Monthly Archives: June 2013

Google Launches Local Search Results Carousel

By Katie Kosaya

Google users and the local businesses in the US are already noticing the new Carousel design for the Google local search results. The Carousel makes online browsing a more visual experience, it works especially well with the local results for restaurants, hotels, and points of interest. A typical search to see this new design would be something like “Sandpoint Idaho restaurants” as you can see on the image above. Google will put the Carousel feature at the top of the page, including a logo or photo, pricing and cuisine. A click on these restaurants will bring up Continue reading

Five WordPress Plugins We Love

By Benjamin Robinson

We build many sites in WordPress. Plugins are little third-party WordPress applications that can provide a quick and inexpensive way to solve problems and provide complex functionality without incurring the cost of custom programming. While it can slow a site down and cause problems to have too many plugins installed (plugins are all built by different authors at different times — conflicts between them are common) there are a number of plugins that provide some really neat effects and functionality, and almost always work great. Continue reading

Are those QR codes effective, or not?

QR Code

Go ahead, scan. We bet you’ll skip it.

QR codes, those scrambled-egg bar codes that appear on advertisements or packaging for smart phone users to scan and see a web page, are getting the heave-ho by many marketers.

As they take up valuable real estate in an ad (and are pretty ugly to boot) it’s good to ask: Are QR codes actually effective?

The latest Comscore stats say Continue reading

5 Steps to Get Started with Social Media

by Katie Kosaya

Social media for small businesses is mainly about building brand awareness and encouraging engagement with leads and customers, but it should have a direct impact on your bottom line, too. Social media presence can help you achieve greater brand awareness, better online reputation, improved customer service/experience.

Remember a few rules: 1) Social media is not “free” because to make it effective you (or someone you hire) must devote time. 2) It won’t bring you immediate results, but like all marketing it will make returns over time. 3) Social media marketing efforts are inadequate in isolation. It can’t make up for a bad product or service.

Ready to get started? Here’s our 5 steps to get started with social media. Continue reading

Whoooo was that feathered visitor?

Baby great horned owl at Keokee offices with Blake Schiöberg of Birds of Prey NorthwestWe like our human visitors, but they generally can’t match the cuteness factor of this baby great horned owl that came by our office yesterday. One of our editors, Billie Jean, came across this little fellow after it fell or was kicked out of its nest. Too young to fly, it would have almost certainly perished, so our heroine Billie Jean gathered it for Birds of Prey Northwest, and handler Blake Schiöberg swung by to pick it up. BOP Northwest does amazing work in raptor rescue, and director Jane Fink consults with us on our osprey webcam. See a little more about the owl episode on our Sandpoint Online Facebook post»

Getting Started with WordPress: Posts & Pages

by Benjamin Robinson

If you missed it, make sure you check out the Introduction post.

There are two primary content building blocks in WordPress: Posts & Pages. Understanding the difference between how they’re intended to be used will help you to correctly decide which is appropriate for new content that you want to add to your website, and to help you determine where current content might be stored so you can edit it.

Pages vs. Posts

Here is a simple explanation of the two: Continue reading

Summer Sandpoint Magazine stirs it up


Our new Summer 2013 Sandpoint Magazine hit the street on May 16, and feedback has been very positive. Our cover story on wolves kicked off a robust Facebook argument about the reintroduction of these apex predators in the Northwest – as we hoped it would, in fact, because we think the discussion is healthy for all sides to understand one another’s point of view.

As we put together this issue, the decision to play wolves for our cover story kicked off a good discussion right here in our office. Continue reading

So young, yet so old (in Internet years)

Here’s a bit of interesting lore (for the Internet-minded): a copy of one of the very first web pages, used as a demo at a computing conference in 1991 about a year after the initial introduction of hypertext markup language – in other words, the invention of the World Wide Web. You can see it here:

The very first web page ever made has not been found, though NPR put out a call for people to check their hard drives for it. So it may show up.

SptOnlineScreenshot1996This brings to mind our own first efforts on the Web. We started our website in December 1995, with some pages we called “Sandpoint Online” as an adjunct to Sandpoint Magazine. Alas, like the guys who invented it all, we don’t have a copy of our very first Sandpoint Online with its large (but stylish, of course) yellow buttons, unless it is stuffed on some old hard drive still hanging around our offices. But here is the second version we came up with, in late 1996 or 1997. Click on it for a closer look. These days of course is a tad heftier with thousands of pages, photos, interactive features like the Classified Ads, our real-time raptor web cams and more. But we still pursue the basic idea: to make a cyber community for our fave town.

By the way: is our town’s most heavily visited website. If you have a local business that is not represented, you are missing one of your most cost-effective marketing resources (at any price; basic listings in the business directories are free). Get more information»