four blossoms with the word jebrawebbed below

Jebrawebbed is the blog written by Debi Lewis, founder and owner of sustainable web site development company Jebraweb.com. Based in Evanston, IL, Debi and her firm are focused on building web sites for organizations with a purpose beyond (but not exclusive of) profit. Debi blogs about open source content management, non-profit and small business web sites, the importance of local community building, and women-owned business. She is the mother of two young daughters, married to a non-geek, prefers her bike to her car, and is the proud owner of a few too many stringed instruments.

You can find Jebraweb on Facebook and Twitter. You can email Debi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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I Judge Your Web Site

disgusted faceYour web site either gives me the information I need easily and professionally or it devalues your brand. Period, end of story.

Is this fair? Absolutely not. You may sell a fabulous product or be an excellent service provider, but if your web site doesn't showcase that really, really well, I am likely to move on to one of your competitors. It's the old "judging a book by its cover" cliche -- we all do it to one degree or another, but in an information culture, the way you lay out that information on my screen is a huge part of how I'll judge your business. People involved in the business of laying out information -- marketing people, graphic designers, people in advertising -- are perhaps more likely than others to dismiss your brand based on how you present it online, but to a lesser degree, all people have a tendency to compare you to the best presentation of similar information they can find.

There are several things that will delegitimize your site on looks alone.

What's in a Price?: How Web Site Quotes SHOULD Work

officeHow much do business cards cost?

How much do you have to pay for a computer? Or a phone?

How about office space? How much does it cost to rent an office?

The answer to every single one of those questions is exactly the same: it depends. It depends on dozens of criteria that, depending on the choices you make, all affect the bottom line price you'll pay. If anyone came to you and told you that they would rent you an office for $300 per month, with no other details, you wouldn't sign. You'd probably ask all the usual questions: how big is the space, does it have the amenities I need, is it in the part of town I want, etc. Without asking, you might end up with a $300 per month cement room without heat or electrical outlets. No business owner would sign a lease without understanding what their money was buying.

We've all been in offices and seen offices before -- we know what information is important in order to rent one. When it comes to web sites, however, it's harder to know what the price quote you're getting really means. When presented with ten pages of technology language, many business owners and non-profit managers understandably can't decipher the details -- and many price quotes are poorly written. We've developed a quick way to separate out the pieces of a web site price quote that lets you see how your budget is being spent.

JebraWHAT?!: Friendly Answers to Webby Questions...About Video

jebrawhat!?: friendly answers to webby questionsWell, hi there! It's time for the first episode of JebraWHAT!?, our new non-techy, ultra-friendly advice column for social entrepreneurs and non-profits managing their web sites on their own. We'll be answering your questions about ways you can take control of your own web presence, keep your site updated, and integrate the technology that best supports your customers and donors -- and hopefully, our answers will be as easy for you to understand as a cookie recipe.

This week's question comes from one of our favorite clients, Andrea Friedmann of Vibrations Coaching, an intuitive life coaching firm that helps women -- particularly women entrepreneurs -- connect to their inner wisdom and move their personal and professional lives more into alignment with their true nature and long-term goals.

When you're selling an intangible -- like a service -- one of the best ways to help potential customers imagine what they'll be getting when they buy in to your product is through the use of evocative photography, which is something Vibrations Coaching does very well. A natural next step is to show people a small glimpse of what working together will be like, and Andrea wanted to put herself front and center on her site so that people could see and hear her in action. Now that she has an eye-catching front page video, Andrea is looking for more ways to use video.

Seven Reasons This Blog Worked for Us (and You Too)

people jumping for joy on a beachWe'll say it with pride: we blogged nearly every single week this year!

We've covered topics from search engine optimization, to hosting, to design, to vendor relationships, to content management, to project management, and even to blogging itself.

We've written about being awesome and about being lazy and about being a woman-owned business.

We're nearly one hundred posts into this blog, and we can say, without question, that blogging has been GREAT for our business. No kidding: it's the smartest thing we did since we opened our doors.

And now, in no particular order, are the reasons we're going to keep going.

The Real Reason I Blog: I'm Lazy

blogger napping in the grassBlogging is often lamented as a torturous requirement of managing a modern business or nonprofit. Ugh, I know I should be blogging, I hear from my clients, but it's just so much stinking WORK.

You know what I think? Turn that upside down. Blogging is not nearly as much work as not-blogging. In fact, blogging can save you as much as dozens of hours per post. Don't believe me? I'll prove it.

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