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Tips for Stress-Free Website Design and Redesign

Tampa Bay web design companyYour company’s website is the heart of your business. It’s where people go to find you, connect with you, contact you, and admire your work. It is one of your most important assets, the hub of all communication, and it should define your brand. Because your website is such a pivotal piece of who you are and what you do, you want it to be beautiful, functional – the best it can be. Thus, hiring a web design company is a big decision, and starting on that web design project can be a daunting task.  If you have a lot of content, images, and functionalities that add complexity to the project, the task may seem even more tremendous. However, it does not have to loom so large. Here are some tips for a smoother, quicker web design process.

The most important factor in determining the timeliness and simplicity of even the most complex web design project is organization. Each web design project manager may have a different approach, but the below are some basic ideas.

  • Organize your folder structure – you should have separate folders for content and graphics. Organize them by page and name them according to function and/or placement. Consult your design firm’s project manager to determine their recommended format for organization.
  • Communication – Conveying your ideas and your vision clearly and succinctly to your web designer or project manager is essential. Prepare for your first meeting by researching some sample websites  or elements that you admire. This is a crucial part of conveying your vision to the creatives involved in the process. They are inherently visual people and sharing visual cues – perhaps picking pieces of different sites that you really like – will give them ideas that will help them create the best possible site for you.
  • Read the contract – Every web design and development firm will have a unique contract. Fully understanding the contract is the first step to great communication. There may be time limitations and protocol for revisions. These are in place to ensure a timely, smooth project, so make sure you understand the process and ask questions if anything is unclear.
  • Ask questions – Another path to great communication is thorough understanding. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. This will keep communication flowing and eliminate the fear that comes with loss of control. However, be prepared to step back and let your design firm guide the process – this is why you hired them.
  • Stepping back – You hired a web design and development firm for many reasons. They know what they are doing. The good ones care about your business. They want you to succeed. They are creative. For all of these reasons and more, you should be able to trust your design firm when they offer advice. Sometimes this means you must take a step back from the minutiae of your design and see the bigger picture. Being able to do this will save you time and money.
website design

We recently finished a gorgeous website design for Southern Roots Realty at

The web design process can be truly rewarding. If you hire the right design firm, you will have the opportunity to work with creatives who can make your vision come true, an incredibly satisfying process for all parties involved. Do your research and make sure you not only love the firm’s portfolio, but that you are able to communicate comfortably with the team. Next to organization, communication is most important! Good luck with your project, and be sure to check out some of our other articles about web design and development.


Tampa Bay public relations

Maintaining Connections – Keep Up to Date with Your Network

Tampa Bay social media agency
We were pretty wowed by a speaker at a recent Association of Legal Administrators Business Partner Showcase and felt compelled to share some of his insights. Not only was Ari Kaplan an engaging speaker, what he had to say was so valuable that we remained fairly riveted throughout his presentation. Whether or not it was the content of the presentation that made it riveting, his dynamic personality, or a combination of both, we left feeling as if we had just been given a gem of information.

The gem of information was simple, really – keep in touch, and keep it interesting. There are many ways of doing this. He reminded us that “half the battle is just showing up,” in fact, he practically screamed it. This woke up those in the audience who were dozing off, and the rest of us, well, we were nodding our heads, thinking, “it really is that simple.” After all, we had made that small effort to show up at this event, and already we were patting ourselves on the back for it.

Keep in Touch

We all lead busy lives for a multitude of reasons – work, family, hobbies, vacations, etc. Sometimes, in the midst of our busy lives, we forget to keep in touch with people. At the heart of this is friendship, but keeping in touch with business contacts can be equally as fulfilling, and often much more lucrative. Kaplan recommends making it a point to reach out to a business contact at least once a day in some form or another, and he gives some great advice on how to do so.

  • If you’re traveling to another city, contact a current business acquaintance, or even reach out to a complete stranger whose work you admire, alumni from your school, or a recommendation from a colleague. Introduce yourself. Ask them out to coffee. You won’t die if they say no, and if they say yes, you have just opened a new door for yourself. Even if they say no, you have put yourself on their radar. This is part of the “half the battle is just showing up.” By reaching out, you showed up.
  • Use Connections on LinkedIn – an integrated tool that alerts you to what is happening in the work and lives of your connections. Even better – it gives you a button to click on that will auto-populate a message to that person congratulating them on a promotion or saying Happy Birthday. Customize these messages, of course, but half the work has already been done for you! You may have also noticed updates in your feed about contacts being mentioned in the news. Use that as an opportunity to connect. Read the article for great insight into their accomplishments, knowledge, and news.
social media marketing connections

Keep in touch with LinkedIn Connections.

  • Send postcards – this also falls under “keep it interesting.” Kaplan suggests sending a cool or fun postcard from the place you are visiting. Send to someone with whom you haven’t communicated in a while, just to say hello. Send to a current prospect to let them know you’re thinking of them. People like to receive postcards, and your gesture brings you back to the forefront of their mind.

Keep it Interesting

Kaplan asked us, “what makes you interesting?” We turned to our neighbors and told them what makes us interesting. For some it was hobbies and interests, for others it was an ability or talent. Whatever it was, Kaplan asked us to use it to our advantage. To be interesting is to be remembered. This goes for what makes you as a person interesting as well as interesting actions you take to get noticed. Sending a postcard is one of those things, but can you think of others? What about sending out cool marketing materials that really highlight your business – an auto-playing video card or a deck of cards with your images? Think about what you would like to receive – something useful and interesting – and use that to get attention and be remembered.

Since the event, we have been busy setting lunch dates and coming up with cool ideas for our clients. We reach out to new acquaintances more often and we attend events more often. If nothing more, we are making some great new friends, but we already know that friends make the best clients.

Ari Kaplan is a leading legal industry analyst, writer and speaker. To learn more about Ari, visit his website at

The Science of Spreading Ideas

spreading ideas through public relations

spreadingideas_newsSpreading Ideas 

Academia has a strong theory concerning the spread of ideas, concepts, and technology. Yes, math is involved, but thankfully, I am a writer who is averse to math. So, any trepidations you may have had should be quickly dissipating.

Diffusion Theory 

Everett Rogers formed his Diffusion of Innovation theory back in 1962. Over fifty years ago, the world learned how most ideas, not all of them, are brought from the drawing table to everyday use. Through the lens of this theory, we have the ability see how the latest and greatest products or ways of doing something spread organically.

The TED Radio Hour* recently devoted an entire hour to “How Things Spread.” I found that after listening to this show, I had more questions than answers, which is a good thing. I like a challenge, and if you do, too, then you might have the same reaction.

Who Should I Target? 

So, what’s all this have to do with advertising? Advertising is about getting your products into your customers’ hands, yet it’s the concepts within the products that make them attractive. For example, your phone is about connectivity and entertainment. As a writer for cell phones, I want to convey those ideas. But, who do I reach out to? As an advertiser, I know throwing any message into the wind will just float away. Advertising needs to be targeted and ROI driven. As an advertiser, I need to know the change agents and opinion leaders.

Who are these people—change agents and opinion leaders? Without getting into a lengthy discussion about what constitutes these roles within our society, I’ll use the quick and easy example of pharmaceuticals, one that we should generally know about already. Let’s say drug company P has completed trials of their drug and received FDA approval. Simple enough, they go to market.

Who do they approach first? Doctors, of course. Not just any doctor, but the ones that are in tune with the latest techniques in pharmacotherapy. These doctors are potential change agents, because they are aware of the benefits advanced techniques can offer their patients, as well as their colleagues.

Specialist are attractive targets for the latest and greatest drugs. These specialists incorporate the therapy into their practice, see if it works, then spread the word to other doctors, or speak at conferences. Once a sizeable percentage of doctors are familiar with the therapy, then the drug

company can target the consumer side of the population, having them “Ask your doctor to see if Drug P is right for you.”

It’s Science 

Back to the math, briefly, I promise. Diffusion theory shows a bell curve for adoption and uptake of ideas and products. This means that your product has a definite path through its sales lifecycle. Let’s look at the figure** below.

spreading ideas through advertising

Continuing with our example of new drugs, the specialists are the Early Adopters, who are at the far left of the graph. Of course, this is generalized, but you get the picture. During this early adoption phase, according to Rogers, the effects of the drugs, both good and bad are being disseminated throughout the medical field. The spread to general practitioners also happens during the early adoption phase. The general population appears in the early majority and late majority phases.

What I want you to focus on is the exponential growth during the early adopters and early majority phases. This is important, because if the word isn’t spreading about a product, then the growth isn’t happening. You might as well forget about the laggards. Rogers, in his 2003 edition of Diffusion of Innovation, called laggards in the medical field, conservative doctors that were averse to change and set in their ways. Why would any company want to spend money trying to convince someone that has no want or reason to change? Laggards adopt a product or idea through peer pressure and phasing out of outdated products.

Back to Basics 

We’ve heard of target marketing for years. Saw it in our text books. Listened to our mentors. There’s a mathematical and scientific reason why it works and produces higher return on your investment. In the future, when you want to create a campaign for your latest service or product, speak with an advertising professional that is well versed in targeted marketing, because it’s science.

About Michael Premo

Michael Premo is the founder and full-time writer for 613Creative, Inc., specializing in digital media content. He’s an avid reader, researcher, and advertising nerd.

*If you’re not familiar with the TED format or TED Radio, I highly suggest listening to the podcast to spark your own creative ideas or learn how to become a better listener to many that are circulating around you.

** Figure credit goes to and

Bobbie Shay Lee Speaks at University of Rhode Island

Bobbie Shay Lee presents at University of Rhode Island

Bobbie Shay Lee was selected as the 2016 University of Rhode Island Vangermeersch Lecturer to present “Profit or Purpose: Looking Beyond the Surface”.

In her address, the former NFL cheerleader told the stark truth about some cause-related marketing and how consumers can be well informed about purchasing products with ties to charitable organizations.

A breast cancer survivor, it was Lee’s quest for information about funding from the NFL’s “Crucial Catch” breast cancer campaign that led her to create the Center for Transparency. Through the Center, she has worked to provide clarity about the profits being made and details of exactly how much money is actually contributed to a company’s selected non-profit.

Read more about her lecture in the University of Rhode Island student newspaper.

Bobbie Shay Lee, 2016 Vangermeersch Lecturer

Bobbie Shay Lee, 2016 Vangermeersch Lecturer

Bobbie Shay Lee, 2016 Vangermeersch Lecturer

Pinstripe Closes on New Web Site for Southern Roots Realty

real estate web site wolfnet integration

After years of working with big commercial firms, it was a special treat to work on a decidedly prettier real estate web site. And with a legacy that spans generations, it was a pleasure to design the Southern Roots Realty site to reflect their love and commitment to St. Petersburg.

real estate web site WolfNet integrationThe Southern Roots site highlights the home listings visitors expect from real estate sites, and through the custom integration with WolfNet, it also features robust search functionality and lead generation tools for the agency. What makes Southern Roots unique is their deep knowledge of and affinity for St. Petersburg’s diverse neighborhoods, so the Pinstripe team incorporated that into the site design. The agents regularly post insights about the most popular areas of the city, illustrating why buyers and sellers need the Southern Roots team in their corner.

Have a real estate firm looking for a new web site? Contact our team and let’s get to work!