Hello friends of the studio!
Well, it’s that time again! This has been an annual holiday tradition for the past 12 years and those of you who have followed my blog posts and social media posts know what’s coming. For those of you who may be new to my postings… I’ll apologize ahead of time 🙂 I have a quirky, whimsical and somewhat dark sense of humor at times. It helps with creativity and design but, as I mentioned in the original post 12 years ago…
“This is one of those things that defines a person’s character to others. Either you “get” the humor or you will come away, head askew with a “tsk tsk” look on your face, wondering where my parents went wrong.
And so, without further ado, here is Shadowbend Studios’ annual holiday “gift”…
Please feel free to let us know how you like the video in the comments section! And, don’t hold it against us, we’re just made that way 🙂
Search engines and search engine results are a major source of traffic for your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the best strategy for positive, effective search engine results! One of the best things you can do to start you search engine optimization campaign is to install plugins on your site to help you with on-site optimization. It may come as no surprise that there is no shortage of SEO and SMM plugins available, however here at Shadowbend Studios we have been using a handful of the industry leading offerings to great effect and would like to share them with you!
If you have only one plugin on your site, this should be the one. From Yoast’s website:
“Since 2008 Yoast SEO has helped millions of websites worldwide to rank higher in search engines. This WordPress SEO plugin helps you with your search engine optimization. Are you not entirely convinced? Yoast SEO is the favorite WordPress SEO plugin of millions of users worldwide! As Yoast’s mission is SEO for Everyone, the plugin’s users range from the bakery around the corner to some of the most popular sites on the planet.”
Yoast SEO is easy to use, intuitive and very very effective!
Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets
In my opinion, this is a fantastic and terribly underrated plugin! Snippets are the portion of a website that Google displays in search engine results. Under normal conditions, Google just takes a slice of text from the top portion of a web page and displays it. With Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets YOU create and control the text that is displayed. The plugin also works well with Yoast SEO for a great one-two SEO punch!
As I said, there are many more but these two are the heavy hitters that no WordPress website should be without. If you’d like more information, more recommendations or you’d like help installing and configuring these plugins on your site, contact Shadowbend Studios today!
Hello there friends of Shadowbend Studios! It’s a cozy winter weekday afternoon here at the studio, so while I’m sipping my peppermint coffee I thought I’d show you some photos of our decorations! The winter holidays are our favorites here at Shadowbend and we tend to go all out!
Do you decorate your business? And if so, show us some photos in the comments section!
Digital Marketing, Online Marketing, Web Marketing. There are so many phrases used to describe what essentially is utilizing the internet, social media, websites etc. to market you business and bring in new customers. This is a huge field full of a massive amount of information and we will be covering different aspects in future posts. Today however, let’s cover a handful of basic concepts that will get you started on the road to marketing your business online.
Really get to know your customers and potential customers. With the internet and social media giving you so many ways to segment and specify your marketing tools, it really helps to know what drives your current and potential customers and clients. What will make them stop and take a look at one of your ads or one of your blog / social media posts.
Write engaging topics, not just hard sell. This is SO VERY IMPORTANT! I see failures around this tip all the time. People are burned out on hard sell all the time. Your potential new customers and clients want to get to know you. They want a peek inside your business, your life, your interests etc. As we have mentioned in previous posts, a good rule of thumb is to make your content about 10% – 20% selling and 80% – 90% engagement. This doesn’t sharing what you had for breakfast with your audience but perhaps you visited an industry related event over the weekend or purchased a new piece of equipment for your business. This may make for an interesting blog or social media post for your followers and they may also appreciate a look at the “personal” side of your office or studio!
Make sure you include SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services into your campaign and understand that you should be in this for the long haul. Any authentic, organic online marketing campaign will take time to bring you back sustainable results. Search Engine Optimzation (SEO) is a fantastic, solid way to help bring your business and your website more visitors, which translates to more potential customers and clients. SEO is a long term prospect and you need to know that going in. Any company that claims they can guarantee you front page results on Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) in days or weeks is either using an unsustainable, artificial means to boost your presence or is just flat out lying to you. SEO takes time, but it is very much worth it.
Keep your brand consistent. Sure you want to create eye catching ad campaigns with lots of engaging visuals, but make sure to keep your brand visible and consistence so that your viewers know immediately who the content is coming from. We have all had those instances where we see a visually stunning ad campaign only to realize we have no idea who or what is being marketed!
Don’t be afraid to try new things! As I have told my clients, online marketing is different from designing and printing 10,000 direct mail pieces. Once they are printed, that’s it! With online marketing you can try something and if it doesn’t work, just adjust it and try again!
That should be a good jumping off place. As always, if you have any questions or would like more information, just contact us at any time
Equals in most things, Sandy and I collaborate on all of the projects we develop here at Shadowbend Studios. We share a perfect balance of strengths to form a great partnership for creating and problem solving.
My primary skill set lies in layout, architecture and coding (backend) and Sandy’s in visual and graphic design (frontend). We can (and usually do!) attack the same problem from opposite ends and come up with great solutions for any client issue.
Having worked in Office Management for years before going back to school for an Arts degree, Sandy is able to take over the day-to-day administrative office duties for Shadowbend Studios. Our clients will be seeing and hearing more and more of her in person and on the phone! Ensuring daily office responsibilities are up to date will make it easier for me to concentrate on building new websites and serving all my clients needs.
A perfect balance!
Sandy studied Graphic Design, Art History and Dance in college. She also spent several years as President of the Board for the West Africa Cultural Arts Institute in Eugene Oregon.
Sandy has spent most of her life expressing herself through dance, creating custom jewelry (which can be seen on her awesome new site, Dancing Goddess Designs!), handmade artist books and more recently not-so-fine art. She also loves refinishing furniture too. Sandy is a true Renaissance Woman!
In her younger days, she worked as a sailmaker and proudly sailed across the Pacific Ocean with two crew mates during Hurricane Iniki and lived to tell about it.
Sandy and I are looking forward to celebrating the upcoming 15 year business anniversary of Shadowbend Studios and taking our company in to 2020 stronger and more creative than ever!
Contact Shadowbend Studios today and let’s discuss the ways we can help bring your business to the World Wide Web!
Well the short answer is yes, absolutely! Email newsletters are one of the easiest marketing tools to use, however they can be one of the toughest to do correctly.
Let’s begin with a short definition so we are all on the same page regarding what we are talking about. An email newsletter is used to inform people who subscribe to it about announcements, new products & services and promotions (some promotions can be specific to newsletter subscribers only).
Email newsletters are very effective tools for keeping subscribers “in the know”, offering specific deals, promotions etc. and keeping your brand name fresh in people’s minds. I have had more than one client mention that they chose to work with me because I was persistent (in a good way!) and kept in touch with them until they were ready to pull the trigger on their project.
Here are some quick tips to help you navigate the world of email marketing more effectively.
Choose a focus for your newsletter. For example, my fiance’ Sandy has a jewelry design business called Dancing Goddess Designs. Her newsletters typically focus on either a specific type of jewelry or specific sets for special occasions, holidays, seasons etc. Try to focus on one aspect of your business in each newsletter or, better yet, most email newsletter providers will let you segment your contacts into different subject specific lists so that you can target specific newsletters to specific audiences. Also, keep in mind that your newsletter content should be approximately 80-90% educational (to engage your audience) and 10-20% promotional (hard selling). People will get turned off quickly if all you do is send out emails trying to get people to buy things.
Your subject lines are a valuable tool! Receiving an email with the subject line “Our Email Newsletter” is not really going to entice anyone to open it. On the other hand, a subject line that reads “5 Sure Fire Tips To Grow Your Social Media Audience” is a much more effective and immediate call to action. Don’t be afraid to keep your subject lines fresh and exciting and don’t fall into the trap of assuming people will open every email just because the subscribed to you.
Prioritize your CTAs! (bet that got your attention!). A CTA is a “Call To Action” and it’s nothing more then asking your readers to do something specific: “Click Here Now!”, “Read Our Reviews”, “Purchase Today!” etc. Now odds are you are going to have multiple CTAs on any given newsletter, but you would do well to pick one of them and give it priority over the rest. Pick the CTA you want most people to act on and put it high up on the page, bold, colorful and attention getting. Make SURE everyone who opens that email sees it first! Sure they may see the other CTAs as well but you want to make sure as many people as possible act on the primary. This focuses people’s attention and keeps them from seeing a list of equally weighted CTAs which may turn them off by presenting too many at a time.
Minimal is GOOD. Oh did it take me awhile to learn this! As a creative, I want things to be eye catching, colorful, over-the-top, FABULOUS!!! In the world of email newsletters however, restraint is king! Keep your designs simple but effective. Keep your content to blurbs and excerpts with external links to “read the full story” if necessary. People have to wade through mountains of emails every day and they are going to want their information to be presented in neat, digestible, easy to navigate chunks. Small portion enticement is far more effective than a full course meal WITH dessert! (how did I get off on a food tangent there??)
There are, of course, many other tips, tricks and strategies that can be leveraged when thinking about email newsletters. This however, is a great place to start.
As always, if you have any questions about what you’ve read in our blog posts, please feel free to contact us so we can discuss it with you and find out how Shadowbend Studios can be of service!
Good morning everyone!
It’s a crisp November morning here at the studio and we are all extraordinarily excited about the launch of the brand new Shadowbend Studios website. This has been a LONG time in coming but having successfully navigated a stretch of challenges and obstacles (as evidenced by the rather large gap in my blog posts!!) Shadowbend Studios has come out the other side better than ever! Our new branding and new website reflects our revitalized commitment to bringing our existing and new clients the best possible services in the realms of web design,search engine optimization, social media marketing, graphic design, web hosting and web security.
All of us at Shadowbend Studios are looking forward to the new year, celebrating 15 years in business and rolling out new services for our clients. We invite you all to join us on our journey and stay in touch as we go!
Good morning Clients and Friends of Shadowbend Studios.
Yes, I know it’s Thanksgiving morning. Yes, I know I shouldn’t be working.
However! I’m so very thankful and grateful for all of the upcoming changes happening here at the studio that I just wanted to take to my blog before I start my holiday and let you all know that I am extraordinarily thankful to have such an amazing tribe of past clients, existing clients and friends! It makes stepping into the studio every morning that much better!
So, from all of us here at Shadowbend Studios, we would like to wish all of you a very joyous Thanksgiving filled with contentment, happiness, family and joy.
Let’s say you’re thinking through domain names for your new website, and you’ve shortlisted a few ideas.
If the one you want is available, it’s a no-brainer to go ahead and register it straight away.
… there’s one crucial check you need to make.
Is your domain name open to misinterpretation?
Let me share a few domain names with you:
Did any (or all) of those sound a bit inappropriate for inclusion on DailyBlogTips?
Here’s the actual names of the sites in order:
Unfortunately, their domain names are far too easy to misread … as you may have noticed!
Does your domain name fall into this trap? (Even if it’s not a rude misreading.) If you think there’s room for misinterpretation, you might want to run it past a few friends or fellow bloggers – ask them to read the domain name then tell you the name of the site.
If you’re attached to the domain name you’ve chosen, you could consider adding a hyphen:
We’d normally recommend avoiding hyphens (URLs are cleaner, simpler, and easier to remember and to spell over the phone without them) but in these cases, they’d probably be a good move.
Have you ever come across an all-too-easy to misread domain name? Share it with us in the comments.
Basically, if a technique sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can’t automate the process of building links to get hundreds overnight.
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO plays by the rules. It results in a website that Google naturally wants to promote, because it’s full of great content and easy for readers to engage with.
White Hat practices include:
Creating high-quality content for your blog.
Using WordPress or another solid CMS (content management system) for your site, so it’s well structured.
Writing great guest posts for other blogs, putting the relationship (not the backlink) first.
Using Google Webmaster Tools to fix any problems with your site.
Crafting clear, direct titles for your posts that use the same keywords readers would use.
It might seem like a no-brainer to you that White Hat SEO is the way to go … and we agree.
Black Hat SEO may lead to some quick results … but these will be swiftly followed by a huge drop in traffic when Google catches you. (And bear in mind that Google’s algorithms are getting cleverer all the time.)
By using White Hat practices, you’ll be sure of building a site that stands the test of time. You won’t have to worry about Google updates knocking you down the rankings, and you’ll also find it easy to engage in other kinds of marketing – like using social media – because you’ll have something truly valuable to offer your readers.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this too: are you actively using SEO techniques to get more traffic to your site? And have you ever used Black Hat methods (perhaps unwittingly) – or are you firmly on the White Hat side?