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Spread Your Business Footprint Around the Web

So you got a website? A Facebook Page?  A Twitter account?  Now what?!

Time to get your name out and put the web to work for you. Unfortunately your web presence does not work as easily as the infamous “Set It and Forget It” commercial suggests.  Here are some great ways to begin building a brand footprint online from the good people at Mashable.com.

HOW TO: Spread Your Business Footprint Around the Web

How to Spread Your Business Footprint Around the Web

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Effective Website Branding Tips

Branding.  What a broad topic!

And for many small businesses, it’s a topic that feels intimidating, expensive and out of reach.  But whether we know it or not, we are already branding ourselves with each interaction we have with the outside world.

So let’s ask ourselves: What does our brand already say?  What would we like it to say? With some basic steps you can begin taking control of your brand and begin seeing clear results.

More Branding Tips

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Your Project in 4 Easy Steps

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When we’re ready to start a new project, I’m often ask, “Well, what now?”  Glad you asked!  Here are the four basic phases to bring your website from dream to reality.

Plan

This phase includes your free consultation and proposal as well as research, planning and clarification of all the project’s requirements. Your input at this phase is crucial! You will be asked to provide examples of designs and functionality you like/dislike, content, images, logos, etc. that you wish to be included and a description of what you’d like the final project to accomplish.

Design

Here the look and feel of your site will be designed. You will be provided a proof of the design of the site for your approval before development continues.

Build

This is the nuts and bolts of the site! During this phase the design and the content will come together into a functioning website. Your site will be integrated with a Content Management System and any other functionality will be built. You will be provided with a final approval of the working site before it goes live.

Manage

Once your site is live, don’t forget about it! Several options are offered for ongoing site management to keep your content fresh and relevant. Contact Open Sky for more information.

Download a printable version of the Website Development Steps

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What’s in a name?

Before the Launch

Somewhere between the spark of a genius idea and the day of the big launch you had to answer the question, “So, what are we gonna call this thing anyway?”

Ahh… the joys of choosing a name, a legal name, a domain name, a Facebook page name, a Twitter name… basically, choosing your brand.  Don’t forget to cross your fingers and hope they are all available!

Here are a few tips on choosing your name keeping your website and domain name in mind.

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Avoid Abbreviations and Punctuation

You live and breathe your industry.  But your clients may not.  Abbreviations will not mean as much or (more importantly) be as memorable to them.  Worse yet, what if it means something completely different to someone?  That’s a bombshell for your branding image.  For example, does CPT stand for “Certified Personal Trainer” or “Captain”?  Or both?  This is a huge one to watch out for when selecting a domain name!

Speaking of domain names, do not, I repeat, do not use hyphens or underscores in your domain name.  This trend died back in 1999.  Try saying in a business meeting, “Check out my website at my dash awesome dash business dot com.”  Hmm, Somehow it just lost the punch.

Go Regional

Are you a brick and mortar business serving Jacksonville, Florida?  Then don’t be afraid to put “jax” or “jacksonville” in your domain name.  It will do wonders for your localized search engine listings!  It’s also a quick way to start going niche.  But there’s a limit to this one.  Watch out for being too clever for your own good.  “NEFL”  might mean “Northeast Florida”  but refer to the section above before you lock it in.

Be Descriptive

I started out as Open Sky by Karena.  That lasted about a month.  My pride had to realize NO ONE knew Karena and based on that business name, they also had no idea what I did or how I can serve them.  I quickly morphed to Open Sky Web Studio.  Much more descriptive!

Watch The Size and Sound

Is the name you have in mind bulky and long?  Is it complicated to say or remember?  Choose names that are to the to the point while still reflecting the culture of your organization.  Whether your industry is fun and whimsical, or formal and traditional, your name should carry that same feel.

Unintended and Confusing spellings

Oh, this is my favorite domain name nightmare.  (Can you say “favorite” and “nightmare” in the same sentence?).  Before buying a domain name, write it down, as one long run-on word, in all lower case letters.  Then ask a random person to look at it and pronounce it.  Are they confused about where one word stops and the next starts?  Does it look weird? Often when a word ends in a vowel and the next starts in one, the eye gets confused.  Your domain will so often be written/typed as a long run on sentence.  Don’t think capitalizing your main words is gonna get you out of this one.  Get a new plan now instead.

Consider the Meaning

Why Open Sky? When choosing a name, the image of an Open Sky spoke volumes to me.  Open Sky represents a wide upward range of possibilities.  It highlights creativity, vision and wisdom. I strive to deliver clean, crisp, professional and open site designs that are compelling.

The name just fit.

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