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DANiEL WiLLiS, blog


A blog is the heartbeat of your website. As you blog you make those changes to your website that creates an up tick in your Google indexing. In addition you create a space for content creation that increases social capital and credibility in the marketplace. Kind of like what I am doing now.

Designing your blog should not take more than a few hours from start to finish, then you can get down to the business of writing in your blog. Why not start with a welcome to my blog piece?

A client of ours selected Google's Blogger Platform for his blog and why not? Short of designing one on Dreamweaver, Google has all the functions you might want and a great community of support for novice and advanced users alike.

You can use one of the templates as a start but here are some tips for customizing it to match your other online properties.

First you want to match the look and feel of websites, business cards and the like. You want to brand it. Here the rule of thumb is "keep it simple".

I began by colour chipping the clients website. I took it into an old Microsoft program called "Photo Editor" where I obtained the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) settings. I took those to a converter on the web and also got the hexadecimal settings. The logo has two shades of grey, white and orange in it so that, plus black are the colours I used in the design of the blog. I inserted the logo into the blog and set about fiddling with the attributes.

If you create a spreadsheet of the advanced teamplate in Blogger, you can see the attributes repeat in a logical way, such as all text and links looking and behaving identically. This grid is helpful because it allows me to map each attribute, one at a time. - I didn't forget what I did on the tabs text when I was working on the gadget text.

After the colours were mapped out, I went into the layout section to decide what I wanted to appear with the blog. Ideally you want a good mix of static and dynamic items. If you do then your readers may come back more frequently to see what has changed.

For this client, we chose an email gadget to allow subscribers to be notified by email whenever there was a post and a poll to encourage interactivity. Along with the standard areas for posts, archives and the about me section, we added a "favourite post" section and for dynamics a small news feed at the footer.

A next step if to get together with this very happy client and prepare an annual editorial calendar to guide the creation of the content. Ideally we'll do this over a couple beers.

Beer for when it's time to generate ideas, coffee for when it's time to implement them.

Having identified a potential source for clientele, I decided that I would make an infographic out of some marketing data I used in my business plan. An infographic plays an important part of your online marketing because it can crystallize ideas around a complicated topic; provides content that your clients may find useful; helps bring together colours schemes and text that can compliment other media; and it will increase your social capital.

Getting permission to use the data was pretty straight forward. I called the supervising officer of a study and explained my intended use and asked permission to use it. As expected, I needed to pass my versions in front of them before publishing. You might be surprised how simple it is to get permission to use copyright material. One should never use copyright material without it.

Providing your own data can be time consuming, but that method comes with it's own set of benefits, which I will go into in a future post.

I had budgeted 20 hours for the creation of the graphic and came in just under that. When setting up for its creation I went through the data and hand sketched the pictures I envisioned that would best represent the various graphs and charts I wanted to include. Where no "royalty free" images existed, I drew my own using a combination of Microsoft Word, Paint PhotoEditor (love it) and Adobe Photoshop. I put the whole thing together in Photoshop and passed it by an editor to make sure I didn't include any bone-headed errors.

Infographics are a great addition to an online marketing mix. You can see great examples online, some of which are very clever. If you like you can hire out the creation of your infographic to an outside agency by just supplying them with your data. For fun you can go to and there you can create infographics from your facebook account data and other sites as well. They even have a desktop diagramming program that you might want to look into.

When I am introducing myself to clients, I am always asked, "Do you do websites?" The answer is, "Yes, of course," followed by, "Why, don't you have one?"

Websites and blogs are second nature to me and content is something that I am always creating. When I began completing these 50 Tasks for Online Marketing I knew I'd need to redo my website and create some strong tangible marketing materials as well. Now that I am nearing the end of that process, I am going to heave a sign of relief because after two days of design hell, I can put away the web editors the domain servers, the Photoshop and illustrator and relax a little.

Here's are the 7 things to do when you need a website:

Register your domain at GoDaddy. Be creative and don't pay more than $0.99.

Go to for your images or produce your own.

Search out a couple cool fonts for your headings and subheadings.

Make sure your website matches your business cards, matches your signage, matches your posters.

Go to or Wordpress and build your website. Use the free service until you are all buttoned down.

Write some killer copy.

Add your SEO and social tags.

Boom, done.

At the time of writing my website ( is still hiding behind a `coming soon`page. My online marketing strategy is integrated, comprehensive and holistic. A website is good to have but certainly not the end all and be all of an online strategy. Don`t forget I still have 47 tasks ahead of me.

Good Luck with your design work. I suggest you find the best partner you can, Check out their work and be prepared to spend a lot of time and money with them. A good designer is worth his or her weight in golden eggs.

Someone once said (and I think it was me), `The president of a company should not be in charge of marketing``.

Not really an option for Ol`Danno...

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