Monday, January 26, 2009

How to keep your web site message strong with a Content Management System.

A Content Management System (CMS) is a "back-door" tool that enables non-technical administrators (or staff) to maintain, add, and update information on their web site. The systems vary, but they ultimately give clients control to make web updates without the assistance of a web master. A common drawback of a CMS is keeping the web site's message and site architecture strong.

TBH Creative's online writer, Barb Ruess, offers the following guidelines/considerations for keeping your online message effective with a CMS.

Key Considerations

Define your audience and goals. As you update your site, keep your audience and communication goals top of mind. It is too easy to add information that internal staff find important, without considering why it’s important to your audience. All content needs to be consistent with your communication goals and consistent with the tone of your current site content. Content management tools are wonderful, but too often their use can cause a site to grow in the wrong direction. When looking to add new content ask yourself:
  1. Does the new content add value for my audience? Does it clearly communicate that value?
  2. Is the new content consistent in style & voice with current content?
  3. Is the new content in the appropriate section?
  4. If creating a new page, are you linking to the page from the appropriate menus so it is easy to find?
Home Page
There is a fine line on a home page between providing enough information to draw the reader into the site and providing so much information that you drive people away because they don’t know where to click. Be careful when adding or changing content on this page because it is your first impression and most important gateway to other pages. With that said, your site needs to be kept current and fresh. Consult with your web designer on which areas are best to update and refer back to the original concepts. Simplicity and "teaser" information is usually best.

Internal Pages
Pay attention to page length.
Once readers have clicked into your site, it is okay to have longer pages. They’ve already shown an interest and you don’t want to make your information hard to find. At the same time, pay attention to the length and topics on your pages. If you find yourself adding to a page regularly you may need to create some sub-pages to keep your content well-organized and easy to read.

Be careful when changing your structure.
When adding a new page to the site keep your audience in mind. Where will they be looking for this information? Where does it fit on the menu structure: Top level? 2nd level? 3rd level? Refer back to your site map (usually created as the initial stage of a web project) and determine where the new page fits best. If you don't have a site map, create one now.

Not every new page needs to be added to the main menu.
If you are adding supporting information – linking to it from the body of a page is fine and keeps your menus easy to use.

Define who can use the Content Management System
With the launch of your new site it is time to come up with a policy for who can add content to the site. In some organizations this will need to be a formal written statement with rules. In others, it can be informal but in all organizations it should be thought of beforehand. A few questions to consider for your content management policy:
  1. Who has permission to add to the site?
  2. Can/should you give staff permission to add to certain sections but not others?
  3. Does new content need to go through an approval process before it is added?
If you hire new staff that will use the CMS, ask your web developer to conduct proper training on how to use the software. Most web companies are happy to offer training, even "refresher" sessions if needed.
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TBH Creative has worked with many Content Management Systems over the years and developed their own system which includes the best features. Understanding that usability is key to any useful software, our CMS was developed to make updates easy and intuitive. Contact us today to discuss your web site project and Content Management System needs.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gardens of Growth in Indianapolis: New Web Site

TBH Creative launched the first web site for Indianapolis landscape design company, Gardens of Growth. TBH Creative helped Gardens of Growth define a web strategy, create a design that showed off their creativity and portfolio, and developed validated framework for the site. The web site launched today and you can visit it at http://www.gardensofgrowth.com/.

About the Company
Gardens of Growth is a successful landscape architecture design/build firm based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The firm was founded in 2003 by husband and wife team Adam Garvey and Casey May, who met while studying landscape architecture at Ball State University. Gardens of Growth remains committed to acting as both designer and contractor for each project. While most design/build firms are dominated by contractors, Gardens of Growth is unique in that they are designers first. They approach the design/build process as ‘Master Builders’, where the process of landscape architecture is a holistic approach, with careful attention paid to each phase of the design and construction process. Check out the new site.

Looking for a web design firm to build an effective web site for your company? Contact TBH Creative to discuss the details and get started!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Back up your Emails in Outlook Express

For TBH Creative and most businesses, emails are essential to day-to-day activities. Even with a back-up system on your files, it is important to also back up your email correspondence. We use Outlook Express, so below are simple back up instructions. You may also use these instructions to transfer messages from one computer to another. Instruction how to save and backup Outlook Express email messages for importing, exporting from one pc to another.
  • Click on the TOOLS Menu and select OPTIONS.
  • Click the MAINTENANCE Tab and then click on Store Folder.
  • You now see the location of your Email Folder.
  • Highlight the Folder Location and press CTRL+C to copy the location.
  • Click Cancel and then Cancel again to close all boxes.
  • Click the Windows Start button and the click Run. In the open box press CTRL+V to paste the mail location, then click OK.
  • You now have a window containing you e-mail database *.dbx files.
  • From the top Menu click EDIT click Select All.
  • On the top Menu again click COPY. Now close the window.
  • Open Windows Explorer, click FILE / NEW and then FOLDER.
  • Type a name for the folder and hit ENTER.
  • Double click the Folder you just created to open it. From the EDIT Menu select PASTE.
  • Close the window.
  • You have now completed a backup up of your email messages.
  • Write these files to a CD or CDRW for later use.
Source: Freebits
You may use different email software and the instructions will vary. Below are some helpful links:
TBH Creative is a full service web site company focusing on custom web design solutions for Indianapolis businesses and beyond. Visit our portfolio >

Saturday, January 17, 2009

How to add a Favicon to your web site

What is a favicon and how can I add one to my web site? Favicon is short for "favorites icon" and seen in your web browser menu next to the address bar, in your favorites menu, and even for your shortcuts.
 Favicon Sample - TBH Creative Indianapolis Web Design
A web designer can create this icon and place it on a website, and most browsers will read and display it. Browsers that provide favicon support typically display a page's favicon in the browser's URL bar and next to the page's name in a list of bookmarks. Browsers that support a tabbed document interface also show a page's favicon next to the page's title. Creating this graphic icon and placing it on a web site is very easy.

Step 1: Create the icon. There are several ways to do this, but the easiest is to use an icon generator. A good one is favicon.ico Generator. This tool allows you to upload a graphic or draw it write within the system. It displays a preview before downloading the icon file and even allows a little animation if desired. Note: Internet Explorer does not support animated favicons yet, so a static icon will also need to be created. Once the graphic is correct, download it to your local computer.

Step 2: Make the icon appear on your web site. First, load the icon file (always named favicon.ico) to your web site hosting space in the root directory. Second, add the following code to your web site pages in the header and then load them to your hosting space. Note: Replace 'tbhcreative.com' with your web site address.

 

That's it. You should now see your favicon when you type in your URL.

Check out these top-rated and clever Favicons

TBH Creative's favicon tip: If you can use your logo, that is best, but unfortunately not all logos work well as a favicon. If there is a logo mark, that is usually the best option. Take a look at Google's current favicon [ ]. They used the letter G with an interesting use of color around it. This is a clever alternative.

TBH Creative is a full service web site company located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We specialize in custom and creative web design and develop online software for businesses. Visit our web design portfolio.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Site for Indiana Woman Business Owners PAC

TBH Creative offered in-kind services to Indiana Woman Business Owners PAC for the design and development of their first web site. The web site launched today and you can visit it at http://www.iwbopac.org/.

Did you know? There are 139,140 majority women owned firms in Indiana. These businesses generate over $20 Billion in sales annually and employ over 100,000 people. The numbers are also increasing at 40% a year. Woman owned businesses play a critical role in the Indiana economy. The Indiana Women’s Business Owners PAC is positioned to plan for the future. Check out the new site.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Photoshop tricks every web designer needs to know

Below is a great source of Photoshop tricks and techniques -- from how to create smoke to tips for beginners. This collection is a great reference!

62 Killer Photoshop tricks By Design Juice

  1. Making a Photoshop shield
  2. 11 Super Awesome Photoshop Movie Effects
  3. Photoshop hints and tricks
  4. Photoshop Tips and Tricks for Beginners
  5. Top 5 Photoshop Tutorials
  6. Five Simple Photoshop Tricks I Bet You Don’t Know
  7. 100 Awesome High Resolution Photoshop Brushes
  8. 53 Ultimate Tips For Better Photoshopping
  9. Photoshopped eyes
  10. 10 Photoshop Masters
  11. How to turn your photo into movie-like effect using Photoshop?
  12. Photoshop Text Effects Round-Up: 51 Text Effect Tutorials Every Designer Should See
  13. Free Photoshop Plugins
  14. 2 Minute photoshop tricks
  15. Removing Backgrounds Quickly in Photoshop
  16. Making a Print-Ready Business Card Using Only Photoshop
  17. 101 Hidden Tips & Secrets For Photoshop
  18. Ultimate Web 2.0 Layer Styles - Free Download
  19. Photoshop Brushes
  20. Top 5 Photoshop Tutorials
  21. Slicing CSS to Photoshop
  22. How to Create Professional HDR Images
  23. Super Slick Dusky Lighting Effects in Photoshop
  24. Photoshop Secret Shortcuts
  25. PhotoShop - Smoke Effect
  26. Vanishing point
  27. Web 2.0 style buttons
  28. Special Effect tutorials
  29. Create a software box Photoshop Tutorial
  30. 10 CSS Tips from a Professional CSS Front-End Architect
  31. Photoshop Tutorial: Fountain of Youth
  32. How to Make Real life stuff Anime style
  33. Taking Control Over Depth Of Field
  34. Loads of Photoshop brushes
  35. Use YouTube to learn Photoshop
  36. Photoshop Tutorial: How to Make a Web 2.0-Style Logo
  37. Free Photoshop-compatible Plugins
  38. How To Make Digital Photos Look Like Lomo Photography
  39. Creating a Stunning Old-World Look in Photoshop
  40. Getting rid of blemishes
  41. 10 Photoshop Masters
  42. How Web 2.0 Logos are drawn (Photoshop)
  43. Magic lighting effect in photoshop
  44. Jelly Remake
  45. Photoshop Tutorial- Polished Text
  46. Photo to Pencil Sketch
  47. 18 Exceptionally Useful Photoshop Shortcuts
  48. Creating Smoke in photoshop
  49. Creating a 3D effect with image editing software (GIMP or Photoshop)
  50. How to Remove Tourists from Your Photos
  51. Photoshop Tutorial- Perfect Pixel Patterns
  52. Applying a Realistic Tattoo
  53. Simple and Effective Photographic Results for Beginners
  54. How to Make a Folder Icon
  55. The top 10 new things you can do with Photoshop CS3
  56. How to: Old Map Effect in Photoshop
  57. How to: Colorize B&W Images in Photoshop
  58. simple perspective technique
  59. Colorize part of a picture
  60. Making 3D Logos and Objects in Photoshop
  61. Learn how to make a blue glossy button
  62. Change the color of your car body
  63. Detailed Photoshop tutorial that shows how to make a cool starburst effect.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Top 10 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Myths

There are so many different things people are saying you should do in order to increase search engine optimization. Unfortunately, search engine algorithms are continually changing, so some of these things are not truly effective and other are no longer as effective as they once were.

Below is a summary of "myths" often said to increase your results and some additional comments from TBH Creative.

1) Use a Keyword Rich Domain Name:
It is widely believed that if you include your keywords in your domain name like www.professional-website-design-in-nj.com it will greatly improve your rankings. This is not true. It is best to choose a domain name that is short, easy to remember and if possible includes your company name.

2) Google Partnership: If you are ever approached by a company claiming to have a partnership with Google, run in the opposite direction. There is no such thing as a "preferred" relationship with Google and in fact on Google's website it even states: Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google.

3) Meta Keyword Tag: It used to be that the Meta Keyword Tag was given a lot of weight in the early days of Search Engine Optimization, but people abused it and now it does very little. You may still want to include your keywords here, but know that it will not do much and in fact most search engines won't even check it.

Althought "keywords" are used only very little in your ranking, TBH Creative recommends that you include them anyway. We also encourages the inclusion of the meta tag "description" tag that will appear as the text in the results of search engine searches. Above the meta tags, each page should include a proper "title" tag that includes your targeted keywords.

4) Bold or Italicized Text: Adding emphasis to certain keywords like using bold or italics can make your text easier to scan for the reader if done properly, but has little to no effect on your search engine ranking.

5) Content Length: There is no search engine rule stating that your content needs to be a specific number of words in order to get indexed. Any recommended length is more to assist the reader in understanding what you do than to aid the search engines.

We recommend that you pay attention to the density of your keywords on any given page. For example, a ten paragraph page with two keywords is less effective than a two paragraph page with two keywords.

6) Duplicate Content: Posting specific content like an article or blog entry on your site and then on another site will not get you penalized. In the search results, Google will recognize that the content is the same and only choose one of the pages to display, but it will not hurt your overall search engine ranking.

7) Avoid Flash: Any text that you place in Flash will not be readable by a search engine, but this doesn't mean you have to avoid flash altogether. You can still very successfully incorporate Flash into your site through rotating pictures or a header on the page. Just don't have an all Flash site or use a Flash intro if you are interested in increasing your search engine rankings. 

Perfect answer! Listen to the professional you have hired about this and choose effective pages over "coolness"... unless you don't care about ranking at all.

Check out this article "Should my web site be in Flash?"

8) Pay-Per-Click: Some say that using Pay-Per-Click will help your organic listing while others say it will hurt. Both are false. The fact is that Google has gone to great lengths to separate the two departments of organic and paid listings to a point where the two departments don't communicate or even sit at the same table for lunch.

It is a good idea to use search engine marketing (such as pay-per-click) to compliment what you are doing for organic search results. Once your organic search results increase, you can decrease your pay-per-click campaigns.

TBH recommends that you monitor and adjust campaigns regularly to make sure they have a proper return on investment. Hiring a professional company for this service is never a bad idea - just ask for references.

 9) Update the Site Frequently: Updating your site often is a good idea if you have something new to say. Just don't change around a few words to accommodate the search engines as that won't help your listing at all. Regularly adding legitimate content like articles, press releases and blog entries will help though.

As you add relevant content, remember to keep old pages and content also. Google likely has indexed these pages and making them disappear is counter-productive.

10) Doorway Pages: Many companies will sell this idea of increasing your ranking by creating hundreds of one page sites loaded with keywords that link to you from various domains. This is considered spamming the search engine and is not recommended. If you properly optimize your site and focus on the correct way to get listed, you will improve your ranking much quicker than these doorway pages ever could.

These pages are also referred to as "gateway" or "landing" pages. The author of these valuable search ranking myths is Marc D. Ensign from Sign-N-Vision.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Indianapolis Web Design

Happy New Year Indianapolis!
TBH Creative LLC strives to provide high quality, creative, and reliable web site services in 2009. Give us a call at 317-577-0676 for more information about our web site design and development solutions.
~ Tatum Hindman, Owner
 

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