Yearly Archives: 2009

Cudos! Named Small Business of the Year

Cudos!, an awards and gifts store, recently received recognition from the Augusta Metro Chamber Commerce as the Small Business of the Year. Powerserve congratulates Audrey Snuggs, Sloane Wiggins, and all of the Cudos! staff on this achievement.

Chamber honors Cudos! as small business of the year

Visit the Cudos! website: http://www.cudos2u.com

Last year’s recipient was R.W. Allen LLC, another great client of ours.

The Lydia Project – A Great Redesign Enhances the Mission

The Lydia Project is a non-profit organization that provides free services anywhere in the world to women facing cancer. This support includes a handmade tote made by the loving hands of volunteers and filled with encouraging items as well as correspondence and encouragement every month for at least a year.

In 2006, we designed The Lydia Project website after they won the Powerserve Extreme Website Makeover Contest conducted on WAFJ, a local Christian radio station in Augusta. The new site and its content management system aided Lydia’s growth and expanded their reach around the world. However, after meeting with the organization’s leaders in the summer of 2009, we realized the website needed to do a better job of communicating their mission. From the homepage, Lydia wanted visitors to easily request services, get involved, watch their video, read their newsletter, make a donation, and view their faith sponsors. Powerserve accepted the challenge and delivered what we believe is a great redesign that enhances the mission of this worthwhile organization.

TheLydiaProject.org - 2006

TheLydiaProject.org - 2006

The New TheLydiaProject.org

The New TheLydiaProject.org

Visit The Lydia Project website: http://thelydiaproject.org

Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church Launches New Site

The New TrinityontheHill.net

The New TrinityontheHill.net

The new Trinity on the Hill website is the culmination of a successful multi-phased website project. Powerserve’s first task was to empower the Trinity staff, giving them total control over their website content. Once that part of the project was completed, we would then develop an updated design along with a more intuitive navigation structure for the site.

Content Management Solutions have dramatically changed the way organizations maintain their websites. Rather than be tied to the traditional client/webmaster model in which you’d send your update requests to a web developer who might take days to turn them around, modern CMS’s are easy to use and allow you to update your site using any computer with an Internet connection. But don’t be intimidated by the thought of maintaining your own site. Many CMS’s, like Powerserve’s Web Site Accelerator, are designed with usability in mind. If you have clerical skills, you can maintain your own site!

Following the migration of Trinity’s content from a static HTML framework to Powerserve’s Web Site Accelerator, the next step was to develop a brilliant new design for the church. Using their new logo as the starting point for our creative process, one of Powerserve’s design leads was able to craft a new concept that really enhanced Trinity’s brand image online. Then we reorganized the content under a new navigation structure that was more visitor-centric. Church members are better served by being able to access the information they need, while new visitors find the site to be the first source to look for information about Trinity on the Hill.

Visit the Trinity on the Hill website: http://www.trinityonthehill.net

Follow-up: Augusta Lawyers Take Aim at Web Traffic with SEO

Smith & Smith Attorneys

Smith & Smith Attorneys

You may remember the blog article we posted, “Not Your Typical Lawyer Site,” which profiled Smith & Smith Attorneys, a family law practice in Augusta, Georgia. The ladies at Smith & Smith came back to Powerserve with a new goal; they wanted to take the new site to the next level and start driving some organic web traffic to it. Powerserve recommended a locally targeted search engine optimization campaign.

Zeroing in on a local search engine market can be extremely cost effective as compared to a national or global campaign. (National or global campaigns can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the competitive landscape of the targeted key words and phrases). It can also produce very quick results, sometimes taking just a couple of weeks (although, there are no guarantees)! And often times local businesses will find that their competitors are pretty easy to beat in the rankings because their sites may not even be standards compliant, much less search engine optimized.

Our initial analysis of SmithandSmithAttorneysAugusta.com confirmed our suspicion—that the site seemed to be buried in the website rankings by a lot of other sites that, frankly, were winning the search engine game only because no one else was playing. Our first clue was the abundance of directories—not competitors’ websites—that were scoring above Smith & Smith in the rankings; these sites typically score well due to the abundance of semi-relevant content they aggregate. They can also be unseated in their search engine rankings by developing highly relevant content and by using some key SEO techniques.

The end result? SmithandSmithAttorneysAugusta.com jumped from page 6 of the Google search results to the second position on page 1! So anybody who searches the web for family law practices in Augusta, Georgia should arrive at the Smith & Smith Attorney’s website straight away, which also means that their phones are ringing a lot more!

Not Your Typical Lawyer Site

The New SmithandSmithAttorneysAugusta.com

The New SmithandSmithAttorneysAugusta.com

Smith & Smith Attorneys came to PowerServe through a referral from one of our clients. They were informed that if anyone can design an atypical lawyer website it was us. We wanted to avoid the typical cliches: Lady Justice, scales, gavels, etc. The ladies at Smith & Smith gave us the creative latitude to be unorthodox and adventurous with the design – “chic” was a word heard often – but it still needed to be professional.

Family Law is a very sensitive practice area. Smith & Smith Attorneys often come to know their clients during one of the most difficult times of their lives – the end of their marriage. PowerServe decided to focus on the personality of the law firm rather than the particular aspect of the law that they practiced. The atmosphere of the firm is really very different; a warm and inviting environment designed to make clients feel comfortable and at ease. The challenge for PowerServe was that the website needed to reflect the character of the Smith & Smith practice. The jury is in and they’ve ruled in our favor!

I would certainly say that your company was able to capture the essence of who we are as a firm and to convey that message to potential clients who will view our site. We wanted a non-traditional site that would express our personalities and show who we are both as people and as professionals. Your company provided consultation with us to understand our message and recommended a photographer who was able to capture our personalities on film. We could not be more happy with the services we received. Thank you for a job well done.Beth Ann Smith, Smith & Smith Attorneys

Visit Smith & Smith Attorneys at http://smithandsmithattorneysaugusta.com

Superheat FGH

The New SuperheatFGH.com

The New SuperheatFGH.com

Superheat FGH is the premier industrial heat treatment service provider in North America. As PowerServe worked with Superheat we began to realize that rather than being a high-tech welding company, they are actually a technology company that deploys its expertise in the construction industry. Needless to say PowerServe discovered a kindred spirit Superheat right away.

Doing business with the likes of Bechtel, Fluor, Chevron Texaco, ExxonMobile, and many others, as well as having plans to expand into Europe, Superheat FGH needed a professional site that reflected the innovative nature of their process and company. Their previous site wasn’t meeting their needs, and they wanted a solution where they could easily edit content in-house. By creating a custom design and setting them up on our WebSite Accelerator CMS, we enabled them to manage everything on their site without having to know markup.

Gary Lewis, Superheat’s website project lead and Business Development Manager, had this to say about the project:

PowerServe was tremendous to work with. Their creative energy and design expertise allowed us to expand on our brand with a fresh, progressive, comprehensive, and very professional looking website. It was important that the site maintain functional simplicity yet incorporate more advanced technical capability for seamless visitor interaction, routine updates, improvements and navigability to important related sites as a resource to our employees and those on the outside wishing to expand their knowledge base.Gary Lewis, Business Development Manager, Superheat FGH

The site was launched in March 2009, in conjunction with a cover story about Superheat FGH in Business and Industry Connection magazine. We’re glad to have played a part in improving Superheat FGH’s web presence. We always enjoy working with a client that understands the value of a strong Internet presence and the role it plays for helping to acquire world-class clients.

Visit Superheat FGH at http://www.superheatfgh.com

Social Networking 101

Welcome to Social Networking 101. This is the first of a multi-part series covering social networking from a business perspective. Subsequent posts will tackle individual networks, how to use them, what tools to use, and more.

Social networks are online communities of people who share common interests. While most social networks are designed to be used by individuals to communicate with friends and family, share pictures, movies, and more, your business can use them to engage existing customers or to reach out to potential customers.

Why should I be using social networks?

In short, you should be using social networks because you need to be wherever your customers are. But here are a few of the main reasons you should be social networking:

  • Brand Awareness – Having a presence on social networks is one way to keep your brand fresh in the mind of new and existing customers. Make sure existing customers know you have a presence on social networks. Encourage them to tell your friends. Track mentions of your company name, product and/or service. Show those people that you and your company care about what the public thinks of them.
  • Brand Tracking – Sites like Twitter Search make it super-easy to track mentions of your company, products, and services. Pepsi recently introduced Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback and monitored use of the hashtag “#throwback” as well as specific mentions of “Pepsi Throwback” and “Mountain Dew Throwback”
  • Public Relations/Information Sharing – You control the flow of information and you can target it more effectively. The people that you’ve connected with on social networks are likely to be more interested in what you have to say.
  • Search Engine Optimization – One of the side benefits of social networking is that it can potentially aid your SEO efforts. Share links to your website content with friends and followers. Those links could potentially get reposted (or, in Twitter lingo, “retweeted”) driving additional traffic to your site.
  • Support – If customers know you’re monitoring Twitter or Facebook, they may be more apt to contact you there rather than calling or emailing.
  • Damage Control – Companies such as Comcast are using Twitter to proactively contact frustrated customers who might be experiencing outages, having issues with phone support. People will vent their frustrations about companies quite openly on Twitter. Doing what you can to assist these sorts of customers can help mitigate any damage it might cause if left unresolved.

What social networks should I use?

This is a fairly loaded question. But here are two that are growing at a phenomenal rate:

logo_twitter_thumbTwitter – At it’s most basic level, Twitter asks the question “What are you doing?” Users post updates (140 characters or less) to friends and followers, ranging from the mundane (“I watered my plants after eating a bowl of cereal.”) to the informative. Businesses use Twitter to share news about their company, provide customer service, and much more.

logo_facebook_thumbFacebook – Though primarily used by individuals, companies can create Pages that allow them to share links, news items, photos, videos and more with their “Fans”. Whenever a “Fan” interacts with your company on Facebook, their friends see it as well.

What’s next?

While Twitter and Facebook are two of the fastest growing networks online, you’ll have to be the judge of where you feel having a presence will have the most impact. Our next article in this series will cover Twitter. It will focus on how to get started on it, how to use it, some of the terminology you’ll encounter on the service and how you can get more out of it. Future posts will cover Facebook, LinkedIn, Upcoming, Yelp, and a few other sites in much the same way. Stay tuned!

P.U.R.E. Movie Magic for the Web

It seems like every day the web is becoming more engaging. Video, which was not long ago a new concept for engaging a visitor’s attention, has now become the new standard for content delivery. Many of PowerServe’s clients are looking to appeal to just such a content-hungry audience. Sure, folks can come to your website and scroll through page after page of “About Us,” “What We Do,” “Our Mission,” “Our Vision,” and so forth. But have you ever thought about distilling your organization’s “elevator pitch” into a two-minute video? If you have a video posted to your website, studies show that most people will actually click the “play” button just out of curiosity. (Similarly they also click the “stop” button when they see it’s 95 minutes long, so be warned.) We’re a visual culture and we love to be entertained!

PowerServe recently launched a new video project for a client who wisely decided that their story could best be told with pictures – motion pictures to be precise. P.U.R.E Ministry Project is an organization that creates awareness in the church community and provides education about how to better minister to special needs people and their families. Not only did PowerServe develop an awesome new website for P.U.R.E Ministry Project, we were also able to reach into the client’s imagination, capture their vision for how to tell their story with images, and produce a touching introductory video.

Videos online aren’t just for your “elevator pitch” either. Consider producing a short video to demonstrate a product or service you offer or take people on a guided tour of your facilities. Do your projects generally take months to finish? Consider taking a daily photograph from the same angle and same time of day. Then, when the project is completed, we can put them all together into a seamless progression video, complete with background music and narration. Or perhaps present a few of your customers giving a powerful video testimonial. Want more ideas? Come talk to us.

Not sure where to start? Leave everything to us! PowerServe can arrange all of the filming, write the script, handle editing, and take care of production. Or we can create what we call an Impact Movie where we use stock footage and/or quality still photography enhanced with motion graphics and audio. Video adds a new level of engagement that your site simply does not have without it.

Visit http://www.powerserve.net to see more of our website design, software development work, and video production services.

The ADDY Awards

PowerServe has been active in the American Advertising Federation of Augusta for several years. The annual ADDY Awards is an event that is always fun, entertaining, and enlightening. The Augusta ADDY Awards is the first of a three-tiered national competition. Across the globe, local entrants vie for recognition as the very best in their markets. Local winners then compete against other winners within their regions in one of fourteen district competitions. District winners move on to the National ADDY Awards competition. Entry in the Augusta ADDY Awards competition is the first step towards winning a District or National ADDY.

PowerServe was pleased to have received three ADDY awards for client design work.

Photos from the ADDY Awards show

959 Broad Street

959broadstreet

Exterior - 959 Broad Street, Augusta GA

One of the side benefits of participating in this year’s Downtown Loft Tour is that we learned a little more about the history of the building we work in:

Pinkham Building (now PowerServe). Built in 1879, this three-story brick building originally had two stores on the first floor and two dwelling spaces on the upper floors. It was built by contractor W.H. Stallings for Fred L. Pinkham whose wife, Minnie Dickey, owned the property with her family. Being adjacent to the old Planter’s Hotel, at one time the residential spaces on the top floors were rented to families who were registered there. It has housed at various times an auto supply store, liquor store, kosher delicatessen and shoe repair. Like the adjacent building, it was rehabilitated by Bankers First Federal Savings and Loan Association and dedicated as part of Lafayette Center in 1985. Later sold and used as offices.

Downtown Augusta, Georgia is rich with history, and we’re glad to be apart of it.

Loft Tour – Come Check Us Out!

loftpostcard09Historic Augusta, Inc. will host its annual Downtown Loft Tour on May 1 and 2, 2009.  A selection of trendy living and working spaces will be open to the public during First Friday between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and again on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

Cost: $15 in Advance, $20 During the Tour

Advance tickets available at Historic Augusta, 415 7th St., Mellow Mushroom, 1167 Broad St., Metro Spirit, 700 Broad St., blue magnolia, 1124 Broad St. or Hill Drug, 1432 Monte Sano Ave.

For more information contact Historic Augusta, 706-724-0436 or e-mail info@historicaugusta.org