2006 Archives

How You Feel Affects How You Will Feel

A while back, Matt Klawitter asked me if I ever found that my expectations for the day affected my experiences throughout that day. The answer, of course, is Yes My Expectations Matter.This isn’t a new concept. Expectations have everything to do with attitude, and as the cliche poster says,...

December 19, 2006 — 0 Comments

Starting Your Own Business Part II: 12 Solutions

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about 12 Problems with starting your own business. It was an overwhelmingly negative article. Hopefully I can bring some balance to this blog with this follow-up.Read Starting Your Own Business Part I: 12 Problems1. You don’t have enough startup capital. Yes, start...

December 15, 2006 — 1 Comment

Clicks, Leads, Conversions

This is one link to bookmark. A great little utility from Conversation Marketing:What is a click worth? will help you quickly (and roughly) answer the question of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising.One company I worked with was paying $12/click. On the face, it was worth it because their average cus...

December 14, 2006 — 0 Comments

Fantastic holidays gift idea

Forget Christmas cards and throwaway gifts. This company’s got a great way of getting clients’ attention – by doing something good.Found via (Seth Godin’s site, originally posted at http://youngisaac.typepad.com/artie/2006/12/the_check_is_in.html : Once again, our holiday ...

December 13, 2006 — 0 Comments

Don't Make These Business Mistakes!

Why do some businesses succeed and others fail? There are hundreds of books on this topic. Every business school can offer tomes of knowledge to answer this question. So why am I weighing in? Because in the last few weeks, I’ve observed a bunch of local businesses making these very mistakes...

December 12, 2006 — 0 Comments

2007 Web Industry Predictions

Inspired by a similar list by Jennifer Kymin at webdesign.about.com, I decided to offer my own predictions. I’ve enjoyed watching the web over the last few years. The upswing in startups, web-based software, and smarter users has been exciting. What might 2007 hold for us? 2007 Predictions1...

December 11, 2006 — 2 Comments

The Individual Brand

“A brand is nothing but the promise of an experience.”Robert Jones, Wolff-OlinsWe accept that companies have a brand. We study it. We consciously work on ways to improve it. We hire expensive consultants to develop it.What is lost on many people is how they, as individuals, also have a brand....

December 08, 2006 — 0 Comments

On "Fast, Good, Cheap"

I’ve said it to clients. I’ve repeated it in internal meetings. It was the signature text for my account on several community sites. I might as well get a bumper sticker. It’s that important.Fast, Good, Cheap: Pick any two.If you’re the customer, you want all three. You de...

December 08, 2006 — 0 Comments

[Preparation | planning | process] matters.

An interesting post from codebetter.com started off with a great intro: “Think about this for a minute, say your Noah, walking down the street, minding your own business, and a big voice booms out “Noah, I want you to build an Ark. When can you ship?” Here’s the proper respo...

December 06, 2006 — 0 Comments

Starting Your Own Business Part I: 12 Problems

This will be a two-part article on starting your own business. Part one will be reasons excuses not to start your own business right now. In part two, I’ll address these with solutions. Read part 2 > Before I go on, I’ll offer a disclaimer: I’ve been running my own business f...

December 06, 2006 — 2 Comments

Going Off the Grid

From techdirt.com: On top of that, those who do go on vacation don’t disconnect. 72% say they stayed in contact with the office by email or phone while on vacation — and, once again, many do so in order to avoid having a huge pile of work on their return.This is a big deal to me. I...

December 04, 2006 — 1 Comment

Getting Social Networks to be More Social

For all the talk of social media and the strength of weak ties, there isn’t much action being taken to really try to “harness collective intelligence.”I am reviving a social network website that I built several years back. I was discussing it with my designer friend, Oak, and he made a suggesti...

December 01, 2006 — 1 Comment

The Secret of Caring for Life

“"A good cook changes his knife once a year—because he cuts. A mediocre cook changes his knife once a month—because he hacks.”“A good cook changes his knife once a year—because he cuts. A mediocre cook changes his knife once a month—because he hacks. I’ve had this knife of mine for nin...

November 29, 2006 — 1 Comment

Acting on First Impressions

Broken Windows Theory and Your Web SiteThis article has been around for a couple of years, but it was new to me. I’m a fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, so I’m kinda surprised that this didn’t occur to me when I read them. I notice this effect and completely agree.Link: htt...

November 28, 2006 — 3 Comments

A Sports Fan's Manifesto

I’m a Notre Dame fan. I’m a Cubs fan. I’m a Bears fan. I’m a Colts fan. I know the pain of loss and frustration of futility. This manifesto is based on Hugh’s manifesto guidelines. Love sports for sports’ sake. Recognize greatness in even sports you don’...

November 28, 2006 — 1 Comment

Are You Thankful?

For small businesses, Thanksgiving comes at a great time. It’s a reminder that you should be thankful. To fuel those relationships that have kept you in business. This is the right time to start sending out holiday cards or gifts to your customers. To finalize your holiday promotions.Don...

November 24, 2006 — 0 Comments

"Walk-ins" for your website

Getting traffic can be hard to do, but we know that traffic isn’t the goal. The real goal is your business objective. We measure this in conversions—visitors that become customers or perform a desired action. Often, this means making a purchase or filling out a form. Sometimes it’s as simple as c...

November 21, 2006 — 1 Comment

Why You Didn’t Get My Business

Mary Schmidt has a great post (the first of three) on why she picks one vendor over another. This should be a reminder to all of us with customers. The customer is why you’re still in business. When we bid on projects, I often wonder why we won or lost the contract. Sometimes I ask—es...

November 20, 2006 — 0 Comments

Business By the Numbers

How much do you know about your business? Do you have numbers to back your beliefs up? How many proposals have you submitted in the last year? How many were accepted? What was the average dollar value of your projects? How long does your average project take? Using this info… How many pro...

November 15, 2006 — 0 Comments

How to be Productive on Monday mornings at 8am

Monday mornings starting foggy? Do you take a couple of hours before you can get anything done? You might grab a cup of coffee (I sure do), but don’t just count on the caffeine to get going. Try these tips for perking up.1. Exercise. Getting your heart rate up also means increased blood flow to...

November 13, 2006 — 1 Comment

Misplaced Values

Paul Graham recently posted an essay about the gap between wealthy and poor. It had me thinking about the values we hold in society. “When we say that one kind of work is overpaid and another underpaid, what are we really saying? In a free market, prices are determined by what buyers want. People...

November 12, 2006 — 5 Comments

Google Ads Going "Offline"

Google is testing a new system that could be HUGE. It’s buying ad space in newspapers and on radio stations and selling the space to its customers. Like AdWords, which lets you buy ad space on other websites, advertisers will be able to bid on (and buy) ad space through their online system...

November 08, 2006 — 1 Comment

8 Stupid Tech Startup Ideas

A stupid frat-boy business idea is an idea that sounds attractive on the surface, but ignores the graveyard of failures before it.Ramit Sethi, I Will Teach You to be RichThis article was inspired by one of my favorite blogs, I Will Teach You to be Rich. The first article I ever saw there was call...

November 06, 2006 — 1 Comment

It's your life...enjoy it.

“You only have to talk about what you do for five minutes at parties, but you have to live what you do every day of your life, so better to do what you love and forget about how it looks.” Yolanda O’Bannon NPR runs a series called “This I Believe.” Today’s was ...

November 06, 2006 — 0 Comments

Features vs. Quickies

When you read blogs (including this one), do you prefer feature-length articles or short posts?I tend to be verbose and long-winded. However, I also wish to address topics which require deeper consideration. For these extended articles, I spend a few hours doing research, writing and revising, et...

November 02, 2006 — 2 Comments

RSS Consumption

“Ninety percent of RSS users opt to read the feed content entirely in the aggregator environment.” PheedoWhen I started this blog, I wanted to get people to come to my site. I figured that the RSS feed would have a teaser paragraph for each article, and readers would come to the site for the ...

November 01, 2006 — 3 Comments

Losing your temper: How to Keep Your Cool

I noticed that one of my recent posts, 12 Tips for Staying Productive and Avoiding Burnout has attracted some searchers coming in looking for advice on keeping your temper. To be honest, I have a short temper. However, I’ve found that I have a large capacity for managing my temper. Pause...

October 30, 2006 — 0 Comments

Designers vs. Developers: Who Needs CSS?

CSS is the language of web design. Molly E. HolzschlagIn a typical web shop, the web designer is usually responsible for CSS and XHTML. This person then works with a developer to combine the web design with the web application portion of the project.This is part of why the web is a disgusting mes...

October 27, 2006 — 2 Comments

The Dreaded Launch: What to Do When Clients Get Cold Feet

The project is 99% done. The design is approved. The IA is approved. The site is built and content is in the pages. You’ve tested everything. It’s ready to launch. But you don’t. The client won’t approve it.

The client has cold feet.

October 25, 2006 — 0 Comments

12 Tips for Staying Productive and Avoiding Burnout

“…the best time to attend to burnout is before it happens.”Peter Hawkins and Robin Shohet

Burnout…you’ve been holding B too long and now Excitebike is forcing you to pull over to cool down. You’re shut off. You lose the race. It’s the dangerous realm where you’re overextended and everything in your life starts to suffer.

October 19, 2006 — 1 Comment

How (and Why) to be Your Own Client: Redesigning Your Own Website

You have bills to pay. You’re busy with projects. Your sales guy is already talking about the next lead and the proposal you need to write. Who has time for their own website?We spend a lot of time convincing businesses to make their websites better, and yet many of us are unhappy with our own ...

October 16, 2006 — 1 Comment

2 Years Old

“According to the SBA, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year.” From about.comToday is the two year anniversary of my web design company Birch Lake Studios. October 12, 2004 is the official date of our incorporation. While we didn’t really start (by that I mean taki...

October 12, 2006 — 1 Comment

Metapost: Angry Blogger

I am an angry blogger. Not two weeks ago I was happy to finally get a site up and start writing. But the blogging software I was using kept corrupting files and crashing. After spending too many hours at a command prompt trying to chmod and reading log files, I decided to blow it away and start o...

October 11, 2006 — 1 Comment

6 Lessons Web Designers Can Learn from Architects

Because the computer makes it easy to start programming, designing, or writing, many people jump right in and start working. This is a quick way to fail. That’s why teachers hand students a syllabus, writers often start with an outline, and I carry a shopping list to the grocery store. So how do we apply this to web projects?

October 11, 2006 — 1 Comment

Grow a Beard and Get a Blog

I have a blog.I should have had one years ago, before it was popular. I was building them for clients. I temporarily had a blog before the term ‘blog’ was even conceived. I even built a site for other people to have blogs (along with other stuff) while they studied abroad. When the wo...

October 11, 2006 — 0 Comments