Have you ever applied for a Web site award, and come across the term White Space? Some people think it's a NASA program, an degenerative eye condition, or the result of taking a hallucinogen. According to design experts like Grant Crowell, white space is the open space between design elements, and an important layout technique. Text is a design element. I like to think of placing text the same way Ritz-Carlton chefs present fine food on exquisite tableware. If we offer lots of good text on our sites, but without order and organization, no one may understand what we have to say. When you're working with text in a table, use at least six pixels of cellpadding to set it apart from the margins, visible or not. The exception would be if you're just using one table data cell. Avoid big chunks of text. Break up your paragraphs into readable elements, keeping in mind that people tend to skim. Large paragraphs are not just confusing, they're sending a subtle signal that the reader isn't important. Verdana and Georgia have a bit more space between letters than Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, etc. If you can afford to use either of these two, do so. They reinforce the idea of more white space. Smallbusiness.com uses Verdana for its body text. If you need to squeeze your words together a bit more, go with Arial or Times New Roman, making sure to break up the text with lists, blockspacing, etc. Just for fun, when you're reading magazines and newspapers and watching TV, look for white space in advertising. Once you catch on to how type can be used in design, you'll be hooked! Further reading: Internet Brothers: Desktop Publishing Polished Presentations by Judy Vorfeld Using white space in Web page design and Layout by Grant Crowell
Have you often wished for a bigger budget for promotional items and gifts? You're in the same situation as many small business owners, but that doesn't mean you can't say "thank you" in many imaginative, inexpensive ways. Your tokens of appreciation don't need to be lavish. And clients don't expect (or want) a constant barrage of mugs, magnetic business cards, imprinted pens, and calendars. Take the time to snail mail a thank-you note or letter each time you get a referral from a customer. Send little notes at random times just to stay in touch, letting them know they are appreciated. These days, an occasional brief phone call when you don't want anything but to say "thanks" is novel enough to be appreciated. When you find an article on the Internet that reinforces a client's point of view, send her/him the link. If you find a newspaper or magazine article that s/he might like, take time to clip it and mail it, along with a short note. You show appreciation when you place a link from your site to theirs, refer them to a third party, or mention their expertise in a forum or newsgroup. And most importantly, regularly use one of the most important phrases in every language, "Thank you."
"More than seventy extraordinary authors and thinkers contributed to this ebook," says Seth Godin. "It's designed to make you sit up and think, to change your new year's resolutions, to foster some difficult conversations with your team." Seth Godin is the bestselling author of ten books. He writes about marketing, the spread of ideas and managing both customers and employees with respect. You'll find refreshing, thoughtful ideas by Elizabeth Gilbert, Jacqueline Novogratz, Tom Peters, Dan Pink, Kevin Kelly, Tim O'Reilly, Dave Ramsey, Jackie Huba, Jason Fried, Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor, and Alan Webber. And many more. If you are involved in any kind of teamwork, you will find value in this snazzy free document. The team could be your family, a group at work, church, an agency, school, a volunteer team...it doesn't matter: there's something here for everyone. Here's the link.
Today was my birthday, and I couldn't think of anything more fun than to invite some very special people and have one of them cater the lunch. Anne Caldwell, who is a human resources guru, is also a terrific caterer, and she came into my home this morning and took over while I went back to the office and worked. She produced lunch, and I produced Web pages and did bookwork. Then it was time for my guests to arrive, including my brother and his camera, and we sat down to a delightful lunch. Anne is fairly new to our group, as is Julie Moran, but the rest of us, including Jen Muench and Elsbeth Oggert (who couldn't join us today), have been part of the group for over a year. In the picture above, from left, are Anne Caldwell, Lois Epps, Julie Moran, Janet Crook, Ruthann Clemens, Roseann Ritterby, and me. What do we do? Brainstorm. Help each other out with business ideas. Help with organizational ideas for small businesses and nonprofits. (One of our members is starting up a nonprofit, and another is a social worker.) Analyze projects brought in by one or another of us. Analyze and critique as needed. Learn how to use new technology. Learn how to navigate in the world of social networking. We're a group of authentic people who have a great deal of life experience, enthusiasm, and energy. While we certainly look back at what we've learned, we tend to look forward as we discover way to make our businesses work in this new age. Marketing and communication are two of our main focus points. A diverse group, which makes things very refreshing, we try to think outside the taco. Back to Anne Caldwell. Her catering business is called "In Good Taste," and she specializes in healthy, wholesome cuisine. The main dish and salad were delicious and colorful, and the Zero Sugar Dessert was to die for. She knows what she's doing, and I recommend her highly. Give her a call at (602) 228-9191 to discuss how she can enhance your holiday experience. Her rates are very competitive, and she's totally reliable.