Preview of the New Website

The Simple Aspen website will soon be getting a makeover. So here is a little preview.

new site preview

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Updates and New Products

Our website has been sadly neglected. But never fear, we are back and better.

First off, Simple Aspen LLC is now a member of Think Local Umpqua. Think Local is a great organization that promotes buying locally and supporting our local businesses in the Roseburg, Oregon area. If you want to know a little more about Think Local or to browse their online list of local businesses, hop on over to their website.

Secondly, we have now started offering wholesale line sheets at our Etsy store. We’re excited to help your business grow through marketing your products in these stylized sheets. Check out our Etsy store for all our current designs.

Last but not least, we are updating our online presence. A new website design is forthcoming and we have added an online store. Few items have been added but more are on the way!

So don’t go away, we are just getting started!

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Domain Registry of America – is this for real?

Have you recieved a letter like this?  Well you aren’t alone and you may be confused as to how it affects your website domain. 

Read through the letter cafefully.  In my opinion, the wording can be very misleading.  THIS LETTER IS NOT A BILL!  And it is not required to pay this.  At first glance, it may look like a bill but it does say that you are not obligated to renew with them.  If you are considering renewing with them, you should first

-Know your domain   a WhoIs domain search is public information and can tell you who your domain is registered through and when it expires.  Do a websearch for WhoIs.  You will get a number of websites that can search the WhoIs database information about your domain.

-Know how much it costs  Do a little cost research.  A year of registry for a .com domain is usually about $10 or it is even included in the price of your hosting package.  That $35 is looking a little pricy!

-Know your company Do a simple search about the Domain Registry of America.  Quite a few sources come up saying it is a scam.  Another is an FTC website entry from 2003 citing the company for deceptive conduct.  At this point, I personally would NOT be handing over any money.

Website and domain can be a bit confusing but don’t just take anything sent in the mail as fact. If you are worried about your domain expiring, contact the company that actually holds the registration on your domain.  Don’t be misinformed and take a loss.

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Ideas for BIG Photo Collages

frames

An extra wall can be a great space for a big photo display, but how to do it? There are lots of creative options these days besides just a big picture in a big frame.

CollageWall
BayPhoto’s CollageWall looks like the perfect product for someone like me who cannot hang things straight. Photos are mounted on black styrene and then hung as a collage on pegs. A paper template in included with your order. You just hang the template on the wall and push the pegs in. Sounds pretty simple.

Plywerk
Babmboo or maple wood panels with a keyhole in the back for mounting. You can upload your photos for mounting on the boards or buy blank panels and mount the photos yourself. Their website claims it the panels are from sustainably harvested wood. Overall, it is cheaper than canvas mounting or custom frames.

Canvas or others photo mounts
You can DIY with some other mounting options. Photos can be ordered as canvas wraps, mounted on foam backing, or as other thinner wraps. Or they can be framed. Look around at different photo labs to explore your options. Then you can hang them to create your own photo collage! This may be a little more work than the ready made options but probably more cost effective.
There are some great layouts for DIY collages at the Design Formula blog.

Thrift store magic
Are you really on a budget? Then grab your photos and take a trip to the thrift store! I have seen some interesting photo displays while browsing around on this topic. An old crib bed spring, shutters, old windows, or wide, colorful ribbons hung vertically all with photos attached. This is a great opportunity to get creative.

Any other ideas? What have you done to spice up your photo space?

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Mad Mimi Review

So you are thinking Mad Mimi sounds like your great aunt with the pink hair?  Well not this one.  Mad Mimi is an email marketing service that deserves a good look.  The claim is that it is so easy Grandma can use it.

Email marketing can be a great resource for small businesses as well as for keeping up with blog contacts or family. All those business newsletters that you get are probably sent through a similar marketing service.

Here are some of the features I specifically took note of:

  • variety of plans including a free plan (don’t have to give credit card information for the free plan)
  • easy to read stats
  • buttons to share your promotion on facebook and twitter
  • add social networking buttons to your promotions
  • code snippets to copy and paste in your promotions to forward to a friend, subscribe,unsubscribe (custom HTML code)
  • creates webform to add to your website so customers can join your list
  • compose promos with the drag and drop designer, your own HTML, or plain text
  • premade promo themes
  • import audience list from CSV or add a few at a time
  • can create multiple lists and manage contacts
  • paid monthly so easy to upgrade or cancel
  • integrates with Google Analytics
  • good customer service

They also have some good addons such as drip campaign, RSS to email, custom domain, and mailer API that have an extra charge.  One drawback that I have noticed is that you cannot create surveys in your promotions.

I signed up for the free account to try it out.  The free account can send to 100 contacts or less.  I created a fairly simple newsletter with their drag and drop promotion composer.

Mad Mimi's drag and drop newletter creator (WYSIWYG)

There are a few color themes that you can choose from or create your own.  Then you can add text or photos.  Images that you upload are found in the sidebar and are saved so you can used them in multiple promotions.

This is the newsletter I created in about 5 minutes.  I included a screen shot of what it looked like as an e-mail and when viewed as a web page.

Example of promotional e-mail

Example of promotion as web page

When you use the drag and drop feature to create your promotion, it automatically adds information at the bottom for the user to view it as a web page, unsubscribe, or forward to a friend.

Once the promotion is sent, you can easily add it to Facebook and Twitter and track the statistics.

Promotion statistics

Overall I think it is a good service and completely free to try.  So if you have been hesitant about starting some email marketing, give it a try and tell us what you think.  If you are already using Mad Mimi or have used it in the past, let us know about your experiences.

Posted in Small Buisiness, Website helps | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments