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Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

The Power of Words

April 19th, 2011

Trouble with Firefox and Windows Explorer After Windows 7 Update?

April 15th, 2011

Microsoft pushed a large Windows 7 automatic update package last night.

You may of found that after the mandatory reboot your Internet Explorer and Firefox will open and freeze up, display a blank window with no menus or control menu or buttons, or display the normal interface but not allow you to access the Web.

This problem is likely being caused by the incompatibility of one of your existing Windows 7 third party services or start-up items. Following is the process to resolve this issue:

  • Rather than start the troubleshooting by enabling half of the services and rebooting as the article describes, do the following first:
    1. On the services tab check the box “Hide all Microsoft Services” then Disable all, then Apply. Note: always click “Hide all Microsoft Services” before enabling or disabling any service through this troubleshooting process.
    2. On the Startup Tab, disable all, apply then ok and reboot.
    3. Check your Internet Explorer and Firefox; they are probably working again.
    4. Now go into msconfig (using the Microsoft support article instructions) and go to the services tab, hide all Microsoft services, enable all the services, OK, and reboot (notice that all the startup items are still disabled).
      • If IE and Firefox are working normally still, then you know the problem is with an incompatibility in one of the Startup items. Proceed to that tab and use the instructions provided in the Microsoft article for “enabling half the services” (but you will be enabling half of the startup items).  Eventually you’ll figure out which third party startup item is causing the problem. After you find the offending Startup item then enable all of your Services and reboot a final time.
      • If IE and Firefox are not working then start the process of “enabling half of the services” until you either find the service causing the problem. After you find the offending service then enable all your Startup items and reboot a final time.
  • I don’t recommend proceeding to the last step in the Microsoft article “To restore your Normal startup” which if taken will nullify all the troubleshooting you just performed.  Leave the settings on “Selective startup” However, you may need to manually enable future services or startup items in the future for them to work properly.

Secrets of Successful Blogging

March 29th, 2011

Blogging can be compared to retail in terms of generating “foot traffic.” Many people venture into retailing because they enjoy interacting directly with customers, they’re passionate about a product or service and they’re certain that others will be as well. So they’ll lease a storefront, flip the sign on the front door to read “Open,” and wait for the customers to rush in and buy their goods. However, what separates a successful retailer from a bankrupt retailer is the realization that rewards are derived from hard work, quality, attention to detail, and evolving a passion to match the market need. Retailers can even spend a significant portion of their budget to advertise their product or service, but if they haven’t addressed these variables, they’ll never generate interest nor will they develop a loyal following. And yes, these same principals apply to blogging.

So why do so many blogs fail? In my estimation, I’d narrow it down to these 5 reasons:

CONSISTENCY – The blogger has failed to consistently develop content on a regular schedule; which in turn leaves whatever viewer he or she has previously attracted clueless as to when updates or newsworthy items will appear on the blog. Although many business owners say they don’t have the time to blog consistently, they need to change their perception of the blogging function and recognize it as a legitimate portion of their sales and marketing activities.

RELEVANCE – Just because a blogger may have a passion for nude para sailing, that activity doesn’t necessarily equate to like minded interest within the public at large. Similar to the retailer example above, a blogger must evolve their passion to address a market need. One unfortunate characteristic of our culture is that people are too busy in general to be interested in the passions of others; what they desire is content that emotionally engages them and equates to their own interests. This isn’t to say that bloggers can’t structure a message to endear their passions to others, but merely a warning to keep the interests of the audience in mind. In fact, regardless of the subject matter, successful blogs capture the emotions of an audience by making them laugh, cry, ponder, or get angry. Even nude para sailing could become a relevant blogging topic if the subject matter is able to emotionally engage the reader.

AESTHETICS – No matter the content, people in general still appreciate a well-designed layout for a Web page that is pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate. By maintaining a well designed Web page, bloggers are able to enhance credibility and improve the viral component of their distribution – because who really wants to refer a terrible looking Web site to a friend or professional acquaintance?

COMPREHENSIVE MARKETING– Going back to the retailer example, one cannot simply flip the sign on the front door to read “Open” and expect customers to pour in. Generating blog traffic will take effort; the content must be distributed out to a targeted group of readers in order to generate interest. Thankfully, utilizing technologies such as RSS (Really Simple Syndication), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and viral social components such as Facebook, Vertical Response, Twitter and even the “Send This to a Friend” link are all viable methods to help generate interest in a particular blog. Additionally, bloggers should must incorporate some good ol’ fashioned personal promotion. The power of simply honestly asking your friends and professional network to help spread the word is highly underrated and under utilized. Be honest and simply ask your sphere of contacts (family, friends, neighbors, work contacts, etc.) to read your blog and pass it along to anyone they know who might appreciate it. Tell them plainly that you’re trying to grow the awareness of your business. If you’re truly passionate about the value you are offering your customers AND you’ve taken the time to address the first three components this tactic can have amazing results.

How to set up a business Facebook page (the right way)

February 18th, 2011

These do-it-yourself instructions are based on best-practice recommendations from Facebook and are current as of February 18, 2011. Additionally, Risingline provides full Facebook development services. If you would prefer to have us setup, optimize and integrate your Facebook and other social media assets with your Website, please feel free to contact us for a no-obligation estimate.

1. Setup a Personal Account

If one does not exist already, set up a personal account for the CEO, owner or a principal of your company. Do not set-up a personal Facebook account and populate it with business information. This is against Facebook’s terms of service and may result in Facebook deactivating your profile.

2. Setup a “fanpage” (In Facebook lingo, fanpage is synonymous with business page)

a. Login to the personal Facebook page you created in step 1. Click “Home” in the upper right.

b. In the far-left column, look for “Ads and Pages” and click. You may have to click the “More” link in that column to see Ads and Pages.

Facebook Ads and Pages

c. Click the “Create Page” button

Create Page

d. Select the category that best describes the type of business page you’re creating. In most cases, you will need to decide between “Local Business or Place” and “Company, Organization or Institution.

  • If you market your products/service primarily in a single market then choose Local Business or Place.
  • If you market your products/service nationally then choose Company, Organization, or Institution.

Facebook | Create a Page

e. Fill in your basic business information and click “Get Started.”

Create a Page

f. Your business fan page is now setup in its initial draft state.  Proceed with uploading your logo or other company images for your profile. Save the other suggested actions like “Invite your friends” until after you add essential information to your page.

Draft Facebook Fan Page

g. Click “Info” in the far-left column then click “Edit Info.”

Fan Page Edit Info

h. Complete the Basic Information page. Insure you use (but don’t overuse) the keywords for which you have optimized your Website.

Basic Information Facebook Fan Page

3. Add additional Administrators to your Fan Page (Business Page)

Click “Manage Admins” from the far-left column. Type in the email address of the other personal profile accounts of individuals that will also administer this page, then click the “Save Changes” button.

Manage Admins

Your additional administrator should now show up on the “Manage Admins” page.

Manage Admins

Important Information About your Facebook Business Page

Your business Fan Page needs to be treated as a business asset. It’s important that the owners/principals of a business have control of the business/Fan Page by being added as an administrator. It’s ok to have a trusted Web developer or employee as an administrator; the business principals just also need to be administrators. As Facebook states:

“Businesses do not typically put the titles to company vehicles in employee’s names, nor do they allow the employee to keep the company vehicle after termination of employment. Nor should they with FB business/fanpages.”

For more information on Facebook best practices for business fan pages please see this article from Facebook’s Website: Fan Page Help – Beginners Read First!

4. Start populating and promoting your page.

Click the “View Page” button in the upper right hand corner, then proceed with Invite your friends, Tell your fans and Post status updates.

Facebook Fan Page Get Started

Confusion Warning!

While logged into your business fan page as an administrator, be aware that clicking on the Home, Profile and Account links in the upper right hand corner will connect you to those section on your personal profile/page with no notification. Hopefully Facebook will correct this long-standing usability issue but until then, it’s best to use the lower column sections to insure that you’re remaining in your business page.

The View Page or Edit Page button that appears under them does pertain to your business fan page.

Facebook navigation

Continuing Your Fan Page Development

The above guide will allow you to optimally setup a functioning Facebook business page, but there are numerous other options you can explore for managing and promoting your Fan Page through your administrator account.

Facebook Optimization and Integration with Your Main Website

Risingline provides additional development services to integrate your Facebook page with your main Website, blog and other social media accounts like Twitter. A popular integration includes us setting up your Facebook and Twitter accounts to automatically post links to blog, news or article posts when you post them on your main Website. Feel free to contact us for more information.


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