Tips, Tricks + Lists for DIY Marketers

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7 Things to Check Before Posting a Blog

Precision copy editing is not at the top of most people’s skill set. Outside of running spell check and making sure there are no wavy blue lines in the Word document, most blog writers feel they are ready to click “publish” as soon as they finish their final sentence. No one expects perfection on the internet anyway, they probably figure.

Although there is a certain level of laxity inherent in online writing, that doesn’t mean all bloggers should neglect basic proofreading. Having higher-quality writing on a website helps establish trust. Readers know that a writer who cares about his or her words is likely to care about his or her customers. Plus, it’s difficult to establish oneself as an expert in a field when one makes common spelling or grammar errors.

Here are seven basics that will correct most errors.

  • Beginnings and endings. Capitalize the first word of each sentence and end each sentence with some sort of punctuation, usually a period.
  • Capitalize names of people, places and titles. Everything else is usually lowercase. Avoid the impulse to capitalize a word just because it seems important.
  • Read the post out loud to yourself. Deliberately read each word as written, not the entire sentence as you meant for it to read. This is how you catch missing or duplicated words. Some people swear by reading the post backwards.
  • Check your apostrophes. Unless someone is possessing something, an apostrophe generally is unnecessary. For example: Jennifer’s book (yes, she possesses the book.) Jennifer is reading two book’s (incorrect, plurals don’t require apostrophes)
  • Watch out for homophones, which are words that sound the same but are spelled differently. For example: I slammed the breaks on the car (should be “brakes”) or Your getting good at grammar (should be “you’re”).
  • Run the spell check, but don’t put too much faith in it. It will not catch missing words, extra words, homophones, punctuation marks or incorrect words.
  • Double check numbers. Saying billion when you meant to write million can be a big problem. Know the difference between percent and percentage points. Make sure phone numbers aren’t missing digits.

Once you have some proofreading practice under your belt, you’ll likely start to see patterns or errors that you commonly make. Then you can use the “find” command to search for your troublesome words and give them a closer look.

18 May 2017

Taming Troublesome Homophones

The English language can be a tricky little monster. Context is king in a lot of situations, and too many of the words – called homophones -- sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. So what is a blogger to do if he or she is decent at writing but not an authority on some nuances? Proofreading is the easiest step in lending a blog post an air of authority and value. But even then mistakes can get…

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18 May 2017

5 Tips for WordPress Passwords that Stand Up to Attacks

Humans, for the most part, love the path of least resistance. We take the elevator instead of the stairs and we eschew grammar, proper spelling and punctuation on our text messages. But when it comes to website and data security, there is no substitute for creating strong passwords, even if they are difficult – or impossible – to memorize. Who among us hasn’t selected the laughable “Password1” when forced to add a capital letter and a number to newly created…

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15 May 2017

Understanding Brute Force Attacks and How to Avoid Them

Website security is one of the top concerns for site owners, and that’s as it should be. Failure to invest in a security certificate or choosing a less-than-reputable web host can lead to downtime or, worse, hacks into customers’ private information. Another common security risk is a brute force attack, and it’s not what you might guess. Brute force attacks have to do with passwords and how bad actors can gain access to your website without your knowledge. They calculate…

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12 May 2017

Social Media and Its Effect on SEO

To many people, the world of search engine optimization is something of a mystery. It can be difficult to understand how algorithms filter information, how the process can work to a business’s advantage and which factors affect results rankings. SEO is both complex enough that some people make a living mastering it but also accessible enough that company owners can make inroads on their own if they understand best practices. One of those best practices is routinely posting updated information.…

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27 Apr 2017

The Many Virtues of White Space

If there ever was a perfect application for the phrase “less is more,” it might be website design. The natural impulse is to fill every pixel with some sort of branded messaging in order to achieve business goals. But every good designer knows that not filling space is more effective. That’s where white space comes in. White space does not have to be white. The phrase simply refers to parts of a layout where no visual elements are displayed. Creative…

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19 Apr 2017

Clarity Reigns with Proper Use of Visual Hierarchy

If you’ve been involved in a design project recently, chances are you heard the phrase “visual hierarchy” come up at least once. A big-picture definition of the term refers to the placement of design elements in a way that denotes varied levels of importance. The interpretation of significance usually happens subconsciously, as the human eye goes automatically to elements in high contrast to what surrounds them. That means bigger and more colorful text stands out from small, black text, attracting…

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14 Apr 2017

Typography Terms and What They Mean to You

Type is the heavy lifter in the world of communication. First and foremost, it must convey a message. Whether you are talking about the type used on a book’s pages or type as part of a logo design, those characters make a big impact. But type’s role goes even further. In addition to communicating a meaning, it also must communicate a feeling. Swirly typefaces carry a different connotation than do heavy, square options. Tightly spaced letters convey a sense of…

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11 Apr 2017

Color Systems 101: From RGB to Hex

  When discussing the most important traits of any attractive design, color surely rates among the top three. Selecting the right color can make or break your messaging, whether you’re designing a business card, graphics for your service vehicle or a billboard. This is why it is so important to understand all the terms that designers use around color. Here are the four most common color systems, an explanation of what each means and where you will most likely encounter…

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03 Apr 2017

Just for Laughs + Googles: 10 Crazy Auto-Completes

  Google is an incredibly useful tool. Not only has its very existence revolutionized the way we find and process information, but it also dictates how we market our businesses in the online realm. The search engine’s influence on our lives is undeniable and powerful. It can also be pretty funny. How many times have you entered the beginning of a question into the search field and seen an outrageous auto-complete suggestion appear before your eyes? Trying to figure out…

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22 Mar 2017

6 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2017

The label of “hottest” advertising or marketing strategy is bestowed upon different methods depending on the day. in our technological age, the category of marketing can’t-misses is even more elastic. Although traditional media still have their place among advertising tools, this year’s trends are firmly entrenched in technology. Immersion From 360 videos to virtual reality, major companies are jumping on board the immersion-technology bandwagon. Luxury car makers are partial to 360 videos, which put viewers in the driver’s seat of…

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21 Mar 2017

Website Wellness // March 2017

Website Content: Well-Formatted Blogs Well-formatted blogs are important. Did you know you can get much stronger traction for your blog posts if you pay special attention to how they look? Readability is one of the key factors in whether visitors stay and read or bounce off your site. Don’t waste all your hard writing work by forgetting to include attractive formatting. Here are a few dos and don’ts: Do Include subheaders, bullets and numbered lists Divide text up with appealing…

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15 Mar 2017

5 Tips for Formatting Your Blog Posts

How your blog is formatted matters! Blogs provide an informational point of contact for your website. But did you know there are post-formatting tricks that can make your words more inviting and engaging to readers? We’ve gathered five great tips that will help you grab visitors’ interest and keep them reading until the very last period. Use Subheaders Case in point. Like the smaller bold headline to label this section of text. That’s what a subheader does; it creates a…

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08 Mar 2017

What Is an SSL Certificate and Why Do I Need One?

An SSL Certificate is a must-have! As a result of the many high-profile security breaches for large companies, the majority of online users expect the sites they visit to be secure and protected. It’s easy to believe that only big businesses and websites need to have a security certificate, but that’s just not the case. For a minimal cost, you can purchase an SSL certificate that tells online users that you care about their privacy and protection. What is an…

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01 Mar 2017

3 Reasons Why You Need Dynamic Portfolios on Your Website

  No matter what the nature of your business, whether it’s a nonprofit organization, a service company or a seller of products, having an online portfolio is vital to your success. It’s not just about showcasing your work, though that is important. It’s also about establishing your business from the outset as one that creates tangible, high-quality products or services. Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons to add a portfolio to your website or to reassess…

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27 Feb 2017

Marketing Materials Refined for Consistency

Marketing Materials Juliette’s House child abuse intervention center does important work in the community. That means it needs many printed and electronic materials to share its message in the full range of formats. In brochures and name tags and print ads, the agency reaches out the residents with its message of caring. After 237 Marketing + Web reworked the organization’s logo, we also refined several marketing materials. These changes were made to promote consistency, which improves the public’s recognition of the agency. The…

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15 Feb 2017

7 Rules for Killer Calls to Action

Most companies are in business to make money. Even those that aren’t, such as nonprofits, still have a service to promote. That’s why having a top-notch website is so important; it is the best tool available for educating potential clients and converting them into loyal customers. Action is Needed We’ve talked before about the importance of offering actionable items on your website pages. These may be simple calls to action, such as “contact us” buttons to click, or they could…

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14 Feb 2017

Juliette’s House Logo Gets Makeover

Before and After Juliette's House is a McMinnville-based nonprofit organization that seeks to help children and families affected by child abuse. It focuses on providing safe and familiar places for children to be interviewed for investigations, and it also offers prevention and assessment services. The Juliette’s House logo features a friendly yellow house with a chimney and a tree growing nearby. The agency’s name is written on the house shape in irregular letters, evoking the idea that a child drew…

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09 Feb 2017

The Pros, Cons and Best Practices of Popup Windows

It didn’t get a lot of fanfare when the plan was announced in August, but on Jan. 10 of this year, Google altered its algorithm so that sites that use certain types of popup windows could be penalized on search result rankings. This is not to say that sites with strong content and regularly updated information will drop to page 10 if they employ a popup. It just means that sites with intrusive popup windows may not rank as highly.…

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03 Feb 2017

Website Colors and Their Effect on Conversion

When it comes to website design, there are hundreds of little details that must be addressed in order to create an aesthetically pleasing, functional site. With all the big-picture decisions on the table, it is easy to overlook elements that seem inconsequential. But those tiny choices can ultimately have a major impact on the success of your site, especially when it comes to boosting conversions. The Importance of Color Take color, for instance. All companies should have their own color…

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17 Jan 2017

The Dos and Don’ts of Headline Writing

If you managed to carve out some time to write a great blog post or create an informative video, you don’t want your efforts to go unnoticed because you wrote a lackluster headline. Compelling headlines can be the difference between 10 clicks and 10,000 clicks, so it behooves you to take the time to craft a good one. Here is our list of dos and don’ts to help you fine-tune your online headline writing skills. Absolutely Do Not … Write…

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13 Jan 2017

Find the Best Web Hosting Partner for Your WordPress Site

Web hosting is a commonly overlooked part of the equation when companies are setting up their websites. Too often, owners just go with the most obvious or least expensive option, without putting thought into what will work best with a WordPress site. Sure, there are a lot of choices out there, but not all of them are a logical fit for the WordPress platform or for your specific needs. To help, we’ve created this primer to guide you through the…

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10 Jan 2017

Make Interaction Simple with Careful Contact Placement

Pop quiz! Quick: What is the top reason people visit your website? If you answered “information,” you get partial credit. The top reason online users go to specific websites is to find contact information. They may be looking to see where in their city your company is located or whether you have a Twitter feed they can follow. In either case, making contact with you in some way is their main goal. This is great news! It means members of…

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10 Jan 2017

Community Home Builders Materials Get New Life

Community Home Builders is a McMinnville-based non-profit organization that builds homes for low- and moderate-income families. The future homeowners work as part of the building crew not only on their own projects, but also on homes for other families. In the end, community members get affordable, long-term housing that already boasts value in sweat equity. In 2010, Community Home Builders celebrated 20 years of creating quality neighborhoods for residents in several Yamhill County cities. In all, these neighborhoods provided shelter…

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