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#1 of about 51,500,000


Ladies and gentlemen, faans and fen, I invite you to Google PROmote Communications. Use whatever capitalization (or lack thereof) that you care to.

Yes, that's me in the #1 spot! Go ahead and click away.

The first time I did it today, I was #1 of about 51,500,000 hits, with the search taking 0.46 seconds. Now I'm #1 of 27,900,000 hits, in a search taking 0.15 seconds. The ways of Google are mysterious, but I'm delighted they've found my website and bounced me into the prime position within a week of it being launched.

It's something I've needed to do for 10 years and more. Thanks to help, support, and useful pokes from benveniste, debgeisler, benyalow, and Mr. Improbable himself, I've started at long last.

The site is currently barebones, utterly so. I expect to develop it into a site with significantly more depth (with a navigation bar, subpages, and portfolio examples you can actually see) in the weeks and months ahead.

The basic purpose of the PROmote Communications website (as I currently envision it) is to serve as a credibility check and further introduction to prospective clients. It needs to look professional and up to date (or timeless). It needs to reflect my design sensibilities, which are best summed up as "See it. Read it."

While I may start a PROmote Communications blog, that's not high on my list of perceived needs. Hmmm...maybe if I were to team up with the agency I do most of my employee communications projects with? We could talk about trends and hot topics in wellness newsletters, and maybe generate some more business that way. For now, I'm more likely to just work on featuring some content about that to help highlight my employee benefits communication experience. It's a specialized area most designers know little or nothing about.

I've been using Dreamweaver while generating the html for the Annals of Improbable Research since early last year. I've just begun to learn how to build websites with it. I look forward to knowing a lot more a month from now, then a year and a decade. I expect to do something real with the toad-hall.com website, too, but PROmote Communications is the driving need for now.

Comments, suggestions, and pointers welcome. I especially like Jeanne Gomoll's portfolio pages for Union Street Design. They're much more interesting to look at than the way I see most other graphic designers structure their online portfolios.

What do you like to see in a business website? And what sorts of things do you find annoying? I'm thinking content as well as navigation ease.


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 18th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
Number one on the Google search. Yahoo was not that kind.
Sep. 18th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
You're right. Yahoo even has my LinkedIn profile way down on page 14. Then again, Google was not that kind even a day or two ago, so I might bounce high on Yahoo, too, once I'm on their radar.

Edited at 2009-09-18 03:56 am (UTC)
Sep. 18th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
I'll have a look when I'm at work tomorrow and send you my personal and professional feedback. Excited to see what you've done!
Sep. 18th, 2009 04:25 am (UTC)
Thanks! I have a long way to go, but I'm glad to be started at last.
Sep. 18th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
That is one of the most attractive web sites I've ever seen. Splendid.
Sep. 19th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
I love you best, sweet Huckleberry o'mine.
Sep. 18th, 2009 06:14 am (UTC)
Sep. 19th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Sep. 18th, 2009 07:19 am (UTC)
Well, number one tip for a website is to have one, so well done. Websites are particularly important for design professionals, because it's the front window to your work.

As you develop it:

Obviously you need a portfolio. I like portfolios that link back to the places where clients have used the work where this is publicly available, and which include fairly examples at fairly large size.

Although I'm not normally in the market for the sort of thing you are selling, in general I want a website to really explain why the company will deliver the thing that I need. I don't like telephoning people and I am much more likely to use companies where it is pretty clear from the website that what they've got is pretty much exactly what I want. So with your business, a certain amount of 'phone me to discuss your exact requirements' is necessary; but I'd still like the sort of thing you do (or rather, the parameters of what you *can* do, which is different) to be very clear.

Hope that's useful.

Edited at 2009-09-18 07:20 am (UTC)
Sep. 19th, 2009 12:16 am (UTC)
Excellent. That's very useful, indeed.

I'll be revising and expanding on the copy in the coming weeks, and will include considerably more information about what I do and what I bring to the table.

Almost all of my corporate work is for internal use only, so that's likely to be something of a challenge, but I believe I can get permission to showcase at least some of it.
Sep. 18th, 2009 09:46 am (UTC)
I expected the pictures of AIR, Reno and Benefits to go somewhere, so I was clicking for a bit before I accepted that they were just pictures.
Sep. 19th, 2009 12:17 am (UTC)
Thanks. Good point.
Sep. 18th, 2009 09:53 am (UTC)
Well begun! I emailed my comments.
Sep. 19th, 2009 12:20 am (UTC)
Re: Email...
Many thanks. Typo fixed; links and other improvements to come.

Edited at 2009-09-19 12:21 am (UTC)
Sep. 18th, 2009 12:37 pm (UTC)
Nice site, so congratulations are in order.

But.... (Which translates to "Are you up for some criticism?")

Shouldn't the blurb quotes in the left margin have a close-quote on the second/final paragraph?

The photo examples are a bit small for my aging eyes. You don't, I suppose, want people to get distracted by actually reading them, but (for me) the balance & over-all Effect doesn't come across well in something quite this tiny.

Probably it's an artifact of my antique browser (I'm temporarily using the old/backup computer, with Mac OS 9.2, & IE 5 for Mac) but the size-control code for the last two photos appears en claire, as (in anglebrackets): "RenoPromotionalBrochure" width="140" height="181" / . (It seems unlikely that any of your other readers will be using software 10-15 years old, but Just In Case...)

And yes, I do seem to be in Terribly Picky Mode this morning -- woke more than an hour early, and have the prospect to going to the Community Gardens to cope (yeah, I'll manage, fatalistically) with the results of a remarkably officious and vigorous, but ignorant & incompetent, Managerial Type from the School District Administration. (Hint: Just before the fruit start to ripen is _not_ the time to have Avocado and Orange trees pruned severely. *sigh*)

Sep. 19th, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
Many thanks, Don. Yes, I'm up for some criticism. Especially when it comes as kindly and usefully packaged as yours.

I've fixed the the closing quote problem on the testimonial and removed the extra brackets in the alt tags. I hope I've replaced with code info with more useful descriptions, but haven't figured out how to preview that myself so if you could check it and report back, that would be fabulous.

Click-throughs to larger images are likely a couple of weeks off, but will come!

Edited at 2009-09-19 01:10 am (UTC)
Sep. 19th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
Great -- the lines of code have disappeared.

Now, though, I've noticed that the red block on the left is just a line and a half shorter than the text block on the right. I guess I find this obscurely puzzling because when composing the page on a stone (using real type & monochrome for a single press-run) it's slightly easier to have the element-blocks even.

That's a great use of red, by the way -- or the use of a great red -- dark & saturated. Very few shades/tones of red would work (for me) as a background for white text, but this is Just Right.

Oh, yes.... and thanks for producing a website page that loads quickly and easily even with my clunky software. So far, that is -- most likely you'll eventually have to add something to which it has an antipathy, but with any luck I'll be back to using the better browser by then... not that there'll be any reason to access your Business Site often, but I like the idea on general principles.

Sep. 19th, 2009 06:46 am (UTC)
Excellent. Thanks for the report back, Don.

The red block on the left has a fixed-length fill, while the depth of the text in the white area depends on how wide the window is set to be. If I stick with this design, I'll figure out how to fill the rest of the red sidebar so it extends to the bottom of the page. Or to the actual footer, if I put that back in.

Web design takes a whole different mindset. I of course want to specify every font, specific type size, leading, and more. Then I want to do all the sorts of things I typically do with print documents to make the type sing. All of which would make for a ghod-awful webpage.

Eventually, the PROmote logo at the top of the page will be smaller and there will be a navigation bar on the left where the testimonial currently is. Well, unless and until I find a totally different template I want to work with. I have a weakness for rounded corners....

Come March, I celebrate the 20th anniversary of PROmote's existence. It just may be time to give my logo a facelift, but I'm still happy with that red and expect to stick with it. I'm delighted you find it Just Right.
Sep. 18th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
Very nice! Congrats on getting it done.
Sep. 19th, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
Many thanks! I still have a long way to go, but am deeply happy to finally have something!
Sep. 18th, 2009 01:44 pm (UTC)
Still #1 :-).

I agree about the sample pages wanting to be links in my head. I agree about the close quote (if both paragraphs are from the same source, one style is to omit the close quote on the *first* paragraph, but I believe that's archaic).

And PricewaterhouseCooper has made somewhat weird capitalization choices, but you appear to have followed their style correctly. Weirdos.

I'm not especially happy with the green floppy disk for the favicon; it doesn't convey that much. You could do one with just the "PRO" of PROmote that would look a lot better, I think. And be easier to recognize as you in a forest of tabs.

Overall it's bold and clean. It adapts to window sizes pretty decently.

It even shows up pretty well on my handheld; the one thing is that the top graphic is reduced so small that the right-hand text part is essentially not visible; if it were two pieces instead of one I think they'd both be legible. Other than that, all the elements stack vertically, which works well enough.
Sep. 19th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)
Many thanks, DD-B!

I've fixed the testimonial quote. I went with the archaic style I'm afraid. :-)

Thanks to you and jbru, I now know that miniature graphic in a URL bar is called a favicon. I even figured out how to make one (well, sortof) and, better yet, how to insert the code so it shows up. Whoohoo. Now to grow skilled in editing pixels for sharpness at that size.

Thanks, too, for checking it on your handheld. My mind hadn't yet gone there, and I've now discovered the way to check for that in Dreamweaver.

"Bold and clean" -- I'm happy with that. For years, the huge internal barrier to doing what I needed to was that it had to look credible. As bohemiancoast said, it's the front window to my work. The website doesn't visually sing yet, and it's not meaty enough, but it proves I exist and it doesn't make me run screaming from the room when I think about what it looks like. That's a good enough place to start, and so I have.
Sep. 19th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
1) it's your site, not mine, and 2) I kind of like the archaic quote style there, I just thought it was worth mentioning that it WAS archaic. Habit, I probably have very little to teach you about these particular eggs :-).

Yeah, editing for clean appearance at that tiny size is horrid; see the not very good Minn-StF logo at that size, which is my word unless somebody replaced the file since I put it there.

Web sites for print-plus-web designers and publication people are among the hardest, since the design and site architecture instantly becomes the main piece in your portfolio. In most markets these days you need to have one, though; I really don't think yours is an exception, and I guess you don't either or we wouldn't be discussing your new site!

It's quite a good first step. I agree it needs more meat. Here's hoping paying work delays that for am embarrassing length of time :-).
Sep. 18th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)
Very, very nice. Having been there at the very beginning (i.e., the night you chose the name and then went to the post office to mail the business tax form to make PROmote a legal entity) I am very pleased and happy at your continuing success! May you get lots of new business in the months ahead!

I don't suppose you'd be inclined to include that chopped-up nuclear power plant cooling tower I created for one of your NSP executive compensation graphs in your online portfolio... even though they killed it after the 3rd round of alts...
Sep. 19th, 2009 01:35 am (UTC)
Thank you! Yes, I'm even slower at getting a website than I was getting a fax machine, but I'm delighted and more than a little amazed that I'm six months away from the 20th anniversary of that trip to the post office. And less than a month away from it being 20 years since I left NCS. Yowser, where does the time go?

Oh, surely it was 7 or 8 rounds of alts on that chart before the round of reviews that axed it. I'd have more than a little digging to find the thing, but I would certainly be glad to include a link to your work with mmagidow or a professional/arts page of your own if you'd like.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )


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