • Backup company files with a secure online system like Sugar Sync, Box.net or even Dropbox. Back these files up daily. If you back up files on a removable hard drive for quick grab and go access, remember that if there is a disaster and you are not in your office you could lose that hard drive. Off site backup is better protection.
  • Make sure copies of your most used business documents are backed up as well so you don’t have to rewrite them.
  • Keep your access information (user names and passwords) for your off site files handy so you can get to them from any location. If you have to evacuate you can at least get to your business files.
  • Make sure you have the contact information for your insurance company, credit cards and bank so you can get back to normal faster.
  • Safety deposit boxes are not rated for very hot fires so talk with your bank to find out how protected your information would be.

Best Photo Quality For Your Next Print Or Web Project

Not all photos are equal. Depending on the quality of your image it can make or break your project. This is not about a photo’s content but about the file itself. For graphic and print design, all photos need to be in a high quality format to look crisp, clean and professional when it is printed out.

By Kim Adams

Not all photos are equal. Depending on the quality of your image it can make or break your project. This is not about a photo’s content but about the file itself.

For graphic and print design, all photos need to be in a high quality format to look crisp, clean and professional when it is printed out. Web sites do not benefit from that same format. In fact, high quality photos can make things worse.

Photos For Graphic And Print Design

High quality print format photos are usually in 4 color, CMYK, at least 300 dots per inch (dpi) and in TIFF format. These are optimum settings for most print projects. It is always a good idea to check in with your printer to make sure. The file size for these photos are normally very large, ranging in the multiple MBs, and can take a long time to download when transferred by email or Internet.

Photos For Web Design

Photos for web design are easier. They only require 72 dots per inch (dpi) and are RGB instead of CMYK. This significantly reduces their file size without causing a loss of photo quality when viewed on a monitor or tablet. The smaller file size is very important for screen load time of your site.

Preparing Photos For A Web Site

There are three different file types that a web site will accept: JPG, PNG, or GIF. Each of these file types are used for certain applications on a web site. JPG will be the one you will use the most for photos as it gives a good balance of photo quality and file size.

Troubleshooting Photo Quality

If you save your photo and it looks pixelated on your web site it could be the quality of your JPG. When saving a JPG notice the Quality slider, usually found to the right of the Save for Web feature in Adobe Photoshop. A quality of 20 will give you a small file size but a more pixelated poor quality look to the photo. A quality of 60 or higher will give you a larger final file size but a crisper photo for your site.

Making The Most Of Your Print Advertising

Advertising your products and services in magazines or newspapers can be a good way to make people aware of your business. Because print advertising can get costly, you want to make sure that you take full advantage of the opportunity to reach potential clients.

By Kim Adams

Advertising your products and services in magazines or newspapers can be a good way to make people aware of your business. Because print advertising can get costly, you want to make sure that you take full advantage of the opportunity to reach potential clients.

What Your Graphic Designer Needs to Know

Make sure you let your graphic designer know a few key things about that ad you need, other than just what photo(s) and text you want to use. The designer will need to know:

  • size of the ad,
  • whether the ad needs to be in full color or black and white,
  • what dpi does the magazine/newspaper ask for the ad to be in,
  • and what the finished file type will be needed. Usually a PDF is requested, but they can give you the specifics.

What You Need to Do

Keep in mind that you don’t want a lot of text to clutter up your advertisement. You want the design to be appealing and eye catching since you will be competing with other ads or articles on the same page. You also don’t want to have so much text that your graphic designer needs to put it in 5pt type to get it all in. Make sure the advertisement has a clear message about what you, or your company, does or sells.

And Don’t Forget…

  • to add your company logo and/or name,
  • contact information,
  • business address, if applicable,
  • and most importantly, don’t forget to add your web site address.

You might want to think about setting up a special web landing page to direct the advertisement viewers to. Doing this allows you can track conversions, or how many people went to your web site after seeing your ad. You will get a better idea of the amount of revenue you received from clients seeing your advertisement and whether it’s worth continuing with that publication, message or style of ad.

Social Media

Once your advertisement is completed consider placing a JPG of it on your business Facebook page. It will reach a new audience and potentially increase the mileage of your ad.

You have a business blog. Now what?

So your New Year’s resolution was to create a blog for your business web site. Congratulations! But, now that you have it what should you do? You want people to read what you are writing. Make it easy for people by allowing them to subscribe to your blog on your web site.

By Kim Adams

So your New Year’s resolution was to create a blog for your business web site. Congratulations! But, now that you have it what should you do?

Allow People To Subscribe

You want people to read what you are writing. Make it easy for people by allowing them to subscribe to your blog on your web site. From there you can decide if you want them to get an excerpt of your latest post with a link to read more on your site, or to get the full post in their email box.

Consistency Is The Key

Frequently adding new posts to your blog does several good things for your web site. First, adding content brings the search engines back to your site and improves your site’s page rank. It gives the search engines access to more keywords for visitors, and potential clients, to find your business. Plus, frequent posts keeps your visitors coming back to your site to read your content.

Knowledge Is Power

Sharing your knowledge in your blog posts helps your clients and places you as an expert in your field. Don’t be afraid to share what you know, thinking that people will take that information and do it themselves. Your information will actually help put potential client’s fears to rest knowing that you have the knowledge and skills they need for their project.

Simple Feng Shui Tips For Your Business

Happy Chinese New Year. 2013 is the year of the snake, and with every new year feng shui practioners suggest various changes to office and home spaces. Feng shui is the practice of balancing energy in a space for good health and fortune for the people living and working in it.

By Kim Adams

Happy Chinese New Year. 2013 is the year of the snake, and with every new year feng shui practioners suggest various changes to office and home spaces.

Feng shui is the practice of balancing energy in a space for good health and fortune for the people living and working in it. There is a lot of information out there from different schools and practices making it confusing on what to do or not to do.

I have found over the years that some tips work, others do not, and a lot of it is just common sense. Like marketing your business, if you do not see results with feng shui you need to try something else. So I came up with a few tips that are quick and easy to implement.

Desk Location

Make sure when you are sitting at your desk that your back is not towards your office door. You want to make sure you can see people who are coming in. The best position for your desk would be diagonal from the door and facing it. That is the “power” position.

Wealth Corner

Bring prosperity and money luck to your business by enhancing your wealth corner. To locate the wealth corner of your office, stand at your door facing into the office. The back far left area of the office will be your wealth corner. The wealth corner of your desk would be the back left area when you are sitting in your chair.

Place a plant in that area to represent growth of your finances. Practitioners suggest a jade plant because the leaves look like coins but any healthy rounded edge plant will do. Important papers, cash boxes, or check books can also be kept there.

Organization and Clutter Busters

Clutter and mess not only waste your time but also make the energy in your space “stuck”. New business opportunities and growth can’t happen if you are “stuck”. Clear out broken or unused items from your office. Throw away old paperwork you no longer need. As you go through this process you might notice that your office feels fresher, more energetic, more ready for new opportunities.

Try out these tips and see if you notice any results with your business.

How Usable Is Your Business Website?

Not everyone has a big budget to hire website usability researchers to review their business site and see how functional it is for their users. So what are your options? There are a few things you can do to make sure your website is easy to use for your visitors.

By Kim Adams

Not everyone has a big budget to hire website usability researchers to review their business site and see how functional it is for their users. So what are your options? There are a few things you can do to make sure your website is easy to use for your visitors.

The next time you look at your website keep some of these questions in mind:

How does your content read on the page?

Is the text legible, large enough to read on a monitor or tablet? Is there enough contrast between the color of the font and the background it sits on?

Is the information on your site easy to find?

Is the most important content accessible in just one or two clicks of the mouse or is it buried 10 pages deep?

Where is your navigation?

Is the website’s navigation consistent in location, order and titles?

Can the visitor, and your potential clients, find your contact information?

Is it easy to find the name of your business, it’s phone number and address?

Does the visitor have a clear call to action?

Do they know what you want them to do with your website? Subscribe to a newsletter, buy a product, call for information?

Do your own testing

For an inexpensive way to test your site’s usablity, ask a co-worker, friend or spouse who has little to no experience working within the website to look at it. Ask them if they can find certain important information that you want your potential clients to find on the site.

Then ask them what they thought of the overall experience. Was it easy to find the information? Did they get suck? This experiment can be very eye opening on how effective your site is in gaining potential clients.

Keeping Your Sanity With A Little Levity

We all have them. The week of endless back-to-back meetings. The project that needs to be completed yesterday – and you have not started it yet. The glass is half empty. Sometimes running your own business is more of a challenge than a reward.

By Kim Adams

We all have them. The week of endless back-to-back meetings. The project that needs to be completed yesterday – and you have not started it yet. The glass is half empty. Sometimes running your own business is more of a challenge than a reward. For those days when it’s 7pm and you still have 4 hours of work left to do remember some of these amusing business related quotes.

“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” — Mark Twain

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?” — Steve Jobs

“Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.” — David Dixon

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.” — Groucho Marx

“A clean desk is a sign of a cluttered desk drawer.” — Author Unknown

“When you’re up to your armpits in alligators, it’s hard to remember to drain the swamp.” ― Ronald Reagan

“To err is human, to really foul things up requires a computer.” — Bill Vaughan

“Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.” — Mark Twain

“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.” — Bob Hope

“The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off due to budget cuts.” — Author Unknown

“Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” — Howard Aiken

“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” ― Groucho Marx

“A picture is worth a thousand words but it takes 3,000 times the disk space.” — Author Unknown

“Aim low, reach your goals, and avoid disappointment.” — Scott Adams/Dilbert

And if you need even more levity to get through your work day, I highly recommend some Demotivators from Despair.com

Marketing Ideas for Your Business Web Site

I think we can agree that the days of just putting a web site on the Internet and new clients will find your business are over. People need to know that your site exists, but how do you go about doing that? There are many options available, and you need to find the right marketing technique that works for your business.

By Kim Adams

I think we can agree that the days of just putting a web site on the Internet and new clients will find your business are over. People need to know that your site exists, but how do you go about doing that? There are many options available, and you need to find the right marketing technique that works for your business.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an integral part in preparing your web site to be found on search engines. Make sure you use unique title tags and meta descriptions for each page of your site and that they relate closely to the content on that page. Optimization your content and titles for no more than 3 keyword phrases a page. Make sure you write your content for your readers and not the search engines. Your site could be penalized if you don’t do so.

Traditional Marketing

Market your site like you would any business. Send out mailers announcing the new or updated site. Create a newsletter, either on-line or print, that talks about various topics and makes you look like an authority in your industry. Advertise in publications and make sure your web site address is noticeable within the ad. Send a press release to PRWeb.com or local newspapers about significant news concerning your company. Make sure you include your web site address and a copy of that press release on your site.

Viral Marketing

Tell everyone you know that you have a web site. Put your web site address on your email signatures, on your business cards, letterhead, brochures, any kind of print material you may send out. Join on-line networking organizations, like Linked-In, or user groups related to your industry to share your knowledge and expertise. Use appropriate social media outlets to get the word out about your new site, products and services.

Sponsorships and Volunteering

Consider sponsoring an event where your target clients will be attending. For example, Tiger Studios has help to sponsor marketing seminars, women’s networking groups and golf tournaments. Or, volunteer time and resources in exchange for a booth at a seminar or conference. Both opportunities will expose people to your name, company and what you do. Make sure your web site address is very visible. The more your name is out in the business community, the more business you will get.

Hire A Professional Marketing Team

The best way to improve the marketing of your business and web site is to hire a professional. Someone who works in the marketing field 24/7 will know of the best ways to market your web site to the correct audience. This gets you the right results without a lot of trial and error on your part. Allow the professionals to do their job while you relax and work at doing yours — and with a slew of new clients thanks to their marketing efforts.

What Disney Has Taught Me

I don’t just enjoy vacationing at Disney World—some of my long standing clients can tell you I go there often—but I have learned some things there too. Disney is a huge global company and it does two things very well, branding and customer service.

By Kim Adams

I don’t just enjoy vacationing at Disney World—some of my long standing clients can tell you I go there often—but I have learned some things there too. Disney is a huge global company and it does two things very well, branding and customer service.

Branding

All items down to the smallest detail are within Disney’s corporate branding standards. From the obvious web site applications and print elements, to the not so obvious “hidden mickeys” in their architecture, Disney does not deviate from their branding. And neither should you.

I highly suggest creating a branding standard document or web site to keep everyone, from your employees to your vendors, using logos, colors, font, etc. in a consistent way across all types of outlets. That includes web sites, graphic design, outdoor signage, T.V., radio ads, and more. Branding can include graphic elements and less tactile elements like a state of mind or vision that the company wants to portray. Think of Disney’s “happiest place on earth” slogan.

Customer Service

Disney employees are called “cast members” and their customers are called “guests”. Guest is a great term. Think about it. When a relative or friend is a guest in your home you make special plans. Stock their favorite foods, show them the sites, etc. What would happen if you thought of your customers as guests?