Memorial Day

Newsletter for May 26, 2014

Memorial Day gravesites

A Day of Reflection

As the unofficial start of the summer, Memorial Day is naturally a time of optimism and plan-making and is normally thought of as a day of family gatherings and cookouts. But the true intent of the day is one of solemn reflection and remembrance. On behalf of 33 Dimensions web design, have a happy, safe, and rewarding Memorial Day 2014, and let’s never forget the heroes of days and years passed.

Ric Albano
Owner and Chief Web Designer
33 Dimensions LLC

WordPress Presentation

Wordpress logoRic Albano will be giving a presentation on WordPress Basic Tips & Functions on Wednesday, June 11th in Camp Hill, PA. This will be presented to the Entrepreneur Development Group, which provides entrepreneurs and business owners the opportunity to share and implement ideas and strategies for success, and will give a good overview of various WordPress elements from a layman’s perspective.

The presentation is open to business owners.

Client Spotlight

Amore Artisan Gelato products

Amore Artisan Gelato & Yogurt

33 Dimensions is proud to be providing web design services for Harrisburg, PA’s first Euro-style gelato café. Amore Artisan Gelato & Yogurt will be opening this summer and offering a dozen varieties of gelato and sorbet each day, drawn from more than 100 rotating flavors, along with 18 combinations of frozen yogurt. All of the gelato, sorbet, and yogurt will be made fresh on the premises daily and catering and party trays will also be available.

The website (LoveAmoreGelato.com) is currently under construction, but you can now visit Amore’s social media channels for the latest news:
Facebook
Twitter (@LoveAmoreGelato)
Google+


Whether starting from scratch or adding features to an existing website, 33 Dimensions will provide you with a professional and effective design that is highly functional, informative, and accessible. We also offer many related services to help promote your website and your business and will customize an affordable solution for you.

Check out our Online Portfolio and you will see that there is no job too complex or too small for us to handle for you. Feel free to give me a call at (717) 829-4221 or email me ric@33dimensions.com and I will personally negotiate a great deal to fulfill your online needs.

33 Dimensions
P.O. Box 126
Highspire, PA 17034
info@33dimensions.com

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Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday logoThis year marks the fourth Small Business Saturday, a shopping holiday following “Black Friday” with a mission to steer holiday shoppers towards small and local businesses instead of national, “big box” retailers. The holiday was conceived by American Express in 2010 as a promotional campaign, but it soon took on a life of its own as thousands of small businesses and consumers joined in, and it has grown ever since. This is a very positive development, as Small Business Saturday brings awareness to businesses which often have limited advertising budgets.

Perception is very important in business. Customers and clients will make a decision on where they spend their money based on level of comfort or simplicity just as much as for reasons of value or service. Beyond mere comfort or simplicity, people tend to simply go with the choice that has been validated by others and this is one area where small businesses have to spend a lot of time and energy to improve their lot. For those consumers who do choose a small business, the rewards can be great, especially when it comes to great personalized service. However, there can also be a downside of this great service and that is when customers feel comfortable to the point that they forget it is a business arrangement.

And there are also economic benefits, as small businesses employ about 50 percent of all private sector workers, including about 40 percent of high tech workers. Over 60 percent of net new jobs created over the last decade have been by startups and small businesses.

Working in concert with the small business movement is the “buy local” movement. Here, you have what is called the “local multiplier effect” where buying from a local, independent small business creates a ripple effect which helps to strengthen the local economy at a much higher rate than larger corporate chains. Further, independent businesses help keep communities distinct and unique, with products tailored to the interests and needs of local citizens.

Getting Started Online

Green Traffic LightOnce you make the decision to establish a strong Web presence for your business, there are several steps that should be taken in order to build this online foundation. The process may seem a bit cumbersome or even overwhelming at first, and getting used to new technologies and fully realizing their benefits takes a little discipline and patience. However, while each business may vary on their specific requirements, the following ten items are general enough to be utilized by most business start-ups.

The first three steps should be done in this order.

1. Create and Register Your Domain Name
Establishing a domain is where your online life begins. The trick is finding one which isn’t already being utilized. If you’re lucky (like we were) you can use the dot-com of the exact name of your business. In all likelihood, you may have to be a little creative. There are many online tools for checking if a domain name is available and registering a domain is still pretty inexpensive at about $15 per year.

2. Find the Right Hosting Plan
“Hosting” is the physical location where your website will reside. While it is certainly possible to host a site on your own computer, it is not optimal in most situations because your computer would have to available to international traffic 24/7 and, without advanced security, may be vulnerable to cyber attacks. For these reasons, most small business owners will enlist a professional hosting company to host their website(s) with costs that can range widely, depending on the type of hosting. When choosing the right hosting plan, you want to get enough storage, bandwidth, adaptability, security, and performance without going overboard and incurring unnecessary costs.

3. Building Your Website
This is, by far, the most important, complex, yes stress-inducing step in establishing your online presence. There are literally a million ways to go, from companies with big names which will offer you “free” business websites (of course, they’re not really “free”) to an assortment of web design firms and freelancers. Here are some of the vast subjects which may need to be considered and/or included with your website:

  • The Message – the most important information that you want conveyed about your business, from its location and hours of operation to what service it provides and need it fulfills.
  • Branding – the logo, colors, styles, and appropriate look/feel along with any trademarks or catch phrases.
  • User Experience (UX) – a simple, concise, and consistent design throughout the website which gives the user the ability to logically navigate and find vital information.
  • Content Management – a system which allows for easy updates and additions without “breaking” the original design or UX.
  • Responsive Design – designing your website to “respond” to any screen size on any Internet-ready device by presenting the most optimal display.
  • Website Maintenance – keeping your site fresh, relevant, and secure.

Steps 4-10 can be done in any order (or all at the same time), after the first three steps have been completed.

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is an ongoing process of keeping your page relevant to search engines and achieving the best search results. Each year, this process gets more and more complex as major search engines like Google constantly change their algorithms in order to produce the most valid and natural results for any searched word or phrase. Optimizing a website involves several diligent practices:

  • Solid HTML Design – the foundation of good SEO is clean and professional design. Avoid “website builder” tools if at all possible.
  • Page Title and Descriptions – succinctly describing the page’s content.
  • Use of Relevant Keywords – when posting articles to align with the page’s title and description.
  • Non-duplicated Copy – the latest search engine algorithms penalize sites for duplicated articles and page titles.
  • A Constant Stream of Fresh Content – with a site map which is updated regularly.
  • Analytics – the art of monitoring a website’s performance and making adjustments accordingly.

5. Social Networking
In today’s world, it is important for businesses to establish a presence on social media. While some dismiss social media as a fad which will soon run it’s course, there is little doubt of the advertising and awareness value of a social media presence. While Facebook and Twitter are the most popular and have the most users (so they are usually the first social media channels utilized), there are a few other technologies and techniques businesses should consider.

  • LinkedIn – many experts say LinkedIn is critical for businesses, as it connects you with other businesses. Along with your personal page on LinkedIn page, you should also establish a LinkedIn company page.
  • Google + – Google has been increasingly tying some of its SEO with its own social media channel (more on this in step #10).
  • YouTube – a free and easy way to promote your business with short (often homemade) videos. YouTube also allows most videos to easily be embedded in your website and many other social channels.
  • Local Citations – claim your physical address by registering with Yelp, Google Places, and other local search sites. Be sure to be consistent and use the same format, spelling, and syntax for your physical address (without abbreviations) wherever it is listed.

6. Email and Marketing
Recent studies have shown that, despite the meteoric rise of social media, Email marketing far surpasses any social media medium when it comes to return on investment. While this is one of the more highly regulated areas of the online experience, there are several fine services which help you manage and gather contacts and construct professional Email newsletters while keeping your company compliant with spam laws.

7. Cloud Storage
This is a relatively new but fast growing requirement for an online presence. It is important to be able to quickly and effectively share files, documents, and media using a business-oriented storage service. This is also often used as a safeguard for disaster recovery. Being so new, there are many (relatively untested) options to choose from, but some of the emerging leaders in this market include; Dropbox, Google Cloud Storage, and Carbonite.

8. Ecommerce
We’re all in business to get paid and it has become increasingly easier to accept payments online. With Ecommerce, there is a wide range of possibilities, from simple PayPal transactions to complex online shopping carts which require huge databases to function. Further, recent years have brought us great online invoicing services like Fresh Books and cool mobile credit card scanners like Square.

9. Security
This is probably the most gut-wrenching subject to think about, but also the most important. Truth is, there are less than honorable people out there who think it is good sport to prey on honest services, businesses, and consumers. While the dynamic nature of technology makes it hard to pinpoint exact measures (books have been written and will be re-written), a balanced, common sense approach should prevail.

10. Your Toolbox
This is an ever-expanding, catch-all of “other” online tools which may be beneficial to your business:

  • Surveys – attractive ways to spark interest, there are several free and low-cost services available.
  • Virtual Phone Numbers – it is getting hard to justify a traditional land line and many of us do not want to use our cell phones as official business lines. An emerging service is “virtual” phone numbers, which route customers domestically and internationally and can provide a 1-800 number.
  • CRM – A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is like an electronic “Rolodex” which not only stores your contacts, but is also interactive with many other of the online tools and channels mentioned above.

Google
One more thing. While I tried to stay as general as possible with these ten items, the truth in mid-2013 is that you’ll find Google involved in most of these steps (probably all seven of the bottom steps). If you have a Gmail account, that account is now your login for Google +, Google Places, Google Maps, Google Drive, AdWords, Analytics, Webmaster Tools, YouTube, and scores of other related services (including the good ole search engine itself). While there is no doubt that this can be a great convenience (not to mention virtually free), we can only hope that competition will spread these services out in the future while maintaining the incredible technical advances of recent years.

 
~ Ric Albano

Interstate Journey

A Day Without Multitasking
by Liz Reusswig

Interstate TrafficI continue to ponder the analogy of traffic and its relation to multitasking and managing our businesses and life in general. Personally and professionally, the past couple weeks have provided much fodder. Today’s blog reviews a bit of what I’ve discovered personally.

Last week was wicked. Over several days, our family said good-by to my dear Aunt Nellie. Actually, she was my aunt-in-law, but through the years, she and I often joked that we were the outlaws. In reality, she was my aunt-in-heart. You know those people who enter your life and instantly seem to know your soul? They love and support you unconditionally and it has nothing to do with bloodlines – those are in-heart relatives and friends. I’m blessed to have and have had a number of these people in my life. I will miss my aunt, but in our final time together, she provided me something completely unexpected.

We had to drive 2.5 hours between services in New York and Connecticut along the infamous Interstate 95. Thankfully the traffic was light, the day was beautiful, and the ride, though long, was cathartic. After spending some time reminiscing, we mostly became quiet – each of us slipping into our own thoughts. For me, having previously lived in Connecticut, the familiarity of all we passed was welcoming. At the section where you can see the Long Island Sound, I wondered about the cargo ships – where they were from and what they might be hauling. At many exits, I longed turn off onto roads that lead to Connecticut friends whom I haven’t seen in too long, and accepted that there would be no reunions this trip. I studied the craggy trees and bushes that line the highway. Their imperfection is intriguing to me as it is borne from years of weathering the many storms that roll up the East Coast. Storms, like traffic, are so unpredictable.

Previously, I would never have considered a ride along the usually hectic I-95 a “four-way stop,” but on that day and in that time, it became exactly that. The frenetic traffic patterns of the many roads of my life paused – there was no multitasking, no worrying about other things. I was in the moment and it was as it should be. Somehow the sad ride along I-95 became a peaceful journey. We need these “four-way stops” to power down, reflect and renew.

~
Liz Reusswig is the owner of EMR Strategies, LLC and the founder of Kid’s Theatre News.

Halloween 2012

 

33 Dimensions Newsletter
October 29, 2012

Halloween 2012Usually Halloween is a time for good nature and fun, but this year Hurricane Sandy is bearing down upon us in the Mid Atlantic and there is in an official state of emergency. Sandy gave the kids a few days off of school and some of us a few days off of work (although we never really stop working at 33 Dimensions) and, while unexpected vacations are serendipitous, this storm is to be taken very seriously.

I encountered some comedy in the stores yesterday. A clerk in the hardware store was answering the phone, “Thank you for calling, we are out of generators how else can I help you?” I even witnessed a “water thief” in the local market grab two gallons of bottled water out of another customer’s cart and disappear into the gridlock of shopping carts between bare shelves where bread and milk used to reside. Hopefully everyone managed to get their supplies and is home safe to ride out the storm.

Be safe out there!

Karyn Albano
Communications Director
33 Dimensions LLC


Client Initiatives

Strella Social MediaFor those of you struggling to find your way in the vast world of social media, I’ve got the inside scoop on a product that’s launching in early November. This comprehensive, practical and affordable guide is perfect for ANY small business! After years of working with small business owners and witnessing the many challenges they face, the developer, Rachel Strella, has created a product that’s guaranteed to help your business. Rachel understands that small business owners wear many hats – and as such – find it difficult to execute an effective social media plan for their business without spending hours a day or hiring additional help. Keeping up with the changes to social media alone is enough to drive someone mad, which is why a product to help business owners leverage the time and resources they have to create a presence that generates results is so important.

The guide contains five modules each with a theory, an example of execution, and exercise for crafting a successful social media game plan to meet your business goals. Unlike other social media products that can cost thousands of dollars, Rachel has made this product affordable for the small business budget – a one-time fee of just $149! I can personally attest to the value Rachel provides and I’m very excited to share the knowledge of this guide with you! Click here to learn more about the product and stay tuned for details on ordering, coming next week!

 
The BadleesThe Badlees are about to start production on their most ambitious recording to date, a double album of about 25 songs, and they are offering fans a chance to be part of it from the beginning. Being an independent artist, The Badlees are in a unique position to offer special fan perks and in return, fans can help with such an ambitious project with a custom and unique “crowdfunding” program. Check out the new record page on Badlees.com and browse through the various packages that are available now through the end of the year (12/31/12), but act fast because there are limited packages and the band expects these to sell out fast!


Welcome

We’d like to welcome some fine businesses and organizations for which 33 Dimensions began providing web services since the publication of our last newsletter.

 
The Cornerstone CoffeehouseSince its opening in 1994, The Cornerstone Coffeehouse in Camp Hill, PA has been a popular destination for those seeking great coffee, positive energy, and a warm and diverse sense of community. Their inviting atmosphere, great food and beverages, and great service has won them the prestigious Harrisburg Magazine’s “Simply The Best” award for the past ten consecutive years. Beyond the typical coffee house, the Cornerstone supports and presents local music and art, various non-profit organizations and causes, and includes the Cornerstone Culinary Kitchen and Cooking School, a Tuscan-inspired private room and kitchen for cooking classes and special occasions.
The Cornerstone website

 
Hazleton Historical Society and Museum33 Dimensions is happy to be updating the website for Greater Hazleton Historical Society and Museum. The society was established in 1980 as a private, non profit organization, with the physical museum being established in the historic Pioneer Firehouse in downtown Hazleton, Pa. The purpose of the Society and Museum is to preserve, educate, and share the rich local history of Hazleton and the surrounding area, with an endeavor to accomplish these goals through a variety of online media, museum tours, and special events. The Society also strives to intervene and actively preserve local landmarks – particularly those in danger of deterioration or demolition.
Greater Hazleton Historical Society and Museum website

 
Greco ChiropracticGreco Chiropractic offers professional chiropractic and physiotherapy services to patients throughout the Hazleton, PA area. Whether you have been injured in an accident or are suffering from muscle pain, Dr. Julian Greco and his knowledgeable staff can help alleviate your discomfort and educate you on how to keep your body limber and healthy. With over 10 years of experience, their dedication to patients’ treatment has earned them the reputation as one of the best chiropractic centers in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Greco Chiropractic website.

We strive for the growth and success of all our customers!

 
33 Dimensions
P.O. Box 126
Highspire, PA 17034
info@33dimensions.com

 


  • Multimedia Production

    In competition for content relevance, companies and organizations are using images, graphics, and short videos as an extremely effective way to get their message out. 33 Dimensions produces original graphics and video montages which are attractive and interesting.
  • Marketing & Analytics

    For some time now, smart marketers have been using a new set of tools to monitor their markets, with the real potential being the ability to dynamically respond to analytics. Businesses can now instantly meet customer needs and explore new market opportunities.