We are having fun with a new client here in Maryland. Easton-based Ad Strategies specializes in organizing and promoting trade shows – in particular, Boat and Car Shows.
Daylight Websites were commissioned to build a new-look web site for an upcoming boat show in San Diego. The fun part for us was that there was no specific design guideline, just content.
We created several designs, but one was a clear favorite and we submitted it first. The other prototypes were never viewed!
Check back for details of when this site goes live, meanwhile here is a link to the development version:
For the techies, this was developed using WordPress v3.1.2, and a number of custom components. The majority of the work was customizing CSS. The basic design was completed in 3 hours.
Contact Daylight Websites for a quotation on your website project.
They say that a successful blogger should be controversial. This heading should upset one or two.
When training a Daylight Websites client, one of the most frequent debates is about the necessity of blogging. Our conversations from the very beginning underscore the importance of blogging. It is the reason we use WordPress, it is the essence of what Daylight Websites stands for and the range of services we offer.
At the core of this lies the unique ability of WordPress to automatically summon the search engines. the moment you publish something in WordPress, the software not only places your formatted contribution on your website, it also ‘pings‘ all the major search engines to let them know you have published. They come immediately – normally arriving within a few minutes.
The effect of this is dramatic. The updated Google search engine indexing formula is called ‘Caffeine‘ and it is well-named. Almost miraculously, your latest post will appear in Google under the keywords you chose for your all-important Title. WordPress allows you to dictate the URL layout as well, so you are able to control the two most significant components of a search engine result – the Title and the Link.
Why is this important?
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One of the reasons it’s fun to work with WordPress is the often self-deprecatory nature of the humor of the developers.
When a company can afford to poke fun at itself or risk minimizing its achievements, you should immediately know that this is a sign of great confidence.
In the case of WordPress, it is well-deserved!
For example, read this announcement on their blog a couple of days ago:
WordPress Wins CMS Award
by Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress)
I was just informed that WordPress, in head-to-head voting against Joomla and Drupal, has won this year’s Open Source CMS Hall of Fame award.
We have to be careful because if this trend continues people might think WordPress is a real CMS, useful for more than just a blog. This would ruin our stealth campaign and might bring dozens of new users to the WordPress community. If you could keep this on the DL we’d appreciate it.
We don’t want WordPress to develop a reputation.
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If you’ve been following our series on WordPress, you will have already learned that this blog environment is far from being just a bloggers tool, it is a better mousetrap, it is easy to learn, it keeps the search engines busy (a very good thing) and … even helps you choose breakfast.
What you may not know is that WordPress has a feature that is guaranteed to extend your life!
» On the right-hand side of the ‘Add New Post’ screen lies the blue ‘Publish’ button that will simultaneously publish your new post and call the search engine spiders. It is the single most powerful mouse-click you can make in WordPress.
» Just above the ‘Publish’ button, note that the default setting is for WordPress to publish your post immediately.
» If you click the ‘Edit’ link alongside, you will see that a date and time can be entered. This can be set to any time in the future. It will instruct WordPress not to publish immediately, but to publish at the time that suits you.
» Once you change the date to the required date and time and confirm by clicking ‘OK’, the wording changes to ‘Schedule for:’ … and you can now continue to edit, add extra information, review tomorrow … or head to the airport.
» The blog post you have just edited will automatically publish at the date and time you specify. It’s magic and a much-overlooked feature of WordPress!
And just how will this help you live longer?
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I subscribe to a Word-of-the-Day feed. Today’s word of the day is Alchemical. Having once owned my own welding shop, alchemy is close to my heart. Online it is also close the premise of my work: Changing something small into something more meaningful.
My favorite Alchemist is Dumbledore played by Richard Harris (who else is there, really?). He advised his students to develop their individual, unique talents. Similarly, pop-psychology advises us “Do what you love and the money will follow.” In Hinduism, this is called svadharma and refers to one’s own right, duty, or nature; one’s own role in the social and cosmic order. In a business blog, this means authentic content.
Take some small aspect of your business, something you are passionate about, and make it your muse for an educational and lead-driving blog. Adding a regional slant will give your words even more impact in Google and on the street. This blog takes this notion to publication with great effect.
alchemical \al-KEM-ik-uhl\, adjective:
1. Pertaining to the transformation of something common, usually of little value, into a substance of great worth.
2. Relating to a form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold.
It is a natural progression. Indeed, one could almost call it organic. First, WordPress, the most popular CMS on the planet, outsmarts the traditional Content Management System affectionados by removing the mystique, minimizing the jargon and maximizing the SEO impact. And now it offers you breakfast.
Daylight Websites was founded one morning over a cup or three of fresh ground coffee in late 2009. C. Jane Taylor and I had served a four year tenure in the traditional web design industry. Jane is an accomplished SEO Tactician and Copywriter and I have been writing code since the days of punched cards (anyone remember Hollerith Code?).
We realized that a new SEO-tuned website could be created in just a morning using the WordPress capability of installing, thematically designing and functionally customizing – in sometimes just a few mouseclicks. When we stirred-in the uniquely powerful ability of WordPress to literally call the search engine spiders to every new posting, we realized we had a recipe worth attempting.
Our first public tasting of the concept resulted in that stunningly motivational sound of a check being torn out of a check-book – before the sales meeting was even over! We had our first client. A short while later, their first Google Analytics report showed an astonishing 700% increase in traffic!
As with any new idea, there were lessons to be learned. Using a theme is not always the easiest route if the proposed design is non-traditional. Fortunately, certain WordPress themes are highly customizable: the default Twenty Ten allows you to change header, menus and sidebar content; Arjuna and Atahualpa offer far greater flexibility but demand a higher level of technical ability; the increasingly popular Thematic requires the use of child-themes; the list goes on …
We’ll share some more of our discoveries in the weeks ahead, but for now its time for breakfast, several clients are waiting and FoodPress is tempting us with an array of early-morning treats.
As an aging COBOL programmer, I must take this opportunity to confess my participation in the Y2K fiasco. Yes, it was absolutely my fault! I carefully coded all my date fields incorrectly for at least 15 years in the traditional English style: DDMMYY … and this, as history records, almost brought about the End of the World.
On Monday November 9th, 2010 the iSomething generation all across USA may be arriving an hour late for work. Using the well-worn Microsoft technique of releasing all software without adequate testing, Apple has just been made aware of a programming bug that means all pre-set iPhone alarms will ignore the ‘Fall-Back’ change in Daylight Savings Time at midnight tonight.
iPhone users in Europe and Australia reported the problem as their DST changed last weekend. The notice is too soon for Apple to make a fix and so, on Monday morning, non-iPhone users in USA will possibly enjoy an extra hour of peace in the office.
How the US economy will survive without a proportion of the iFolk at work for an hour on Monday is uncertain.
One thing for sure is that this time, Apple cannot blame me. I didn’t do it.
How to fix your iPhone:
- Open the Clock application.
- Click on the Alarm icon at the bottom of the screen.
- Click the “plus sign” icon in the top right corner.
- Create an alarm and make sure you have the “repeat” option set to “never.” (The glitch only occurs with repeat alarms, such as those workers set to wake them up at the same time each weekday).
- Select the appropriate time and sound, and click “save.”
Using a template is not a new idea. Wall paintings in the Cave of the Hands in Santa Cruz, Argentina date back some 9,000 years. It is believed that the stencilled hands on the cave walls marked a rite of passage into manhood.
Woodcuts, from the 9th century onward are another form of using a medium where a basic design could be used to recreate a structure – which could then be enhanced with color or other means.
Contemporary art holds well-known examples. Perhaps Andy Warhol is one of the most renowned. His portrayal of well-known cultural icons as diverse as Coca Cola, Marilyn Monroe and even Queen Elizabeth demonstrated how a templated design could be transformed into free-standing versions of an otherwise identical theme.
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Just Do it!
Each blog title you write should be a slam dunk. It should be optimized, engaging, educational, easy to read, relevant, and it should encourage your audience to act in a manner that supports your business.
It’s easy, right? Like writing poetry, or sticking to a fitness plan, or getting your two-year-old to take a nap, or just saying no to drugs (thank you, Nancy Regan).
My favorite Internet marketing blog, HubSpot, would have you believe it’s easy. And maybe it is…This morning HubSpot gives us “Six Easy Ways to Get More Visitors to your Blog” here they are:
1. Make your blog interesting
2. Make your content easy to read
3. Make your content Search Engine Optimized (SEO)
4. Encourage Interaction
5. Include Social Sharing Buttons
6. Link to Other Relevant Blogs
It seems pretty straightforward. Just like wearing red shorts and flying to the hoop, right? Straightforward, yes. But easy? Not all the time. But it can be done, if you (pardon my predictability here) Just Do It. Take it one step at a time. Read some relevant blogs, notice what you like about them, and if you are inspired, sign up and make a comment. Commit two hours a week to the health and wellness of your online presence and it will definitely payoff in the end.
The stats are out there: Businesses that blog get 55% more visitors, have 434% more indexed pages, the benefits are numerous. Check out the social media stats on Fortune 100 Companies. There are some other stats that are a bit more difficult to classify. The biggest of them is trust. Sure brand recognition is essential, but there is something deeper: community.
If you are too busy doing what you need to do to keep your business going, please don’t neglect your blog. Your community will suffer for it. Hire someone to blog on your behalf. It’s that important. Engage your audience and keep them engaged. Start to build some trust.
Time for my yoga and situps…
“His Airness” image courtesy of Sports Business Digest