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E-mail Newsletter Archives


May 7, 2008

Finishing What You Start

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: E-mail Newsletter

Do You Follow Through?There's Something To Be Said for Follow Through

Q: What do basketball and marketing have in common?

A: If you don't follow through, you won't do well.

Allow me to explain.

I remember basketball summer camp like it was yesterday. That's where Mr. Urcheck taught me the correct way to shoot a basketball. I learned how to position my legs—shoulder-width apart, body angled toward the basket. I learned how to hold the ball—shooting arm in a C-shape, palm facing up and ball resting on the fingertips.

I can still hear Mr. Urcheck barking out instructions: "Bend your knees, extend your arm, follow through!" I also remember having to run laps for not following through on my shot!

He was trying to make us realize that one of the most important factors for a shot's success happened after the ball was released—aka the "follow through." We were told that a correct follow through involved pretending we were sticking our fingers down into the hoop after we let go of the ball at the top of our shot. The purpose? To ensure the shot was as targeted as it could be and the rotation of the ball was correct. In short, it helped ensure the ball had everything it needed for its journey toward two points (or even three!).

The older I get the more I see the importance of follow through in every aspect of life. Your marketing is no different.

Continue reading "Finishing What You Start"

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April 1, 2008

Discipline is the Secret to Successful Marketing

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: E-mail Newsletter

Cut Back on the Sugar, Slow Down and Focus

Maybe you're like me--sometimes when I go into a Borders or a Barnes & Noble, I get visually overwhelmed. My mental curiosity kicks in and I want to look at everything all at once. I bounce around the store like a 6-year-old hopped up on a pound of sugar, mesmerized by all the things I could look at next. When it comes time to leave, I have the sense that I never really saw anything.

Last month we talked about the importance of clarity for your business and for its communication. But what happens when the view of what you do is crystal clear, but your inner opportunist can't stop for five minutes to focus on anything?

We have a friend who works at a mid-market insurance brokerage. He's responsible for their IT and web development. Recently, one of their executives asked him to create a virtual tour of their offices. The executive didn't give any direction for doing it, didn't discuss what he wanted it to accomplish and didn't have a clue about what it should really communicate or what it should focus on. This person just saw it on someone else's web site and thought it was a good idea.

Is it a good idea?

Continue reading "Discipline is the Secret to Successful Marketing"

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March 4, 2008

Ahh, Clarity

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: E-mail Newsletter

mar_image.jpgI can see clearly now, the smog is gone.

As many of you know, we're located near downtown Los Angeles. The view from the Personality™ office is one of the best in the city. But in this land of paradise we have a problem—most of the time, this amazing beauty is covered in an amber-colored fog—affectionately known as smog.

Right now, we're in our less sunny season, and recently had some much needed rain move through the area, which blew the smog away. When I got to the office, the sun had taken over again and the view from our 8th floor conference room was stunning. The skyline from the Hollywood Hills, the Santa Monica Mountains and all the way to downtown was jaw dropping. Everything looked brighter, the color seemed richer, things were crisp, the lake in Echo Park was shimmering, the mountains were snow-capped and off in the distance a rare, sparkling clear view of the Pacific Ocean.

At the risk of alienating our snow-bound friends everywhere—it's the reason we live here.

So what's that have to do with your business? Well, glad you asked.

Continue reading "Ahh, Clarity"

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February 5, 2008

Straight Talk: Three Ways Companies Lose the Nerve to Communicate Clearly

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: E-mail Newsletter

Have you ever watched someone walk along the edge of a curb, treating it as if it were a balancing beam? One foot in front of the other—toe to heel, heel to toe. It's no big surprise they usually manage to keep from falling off the curb and "plummeting" six whole inches to the street below. After all, they are doing something they've done since infancy—walk straight without falling over. Not terribly difficult.

Now suppose that person is you. In front of you is an eight-inch wide curb stretching 20 feet in length. Your goal: put one foot in front of the other until you get to the other side. In other words, walk straight without falling over. This time though, the curb isn't six inches from the street, it's 60 feet. That's right, there's a 60-foot drop to the blacktop below. Scary, huh?

The only thing that's changed from the first scenario to the second scenario is the consequence for failing to stay on the curb. That's it. But that's more than enough to allow fear to enter the picture. Essentially you begin to second-guess your ability to do what you know for sure you can do—walk in a straight line without falling over.

Ironically, your second-guessing and lack of confidence actually heightens the likelihood for failure. What if you were able to take the same confidence you had in your abilities when the stakes weren't as high and use them in the scenario when the stakes are higher (60 feet higher to be exact)?

Continue reading "Straight Talk: Three Ways Companies Lose the Nerve to Communicate Clearly"

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January 1, 2008

8 Questions to Begin 2008

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: E-mail Newsletter

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

Happy New Year from all of us at Personality™! We thought we'd get the year started off with eight simple questions:

1. Do you get frustrated when your staff/team doesn't know how to really communicate what your organization does with clarity?

2. Do you have a sinking feeling that you might be wasting money on marketing and advertising?

3. Do you feel stuck or stymied because you have too many or too few options, and you're not sure which way to go?

4. Do you feel like the passion or purpose for what your organization does has subsided and wish it was more front-and-center to you and the people you work with?

5. Do you wonder what really makes you unique or different from other similar organizations?

6. Do you wish you had a better way to make marketing and communication decisions?

7. Do you wish you had an expert or two who could provide ongoing consulting for communication/marketing?

8. Do you want to do a better job at "branding" but you're not sure what it means or how to begin?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, it sounds like the beginning of 2008 is a great time for us to get acquainted. Personality™ can help.

We give organizations--business and not-for-profit--the confidence to communicate clearly using 21 powerful personality frames. Drop me a line if you're interested in learning more.

2008 is waiting ...

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December 4, 2007

Homecoming Pain, Business Lesson

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: E-mail Newsletter

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

It was a cold Ohio night in the early 1990s. I was a nervous high school junior on my way to a romantic dinner and then on to my first homecoming with the girl of my dreams, Saunnie Kenny.

It was the first time I'd been out with Saunnie (pronounced Saw-nee). She was the new girl in school, she had long soft brown hair, a glowing complexion and haunting blue eyes. And I couldn't believe she said ‘yes' to be my date. The night was going to be amazing! I had a well-tailored suit, a beautiful date, and was going to a candle lit, white linen tablecloth dinner at the fanciest restaurant I could find--which was about 40 minutes away from where I lived. (That's right, I grew up in the sticks!)

My mind was racing with anticipation. In my mind I could see the date as clear as day. It was perfect--we were going to have the most romantic, fun-filled homecoming any two high school juniors ever had.

Continue reading "Homecoming Pain, Business Lesson"

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October 22, 2007

Embracing Personality™

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Personality News

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

We always push for our clients to embrace what's most true about who they are and what they do. We sound like a broken record at times, encouraging them to simplify and lock onto the core thing that makes them valuable.

Well, we've taken some of our own advice and come to some amazing clarity. What I'm about to say might be a bit of a shock ...

We are not a cause marketing agency after all. Maybe I should repeat that--we are not a cause marketing agency. I know, kind of surprising to us too.

For the last couple of years we've talked about the importance of giving and the opportunity that cause marketing presents. And you've listened--boy have you listened. It's been thrilling to watch our doors, phones and inboxes graced by directors and VPs of some of the biggest and best brands: Hyundai, Wellpoint, The Hershey Company, Young & Rubicam and others.

Continue reading "Embracing Personality™"

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December 22, 2005

4 Personality Tips for Your Employees

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Business

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

Once upon a time I worked at a grocery store. If I had a business card it would have said "Kevin Hendricks, Bag Boy." Not exactly the most glamorous title in the world. Not exactly the most glamorous job in the world. But I did earn some cash to finance my teenage lifestyle.

The customer/worker interaction doesn't change much, whether you're talking about a bag boy at a grocery store, a volunteer coordinator or someone answering phones. Employees have different roles and varying degrees of interaction with customers, but it all comes down to the people you serve, whether it's selling them a book, offering medical care or accepting their donation. All the customer satisfaction initiatives mean nothing if your employees aren't on board. Here's how to help them see the light.

Continue reading "4 Personality Tips for Your Employees"

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November 17, 2005

Remembering a Legend: Peter Drucker

Posted by Brian Zopf | Filed under: Business

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

A great and widely respected leader, often heralded as "The Father of Modern Management," died last week. We mourn his passing and here, pay tribute. The memory of Peter F. Drucker will undoubtedly be recorded in the pages of global history with indelible ink. He was great, not merely for his almost-prophetic business sense, but for the unique way in which he combined this gift with human warmth. We honor him at Personality™ in particular for his work on behalf of non-profit organizations.

Continue reading "Remembering a Legend: Peter Drucker"

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November 3, 2005

Top 7 Technologies That Can Save You Time

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Technology

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

Time is always of the essence. If you could save a little time, you could get a little more done. So work smarter, not harder. Technology can save you time, so put it to work for you. Here are some of the best:

Continue reading "Top 7 Technologies That Can Save You Time"

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September 26, 2005

Making the Most of a Convention

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Marketing

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

A few weeks ago I manned a booth at the Minnesota State Fair for my alma mater, Bethel University. In the process I learned a few things about what works and what doesn't when you're trying to connect with potential customers in a convention hall.

Continue reading "Making the Most of a Convention"

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August 26, 2005

20 Tips for Doing Business with Personality

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Business

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

1. Know your customers by name.
2. Be a stats junkie. You can't be more effective if you don't know what works.
3. Make your customer's lives easy, and they'll make your life easy.
4. Don't forget people. Behind every number and every dollar is a person. They are your livelihood.
5. Don't assume last year's sales as a given for this year. Everything has to be earned.

Continue reading "20 Tips for Doing Business with Personality"

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July 28, 2005

5 Cheap Ways Your Company Can Add Personality

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Marketing

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

It's a tough market out there. In order to succeed, you need to stand out. Being the best isn't always good enough. Your company needs to have personality, it needs to have something that enables you to connect with people, something that forces them to remember you.

And it doesn't have to break the bank. Here's 5 ways you can connect with customers on the cheap:

Continue reading "5 Cheap Ways Your Company Can Add Personality"

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June 21, 2005

Marketers are Storytellers

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: E-mail Newsletter

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

It's all about the story. So says marketing guru Seth Godin in his latest book, All Marketers are Liars. And if you think about it, it's true. You don't need to read the latest book to realize it.

A few years ago my wife and I bought our first new car together, and we encountered a few stories in the process. Some were better than others.

Continue reading "Marketers are Storytellers"

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May 20, 2005

The Business of Blogging

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Technology

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

Blogging is big business (if you're asking "what's a blog?"—you better read up). 2005 has been proclaimed the year of the blog (wait, wasn't that 2004?) and stories are popping up everywhere: BusinessWeek did a cover story and launched their own blog. The New York Times covered Nick Denton's blogging empire and was encouraged to start a blog themselves. News even reverberated across the blogosphere when one Australian blogger claimed he'd be making six figures this year.

A forthcoming book by the high-profile Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble and Shel Israel will cover the ins and outs of business blogging. You can get the inside scoop—where else—on their blog. You can read their first chapter and the proposal they sent to publishers for an idea of what they cover. The blog itself also has tons of great content, including interviews with business bloggers.

But their book won't come out until 2006, so let's cover the basics: What can blogs do for your bottom line?

Continue reading "The Business of Blogging"

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October 12, 2004

Lessons From the Video Store

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Marketing

Blogging is big business (if you're asking "what's a blog?"—you better read up). 2005 has been proclaimed the year of the blog (wait, wasn't that 2004?) and stories are popping up everywhere

Forget Marketing 101. Try renting a movie for the latest marketing dos and don'ts.

A few weeks ago my wife rented a movie. We went out of town for a weekend and came back to find the DVD still sitting on the coffee table. We ended up returning the movie the day it was due. No big deal.

The next morning I received an automated call from Hollywood Video letting me know the movie was overdue. Nice touch, though I brushed it off thinking I had returned the movie the night before.

Later Hollywood Video called again. This time it was a real person informing me that we had returned the movie to the wrong store. Doh. My wife rented it, I returned it; there are two locations near our house, I must have picked the wrong one.

You guys can handle that, right? Wrong. It was my problem. I had to go pick up the wrongly-dropped off DVD and return it to its rightful location, incurring a $4+ late fee in the process, since the movie wasn't returned to the proper location in time.

So what have we learned from Hollywood Video?

Continue reading "Lessons From the Video Store"

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September 15, 2004

Customer Evangelists

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Marketing

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

One of the hottest marketing trends today has taken a page from 2000-year-old Christianity. After all, it survived crucifixion, persecution and a large chunk of history. Those Christians know a thing or two about spreading an idea, though the idea itself certainly plays a part.

Evangelism is what Christians do so well, simply telling others about their faith. That same concept has been applied to business and marketing lately, with the twist of letting customers do the work. Rather than wasting ad budgets on expensive commercials that aren't working, why not invest in your customers? Let them do the advertising for you.

Continue reading "Customer Evangelists"

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August 9, 2004

In the Yellow

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Advertising

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

Listing and advertising in the local telephone directory isn't a new and fancy way to showcase your marketing savvy. It's a simple way to cover the basics better than your competition. Small- and medium-sized businesses spend 46 percent of their advertising budget on phone directory marketing (Ad Age), which means it's not a medium you can ignore.

Continue reading "In the Yellow"

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July 14, 2004

Election Year Marketing

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Marketing

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

Politics may be an odd place to find business wisdom, but you'd be surprised. You can learn a lot from what George W. Bush and John Kerry are doing (or aren't doing) that can help your organization's marketing efforts. As the election year heats up, pay attention to what works and what doesn't.

Continue reading "Election Year Marketing"

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June 8, 2004

E-Mail Marketing Tips

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Technology

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

The e-mail newsletter can be the blessing and curse of our technological age. It's a blessing because the same newsletter that costs thousands of dollars to print and mail can be converted to 1's and 0's and e-mailed for a fraction of the cost. But it's a curse because our inboxes are already overflowing with wanted and unwanted e-mail.

The best you can do is be sure any marketing e-mail you send is as effective as possible. Here's three quick tips from the E-mail Doctor to make sure your e-mails are digested, not deleted.

Continue reading "E-Mail Marketing Tips"

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May 17, 2004

Being Safe is Risky

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Marketing

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

So often we like to go with the safe answer. It may not necessarily be the best solution, but it works for everyone else. Maybe a church advertises in the phone book because that's what churches do. Maybe a nonprofit organization sends out monthly donation letters because that's what nonprofits do. Maybe a clothing store has weekly sales because that's what stores do.

The problem is that's what everybody else does. Every church, nonprofit and store are doing the same things and nobody notices. In his book Purple Cow, Seth Godin says it's risky to be safe. Being safe may seem safe, but it's increasingly becoming risky because everyone is safe. If every corner store has the same sale, suddenly your sale isn't bringing in the customers like it should. Suddenly your safe idea is a big risk.

Instead, Godin claims it's safer to be risky. By trying out there ideas, being willing to take a chance, doing something different than everyone else, you're actually in a much safer position. You're more likely to be noticed by being risky.

Continue reading "Being Safe is Risky"

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April 13, 2004

The Blog Bog

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Technology

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

Despite the media hype, are you still asking, "What's a blog?" Or maybe you have a vague idea, but you don't know what it means for you. Here's a short primer on blogs and how they can help your organization.

Continue reading "The Blog Bog"

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March 14, 2004

The Customer is Always Right

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Marketing

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

The customer is the center of your world. The very basics of our economy involve offering something to customers. You sell them bagels or tax services or a Friday night worth remembering. Even nonprofit organizations have customers, the people targeted by their services--maybe kids at a weekly after-school club or cancer patients. The bottom line is that the customer is always right.

At least that's the way it's supposed to be. But so often it isn't. The waiter at your restaurant doesn't refill your drink and acts annoyed when you complain that your burger is medium-well and not well-done. Or the cashier that doesn't smile and barks commands. Sometimes poor customer service is simply thanks to a bad day and next time it'll be better. But sometimes you don't get a next time. You need to offer top-notch customer service the first time around or risk losing your customer, no matter if you're a retail business, a service provider, or a nonprofit.

Continue reading "The Customer is Always Right"

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February 24, 2004

What's an Identity and Why Should I Care?

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

An identity, in graphic design terms, is the collection of stuff your clients see from your organization. It's your logo, your business cards, your envelopes, your letterhead, etc. It's your public face and says a lot about what your organization does. It's a chance to reinforce your brand (see What�'s a Brand and Why Should I Care?) and get free advertising.

You may be approaching your identity casually, making business cards only when you need them and not even having a formal letterhead. If so, you're passing up a major opportunity to make an important statement about your organization. Maybe you already have an identity, but it's not working. It doesn't communicate your brand or it doesn't tie together. Either way, check out these ideas to help you solidify your identity:

Continue reading "What's an Identity and Why Should I Care?"

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February 10, 2004

How Can You Reach Your Audience?

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Marketing

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

That's the burning problem for many organizations and businesses. How do you get the college kids to buy your pizza? How do you get deep-pocketed donors to boost your non-profit bottom-line? It's all a matter of getting your message out to the right folks.

When you're trying to spread the word, you have plenty of choices. You can unleash a flood of postcards, fire off a few thousand e-mails, or whip up a radio jingle to name a few. But some methods are more effective than others. You want to find the method with the best return for your investment possible.

Continue reading "How Can You Reach Your Audience?"

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January 20, 2004

Event Promotion

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Marketing

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of promoting an event, you might be wondering what event you should be promoting. For some this is obvious: concerts, grand openings, camps, retreats, etc. For others, you might think events have little to do with your organization. But don't write them off so quickly.

A grand opening can grab media attention (like Dave Gold's 99¢� Only Stores). An open house can help connect your organization with the public. A retreat can relax and motivate your stressed employees. An event itself may not contribute directly to the bottom line, but the publicity, the boost to your brand, or the refreshed employees can more than pay for the event.

Now that you want to plan an event, how do you promote it? Even if you're throwing a mandatory company retreat, success will be determined by attitude, which is heavily influenced by how you promote it.

Continue reading "Event Promotion"

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January 6, 2004

New Year's Suggestions: Be More in 2004

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Marketing

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

It's time to start the year off right for your organization. But let's not call them resolutions--those are easily broken. How about suggestions? Here's a few simple marketing suggestions to help you be more in 2004.

Continue reading "New Year's Suggestions: Be More in 2004"

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December 18, 2003

What's a Brand and Why Should I Care?

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

You could say that Christmas has its own brand. The season invokes feelings of peace and goodwill. It's the holiday all about giving. Freedom, love, thankfulness and frightfulness all have their own holidays, but Christmas has giving cornered. That's what you want a brand to do for your organization--immediate recognition of who you are and what you do.

A brand isn't just a logo, it's a broader idea of what a company or organization does. You recognize a number of major corporate brands. Fed-Ex is the overnight delivery company. Subway is the sandwich shop. CNN is the news network. Branding helps you differentiate Subway from McDonalds, Fed-Ex from UPS, or CNN from UPN. Branding is about narrowing your focus so you can stand out from the crowd.

Continue reading "What's a Brand and Why Should I Care?"

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December 5, 2003

Web Sites that Work: The Basics

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Technology

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

Everyone has a web site these days, but not everyone has a web site that works. A good site should do exactly what it's supposed to do without any fuss. It tells people what they need to know, lets them buy the stuff they're looking for, or simply entertains them. A good web site doesn't waste your time or frustrate you with broken links or hard-to-read text. A web site that works follows the basics:

Continue reading "Web Sites that Work: The Basics"

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