Finding Your Website’s Flaws, the Right Pink Spoon, and a Very Valuable “Peek”

Pink SpoonIt’s been one month since we launched our redesigned website,, I was so glad to get it published but knew that didn’t mean we could sit on our keisters and relax. Oh no, a website owner’s work is never done. (That’s why you’re reading these posts each Wednesday!)

This past week I took a good look at our stats to see what is working and what isn’t, and here is what I learned.

Finding the Right Pink Spoon

My call to action that was at the top of the site (“Fetch a Website That’s Best in Show”) was a click to contact me for a consultation. I knew before we launched that it was not ideal to ask people to do something that personal before they knew us. But I didn’t have the time or the energy to figure out what freebie I could offer instead to tempt people into giving me their email address.

call to action 1
Original Call to Action that asked for too much too soon.

[Read more…]

New Found Compassion For People Redesigning Their Websites

dog with laptop-redesignI have never had much of a problem pulling the trigger on major decisions after an evaluation of the situation. In fact, one of my favorite sayings is,  “production rather than perfection”.

We’ve been working on our New Tricks website redesign since last fall, and I can’t believe it is still not quite ready to launch.

Here’s how the process has unfolded. We thought about the redesign for three months. Before the holidays, we set up and completed a photo-shoot so we’d have images to work while I recovered from knee surgery in January. I didn’t have time to work on the site since I was on drugs and after I got off them in two weeks,  I was back to work. Over the next few months, we did get some designs done, in between client work and organizing WordCamp.  By April we actually had three different versions of our new design, using different theme frameworks . Although obsessive, that was progress.

A month ago, we showed our test site to people at a WordPress Meetup for preliminary feedback. They gave us the  [Read more…]

Is Your Website Mobile Responsive?

responsive siteWhat is a mobile friendly website and why should you care? In February of this year, Google announced that starting in April they are going use “mobile device friendliness” as a new variable in their search ranking algorithm.

If you care about how your website comes up in a Google search, then you should know what this update means for your website, and what you can do to fix it. Mobile friendly, or responsive, websites are designed to provide an optimal viewing experience across screens of various sizes. [Read more…]

What to do about Copyrighting your Copywriting

Content red round grungy vintage rubber stampThis week after I wrote about content mistakes on websites, Karen wrote me from Great Blue Pools  with a question. She asked:

…..  if I put all my content on the blog vs a pdf page, how can I make sure my website content is protected from plagiarism? I have a copyright phrase/stamp at the end of each of my articles, which are posted on my blog in pdf form. Thanks in advance for the help. Karen

This was a good question. The fear that someone will steal your ideas/photos/articles/etc  stops a lot of people from blogging at all. The idea usually goes . . . [Read more…]

Five Copywriting Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

copy-squareI love the fact that WordPress allows people to update their own websites without calling a web designer. If you are someone who is responsible for putting words on a website, here is a list of common website copy mistakes to avoid so that you look good and get better results.

Too Much Text

Presenting your visitors with a wall of text is a sure way to have them not read any of your content. Some people are very attached to all of their words, while others simply don’t know how to write for the web. You really don’t want your website to look like someone copied and pasted text from company documents right onto the web pages.

Another instance of too much text, is the use of long form sales copy on a website. Well-crafted long form copy does work for product launches, but taking too much of an old school sales approach on your website can boomerang, and make your visitors angry.

Too much text on a website is not necessary or helpful. Do people a favor and edit it down to just what you need to say. [Read more…]

How Entertaining a Seabird Relates to Your Home Page Content

entertaining seabirds and your home page contentFour years ago, when we upgraded our New Tricks website, I made some decisions that are no longer working for us.

First, I decided to have a blog style home page because it was the format most bloggers used.  And I am a blogger. But, unlike most bloggers, I also own a web design business; and despite that, I made the decision to feature my blog posts anyway.

The other decision that is coming back to bite me, is that I [Read more…]

Increase Newsletter Subscribers with Popupally

newsletter-squareishIf you’ve been following me for long, or had a Talk it Out Session before, then you’ve heard me speak about using your website as the hub of your online marketing efforts.

You’ve also probably heard me emphasize the importance of building a list, and using an online newsletter as a tool to build know, like and trust with your customers and prospective clients.

Online newsletters have become such a powerful marketing tool that companies will go to great lengths to get new subscribers.  Sometimes they go too far, and it’s often at expense of the user.  I’m sure I am not the only one whose been annoyed by a newsletter popup before.

The worst type of sign up box tries to guilt you into signing up by making you choose between something like “Sign up now” or “No thanks, I don’t want to grow my business.” I don’t know whether or not this is effective, but it sure is irritating.

But there are ways to gain newsletter subscribers [Read more…]

Content Marketing: Be Who You Are

In business, as in life, it is much better to be who you are.

content-marketing2I stumbled across a website this week for a web development company that someone asked me about. The website design was pretty bland, especially for a web development company; but even worse, was the company’s glaringly obvious lack of authenticity.  There was no way they had ten people working for them with such inflated titles like CEO, CFO, CMO, VP of Marketing, and VP of Creative Design.

My colleague looked into it further, and discovered that all of the team images were, in fact, scraped off other web sites. How sad is that? There were already a number of red flags, but this was just out-and-out lying, destroying any chance of establishing a trusting relationship with website visitors.

The lesson here is [Read more…]

Home Page Disasters

Ugly Baby
Image from Eric Martin

Last weekend I was invited to speak on a panel critiquing B2B marketers’ websites for a session called, Your Baby is Ugly with Eric Martin and Stacy Williams.

Since the conference was for marketing people, I was a little worried no one would volunteer their sites for review or, that if they did, we wouldn’t have much advice for them since one would hope marketers would have great home pages.  But, as the saying goes, “The shoemaker’s children has no shoes.”

This was validated, when surprisingly, we found plenty to critique. [Read more…]

WordPress For Big Dogs Too

Big DogHere at New Tricks we have always created websites for Young Pups (people and companies just starting out) and  Working Dogs (established small businesses or new businesses who want and need to look like the experts that they are).

But more and more we are seeing  Big Dogs  (larger companies who have big needs for e-commerce, career management, employee directories, many service sectors or practice areas) making a decision to go with WordPress.

When we first started out in 2009, we had to explain to clients why using WordPress was the best solution for their website and convince them to use it.  Now, most companies, regardless of size, know they want to use WordPress, and come to us because of our extensive experience with WordPress.

Unfortunately,  going with WordPress doesn’t ensure you will have a great site, no matter what the size. It is easy to do a WordPress site but, then again that makes it easy to [Read more…]