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#TBT 2006 artist James Dietz online store

#TBT 2006 artist James Dietz online store

James Dietz online store design

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, thought I'd share a design from back in 2006.

Did you know we've been doing this since 1996?!?

James Dietz is an award-winning military and aviation artist whose work is collected worldwide, and even hangs in the White House. Back in 2006, our Ballowax small business division was actually a separate company (owned by Glerin and a couple of partners) that provided e-commerce order fulfillment services. We were contracted to develop a site to sell collectibles that featured Dietz's art; the new online store offered full-featured e-commerce including live interaction with USPS.com for shipping, live chat customer support, and the ability for customers to manage their existing orders.

We actually developed our very first e-commerce site in 1997 and had to code everything from scratch!

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Mi Carreta Mexican Restaurants Website Design Launched

Mexican Restaurant website design

With over 100 entrées on the menu and delicious house specialties, these restaurants will make your tummy happy!

The Mi Carreta family of Mexican restaurants was founded in South Boston, Virginia in 2003 and has grown to 8 locations in Virginia, North Carolina, and New Hampshire.

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Custom illustration makes this tourism website unique

custom illustrated animated map

This is the kind of project we love.

A client that's important to the community, is fun to work with and welcomes creativity, and has ideas of their own so is able to give good feedback and guidance but knows when to turn things over to the pros.

We just recently launched the new website for Halifax County Tourism, including creating a custom illustrated animated map that displays tourism sector information and provides visual site navigation.

For as long as we've been working with the tourism office, director Linda Shepperd has wished for some type of animation that would let visitors "drive" around the county to discover things. Cost, not wishing to use Flash, practicality of the feature, and several other factors always kept us from creating it.

On this site redesign, though, illustrator Erin Kipps Brown came up with a concept to treat the project like a theme park map.

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Good Content Drives Search Engine Placement

good content drives SEO

We've recently had an increase in questions and concerns from our clients about SEO. For those of you who aren't familiar, SEO is Search Engine Optimization. SEO, in simple terms, is the process of influencing search engines to find your website. Why would you want this? To drive interest and potentially sales.

For example, if you own an Ice Cream shop in Alaska (& I can only assume this is a very competitive business in Alaska) you want to be at or near the top when someone Googles Ice Cream Shop in Alaska... Correct? Of course you do!

Achieving high rankings in search engine results is as desirable a goal as say, having your company featured on the cover of a popular magazine (20 years ago). In fact, there's an entire market for companies to offer services which focus on nothing but increasing your rankings through SEO.

Depending on the services offered, this method can be perfectly valid for your business. But know this: Google (and other search engines) can (and DO) change their algorithms FREQUENTLY. They do this to prevent search engine manipulation. They do this for YOU, the end-user, to give you the best, most relevant and valid content on the internet.

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Rediscovering Halifax County

Tobacco Heritage Trail rock formationWorking on the rebranding and new website for Halifax County Tourism (currently under development) has reminded me of what a nice place this is to visit or live in. I know I'm biased, but the truth is that we have a wider variety of things to do and places to eat than most places with a much higher population.

Currently the Tourism website is really mostly a directory of businesses. The organization has never had the manpower or budget to develop content, so the site didn't do the area justice. In addressing that issue through this redevelopment, I'm continually discovering things about my home county that I had either forgotten or never knew about.

Just goes to show that "Discover Halifax" is the perfect name for the Tourism Deparment's marketing initiatives, because there's always something new to discover! Keep an eye out for upcoming social media campaigns that center around discovering Halifax; I'm hoping you'll open my eyes to even more unique things about the area.

Look for the new site and brand to be unveiled in a couple of weeks, along with two new features being added to the Visitors Center.

Here are just a few photos of things to do around the county. How many have you done? Did you know you can even take cheese making classes?