We thought it would be interesting to show how we designed our new logo. Check out the video of how it was made (and some cool music)! Shout out to Ronald Jenkees for letting us use his music in this video. If you haven't heard of Ronald before we highly suggest you head on over to his web site and YouTube channel to check him out. And when you're done, let us know what you think!
How can you have an effective website that’s entertaining and still professional? Keep it real.
We blog, we tweet; we wander wireless highways. It’s a conversational revolution and if your site’s not contributing to the dialogue, cyber-travelers will move on.
In an attempt to be slick, some websites indulge in ultra-minimalist, intentionally vague verbiage and over the top graphics that do nothing to promote their products or services.
If you go too far to that extreme you’re taking your eye off the ball. Why be the Super Bowl ad remembered for the incredible effect or the clever tag line and not the product? A complete defeat of purpose, don’t you think?
On the other hand, even if you run a buttoned-up law firm, you need to demonstrate approachability. Your website needs to be written so it will be read: short paragraphs, powerful verbs, and liberal use of sub-headers topped off with humor and a dash of humility. Less is more today, but the less has to be more.
And regardless of your website budget: make sure your branding is solidly evident, your site easy to navigate, and always remember that it is all about them and the value you bring to their lives!
While we suggest you contemporize your site by lightening it up, remain true to your personal style, and project the authentic face of the company; you’re still a business owner. You have a responsibility to be honest in your claims and clear about the products and services you offer.
Your website is the face of your company. It needs to reflect who you are and what you do. While it helps to brand your business, your site should also function easily and actively promote the aspects that distinguish you from everyone else.
We’re picking on CrackerBarrel.com this week to illustrate website weaknesses that you should avoid.
This is a great company and is one of our favorite restaurants, but we feel the site is pretty horrible. How do visitors react who have never been to the restaurant? I guarantee their current site is costing them some business. We’d really like to know what you guys think.
So check out the Cracker Barrel site; if you’ve ever been to one of their restaurants they have a decidedly unique appeal, but unfortunately we get no sense of that here:
Header Navigation (About Us, Menu, Online Store, etc.): Very hard to read and most of the icons don’t effectively convey what they reveal.
Logo Placement and Sizing: There is nothing about the site that makes you feel you are immersed in the Cracker Barrel experience.
Their very recognizable logo is the least outstanding figure on the site.
The links on the left column navigation bar sort of look like afterthoughts.
Instead of a Locations link, there really should be a prominent spot on the Home Page to enable a search of the location of the nearest restaurant. It should also provide the address, phone number, hours, and menu of those locations.
They’ve got these great trivia games that are integral to the Cracker Barrel model, but the games page does not endorse the restaurant at all! It features neither the logo or a great tag line or a link to daily specials or anything! If a visitor comes from a search engine directly to this page they probably won't even realize they're on a restaurant's website, let alone Cracker Barrel’s. So what good are these games if they're not advertising the company?
And for our final lambast on poor Cracker Barrel:
Their restaurants have a very nostalgic feel both inside and out. The website, although it feels extremely dated, doesn’t really convey the attitude of the restaurants.
In other words, a site’s design can still be modern (clean, bold, easy to read and navigate, and build brand awareness) while staying true to the concept. Visitors like the look of nostalgia, but they are less than patient when sites “act” old. Cracker Barrel is not visually or effectively shouting out.
Our bottom line here is that a better designed website and interface could greatly benefit them and anyone else who takes a cue about what not to do. We’d appreciate your buy-in…if you come across a site that you believe requires a cyber-assessment, please let us know in the comments. And if you disagree with any of our opinions, then we really want to know that too!
There was a brief web server outage in our shared hosting environment today around 12:00PM (noon) EST. This outage was due to an upgrade being performed to our PHP installation to insure we were running the most secure and reliable version currently available (version 5.3.2). After completing the upgrade it was determined that our client's using the CMSMadeSimple content management system were not able to browse their web sites. It turns out that CMSMadeSimple is currently not compatible with the 5.3.x version of PHP and only functions with versions 5.2.x. For this reason we have chosen to instead upgrade to PHP version 5.2.13.
We have tested various sites following this upgrade and have confirmed that this upgrade did not negatively effect any of our clients. The outage totaled less than 5 minutes and many of you probably didn't even notice. Please rest assured that we will continue to do everything we can to keep these outages to a minimum while maintaining our shared hosting environments to insure we're using the most secure and reliable software available to serve your needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
One of our generous clients recently reported a phishing email they received this past weekend. The contents of the email are below:
Dear Email Account Users,
Your mailbox has exceeded the saver storage limit which is 20GB as set by
your administrator,you are currently running on 20.9GB,you may not be able
to send or receive new mail until you re-validate your mailbox. You are
required to do this before the next 24 hours of receipt of this email or
your database will be erased and De-activated from our database.
To re-validate your mailbox please send your
Your account can also be verified immediately within 24hours
If you receive any emails that request your username, password, or any other private data (credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.) please do not respond. We will never request such information from you via email and all requests for this type of information should be ignored. If you receive any of these emails feel free to forward them to our abuse department (email@example.com) so we can look into them further. If you're unsure about whether you should respond please don't hesitate to contact us and let us help you make that decision.