Saturday, June 27, 2009

Save Our Stamps!

We have just launched our newest promotion, open to customers, suppliers, contractors and anyone else we deal with.

This year we won a Gold Hermes Creative Award in an international design competition for the design and concept of our custom envelopes and postage stamps. To celebrate this (and promote it), we put together a fun little contest.

We ask that you collect 12 of our custom stamps - we mail stuff all the time, so it shouldn't be that hard to do - then contact us for your prize. There has been a lot talk about extravagant prizes, but in all likelyhood, your prize will be lunch for your office delivered by Francomedia.

You can read about the contest details here.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Day at Francomedia

I thought I heard the Brother's Gibb, light strains about the room,
At first I thought it was a ruse, it’s such a catchy tune.

This is the place to work, I thought, where laughter is the norm,
And jeans are cool to wear in here - for those who won't conform.

We even have a brew machine, for coffee, that can judge,
Exactly when it should shut off, before to turns to sludge.

Then there’s the vinyl Kevin brought, it’s not the stuff that drones,
The music that we’re apt to hear is usually the Stones.

Where Facebook is the business plan, and Kick-Ass is the brew,
And often inter-office notes include a new YouTube.

Not all days here are quite this good, and this I must impart,
cause round and round my brain is going “Eclipse of the Heart”.

There is one thing we mush eschew, in case you didn’t know,
You can have juice but just don’t touch the bottled H2O.

Now Sandor, he’s the man for lunch, and Dave he’s quite the cook,
and Ryan he’ll do Arnold quips, and Colin’s got the looks.
(Actually they all do but hey, it rhymes.)

Now where has Kevin gone to now? I need to get some stuff,
Perused and answered, tweaked, and cropped, but finding him is tough.

I think he's gone to get supplies, and this just might make sense,
(For Bonnie Tyler tunes you know, he's got to recompense.)

Now all in all we have it good, we groove to different tunes.
It is a shame, we can’t complain, like all the other goons.

Cause working here is pretty sweet; I know it could be worse,
I’ve learned new words, and catchy tunes, and even how to curse.

Now I’m not good at writing blogs, but thought I’d try my hand,
To say how nice it is to work right here at Francoland.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

SEO Guidelines


Search Engine Optimization is considered by some a science and by others (namely this humble developer) as common sense. I have done the research and will share with you the most important factors to consider when optimizing your site for search engines.


Page Title
Every page should have a descriptive title, in addition to the site name. This greatly helps with page ranking, as the title is directly related to the content of the page.

Meta Description
Meta keywords aren’t given any weight anymore because of unethical practices like keyword stuffing. The meta description, however, is still good for describing your site, and it appears in search results.

Relevant headings relate, or should relate, to their content. This improves the validity and genuineness of your site, making indexed searchable content more meaningful.

Content is Key
Without interesting and relevant content, your page doesn’t stand a chance. People will not search for it and most likely won’t link to it. Great content is important especially on the first page, as it creates the snapshot for the rest of your site.

Links Have Meaning
Avoid “click here” links. A link should have meaningful text, alluding to the content of the page that it is linking to.

Image ALT Tags
All images should have ALT tags describing their content. Web crawlers are blind to images. This point is especially important when it comes to image-based menus. It is imperative that web crawlers are able to scan your menus, especially the main one. Search engines create nice little indexes of your content, and accessible menus make this much easier.

A sitemap is crucial, especially for dynamically generated content. It contains the table of contents of your entire website, complete with valid URLs which search engines look for. In a nutshell, sitemaps are an easy way for search engines to index your content.

Friendly URLs
Use human-friendly and meaningful urls whenever possible, especially with dynamic content. Web crawlers cannot search content that is dynamically created. Friendly urls help search engines look in the right direction.


Don’t Keyword Stuff
This constitutes as search engine spam. Search engines like Google frown on this and will black-list or ban you from results if you blatantly break this rule.

Don’t Try to Trick Search Engines
Keep in mind that the people who build search engines are smarter than you. Search engines will look for common tricks people employ to gain higher rankings. It’s not worth the risk.

Don’t Resubmit Frequently
One submission to search engines is enough, any more and it will be viewed as spamming and will consequently hurt your page rank.

Don’t Submit To Multiple engines
Submitting your site to dozens of search engines is kind of pointless and a waste of time. Google is about as ubiquitous as the air we breathe. It is the number one search engine for several reasons. The name has even been turned into an adverb and added to the modern English language.

SEO Specialists
Some make wild promises that your site will be number one in no time. No one can realistically promise this. Proliferation takes time. There are many companies that can employ the recommendations I put forward for you here, just beware of superfluous claims by some service providers. Save your money and apply some common sense.


Clean Code
Code that is structurally sound is much easier for web crawlers to search. It may be a web crawler by name, but that doesn’t mean your site should be a tangled mess of a web to crawl.

Semantically Correct Code
When code is semantically correct your page ranking benefits because the structure definitions are directly tied to the content.

Home Page is Important
It is the beginning of a web crawlers search and thus the rule of first impressions applies. The home page should basically summarize the content of the rest of the site. Be selective about what you choose to put on the home page. There is a new breed of internet user that is very weary of sites that waste their time.

Use With Caution

In general, Flash is a little harder to crawl. But as of 2004, Google has invented technology to allow web crawlers to extract text from Flash. Flash-based sites still rank lower than HTML-based ones, so use sparingly.

Intro Pages
Use only if absolutely necessary, and provide an actual link to the main content so that the crawler can continue on its merry way.

Things To Consider

Link Exchange & Affiliation
The more people are linking to your site, the higher your page will rank. It’s that simple.

Time Will Tell
It’s no mystery that websites that have been around for a while have established their footprint on search engine results.

Raw traffic alone will boost your site straight to the top of search results. How do you get that traffic? Design compelling websites. Write interesting content. Let people talk about your products. Create an interactive game. Give people a reason to keep coming back to your site.

Labels: , ,