Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How to Double Your Number of Guests Posts

I recommend written by Daniel Scocco. I've learned lots of good blogging tips from him.

The Trick I Used to Double The Number of Guest Posts on This Blog

by Daniel Scocco

If you have a blog, you certainly like being able to feature guest posts, right? It is a situation where everyone wins. The guest blogger wins because he gets a chance to reach your audience. Your readers win because they get to read some good content and to see a different perspective on your blog. You win because you get a free piece of content and th opportunity to network with fellow bloggers.

The only problem is that receiving quality guest post submissions regularly is not that easy. If your blog is relatively new or small, in fact, it will be pretty hard to get people sending your their guest posts.

If you are in that situation, though, here is a trick you can use. When I started using it the amount of guest post submissions I was receiving on this blog doubled. Basically you need to write a post or page outlining the guidelines for guest posting on your blog. If you want to see an example of such a page check mine here.

Read More on How to Double Your Number of Guests Posts ...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

7 Mistakes to Avoid when Writing Email Newsletters

1. Be sure to backup your mailing list regularly. I recently had a client call me and ask for help in retrieving their mailing list. Someone in the office had cancelled their subscription to Mailchimp to save costs. And now they had no access to their mailing list database. When using third party software like Mailchimp, Constant contact, iContact, Vertical Response, etc, be sure to back up your mailing list monthly. There will be a function on their website that allows you to download your mailing list into an Excel spreadsheet. Do this regularly and you will not lose your email database even if you switch providers.

Need help with managing your email newsletters? Expand your network and gain new paying customers with our custom email newsletter design and email marketing campaigns. Contact Katy at

2. The HTML code used in Email Newsletters is different than HTML used in webpage design. Use tables for your email newsletters. Don’t use CSS. These HTML tags are not supported by many email programs: background-color, background-image, font-family, border, float, margin and padding.

3. Don't forget to design for Preview Panes. Every email software uses a different style of preview pane. Some are horizontal and some are vertical. Your call to action needs to be clearly visible in the preview pane. It’s a good idea to duplicate your call to action button to make sure it is seen by your audience.

Design your email newsletter to be 600 pixels wide. Left align your logo at the top. It is mostly the only thing they are going to see for sure.

4. Don't assume that images are going to be seen. Images are turned off in Gmail by default. Use the alt tag with all your images. This alternative text will show up instead of your image.

5. Too many images, not enough text. I recently received a newsletter that consisted of one large image – a screenshot of their home page. You click on this one large image and go directly to their website. This is very poor e-newsletter design. Using one giant image will usually get caught by spam filters.

6. Not testing in different email programs. There are dozens of email programs being used today to view email. Each one displays your email newsletter differently. is a popular email newsletter provider and it has a handy tool to show your email looks in many different browsers. It’s called Inbox Inspector by MailChimp.

7. The footer of your email is very important. CAN-SPAM laws require that you have an unsubscribe link in the footer and also a mailing address where you can be contacted. If you work from home, use a P.O. Box to keep your home address private. I recommend the UPS Store. They charge about $15.00 per month and you get a Suite # instead of P.O. Box.

Be sure to include these links: your call to action, forward to a friend and subscribe link for new readers.

Need help with managing your email newsletters? Expand your network and gain new paying customers with our custom email newsletter design and email marketing campaigns. Contact Katy at

Thanks for reading!

Happy Holidays,

Kathryn Laan,
Creative Director
Seascape Web Design

Phone: 604.729.4227



How to Get Great Testimonials from Your Clients

Oops, I forgot to post my November newsletter. Here it is:

November 2009

How to Get Great Testimonials from Your Clients

1. Ask your clients for their testimonials. Many business owners are reluctant to ask their clietns for testimonials. This is especially common in women who don’t like to toot their own horn. Clients love to talk about companies they like and most will be happy to give positive comments when asked to do so.

2. Call your clients as part of your follow up and ask for their feedback. They may not have time to write down a testimonial for you. Make it easy for them. Call your client on the phone and ask how they like your product or service. And ask for any questions or comments.

3. Offer to write it down for them. You could say something like "that would make a great testimonial for my website." Offer to write it down for them and send it to them by email. Ask them to edit or add anything they wish and also to authorize it.

4. Ask your clients to be more specific. If they say something like “you did a fantastic job”, ask them to be more specific and to describe a certain aspect of your service that they liked.

5. Ask for their permission. Be sure to ask the client’s permission to publish their testimonial on your website or in your brochure. Let them know how you plan to use it.

6. Refrain from editing your client’s wording. If your client sends you a written testimonial, use it as is. You can remove complete sentences if it’s too long but do not change the wording or the sentence order.

7. Include the client’s full name, title and name of their company, and city. If you use only the person’s initials, it could be anyone and is viewed as less trustworthy.

8. Offer to include a link to your client’s website in the testimonial credits. This will help promote both of your businesses at the same time.

9. Include a small photo of the person who gave the testimonial.
This makes it more personal and assures the reader of the truth of the testimonial.

For more Internet marketing tips, visit our blog at

Kathryn Laan, Creative Director
Your Website Marketing Experts
Visit Today!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Top ten ways to rank in Google’s top ten

Google is the most popular search engine. It is so popular that many people use the word Google as a verb as in “I googled you”. This means they used the Google search engine to find information about you. It’s important that your business website be found in the top 10 or 20 results for your keyword phrases. Most users don’t look past the first 2 pages of the search results. Here are some tips so you can rank in Google’s top 10.

1. Choose keywords that describe your services.
Narrow it down by including the city or area where you live. If you run a hair salon then your best keyword phrase would be “Vancouver hair salon”.

2. Use keywords in your Page Title.
Look at the top left corner of your browser. This is called the Page Title and is controlled by an HTML tag called Title. Be sure to put your keywords here and list them first before your website name. I see so many websites with the words Welcome or Home Page in their Page Title. This will not help you to rank higher in Google.

3. Meta tags description and keywords.
These are HTML tags called Meta Tags Description and Keywords. The Description is very important because Google uses the content in the Description tag to display in the search results. Describe the benefits of your services and include a call to action. List up to 20 keywords for the Keywords meta tag. Try to avoid repeating words as Google does not like duplicate content.

4. Page headings and subheadings. Use your keyword phrases in your content headers and subheaders

5. Use clear navigation.
Google can’t read Flash menus and will not be able to index your Flash site. It’s a good idea to have an HTML version of your Flash site online.

6. Have a sitemap that links to all the pages on your site.
You can use keyword phrases in your link text to each of the pages.

7. Backlinks are links from other sites to your website. Be sure to ask them to use your keyword phrase in the link text instead of the company name. Or use both.

8. Google Page Rank. Google ranks the popularity of your site by the number of sites linking back to you. This is recorded as your Page Rank. You will need to download the Google tool bar ( to see your website’s page rank. To increase your page rank, be sure to have lots of backlinks from sites that have a page rank of 3 or more.

9. Link Popularity. You can use this handy online tool to determine your link popularity. See

10. Use your keyword phrase in your website address. Using your keyword phrases in your domain name, directory names, file names is very helpful in improving your Google ranking.

Need to improve your Google ranking? Contact Katy for your FREE 1 hour website consultation (Valued at $149.00).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How to Survive a Computer Meltdown

When your computer dies, are you able to continue doing your business? We don’t like to think about it. But sometimes those little machines that we rely on every day to business, sometimes they do break down. Recently my video card died the day before a site was due to be launched and my computer would not start. Thankfully, I had complete website backups on my laptop and on my development server.

Many people are going on vacation so this is a friendly reminder to backup all your computer data files before you leave. Recently, two friends of mine have had the unfortunate experience where their laptops died. They did not have current backups of their email and their address books so they are having a difficult time retrieving their important contacts.

7 tips to keep your business going while your main computer is down:

1. Use Google Apps for your email service. You can set up your website email to work through Google Apps and use the powerful Gmail for your email service. It has excellent spam filtering which I appreciate so much. It also has a huge amount of storage space (25GB) for all your emails. It archives all your emails and has an excellent search tool. Can’t find an email message? Just type in the person’s name and all your correspondence with that person will show up. More info on using Google Apps for your email.

2. Be sure to keep current backups of your email folders and files including your address book. These backup folders are hard to find. Here are some links to instructions on how to backup your email address book and files. How to backup Outlook and Outlook Express.

3. Purchase an external hard drive to keep backups of all your work files and documents. I purchased the WD Book by Western Digital. It looks like a book and sits on my bookshelf. When I need to backup up my files, I plug it into a USB port and copy all the files over.

4. GoodSync is a great software tool that helps with making your backups and keeping them in sync. Read a review of GoodSync Or visit their website:

5. Keep a current backup of your work files on your laptop. That way if your desktop computer is in the shop or you are on the road, you can continue doing your business. When I bought my laptop, it was primarily to be more mobile, but I didn’t realize how valuable it was to have a backup computer so I could keep working while my desktop computer was in the shop getting fixed.

6. Keep offsite backups. I used to backup important files to DVDs, but now you can get large portable drives called USB Flash drives to make mobile backups of your data. Open a safety deposit box and keep a backup of important files on a flash drive and store in your safety deposit box. You can compress your data using Winzip and save on a flash drive.

7. Have a backup person who knows your business well enough to answer basic questions while you are not available. If you are called away due to a family crisis and not able to answer your email, it helps to have a reliable backup person. This is highly recommended for solo entrepreneurs.

Need a current backup of your website? Need to increase your contact database and double your sales? Contact Katy for more information.

Thanks for reading!
Have a great summer!

Kathryn Laan, Creative Director
Drupal Web Specialists
Visit Today!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Explode your Business Online in 2009

Building your business is all about marketing. Here are 7 tips to expand your business online in 2009.

1. Redesign your website regularly to capture your audience’s attention and be memorable. Use a content management system like Drupal so you can easily add a new design. You will also save time and money by editing and adding content to your own website.

2. Have moving images on your home page to capture attention. Instead of using Flash on your home page, use Drupal’s Image Rotator module. Most users can’t tell the difference and you will be able to upload new images yourself whenever you want to do so.

3.Improve your ranking in Google by writing articles to be published on the Internet. This will further raise your visibility and expert status. All articles have links with keyword rich text linking back to your website to increase your Google ranking. Our Drupal websites include an extensive Article Archive for your articles and newsletters.

Summer Special: Custom Website Re-design
Regular Price $1500.00 Now only $999.00*

- double your sales with our super effective marketing strategies
- your new website will include all the marketing tools described here
- convert your existing site to self-editing Drupal website
Contact or call 604.729.4227.

4. Make your new website multimedia friendly. Everyone has different learning styles, so be sure to include audio and video on your website. All Drupal websites come with video and audio support. Add how-to videos for your visitors to watch and learn from the master painter himself. Use Drupal’s Lightbox2 module to view photographs one at a time or in a moving Slideshow.

5. Use Social Media to promote your website. Our Drupal websites have the option of displaying your Twitter feed or new blog posts on your home page. Have links to social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter on your home page. Also have links to Social Bookmarking sites on your home page

6. Publish regular newsletters and blog posts. Put your newsletter subscribe box on every page so you can collect email addresses of visitors who are interested in your products and services. Use a service like Constant Contact to send out monthly house painting tips and special promotions. Build your website with a blog to publish short articles on house painting to further educate your prospects and establish you as an expert in your industry. Don’t like writing? You can publish info in your blog in audio or video format.

7. Make your website search engine friendly. All our websites include our basic SEO package which will lead to higher search engine rankings. Package includes integration of keyword phrases into your content, manual submission to the top 5 search engines and installation and setup of Google Analytics. Contact Katy for more information.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What is Social Media?

The following is a post from Daniel Scocco, author of Daily Blogging Tips.

I was browsing through my RSS reader today and came across an interesting post from Brian Clark, titled Since When Are Blogs Not Social Media?. Here is a quote from it:

I’ve noticed a strange trend lately.

For some reason, people seem to be equating social media with social networking.

At the same time, they seem to be treating blogging as something other than social media.

I found his post interesting because that trend is something I have been noticing myself. It looks like for many people social media is the collection of social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

Well, it is much more than that.

Social media are the various forms of user generated content and the collection of websites and applications that enables people to interact and share information online.

Complicated? Well here is a list of things that are part of the social media:

online forums (e.g., DigitalPoint)
blogs (e.g., WordPress)
social networking sites (e.g., Facebook)
social bookmarking sites (e.g., Digg)
video sharing sites (e.g., YouTube)
photo sharing sites (e.g. Flickr)
streaming sites (e.g., Ustream)
user reviews (e.g., Amazon)
crowdsourcing (e.g., Wikipedia)
content aggregators (e.g., FriendFeed)
As you can see, social media is much wider than what some people think. It is also much older. We could say that the first Usenet (a form of distributed discussion system) developed in 1980 was already social media.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Last night I attended the Vancouver Entrepreneur's Meetup at the Network Hub in downtown Vancouver. I met Tyler Wright the guest speaker. He asked me how to integrate his blog and his website together. Right now his blog is here: and his website is here:

Here's the advice I gave him. Maybe you will find it helpful, too.

Tyler, you asked about how to combine your blog and your website. Well, the first
thing to would be to install Wordpress on your own web host account at This is recommended since you are now using for hosting your blog, Wordpress actually owns all your content and if by chance they shut down your account,you could loose all the posts you have.

Once you have Wordpress installed on your own website, I think you can port over the
content from your account. (I need to check on this and find out the details.)

You can add pages to your blog like About Us, Home, Contact page and the blog would
be one of your pages or you can have the blog feed come up on your home page if you like. You can have your wordpress site custom designed so everything matches.

About Google Analytics, I will look into it for you. I'm thinking they track the statistics per domain name so I'm not sure you could keep all your old statistics to continue on with the new website. But this I'm not sure about. I will get back to you with more information.

I hope you found this helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Kathryn Laan,
Creative Director
Website Design and Development

Phone: 604.729.4227

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Top 7 Ways to Build Relationship with Your Prospects

Experts say that prospects need to have contact with you 7 times before they will feel comfortable buying from you. Here are 7 ways to nurture a budding business relationship.

1. Business cards often form a person's first impression. When you attend networking events and meet tons of people, your business card is something tangible your prospects can take home with them and refer to and remember you. Be sure to have your business card professionally designed with your branding and contact information including phone number, email address and website address.

2. Your website provides a professional image for your business. After hearing about you from a friend, the first thing they will do is go to your website to learn more about you and your services. Be sure your website is attractively designed by a professional and has a clear call to action. Having your website optimized for popular search terms is an excellent way to increase traffic to your website.

3. Email newsletters are a great way to educate your prospects with important tips and facts about your industry. They are much more than the latest news or photos of your kids. Use email newsletters to communicate your message and announce specials and promotions. Find out how to make sure your email newsletter is being read properly by your recipients.

4. Write in your blog regularly. It’s best to have a blog right on your website. That way you own your content. If you have a blog on which is owned by Google, it can be difficult to transfer all your blog posts to your own blog on your website. This requires custom programming. Also it is possible to lose your blog content. A colleague had been blogging for some time on and his account was shut down for no reason and he lost all of his content. Here at Seascape we are in the process of setting up our own blog to match our website.

5. Social Media is becoming mainstream and an important way to do business. We’ve already talked about blogging. Seascape Web Design recently started using Twitter. If you're new to Twitter, you can find us by going here: To follow us on Twitter, add @seascapeweb. We give important tips on Internet marketing and specials and promotions. Having a page on Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with work friends and make new contacts in your industry. Just keep those randy fun photos you took at the last party with your friends off your public Facebook account.

6. Networking groups are a great way to meet new people. Ask them about their business and how you can help them. When you receive a business card from someone, they are giving you permission to contact them. Add these contacts to your Contact database and send them your monthly newsletter filled with resources and information that your prospects will find helpful. Be sure to include your mailing address and an unsubscribe link to follow the Canadian anti-spam rules. Posting a copy of your newsletter on your website and having a link giving the reader the option of viewing your newsletter online is great. Many email tools do not display your newsletter the way you would like.

7. Send new prospects emails with questions and information that they have requested. Follow up with phone calls and request to meet for coffee to learn more about their business. This way you can provide a free consultation.

Need a more professional image for your website?

Need to increase online sales and lead generation?

Contact or call 604.729.4227.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Seascape Web Design is now on Twitter!

Seascape Web Design is now on Twitter! You can follow us at SeascapeWeb. Keep up to date with the latest happenings at our web design and marketing company including new projects, additions to our portfolio and information on effective marketing strategies.

To view our postings on Twitter, go to

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Here's a great FREE webinar coming up this month. Presented by
Date: April 23rd, 2009
Time: 11 am PST
Topic: How to Grow your Business Online

I attended the webinar today on "Marketing & Selling in Tough Times". I learned some valuable tips on sales and marketing my small business. This is my first webinar and it worked out great. I viewed the video of the presentation online and also the powerpoint presentation of the session notes. I dialed a toll-free number and listened to the audio on speakerphone since the VoIP wasn't working properly.

Webinars are a great way to communicate with your clients and prospects. WebEx is a great tool to present your own webinar.

For more information on upcoming webinars, go to:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

7 Internet Marketing Tips for HOBN

Tonight I will be attending the High Output Business Networking group in Langley. We meet at Newlands Golf Course in the upstairs Lounge called Winner's Sports Bar. Meeting starts at 5:45 pm and the address is 21025 48th Avenue, Langley, BC.

Here are 7 Internet Marketing Tips that I will be sharing at tonight's meeting.

1. Stand out from your competition with custom graphic design. Is it time for a redesign or website makeover?

2. Stay top of mind with your prospects with email newsletter signup and distribution. Find out how you can beat the spam blockers and be sure that everyone on your mailing list can read your newsletter.

3. Educate your prospects by writing regularly in your company blog. This is a good way to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

4. Enable your prospects to find you easily because your site ranks in the top 10 for Google and Yahoo. We provide site optimization for new and existing websites.

5. Advertise online and sell your products with our easy-to-use shopping carts.

6. Keep your website current and up to date by editing it yourself with our Website Management Software.

7. Add social networking to your website. Add a product or service review section to your website. Add online chat for your customer support. Go on Twitter and Facebook to advertise your company and connect with people.

For more information, visit today!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 has a fresh new look!

On January 15th, launched a new improved website design. The new website design features a wide 3 column layout with room for important links to the various sections of the website. We have redesigned our logo for a more colourful look and added a new slogan. Creating websites that work... so you don't have to. :-) In the main navigation menu, we added a button for the blog and a new articles section. Soon we will have an online Newsletter archive so you can catch up on our past newsletters at your convenience.

Are you happy with your website? Is it generating new leads and effectively communicating your message? We are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how to improve your website and to get more results.

Check out our new website design at

What's your action plan for January 2009?

In December, I encouraged you to update your business marketing plan. What new strategies will you be putting into action this month? Here are a few of my goals for January 2009.

For example:
1. Attend 4 new Networking Events this month
2. Write action plan for January and review on the 31st to see how many goals I have accomplished.
3. Write and send out Newsletter to my database of contacts.

What new strategies will you be implementing this month? Please write to me and I will post them here.

Happy Marketing!

Three Marketing tips for January 2009

Talk up your business. Wherever you go, talk about your business. And talk about your website. Tell engaging stories about how you helped your clients by building their business.

Go to online chat forums in your industry and post comments explaining tips and tricks of your trade or industry. Many people have gained valuable leads this way.

Start blogging. Add a blog to your website. Afraid of giving away your trade secrets? Sharing valuable information and advice about your business will establish you as an expert in your field. People will read your valuable tips and contact you to learn more and you can start building a relationship with them. Then you will have made a valuable contact which may result in future business.