Happy Christmas from the Chicago web designer

As much as I embrace American traditions some of my British traditions have yet to fall by the wayside. Every Christmas I make a “Christmas cake” which is a rich fruit cake ( I can hear the gasps from here..but when made properly they are quite yummy) covered in marzipan and iced with royal icing.  This battered old  Father Christmas (Santa) always sits atop. See here for a previous years cake

Merry Christmas from the Chicago Web Designer!

chicago web designer xmas

©:2010 Chicago web designer

The Three Fold Power of Referrals

A fair chunk of my projects come from client referrals.  One of  my latest projects, Spring Willows Farm, was a referral from children’s author,  Cynthia Reeg ( thanks so much Cindy!).  What’s not to love about referrals, they are a powerful   win-win-win for all concerned.

The New Client

Hiring a web designer can be a daunting task. Where do you begin. A simple Google search for “chicago web designer” yields a whopping 2,610,000 results. Even if you just evaluate companies on the first 3 or so pages that can take a lot of time and can you be sure the companies are a good fit for your project in terms of expertise, experience and even budget. For a new client, a referral, or even a number of referrals can be invaluable time saver and pre-screening process.

The Referring Client

When referring, personal reputation is on the line.  The referring client is placing their trust in you to do not only a good, but a great job. Their experience  working with you has obviously been excellent and they want the same experience for the “new client” A few years back a client sent me a number of referrals and at the end of each project I’d let them know they were complete. Their response was always  “you make us look great”. Mission accomplished.

The Web Designer

A referral is the greatest form of flattery a client can give and is the ultimate validation that you did a great job for them.  It is a good solid lead that more often than not will lead to a new project. More clients = more potential referrals.

So there you have it the three fold power of referrals.

©: 2010 Chicago Web Designer

12 Months of Web Design

As the year rolls to a close I like to take a look back at the projects I’ve worked on over the year. On the work front it has been a busy year which has been amplified by relocating from St Louis to Chicago.  Moving is such hard work but I am loving Chicago!

Websites have dominated the work load over the last 12 months but we have had a fair number of logo and branding projects too.

Here is a showcase of 2010 web sites

January: zoefeast.com

February: stroco

March: hardscapestl.com

April: Fair Market inc

May: Breeze Law

June: Peter Meder & Company

July: Burns Recovered Support Group

August: Clinical Ophthalmology

September: Zagros Robotics

October: Eye of the Chicago web designer

November: Spring Willows farm

December: Solon Gershman, nearing completion!

©: 2010 Chicago web designer

Tips for using your Social Media Profiles for SEO

Do you have a Twiter,  Facebook,  LinkedIn, Google or any other social network profile? Are you getting the full SEO (search engine optimization) potential from these profiles? Here are a few tips to maximize the possibilities they offer.

Direct Links

On just about every social networking site, when setting up your profile you will have the opportunity to link to at least one external web site. Make sure you fill out those sections and test then once your profile is live.  Links you may want to consider adding are your company web site, blog or links to your other social profiles.

social profiles links

Search Engine Page Results (SERP)
Building a robust profile and not just  completing the “bare minimum”  can really help dominate the search engine page results. The more information you can add to your profile the better, you are building authority. It is also important to not just build your profile but participate within the network too.  Here is a simple example of a Google search on my name, the social networks dominate the return of the search.

Brand Awareness
Present yourself in a consistent way across all social media networks so there is no emotional disconnect for users visiting more than one of your social network profiles and getting confused brand message.  Make sure your web site has links to all your social media platforms.

Drive Traffic
When participating in social media promote links in posts or tweets. The more useful the information you share the more others will re tweet or share which can build considerable traffic to targeted pages on your site.

Delivery top quality content on your web site is so important for getting it to rank well in the search engines. Conversations, comments and ideas generated within your social media network can be great inspiration for blog posts or site content in general and help keep your content fresh and up to date.

©: 2010 Chicago Web Designer

Eye of the Chicago Web Designer: Creativity is Genetic

The holiday season started early for me today when I was presented with a fabulous homemade advent calendar lovingly designed and constructed by my 12 year old daughter.  Creativity is without doubt a genetic trait! She has no interest in web design and wants to be an architect. She has inherited her creativity from me but  is a spitting image of her Dad .

She will be highly annoyed that I have featured her on my blog but here she is with her wonderful gift. Today’s treasure was a packet of ice cubes, I’ll keep you posted on what’s behind each door.

©: 2010 Chicago Web Designer