Summer Blooms with Responsive Website Upgrades from InsideOut Solutions

June 27th, 2014 by

Several InsideOut clients received responsive website upgrades this month.  Last month’s article on Responsive Web Design details what Responsive Web Design is, and if it’s right for you, whether you should redesign or simply get a responsive website upgrade of your existing website.

The following clients contacted us to discuss responsive web design options and made the decision to retain their current design and enhance it with a responsive website upgrade.

Recently Launched Responsive Website Upgrades

responsive website - The B&B Team

The B&B Team®

As Inn Consultants and Brokers since 1993, The B&B Team® has watched internet trends closely, developing keen eyes as to when they follow new trends.

When Google began recommending Responsive Web Design as their preferred method of rendering web pages, they knew it was time to upgrade their WordPress website.

responsive website - Club Continental

The Club Continental

The Club Continental wanted to extend the life of their site.  It was 3 years old, but they loved the design and their visitors did too.

After hearing of the benefits of Responsive Web Design, they decided to upgrade, and in the process extended the life of their current WordPress design.

responsive website - NMBBAresponsive website - Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast Association

New Mexico Bed and Breakfast Association
and
Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast Association

Both of these B&B associations were looking for an elegant way to present their websites on mobile devices without having to reinvent the wheel.

The answer for both was to upgrade their current websites to responsive designs, complete with “sticky” navigation and cutting edge HTML5 and CSS3 code.

responsive website - Old Parkdale Inn

Old Parkdale Inn

Longtime InsideOut clients, the innkeepers at Old Parkdale Inn have always kept stride with the ever changing standards of website design.  They were concerned that their website load speed was lagging behind and had heard how HTML5 and CSS3 can speed things up.  They chose to have an responsive website upgrade, got their speedy site and much more.

Do You Need a Responsive Website Redesign or Can You Upgrade Your Current Website?

Check out last month’s blog post: Responsive Web Design – Is It Time to Redesign or Upgrade Your Website? and contact us to discuss the best plan for you to keep your website current with this important development and other evolving web standards.

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Responsive Web Design – Is It Time to Redesign or Upgrade Your Website?

June 1st, 2014 by

Responsive web design remains a growing trend of discussion for internet marketing firms and their clients in 2014.  In this article we will will look at the what, why and when of Responsive Web Design so that you can make an informed decision about your website marketing efforts.captainsmanor

What Is Responsive Web Design?

Put simply, Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a website design technique that allows a website’s design to be optimized for all internet-enabled devices, from mobile phones to tablets, laptop an desktop computers.

Why Do I Need a Responsive Web Design?

It may just look like fancy design work, but there are important reasons to make a Responsive Web Design a part of your internet marketing strategy.

Google Recommends Responsive Web Design

Google DevelopersWe all know by now that Google recommendations require serious consideration by anyone wanting to maintain or improve visibility in its search query results.  The Google Developers section on Webmasters Building Smartphone-Optimized Websites specifically recommends Responsive Web Design as Google’s preferred method of rendering web pages.

Based on that fact alone, it’s not a matter of if, but when you should have a responsive web design on your website.

Responsive Websites Are Both Visitor and Search Engine Friendly

Responsive web design code is built HTML5 and CSS3, which also speeds up load times and is a factor in search engine rank.

Website visitors benefit from easier navigation and the best possible view for content no matter how they access it.

Keep reading →

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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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