Quality Counts

Posted: April 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Today's Thought | No Comments »

Media was once the playground of elite marketing, PR, and marcom professionals. Content Management systems have made the world much more accessible to the masses. Millions of  blogs exist on many topics. Since blogs help SEO, many businesses have added blogs to their websites. The upside is that this shift allows us to hear many more perspectives and opinions from a broader talent pool.  The downside is that many people make serious mistakes with their blogs that can damage their online reputation. If you are writing / blogging for business, for a quality blog, make sure to:

1.) Don’t copy content from other sites or press releases.

2.) Use good quality photographs. If you don’t have an eye for it, buyquality stock images.

3.) Spell and grammar check.

4.) Proof-read.

5.) Don’t overbold

6.) Don’t repeat the post title as the first line of the blog post.

7.) If you like to write long posts, use the “more” tag to shorten the look of the post on the main page.

These points make a blog more pleasant to read. After all, there is so much quality content out there, who wants to spend time on the crappy content?

Today’s Thought: Getting back to it…

Posted: September 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Today's Thought | No Comments »

Due to a family emergency, I haven’t been able to blog for the past month.  Every time I sat down with the intention of writing, I was pulled away by the medical emergency at hand. (It was hard to concentrate on anything beyond what was right in front of me). Since this blog is a personal blog and not a collaborative effort, I realized that sometimes different priorities pop up and it is okay to miss a few weeks.  What is important is that when things settle down, you get back to it.  So here I am at the end of September… Getting back to it.



Focus is a Critical Success Factor

Posted: June 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Today's Thought | Tags: , | No Comments »

I have experience with start up businesses, small businesses, and fortune 500 companies from body care products to computer software and hardware to electronic products. A key success factor that I see across the board that is important for any sized or type of business is keeping focus on core  competencies.

Many businesses  try to be something to everyone. This results in a loss of focus that is critical to staying on track. It is imperative for businesses of all sizes to define and monitor metrics that allow them to track how successful their business activities are. Following whims will result in wasted time and dilute efforts.

Ask yourself:

1. What is my key focus?

2. What are my core competencies?

3. Am I straying from focusing on my core competencies?

These are all important questions to know the answers to. If you don’t know, then you may easily find yourself straying off course.

POST, A Simple Social Media Model

Posted: February 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Social Media, Today's Thought, Uncategorized | Tags: | No Comments »

Saw this acronym recently, which was developed by the Forrester Group, for developing your Social Media plan.   POST

People: assess your customer’s social computing behaviors

Objectives: decide what you want to accomplish

Strategy: plan for how relationships with customers will change

Technology: decide what social technologies to use

Short, Sweet, Self-explanatory, and Simple.

The CAN-SPAM Act: Something Every Online Marketer Should Know…

Posted: January 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Today's Thought, Uncategorized | No Comments »

If you use email for your business,are sending out emails to market your business, or are sending marketing messages via the plethora of online tools now available, you need to make sure that you are following the rules outlined in the CAN-SPAM Act. The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.

Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law. Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, so non-compliance can be costly. But following the law isn’t complicated. Here’s a rundown of CAN-SPAM’s main requirements:

Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.

Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.

Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.

Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.

Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

For examples and additional information about the CAN-SPAM Act, check the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Natural Fruit Cake Recipe

Posted: December 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Today's Thought | No Comments »

While this has nothing to do with marketing, SEO, or web design. Every now and then we need to take a break and celebrate.  I’ve had requests for this holiday recipe and lots of FaceBook comments, too.

5 cups dried fruit (raisins, figs, dates, prunes, cherries, apricots)
3/4 cup brandy
2 cups nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds)

5 eggs
1 cup butter1/4 cup molasses (I use blackstrap molasses)
1-1/4 cup brown sugar
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn baking soda

1 tspn salt
1 tspn cinnamon
1/2 tspn nutmeg
1/2 tspn allspice
1 tspn orange peel

Soak dried fruit in brandy for 4 hours.

Beat butter, sugar, and molasses till smooth.  Add eggs. Beat well. Mix  dry ingredients together. Add to  butter mixture. When well mixed, add in fruit and nuts.  Bake at 300 degrees 40-50 minutes until done.

Can be made in a loaf pan or in small pans.

Drizzle with Grand Marnier and/or dark rum for as many days as you choose. (My mother used to start basting her fruitcake a month in advance.)

Just Start Over

Posted: August 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Today's Thought | Tags: , , | No Comments »

I maintain a local magazine’s website, which is actually set up as a WordPress site. I didn’t create it, but have taken over the maintenance. Now the site looks really good, but with a conglomeration of php code, plugins, images, absolute  links, and content, it is a spider web of code that makes up this site.

I’ve been adding a user comments section that I would like to have a consistent look with the rest of the site. Goes without saying, doesn’t it? Only problem is the number of styles in the stylesheet goes on forever and multiple pages are combined to make up many what appears to be a single page to the reader.  Last night as I worked on this site and monkeyed around forever, I realized that I am spending a lot of time on it and it would make sense to just pull the major styles into a new style sheet and start over.

Today, I will restart building that section, starting over, with my own stylesheet.  Sometimes starting over is the most expedient approach. Lesson learned.

Busy, Busy, Busy

Posted: May 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Today's Thought | Tags: , , | No Comments »

I have been really busy designing websites, fixing problems that customers have with code that other web designers have created, improving clients traffic rankings, writing e-newsletters & SEO proposals, setting up WordPress blogs…  The list goes on.  As a result, I haven’t quite gotten this site spruced up to the point that I want it. But stay tuned because I have great ideas for this site that are not far off.  I will be navigating away from the Javascript code for slide shows, adding new blog categories, adding content that will help you understand web design and social media services better.  All coming soon!

Fresh Brew

Posted: April 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Today's Thought | No Comments »

Wake up your online presence with Screen Caffeen!

Back in 2006, I started blogging.  Some of my blogs have come and gone. My most active one to date has been the Stable Solutions’ Chronicles, which chronicles my adventures and insights about starting a small handcrafted business.  Today as I was drinking my coffee, I woke up and decided that everytime that I give someone good advice, I’m going to follow it myself.  The advice that I consistently give people is to  blog.

Today,  I am starting Fresh Brew, the blog that I will be using for Screen Caffeen. Fresh Brew is the blog that I will be using to talk about all things relevant to having an active online presence.    Together, let’s wake up our online presence!

Have a project to discuss?  Just dial the number on the coffee cup.

I look forward to working with you.