Developing a style guide to strengthen your brand

The purpose of a style guide is consistency. Whenever you have more than one person creating communications materials for an organization, it helps to have a guide outlining the styles and design standards for the brand. Contrary to what many amateur designers believe, consistency is good. You don’t want every piece of marketing collateral to have a fresh and unique look from the others. Strong brands have consistent and recognizable styles. Most Americans can identify an Apple product by the box from 50 feet away. Always the same colors, fonts, and style. You never see Apple marketing...

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We didn’t visit your church because of your lousy website

My wife and I recently realized one of our dreams, and moved to an acreage in the country. We are on the outskirts of the same metropolitan area, but completely on the opposite side – over 50 miles from our old house. Too far to commute, we needed to find a new church. Since we are not very familiar with the new area, it’s been a wide open search. Fortunately, there are lots of options. There are a dozen rural churches nearby, and if we go 15 minutes back toward the city, there are a hundred more in the suburbs. (yeah, we live in the Bible Belt.) Too many to visit. How to choose?...

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Improving your ranking on Google

Frequently new clients come to us wanting to improve their search engine placement. They complain that their site doesn’t rank highly on the keywords they want. When reviewing their sites, we often find they don’t even have those keywords on the site, or if they do, the keywords are embedded in a graphic where Google can’t read them. Sometimes simple copy changes can generate big improvements in ranking. Another problem is wanting too broad of keywords. Google likes specialists. It’s a lot easier to impress Google with a whole site on “Motorcycle...

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WordPress 3.7 Auto-Updates: Great news or bad idea?

WordPress 3.7 was released on October 24, and the first maintenance release 3.7.1 was released yesterday (10/29). There are several new features in 3.7 – improved search results, stronger password testing, and improved global support — but the biggest is the auto-update feature. Starting with version 3.7, WordPress will automatically install all maintenance updates when they are released. You will not be notified or given a chance to opt-out. For most sites this is a good thing. For some complex, mission-critical sites we feel this is a concern. The auto-update feature can be...

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Do you really own your domain name?

The last step in launching a new website is updating the DNS pointers on the client’s domain name. Sometimes with churches and small businesses this leads to the realization that nobody knows who controls the domain name, or even who owns it. This is important, your domain name (yourname.com) is a corporate asset. You need to manage it as such. I have seen churches and businesses forced to register new domain names and change their marketing materials because they find their current name is really owned by a former employee/volunteer/vendor who is no longer available. Three things to...

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