BlueFur Customer of the Week: Renwick Photography

Published on Jul 31, 2011   //  BlueFur Customer of the Week

Do you need that special eye to capture that special moment in just the right way? Renwick Photography could be a fantastic choice for that special day, whether it be a wedding, a family gathering, or just some great portraits of loved ones.

The person behind Renwick Photography is Melanie and she started the business six years ago after moving back to Brantford with her husband. Today, she works out of her Brantford studio but serves clients all around Ontario, including Cambridge, Kitchener, Intersoll, London, Hamilton, Dundas, and Guelph.

To get a sense of her personal style, be sure to check out the extensive galleries on the site, including both family pictures and wedding photos. Check out the specials page to see what deals are currently being offered too.

Do you use BlueFur to host your websites? Let us know and we can feature you in a future blog post. Send an email message to blogfeature@bluefur.com with your name, website URL, and a brief description of what you’d like to see highlighted.

Showcase Saturday: Icy Night

Published on Jul 30, 2011   //  Showcase Saturday

Would you like a WordPress theme that screams out with a little more personality without being too in your face? The Icy Night theme could prove to be a great fit.

The idea behind this theme is to offer “vibrant, loud, bright colors” that are cohesive and smooth. The net result is a largely black and blue darkened background for the white text and core content. The use of transparencies works quite well too.

Icy Night is available in both two column and three column configurations. In both instances, the sidebars are placed toward the right side of the theme, while the main content column is aligned to the left side. There is also a series of navigation links toward the top, just underneath the header text.

Go to EmptyNestThemes.com to find screenshots of both the 2-column and the 3-column variants of Icy Night. This WordPress theme is a free download, so feel free to use it with any number of your WordPress sites and blogs.

In The Sphere: All Summer Long

Published on Jul 29, 2011   //  In the Sphere

What’s going on in the blogosphere this week? Let’s find out.

Thursday Bram starts out with a post on MoneyNing, talking about the point of a summer job. The idea of having a summer vacation is rooted in our agricultural past, but even if the kids aren’t working the farm, that doesn’t mean that there’s no value in working through the summer. Network and get some experience!

Raul Pacheco has his mom in town for the next little while, so he took her out to Campagnolo on Main. If you’re looking for some great casual Italian fare, you can’t really go wrong with this place. Raul’s mom “raved” about the lasagna as being one of the best she’s had anywhere.

Melody Fury continues with the theme of food, but she’s talking about her modern Tex Mex wedding menu tasting. As she plans and prepares for her special day, she needs to decide on a modern menu that still speaks to the Tex Mex sensibilities of her Texan guests.

Darren Rowse, better known as Problogger on the Internet, approaches another misconception that many new bloggers have. As it turns out, you don’t have to post every day on your blog. There are many successful sites that don’t have daily posts. The key is to have quality and not focus so much on the quantity.

Her Bad Mother finishes off this summer-themed list of posts with a discussion on the digital life. She’s capturing all sorts of memories with Instagram on the iPhone. Those are some great casual and candid shots! Just don’t forget to live your life and not just live it vicariously through a camera lens.

Marketing 101: Commemorating or Capitalizing?

Published on Jul 28, 2011   //  Marketing Tips

As you’ve surely heard by now, singer Amy Winehouse passed away this past weekend. There was a significant response (with varying opinions) throughout the social-sphere, including Facebook, Twitter, and other realms online.

Keen eyes would have also noticed that within the same day as the announcement of her death, Apple started to feature Winehouse on the main page of iTunes. This showcasing of the artist could have been seen as paying tribute or commemorating her work. However, it could also be construed in a different way.

It could also be seen as capitalizing on an opportunity. Some people may say that this was mildly unethical or in bad taste, while others see the showcasing as a smart business move on the part of Apple.

What do you think? Was this a strategic move that paid dividends into Apple’s iTunes coffers or was it a move in bad taste that should be frowned upon?

WordPress Wednesday: Check and Repair 404 Errors

Published on Jul 27, 2011   //  WordPress

There’s nothing more frustrating that going to a website via a link, only to find that the page does not exist. You don’t want that to become a common thing on your site and that’s why you need the Check and Repair 404 Errors WordPress plugin.

This plugin works a little differently than some others that seem to offer similar functionality. Rather than actively seeking broken links, it monitors when a visitor to your site receives a 404 error. It then records the URL that the visitor was trying to reach.

From there, you can log into the admin dashboard on your WordPress site and go to the report area for this plugin. There, you can look at the failed requests (from users, bots, search engines, and so on) and fix the issue manually. This is true of pages, broken outbound links, broken image links, and more. Anything that would generate a 404 error.

The Check and Repair 404 Errors WordPress plugin is developed by Tent Blogger. You can find more information on that site and then head over to the WordPress Plugin Directory to access the free download link.

Business 101: Investing in the Customer Experience

Published on Jul 26, 2011   //  Business Topics

Let’s say there are two stores. Both of them sell exactly the same products at exactly the same price. They both offer the same kinds of warranties and have the comparable return policies. Given this, there should be no difference whether a customer chooses to buy from Store A or from Store B.

Imagine, however, that Store A leaves its interior in its most basic shape, has a single service counter, and the employee is sitting in the corner playing a game of Minesweeper. On the other hand, Store B has spent some money to make for a more inviting environment, it has product displays out on the floor, and at least one employee greets each and every customer who walks through the door.

Which store would you prefer? There is absolutely something to be said about investing in the customer experience. There is a reason why more people are likely to visit an Apple Store to buy a new MacBook or iPhone than they are to go to another major retailer. They expect a certain level of customer service and attention. They expect to be treated well.

This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Simply saying hello to every customer as he or she walks through the door can make a world of difference. This way, the customer isn’t left wondering which way to go or who to ask for help. You approach them. You ask what they’d like and how you can help to fulfill those needs. That is investing in the customer experience.

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