Categories
Web Development

Relaunching rebelcook.com for Rebel Cook Real Estate, Commercial / Industrial Property Specialists

A Featured Listing from rebelcook.com
A Featured Listing from rebelcook.com

The re-launch of rebelcook.com comes as something of a milestone. Rebel is a Commercial and Industrial Real Estate specialist and well known in Palm Beach County as the leader of the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County.

I’ve updated the Economic Forum website twice over the past couple of years, adding event scheduling and RSVP functionality and most recently converting it into a WordPress site. Over that same time period, I’ve produced a couple of draft redesigns of rebelcook.com, but never quite convinced Rebel to sign off on one of them. Classic case of her not knowing quite what she wants until she sees it. She paid me for my work, but stuck with her old website, even though to my eyes it was quite outdated. As I became more active with the Economic Forum, she would introduce me to people as her webmaster and then brag about being my “most difficult customer.”

Part of the problem was that we had mostly worked on these designs long distance. I had tried collaborating with her over GoToMeeting web conferences, and we got the latest economicforumpbc.com redesign done that way. But coming to an agreement on rebelcook.com was tougher, maybe because the original design had been produced by her son. We seemed to keep getting closer to agreement without ever quite arriving at it.

Finally, it got to the point where I had implemented a feature she really wanted, integration with the LoopNet directory of real estate listings, on the unreleased test site but not on the live site. The breakthrough came when I convinced her that the best way to cut to the chase was to schedule a time when I could come to her office, make changes to the site on the spot, get immediate feedback, and make more changes until it was done. We did that on Friday, and by the weekend the new site was live.

I’ll have to remember that it may pay to get more work done face-to-face with a client, rather than long distance.

Some of the design elements such as the logo and “graph paper” background are holdovers from the original, created for the firm by her son. But this version runs on the WordPress publishing platform, making it easier to add new listings (published as blog postings), as well as press clippings from her frequent quotes on the state of the real estate markets in the local newspapers.

Most of the firm’s listings are actually published through the LoopNet service, but those listings are framed so they appear within the same navigation scheme as the rest of the site. We’re running two or three featured listings on the home page, plus the residential listings Rebel’s firm manages, since LoopNet doesn’t handle the residential stuff.

Next likely upgrade: the addition of a MailChimp email list, similar to the one we recently introduced for the Economic Forum.

Categories
Clips Forbes.com small business SMBs Web Development

Forbes.com column on technology for small to midsize businesses

The new gig is coming together well, but it’s a lot of work to crank out 2 of these columns a week while trying to keep all the other plates spinning, both other writing assignments and the web consulting business.

Here’s what I’ve written about so far:

There is going to be a continuing emphasis on the Internet and the “cloud” (the latest jargon for Internet native business applications and the technologies that support them). I think it’s important to take time out to address more pedestrian issues like how to keep the books of a company, which is why I did the piece on QuickBooks and hope to do more on small business topics that are down to earth (not up in the clouds).

Suggestions welcome.

Categories
Presentations Social Media Web Development

Web Strategy Workshop Presentation Slides

Thanks to the Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce for hosting my workshop, “Is the Web Working for You?” (Workshop Slides). We got just enough people to fill the conference room at the chamber offices, and they seemed to be interested and engaged in what I had to tell them.

Biggest point of confusion seemed to be over the purpose of social networks, particularly Twitter. I’ll have to post some follow up thoughts here about strategies for what social networks to join and how to use them.

I’d also welcome follow up questions from attendees or anyone else who may read this. Knowing your questions is really useful as I look for topics to address in my Forbes.com column on small to midsize business IT issues.

Categories
Clips Email Marketing Forbes.com Web Development

My column launches on Forbes.com – IT Issues for SMBs

I’m now doing a column for the Fobes.com Business Intelligence channel on information technology issues for small to midsize businesses.

First column: Don’t Lose That Web Site on domain ownership problems that plague a lot of small organizations (and some that ought to know better). I’d still like to do an expanded version of this story for another publication, as there were a lot of details I had to leave out. (I also blogged about the topic here: The Danger of Losing Control of Your Internet Domain)

Second column will be for all the QuickBooks users: as your business grows, how do you know when it’s time to graduate to something more sophisticated (and typically more expensive). This will be a twice weekly feature, so I welcome suggestions on story ideas.

Categories
Web Development

Free Workshop: Is the Web Working for You?

I will be presenting this free workshop through the Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce on February 24 at 3:30 p.m.

Is the Web Working for You?

A FREE Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce Workshop

Your website, email marketing, and presence on social media sites like Facebook should bring you business and let you do business more efficiently.

Yet using these tools inappropriately can drive customers away and waste your time and money.

This seminar will show the right way to:

  • Bring customers to your website
  • Make the right impression once they arrive
  • Plan for regular updates and fresh content
  • Leverage email and social media marketing
  • Maximize your use of free resources
  • Learn from the best. How to imitate Amazon and Google, or piggy-back on their services

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
3:30 p.m. at the
Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce

About the Speaker

David F. Carr writes about information technology for small to midsize businesses for Forbes.com. As Technology Editor of Internet World and Baseline Magazine, he researched the inner workings of Google, Yahoo, MySpace, and other Internet giants.

Through Carr Communications, David consults on Internet and communications strategy.

Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce
11805 Heron Bay Blvd
Coral Springs, FL 33076
954-752-4242

Look for the building with the green awning, opposite the Heron Bay Marriott

RSVP to rsvp@cschamber.com or 954-752-4242

David F. Carr can be reached at david@carrcommunications.com or 954-757-5827

Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Categories
Web Development

Website re-launch: OliveBelcher.com Waterfront & Luxury Real Estate

The olivebelcher.com home page
The olivebelcher.com home page

Carr Communications is proud to announce the re-launch of olivebelcher.com, a website we revamped for Olive Belcher, the leading waterfront and luxury real estate specialist for Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Highland Beach, and surrounding communities.

The new home page design took advantage of some promotional art she had purchased, originally for a postcard mailer, which I was able to modify to work on the web.

Her old site suffered from too many slow-loading pages because of the way images of the different properties were organized and coded. Now, each property has its own distinct web page with its own photo gallery. Putting the properties on individual pages also creates the opportunity for each home she is selling to be indexed by the search engines or promoted with targeted advertising. Each listing also features widgets like a Google Maps display of the location and a mortgage calculator.

The site was created in WordPress using the Shades of Blue theme by StudioPress, the Great Real Estate plug-in, and my own modifications.

Categories
Domain Registration Web Development

The Danger of Losing Control of Your Internet Domain

One thing that many small businesses, nonprofits, and political campaigns I have dealt with fail to pay attention to is ensuring that they have direct control over the Internet domain associated with their website and email accounts. Often, the domain is registered by a web consultant in the name of the consultant or consulting firm. Or sometimes, with nonprofits, it’s a volunteer who handles the registration and who winds up with the domain in his or her name. Unfortunately, this can cause the organization that rightfully should own that domain a lot of grief if the intermediary turns out to be unreliable, incompetent, dishonest, or just unreachable at a critical moment.

This is where your website and business email both go dead one day, seemingly without warning, because you never got the notices that your registration was about to expire. Or, you hire someone else to revamp your website, only to discover that you can’t “turn on” the new and improved version because you don’t have the necessary password and aren’t recognized by the domain registrar as having the right to access the account.

See also: My column for Forbes.com on this topic

Your Internet identity is an important corporate asset for you to protect. Failing to do so is the kind of mistake that seems obvious in retrospect but is easily overlooked by an organization focused on getting up and running on the web.

Categories
Web Development

Webinar: Is Your Website Working for You?

Please join me for an online show-and-tell on my website development and Internet consulting services (outlined here). This presentation will draw on my experience as an industry observer (at WebWeek, Internet World and Baseline Magazines) and as a web consultant.

The GoToMeeting service will allow me to give you a presentation over the Internet, from my computer to your computer. I can show slides and give guided tours of websites while we talk.

1. Please join my meeting, Wednesday, October 7 at 1:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time.
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/join/431963875

2. Conference Call options:

  • Call in on the phone number listed below
  • Use the integrated Internet voice conferencing (VoIP) to join the call using your computer. A computer headset is recommended for best sound quality. There is also a text chat feature that will allow you to type in questions.

Dial 217-287-4111
Access Code: 431-963-875
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 431-963-875

The GoToMeeting service will accommodate up to 15 guests. Please write me (david@carrcommunications.com) if you plan to attend. If I get a big response to this invitation, I will  be happy to schedule another session. I am also happy to give the presentation in person to those of you in South Florida.

Categories
Site Launch Web Development

Re-Launch: Economic Forum of Palm Beach County

I’ve just re-launched this website at economicforumpbc.com as a WordPress site, using a variation of my event scheduling and RSVP management plug-in module.

screenshot

The visual design is based on the Azul theme by Switchroyale
and includes new logo for the group that I designed.

Categories
Site Launch Web Development

Website Launch: PYS Associates, LLC

The website of PYS Associates, LLC, is a good example of building a website around existing graphics. In this case, our client is a specialist in consulting with firms doing business in China and other Asian countries. He already had a nice logo and a watermark graphic that he used for print materials. We adapted them for use on the web and built the rest of the design (particularly in terms of color choices) around those elements. So we’re helping his address his needs for web-based promotion, while helping keep his branding consistent across online and offline media.

See it at http://www.pysassociates.com/