Thursday, December 18, 2008

Learning about Inbound Marketing

About two weeks ago, I registered for a webinar from on Marketing in a Recession. Today I finished watching it. (The holidays are keeping me busy.) Yesterday, they had the follow-up video called, How to Combine SEO, Blogging, and Social Media for Results. I'm looking forward to watching that one. But for right now, I'd like to share what I learned about inbound marketing...

I liked the comparisons they made with the Budget vs. Brains. It was very easy to understand. With a budget, you're mostly thinking about the money; how much will get you so far. When you use your brains, you can become more creative with marketing and get more out of it; leads. So, how can you use your brains to do marketing with no money?! Simple, here's a list to start off with:
  • TechCrunch
  • RSS
  • YouTube
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • slideshare
  • itunes
  • ebooks
  • digg
  • flickr
  • viddler
  • photobucket
  • revver
  • yelp
  • google groups
  • squidoo
  • stumbleupon
  • reddit
  • mixx

Did I leave anything out? :)

And most importantly, when you publish content to these sites listed above, make sure it's QUALITY CONTENT. Give the people something interesting to read, help them out with a problem, and they're (hopefully) buy your product.

I've been doing SEO research all month on how cheaply I can advertise a new site I'm working on. It looks like now I have a lot of work to do!

Also, here's a parody of a music video for inbound marketing to help with motivation:

Thanks to for an awesome webinar. I can't wait to get time to watch the latest one.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Few SEO Resources I Use

Search Engine Optimization is a big topic in the web design industry. There are so many SEO tools out on the web, that sometimes it can be overwhelming.

I've put together a small list of some sites for SEO and a book that I use for reference.

First the book, Building Findable Websites: Web Standards, SEO, and beyond by Aarron Walter. This is a good learner's book and a great reference guide. I think the author mentions just about everything a web designer can do to get the most out of search engines. From creating quality content for humans to read (not just for search engines to get a higher position on the results page) to how to make your awesome splash page (which is a big no-no in the SEO community) indexable for search engines. I recommend this book for web designers who are looking for fast information and need a quick fix for any SEO problem.

Now the SEO tools out there on the web. The first one is at Here is where you insert of keyword or keyword phrase, the url, and you get results that analyze the Title Tag, Meta Tags, Link Texts, HREF Texts, Head Tags, Bold/Strong Tags, Page Size, IMG Alt Tags and Body Content of your website. The tool lets you know of a percentage you should have of your keyword and how well your site scores on the keyword density. It's free and a simple tool to use for keyword analyzing.

The same site also has a Site Link Analyzer at This tool is also free. It checks for any broken links and how well your site does with indexing. Links include any kind of links as well.

And last but certainly not least, This is probably one of the best online SEO resources today. My favorite article is on Search Engine Ranking Factors. They go deep into detail about almost every word on a website for analyzation. Check it out here, but I warn you, it's a long read (and well worth it):
Like I said, this is probably the first SEO site I would go to when having major problems. I highly recommend it.

That's all I have for right now on SEO help, just a book and a few bookmarks that I wanted to share.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2009 Southwest Calendar

I decided to publish a calendar of the pictures I took while on vacation in the Southwest earlier this month. Have a look at

Friday, August 1, 2008

I took it and so should you

A List Apart Survey 2008

A List Apart has their survey up for people who make websites for 2008.

Monday, July 21, 2008

May Vacation 2008

With my husband's parents and I, we traveled to Las Vegas and left out of Los Angeles. We visited Page, Arizona, Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell, Zion National Park, Death Valley and a few other places in between. The highlight of the trip was the Left Fork Trail (The Subway) in Zion National Park. Photos taken by Andre.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What I like about Firefox 3

On June 17 of this year, Mozilla released the launch of Firefox 3. I've been using it for about a week now and I'd like to share what I like about it. (And maybe what I don't like about it, but it's kind of hard not to like Firefox.)

What I like about it:
I'll start with the address bar. A lot of browsers today have the feature that when you type in what you're searching into the address bar (fire, for example), hit enter and you get a page of the search results by your chosen search engine. But what if you type "fire" and you could see the matching search result pages being populated as a list as you type? That's the new feature in Firefox 3.

As described from Edward Lee:
"Firefox will remember the text you typed and the page you selected, so next time when you give a similar input, Firefox will give a higher rank to those pages. It even matches partial inputs, so I can even type just "p" from planet, and Firefox knows to put that above other pages that just happen to also match "p"..."
Here's an overview of what you can do with the new address bar in Firefox 3 (from Firefox 3 Revealed):
  • Search your history and bookmarks for any combination of words while you're typing
  • Restrict your searches to bookmarks, history or tagged pages only by prep ending your search terms with "*", "^" or "+" respectively.
  • Match whole phrases by enclosing words within double quotes
  • Provides search results ordered by frequency and recency.
Also, it is rumored that the address bar will replace the search bar in later versions of Firefox :)

Next is the Places feature, which you can organize your History and Bookmarks. I don't have a need for this, nor have tried it out, but it looks like it has a boatload of options. Instead I use Bookmarks in the Google Toolbar.

The Download Manager has been improved in Firefox 3. It now lets you pause downloads to resume later, especially large downloads. And they will stay paused when you close Firefox and restart it back up.

Well here is something I don't like about Firefox 3; that you still have to restart Firefox when you install an add-on (extensions, themes, plugins). According to Firefox 3 Revealed from,
"This feature was planned but didn't make the cut because it involved core changes that were too invasive."
Oh well. Maybe next time.

Okay. Now for my favorite part: CSS Improvements.
Firefox 3 now supports more CSS2.1 and it seems a lot of bugs have been fixed. Such as support for negative z-index values and inline-block. (IE7 still doesn't support inline-block.)

These are just a few things I wanted to point out with the new Firefox 3. Of course, there are tons of other stuff like, HTML 5, APNG (animated portable network graphic) , Microformats, and SVG (scalable vector graphic) support. Be sure to get a copy of Firefox 3 Revealed from

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I found a secret stracciatella yogurt

Every time I come back from Germany, I always miss the yogurt and quark. I'm not a big fan of yogurt, but I recently bought a cup of Stonyfield Farm Organic Vanilla Truffle whole milk yogurt. It was on sale and I decided to get that flavor.
So this morning, I opened it and mixed the cream with the truffle at the bottom. Took one taste and it was like stracciatella from Europe. BTW, stracciatella is vanilla with chocolate shavings. You can find more info here.
I plan to buy more of this stuff. I think it was the first time I ever really enjoyed yogurt in the States.

02/10/2011 Edit:
Stonyfield Farm doesn't make the Organic Vanilla Truffle whole milk yogurt anymore. Instead try the Stonyfield Farm Organic Chocolate Underground whole milk yogurt. It's still the closest taste I've found for stracciatella yogurt in the USA.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Featured in Create Magazine for May/June 2008

I totally forgot to write about this!

My design for the El Patio Motel web site was chosen as number 1 in the image battle for web sites. See the full page for more information.
It was featured in the May/June 2008 issue.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Creating an Outlined, Rounded-Corner Box Using CSS

On a Web project I'm currently working on, I created rounded-corner boxes with outlines. At first I couldn't find any tutorials on this to get an idea of how to start. I played with the idea for a couple of hours and came up with what I have pictured to the left.

This is a fixed-width box, so the height is elastic. I started measuring the width I needed. In this sample the width is 250 pixels. From there I created two images in Photoshop for the top and bottom of the box and saving them as pngs to keep the transparency.

After that, I constructed my HTML. I used a table to contain the box. The table has 3 rows and 1 column like this:

<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" border="0">

Then I created my styles for the top and bottom of the box and the inside of the box.

.top250x14 { background-image: url(images/250x14Top.png); background-position: top left; background-repeat: no-repeat; width: 250px; height: 14px; }

.bottom250x14 { background-image: url(images/250x14Bottom.png); background-position: top left; background-repeat: no-repeat; width: 250px; height: 14px; }

.boxColors { border-left: 1px solid #cfcf99; border-right: 1px solid #cfcf99; background-color: #fff; }

.sidebarBox { width: 247px; padding: 0; }

The classes top250x14 and bottom250x14 are for the top and bottom images of the box. The class boxColors creates the left and right borders of the box and gives the box a white background color. The sidebarBox class gives the width for the inside of the box with considering the left and right border widths. I'm not sure about the one pixel that is left over from the sidebarBox class. It needed one less pixel in order to align with the top and bottom box images correctly.

Now let's put it all together:

<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" border="0">
<td class="top250x14"></td>
<div class="boxColors sidebarBox">
<h3>Sample Box</h3>
<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam pretium turpis sed nisi. Sed condimentum metus eu nibh. Suspendisse vitae tellus sit amet pede placerat malesuada. Ut non libero nec nibh hendrerit pretium. Integer neque. Duis purus risus, scelerisque vitae, dignissim nec, sodales semper, metus.</p>
<td class="bottom250x14"></td>

Download the files used: