Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The importance of putting news releases on your website

No Pun does a weekly analytic report every tuesday. Where I check and document all kinds of great information. Such as page visits unique visitors, which keywords are beginning to show up in search engines, where traffic is coming from and where do the visitors go.

Each week I take note of new things I have tweaked so I can try and zero in on what makes my website "sticky".

For the most part I think I have found a pretty good strategy. But just as quickly as "yesterday" I started my very first press release campaign. You can read more about this campaign here but what I have found to be interesting is that today tuesday the very next day. One of the most popular pages to my website was this first press release. I didn't even think it was all that great, besides, having this release on my site was an afterthought the main reason for the press release campaign was to submit them to online publications to help with SEO and drive traffic.

But what I have found is by adding the link "In The News" and adding even just "one" release, it became one of the most looked at pages on my site. 54 unique people looked at this release, with only 4 people exited out of the site on this page. While my most desired page "Get Started" page was viewed 19 times. My ultimate page I want to see is my thank you page, because that meant they took the time to tell me about their project they wanted to get started. At least 19 people saw my "pitch".

What I find exciting is all of the activity that simply adding this release does to the traffic on the site. There are many benefits to writing press releases, it gives your visitors something to read and experience about your company, it can ad SEO relevance and exposure through online distributions, and can even generate interest in your company by this distribution. I guess what I was waiting for a reason to say that writting a press release was a waste of time, but the out come is that there is no reason saying that, even the most minute benefit is worth the effort.

So if you do not have a press release strategy in place start one, I would like to say hire no pun and we can help you but unfortunately we do not want to offer this as a service to our clients but I feel its important that you start it for your self. If you do have any design needs or help with promoting your business with graphic design please look us up, and fill out that get started form so we can increase that top page contact on our analytics...

PLease feel free to comment and share your thoughts and experiences

Sunday, September 27, 2009

No Pun In The News

Today was a good day.

I just completed a major hurdle I have been struggling with for a while. I have always been convinced that one of the most major aspects to marketing your own business is through press releases. But ever since the first time I was told I should try it I have been intimidated.

I am an artist a designer a graphic designer extraordinaire, not a journalist nor a copy writer. I am so bad at writing I often misspelled graphite as a kid. I chuck it up to my attention is solely devoted to the aesthetics of what I am doing instead of what it is I am doing.

Since the recession hit the studio and my workload was diminished to nothing I realized that I needed to do for my business what all my past clients did for theirs. Ie:

Website "check"
Google Ads "check"
Eblast Campaign "check"
Blogging and Social Media "check"
Press Release Now I am proud to say "check"

Once I get momentum back again I will then move into
Banner Ads
Print Ads
TV spots

But I have to admit this press release concept was the most difficult to struggle with.
I can't say I have it in the bag, but I have at least an idea of how I can try and start it and keep up with it.

I created a "In The News" section to the website where all the articles will be published first.

Then I submit the articles to five online pr publication





Was free for the first time but don't know about future ones




The good once I will use prnewswire.com

What I found interesting is that as I was building this section and trying to finalize my first press release I kept thinking oh I need to design this better or I need to incorporate that to make this better, so much that I was beginning to get overwhelmed and was seeing that I was stopping myself from pushing through.

I don't even think that the first release I did was all that "hot" I have tons of more ideas of more that I think could be better, in fact I think this one could be done even better, But I realized I was suffering from analysis paralysis. SO I just put my blinders on and pushed through.

I realized now after doing it that once you submit a release you have to wait until it gets "approved" and I am not sure if my release will get approved, But I hope I will learn what it will take to get them approved in the process.

The key lesson learned through this process, is to be diligent with writing the releases then submitting them. It needs to be apart of my everyday operations and I hope now that I have journeyed through the process from concept to completion the hard part is over and it will all be down hill from here...

If you would like to see my in the news section and or the first article please visit



Viola just like that pr-inside has included my release

1 hours, 24 minutes and 20 seconds.. form the moment it was submitted


and just 20 minutes later it was added to Online PR Newswire which was the $6 one


I did a search for "website design" which is my most desired key phrase for my company, and at this moment of about 2 hours after submitting my posting is 4th from the top on the google "news" results page complete with my companies logo and link to the article wo hoo!

I took the plunge!

I rewrote my press release to a much better level, a level I believe was good enough to put some money into.

So I submitted my article through PR newswire for Around $500.

Pr Newswire service was able to distribute my release to every "physical" newsroom and magazine in the NY metro area, and about 40 something specific people I was able to target based on demographic information and types of publications they where. with in minutes I am beginning to see the article show up in google alerts from online publications that appear to get their news feeds directly from PR newswire, So I am beginning to see this coverage immediately without the need of approval. Now I am keeping my fingers crossed to be contacted by a major publication or to be published by a major publication. My fingers are crossed but I am not holding my breathe.

In addition, I am told that PR newswire will give me some cool visibility reports which I can't wait to see.

Also I just got a "pitch list" of the contact information and publications for all the people that where in my "custom" list so I can follow up in a day or two to see if they would be interested in having me as an expert they could quote for a future article.


I hope that the benefits of this service prove to be worth the money to do again...


3 days after the release was published with PR newswire.

I got the report on how many places the release was published, which was a lot, over 200 online publications published it.

The only thing I noticed which was weird was the locations of these articles I paid for the NY metro area and not one of them where from the NY Metro Area, they where nationally and mostly small towns.

I did get traffic from these releases. about 40 a day. which is about average for my site, so no real improvement there, I didn't receive any leads or calls based in the release. Which in this economy I guess there is no real surprise there...

One thing I did notice that was a great improvement was my "Alexa" rating I went from a rating of 1,370,415 to 1,364,339 which has been the most dramatic increase and change I have ever seen.

I have a google alert email sent for the search term website design and never one saw this release come up through this alert, which was personally frustrating, because I really wanted to see that happen.

But the search term for website design in Googles News section, the article stayed at the top for 2 days and now on the 3rd day is starting to fall in rankings.

So unless I get a lead that brings in enough to cover this cost I don't think I will be doing the PR newswire approach again. But at least now I know. The other concept of writing the releases and submitting to the cheap 5 will be the better route. That route is easier on the budget and packs almost as much SEO and traffic building as this $500 solution has.


4 or 5 days after pr newswire launch

I keep checking the positioning on a google search in the news section and I feel to the 6 position but I have now gone back up to the 4th position.

Which is interesting I was suspecting I would have fallen off the first page by now.

Still no leads or increase in web traffic though...

Like always I encourage you to share your experiences and comments to this post...

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Do you have a Blogging, Brochure Website and Social Media Campaign for your business?

Maintaining a Blogging website and a social media campaign is the new buzz for marketing big companies these day.

Major companies are beginning to pull away from traditional forms of marketing and putting more importance on developing a social media campaign

This phenomenon is global, a recent UK design firm reported how an American “e-tailor” has increased its web traffic by using a social media strategy, proving that the effects are global.


The success to a Social Media Campaign is consistency, this type of campaign isn’t like an ad campaign you strategize about, come up with some concepts then launch and wait to see the results. It’s a proactive campaign that gets “nourished” on a daily bases several times a day to try and keep the campaign working. The downsize to this is the time and resources it takes to keep the campaign effective, so hiring an outside firm to handle this work may be the best answer, but at the same time, this can be a great way for you to get your hands dirty and feel like you are actively doing something with your marketing.

A social media campaign is proactive not reactive, here you are actively reaching out to customers who are discussing your product or service as the conversation is happening, instead of reactive, where you throw a bunch stuff out into the world and hope people scoop it up.

A blog website is very different that that of your corporate or brochure site. Your brochure site is one that tailors its branding and message to convert your traffic into visitors, where a blog is tailored towards giving out useful information hoping to attract visitors to your brochure site.

What I personally love about this approach is that a blog is the place where I can engage in conversations about what I am most passionate about, which is my companies graphic design services we offer customers, this is the place I can go into great details about topics that are hot, and to hear what my customers think about these topics. Where my brochure site, I would like to keep clean elegant and free of clutter I am able to do so, because of all my content gets pushed through my blog. This fresh content is gobbled up by search engines who just love fresh content, and I publish links to these topics through all my social media outlets. The goal is to drive traffic to my blog that then drives traffic to my brochure site, and then the brochure site drives business to our production schedule.

Blogging is a no-brainer, it’s a great tool to promote through your social networking while giving search engines fresh content helping your ranking.

So why not use my blog to voice your opinion on the topic, and let me know what you think, then ask yourself are you using a blogging social media strategy for your business? If not you should get one started why let all these other companies have all the fun. Contact nopun.com today we can help show you a new way to market your business.

Understanding Technical Jargon

David Risley is a pro blogger from www.davidrisley.com http://www.davidrisley.com/2009/09/24/blogging-technology/

Wrote a post about the importance of other bloggers understanding the importance of understanding technical jargon.

Most Bloggers are faced with the dilemma of technology, they need to get a blog up and running and the only way to do that is to either try and figure out how to do it on their own or to hire a designer to build it for them.

No matter how many technical resources there are out there on the subject it is difficult for a technical novice to follow along or know how to react when a technical problem occurs. Ending up with them giving up and not actually getting to the fun stuff.

Reading this article gave me the opportunity to see the end product, I am a developer so this jargon and the technical challenge is what I thrive on. While reading I was able to put my shoes into my actual customers and prospects and see how frustrating it could be to need something done but not fully understand what they need and how to go about doing it, then a designer comes along and say yeah I can get that accomplished for you then ba ba blah, which may sound good at the moment but really have no clue what is being said.

I would say this probably happens with every type of graphic design project, not just the development of a blog. I see when someone says they want a 6 page brochure… When reality is a brochure can’t have siz pages, it has to be divided by 4 being that one page folded in half is four side. But then realize they wanted a “trifold” a page that is folded into 3 side 3x2=6. AS a designer I don’t mean to sound arrogant or make the customer think they are ignorant to the jargon, they just don’t know, just like I would have no clue about the jargon of their industry.

I see that if I could slow down and try to help my clients and prospects fully understand the jargon, and help guide them through the process, I may be more successful as a designer and business owner. I have a hunch that if I can guide the client thought the project that that interaction and customer service will be more valuable than the actual finished project. No matter how great it looks.

I can’t wait to put my new practice into play, so bring your next project to me, and allow me to help guide you through the technical jargon. Feel free to read the original article and let me know what you think...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Design your home page and forget about it

I just came across this article from Dzine it out of manhattan.

They point out that companies no matter their size makes the common mistake of launching their website then forgetting about it. And its so true. What is fascinating to me is that the internet is such a modular advertising medium. Something that can be updated and maintained with little cost.

And especially with the Google optimizer service offering, a company should really take advantage of this service and try and design test and tweak a site until it converts the best or forever, making sure that the goals of the company are being improved on.

In addition if you want google to rank you higher then you need to constantly need to be updating your content, the spider really love fresh content.

Check out the article here

Get inspired then hire a professional graphic design firm to redesign and keep redesigning your site to prepare for the "next economy"...

Free Portfolio site

I have seen lately all over the tweetosphere a lot of request for free portfolio sites.

Personally I think this is hilarious because if a designer is a designer then they should be able to design their own portfolio site. But with that said I do know what a bear it can be to update your portfolio and keep it current while you are trying to do active projects. Having a portfolio site that is easy to update is a great idea.

Here is a link to 5 sample free solutions, http://www.swisslegacy.com/index.php/2009/09/23/5-cms-tools-to-publish-your-portfolio/ also I would like to mention that apple's aperture does a sleek design easily managed within the software, along with adobe bridge is cs4 does some as well.

But I can help but to say that a portfolio should site should excite inspire and try and be cutting edge. wink wink nudge nudge

nopun examples

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Google Optimize Guide

Google has made a guide to help you convert better from your google landing pages.
I think it has some valuable information that can help websites & splash pages alike...

Usability study

In a day and age when companies are spending way to much for their creatives, and designers are agreeing because they need to pay their electric bill.

I think it will be a while before we can introduce this added step to the process.

But when companies begin to see the benefits of usability studies and see the need to pay for the studies to be performed and the changes done to the site to address the findings.

This is a wonderful step by step tutorial on how to perform a productive study

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top 10 Myths About Website Design

I came across this article pointing out myths about website design.

I think it's a great start and is very inspiring for me to add my personal take to each...

Myth #10 Designing a website is Complicated and Difficult.
I love when a new client begins to describe to me what they are looking to do with their website. Either they act like the simplest things are the most innovative or complicated things in the world; but on the same token, something they believe is simple would require a lot more development time than the budget allows.

By hiring a professional graphic design firm you are hiring a personal tour guide who can lead you through the easiest path to your goal.

Myth #9 Websites take a Long Time.
For the most part designing a website is pretty easy and not dragged down by a tremendous workload that usually results in a long turnaround time. I think on average a website should take about 6 weeks to build, with the simple quick and dirty ones being completed within 2 weeks

Myth #8 The web designing professional will be creating the content.
Expecting the designer to develop your content is like asking your general contractor to pick out curtains to go along with your couch. Although they may have an idea, developing your content isn't the designer's specialty. At nopun we want to try and service our clients the best way we can, we try and help with content, concepts, headlines and intriguing promotions; but we tend to stay away from developing the actual "meat" to the content. We partner with content developers if a client is at a complete loss, but it's vital that the client comes to us with fresh content for their companies

Myth #7 My Website will be the most beautiful thing ever created.
Design is so subjective, what one person likes will be completely different from the next.
Nopun has developed a collection of inspiration sources and techniques that enables us to look at the demographics of your audience, and try and find a common "theme" that speaks to this audience. Usually, we find that the clients want to dictate what the design should look like, so many times the outcome is different from what we would suggest. So, if you trust the professional you hire, then follow their gut instead of adding your own.

Myth #6 Templates.
One of the biggest drawbacks to simple, out of the box website design solutions, is that templates usually don't come with many options. They follow the same layout and structure throughout the site's design. Unfortunately a website's purpose will change as the pages in your site will grow, so having a site that is custom designed to speak to the content of each page will far outweigh the limitations set by a typical website template.

Myth #5 I won't need to invest my own time into the development of my website.
When we develop a project timeline for an upcoming website design project, the tasks and responsibilities are almost equal on both sides. Although the client will not need to do any real design work and such, they will need to be involved with the design process from start to finish, making sure they understand and sign off on each critical milestone along the way.

Myth #4 My website will show up on the first page of each of my desired keywords.
Designing your site is very different from "optimizing" your site. There is a slew of techniques and changes that will need to be done to your site to help you score high. Most of the time these techniques are actually more involved, more time consuming and cost more than the actual development of your website. With no guarantees it will actually work, why even do it? Well the answer is, these techniques do work. And, the results can't happen unless this "optimization" is added to your website.

Myth #3 My website is all about my Company.
Of course your company will be the driving force behind your website, but for a website to be of real value to your potential clients, you must be able to supply some value added content. Give them a reason to go to your site, or give them something valuable that they can take away from your site. You don't have to become a wikipedia of your field but try to enlighten your visitor. If they are moved by the information they received from visiting your site, the hope is that they will remember you and will visit you again.

Myth #2 I don't need to improve my website.
"If you build it they will come," does not apply to website design. This is no field of dreams, once you launch your website you must be vigilant on tracking the traffic to your site. Analyze how many leads come from the site and how many sales come from those leads. If you don't, you leave your website design up to chance, and this is the one marketing tool that provides you with the most power. Launch your site then start focussing on the elements to help increase the pipeline. First with the number of visitors, then how long they stay, then reducing the bounce rate, then how many calls to action, then how many leads, then how many sales, then how many repeat business...

If you break each piece up in this fashion you will have control over your efforts and changes, and aren't leaving the results up to chance.

Myth #1 Websites are expensive.
One of the most frustrating things as a professional website designer is answering the question of how much? There are so many variables to consider. We aren't talking about a product I pull off the shelf and put into a bag for you. We need to really try and understand your business objectives, then develop a strategy to fit those goals. Lately, I have been working a strategy of let's develop a wish list of all that is needed. Then you let me know the budget you are prepared to spend and we will try and fit within this budget. It's kind of a 'name your own price game' giving you complete control over how much you will spend.

So. the question isn't can you afford to get a website? The question becomes you can't afford to not have a website.

Let me know what you think.

These Myths were inspired by this article.

Do's And Don't with Your Website Design

Here is an interesting read about the do's and don't with your website design.

I particularly like, the focus on content, we all know that you should have a tremendous amount of content on your website that is keyword rich to attract your site to search engines. But The article points out that by having large chucks of text for the user to read will cause them to leave.

The solution is to have small chunks of copy and call to actions to help guide the user through a clean professional design. Personally I think you can have both, have the design focussed on increasing your conversion, then try and add your extensive copy to this design that search engines will see but wont get in the way of the users experience. ie: "below the fold"

Next the article talks about not using stock photography, it takes great amount of time and money to get people to your site, once you have them don't drive them away by having imagery that everyone else uses.

I have a de-lima with this suggestion, being not every client can afford a photo-shoot, or the more expensive stock photography, nor do they have the budget for us to create unique illustrations to explain the page's points, but I do agree that if you use the same cheap photography everyone else is using then it will be difficult to separate yourself from the crowd.

Check out the article, and let me know what you think...


Monday, September 21, 2009

USA today announces that they will offer design services

Oh boy hold on to your hats.

USA today announces that it will be offering design solutions for companies.

Instead of going to USA today for ad placements they want you to come to them for your eblast campaigns website design and print ads, that wouldn't necessarily be placed in their publication.

I guess I should respond by putting out my own newspaper, for companies to put ads in, and write news worthy articles.

I dunno about you guys but I see this, as the last place I would go to get my marketing from.

I believe that companies "smart" companies hire a design studio to help them not look like everyone else in the publication. Its no surprise that publication have design departments in them, and will include doing your ad with in the cost of the placement, they make their money on placement so its no problem for them to throw in the ad development.

Design studios "good" design studios, are concerned with a lot more than simply doing an ad for you to place in a publication. They are concerned with the overall effects this one piece has on the company as a whole. They look at the big picture and can usually come up with designs, and branding that these publications could never do.

Lets face it the volume and deadlines, and the price the publications have for doing your ad, makes their design process a simple cookie cutter simply swap out your logos, content and photos, then move on approach.

Where a design studio makes its living off of how great your work looks and how your customers react. There isn't a ton of volume so great care is given to each project.

But hey if you wanna check it out be my guest, but after you have wasted your money devloping campaigns and websites that look as bad as everyone else in that publication we do hope you consider hiring a professional graphic design firm, and leave the newpapers doing what they do best...

100 free websites worth $100,000

I just came across a promotion for a web development company in New Zealand,

I have to admit it is a very aggressive offer, in a nutshell they are offering to give away 100 websites for free, each at a value of about $10,000 a piece (125 hours).

I am intrigued with this a promotion, and would consider offering the same, it seems like a great way to keep businesses growing. The benefits would be great for both me and the client, the client would get a free website or collection of projects that would equal 125 hours of design services, then I would get a client who would come to me for any future projects and updates as their business grows.

My only de-lima with this promotions is 125 hours times 100 would be a major strain on the studio especially if no money was coming in.

So I think nopun.com will be holding off on offering such an aggressive promotion at this time, But I couldn't help to share this companies offering with you guys...

Please feel free to Comment

What is twitter and why should I care

What a great breakdown of what twitter is. I think its hilarious how so many people have herd of it but have no clue what it is, I have recently given in a shot after reading the getting started guide for business, and it increased my web traffic 300% and generated a handful of leads, that weren't coming in at all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

flash inspirada

This will be a dumping ground for fresh new flash design inspirada for getting into the zone on your next flash project.

the first one is...

Something that trumps Content !

I have learned that as a designer I can try and attract attention to a page, ad, eblast, brochure or website, but attracting that attention can’t stand on its own. It needs content to help bridge the viewer from a passer by, to someone who will become truly interested in what the project is promoting.

Content is King and long live the king? Right, well there is something that trumps content, and that’s usability studies, and or focus groups.

Instead of trying to get inside the head of your customers get your customer on the line and ask them. This method is often mostly overlooked, and I feel that a tremendous amount of valuable information comes from this process.

Instead of going with a designers gut instinct or the company’s owner’s personal preference this approach is based on the feedback from your actual customer.

The trick is, that you should be willing to trust the findings and suggestions that come from these findings. Put your personal likes and dislikes to the side and ask yourself, do you want a website that you like or a site that your customers and prospects will like? Hopefully the latter will deliver the desired results of improved business.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Your website navigation

I came across this article talking about what's important in your website's navigation,

I love the concept of the article as well, they invite you to open your current website in a browser next to the article so you can judge for yourself whether you are frustrating your users or not.

They address some basic thoughts a user thinks when they click on a link.

1) Where am I?

Does your site tell the visitor where they are?

I have to say that this part is a bit difficult to do in the "programming of the site"

Here's a quick tip on how it can be accomplished in an efficient way.

When developiing your navigation create the nav, using a list style and in that list style add an item labeled current, within current put all the css, that makes the button look the way you'd l;ike, then in the list style on the current page add this class to that item; i. e.,

The next important thing to consider is:
Where have I been?

Adding a "breadcrumb" to your site's navigation will help your visitor orientation.
An example php code that helps this work is:
<?php $baseurl="http://www.nopun.com/";  $path_parts = pathinfo($_SERVER['PHP_SELF']);  $parts = $path_parts["dirname"];  $pieces = explode("/", $parts);  echo "<a class='three' href=\"$baseurl\">NPI</a>";  for ($i = 1; $i < count($pieces); $i++)         {         $fixedpieces = ereg_replace("_"," ",$pieces[$i]);         $label = ucwords($fixedpieces);   if ($label == "Searchengine") { $label = "Search Engine"; }         $baseurl = "$baseurl/$pieces[$i]";         echo "<a class='three' href=\"$baseurl\">$label</a>";         } ?>
Next is a tool tip or descriptive text to let a visitor know where they would go if they click on a particular link.
The article suggests adding a short descriptive sentence or text underneath the main links title, I personally feel this would clutter the design a bit, but their other sugesstion of a tool tip is a great one, you keep the integrity of your site design, while adding a cool feature that is fun to play with.

A perfect example of this type of tool tip can be found at (hover over the servers)

I have found that I need to add a better nav to the nopun website and will take these features into consideration in a future upgrade, But I can't help but think a "mega menu" could be a cool navigation as well.
Here's the original article. So you can be inspired too, let me know what you think.

W3 compliant for SEO and user experience

I am currently documenting a web design project from start and finish, the goal of the site is to ensure it is w3 compliant using css design.

I will be broadcasting the process on a video blog at the upcoming No Pun Youtube channel.

I thought to myself, I know why being w3 compliant is important, but I am not too sure others know.

I found this article that does a good job explaining.

SEO Write Content and forget about it

One of the biggest challenges a client faces when building a website is content.

We usually get the entire site designed programmed and ready to launch before the content is fully developed. I have realized this dilemma first hand, and I agree that creating content is like pulling teeth. But the problem is, that once we "clients/and myself" finally get the content together we add it to the site launch it and forget about it. Whew I am glad that's over, now where are my customers, and or why can't I show up on the first page of my key search terms?

There are two issues with this;

1) Google loves fresh content, content content content.

The more google crawls your site and sees that content is constantly being updated it will rank you higher. But as soon as you stop adding this content you will begin to fall.

I personally have an issue with this, because I am a graphic designer who doesn't want a tremendous amount of content on my website cluttering up my clean design. In addition to the look and feel of a lot of content I am a designer not a writer. I have plenty of opinions and plenty of things to say about topics, but usually don't know how to craft the sentences the way I'd like. But I can't let that stop me from adding new content.

My solution has been maintaining this blog. By having this blog I can add as much content as possible, and although this is not my corporate site, it's not hard to find my corporate site if you're in the market for professional graphic design services. This way I can have the best of both worlds a ton of content while my corp site is clean with a minimalist design.

I have seen this theory work, I am beginning to show up on some great key phrases that I would never have dreamed of.

2) the desired key phrase is an issue.

I would love to show up on the first page in position one for the single key phrase "design" but that is probably never going to happen. But I am beginning to show up for "professional graphic design studio" "professional graphic designer" and "professional graphic design"

Which is really cool for me, and although I don't have the phone ringing off the hook, I am getting traffic from this key phrase.

The greatest tool to help determine what phrases are working is through google's, webmaster tools, it shows your most prominent hey-phrases associated with your content, and the position reports are pretty close.

In addition I love google analytics and goingup.com,

I have actually developed a google doc that has a unique set of parameters and tools I use to track data that is important for my website. I would love to share this document with anyone who is interested just ask.

So the take away to this post, is write content and don't stop, don't let your fear of bad grammar stop you, and if it competes too much with the look and feel of your site create a blog, and instead of checking your desired key-phrase see which phrases are showing up.

As a follow up to this discussion please read this press release from dzine.

They point out that while sprinkling your content with keywords can help with your search engine ranking it could back fire from your actual visitors.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I am at odds about the idea of crowd-sourcing, I can actually see the "benefits" of this approach as a designer. As an owner of my own design studio I feel a lot of the creative process is weighed down by client meetings, educating, proposal writing, then after the contracts are signed an almost lawyer approach to monitor scope creep. When most of the time I just want to design. This approach allows a designer to see the information presented, they are given complete creative control over their solution, (they're not plagued with worrying if the "client" will like it) you have the freedom to design what you will like, win or lose, you have this piece in your portfolio, and if you win the job you get the cash without the rigmarole. My only dilemma is how many of these things do you have to do before you are awarded the prize! I feel the client loses the one-on-one with a personal professional designer that can help them achieve their vision, but in this economy a designer is willing to try anything to keep their dream alive...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Free website tools Scam!

I was taken aback by a discovery I just made.

I am trying to help a friend do some basic SEO stuff to her website. She told me that the site was built using a free website builder tool, which I thought--ok, cool.

You got to start somewhere, and having a site online is better than not.

But I started with adding a keyword right title tag to her site, the most obvious first place to add some SEO stuff. When I previewed the site it said something completely different promoting something totally un-related to what her website was promoting.

I double checked the code and nowhere could I find where this mysterious meta-tag stuff was being added. Even on a fresh clean html page that had nothing on it, it had this mysterious meta code.

My only thought is that her "cheap" web hosting and awesome "free" web builder tool was dynamically putting this stuff in.

Which in my opinion is a perfect example of 'you get what you pay for' lesson. If it's too good to be true then it probably is...

I recommended that she host with us, and completely redesign the site since we were abandoning this one. So, we can start with a clean slate that will have fresh/clean/targeted content, branded in a way that will try and make her website aggressive instead of passive...

I thought I would share this info so the next time you are considering a cheap free tool, over hiring a professional graphic designer, it may not be the cheaper solution. Because not only will you waste time and money with the cheaper solutions but you will have to basically redo it all anyway...

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Experiences? I'd love to hear them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Break out of the norm in your website design

When designing a new site I am constantly trying to push myself to try and tap into that "next" great thing... However, if I push myself to create a conceptual design I may lose my target audience, or even the client which it will never get to the client. I believe a lot of the "crap" that's out in the world isn't due to the lack of creativity, but the lack of trust a client has in their designer... I guess as long as we try and challenge ourselves and try and push good design through the approval process we may be able to break the "norm."

Get inspired, comment.

Content is King

I can't believe I haven't started a post on copywriting.

It's one of the biggest struggles I face as a designer.

I can make anything look good, I believe "anything."

But design can't stand alone, it needs content that helps motivate or inspire the reader, and is the backbone to the "there there."

Good design can stop someone in their tracks saying "Hey check me out!"

But if I stop and check out your stuff and you don't repay me by giving me some relevant copy that I will find useful, you'll lose me as quickly as your got me.

Hence my desire and focus on how to write better copy and content, which for a designer that uses a completely different element of his brain, this quest is one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced.

Here's an article that goes into great detail as to why content is king as much now as it ever was.

Harness Creativity

Here is a fantastic article that discusses the challenges of being creative.

I have often fantasized about having a water jug of creativity in the studio so when its time to be creative I can walk over and pour some out.

The problem is that it's not that easy, it takes a while to get the creative juices flowing, and once you get it flowing it's hard to stop it, and undoubtably a few weeks or months later the best idea ever hits you and its too late... The project has already been done.

My biggest challenge as a professional graphic design studio owner is to try and find the right set of parameters that nurtures creative solutions that speak directly to the client's target audience.

This process becomes more psychological than anything else.

The article then talks about coming up with great ideas is easy, but making that idea a reality is the challenge. I couldn't agree more. I often think of some cool approach to only find that it doesn't translate in the medium I am working in; or, I am heading in a particular direction and along the way I see an alternative solution that I didn't think of that may be better idea than the original one...

What do you guys think?

Here's the article so you can be inspired too.

Is your website passive or aggressive

I came across this article about the importance of a law firm being aggressive about their website instead of simply having a website you should use your website.

It got me thinking about how nopun.com shifted our focus when the effects of the recession hit us.

I realized that I was too busy doing client work that I never focussed on nopun's site, we barely had anything at the URL much less than any real content.

My motto at the time was why advertise all my business comes from word of mouth, So when the bigs guys left, the only thing in my mouth was my foot.

I vowed to make a fully dedicated attempt to try and do everything that I had been doing for my clients for us. And now we can say we are being aggressive with our website, trying all techniques until I zero in on what is going to work to keep the dream alive.

So please tell us,
Is your website passive (simple online presence) ?
or aggressive (Actively trying to generate new business) ?

Also here is the article so you to can be inspired

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Things your competitors can do to harm your Google Position

I can't help but to see this article as informative on how to protect your own business, but the "devil" inside can't help but to think what you could do to your competitors!
Mu ha ha haaaa

Just kidding, this stuff is bad, and I would rather dive full force into white hat SEO practices that will increase business in an ethical way...

PPC Success Are the results fake or Real?

A welcoming problem.

This case study published on Google's Site boast how one team of advertisers has the problem of their clients thinking that the business results are fake!

How could such a dramatic increase of business be true?

Especially at such low cost. With other very expensive alternatives don't even come close with these results.

I am a big fan of Google landing pages, and PPC ads, its a sure fire way to get traffic to your site immediately.

But recently I have stopped all campaigns because my campaigns where generating no customers...

I am holding on to the dream that some day I may experience "unbelievable" business results from my Google Campaigns, and I believe this will be accomplished by doing a fresh campaign utilizing Google Optimize with MultiVariate Techniques http://www.google.com/support/websiteoptimizer/bin/answer.py?hlrm=en&answer=61138

I believe my approach was not done in this way and I was basically wasting my money, so I put it all on hold until I can create a clear focussed campaign that test so many different elements that I am sure to find that right combination that will work...

heres a new feature announced to help document experiment notes.
Seems cool!

what a fantastic basis for a google optimizer experiment. to see if it would work for your business...


Here are some tremendous resources on the workflow and process of design in general, but there is a link to high conversion style buttons

Reasons why you should comment on other peoples blogs

This is one of my favorite marketing strategies.

I have been doing this for the past two months and have enjoyed doing it personally.

Because I can "join in" on conversations about topics I am really passionate about.

Plus it does build traffic to my site.

read more benefits here

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ever get caught with a creative problem you can't solve?

Brainstorming ideas


Small Businesses keep up with technology during a tough economy

Heres an article written by a design firm out in Arizona That boasts about being able to help small businesses stay afloat during these tough times by lowering its rates down to $50 an hour.

Which seems like a good deal being that nopun.com charges $80 an hour.

I tend to question well how many hours would be needed to get the job done!

I wish we could offer some type of relief to small businesses to help them stay on top of their technology and marketing while in a down time, but I don't think it should be done by lowering the hourly rate. Instead I think sharing as much information on what we do to market your company, educating you on things that you can do internally to help increase traffic/sales to your site is a better option.

So we are dedicated to putting together a series of tutorials that will posting online in our you tube channel, and will vow to keep the videos coming, until we have covered every capability we do. I believe that this approach will help those that are technically inclined and have some free time on their hands.

To help those that aren't inclined and don't have the time we woul like to take on a series of marketing challenges a client may have and try and leverage as many of those projects with in the time constrate of one project.

For example I had a client who wanted to create a micro-site for a niche service, she specializes in hand therapy, and wanted to do sports therapy, so for $640 buck we designed a site, created post cards and developed an eblast so she could get her concept out of her head and into reality.

This is the type of approach I believe nopun.com can do to help small businesses stay afloat.

If your interested please, contact us today so we can see how we can help you continue to stay up to date with your marketing and online efforts while times are tough, face it it won't be like this forever, and if we can help you through these times we are sure we can help you through the good times when they come around again...

thanks for reading, please tell me what you think of my concept or their article...

7 deadly sins of website redesign

Here's an article about the sins of changing your website.

It seems as though every few years technology grows so fast that your website will look old and outdated.

Or you just may get tired of seeing it, Or there are new featured that you would like to ad to the site to help you business workflow be more productive.

I agree with the points made in the article that companies need to be aware that by redesigning the site you stand a chance to loose some regular visitors, and or your placement in search engines.

I welcome change, and love taking an old site and redesigning it with new goals in mind, but I think that the new goals should be just for the site layout an functionality, instead it should be an overhual of the marketing online concept as a whole.

Putting anew SEO strategy in place, adding a social media network campaign, using the new design as a vehicle for announcing to your customers that we are improving our company and with that comes better service.

I think the biggest lesson to learn here is that redesigning your site will not increase traffic, but instead should be looked at a fresh start to re building the traffic and business...

check out the article and tell me what you think



questions to ask client before beginning a logo project


Logo development inspiration

Effective logo design

Process of logo design from the persecutive of a designer

Logo design process

Software Ideas, I was thinking of trying Coda by Panic instead of dreamweaver

Blogging tips tricks and tutorials

Here's a site dedicated to helping bloggers get the most out of the blogging process..

Project management software

Here is a new alternative to basecamp

This will help keep a design project on track, making it easy to change scope add features and let the project evolve.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Patent your website design

Oh boy, this may mean all designers (including me)

Will have to be forced to do more original work.

The internet is flooded with websites that look similar and they each seem to borrow elements from one another.

Why not?

If it works for them then it should work for me right?

Or if the feeling of a layout feels right for the project I am working on why not emulate it.

Well this article talks about how google was able to get a patent on the design of its home page.

Which could open the door for other big companies to start to protect their designs.

Of course my thought is, if I design something and somebody like "Google" would be threatened by it, and ask me to put it down, I would feel honored.

I should be so lucky, that Google would know of me?


Monday, September 7, 2009

Print ads that sell


email marketing

Two projects from now I will be doing a fresh new email marketing campaign for a new company.

I am excited to put this campaign together.

I also want to document the process, making notes of all that goes into an effective email campaign.

I believe mail-chimp has a great foundation to refer to.

And I just came across this outline which at first glance looks like its got some good ideas

Stuck on words?

Social Media your Eblast

Make your mail tweetable – add a tweetmeme button to your email newsletter archive and make your stories easy to share via twitter,

How to add an email newsletter sign up form to your facebook fan page


Email signature – this one is silly basic, but why not use the space – add your social network profiles to your every day email signature – some people may prefer connecting with you there.