Cider House Design

Just had to do a shoutout to former neighbors Lennie Appelquist and Elizabeth Laprade after listening to a wonderful interview with them on the Thom Fox show/podcast.

Lennie and Elizabeth moved to Massachusetts a year or so ago and redeveloped their business — branding, website design and online marketing, just like this one — and have discovered the joy of running a business that connects with community. That really resonated with me because, although I live and work in crazy LA (East coasters have such a picture of us!) I’ve found that my enclave of Topanga provides all the community one can desire. And it is the reason I love what I do, too!

They share wonderful talents and have built a great team as Cider House Design. This interview is terrific promotion for them. If you are ever in the Easthampton area, look them up.

Is your website “mobile-ready”?

What does it mean to be “mobile-ready” and how does that affect you? This used to apply to just a handful of users but today it appears we have more incentive than ever to make sure our websites can be seen on all devices.

Google is going to be changing their search algorithm–meaning their calculations about what sites rank highest with a particular keyword–to favor those website choices that are mobile-ready!! So your business that is a good old-fashioned, well-made website of many years could be eclipsed in search rankings by that has been only recently launched their business nearby but have a mobile-ready website. Longstanding, high-ranking websites that are not mobile-ready risk being severely demoted in the new rankings to come.

Of course this is purely theoretical by way of example. However, since one recent estimate is that 60% of people looking at websites now use a smartphone or a tablet to browse the web, Google is taking the next logical step. This is revolutionizing the way we need to think about websites and how they are built. Any business that depends on being searchable locally could be affected in a devastating way, finding that they have lost many potential website viewers.

What are things that make your website mobile-ready?

  • Get rid of flash openings, flash videos and flash-based animations. Are you using a flash opening on your website or a “flash-based” anything on your website? Do you realize that it will not show up on the majority of mobile devices, (in particular Apple devices) and that just a blank screen would come up? Most of these applications can be re-tooled in basic html and css coding.
  • Make sure that your text is not too small.
  • Make sure that your links are clearly marked.  You know what I mean–have you tried to “click” on a tiny word link on a smartphone screen?
  • Be sure that your images will resize to any given screen size

Take some time to experience your website on different devices and see what you might discover. If the results are inconsistent or inconclusive–or even downright awful–contact your webmaster and discuss what steps need to be taken.


Membership Organizations

Many non-profits depend upon membership fees to run their organization. The work to keep track of members is immense, particularly when the group deals with renewals.

There are ways to streamline the process of membership rolls, recruiting new members and managing the renewal process. Automating some of these processes using the organization’s website increases efficiency and reduces costs.