About a year ago the Building Contractors Association of Otero County approched us needing a new design for their website. They had a big list of requests and a small budget.
The most important feature for their new website was an Account System needed to display their membership. They have several types of members and a wide range of different industries that each member belongs to. They needed their membership searchable so that visitors can find a list of members for each industry.
They also wanted a new custom design with a Rotator.
To accomodate for their small budget we ... Continue Reading
Last night I finally had enough. Every day this week I've had to correct something that some other SEO guru said. All I can say is watch out for the SEO Goblin.
The SEO Goblin is anyone who knows just enough geeky words to convince you that he knows what he's talking about, but then turns out to be useless or at best lucky. Sure he may play World of Warcraft in his parent's basement, but that doesn't mean he knows anything about websites, search engines or marketing.
Last night he struck at one of the places I go on a regular ... Continue Reading
If you have a really good idea on how to get your website to rank higher and it doesn't include developing really good content, I usually steer the conversation in this direction.
"Google employs thousands of top notch engineers. A significant number of those engineers are devoted to search quality. Outsmarting them isn't very likely."
It's not that I don't want to hear your idea, it's that 9 times out of 10 it's something like hiding text by making it the same color as the background, or keyword stuffing (things that will get you de-indexed).
"Well then how do I get ... Continue Reading
Two years ago I helped a political candidate set up and run a Facebook Page. If you've ever set up a page before, you know that it's pretty easy. I convinced him to set up automated posts through Hootsuite. Basically, we went in once a month and loaded Hootsuite up with comments and then scheduled them to come out on a daily basis. Sounds easy, right?
Guess what, it was easy. Really easy. And back in 2010 I did it a few times with a few different clients. We also helped people set up their blogs to automatically post on ... Continue Reading
Over the last 10 years we've seen many trends come and go. One that's sticking is mobile marketing.
People use mobile devices more than ever. Last year more smart phones were sold than personal computers. Tablets are becoming more common. And of the 1 billion active Facebook users, 600 million use mobile devices.
So the question isn't whether you're using mobile marketing, but how. If you have a website, you are marketing on mobile devices. So how are you doing?
Should We Use Apps?
A few years ago the trendy thing was small business apps. The problem with apps is ... Continue Reading
I've said it before, the best Search Engine Optimization starts with a focus on your visitors and providing them with the best website that they can find. Why? Because that's what Google's ultimate goal is. Do that and you'll probably rarely need to worry about SEO.
Here are 5 ways to make sure you're on the right track:
1. Start with a value proposition. What makes you cool and are you explaining that throughout your site. Are your meta descriptions highlighting what separates you or are they packed with keywords?
2. Use relevant keywords. Be sure to use keywords that your targets ... Continue Reading
If you still haven't heard of Pinterest you're missing out because it's tons of fun.
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where people share and organize all the wonderful things they find online. My wife organizes recipes (and then sends them to me since I'm the cook in the house), decorating ideas, fascinating places to travel to, and just all around fun stuff. In addition to these ideas, I organize ideas for website and graphic design.
The bottom line is that Pinterest is useful and your business should be utilizing it as a part of your social networking plan. It will ... Continue Reading
Google's mission is the organize the world's information. And they try to make the best information the most accessible. That's why websites with good content tend do better in search results. That's not to say that bad websites can't trick search engines, but they do so a great expense and won't last long at the top.
Why? Because Google's goal is to provide consumers with the best search results. That means the websites that you visit ... Continue Reading
Kitchen Kraft approached Digital Solutions years ago to help them with their web presence. Since then we've gone through two facelifts of their website. The latest version includes a premium shopping cart that allows users around the world to order directly from this great Las Cruces small business.
Their shopping cart includes an advanced account system allowing users to save items in their account, create wishlists and rate their items. If you're looking for a cool website to browse for unique home and kitchen accessories, take a look at the new kitchenkrafthome.com.... Continue Reading
Be careful out there when shopping for a new website.
I got a call yesterday from someone trying to change their website. She bought her website from another company earlier this year and was trying to change the way her photo gallery displayed. She gave up on the company that originally helped her and turned to us to see what we could offer.
Because the website she purchased was built using WordPress she wasn't able to make the change she wanted and we talked about the value of having a custom website.
When you're shopping for a new website you will have ... Continue Reading
Former Police Chief for the City of Las Cruces, Pete Hampton, has gone live with two websites this week.
Hampton Investigation Service is a civil and criminal investigation organization. The company also conducts pre-employment background screening and skip tracing. Check them out at http://www.hamptoninvestigation.com/
Las Cruces Security Services provides security and investigative services in Las Cruces, as well as, other areas of Southern New Mexico. They have over 92 years of combined experience.
These two organizations are led by one of the most respected people in Las Cruces, Pete Hampton. Pete's resume is extensive, but is well known as the former ... Continue Reading
Hunting Widows are women frequently left behind by husbands who spend countless hours hunting. And these wives love every minute of it!
Trophy Wives are "huntresses" who are equal to the challenge of hunting game during hunting season.
We took the content from their old website, modified it for SEO and built this Las Cruces firm a new responsive website. Simply put, responsive websites are mobile friendly. Their underlying structure responds to the size of the browser being used. So if you are using a tablet, phone, or just a down sized browser on your PC, the website responds and becomes more user friendly.
Take a look ... Continue Reading
We are very proud to be involved in planning the organization and development of this website. They're the only certified Angelina Ballerina institution in Las Cruces and their website has a really cute video about the certification.
In addition to music and dance classes, The Academy of Music and Dance has a great performing arts preschool called ABC Academy Preschool.
We've noticed that a lot of special events choose to go with free or cheap websites to promote their event. As an organization committed to helping organize the web, we wish we could do more to explain the importance of a professional website.
That's why we were excited when First Presbyterian Chuch came to us to help them promote their Renewal 4 Women event in Las Cruces.
If you're looking for an inspirational event, Renewal 4 Women may be just what the doctor ordered. It features local musicians along with the inspirational renewing of your mind.
Visit their website, Continue Reading
A few weeks back we heard the news that Stahmanns closed their candy store. We were pretty disappointed that we have to find a new place for our Thanksgiving Pecan Pie, but everyone should know that this great Southern New Mexico business isn't going away.
Our most recent website www.stahmannpecan.com went live earlier this week. The estate that has been growing pecans in the Mesilla Valley since the 1930s is still growing strong and plans to be here for generations to come. While they have shut down their candy operations, they're still one of the largest pecan growers ... Continue Reading
Would you pay an actor to go to Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce events and pretend to be you?
Then why would you pay someone to pretend to be you on Facebook. Over the past few years it has become more popular for advertising agencies to try and sell content development plans that include posting comments on your behalf on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or what ever other social network is the flavor of the day.
Don't get me wrong, I get it. You're busy. Your market share is dropping. Is it the ... Continue Reading
You know how sometimes your work inspires you to dream big?
While working on Beaverhead Outdoors, we all wondered what it would be like to drop everything and move into the country. Beaverhead Outdoors specializes in selling ranches, hunting and recreational real estate. If Mountain Men were still around and if they bought real estate, this is where they'd go for advice.
We've been working with the folks at Beaverhead for a few months now. This is the second website we created for them. The first was Beaverhead Outfitters. This is where they promote the guided hunts. Believe ... Continue Reading
Sometimes the word fun isn't silly enough to capture the mood around here while we're working on websites, videos or content development.
We just completed a project for the Gold Guys where we dressed up one of our employees in this gold suit and shot him in front of our green screen. The video doesn't capture it all because you don't hear all the random comments we were shouting at him while he was dancing... if that counts as dancing.
The Gold Guys got what they were looking for and we had fun doing it.
Need a custom video? ... Continue Reading
If I hear one more person complain about Facebook Timeline, my head may explode (go ahead, test that theory in the comments).
It's not that I think Timeline is the greatest thing since Pintrest, but it's the platform that Facebook offers and it isn't that much different than what you had two months ago. I do, however, look forward to seeing the haters petitioning to add a 28 Amendment to the Constitution establishing our right to keep social networks from evolving.
Until that happens, let's make due with what we have. And Facebook has now introduced Timeline for Pages. Here ... Continue Reading
I know, I know, all of you have already heard of these, used them and have moved on to something much cooler, but a good list must start somewhere.
Several of my clients have asked me for a list of the resources I use online. I finally decided that sharing ... Continue Reading
We admit it, at Digitial Solutions we spend way too much time on Facebook. I guess that's what you get when following online trends and setting up blogs is part of your job.
However, when Lerner walked in on me today and said "get off Facebook already," I replied "I'm researching for our next blog!"
So now I have no choice but to write a blog about Facebook.The Best Las Cruces Facebook Pages
(Other than Digital Solutions and Scott Krahling is my County Commissioner, or course)5. Stearns Custom Homes http://www.facebook.com/stearnscustomhomes
A key part of a successful Facebook Page is good content on your ... Continue Reading
Pinterest is the latest and greatest social media site. It is essentially a virtual pin board / bookmarking site, providing a fun and easy way of keeping track of all your photos, recipes, and articles. It also enables you to follow friends and even strangers who share your same interests. Here are some tips for businesses and companies trying to build up their brand:
1. First thing is first, sign up and start building up your boards! The reason Pinterest is become so successful is the visual aspect of the site, this gives the business owner the opportunity to post pictures from ... Continue Reading
Content is King and Relationships Freakin' Rule!
And thanks to social media this applies online more today than ever before. If this is a new concept for you then you need to pull your head out of the sand and get moving.
Web marketing is no longer just brochure marketing. You don't just need a website, or just need a Facebook profile. You need to work at it to make it work. Consider your online marketing in the same terms of your Chamber of Commerce membership. You can't just join and expect your membership to deliver. It's what you put in that ... Continue Reading
When a new client comes into my office one of the first questions I ask is: do you have photos.
Most people like photos. They're easy. They're pretty. And how does that old saying go? Oh yeah, they say 1,000 words. If she doesn't have photos then they're even further behind then they realize.
However, photos have even more importance than just looking pretty and showing yourself off. They actually should be driving traffic to your site. Here are two ideas on the subject.
To Infinity & Beyond - That's where Buzz Lightyear's going and if you're in business, your marketing ideas better be going there too.
Marketing is evolving and we have to make decisions today without knowing what the future will bring. This is why we need to be educated and prepared based on what has happened leading up to today, but focussed on tomorrow. For fun, let's call this Buzz Lightyear Marketing.
Continuing trends like newspaper subscriptions are declining and the Internet is growing, forcing your marketing strategy to evolve. I posted a blog a year ago about killing the old cliche that you waste ... Continue Reading
If we don't evolve we fade away into obscurity.
For the last few years we've see social media as the new evolution in marketing but it's hard to pinpoint exactly why or how it works.
It is helpful to think about this evolution in the context of the overall evolution of the economy.
The participatory concept isn't new. It involves having a relationship and interaction in the decision making of the businesses that you work with and it's actually as old as economies themselves.
I recently participated in a webinar with leading marketing specialists about the evolution of marketing and what appears to be ... Continue Reading
By Mark Kitanga
Take a moment to compare the two main phone technologies - cellular vs. landline. How have mobile phones in the 2000s alone advanced? When the decade started they finally became mainstream, led by those popular candy bar phones and basic monophonic ringtones. In just one decade, they became full-fledged, all-in-one multimedia devices capable of complex computing and communication. Along the way they acquired the capabilities of text messaging, chirping, color screens, polyphonic ringtones, e-mail, office productivity programs, MP3 music playback, web browsing, photography, video, editing, multi-purpose gaming, touch screens, and sophisticated applications. All that in just 10 years!
Now ... Continue Reading
Every week, we pit two web apps or companies against each other in our web faceoff series. In the past, we've put Android vs. iPhone, Digg vs. Reddit, and Windows 7 vs. Snow Leopard order to see which one was truly the people's choice.
From Mashable - Are Facebook Users Too Friendly For Their Own Good?
The latest research conducted by IT security firm Sophos shows that it's very easy to convince Facebook users to reveal their personal info to complete strangers.
This is nothing new, mind you - after all, many users see Facebook as a possibility to make new friends - but it is worth noting that simply friending someone you know nothing about can result in identity theft.
Here's ... Continue Reading
By Mark Kitanga
Imagine falling in a deep sleep and having the following dream:
The phone is constantly ringing because your loyal and growing customer base loves the fantastic product or service you offer. Profits are plentiful, people are happy, and life is good! Then one day, you notice there aren't as many calls. In fact, anytime the phone does ring it only rings once and stops. It gets worse as the days pass. Later, the new phone book comes out and you notice your business isn't listed in the yellow or white pages, even though you've paid for the advertising. Now ... Continue Reading
by Scott Krahling
I think one of the best new marketing opportunities involves the use of Facebook Applications.
These are the Farmville and Mafia Wars of the Facebook world. Think about how many people are using these applications. Even if you don't personally use them, chances are that someone you know does. Don't you get sick of all the updates that you see in your news feed on Facebook? I do. But people are still doing it, and a lot of people are. Imagine if you could consistently capture those users with your marketing message. I bet you can.
Until now I have ... Continue Reading
Participatory Online Marketing - by Scott Krahling
If we don't evolve we die. I think that's a commonly excepted idea. Today we see social media as the new evolution in our marketing but it's hard to pinpoint exactly why or how it works.
It is helpful to think about this evolution in the context of the overall evolution of the economy.
The participatory concept isn't new. It involves having a relationship and interaction in the decision making of the businesses that you work with and it's actually as old as economies themselves.
I recently participated in a webinar with leading marketing experts about the ... Continue Reading
From Mashable - Top 5 Business Blogging Mistakes
Business blogging can be exceptionally rewarding. When done correctly, a successful blog can bring attention to your business, can attract new customers, and can turn your current customer base into the type of fans that companies like Apple, Netflix, and Ben and Jerry's have: people who will not only buy your product or service, but evangelize it to their peers. Of ... Continue Reading
Over the last few weeks we've posted several articles claiming that when it comes to your website, content is king. Here's why.
1. Relevance - Your website needs to be interesting with important and up-to-date information.2. Return - If you want your audience to come back, you need to give them a reason by updating your content regularly.3. Reaction - Make an impact by getting your audience to react to what they see. 4. Results - Search engines like it when you add new content and better ranking leads to more traffic.
Accomplish all of the above by adding a blog to ... Continue Reading
The acquisition will also strengthen Google's anti-spam technology
Juan Carlos Perez (IDG News Service) 17 September, 2009 05:23:00
Google plans to accelerate its massive efforts to scan tens of millions of books and periodicals with the acquisition on Wednesday of a company called reCAPTCHA.
ReCAPTCHA is a well-known provider of CAPTCHA technology, which is used to prevent spammers from using computers to automatically register for online services, such as Web mail accounts and Web site registrations.
CAPTCHA, which stands for "Completely Automated Public ... Continue Reading
From Mashable - 5 Ways to Attract and Empower Your Crowd
Every few days, I get an email asking this question: 'I have this awesome idea to help X, but I'm not sure what direction to take. Do I open things up to the crowd to collaborate and target a mass audience? Or do ... Continue Reading
Gerald Prolman launched OrganicBouquet.com in 2003 to sell sustainably grown flowers that are freshly picked and then gift-wrapped. But as the company grew, he needed a better way to meet the increasing demand from florists, event planners and other whole-salers. So in June, Prolman launched a microsite (www.organicbouquetwholesale.com) to make it easier for these customers to place orders.
A microsite lets you focus on a specific purpose, such as selling clearance or discounted items, ... Continue Reading
From Mashable - Clickstreams: What They Are and Why You Should Track Them
The more information you have about your customers, the better off you are. There's a reason that advertisers will pay generously for detailed demographics on potential shoppers and customers. On the web, we usually gather this information via web analytics platforms ... Continue Reading
From Mashable - TWEET IDEAS: 13 Things to Do on Twitter Besides Tweet
Tired of delivering the typical stream of status updates on Twitter? Why not try some of the following ideas for other things you can do with the service?
Thanks to an open API and a philosophy of interconnectivity, Twitter's vast array of third-party services has you covered on a number of alternative uses for the famed microblogging tool.
Let's take a look at a few ... Continue Reading
From Mashable - Facebook Connect vs. Sign in with Twitter: Fight!
Twitter has quietly given some developers access to a new feature, Sign in with Twitter, which uses Twitter's new OAuth technology to allow people to log into and access 3rd party websites using their Twitter accounts. Sound familiar?
From Examiner - LinkedIn groups - are you building relationships for job networking?
By now, many people have had some exposure to social media, and are aware of some of the more popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It's probably safe to say that many professionals, especially job seekers or those in career transition have used LinkedIn to some extent. With the rash of layoffs that began at the end of last year, one beneficiary was job networking site LinkedIn. LinkedIn saw a huge increase in visitors, as posted in the TechCrunch article on February ... Continue Reading
From Mashable - HOW TO: Use Facebook for Professional Networking
Boris Epstein is the CEO and Founder of BINC, a Professional Search Firm that specializes in the Software Marketplace. Boris shares his thoughts about the recruitment industry, job hunting and career advice at AskBinc.com.
Ask anybody why they use Facebook, and most people will respond with reasons like staying in touch with friends, or being able to share pictures. Rarely does one's professional life ever get mentioned when describing the social network. When it ... Continue Reading
From Mashable - Facebook Lite: Facebook Needed a Diet
Late last night [August 11 - Ed], news broke that Facebook was working on a 'Lite' version and had (perhaps accidentally) invited a number of people to try it out. In its own words, Facebook Lite is a 'faster, simpler version of Facebook.'
From Mashable - Facebook Usernames: 50+ Million Claimed and Counting
Do you remember two months ago when Facebook usernames went live? Millions of avid Facebookusers waited on a Friday night for the chance to claim their own custom URL. 200,000 were claimed in 3 minutes, 500,000 in 15 minutes, a million within an hour, and 3 million usernames by the next morning.
Still, that's just a tiny portion of the nearly 300 million users of the world's larger social network. However, it looks as if adoption ... Continue Reading
From Mashable - The New Search War: Google vs Facebook
It's no coincidence that Facebook launched a new real-time search engine on the same day that it bought FriendFeed and Google announced a new infrastructure project aimed at speeding up its indexing time. Make no mistake about it: people that know search believe that there's gold in real-time and social data, and Facebook's blockbuster acquisition of FriendFeed was a ... Continue Reading
If you have a Facebook account, Facebook Connect allows you to stroll the web and interact with sites using your Facebook account as your identifier. In August 2006, Facebook opened its code to allow programmers to develop applications using their API (for more on APIs, check this blog). In May 2008, Facebook rolled out Facebook Connect as the latest version of their platform that allows users to connect to other popular sites using their Facebook account identity. This allows users to use a secure connection to comment on blogs, share photos from other sites, and much more with their Facebook ... Continue Reading
From Smashing Magazine - 50 New Beautiful Blog Designs
There are things that can't be showcased too often. For instance, beautiful blog designs. We have presented hundreds of beautiful blog designs in the past and now it's time to provide our readers with a fresh portion of tasty design inspiration.
All blogs listed below have an original, unique design. They aren't based upon some ready-to-be-used WordPress templates, but are the result of a hard, time-consuming work - therefore they deserve respect and admiration. Yes, many of these design are quite ... Continue Reading
From Mashable - Twitter for Beginners: 5 Steps for Better Tweeting
Twitter is immensely useful as a utility for joining in the global conversation and sharing thoughts, opinions, information, and media. But for new users, there's also a fairly steep learning curve. For many people new to Twitter, the site doesn't immediately "make sense" and it can be a bit daunting. But there are things those users can do to make the service more useful from the get go.
Below are five steps for new ... Continue Reading
From BBC NEWS:
Popular social networking site Facebook is breaching Canadian law by holding on to users' personal information indefinitely, a report has concluded.
An investigation by Canada's privacy commission found the US-based website also gave "confusing or incomplete" information to subscribers. Facebook says it is aiming to safeguard users' privacy without compromising their experience of the site. More than 200 million people actively use Facebook. They include about 12 million in Canada, more than one in three of the population.
Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart laid out the findings of the report at a news ... Continue Reading
From Mashable -
We've highlighted the problem of malicious links and spam permeating Twitter trends several times before, but the problem is getting worse, fast. If Twitter doesn't fix it soon, Twitter Trends will simply become a huge pile of irrelevant content, spam and links that lead to viruses and spyware.
Case in point: "Bruno" is trending right now. I've clicked the trend to see some early user reviews, but instead I got overwhelmed with spam, pointing to http://stream-onlinemovies.com or http://buffermovies.com/, sites that offer "full movie downloads." Since this is a legitimate trending topic, many of the ... Continue Reading
July 7th, 2009 | by Stan Schroeder
Analytics company iStrategyLabs has examined the demographics stats from Facebook (Facebook)'s Social Ads platform, and they've reached some very interesting conclusions. Facebook's userbase, as a whole, is getting much older very fast.
As you can see in the chart below, the overall number of users between 18 and 24 years of age has grown only 4.8% between the fourth of January and the fourth of July of 2009. In comparison, the number of users aged 25 - 34 has grown 60.8%; the number of users aged 35 ... Continue Reading
From Lifehacker - Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, and Talk Leave BetaBy Adam PashGoogle today will finally remove the long-standing beta tag from some of its most popular web applications, most notably its wildly popular email application, Gmail.In addition to the beta-less Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, and Talk (i.e., the rest of the Google Apps suite) will also shed the beta moniker. Gmail has notoriously worn the beta badge since its initial invite-only launch back in April of 2004. Strangely, as the New York Times points out, Google's reasoning for keeping Gmail and other apps in beta ... Continue Reading
The simple answer to this question is: as often as you have solid, relevant content.
The more complicated answer involves taking a good, long look at the industry your site is a part of. If your site becomes outdated, customers immediately wonder if you're still in business. If the information in your field is constantly changing and evolving, like with the financial sector or technology, you will want to update your content to reflect the latest changes. That could be every day, if there is enough to write about. On the other hand, if your website is purely to inform the ... Continue Reading
With blogging and microblogging becoming huge mainstream forces for news, many people are realizing that they want a website. People in business realize they need one. The "sticker shock" of how much a well-planned, custom designed and custom programmed website is often sends people searching the internet for a cheaper alternative. There are thousands of sites that offer free templates, free code, free hosting -- and anything else you might need to set up your own website! Free is a magical word. The question that inevitably follows is, "why should I pay when I can get ... Continue Reading
49% of American adults (about 112 million people) have high speed internet connections, and 71% of American households have internet access, according to Tom's Guide. Companies are increasingly getting their business on the web to reach customers outside their local area. Why not choose a web company outside your local area? Perhaps you live in a small town or a rural area, one without a web company nearby? You might have no choice but to select a company outside of your local area.
Building a face-to-face relationship with a web company used to be the only way to do ... Continue Reading
What is a web service? The World Wide Web Consortium (or W3C, as it is commonly known) defines it as, "a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network." Web services are web applications accessed over a network, where the service is hosted on a remote network. Web developers work with the code that the company who owns the web service provides. That code is called an API, or an application programming interface. Programmers who work with APIs are allowed a greater freedom to develop and manipulate existing services to their own needs. APIs are for the ... Continue Reading
RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication, or sometimes referred to as Rich Site Summary. RSS uses a markup language, usually XML (Extensible Markup Language) or Atom, to deliver the raw data of your feed to a user. Many sites use RSS as a feed to deliver changes in web content to anyone on the web. This is a simple way to let your readers know when you've updated new content, such as a new blog posting, a new product, a special offer, or new real estate listings.
For the readers of a RSS feed, it saves time by only ... Continue Reading
You might have noticed the tag clouds on our new layout. Our tag clouds have three colors to differentiate the specific sections - categories, features, and locations. These tag clouds help to break up the amount of links to content we have on our site, so it is more easily found by our visitors. Specifically, a tag cloud - sometimes called a word cloud - is a type of list, just reformatted to be more visually appealing. The content within the tag clouds is defined by the content on your site and helps to describe the content in easy keywords.
With ... Continue Reading
Twitter is a FREE service that lets you communicate to customers, friends, and family using short statements. How short? Twitter limits your messages to 140 characters, which is about the same length as a text message. Once you've registered for an account you can update easily from your own site, mobile phone, or your blog.
Each update is called a "Tweet" and immediately broadcasts your short news blurb to your followers and the Twitter community. This type of quick communication has become known as the "micro-blog." It's a quick and efficient way to get ... Continue Reading