I am in love with Christina Hewson’s art. I don’t feel I need to say much more than that and show you all of her beautiful images. It was such an honor to work on a clean, crisp website to allow her incredible art to take center stage. Check it out here if you’re interested – she sells prints!

Blue Heron No. 2

Brice

Leopard

Spotted Quarter Horse No. 1

Tiger

Happy Friday, friends!

The oft used phrase “you learn something new everyday” really is true. Considering I have been using Gmail for years now, you would have thought I’d know about this, but I just recently learned about canned responses, which are basically Gmail email templates.

gmail email templates

I’m always trying to attend to more details of our process and customer experience, and after I received a really nicely designed “it’s on the way email” from West Elm, I decided I wanted to send a much more designed email containing tracking information & order details. Of course, time management is a big factor, and I knew there was no way I’d be able to recreate it in Gmail every time I shipped something, so a little looking around turned up canned responses.

Side note: I still think that’s a really weird thing to call it and makes it less than obvious that that’s how you create Gmail email templates. Either way, it’s how it works currently. Here’s how to create one…

gmail email templates

1. Compose a message. There is no need to fill in a “to” or a “subject” at this point. Create the email you want to use as a template — i.e., insert any photos or text that you’ll want to make up the template.

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2. Click the little arrow in the bottom right of the “compose” window and select Canned Responses.

3. Choose “New Canned Response” and name it whatever you’d like it to be called.

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4. That’s all you need to do to create gmail email templates! Now, when you want to use them, you simply compose a new message and select the name of the template you want to use under “insert.”

Happy Tuesday!

I am such a fan of this event as it was a big help in getting me started with this business. So it was a huge honor & a lot of fun to create a website for the Lowcountry Artist Market.

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Kristen had been doing a great job with a blog but had decided it was time to move to something with a little more room to grow and customized to the event. It’s easy to apply, see when the next market is taking place, and pretty to look at too. And now the blog + all that information is all in one place.

I love clean and modern websites like this, especially when we have those amazing posters Kristen commissions to utilize as part of the artwork. Fun bright colors & awesome designs by Mark Lawrence.

Check it out, and if you’re in Charleston on December 7th, visit the Market! We won’t be vending this time around, but there are many amazing vendors that you just can’t miss!

Stop by one of my client’s websites, The Perfect Match Studio, when you have a second to “take the tour” of their awesome studio. I’ve been working with Karen and Madi for over a year now (amazing how the time goes!) and it’s so neat to see the beautiful space they’ve created alongside the website we built together.

take-the-tour

The latest website addition was this really fun studio tour which I finished up last week. It looks great and I love working with creatives! This project literally marries (pun sort of intended, haha) the two sides of my work – the wedding world and the business graphics world – so it’s a lot of fun.

Happy Tuesday!

I’ve known Lauren Amos of Lauren Amos Designs pretty much since I started attending craft fairs and markets. That’s one of the best things about vending at shows like that – meeting other entrepreneurs who have similar experiences. It’s always nice to share tips and lessons learned!

jewelry website design

A few weeks ago, Lauren reached out to me to see if we would be able to help her go from having just her Etsy shop to also having a nice polished jewelry website design of her own. It was great fun to work with such a talented artist and we’re really pleased with the result! Check it out at www.laurenamosdesigns.com, and just for fun, here are a few of her lovely pieces as well…

jewelry website design

jewelry website design

Another thing that Lauren Amos Designs offers which I think is super cool is a subscription service. We all know I love to get mail, so getting something new to wear in the mail every month is pretty amazing!

For all of our brides out there, she also does custom designed pieces for weddings and bridal parties too.

Happy Tuesday!

I went AWOL again…sorry about that guys. I have definitely found that moving to an office made work-life separation so much easier to achieve, but I think it’s made blogging much harder. Once I get to the office, I’m ready to dive into work and get things started, and when I’m home I’m ready to relax. Blogging is somewhere in between I suppose! I am going to try to do better though :-)

We have been very very busy in the interim though…Olivia Rae James came and took photos of the studio and some of our stationery. She is incredibly talented.

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In the last couple weeks, I also found out that we are finalists for a Louie award! I know you might not know what that is, but it’s actually a greeting card award given by the National Greeting Card Association. I’m super super excited.

We also launched one of our most ambitious and fun web projects yet – The Perfect Match Studio.

web

It’s a directory site for the wedding market in Florida. It was a great way to combine two of the things we love to do – wedding stationery & web design!

Speaking of websites, we used some of the amazing shots Olivia took to update our own website and blog some. I have more in the works on that coming soon, but we went ahead and did a little facelift for 2013.

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I might not have been blogging much, but we’re definitely Instagramming a lot. It makes it so easy to snap photos as we work. Right now we’re in major spring and summer wedding invitation mode and we’re getting them out as quickly as we can. I am so thankful to have Kellie three days a week now – I don’t know how I would have survived without her! We’ve both had a lot of fun finding new ways to package orders and streamline the process.

So, what have you been up to lately?

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, we managed to sneak in the launch of a brand new logo / identity and website for my wonderful client Eat Well with Janel.

Like so many of us, she wasn’t sure how to combine her popular blog with her website and bring it all together under one roof. It’s always a challenge to make a move like that but I think we pulled it off pretty well!

Check out Janel’s blog for some amazing, healthy recipes and great nutrition tips!

Happy Thursday!

Jackie from Oso Artworks is an incredibly talented interior designer and visual merchandiser. I was so lucky to meet her through her husband when we worked together at Spark.

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After working together for some time to assemble and organize her amazing library of work, we got the website online this week and I’m so pleased with it. Check it out if you have a chance!

I have been meaning to sign up for Technorati for a long time. I finally got around to it about a week ago and thought it would be a great topic for a Tipsy Tuesday post!

Technorati is a directory / search engine that indexes just blogs. In 2008, that was over 100 million blogs & I couldn’t find the number for what it is right now. Crazy right?!

Whether you’re a blogger or not, it’s good for several things:

1. Get your blog listed. It’s not hard but it is a bit time consuming. If you’re serious about blogging it certainly can’t hurt! Here’s the general steps:

  • Visit http://www.technorati.com and sign up for free.
  • Fill out your profile & then click “Claim Your Blog.”
  • Add your URL in and wait for the email to come through to verify ownership.
  • You’ll then have to head over to your blog and publish the claim token they’ve provided you in the email in a new blog post.
  • Then head back to your profile and “Verify the Claim.”
  • Now we wait.  Once accepted, it will take awhile for your blog to get listed and start updating through Technorati, but it’s worth the wait!

2. Resources for bloggers.  There is a channel of Technorati all about blogging which is a great place to get ideas and support.

3. If you’re a WordPress user, you’ll want to install the WP Tags to Technorati plugin so that the tags you use in WordPress will translate well to the Technorati system when people are searching for topics.

4. If you’re not a blogger but you are a blog reader, it’s great to find new blogs that are of interest to you – you can search by category and see the most popular, etc.

So, do you have a blog?  Do you just like reading blogs?  Personally I love blogging.  Some people blog with the hope of a revenue stream, some do it like a “dear diary,” and then there’s those of us in the middle.  I just think it’s a fun challenge to find something to say everyday and to make new friends all the time all over the world!

Good morning friends! I realized today that this article didn’t make it over when I redesigned the blog and website, and some of my clients seem to have found it pretty helpful when they are considering their website projects. So I thought I would re-publish it on the blog today….

Anymore, it’s hard to have any kind of business without having a website – whether it’s purely informational or full-service e-commerce, more and more people are going straight to the web to find information about a particular company or product.

So, what does that mean for the small business owner?

…the basics

First thing’s first, you’ll probably need a domain (web address – “.com”). You can go without it, but most domain names are relatively inexpensive at $10/year or so, and will help you a lot when you’re trying to tell people to go to your website. So, plan on spending that cost annually to maintain your domain name.

Next up, you have to “rent space” on the web to HOST the domain. Buying the web address is like buying just a street address without the actual house or land. Plan on spending anywhere from $5/month to $50/month or more on hosting for your website.

Keep in mind that these costs are ongoing for the length of time that you keep up your website.

If you haven’t set up any of these things yet, we can help you do that when you work with us to create your website. If you already have purchased a domain and/or hosting, just make sure you have the information ready so that we can set up your website.

now what?

Next, you’ll need to consider what kind of function you want the website to have.

Basic functionality would be a few pages with content (pictures & text), a contact form, and maybe a photo gallery. If you want something a little “fancier,” such as Flash or a slider, or any number of other things, then let your potential web designer / developer know that now.

You may want to sell your products on your website, so if that’s the case, think about how you would like the store to be set up, how it will integrate with your current business, what kind of payments you want to accept, how you want to price shipping (flat rate?), etc. All of these considerations will influence how the website will be built.

design

Now that you know what you want the website to DO, browse the webs for some websites that have a similar look, feel, or layout to what you would like for your own online presence.

It’s important to consider when you hire a web person what kind of skillset they have. A lot of people are able to code, but not all web coders / developers have graphics abilities. By the same token, not all web designers have the ability to code their own sites.

maintenance

Yup, you should think about this part NOW. Do you want to be able to make simple changes to the website yourself? Too busy and would rather call the designer when changes need to be made?

This decision affects how the website will be constructed. Make sure you consider it now and relay that information to the web designer.

create it!

If you have all of that together, then you’re well on your way to having a fantastic website. The more prepared you are in the process, the better the results will be!