Me speaking at the Pittsburgh Business Leads Exchange luncheon

Robinson Luncheon – Feb 9, 2010

Good free lesson on marketing

Filed under: Information,promotion,web design

There’s a new free ebook from Google called Improving Online Conversions for Dummies.

They lean toward adwords, but that’s how they make their money.
If you’re interested in buying or selling ads from your site, it’s explained well.

There is another benefit, too. You can learn how visitors are probably going to behave on your site.
You can use that information to convert them to the action you want. Buy something, sign-up, etc.

Who would know what people are looking for better than Google?

Improving Online Conversions for Dummies

People Still Buy From People

Sometimes I do my best thinking while out for my daily walks, sometimes it’s just silly stuff. Today there’s an old expression running through my head. I used to hear it quite a bit in my past lives, but I don’t much anymore, “People buy from people”.

It’s probably because so much shopping is automated these days that people don’t expect a personal relationship when they’re buying things, I know I don’t. It always surprises me when I feel a personal experience from a business I interact with online.

I think one of the best things you can offer your website visitors is a clear idea of who you are and what you can do for them. I’m a one man shop so it’s easy to be the face of me. The face of a company can also be many people, provided they’re all consistently delivering the same message. More important is listening to their customers and sharing what they are hearing with the rest of the group. Everyone needs to be on the same page so it’s important to meet regularly to discuss what they are hearing and what would be the best way to help the customer.

In my business everyone’s thirteen year old niece or nephew can build them a website. I would like to think that I’m better than most of them, but I will admit there are probably some that are better than me. So it’s my job to let my customers get to know me and give them confidence that I will offer them a better value.

A cup of coffee together is my preferred method, but it could be a phone conversation, email or text. Not every business can take their customers out for coffee and danish. Your visitors really just want to know they have been heard, that you are concerned about what they want. Any solution you offer them, as long as it tries to address their needs lets them know you’ve listened and is almost always better than offering them nothing at all.

Make sure you give your visitors an easy way to talk to you and really listen to what they say. That’s the best way to let your customers know that you’re a good value for them.

Friday Just For Fun Site – Free Public Domain Images

Here’s something just for some fun on a Friday. (Not responsible if you get caught playing at work)

I have many people ask me where to get images for their site, blog, newsletter, etc.
No one wants the hassle of getting a take(shake)-down notice.

Here are a couple of good free sites where you are allowed to use the pictures any way you want.
I’ve donated a few pics of my own.

www.publicdomainpictures.net – repository for public domain pictures

www.clker.com – The online royalty free public domain clip art

What About HTML5

I’ve been hearing for quite a while how HTML5 and CSS3 are going to ignite the web (as if it needed any help). Most of this talk started with the release of the iPad and Apple’s anti-Flash stance.

Here’s the problem. Most of the browsers out there do not understand HTML5 yet. It’s the same thing web designers have had to think about when designing for Internet Explorer.

IE6 never did web standards very well so you had to add *hacks* to work around it. Only recently have I begun to ignore IE6 in my designs even though it was first released in 2001. I’ll probably still even have a peak just to be sure my page doesn’t look horrible in it.

Even the newest IE still doesn’t get CSS rounded corners or text shadows. Basic design elements. So you’re left with a dilemma of whether to design something new and cool for your visitors, but worry about how many people won’t be able to see it or is it better to fall back on older more browser friendly techniques.

My deciding factor is usually how well a technique fails. If rounded corners or text shadows fail, you just don’t see them, not too bad. HTML5 might just fail completely. I do see it being eased in as more browsers are comfortable with it, but it’s nowhere near an end all right now and isn’t due to fully kick in until the year 2022 or later.

Right now a few browsers do support HTML5 including Google Chrome and if you would like to see some cool previews Mashable has some

100+ Chrome Experiments for HTML5 and More

Why Hire Me?

One of the many advantages of hiring me is that you get all the original work, in an open source format. A quality file in a format that’s readable, so you can use it as you see fit.
I’m a one man shop, this protects you.

Any art or logos that I make are made in xcf , an open format.

I use The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) It’s a free open source program that also allows me to open and save as almost any format including Photoshop files with layers.

Customers get a copy of my work, in several formats, as soon as it’s done.

Favorite Site Designs – Paul’s Market

Filed under: Favorite Sites,web design

I have a category with some of my favorite site designs on the web. These are not my sites, but they are the kinds of designs that I like in a website. There are different reasons that I picked these site designs, they all look good and are clear and easy to use. Sometimes I just like a picture or the name. Some of the sites are not in English and I still know what they are about.

Paul's Market

The newest one is called Paul’s Market. I just surfed into this site and love the look of the main page. Their great pictures stopped me and made me take notice. It was a simple, but elegant way to display them as a menu. Something that looked new and different.

The rest of the pages are nice and carry on the theme very well.

My main complaint is that I don’t like light text on a dark background and I really don’t like darker text on a dark background. Avoid things that makes it harder for human visitors.

Visit paulsmarketpa.com

My Thoughts On Visitors Stealing Your Content

First off, it’s not the same thing as ACTUAL stealing or robbery.

My advice, forget about it and concentrate on NOT banging your head against the wall!


Problems With GoDaddy Hosting

It looks like there may be some very significant problems with GoDaddy website hosting. If you are using them you may want to read this.

Hosting With GoDaddy? Might Want To Rethink That Decision

How Links Work

Filed under: Information,promotion,web design

When I speak with a new customer or an interested person at a networking event the question that I continue to get asked over and over is “How can I get more traffic from the search engines?”

I’ve written before that today, the most important factor is inbound links from other sites. The more highly regarded the site is, the more value the link has. Links have been the backbone of the Internet since the beginning, but how they are treated by the search engines is always changing.

The best explanation of how links affect your search rankings that I’ve read lately is on the Search Engine Guide Site, called

Everything You Need to Know About Link Anatomy

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