Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of teaching a SEO and Google Analytics workshop titled “SEO & Analytics: A Complicated Concept That’s Easy To Understand” to a great group of business owners and web enthusiasts at QNS Collective co-working and event space in Long Island City/Astoria.
The venue served as a perfect collaborative learning environment, raw wood, natural light, wall plantings and spacious rooms. In this two-hour session, I walked the group through SEO basics as well as how to do their own on-page optimization, and what to look for in Google Analytics to make informed decisions.
To increase your sites traffic, ensuring you are optimizing your pages and content as much as possible is the first step. Come join me at these other workshop dates to learn about this topic, and more!
Having just gone through the process of buying a new car, I’ve become more attuned to car commercials and the crop of new fall car ads from Lincoln and Honda are pleasantly surprising. Lincoln features Matthew McConaughey doing what he does best – questioning humanity (ok, that’s a joke) in a sort-of True Detective like approach. And Honda shows several highly stylized characters and vignettes asking if the car, for example, is gluten-free. Are advertisers grasping at straws to conceptualize something “unique”, “resonant” and “innovative” that they are left to parodize pop culture or embarrass our award-winning Hollywood talent? Or do these ads hit the mark correctly for providing a different take and spin on a staid advertising format? See below…
And finally, Conan O’Brien sums up my sentiments nicely by creating a parody of the parody that is the above Lincoln MCX commercial.
1. This study reveals what kinds of Instagram photos drive sales.
2. An interesting read on how Tory Buch built her $1 billion empire so quickly.
3. Six creative brainstorming exercise that might help get those ideas flowing.
4. Some fun blog themes brought to you by The Blog Boat – and under $40.
6. One mans quest to take photos of all casino carpets and create a gallery of designs. Odd and fascinating.
The top 6 places to eat, drink and play in Downtown Las Vegas, home to Fremont Street – the origins of Las Vegas’ first casinos of Rat Pack fame (think: Golden Nugget) are in an area that is currently undergoing a massive revitalization. This is all part of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, redeveloping the city into the most-community focused large city in the world. This new section dubbed “Fremont East” is now home to progressive education centers, top-notch dining destinations, funky coffee shops and killer donut bakeries, to name a few.
Stretches of land were not bulldozed to make way for hideous new strip-malls and centers, and instead the existing dilapidated hotels and sketchy theaters (charming though, with their mid-century modern architecture and original marquee signage) were mostly kept in tact but upgraded to have new interiors and conveniences.
If you’re in Vegas, take an day or afternoon off the strip and check out my top 6 Downtown Las Vegas must-do’s:
O Face Donuts - Designed like a retro coffee shop, O Face is the only place I have seen donuts with such crazy flavors as Cinnamon Roll Donut, Bacon Apple Fritter and Smore’s, to name a few. Super indulgent! I dare you to eat more than one.
The Beat – Named after the beatnick poets, this coffee shop brews a great cup of iced coffee (given the fact that it was 104 degrees when I was there, hot coffee was not an option) while serving casual sandwiches and snacks inside it’s library-meets-grungy-record-store digs, which is shares with the Burlesque Hall of Fame store. Reminded me of some of my fave coffee spots in Austin and Burlington. Totally cozy and totally authentic.
Stitch Factory – Part fashion manufacturing, part co-working, Stitch Factory opened in 2012 to create a space for designers to co-create with one another. Visit this awesome factory directly across the street from Zappos headquarters to check out what the super-friendly staff and team are up to. Tell ‘em I sent ya!
EAT – The hipster breakfast and lunch joint by chef Natalie Young serves comfort classics and sandwiches at totally reasonable prices. The enormous and delicious fresh veggie burger with homemade chips is enough to feed two.
Container Park – Dozens of used shipping containers have been stacked together to create a three-story entertainment, dining and shopping complex. Complete with a tree house, playground for children and concert stage with nightly performances, there is truly something for everyone. My fave drinking establishment was the wine bar Bin 702, with the perfect rose on tap.
Wild – Founded by “Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After” author and entreprenuer Miki Agrawal, this healthy gluten-free loosely Italian restaurant celebrates farm to table dining in a cozy atmosphere. Get the Carson’s Kryptonite drink – a blend of kale juice, gin, and elderflower liqueur. A good-for-you green juice that gives you a healthy alcoholic buzz? Yes please!
Although there are still too few companies who embrace social and environmental conscious design and production, those that do really stand out in a crowded marketplace. Companies who care to stimulate entrepreneurship in developing countries while making a positive impact on the local community have an advantage as consumers begin to care more and more about buying from responsible brands. According to an article from Fast Company in 2013, “30% of survey respondents said that they expect to increase the amount of goods and services they buy from socially-responsible companies over the next year (last year, that number was 18%)”. As big box brands (think H&M’s beautiful and bohemian eco-concious line and the perennial favorite Ben & Jerry’s) are also embracing this trend, there are amazing smaller and more transparent companies making a direct impact such as two of my favorites below:
Rose & Fitzgerald: A design and craft studio in Uganda founded by a Californian couple whose design vibe mixes “California cool” with native materials to produce unique and gorgeous home and lifestyle pieces, made by local artisans and craftsman. Favorites include Triple Band Brass Cuff and Original Wine Holder.
Indego Africa: A non profit social enterprise & lifestyle brand that supports women in Rwanda through supporting economic empowerment and education. Indego Africa works with existing artist cooperatives to create handcrafted products ranging from a Cow Horn Hand Carved Necklace to Hanging Flower Pots.
(photo above from Rose & Fitzgerald’s emotive “About” video)
Blogshop is a two-day intensive in-person class to teach the basics of Photoshop for blog design. This workshop had about 26 women in attendance and I had the pleasure of working with the girls as a teaching assistant. These days were packed with hands-on learning with breaks for delish food from Saucy by Nature and photoshoots so that the attendees could work on their own headshots throughout the Photoshop lesson (oh, and I forgot to mention mid-morning mimosas?! treat yo self!).
There were skill levels of all types in the room, which made for an interesting and instructional time. I hadn’t really stepped back as a designer to go back to “Day 1″ of Photoshop learning. It was awfully exciting to see lightbulbs go off in the minds of the new designers as they became excited with their new skills!
Bri and Ang know how to put on an impeccably styled and streamlined event. Def taking cues from these girls!
(photo courtesy of Blogshop)