Geek Pride Day – Be Yourself

Geek Pride Day  So, today was worldwide Geek Pride Day.  It happens each May 25th, as that’s the anniversary of the opening of the first Star Wars (A New Hope) film release in 1977.  I am a self-proclaimed, openly proud Geek–have been for many, many years.  I love Star Wars, Star Trek, Syfy channel, and Science Fiction in general.  My husband and I even went to a Star Trek Convention once…which my children LOVE to tease us about!  My geekiness doesn’t stop there, though.  It expands to include computers, HTML coding, and reading magazines and books that most people would think you’d have to be taking a computer class to read.  And don’t even get me started on gadgets!  I must move on…I’m starting to make myself drool!

So, why am I telling you all this?  Because I believe that you need to be yourself–embrace who you are and what you love!  When you are thinking about your online presence, you should let people see who you really are.  It is that authenticity that draws people in–what makes them feel comfortable in doing business with you.  After all, people prefer to do business with people who they KNOW, like, and trust.  It’s important to be transparent enough that people can see the real you.  I know this may feel uncomfortable at first, but when you find that customers like you for who you are, you’ll be glad you did!  If people don’t like you for who you are, maybe they’re not your ideal client…just something to think about!

John Williams Tribute - me

So, how does this carry over to your website?  I help my clients show their personalities and passions through the design and content.  Little changes that we make to express your personality can really make a difference on how people perceive you.  Every business is the reflection of a business owner.  Every business owner has a personality.  Together, we can bring that personality to the surface!  I believe that each website should be a unique reflection of its owner.  If that’s the type of website you are looking for to represent you and your business, let’s set up a time to talk!

Kim Smith

 

 

P.S. – Here’s a picture of me with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn at the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Tribute to John Williams.

 

 

Summer Classes – Register Now

Register NowI’ve been teaching community education classes for a couple of semesters and have really been enjoying it!  I love opening up the world of computers and social media to people who want to learn!

The new catalog is out and registration is now open for the classes I am teaching this summer. I invite you to register for any that may interest you!  The classes are being taught through Forest Hills Public Schools Community Education and early-bird pricing is currently in effect.  You can register online for each of the classes by clicking on the registration links below.

I hope to see you there!

Basic Photo Editing

Beginner class teaches students to use Microsoft Picture Manager to improve their digital photos. Workshop topics include: cropping, resizing, adjusting color, brightness, and saving as a new file to preserve the original photo. PC only (no Mac). Bring a CD or flash drive with your photos and a blank CD or empty room on flash drive for your work.

Date: 6/10/13 – Monday

Time: 10 am – 12 pm

Register Here

FacebookFacebook 101

Facebook is a great way to keep up with friends and family. This class will teach you the basics of Facebook: how to update your status, upload photos and video, and connect with friends. We will also discuss scams, hoaxes, privacy options, and applications to enhance your Facebook experience.

Date: 6/12/13 – 6/26/13 – Wednesdays (3 weeks)

Time: 2 pm – 4 pm

Register Here

Identify Your Ideal Client

Small business owners learn to identify and land the clients they most want to work with in this class. Students will identify, define, and focus on who their ideal clients are and how choosing to work with them can change the culture of their business. Every client won’t be a good fit – find those who are!

Date: 6/24/13

Time:  2 pm – 4 pm

Register Here

WordpressBlogging with WordPress

If you can use Microsoft Word, you can blog! Whether you want exposure for your business or just want to share your thoughts with the world, blogging can be a fun and effective communication tool. Students will learn the basics of the WordPress blogging platform, as well as how to publish content to the internet.

Date: 7/10/13 – 7/24/13 – Wednesdays (3 weeks)

Time: 2 pm – 4 pm

Register Here

Gluten-Free Basics

One in every 133 people in the U.S. has problems digesting gluten (celiac disease, gluten intolerance). The only proven treatment for these conditions is eating a completely gluten-free diet. This seminar is geared toward people who are newly gluten-free, suspect they might need to be gluten-free, support someone who is gluten-free, or would just like to learn more about the topic.

Date: 6/17/13 – Monday

Time: 2 pm – 4 pm

Register Here

I hope to see you there!

Kim Smith

RE Wellness Health – Featured Client

Ruth-Ellen WiersmaI’m excited to tell you about my new client, Ruth-Ellen Wiersma. She is a health coach and the owner of RE Wellness Health, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan most of the year. She also works out of Tampa, Florida for about 4 months each year. She can work with clients in either location–or around the world, for that matter, thanks to the use of technology! She uses Skype, email, and phone calls to assist her non-local clients.

Ruth-Ellen had a previous website through the Integrative Health and Nutrition Institute, where she received her training, but it wasn’t meeting all of her needs and didn’t have the functionality that she wanted from her website. By moving her to a WordPress website, I was able to create a site that she can truly love. The redesign also gave us the opportunity to customize the look and feel of the site to reflect her personality, which a website should always do. Why? Great question! By allowing your visitors to see your personality, you are giving them the opportunity to get to know you–and people do business with people they KNOW, like, and trust!

In addition to the static content that Ruth-Ellen had on her previous website, I was able to suggest some more dynamic content ideas after learning about her business and goals for her business. She has enthusiastically embraced these dynamic suggestions and I’ve been really proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone to learn and implement new technology and skills.

Ruth-Ellen had a section on her old website with healthy recipes–an auto-feed from Integrative Health and Nutrition over which she had minimal control. On her redesign, we implemented a blog that she could use for education, news, thoughts, and yes, recipes. By assigning the category tag of “Recipe” to each recipe, she now has an archive of all of her recipes, searchable on-site, as well as a category page in her navigation menu. Anyone reading a recipe in her blog can also click on the “Recipe” link to see the most recent recipes that have been added and page through just the recipes, if that is their interest. Ruth-Ellen has also written several educational articles and articles about her personal experiences in her blog. I taught Ruth-Ellen how to blog with WordPress and how to add recipes through the specialized plugin for this purpose during a phone call of less than an hour of time. She now feels that she has a lot more control over the content on her website.

Podcast Screenshot

Another recommendation that I gave to Ruth-Ellen, after our initial consultation, was that she start podcasting. This sounded kind of scary at first, but after talking it through, she decided that she wanted to give it a try. She recorded a conversation/interview with a friend of hers who is a book author and did a very nice job with it. She sent it to me via email. I uploaded the file to her site, added some content about the author and her book, and put an MP3 player in the article on the Podcast page. Once that was done, I set up her account in iTunes. Anyone in the world can now automatically download her podcasts to their computers, iPods, and mobile devices by simply subscribing to the podcast on their iTunes account.

One more notable thing that I was able to change for Ruth-Ellen was the way her email subscription list was set up. I changed her from one provider to another with the same capabilities and save her $20 per month! As a small business owner, myself, I understand the importance of keeping costs low and how small expenses can add up and eat away at your bottom line, so I try to pass my experience along to my clients and save them a little money with free or low-cost tools whenever I can.

I hope you’ll take a minute to visit RE Wellness Heath and give me your feedback! If you know of someone, like Ruth-Ellen, who might need to redesign their website to give them more control or functionality, I would love warm introduction to talk with them to see how I can help.

Kim Smith

Do You LOVE Your Website?

LOVE Your WebsiteI’ve always felt that it’s important for my clients to LOVE their own websites. When you love your website, you are proud to refer people to visit, which is very important because your website should be the hub of your marketing plan. Now let me clarify, your website shouldn’t be your entire marketing plan–just the hub–the place where all of your other marketing takes your prospective clients. Why? Your website is the place where you have complete control over the content. At some point, Facebook and other social media channels could disappear without your consent or take a drastic turn that makes them no longer a viable option for you (think: My Space). If your marketing is completely wrapped up in that marketing channel, you could lose all your previous hard work, or it could just be ineffective. The key is to have “all roads lead home”…your website.

If you don’t absolutely LOVE your website, it’s time to think about a change. If it’s not meeting your needs and the needs of your potential customers, it’s time to think about a change. If you have a web designer who has disappeared or isn’t responsive, it’s time to think about a change. If you have no idea how to market your business to attract your ideal target market, it’s time to think about a change. These are all issues that I deal with for my clients on a regular basis–and have for over 13 years.

There are several “types” of people who call themselves web designers:

  • The Programer who focuses the back-end coding of a site.
  • The Search Engine Optimization Expert who focuses on getting found in the search engines through robotic visitors.
  • The Copywriter who focuses on the content of a website for the human readers.
  • The Artist who focuses on the beauty of a site.
  • The Marketer who focuses on the marketing of a site.

Each of these aspects are important, but focusing solely on one will not give you the balance that you need to make your site successful. Over the years, I have worked hard to balance these focuses and become a well-rounded web designer. I do tend to lean a little heavier in the “Marketing Camp,” simply because all of the other aspects need to be considered in your marketing plan. For example, if your site isn’t Search Engine Optimized, it will be harder to be found in the search engines, which ia a part of your marketing plan.

As a Marketing Consultant for Small Businesses, I am able to advise my clients on the best way to find and attract their ideal customers. Many small business owners don’t have a marketing plan or even how to create one. That’s where I come in. I help them to really identify and narrow the focus of who they should be trying to reach and how to reach them. Having worked with small businesses for well over a decade, I have been able to identify what marketing methods work best for them and how they can be implemented at a reasonable cost because that’s very important when you’re running your own business!

How about you? Do you LOVE your website? Is it meeting your needs and that of your potential customers? Is your web designer available and responsive? Do you have a marketing plan that is working to attract your ideal customers? If not, I would love to talk to you about how I might be able to help you! Give me a call or drop me an email–let’s talk!

Kim Smith

Merry Christmas from the Dramatic Design Family!

Some of the Dramatic Design Family of clients would like to take this time to give you some special offers.  Please mention this blog post when contacting them!  Merry Christmas from the Dramatic Design Family!

Thornapple Health & Nutrition – www.ThornappleHealthAndNutrition.com

Christmas Ornament

Newly opened as of October 1st, Thornapple Health & Nutrition (located in Caledonia, MI next to the Monterey Grille) is and is ready to serve your health and wellness needs!  We specialize in Gluten-Free products, supplements, diet and sports nutrition, Made in Michigan products, and much more!  Stop in to check out our healthy Christmas Stocking Stuffers for the kids and fresh Charlotte Gluten Free Bakery Items for that next holiday party!  Gift cards are available for that “difficult to shop for” person!  We wish you a Healthy Holiday Season!

Harmony ‘n Health – www.HarmonyNHealth.net

Mary De Lange has the perfect solution for stress, tension and discomfort in the muscles and tissues.  If you know of someone who needs to feel refreshed and renewed, wants increased energy and a sense of well being, Mary is the person who can help.  With 22 years of experience, Mary will help you find an approach that is helpful to your needs.  Mary has gift certificates available to give to that special person in your life.  Call today to order your gift certificates: 616-456-5033 or email mary@harmonynhealth.net.

Thornapple Financial Center – www.ThornappleFinancialCenter.com

Thornapple Financial Center in Middleville offers full service tax preparation and accounting.  We offer personal, corporate, partnership, trust and estate tax preparation as well as business accounting, and payroll services.  Our CPA is Quickbooks Pro Certified.  Our office is located just north of the Middle Villa Bowling Alley at 4695 N. M37 Hwy, Ste C in Middleville.  Make your appointment today by calling 269-795-3387.

Christmas Tree

Julie Ann Coon, LLC, Reiki Master Practitioner – www.JulieAnnCoon.com

 Give the gift of relaxation to that stressed person in your life!  Gift certificates are available from Julie Ann Coon, Reiki Master Practitioner located at Thornapple Health & Nutrition in Caledonia, MI.  Reiki is a method of stress reduction that also promotes healing.  A treatment can feel like a warm glowing radiance that flows through the body.  Call 616-891-0898 for more details! 

Peaks of Gold Life Coaching – www.PeaksofGold.com

Reach your Peak Now! Create a “Break-Through” in an area of life that is important to you.  Introductory Offer—only $25.00 for the first session. Call Peggy Reeves, Life Coach/LMSW at 248-921-0008 to make your in-person or telephone coaching appointment today!

Dramatic Design – www.Dramatic-Design.com

Sign up as a new Website client in January and receive a free month of hosting and maintenance, as well as a free one-year domain registration!  Call Kim today for your free consultation – 269-205-3330.

Download this flyer to give to your friends and clients!

 

 

 

 

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