A New Bed & Breakfast Website Design for Brewster House

May 29th, 2014 by

Scott & Mary Gile, the new owners of Brewster House, were looking for a Bed & Breakfast website design that would reflect the coastal heritage of their area, be simple to navigate for potential new guests, and of course showcase the beauty and amenities of the B&B. In collaborating with our designer, Beth Edwards, that vision came to fruition in the form of a fast-loadingsite built with WordPress using the lastest responsive web design standards that displays it best face on all devices.

About Brewster House and Our Bed & Breakfast Website Design

Brewster House Bed & Breakfast (Freeport, Maine Coast) Website

The Brewster House Bed & Breakfast website design from InsideOut Solutions is attractive, fast-loading and responsive web solution for the new owners.

Brewster House Bed & Breakfast is located in Freeport, Maine and is the perfect starting point to enjoy a seaside vacation. Close to shopping, prime restaurants, and beautiful lighthouses, the Maine coast has plenty of activities for everyone and Brewster House allows you to relax in style after a day of making memories.  Charm and comfort abound in this 19th century home which boasts large private bathrooms, pressed linens, bay windows, fireplaces, and a generous 3-course breakfast.

WordPress allows for the simple updating of all content plus adding specials, new recipes, and blog posts. It is also easy to make the ever-important SEO tweaks over time, so Scott & Mary can have the peace of mind knowing that their website tools are scalable. The responsive website design uses the latest HTML5 and CSS3 coding standards.

Are you interested in having a site tailor-made to fit your inn and personality? Let InsideOut help! We’ll help you achieve your vision of an attractive website, that is also built with the security of the WordPress platform, comes with our custom-made plugins, is responsive for the growing presence of mobile phones, and so much more. Click here for your free quote!

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New Directory Website Design for the Maryland Bed & Breakfast Association

May 26th, 2014 by

The Maryland Bed & Breakfast Association has received a new directory website design utilizing the latest and best web technologies and trends. The new website is built in HTML5 and CSS3 with a focus on fast page loads and a responsive design.

New Directory Website Design for Maryland Bed & Breakfast Association

Built using our own directory website system inside of the WordPress platform, Maryland Bed & Breakfast Association members are given a full range of features to control the content of their own listings.

Large, colorful photos from all across the state have been incorporated to bring the undeniable beauty of Maryland into the site. An important foundation of the new Maryland Bed & Breakfast Association directory website design, these rich and bold background photos resolve at full width to your browser, imbuing the site with warmth and color. We also included a fixed, sticky navigation that stays in view no matter how far down you scroll, leading to a friendlier and easier user experience.

The responsive aspect of the directory website design ensures that the site looks good no matter what size screen or device you are using. Like all of InsideOut Solution’s recent and current custom website designs, the Maryland Bed & Breakfast Association site is fully responsive, adapting across virtually all potential aspect ratios.

If you would like to learn more about what we can do for your association, destination, or directory website design, contact us.

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Guest Blogging for SEO Gets a Google Penalty for Spammy Link-Building

April 27th, 2014 by

The guest blogging party is over when it comes to your link-building strategy for SEO – at least if you care what Google thinks.

What Is Guest Blogging for SEO?

If you’re asking this question, then it probably doesn’t concern you, but just in case:

If you are publishing posts on blogs other than your own, or are allowing other bloggers to post on your blog, you are engaging in guest blogging.  You may have been told that guest blogging, outgoing or incoming, is good for SEO because it increases traffic to your blog via links.  That actually has been the case until recently.  If you’re currently blogging for SEO purposes you will want to put a pause on your efforts.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, warned that guest blogging for SEO link-building should cease back in January via his own blog post titled “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.”

Here’s a bit of what he had to say:

“…if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company…”

As the top guy in weeding out spam in Google, it’s important to listen to what Mr. Cutts has to say and heed his advice.  Sure enough, on March 18, Cutts tweeted the following:

“Today we took action on a large guest blog network. A reminder about the spam risks of guest blogging…”

— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 18, 2014

Shortly after that announcement, Ann Smarty, owner of the MyBlogGuest.com blogging network confirmed via Twitter that Google had applied its its spam penalty to her guest blogging network.

One of the first questions to follow was “Will Google also penalize the publishers of content appearing on blog networks?”  It appears that penalties will be given to partcipating publishers, as Matt Cutts also tweeted:

@n2tech when we take action on a spammy link network, it can include blogs hosting guest posts, sites benefiting from the links, etc.— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 20, 2014

On April 18, Google again applied its penalty to guest blog network PostJoint.  I expect the axe will continue to fall on guest blogging networks and publishers who meet Google’s webspam criteria.  This follows similar trends at Google to weed out other webspam such as link networks.  Owners of these networks and their participants should be tracking and responding appropriately to “unnatural links” notifications in their Google Webmaster Tools.

What Should You Do?

Well, the first thing to do is pause submitting posts to guest blogging sites and stop allowing guest bloggers free reign on your own blog for building links to their own content.  If you have a third party blog writer blogging for you, it’s OK for them to continue publishing posts so long as they are building content for your blog and are linking to non-blogging-network sources of information about the topic.

Keep up to date with this topic by subscribing to this blog.

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A Tradeshow Banner Design for Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm

April 25th, 2014 by

Jardin du Soleil owners, Jordan and Paul Schiefen, had a great concept for a tradeshow banner design. They just needed some help making their idea a reality. They contacted InsideOut graphic designer, Jennifer Lozada, who created the design to reflect their concept and to suit the technical requirements of the banner company.

Choosing a Tradeshow Banner Designjardin-3-tradeshow-banners

There are a lot of different products and producers for tradeshow graphics. The Schiefens wanted something versatile, economical and easy-to-use. After some research, they decided that a retractable banner would be their best bet. They decided to take one great photo and divide it across three separate banners. There are a number of advantages to this idea:

1) Striking visual presence: The 2.75′ x 6.5′ banner is pretty big. You can see it from a good distance. If you triple it by having one image across three banners, the impact is even greater!

It’s easy to get carried away and cram a lot of text and images on a tradeshow banner. Up close, it feels like the banner is large, so why not fill it up? The reason you don’t do that—from a distance, the imagery just become a whole lot of visual clutter. As a result, the entire banner fades into the background and people walk right past without noticing.

Jordan and Paul’s banners are the opposite of cluttered. One great image + their logo = a standout tradeshow banner design.

2) Versatility: The three banners side-by-side look great, but what if your tradeshow space is on the small side? One of the great things about this three-banner concept is that they don’t have to use all three. As space allows, they can opt for just one or two. And they don’t have to use them next to one another either. If needed, they can use the three banners separately to define different zones within a space. Because they’re the same size and overall image, they will have a nice visual consistency and won’t make the space look cluttered.

3) Simplicity: Retractable banners are great. They’re light, easy to move, and you don’t have to fuss with setting up a stand. The only things we’ve noticed about using them…To keep them in good working order, don’t get too aggressive about pulling the graphic up out of the stand. And handle the base with care—you don’t want to rattle and possibly break its components. These banners are for indoor use. Use them out in the wind and elements at your peril!

A Tradeshow Banner Success!

2014NW-WomensShow-JardinBestBooth

Jardin du Soleil’s retractable tradeshow banner design at work at the Northwest Women’s Show

The Schiefens were very happy with how the banners came out. They sent us this photo of their award-winning booth. Yes, they recently won “Best Booth in Show” at the 2014 Northwest Women’s Show. They did a great job of staging and we’re glad the banners were part of their great-looking booth. Congratulations to Jardin du Soleil!

Contact us if you need help with a tradeshow banner design or choosing the right tradeshow graphic for your business.

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New Website Design for Bed and Breakfast Inns of Utah, Inc.

April 19th, 2014 by

InsideOut Solutions recently launched a major upgrade for the Bed and Breakfast Inns of Utah, Inc. (BBIU) at bbiu.org.  The new design incorporates all of the state of the art features that InsideOut incorporates in all of our new designs.  Key features are a sticky navigation that follows you as you scroll down, a fully responsive design, and big, beautiful page top photos.

New Design Is Much More than a “Facelift”

The new design incorporates HTML5 and CSS3 as well as methods to speed up the site load time.  The responsive website design gives visitors the best view on most devices, including mobile.  The design also adds a “lightbox” feature to view their state map and select a region to explore instead of needing to open up a new page.  This new design is a beautiful refresh of an already solid bed and breakfast association website platform.  We look forward to seeing what positive impacts it will have on their website visit stats and how it helps their membership gain more visibility.

Bed and Breakfast Inns of Utah, Inc. - new website design

Bed and Breakfast Inns of Utah, Inc. has a new, responsive website design from InsideOut Solutions.

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How to Send Credit Card Information to InsideOut Solutions

March 30th, 2014 by

Protecting your business’ credit card information should always be a priority.  What to do, then, when it comes time to give your credit card information to a vendor?credit card   In this article you will learn how to send credit card information securely, by looking at both the secure and non-secure ways to submit your credit card information to InsideOut Solutions.

Never Submit Credit Card Information via Email

Simply put: email is not a secure way to provide credit card information.

e-mail symbol

Never email your credit card information.

SSL on Email Won’t Protect Your Credit Card Info

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption only encrypts data that transfers between your email client and your domain mail server.  If your email message needs to go to another server to reach a recipient them your message may be routed through many other servers, including those that are unencrypted, with the potential of that message being read.

Breaking up the Credit Card Information Across Two or More Emails Is Not “More Secure”

Keep reading →

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Get Facebook Likes with Your Newsletter Sign-Ups

February 25th, 2014 by

When a website visitor signs up for your newsletter, why not make the most of that good will and get Facebook Likes in the process? Nick Calaway, General Manager at von Stiehl Winery, brought up this idea to Owner Brad Schmiling. They’d never really taken a close look at the Welcome Email sent to guests signing up for their Constant Contact newsletter. When they did, they found that the message was pretty easy to edit. They could change the text, as well as fonts and colors. However, they wanted something visually appealing—an image that was much more inviting than the default, “plain Jane” option.

von-Stiehl-welcome-email-before

It’s a very polite welcome message, but it’s pretty boring to look at.

Brad needed some help with both the imagery and the coding, so he worked with Jennifer from InsideOut’s Graphic Design department. Since she was already familiar with Constant Contact’s system and von Stiehl’s branding, it was very quick and easy for her to design a warm welcome email for this friendly Algoma, Wisconsin winery.

von-Stiehl-Welcome-Email-after

Now this is a Welcome message that will get Facebook Likes!

With a click on the image, the visitor is taken directly to von Stiehl’s Facebook page where they can hit that “Like” button! This is a perfect audience to target because they’re already interested enough to sign up for the newsletter. The welcoming and convenient link to the Facebook page makes it very easy.

Now, when people use the website sign-up for von Stiehl’s newsletter, they will receive this Welcome Email as their first message. This first email serves triple duty. It allows subscribers to: 1) confirm their newsletter subscription, 2) add Brad’s email to their address book and 3) “Like” von Stiehl’s Facebook page. Points 1 and 2 are especially important because they prevent von Stiehl’s emails from being labeled as spam. Step 3 is a bonus that will help von Stiehl increase their Facebook audience.

Interested in making the most of your Constant Contact Welcome Email? Contact us today to learn how you can get Facebook Likes with your newsletter sign ups.

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Google Universal Analytics Is Coming – Here’s What to Expect

February 24th, 2014 by

Google Universal Analytics is likely to be a major topic of discussion with our clients throughout 2014.  In this post, I will break down the initial information on the what, why and when of this upgrade for our managed website hosting clients.

What Is Google Universal Analytics?

google universal analytics upgrade

Get ready for the new Google Analytics.

Google Universal Analytics is an entirely new script, not simply an update to the existing “Classic” Google Analytics script.  Google claims it will improve the way data is gathered, processed and displayed in Google Analytics.

Why Do I Need Google Universal Analytics?

This is a short answer: Google requires you to upgrade to Universal Analytics if you want to continue to use their analytics service.

When Do I Need to Upgrade to Google Universal Analytics?

Google Universal Analytics is still in beta testing, meaning it is being tested by users, a process that started late in 2012.

Google has not provided a detailed timeline for mandatory upgrade, but what information we do have shows there’s no urgency.  Currently, Google Universal Analytics is in Phase 1 of 4 of this implementation and does not yet support some features of Classic Google Analytics including:

  • Remarketing
  • Google Display Network Impression Reporting
  • DoubleClick Campaign Manager Integration
  • Google Analytics Demographics and Interests Reports

Google has set up the Universal Analytics Upgrade as a process to migrate all Classic Google Analytics properties to Universal Analytics properties without losing any data or changing your account settings.  Despite this there are many potential pitfalls in the transition and managed website hosting clients of InsideOut Solutions will be notified via our blog and newsletter when we have the tools and a strategy in place for this upgrade.

WordPress website/blog clients will likely have an fairly easy and low-cost upgrade via a plugin.  Older and other non-WordPress sites will probably have a more difficult time making the upgrade, meaning it will be more costly – just another reason to consider having InsideOut Solutions redesign your aging website in the more adaptable WordPress platform.  In addition to the readiness for the Google Universal Analytics upgrade, a new website from InsideOut Solutions will feature a fast-loading, beautiful, engaging responsive design built with HTML5 & CSS3 compliant code.Please contact InsideOut Solutions with any questions or for a new website quote.

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Google Telemarketing Calls Are Not from Google

January 26th, 2014 by

How many times has Google called you out of the blue to chat about your business?  If you answered any number except “zero,” then its 99.9999% sure that you were not actually talking to the a Google representative, but rather were a target of telemarketers. Unrequested Google telemarketing calls simply do not exist.  Anyone claiming otherwise in a call to you is misrepresenting themselves.

Google’s “Telephonophobia”

Google is notoriously reticent about calling businesses.  When they do call, it’s because you’ve asked them to make the call.  Those calls are mostly automated voice or text to provide PINs for account setup, login 2-step verification, Google Places listing verification, etc.

A Google representative may call your business if you’re a Google AdWords user.  Other than that, Google won’t pick up the phone to call you unless you request the call.  They also make it extremely difficult to reach a person when you call them for support with their products.

Keep reading →

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Branding Your Business: TheInnkeeper.com

January 24th, 2014 by

When it comes to branding your business, just getting past the logo design can be daunting. Once you have a logo, what do you do with it? Mariah Walters, CEO of TheInnkeeper.com bed & breakfast directory, had an existing logo, a lot of ideas, and a short timeline as the annual PAII conference approached. What to do? In August 2013, she’d worked with InsideOut to finish step one: a full, WordPress-based website redesign.

With the PAII conference coming up, it was time to put her branding into high gear! Mariah worked with InsideOut Graphic Designer, Jennifer Lozada, to create a consistently branded trade show booth. From the printed business cards and brochures to the 10-foot backdrop, everything had the same look and feel for a professional first impression.

Essential Elements for Branding Your Business at Trade Shows

TheInnkeeper.com's trade show booth at the 2014 PAII conference. Mariah and her team added homey finishing touches such as the plants!

TheInnkeeper.com’s trade show booth at the 2014 PAII conference. Mariah and her team added the homey finishing touches!

Using the new website as a design base, Jennifer worked with Mariah to design the following branded products, which are vital pieces for any trade show presence.

Trade Show Display Designs: the “Big Picture” for Branding Your Business

Using the logo, fonts and colors from the website, Jennifer designed two portable 10′ x 7.5’and 2.5′ x 2.5′ displays, both fabricated by AAdvantageDisplays.com. Because there would be a table in front of the large display, Jennifer kept the most important information on the top half of the display. The smaller display was designed to be used either on the floor or a tabletop.

Graphic Design of Brochures and Business Cards: the “Take Away” Pieces for Branding Your Business at Trade Shows

QR-coded trifold brochure and business card designs for TheInnkeeper.com.

QR-coded trifold brochure and business card designs for TheInnkeeper.com.

Jennifer also worked with Mariah to create a full color trifold brochure, 8.5″ x 11″ when fully opened. To save on production costs and envelopes, they chose a standard letter size designed with a self-mailer panel. (Larger and non-standard sizes always cost more. Not having to mail in an envelope is an added bonus!) Both her brochure and business card feature QR codes that allow smartphone users to simply scan and arrive at her website—no typing! The back of the business card was left uncoated so Mariah and her team members could write additional notes or contact information if needed.

OpenOffice Slideshow Presentation

Using the content Mariah provided, Jennifer created a slideshow using TheInnkeeper.com’s logo and colors. Mariah could now use her laptop as another display, playing the presentation about TheInnkeeper’s services in a continuous loop. Designed with OpenOffice, a free, open source program, the slideshow can now be used by Mariah as a template for future presentations.

“Thank you so much for your beautiful design work. The convention was outstanding!”
~ Mariah Walters, CEO, TheInnkeeper.com

Branding your business doesn’t have to be a pain when you have the right people to work with! Contact us today for help with designing trade show booth displays, brochures, business cards and other graphic designs for small businesses.

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