Sun, 08 Jun 2014 23:55:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 This is the video to watch if you want to understand how to use social media for your business in 2014 Mon, 26 May 2014 16:24:36 +0000 I am a big fan of Gary Vanyerchuk and this video interview with him is one of my favorites when it comes to explaining social media marketing.

NSFW – there is foul language contained in this video.

Learn more about Gary Vanyerchuk

Did you like this video? Please share it and help others grow.

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Logos We’ve Recently Designed for Clients Mon, 19 May 2014 19:11:14 +0000 We’ve recently designed the following logos for our clients.

Blue Wind Farms

A non GMO corn and soybean producer located in Camp Douglas, WI.

I used a font designed by Yellow Design Studios in Madison, WI (keeping it local).  I selected this font because of its sprout-like qualities which translated well for the non GMO grown products.

The blue winds were designed to also look like the leaves from an ear of corn ( they also had the serendipitous look of rolling fileds of crops).

BlueWindFarms 300x154 Logos Weve Recently Designed for Clients

Heavy Hitch

Manufacturer of sub compact and garden tractor attachments located in Fountain City, WI

The initial objective in this design was to remove the green color from their previous logo to make their brand instantly appealing to owners of all makes of tractors. I was asked  to make a strong, impactful 3D design with a brushed metal finish. The hitch between the words was added as a way to separate the words (improve legibility) andto create an instantly identifiable impression of their brand.

HeavyHitch 300x112 Logos Weve Recently Designed for Clients

Ready Travel and Logistics, Inc.

Large group travel and logistics planning company located in La Crescent, MN

I was given full control over the design of this logo. The left hand of the design is a nod to the roadtrips (via bus) that Ready Travel & Logistics plans for large group travel (think high school senior trips to New York, band trips to D.C.,  etc). The right side of the graphic emblem recognizes their convention logistics and planning services (a sheet of paper with notes). So 3 vertical dashes and 3 horizontal dashes which aptly translate into the services they provide.

logo big 300x112 Logos Weve Recently Designed for Clients


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These are the phrases that will make you a headline writing rockstar! Mon, 19 May 2014 17:33:06 +0000 I love posts like this. Short, sweet and full of useful information you can use now to fuel your marketing efforts.

Author and writing guru, Kevan Lee, analyzed 3,016 headlines from 24 top content sites such as BuzzFeed, ViralNova, and UpWorthy and came up with a list of the most popular three-word phrases found in headlines that went viral.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what is working in the top viral headlines:
Screen shot 2014 03 13 at 2.32.03 PM These are the phrases that will make you a headline writing rockstar!

You should find ways to use  these phrases into your marketing headlines, whether posting on social media or on your blog. Did you notice my headline on this article? Works, right?

Read the full article here: Lessons From the Most Popular Phrases in Viral Headlines

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Free Website for Wisconsin Businesses Fri, 28 Mar 2014 18:41:14 +0000 gybo wi Free Website for Wisconsin BusinessesIf you are a Wisconsin based business with no budget for a custom built website, you may be in luck.

Google and a number of Wisconsin based partners from around the state are offering free websites and domain names for 1 full year.

Here is the link to take part in that program:

Now, here are some interesting facts provided by Google:

47% of Wisconsin businesses do not have a website
Source: Google/IPSOS, Survey of businesses with less than 250 employees, June 2011

97% of internet users look for local goods and services online.
Source: BIA/Kelsey, User View Wave VII, March 2010

1 in 5 searches is local, which means someone is looking for a product or service nearby
Source: Google user data, April 2010

Three out of four smartphone users have contacted a business they found on their phone
Source: Google/Ipsos, “The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users,” April 2011

Over the next three years, businesses that make use of the web expect to grow 40% faster than those that don’t.
Source: BCG Report, “The Connected World: The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity,” March 2012

In summary, if you do not have a website, you will lose sales and growing your business becomes much more difficult.

So you may be wondering why in the world would a web design firm be promoting free websites from another provider. Truth is we want to help small business owners understand the difference in value between free and paid website services. A free solution may be adequate for the short term, but a custom crafted website by a professional is optimal.

Let me explain why that is…

Free solutions are…well…free

Here are some of the pros and cons of a free website solution versus a site designed by a professional website design company.

Please note, I have not personally signed up for the Google program and have not created a site with this service. However, I have over 17 years of experience creating websites, and I understand where the gotchas are.

Let’s take a look…

Potential Pros of a free site

  • Free for one year – great for a new business with no budgetg
  • Urged to get listed in Google Places (a must for any business) – though you can do this yourself anytime here:
  • Great way to get started with a website and experience managing your own content
  • If the website is setup well, it provides a taste for how a website can attract new customers and clients and increase your sales

Potential Cons of a free site

  • Free hosting simply does not offer the best in performance and support. This means your site may not load fast as it could, and if you need help, (e.g. your site is down / offline) responsive and effective support services may not be available to you. Honestly, fast and effective support can be hard to find with paid services, unless you know where to look.
  • Design matters. This cannot be overstated. An unprofessional website can be worse than having no website at all. If a website’s first impression is poor, it will affect your sales. Please, no clip art, no Comic Sans or Papyrus fonts.
  • Blog – a free service may not have a blogging platform, and this is a bad thing in 2014. Blogging simply offers the best “free” opportunity of getting your website ranked into the search engines. From my experience, blog posts are more effective than static pages.
  • You will be limited by the design options and layouts  being offered.
  • Free / hosted solutions are going to have limited capabilities. The opportunity to add new abilities and enhancements to your website may be impossible.
    Examples would include image galleries, product catalogs, e-commerce solutions for selling products online, social media sharing / connectivity, testimonial management, etc. All the things that grow in importance with your business over time may require a more robust solution.
  • A free website may not give you granular and specific levels of control over your page’s content.
    Quick example: Say you want a specific testimonial to be placed within the sidebar of a specific page. It may not be possible if you are unable to separately manage your sidebars at the page level.
  • Learning curve. It takes an investment of time and effort to create a business website. Ask yourself if you have the time. Again, an incomplete or unprofessional site is not helpful to your business.
  • Though the Google program comes with a free domain name, I would highly recommend spending the $10 – $15 and purchasing your own domain name outside of this program.
    Why? Because when you are ready to migrate your site to another provider, you are not encumbered with trying to extricate your domain name from the free service. This process can be frustrating and consume time, so buying your domain on your own is money well spent.
  • Content may not be portable. When you use a free service, you may be locked into their proprietary software.

So like many things in life, you get what you pay for. But that being said, if you have some time to invest and can’t afford a professional solution, check out Google’s free website plan to see if it is for you.

Have Questions?

If you have any questions about creating a website for your business, even the free Google site, just drop me a line using the form below. I’m happy to help.

  • Phone format: (###)###-####
  • Please enter your website URL if applicable.


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2 Important Changes To Make Your Small Business Website Work for You In 2014 Wed, 05 Mar 2014 02:19:48 +0000 There has been a lot happening in the online world over the past couple years and its difficult for small business owners to keep up with it all. However, it is critical to your business’ online success to stay in step with the changes that are taking place. If not, you will lose sales, customers and traffic.

Implement these ideas into your site for 2014.


Responsive Design For Smartphones And Tablets

The first big item on the list this year is responsive design.

Have you ever visited a website on your smartphone and been frustrated?  You’re not the only one. Many websites are still optimized only for visiting on desktop computers and laptops. When viewed on smartphones, these sites are small and difficult (or even impossible) to navigate. Pinching and pulling pixels on a small screen is not optimal and can be frustating, and frustration is not how you want to position your business to your users and customers.

Another frustrating outcome that happens on smartphones and tablets is that you’ll be taken to an alternate version of the website where some of the content is missing or is organized differently. This is undesirable for both the site owner, who is now managing essentially 2 websites, and for the user who is having 2 varous experiences on the same site. Of course this can be done well too when big budgets are in play, but for small businesses the outcome of 2 sites is typically poor.

There is a better way. A much better way. Introducing, responsive design.

Responsive design is something a web designer does so that your website can be optimally experienced on any device – computer, tablet, smartphone, etc. The designer does this by manipulating and arranging your website’s content to fit nicely within smaller screens. Content is jogged about in a vertical stack to remove / reduce horizontal swiping, as well as pinching and pushing gestures.


Fresh Valuable Content Is King.

Have you lost organic traffic from Google and other search engines recently?

I have, and its because I let my blog and site’s content get stale. This used to be an acceptable practice without negative repercussions, as I had no issues over the past 9 years, but this last year, Google has really shaken things up, and some of my page rankings have plummetted in Goole. Why? My content was not fresh. Nothing new had been published in many months and Google’s algorithm changes now docked me for it.

Here I was spending all my time on my client work and project sites, and did not give enough attention to my own blog. Lesson learned. Don’t let this happen to you.

The best way to add new content to your site is with a blog. Hands down, when done right, it will provide you with top rankings and targetted traffic to your site. Google likes fresh, valuable content, and will reward you for it!


Don’t have time to blog? Check out our new blogging service.


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Simple Marketing Ideas | Social Media Today Mon, 27 Jan 2014 15:50:52 +0000 simple marketing ideas Simple Marketing Ideas | Social Media TodayHere’s a quick and easy list of things small business owners can do to market their business at little to no cost from Social Media Today.

Note that blogging is number one.

If your business does not have a blog…it needs one, as it is simply the best tool to get your site into the search engines.

Link to article: 10 Simple Marketing Ideas for Small Business Owners

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La Crosse Website Design Demo Reel Sun, 26 Jan 2014 20:11:20 +0000 Here is a quick video of custom built websites we recently crafted.

We not only create websites, but we design and develop products for the WordPress platform; including themes and plugins.

While the majority of our client work is based in La Crosse, WI, we provide website solutions to people around the world.

Taking your business online can expose your business to new markets and people that you may have never considered. If you’d like to learn how you can take your business global, just give us a call or send us a quick message.

Thanks for watching!



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Is your web designer ripping you off? Mon, 20 Jan 2014 17:08:17 +0000 QUICK TIP how to hire web designer Is your web designer ripping you off?What you don’t know about your website can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in unwarranted costs.

Let me explain.

I have been designing websites since 1997, and have been self-employed as a web designer since 2003. I have seen a lot of changes over the years, but nothing has impacted website design like the WordPress platform.

The “secret” to building a beautiful website, without knowing how to even create an image or know a line of HTML coding, is to purchase a quality WordPress theme.

WordPress has done for website design & development, what digital cameras have done to photography. It has lowered the barriers to entry, thus allowing anyone with some determination and computer skills to build a website or become a web designer.

Now there are certainly skills and services that a professional web designer & developer offer that you cannot obtain with a theme purchase (e.g. custom graphic design, content migration, custom programming, page building, search engine optimization, experience, etc.), but a theme provides a huge jump start on the design and layout process of a new website.

There are literally hundreds of companies and market places where you can purchase WordPress themes. I own one of these companies and sell themes online to folks all around the world. Themes generally run from $37 to $97 for a website license. Like anything for sale, features, ease of use, support and quality will vary from one theme shop to another, so some caution should be exercised when making a theme purchase, but that’s another blog post.

Now, here is where things can get interesting and where you need to perhaps jot down a note or two.

You see, the secret is only a secret to those outside of the web design industry, or to those who have not researched modern website design. If you are not in on the secret, you may be paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for a website design that your designer purchased from another theme designer for less than 100 bucks.

Now I want to be 100% clear about this. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a web designer purchasing tools and resources from a 3rd party and using them to provide quality solutions for their clients, including themes. It’s done all the time. I do it myself. There is no reason to start from scratch in providing a website solution, when you can purchase a tool or resource that will get you to 80% – 100% of where you want to be? It’s smart business.

The issue is the cost to you. Are you over paying for something that is already available to you at an extremely low price point? Hopefully not.

So how can you prevent this from happening to you?

Ask your web designer these questions:

1.) Will my site be built using a CMS?

CMS stands for Content Management System. Popular CMSs include WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.

Now in my opinion, if the answer to this is “no”, I would keep looking for a new designer. Again this is a whole other blog post I will need to write, but not using a platform like WordPress can be very costly to you in terms of development costs and getting your site found in the search engines.

2.) Ask if a theme or pre-designed template is going to be used in the design of your site. If yes, ask for a link to review the theme from the original author. This will allow you to see the price as well as the features it offers / lacks.

3. And finally, ask how familiar your designer is with the theme. Is this their first time using it or do they have expertise with using a specific theme? For example, I use a very flexible theme for all of my client websites. Because I use this single theme, I am an expert in its use and I know what I can do with it and its limitations. If a designer is purchasing the latest & greatest theme that catches their eye, they may not have the expertise needed to fix or customize the theme to meet your requirements.

So if you are looking for a web designer, make sure to include these questions. A little education can keep money in your pocket, and help you identify an ethical designer that has your best interest at heart.

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How has your business been impacted by Google’s changes? Find out right now! Tue, 25 Jun 2013 20:59:29 +0000 Panguin Tool Technology by Barracuda Digital 300x253 How has your business been impacted by Googles changes? Find out right now!

Interested to learn how Google’s algorithm changes have impacted your search engine rankings on Google?

If you have Google Analytics installed, you can now view your traffic contrasted with respect to the Panda, Penguin and other Google updates.

Ready to see the impact? This works best if using Chrome, and you are logged into your Google account.


  1. To check your traffic, simply visit this site:
  2. Click the log-in to Analytics button
  3. Select your Google account  / login to your Google Analytics account
  4. Click the Accept button to grant them access
  5. Select your GA account
  6. Click the “Logout” button at the top of the page when finished

That’s it.

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Say Goodbye to Free Google Apps | Wired Business | Mon, 10 Dec 2012 02:29:30 +0000 large 2434375289 300x206 Say Goodbye to Free Google Apps | Wired Business | Wired.comGoogle’s free Apps for Business account is no more. Existing users are not impacted by this change, but all new users will have to pay for this amazing service ( per account, per month).

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