Monthly Archives: July 2014

What? That Can’t Be Right!

that_cant_be_rightHave you ever tried to research something on the internet (commonly known as “Googling”) and said “What? That can’t be right!” ? Well, I know that’s happened to me, and I’m usually right–it wasn’t right.

In my former career as a Personal Fitness Trainer, I was often called upon for information on the latest gadget, supplement or product. I would typically look it up on the internet or in my trade journals. What I found was that the latest, hottest thing was claiming bigger than life results with absolutely no regard to even the most elementary scientific studies.

Think back to your grade school days. In about fourth grade you probably did your first science experiment. Once you had your topic, generally a question you were going to answer, and hypothesis, generally what you expect the answer is to your question, then you do experiments to see if you are correct.

In your experiments you need to try different things: variables (Is this coming back to you at all yet?); have a control: what happens if you just leave it alone; and collect and analyze the data. Then you repeat the process at least two more times to make sure you are getting consistent results.

In my research of the newest fitness topic, I soon realized that companies were not following even fourth grade protocol. Many products were touted as the greatest simply based on one small study. The scientific community is supposed to share ideas, so “more research” can be done to prove it works (or not). So when a company won’t share their data or study information, that should raise a huge red flag.

My point with all of this is to help you get valid information off the web. Here are some tips:

Find a website that is reliable.

A .org website is meaningless. You do not need to submit documentation to get a .org web domain, so don’t use that to determine if the information on the site is valid. A .gov or .edu website is not issued unless there is substantiating documentation. Those are more reliable websites. Just because you saw it somewhere on the internet does not make it true.

Find a second and third source for the information.

This can be tricky. Sites will mention the same studies, which is not a bad thing, just be aware that you may be seeing the exact same information on more than one site. That does not satisfy the condition that the experiment/study needs to be repeated with the same results.

If you see the statement “more research needs to be done,” believe it. That usually means the study was small or the controls weren’t tight enough. It will usually say why.

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

That is such a great mantra. If you’ve struggled with weight loss and you hear about a revolutionary new product with all kinds of claims that don’t include the known factors of diet and exercise…you get the idea.

This past week, 7 days to be exact, I’ve been housebound with a for-real stomach virus. The 10-14 day kind. So I’ve spent a TON of time on the internet (I also read two nice big books), which is probably why I chose this topic for this week’s blog post. I even took a Facebook quiz. I found out that I am a Creative Genius. So tell all your friends to hire me to do their creative work. After all, I’m sure it’s right – I saw it on the internet!

Happy smart surfing!

Tips for a Great Website

 Tips for a Great Website

Marketing youweb designr small business can be a tough job.  Most small business owners don’t have the resources to hire someone to do it all for them, so they do the best they can on their own. If you find yourself in this position, I hope you have found this blog series helpful. This blog post (the last in the series) will focus on your website.

If you’ve followed this blog series, you have your logo, business card, and brochure. You might also have started creating a newsletter. Those are all great for getting organized to build a website. Here are some things to consider


This is where a lot of people get stumped. If you have a brochure, use that as a building block. Websites are an expansion of your brochure. Here’s where you toot your horn: give credentials, list awards, share the history of your company as well as your philosophy, mission, and vision. A lot of people are shy about sharing all their accomplishments during casual or business meetings. If you are one of those people, just hand over your business card (with your website listed, of course) and suggest they check you out. If you have a professional designation, tell people what that means…what do the letters stand for and how does that set you apart from your competition.

Obviously, your website should include your services or products. Whether you share your pricing structure is up to you and your industry. Take a look at what others are doing in your field.

You will also want to make sure you have a way that people can contact  you (Contact Us page). If you are a home-based business, you do not need to list your home address. Simply state that you are a home-based business and prefer the initial contact be via email or phone or whatever you are comfortable with.

Use the tried and true 5 Ws: Who, What, Where, When and Why

Who – who are you: a short bio of employees is appropriate. Pictures are nice, too, especially if they reflect the personality of your business (professional or more relaxed/candid).

What – what do you do/sell

Where – where are you, how do people reach you

When – what are your hours, are they set or by appointment only

Why – why should people do business with you, what makes you unique; include testimonials of existing customers.

Design Tips

All content should be written in the third person. With certain content, like a bio or mission/vision statement page, first person is OK, but set it off with quotes.


Not all fonts are web friendly. Keep that in mind as you dress up your website. Before you make it “public,” go to the library and look at it on their computers. Ask friends to see it on their devices. There are just a few fonts that are mobile-friendly. Just know that a fancy font may not look so fancy, if that particular font is not loaded on your customer’s or potential customer’s computer.


Use a color scheme that is in, or compatible with, your logo. Search the internet for color themes, if you are not sure. ALL of your pages should use the same “template” of colors and layout. If you change every page, visitors to your site will wonder if they are on the same site as they go from one page to the other.

Media: photos, videos and flash

Also, be VERY skimpy with fancy Javascript or “Flash” elements. They tend to slow down the loading of pages and people just don’t have the patience for that. If you need/want videos, don’t put them on the home page, with the exception of a SHORT intro video. Always put in a disclaimer if the video or flash is going to take some time to load, i.e., more than 5 seconds (no, I’m not kidding). Resize your photos to fit the space and no more than 72 pixels per inch.

Good luck on marketing yourself and your company. I would LOVE to hear what you found most helpful in this series. Also, please share other tips you have.