Posted by: jpluna | January 8, 2009

WE’VE MOVED!

Thank you so much for visiting and subscribing.  The Build Your Fan Base blog has moved to:

http://www.buildyourfanbase.com

Please update your feed/email subscription from the new site!

Thanks for tuning in and hope to see you active on the new blog!

-Jesse Luna (@jesseluna on Twitter)

Posted by: jpluna | November 17, 2008

New Packaging for Motrin? #motrinmoms

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Enjoy, comment, and share!

New Packaging for Motrin?

New Packaging for Motrin?

New Packaging for Motrin?
Posted by: jpluna | November 9, 2008

Design a Winning Header Image for Your Blog

There are so many blog templates and so little time.  So it’s understandable why many bloggers stick with “out of the box” template designs.

But here are the top reasons you should have a well-designed custom header image.

A custom header image allows you to:

  1. Establish your brand
  2. Tell visitors where they are
  3. Establish identity

Establish Your Brand

Your customer header image should match your other Web site, print, and offline marketing designs.  This consistency helps to reinforce your overall company and/or personal brand.

Mari Smith, Facebook and Twitter marketing expert, exemplifies this branding concept.  Below, notice that her Twitter profile and “Why Facebook?” blog both use the same colors, background design, similar pictures, and both use her “blinged out” M logo.

Mari Smith uses consistent design elements to establish her brand on her 'Why Facebook?' blog

Mari Smith uses consistent design elements to establish her brand

Mari Smith’s Twitter profile also reinforces this same brand. Consistency FTW!

Mari Smith uses same branding elements on Twitter to reinforce her brand

Mari Smith uses same branding elements on Twitter to reinforce her brand

Tell visitors where they are

There are over 100 million blogs on the Internet so it is important that your blog visitors know where they are.  The easiest way to do this is to put a big honkin blog title on your header image.  Mari Smith’s blog is named “Why Facebook?”  It’s clear, it’s obvious, and it eschews obfuscation (avoids confusion).

Search engine optimization tip: Make sure you have your blog title as text on other parts of your blog design.  This will help search engines, like Google, index it as a crucial keyword phrase.  That way, if someone searches over your title, it will have a great ranking and hopefully show up towards the top of the search results. This is less likely to happen if you only use the text on the image.

This blog is named “Build Your Fan Base”, so I make sure to have this show up as part of the standard blog template text at the top of the page to take advantage of this optimization.

Establish Identity

If you have several blogs, Web sites, and social networking presences (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, etc.), it is important to establish your identity early on.  I distinguish between Brand and Identity because you could have a corporate brand for a blog (any many blogs) but a personal identity for the blogger.

How many times have you visited a blog, read through some of its great content then scanned the site only to realize there was no name attached to the blog?  This is a huge lost opportunity.

To establish identity via your blog header, use a photograph of yourself and make sure your name is on the header.  If you do have several Web presences, go the extra step and make sure your photograph matches the other sites.  Having a similar expression and wearing similar color clothing help make things that much more consistent.  I use the same image on my Twitter profile as I do on this blog to keep things easy and so I don’t have to shop for a dozen light grey shirts.

Summary

To maximize your blog, use a customer image header that reflects your brand, tells visitors immediately where they are, and also announces your name and mug to the world.  If you use this trifecta of tips, you will surely be on your way to building a valuable and lasting fan base.

Posted by: jpluna | November 8, 2008

Manual WordPress Blog Install

WordPress claims to have a Five-Minute install so I decided to put that claim to the test.

Quick disclaimer: This contains technical details that may make your head hurt.

For non-techies who want to run a professional blog using the WordPress platform, I strongly recommend you use a Web/blog hosting company that has a WordPress install as part of its service.  Some will do all of the installation for you and others have a “one click” install.  Based on feedback from Twitter buds, this takes the pain out of the installation process.

First Steps

I went to the WordPress site at 9:50PM last night (after arriving from a 4-hour drive, don’t ask me why) and downloaded WordPress 2.6.3. I also tweeted about it on Twitter and received several replies basically saying, “Don’t do it!” But I pressed on.

Since I’m doing a clean install with the latest and greatest setup – PHP, Apache, MySQL on a Windows server – I had some pre-installing to do.

First I downloaded PHP to install it on the server but then ran into Wampserver which does an install over PHP, Apache, and MySQL all at once and that saved me a bunch of time in tinkering and downloading.

I followed the next step in the install process which was to configure the MySQL database. This requires creating a new database, creating a user and setting permissions. WordPress gives detailed instructions on how to do this but it took me an hour to realize I had copied WordPress to the wrong directory, was setting up the MySQL database incorrectly, and such.

It was then around midnight, but that included taking a break to update one of my Facebook applications which allows you to throw shoes at people. I was starting to see double so called it a night night.

Pro-tip: for anyone trying to install software late at night. Even though you think something is “broken,” if you try it in the morning, there’s a good chance you’ll get it up and running. Ten years of programming experience talking here.

By the way, this initial setup is not considered part of the WordPress “5-minute” install because they assume you have those items installed. **Bad assumption on their part.**

Some notes on Web hosting companies

If you are using any old Web hosting company, there are many things that could be missing in the install. For instance, if you don’t have the right version of PHP or MySQL then you either have to get the Web hosting to upgrade (not going to happen) or you have to switch Web hosts. There are other iterations of these kinds of problems but they all equal Time (days or weeks) and Money (would need a plan which includes a database and allows for WordPress installs), and that equals Pain in the A$$.

Finishing the “Pre-install”

So now it’s morning and my brain is fresh after a long walk and setting up the new MySQL database is a snap. I use the Wampserver icon in the toolbar to create a MySQL console, use the command line prompts to create a new db, user, and permissions then I try to run the WordPress install page and it works this time.

That means that the Web server was running, MySQL had the database set up correctly, and that I set my database configurations correct in the wp-config.php file.

NOW it time to start the clock on the Five Minute WordPress install. It’s kind of like saying it takes one hour to paint a house. You can lay down paint on a house in one hour but it takes days to do the sanding and taping off of windows so the claim is deceiving, to some degree.

From the initial WordPress install page, you name your blog, set an email address, then you click “Install” and in about 20 seconds, the blog is installed.

There is good news

As I was doing the install, @KarenMHurd on Twitter recommended I check out Hostgator which did a free install for her as part of her hosting service. Yes, the good news is that there are several good Web hosting companies that have “One Click” installs or will do the install for you as Hostgator did.

Some Web hosting companies also have an install program called Fantastico which allows for third part installs. @terryhowland on Twitter pointed this out and said it was a simple install and only took moments.

Recommendations

Unless you are a total techie and are looking for your next Everest (Ok, maybe it’s more like a nice sized hill) then you should find a Web hosting company that will do the install for you and one that does WordPress installs all the time.

I haven’t tried these companies but WordPress recommends these Web site/blog hosts.

The other option is to use the free WordPress blog on http://www.wordpress.com. The downside there is that you have less control over you blog, you don’t have your own domain, and you have a limited amount of widgets to customize your blog. For professional use, one should go with a WordPress installation and do yourself a favor and go with a hosting company that will install it for you.

Last Words

You may be wondering how I was able to install PHP, MySQL, and Apache on a Web server. Well, I used my laptop as a temporary server. Yes, the Geek is strong in this one.

Running WordPress Blog from Laptop

Running WordPress Blog from Laptop

Posted by: jpluna | November 8, 2008

My Best Banner Design? Send Chanclazo




SendChanclazo Banner

Originally uploaded by jesseluna

I had a lot of fun creating this banner. Intended to be silly/funny, it features me getting smacked in the head by a shoe and has bright colors. The color combinations have a Mexican/loteria/cartoonish feel to it.

The application already has 74 downloads and it’s only been on Facebook for three days and I just barely submitted it to the Application Directory today.

What can you do to spice up something that is usually very ordinary to help stand out?

Facebook application:
http://apps.facebook.com/chanc_sydltcb/

Posted by: jpluna | November 2, 2008

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Viral Widget

This Sprout widget allows you to grab it or change the content with the publishers or with *your* content.

Go ahead, build your own!  By the way, I only edited this widget, Sprout and the folks at Nick & Nora built the original widget.  Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted by: jpluna | November 2, 2008

Adding Sprout Widgets to WordPress Blog [test]

I’m just testing adding a Sprout Widget to this WordPress blog post.  Stay tuned for a How To blog post!

This is my Sprout Widget….

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “PRO-TIP: Adding Dynamic Flash Content…“, posted with vodpod
Posted by: jpluna | October 29, 2008

I Vant to Suck Your Blog…With New LinkedIn Applications

LinkedIn now has Applications.  You know, just like Facebook.  Yeah, they’re a bit late into the game but they are starting with the some good ones.

New LinkedIn Applications:

  • WordPress-sucks in your blog
  • Blog Link-blog sucker #2
  • Amazon Reading List-Share your reading list
  • Huddle Workspaces-collaborate
  • Box.net-Data import
  • Slideshare-presentations online
  • Company Buzz-Hear what people are saying about your company
  • My Travel by TripIt-trip tools
  • Google Presentations-presentation tool

I’m most excited about the Blog suckers but unfortunately there is no Twitter app.  And you can find me on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpluna

Check out the videos for the WordPress LinkedIn Application.

WordPress


Posted by: jpluna | October 22, 2008

Yahoo! Search Marketing to Allow Zip Code Targeting

I was advising a potential client on ways to help get his business online.  As a contractor, he will be looking for work in his immediate geographical area so the new Yahoo! Search Marketing Zip Code targeting might be just what he needs.

Yahoo search marketing zip code targeting. JP Luna Web Design

In Pay Per Click advertising, people search from a search engine (Yahoo!, Google, etc.) or from their ad network, or from sponsored ads placed throughout the Web.  The advertiser then pays an amount of money ($0.05 to several dollars) for each click.  The Zip Code targeting allows advertisers to only serve ads to people in those zip code ranges.  This is ideal for advertisers who only want to target certain areas.

On the business side, this new Yahoo! service is thought to be a new wiz bang feature to sweeten any future ad sharing deals with Google.  It doesn’t really matter to me as long at it provides better tools for clients.

See the announcement on the Yahoo blog:

http://www.ysmblog.com/blog/2008/10/20/you-can-see-them-from-here/

Google is seriously trying to cut into my business.  It launched a Display Ad Builder which allows you to create AdWords compliant ads with a few clicks.  The key selling point is that you will no longer need a designer to create your ad.

What do you think?  Will you be able to use it?

View the tutorial for more info or check out the Google AdWords blog.

Via Marketing VOX

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