Let’s make a poster!

Our local theater marketing team created a poster for an upcoming show, but the director did not like the girl in the logo. I asked if I could take a shot at redesigning it (just for fun, because I love doing this stuff!) Here are some of the thought processes behind… Read more

monitor with Go, Bulldogs to represent school website

Six steps to a professional school website

There’s a young family moving into your part of the state. While choosing which neighborhood to settle into, they research one of the most important factors in their decision: the school district. How will they conduct their research? A primary way will be visiting school websites. With the options afforded… Read more

gingerbread men

Your website could benefit from a good cookie analogy

“I don’t want a cookie-cutter website!” said my customer. I understand his desire to stand out, but I disagree with the belief that his site needs to be mind-blowing to attract customers. The fact is, being too edgy can turn off the very people you are trying to attract. It’s similar to physical shopping.… Read more

David Tennant

Tenet, Tenant, or Tennant?

Fodder for today’s blog came via email first thing this morning, and is a mistake I see and hear often: Misunderstanding of the difference between tenant and tenet. “Tenants” are people who live in a particular place or who rent property to occupy. The tenants of the apartment were happy to… Read more

example of hone in error in book

Home sweet hone?

One of the quirky delights in my life is finding typos in books. I found the gem above in a tome published by Faith Words (I’m available for freelance proofreading, Faith Words!). The writer made a common error—choosing hone in for home in. Home in: Direct attention, move or aim… Read more

the emperor has no clothes image via haltonhousing.org

The website has no clothes

Your website should not make your users turn away and avoid looking. Remember the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes? The emperor was persuaded by his tailors that his new clothes were all the rage when, in fact, they were invisible. He thought he was regal and stylish until the truth—and his embarrassment—were revealed.… Read more

your PowerPoint is not your presentation

How to design a professional PowerPoint

Actually, your PowerPoint isn’t your presentation—it is there to support you and what you’re going to say. THAT is your presentation. (See previous post for tips on creating content for a persuasive presentation.) Don’t bore your audience with lots of text. People want snippets and sound bites that reinforce your… Read more

school lunch

Let’s change the world (or at least school lunch)

Let’s say your teacher/boss has asked you to create a persuasive presentation using PowerPoint (or equivalent). What’s your reaction? “Woohoo! I can change the world!” Or, “I don’t know where to begin.” Crafting an influential message takes focus and skill, and, it’s probably not something you learned in elementary school.… Read more

glass of water

Make a poster—but make it good?

I am interrupting my website analysis series for this public service announcement: We need to teach design to our students so they can be effective communicators.  As a mom, I’ve seen my children create a variety of projects for homework—posters, books, presentations, videos. I applaud their teachers for throwing out… Read more

screenshot of art gallery website

Don’t assault your website visitors

Lesson of the Week: Welcome your website visitors and invite them to explore. Recently I was working on a website for an art gallery and browsing Google for inspiration when I came across the site above. It is anything but inspirational; it assaulted my senses! There are links all over the… Read more

screenshot of engineering company website

The way of avocado appliances

Every internet visit provides you an opportunity to analyze websites so you can improve your own. There is no shortage of material out there! Let’s take a look at an engineering company website I came across. Web-sins of this site include: Opening animation: First, only its name trickles in a letter at a… Read more

movie theater home page

What is the #1 question?

What is the purpose of your website? To impress visitors? To tell the world how great you are? To sell products/services? These may be valid reasons, but are they the BEST reason? The most important purpose of a website is to answer your visitors’ questions. That means you need to… Read more

credit union home page

It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it

Your website is a tool to get your message to your customers/potential customers. Are you really sending the message you want? Just like face-to-face communication has nonverbal cues (body language, tone of voice, etc.), you website does, too. Your message may be in words, but the typography, color, size, and… Read more

SBA website infographic

Does your small business really need a website?

There’s a lot of hype about websites these days. Does your small business really need one? After all, as of the end of 2014, only 51% of small businesses had a website (see infographic right, from SCORE-Infographic-Customer-Friendly-Websites.) And they’re doing fine. Right? Use the following checklist to determine your website needs.… Read more

I’ll cut you some slack (but you should still proofread)

Yes, I make grammatical errors. But I no longer have to be quite so embarrassed. If it’s due to my higher-level thinking, I’m okay with that! Hubpost: Why Your Brain Makes Grammar Mistakes Read more

Christopher Lee

A doubly sad day for Sir Christopher Lee fans who can spell

Died of respitory issues? I suspect they were respiratory problems. The bottom line—it’s a sad day for “The Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars” fans, myself included. Article source Read more

Tadpole makes it to the big leagues!

The world is a funnier place when you have  a good vocabulary. And can be really embarrassing when you don’t. The word the headline writer was looking for is ambidextrous, not amphibious. The pitcher uses both hands equally well—unless, of course, he pitches well both on land and in water. Hmm…he does… Read more

How do I make an em dash in WordPress?

Every program—like every person—has its quirks, or different ways of doing things. For example, inserting an em dash (as in the above sentence) in WordPress is different from Word. If you’re used to Word, you know that to insert an em dash in Word, you type two hyphens in a row.… Read more

Wait…what? When design trumps readability

Look at the photo and tell me the name of the company. I asked my young-adult daughter to do the same, and she paused before hesitantly offering, “Northern & Machine Fab?” My son said: At first glance, I read Northern Fab, LLC. Then I see & Machine, but Northern &… Read more

Apostrophes appalled at apostrophe’s misuse

I saw this on Facebook this morning. Note the “couple’s” in the description and “couples” in the link headline. Are they both correct? Let’s look at what apostrophes are used for. Yes, let’s. “Let’s” in this usage is a contraction for “let us.” The apostrophe lets us know this is a… Read more

Would you send your preschooler here? Or your preeshooler?

While walking recently, I noticed this sign in a window. I am compelled to share it–not because I’m arrogant about my proofreading skills, but because I want everyone to know: SPELLING CAN AFFECT YOUR INCOME! I’m sure the owners of this childcare center are compassionate people. And spelling isn’t an… Read more

Is Nike a verb?

I’m an entrepreneur. And like many entrepreneurs, I have to face my fears. Fear of not being perfect. Fear of what other people think. Fear of failure. So, I’m just going to Nike this thing! In other words…I’m just doing it! Read more