Marketing Demand

Date October 21, 2011

I’m thrilled to report back that I am still riding the wave of success after an phenomenal trade show in June. I was requested by many organizations around the country to travel and present on similar marketing topics. The laundry industry that I’m now focused in is very new to the uptake of marketing techniques. Not just the new and social medias, but marketing in general. Laundromats were always just a necessity that people would utilize and it was assumed that people would always use whichever one was closed to their home. As time has progressed, more owners are learning that they can get more customers and increase their profits by instituting a number of simple marketing techniques that focus on factors that potential customers would be interested in.

With those concepts in mind, I have become the sought after speaker within this niche market. I have most recently had the pleasure of speaking in Orlando, Florida on August 10, 2011, Seattle, Washington on September 24, 2011 and Los Angeles, California on October 20, 2011. I have also been requested and am planning to speak in Chicago, Illinois on February 16, 2012.

Presenting at the Clean Show

Date June 10, 2011

Within days of accepting the position of Director of Marketing and Online Development with a new employer in March, I was told that I would be presenting at our industry’s bi-annual trade show a few months later in Las Vegas, Nevada. With more than 11,000 people expected to be in attendance, my goal was to plan a top-notch presentation that would be applicable to as many attendees in our particular target area as possible. I did this with the knowledge that I was entering a new-to-me industry and created a presentation that I called Delivering the Message: A Complete Guide to Laundry Marketing.

I covered the basics of most marketing mediums, both online and offline, as well as best practices along with examples and a few step-by-step tutorials. I presented to more than 600 people for an hour and 15 minutes and then allowed for 45 minutes of questions and answers at the end. I received many questions via strategically placed mics and stands within the audience. I also publicized an SMS number that people could use to text message questions to my iPad right from their seats. This was adopted quite well and questions continued from that medium well after the show concluded. All-in-all I received a standing ovation and another 3 hours worth of questions from people after the presentation concluded while I worked our trade show booth.

As a result of the show, we signed a record-number of new members to our industry association and created a more visible and positive brand.

The Purpose and Importance of a DOCTYPE

Date November 8, 2010

doctypeRecently someone asked me what a DOCTYPE was. I paused for a moment and thought, “well, I know the DOCTYPE is the first thing at the top of every webpage, even before the HTML tag.” Quite honestly though, I had no idea what the purpose of it was. When I start coding a new page, I let Dreamweaver create a new blank document and generate whatever the default tags are. DOCTYPE was one of the ones it tosses in there for me. I figure, if this is a standard thing on webpages, I should know what it is, why it’s there and why it’s so important. Yes, DOCTYPE is important. Why do I know this? It’s on every page of every website, or at least it should be.

For example, the DOCTYPE on this website looks like this:
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd”>

But What Does it All Mean?

Let’s break down what DOCTYPE means to try and make it easy. DOC means document. TYPE means type. Plainly put, the DOCTYPE declares what type of documentation (or rules) our HTML page is being displayed with.  If you don’t declare a DOCTYPE, the browser will assume you have no idea what you’re doing and will go into “fix-it” mode generally using the transitional ruleset as outlined below. The action is not the same from browser to browser. The unpredictability of that in and of itself should encourage you to not only use a DOCTYPE but also the proper DOCTYPE. If you’re paying attention that means there are different types of documentation, or sets of rules, that each website can be displayed using.

Strict DOCTYPE

The first of three types is the strict DOCTYPE. Any website with strict DOCTYPEs will tell the browser to follow the HTML rules as set by the W3C. For those of you not in the know, the World Wide Web Consortium is the lovely group that outlines and sets all the HTML standards that us developers should be following. That means that any website using using this DOCTYPE will not display deprecated items like the <font> tag (if you’re still using <font> I’ll ask that you please back away from the keyboard slowly, then call me for some consulting help).

Let’s say that you didn’t know what a DOCTYPE was and you never included it on your webpage, but then you also used <font> tags. I bet you had all kinds of trouble trying to figure out why the darn code you were using didn’t work. Well, if you don’t specify within the DOCTYPE tag which type you want it to use, then your browser is trained like a good little puppy to display your page using strict rules by default. You see, the strict DOCTYPE makes you stand up straight! Stomach in, chest out! It accepts no substitutes or less than what the rules call for.

Strict HTML
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd”>

Strict XHTML
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd”>

Transitional DOCTYPE

The transitional DOCTYPE is for those of us who are want a little bit of everything. For instance, you don’t want to stop using <font> tags (shame on you!) but you have moved onto trying out some of the newer rules. Basically, this DOCTYPE gives you greater flexibility and tells your browser it’s okay to use both current and deprecated tags.

Transitional HTML
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd”>

Transitional XHTML
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd”>

Frameset DOCTYPE

If you were to use frames (which you shouldn’t), then the frameset DOCTYPE can be used. It will tell your browser to use the rules of the transitional DOCTYPE but also allow for frames. For the record: frames are bad for SEO, search engines, usability, bookmarking and it just plain looks bad.

HTML Frameset
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Frameset//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/frameset.dtd”>

XHTML Frameset
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Frameset//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-frameset.dtd”>

As you can see in my examples above, you can tell your browser through the DOCTYPE tag if your page was built in HTML or XHTML. It will also include a URL to the official W3C website. It points to the exact page where the rules for that DOCTYPE actually exist. You’re telling the browser, “this is the DOCTYPE that I want you to use and here’s the rules to support it.” That leaves zero questions, your browser has less to think about and will display your page quicker. As standards change, using these URLs will allow browsers to seemlessly support your HTML code even after the W3C posts new standards.

It’s important to keep up with what’s changing with the W3C. As they release new versions of HTML or XHTML, our DOCTYPE tags will need to change in order to maintain top standards. For example, with HTML 5 now making it’s way towards the mainstream, the tag you would use is <!DOCTYPE HTML>. Pretty simple and quite a bit different than current methods, however it’ll be the new standard!

Now remember, if you don’t follow the rules, your webpage just won’t work right. So with a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to keep that stomach in and your chest out. C’mon, show me what you can do!

Squeeze it! Squeeze it real good!

Date August 25, 2010

The year 2010 started out with a bang. I was laid off of my job on January 1. We all know how difficult the economy is right now and I have many associates who are unemployed and have been for some time now. It’s not easy to find a new job.

Having learned so much over the past few years, networking and meeting so many great connections, I came to the conclusion that I needed to start my own business. As it turns out, it was just the right move at just the right time.

I’d like to introduce to you my company, Fresh Squeezed Creative, and also my business partner Chris Vandeventer.

Through referrals from our contacts, we haven’t had to do a lick of advertising to remain busy and even successful. That said, we have been so busy that we haven’t even had time to create a website or a logo for ourselves. As a matter of fact, our website redirects to our Facebook page that includes a pretty full portfolio. All of our business has been generated via word-of-mouth marketing and social media. That’s when I knew I’d done something right.

So there you have it. My newest endeavor with my new business partner. Right now we’re working primarily with smaller to mid-size businesses on website development, social media and marketing strategy. Do you know someone who needs a website or advice on how to use Twitter or Facebook to help market their business? Give them our website: FreshSqueezedCreative.com! We’d love to help!

An HTML Footer Include Made Easy

Date August 3, 2010

Someone asked me a question about HTML includes recently.

I want to make changes to the footer on one page and make it change across all of my pages. How do I do this?

Well, it’s pretty simple. Here’s a quick tutorial.

  1. Create a new HTML page with empty code. If your editor inserts code automatically, delete it.
  2. Go to your original HTML page where you have your existing footer. Cut the code (Edit->Cut). Paste (Edit->Paste) it into the new HTML file you created. Save it as footer.html into the root directory (wherever your index.html is located.
  3. Now we want to insert the code that includes the newly created footer on the page. This is called an HTML Include. Go back to your original HTML page. In place of where you originally had the footer code, you’re going to insert this code:
    <!–#include file=”footer.html”–>
  4. Save your file.
  5. Upload both files to your server and everything should work perfectly.

For all other existing pages of your website, you’ll need to go and delete its current footer and add in the HTML Include footer code. If you’re using a program like Dreamweaver or Microsoft Visual Web Developer you can do a Find and Replace of the entire solution to make it quick and easy.

You can also do the same thing for your header, a sidebar or anything else that repeats throughout your site.

Any questions?