Boys & Girls Club Wins First #GiveBack Website From Clear Idea

Clear Idea is happy to announce the Boys & Girls Club of Manatee County as the winner of our first Give Back Campaign.

The voting for our first Give Back campaign was incredibly close, but at the end of the day, our team felt that the Boys & Girls Club of Manatee County would not only benefit greatly from a new website, but would also be able to effectively leverage that website as a tool for greater good throughout the community.

Serving more than 4,000 kids and operating a number of club locations, the Boys & Girls Club will primarily benefit from a brand new, responsive web design, which will eliminate the need for them to continue managing two different websites. One for the web, and a secondary mobile website.

Tech note: Having a seperate mobile websites was very common years ago when the mobile web was in its infancy, but now the two website system is outdated and inneficient. Not to mention it can negatively affect your overall online performance. Learn more about the importance of responsive web design. 

Additionally, the Boys & Girls Club has a large real world audience, who will immediately benefit from the ability to explore all of the information, services and events that they have to offer.

“We feel confident that our investment in the Boys & Girls Club website will pay off exponentially for the organization as a whole, but by no means, does that mean this was an easy decision.” Said Teddy Matheu, CEO of Clear Idea Labs.

The stories submitted by each of the nonprofits were extremely compelling. And we wish we could have helped each and every one of the applicants, but in the end, there could only be one winner.

The good news is that we plan on doing it all over again in 6 months, and we might even talk a few other digital agencies into joining us in giving back to the nonprofit community.

Who knows, maybe we’ll start a trend!

But wait… That’s not all!

In an unexpected turn of events, we have also decided to create an unofficial runner-up prize.

As we learned from their heart-felt submission, the webmaster over at Rob’s Rescue Foundation passed away, leaving them locked out of their website and unable to update it, or collect online donations. It didn’t take us long to decide as a team that we wanted to help them get ther website back on track, regardless of the final vote.

It won’t be a comprehensive web overhaul like our grand prize, but we wanted to give them a fresh start online, and provide them with the chance to grow their small yet effective organization.

I don’t think we’ll make a habit of picking two winners for each Give Back campaign, but this time around, we couldn’t help ourselves.

Thanks for following us on this journey… Please share The #GiveBack Campaign with a nonprofit who couldbenefit from an online boost! Thanks for sharing the love.

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Why your business needs Google+ and how to get started

Many people still think Google+ is the underdog of social networks – the one network that isn’t quite worth investing the time and effort to create and maintain a presence on. However, recent reports have Google+ slated to have tremendous growth in the coming year. How? Google has been actively growing the network beyond the existing volume of Google service users (gmail, google drive, etc), Google+ recently integrated with YouTube – providing more potential users, and another great reason to give the social network greater consideration. Beyond the service improvements, the existing advantages of Google+ go far beyond mere social networking; being active in the social network can also lead to improvements in your website’s search engine ranking.

I know…I know you are screaming inside your head right now, “please not another social network to manage!”, and I completely understand. I, too, feel that it is difficult to integrate another social media network into your marketing strategy when you are already utilizing so many others. However, I truly do believe that Google+ is worth the time and effort – after all, improving website search engine ranking is priceless.

Here are just some of the ways you can prepare your business or personal website to take advantage of Google+

Share your content on Google+

This may seem like the most obvious thing, but it’s the simplest way to get started in any social network. Connecting and sharing via many alternative social networks doesn’t mean that you should forsake Google+. If you do, you will be missing out on a tremendous opportunity to optimize your content for Google’s search engine and to improve your overall page ranking. For example, if you share your website’s content on Google+, Google has been show to index that content at a higher priority.

When posting your content to Google+, it’s also important to consider the content’s keywords. Specifically, Google+ makes the first sentence of Google+ posts a part of what is called the title tag. The title tag is a piece of code in the structure of a website that has a much higher weight when it comes to search engine ranking. Keep this in mind when posting content to ensure you are using the keywords important to you – this is just one simple way to take advantage of Google search engine optimization when utilizing Google+.

Connect your website to Google+

I get it – you’re like thinking, “Wait, what? If I’m already sharing to Google+ how do I connect to it – and what does that even mean?” 

Well, if you connect your website to your Google+ page, your search information is improved in Google’s search results. Search results will show profile pictures and Google+ business page information where appropriate. Adding this information to search results has huge benefits: it improves your business or individual credibility and personalizes your search results, making them stand out from the crowd of others who are not taking advantage of Google+. Essentially, it’s an automatic step up on the non-Google+ using competition.

The connecting process involves adding some code to your website and linking to your website from Google+. Keep in mind that, for Google to actually add your information to search results, you need to reach a certain ranking.

Listening with Google+

If your content is on Google+, you can monitor who is saying what about you and/or your business. Beyond keeping a general ear out, you can also easily set up alerts to notify you when anyone is saying anything about you and/or your business.

As a business owner, you know that it is critical for you to be aware of any feedback, positive or negative. In fact, addressing negative feedback can often lead to positive results. Negative feedback unfortunately is often more recognized and showing that you are aware – and that you care about your customers – really can make a difference.

Controlling the content you create on Google+

Google+ allows you to create content quite easily and also allows you to edit it afterwards. While Twitter, Facebook, and the like offer limited content editing, Google+ allows you to edit just about everything; this makes it easy to go back and update existing content with additional information when needed.

Google+ is another tool

The key component of any marketing on the Web is to connect and to provide the content that will help you to earn new connections and maintain an interesting dialogue with your existing connections. Google+ offers all the tools needed to accomplish these goals, and if your inclination is to stay away from Google+, a little research will make you understand quickly that you can leverage the tool effectively to, not only connect with your audience, but to increase your search ranking, and exposure.

If you haven’t yet made Google+ a part of your social media marketing strategy, it is time to seriously consider doing so. Google+ will can help you to build credibility, position yourself as a subject matter expert, and strengthen your professional reputation.

How to Avoid a Domain Name Suspension

One of the most critical steps to launching a new site or email client is securing the domain – a process that is managed and overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Named and Numbers (ICANN). Although in the past, securing a domain name was a fairly straightforward process, beginning this month, there are some pretty big changes coming to the way domain names are purchased and managed, courtesy of ICANN.

Please continue reading to learn how to avoid a domain name suspension!

ICANN, the organization that oversees generic domain names (i.e. .com, .net, .info), is implementing a registrant verification system that all domain name registrars will have to support starting this year. Basically, the updates will require clients to undergo a verification process when completing a new registration or when making changes to the WHOIS contact information on an existing domain(s).

To complete verification, the registrant will need to verify the email address that they use to register generic top-level domains. Failure to verify the email address associated with your domain within 15 days will result in that domain being suspended; this means if you don’t verify within the 15-day window, your website will not launch.

How it all Works

So what exactly does all this mean? Let me break it down for you.

For new domain registrations, it means that shortly after you register a domain, you’ll receive an email with a link that you’ll need to click in order to verify that the email address you provided is valid and that it belongs to you. You must click on the link to verify the email address within 15 days of verification link receipt.

For domains that you already own, there are a couple of things that could prompt you to verify (or re-verify) your email address:

If a reminder or renewal email sent to the email address listed in your domain registration bounces, you’ll need to re-verify that email or update it to a current, functioning email address

If you change either the first/last name or email address on one of your domain registrations, you’ll need to verify the new information.

It’s a bit complicated, but you won’t always trigger the verification process when you register a new domain or make a change; it all depends on the specific circumstances surrounding your domain registration.

For example, if you already own a domain that has a verified email address and you register a new domain with the exact same first/last name and email address, that new domain is considered verified. Similarly, if you change contact information on a domain to information that exactly matches another verified domain, you won’t need to verify the change.

Keeping it Simple

In truth, this change, though important, doesn’t need to spell trouble. First, make things easy for yourself by proactively ensuring that the email address on your domain registrations is valid and able to receive email. We recommend that you contact us over the next couple of weeks to double-check that you have the right information on all of your domains and to ask any questions that you may have.