A random opportunity arose last week when I realized a friend from Brooklyn was flying home for a month to Escondido, California. I quickly put together a plan to drive out for a visit as I had never been south of Los Angeles.
The plan quickly came together to include seeing friends from San Clemente and Tijuana, having a beach bonfire, and visiting some of the many local breweries.
Below I have made a really nifty interactive tour, with a service called Tripline, of my trip based on my Foursquare check-ins! Push the play button and see some of the places I visited… (Its Flash so it wont work on most mobile devices)
Some of the highlights from the trip you can see below. The beach bonfire on Saturday night put together by my friend Kanan was really excellent. It was a cold night but the beaches in San Clemente are beautiful and a commuter rail line running right next to it really lends to a unique atmosphere.
My favorite was Ballast Point because of the crazy and unique beers they had on tap that day. They don’t really advertise their adventurous stuff on their website, but I highly recommend stopping by if you’re in the area.
B&W Fire Security Systems is a local business that approached me in late December to build an entirely new web presence to better represent their growing business and really highlight the different services they offer.
Outdated and Dysfunctional
The old website, which had been in use for several years, was broken in most of its functionality and really failed to present any actual benefit to potential customers.
The main attraction on the front page featured a Flash video of fire, large and harsh looking icons, and image based navigation with many broken links. Not only did the website not perform well on desktop computers but was nearly useless to a mobile visitor.
A Fresh Approach
Starting with a modern responsive theme is always my first step in building a proper WordPress website. WordPress is first and foremost a blogging platform and so its important to find a theme that allows for robust page creation.
With a proper foundation I was able to create vibrant and dynamic pages to truly showcase all the many services offered by B&W. The site is further brought alive by using custom WebFonts. An occasional slider was used to provide key information in an eye catching way.
A website is a neccesity for most small businesses today, but a proper website really becomes an integral part of a business when it brings in new customers and helps increase overall sales. This website was built for that purpose and only a week after launching we are seeing a fair amount of traffic coming in from organic searches in the area. Hopefully it will serve them for many years to come.
Everyone loves a good cat video. I recently toyed with this love by posting a very simple video of my cat Waffle to my YouTube channel. I uploaded it on December 19th, 2011. My expectations were low since I have no reputation for these types of videos. I took the video with my phone and uploaded it directly, no graphics or music added, very dry by my standards.
It exploded on Christmas day. It seems everyone is so bored while on holiday that they turn to YouTube for entertainment. Other than the span of a few days around Christmas the video has received very few other views.
Another interesting thing I found in the analytics was where this traffic was coming from. I expected to get some traffic from other cat videos because I loaded up on tags and keywords, but I got more traffic from mobile devices overall. I guess everyone was sitting at home, surrounded by family, playing with their phones. Lovely.