BlueFur Customer of the Week: Tyler Ingram

Published on Feb 28, 2010   //  BlueFur Customer of the Week

Vancouver is home to many great entrepreneurs and, as it turns out, it’s also home to many great Bluefur customers as well. Tyler Ingram is a photographer who has a penchant for shooting water fowl and other birds. His blog is a great place to check out the different shots he takes each day.

While many of his photos are of the natural wildlife who live in and around the downtown Vancouver area, Tyler is also known to take his trusty camera to other areas as well. For instance, he recently went up to Grouse Mountain to attend a NBC Today Show taping. He also got to get up close and personal with Liberty the Bald Eagle.

Tyler is also a published photographer, having one of his pictures featured in a snowboarding book by Ross Rebagliati. If you’d like to inquire about Tyler’s photography services, point your browser over to Dynamic Shark.

In addition to photography, Dynamic Shark also offers custom web design, web development, WordPress plugin creation and other related services. Tyler is your go-to guy for anything to do with the Internet and photography!

If you are a BlueFur customer and would like to be featured in a future blog post, send an email to blogfeature@bluefur.com with your name, website, and a brief description of what you’d like to see highlighted.

Showcase Saturday: Motion Theme

Published on Feb 27, 2010   //  Showcase Saturday

Some people prefer themes that are remarkably clean and simple. They want to have the standard black text on a white background with as few distractions as possible. Taking a slightly different approach is the Motion Theme for WordPress.

While some users may say that using light-colored text on a dark background hearkens back to the Geocities days of yore, that color scheme actually works with this theme. It’s very slick and stylish, featuring a dark aqua background to go with its white text. What makes this theme even more unique is its transparency features. You can see through the body areas to the flowing background behind them.

The Motion theme also features a drop-down categories menu and a simple two-column layout, as well as a spot near the header for a 468 x 60 pixel banner. Both the footer and sidebar are widget-ready too, so the coding aspect will be quite easy for even WordPress novices.

Go to the free themes directory on WordPress.org for more information, a live preview, and the free download link.

In the Sphere: Little More of Everything

Published on Feb 26, 2010   //  In the Sphere

Another week has come and gone, so it’s time once again to take a tour of the blogosphere. We’ve collected some different posts from around the Internet, offering a little something for everyone. Have a great weekend!

Sharon Hurley Hall is well respected as a professional writer, but have you ever considered a similar career for yourself? Sharon takes a look at James Chartrand’s recent book, giving great advice for web content writing. Make sure you talk persuasively, using correct spelling and grammar. You can do it!

Bob Buskirk has been living in the same town his whole life and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Take a moment to consider the things he loves about Pittsburgh. They’ve got the Penguins and Steelers, for starters, but the low cost of living is certainly attractive too.

Consumerism Commentary reminds us that you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy yourself on vacation. Instead, it’s a much better idea to eat like the locals and avoid the tourist traps. This way, you get a truer feel of your destination and you save plenty of money along the way too.

Joseph Planta returns from his brief hiatus, returning to his popular interview program to talk with Sean Cranbury. Ironically, Sean was the one holding down the fort in Joseph’s absence during the winter holidays. In this segment, they chat about the Real Vancouver Writers Series and Eyes of Vancouver, among other subjects.

Neil Patel says that he would never live in a rich neighborhood for a myriad of different reasons. So, where does he call home? As it turns out, the Internet entrepreneur lives in a high-end hotel, fully comforted with room service, fitness room, and other fantastic amenities. He says he likes it for the convenience. Not too shabby!

Marketing 101: Brand Your Tweets

Published on Feb 25, 2010   //  Marketing Tips

Whenever you send out an update on Twitter, you’ll notice that it also displays what you used to send out that update. For instance, if you posted a tweet from the main Twitter website, then your tweet will show that it came “from web.” If you used TweetDeck, it’ll say that the update came “from TweetDeck.” This can represent a major branding opportunity!

Instead of giving free promotional power to HootSuite, Tweetie, or any number of other Twitter clients, wouldn’t it be better if you used it as an advertising strategy for your company? There is a free program called TweetBrand that does exactly this. When you send out a tweet using the TweetBrand platform, you can have the “via” or “from” portion read whatever you’d like. For instance, the update can say that it came via BlueFur or from Beyond the Rhetoric. This way, the branding is yours and not someone else’s.

More likely than not, the “from” link in Twitter is nofollow, but you may gain some organic traffic that way. If nothing else, it keeps your branding consistent and helps to improve your company’s online presence. There are many creative applications that you can employ with this platform; it’s almost like creating your own Twitter client.

Learn more about TweetBrand at MarketMeTweet.com. It is a free download with some minor restrictions. Alternatively, you can upgrade to the premium MarketMeTweet product from the same website.

WordPress Wednesday: Top 10 Posts

Published on Feb 24, 2010   //  WordPress

One of the keys to maintaining the readership on your blog is to keep those readers on your site for as long as possible. You can direct them to the most recent posts, in case they missed any in the last few days, or you can deeplink to some of your own older posts from within the current article. What if you want to show off your most popular posts?

Keeping things simple and effective is the Top 10 WordPress plug-in. This plug-in keeps track of the page views received by each of your blog posts, ranking them accordingly. You can then embed a widget in your sidebar, displaying the top 10 most popular posts from the current day or from all-time. People tend to follow other people, so if they see that a post is popular, they’ll want to read it to find out why.

The Top 10 plug-in can display the view count on single posts and pages, and it offers full support for post thumbnail images. You can also view the list of daily and overall popular posts from within the WordPress dashboard. The plug-in is also compatible with caching solutions like WP Super-Cache.

To download Top 10 for WordPress, direct your browser to ajaydsouza.com. The plug-in page also supplies more information, including screenshots, if you want to check that out too.

Business 101: Update Your Website Regularly

Published on Feb 23, 2010   //  Business Topics

You’ll hear just about every business consultant encourage their clients to put up a good website to represent their company, since this can greatly improve their brand presence in the marketplace and can attract all sorts of new clients into their fold. Some companies go about this the right way, expanding their online presence with Twitter and Facebook pages too. That’s good.

However, there are countless other companies that go about this in entirely the wrong way. They may have launched a website ten years ago for their restaurant, floral shop, or any other kind of store, but they fail to keep it up-to-date with new information. I’ve been to a few restaurant websites that look like they belong on Geocities from a design standpoint. That’s not good.

To make matters worse, clicking on the link for “this month’s specials” can sometimes direct me to a page for the specials for May 2007. Ironically, some of these specials are still applicable, but the page explicitly mentions that they are from May 2007. That’s not good at all. If you are going to have dated material on your site, ensure that it is kept up to date. Otherwise, place more general information on the site that can be more “evergreen” in nature.

A great way to keep the site updated with minimal effort is to have general background information about your company and the products or services it offers, but to have a company blog section as well that can be updated with a brief post every week or two. This keeps the site fresh and helps from a search engine optimization standpoint too.

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