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Making Pretty Pixels

Whether you're a client or not, we believe in good design, solid programming and bringing your information or products to the world. We talk about that here.

In Pod We Trust

Luminary has raised $100m, and the rest of the podcast industry is listening

The podcast network Luminary just closed a round of $60m in fresh cash, bringing its total amount of funding to more than $100m. 

Unlike other ’casting competitors that have been acquired by larger companies like Spotify for princely sums of cash, Luminary has remained independent by charging for its star-studded subscription products.

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Tastebud Tours Promotional Video

This was fun and challenging! We needed to produce a video to promote a food tour in Chicago for a new client of ours. The challenge? We had limited video to make it exciting. So, hours of research went in to, first, understanding the Chicago World's Fair was all about, then finding the archival photos and video to accompany. Our first run produced an educational but rather boring production. So, we went back to the editing room (computer) and came out with this little gem!

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Church Marketing: We Do That

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We honestly don't know how it happened but we work for a lot a churches! None of us have a degree in theology nor did we actively seek out this market, yet here we are. And, we're pretty good at it.

It started with a new church that reached out to me years ago. I was given free reign and developed their brand, web presence, print and signage. The church enjoyed tremendous growth and went from meeting at a Holiday Inn to buying their own brick and mortar building. We did a lot of fun stuff, both online and within the church. They were clients of ours for nearly 12 years until the pastor retired and moved to Florida. After that, we added churches in Ohio, Florida and Indiana to our growing list of houses of worship.

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39 North Conservancy District Video

This client is the reason we got into aerial imagry. The area is so large, only aerial perspectives would do the job. So, we bought a drone and pulled on our 40 years of collective (ground-based) video experience.

The 39 North Conservancy District's Opportunity Corridor is located north of La Porte, Indiana on State Road 39 and Interstate 80/90, the crossroads of the Midwest. Exit 49 off the Toll Road directs thousands of automobiles into the district daily.

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The Sculptures at PNW


Slow motion, aerial video, good copy, a little music and a nice voice tells an emotional story.

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We Now Offer Aerial Video and Photography


We bought a drone. It's easily one of the coolest gadgets I've ever bought. While traning myself on it's proper use, I had so much fun! I was even getting up at 5 a.m. to get morning shots for the promtional video we put together (below).

Thanks to my years in TV and video production, I can take the raw footage and actually bust out a nice, finished production. I hope you agree.

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How to Market a "District"

How to Market a "District"

Brand creation and marketing businesses or organizations is pretty straightforward for us. We've gotten many clients online with an impactful brand and web presence. However, one if our newest clients has turned into an interesting challenge. The 39 North Conservancy District in LaPorte County, Indiana is a connector to Indiana Toll Road 90 here in northern Indiana. Their task is to attract residential, commercial, industrial and rail businesses to build on a specific stretch of State Road 39, which has an entrance onto the toll road.

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Google’s Mobile-Friendly Notice is a Warning to Website Owners

I’ve posted about the importance of having a responsive or mobile-friendly website in the past but recently, Google has laid down the gauntlet. Google issued warnings to web developers and owners that as of April (2015), sites that are not “mobile-friendly” will be ranked lower in their search engines.

As of the 21st of April, Google warns, “we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

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Content Marketing Tips 



Content Marketing Tips 



Whether you have a well established business or heading out on a new venture, your content marketing strategies need to be improved/updated continuously for better results with the search engines as well as your online marketing objectives overall. The more time that passes, the more competitors you will have in your specific industry. And what has worked well in the past may not work effectively later. In a 2014 survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, "70% of marketers said that they are creating significantly more content than 2013 because of the really very stiff competition.”


No matter what kind of strategy you adopt, it will contain four steps. You need to do well in all the stages. The Four steps of Content Marketing Strategy are: 


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5 Tips to Providing Fresh Blog Content

5 Tips to Providing Fresh Blog Content

Fresh blog posts are a great way to generate traffic, keep readers returning and help increase the search engine rankings of your blog.

What's the most challenging part of blogging? For most bloggers it's providing content and maintaining a continuous schedule for posting. No doubt about it, it can be very tough, especially when you have a hoard of other responsibilities topping your to-do list.

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Responsive Web Design: Are You Ignoring Your Audience?

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Websites created using “responsive web design” provide the best possible viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a small amount of resizing and scrolling—across a wide range of devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones and tablets.

Five years ago this was an important consideration, yet many web designers ignored the idea. Users of mobile devices just accepted this is how things are. Today, it’s laughable to have a non-responsive site, and many of your online visitors will react negatively. If someone with an iPhone or Android, for example, has to pinch and zoom to search for your contact information, they may give up and hit the back button to contact the next listing on their search engine, which hopefully will be responsive and easy to navigate on those devices. Today’s savvy web users have little tolerance for a lack of modern technology in a website. They don’t have the time to search; they want a clean interface with an easy to use menu and contact information upfront.

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Differentiate or Die: What Poor Marketers Don't Understand

Poor marketers use common clichés and messy, meaningless or even misleading statements in promoting their brands. What too many don't understand is that the most memorable brands present themselves in an honest and marketable way.

When asked to make a case for why you should pick their products or services, too many fall back on the most trite, overused and meaningless creative, copy and tag lines, which no one believes.

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Can SEO really help sales? A double or nothing bet with a client.

Can SEO really help sales? A double or nothing bet with a client.

We spent over a year trying to convince our client that improving his search engine standings will improve sales. To this day, he's still not convinced. His point is that his particular clients don’t turn to Google to find companies like his. His business is telecom consulting. His company works to lower costs while improving the quality of fixed and mobile telecom for medium to large firms.

Current market research shows that almost 80% of companies are paying higher than market rates for telecom. His firm can save these companies 20% to 30% on these costs. This astounds me and is all the more reason to get him noticed on the search engines and social media.

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5 Reasons You Absolutely Must Optimize Your Website for Mobile

The fact is if you aren't optimized for mobile you're ultimately losing sales. It's estimated that 57 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30 percent will abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn't optimized for mobile devices.

Considering how important a website can be for any small business it seems only natural to take the extra care to ensure the website is mobile friendly. It's amazing to me how so many websites are still not optimized for a mobile experience.

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Bartering for Web Design Services

UPDATE 10/5/2015: We just secured the ultimate adventure/trip in Peru! Lima - Arequipa - Puno & Lake Titicaca - Cusco - Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu - Puerto Maldonado - Ica - Paracas are all part of our Peruvian tour, come spring of 2016. http://peruvian-sunrise.com is our new client and we couldn't be more excited about the opportunity.

We love to barter! It’s an easy way for those who may not have the budget or simply may have something valuable to offer in exchange for web design and other services.

We’ve had many successful barters, from landscaping in Indiana to a 3-month car rental in Bonaire. However, our favorite barter has been for beachfront vacation rental property in Florida. The property owner wasn’t getting as many renters as she had hoped, so her place was pretty much empty anyway. Additionally, by building a web presence along with some SEO, she could actively market her rental, working towards her occupancy goal. So, the barter was a win/win without question.

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Those Three Letters ... SEO

Those Three Letters ... SEO

You hear them thrown around all the time. People are always telling you it's important for the success of your online presence. But what exactly is Search Engine Optimization or SEO? It's not what it once was, that's for sure. The problem is, I see references to outdated definitions of SEO on a fairly regular basis.

Here's my definition: SEO is a multidisciplinary group of White Hat (wholesome, search engine approved) tactics that seek to make a technically sound and connected website and its content highly relevant and valuable for both search engines and searchers. This includes those who are searching for products (consumers) or those who are looking for specific information. Basically, it's getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” listings on search engines to your website.

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How to Make Money on the Internet

How to Make Money on the Internet

This is one of the most misunderstood questions I’ve ever come across regarding the Internet. Most start-ups believe “If you build it, they will come.”

We had an inquiry a few years back from a woman that wanted to sell her hand made peanut butter cups via an online store. That’s it, just peanut butter cups, like the ones Reese’s sells. She had no previous experience running a candy store or any store for that matter. She was also pumped up because she was a member of a number of young professional entrepreneurs clubs, so she assumed the marketing feedback from them was enough. Although, based on her insistence, I could have taken her money and built the site, I knew this was a bad idea and told her as much. Her feelings where hurt, and she eventually built her site; it was gone within 6 months.

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Tips For Working With A Web Designer

Tips For Working With A Web Designer
I ran across this well written post by Paul Boag that I believe offers great advice when working with a web designer. As budgets and time allotment for web design seems to be getting smaller and smaller, working more efficiently and keeping open communication will help ensure the projects goes off as well as possible. Much of what he says we already practice. In fact, we use a collaboration tool called Basecamp, which organizes the project much better than email and phone calls. It also allows time tracking and archiving of projects for future references. We currently use a third party but are testing our own solution. Originally Posted by: Paul Boag On Wednesday, 10th April, 2013 http://boagworld.com1. Try not to rush the process

Increasingly web projects are becoming squeezed by limited budgets or tight deadlines. This is one of the best ways to damage the quality of work you get from your web designer. Producing something truly exceptional takes time. Not just time actively working on the project but elapsed time too. The web designer needs time to consider his options and think about different approaches. The longer you give your web designer to think, the better the work.

Of course actual hands on time is incredibly important too. Without it your design will be less polished and the underlying code fail to stand the test of time.

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Review: EasyBlog by StackIdeas

Review: EasyBlog by StackIdeas

Joomla, the popular content management system, is understood to be a blog at its core. However, the platform is so advanced, that the actual use of it as a blog isn’t anywhere near as easy as WordPress to set up and begin blogging. Plus, requires the installation of multiple plugins and modules to get it to look like one would expect a blog to look like. Consequently, I began my search for an all-in-one blog component for Joomla that’s rich in features yet easy for my clients to use.

I looked at a number of components to answer the need but kept coming up empty handed. Perhaps many of these blog extensions were just too young but my biggest issue was none of them were intuitive enough to pass muster. If my client had to email me for a reminder as to how to post a blog, I have no use for such a component!

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This may be a "No Duh" but we answered anyway: Why does your business need a website?

Websites are an essential component to doing business in today's world. With the growing desire to have access to information available anytime at our fingertips, it's simply expected by potential and current customers! In fact, fewer and fewer businesses DON'T have a website.

1. Establish A Presence

Everyday, more and more people search for services and products online than every before. Our habits are changing. People move to a new area and very often rely solely on the Internet to learn about the new area, research and find out who to go to for what. Most people are coming to expect that any professionally run business will have a web site. With a well-designed site your small business becomes a real player both on and off the net. The more people know about you and your company the greater the chances you have for attracting new customers. More is generally a good thing when running a business, unless you're talking about expenses!

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