Hat Trick

We’ve had some busy periods over the years, but recently we launched three websites in one week… the elusive hat trick!

Arrow Insurance Service

We launched a site for Arrow Insurance Service, a California-based firm that provides all types of insurance for pool contractors and pool service firms throughout the South, the Southwest and Hawaii.

Arrow Insurance

Little Scholars LLC

We also launched a new site for Little Scholars LLC, a Richmond-based tutoring company. They offer  tutoring, in-school summer camps, after school enrichment programs and one-on-one student assessments, and are rapidly expanding across the East Coast and Midwest.

Little Scholars

G-Force Portsmouth

Our friends at G-Force Karts recently opened a second location, G-Force Portsmouth, with an indoor kart track, indoor paintball, and an inflatables section, and this new site helped them promote their growing company.

G-Force Portsmouth

Check back soon. As we gather performance data on these new sites, we’ll be posting more details and case studies of these and other projects.

Looking For A WordPress Developer

Business continues to grow, and we’re looking for a WordPress developer to join the team. This is an onsite full time position.

The developer’s role will be:

  • Install, configure and manage WordPress installations
  • Code standards-compliant, semantic HTML and CSS based on provided designs
  • Create custom WordPress themes based on those designs
  • Build out complete sites using provided content
  • Install, modify or create WordPress plugins to achieve specific project goals
  • Test and debug on multiple browsers, platforms and devices
  • Ongoing maintenance and updates to existing websites
  • Advise on WordPress best practices , optimization and workflow

The ideal candidate will have:

  • proficiency in standards-compliant, hand-coded HTML and CSS
  • 2-4 years experience building custom WordPress sites
  • experience with mobile-optimized or mobile responsive sites
  • strong communication skills
  • ability to switch between multiple projects based on changing priorities
  • ability to meet or exceed deadlines
  • willingness to learn new skills and technology as projects require

Benefits include:

  • competitive salary
  • high-energy downtown office space, with offstreet deck parking
  • flexible work hours
  • stipend for ongoing education (books, online courses, conferences, etc.)
  • health insurance stipend

If interested, please email jobs@28media.com with a description of your experience, your salary information, and a handful of example WordPress websites and explanation your role in them.

Saying goodbye to EE1

At the end of this month, Ellis Lab, the maker of Expression Engine software, is officially retiring their Expression Engine 1.x product.

Expression Engine 2.0 was a total, from-the-ground-up overhaul of the software, released in December 2009. Ellis Lab has supported both products since, releasing systematic updates all the way through the current version 2.7.2.

But as of December 7, they will no longer offer software updates or support for the version 1 product. (Their full company announcement is here.)

Here at 28 Media, we’ve decided to follow their lead and discontinue support for the older version of Expression Engine, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Instead, we’ll focus our future programming efforts on Expression Engine 2.x and WordPress.

It was a tough decision, but one that affects only a small number of clients* with websites 5 or more years old. It was also a bittersweet decision as Expression Engine 1 was one of the first CMS platforms I learned back in 2005, and one that I learned a lot from.

If you’re an EE 1 client and would like to discuss migrating your website over to a newer version of Expression Engine or another software platform, please drop me a line and we can discuss your options.

Celebrating 7 Years…

Back in 2005, I enjoyed a three-day 4th of July weekend, woke up early on Tuesday, July 5th, and started this company.

Granted, the groundwork had been laid months earlier. I’d been freelancing in the evenings and weekends, networking whenever and wherever possible, and working out the details of an arrangement with my employer, who kept me on in a part-time capacity while they interviewed replacements.

So, with this year’s holiday behind us, I realize we’ve been in business for an unbelievable 7 years!

I’ve learned a lot over the last 7 years, about design, programming, and other elements of our ever-shifting industry. But, I’ve also enjoyed a crash course in business, marketing, sales, contracts, bookkeeping and accounting, delegation and management, and countless other skills that aren’t part of the standard liberal arts curriculum.

I’ve focused a lot this year on the company itself… building and improving internal processes, developing a stronger team of designers, programmers and other specialists, and focusing our services on what we do best.

With a stronger foundation in place, a wonderful list of clients, and a slowly recovering economy, I’m excited for the next 7.

Less Money?

We’re off to the Less Money conference! (Yeah, that’s a pretty inauspicious name for a business event, until you realize it’s run by the founders of Less Everything and Less Accounting.)

Not quite a web conference, not quite a business conference… it’s a web business conference. And we’re headed there to put a little polish on the business side of 28 Media.

All active projects will continue as scheduled, and we’ll be back Friday. Call or email if you need anything!

Announcement: Getting Married!

Our offices will be closed Friday, April 27 through Monday, May 7.

Scheduled projects will continue in my absence, and have been discussed on an individual basis. If you have any questions about your project, please send me an email or call before Thursday, April 26.

Any new project inquiries will be returned as soon as possible on the week of 5/7.

A busy week…

It’s been a busy week around the 28 Media office, as we’ve launched not one but two sites!

First, we launched a new site for Medical Practice Management, who offer billing, financial and practice management services to medical clients across the Southeast.

Their previous site was severely outdated, and didn’t accurately reflect their services or their brand. We worked with them to hone in on the message they wanted to present to their audience, and brought that message to life with a vibrant, modern design. Our good friends at Dynamic Web Solutions  also lent their expertise and helped position the new site to be better found by MPM’s client base. Check out the site.

Soon after, we also launched a new site for the Cuthbert Law Offices. They wanted to update the look of their previous site, while maintaining and improving the search engine rankings that drive their business’ lead generation efforts.

Once again, we partnered with Dynamic Web Solutions who performed in-depth keyword and competitive analysis on the site. Their findings guided the website planning process, by helping us emphasize the parts of the website that Cuthbert’s clients are looking for, and trimming away the parts that were found to be unneeded.

The result was a trim, highly functional website with a dynamic new look. Check it out here.

Once the dust has settled on these new launches and we have more data on how the new sites are performing, we plan to post full case studies of both projects. Check back soon.


I attended Inc’s Grow Your Company Conference (GrowCo!) this week, and going in I was super excited about the speaker line up… Eric Ries, Daymond John, Guy Kawasaki, and Bill Clinton! Here’s a talk-by-talk recap.

Opening Reception

The conference kicked off to a great start. I met a variety of business owners, across several industries and all stages of business growth. Everyone I met was excited to be there, and optimistic about the coming year.

 Monday Game Plan

This was an interesting take on a common problem with conferences… inspiration strikes during a speech or talk, but by the time you get back home and dig out from your time away, you fall back into your old routine and the idea is lost. The provided Game Plan worksheets were a great way to capture the idea, document your thought process, and assign specific, measurable steps to make it happen.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu

I think everyone was disappointed to hear that Guy Kawasaki wouldn’t be able to attend, but New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu filled in and blew everyone away. In one of the best speeches of the conference, he talked about Katrina (and 3 other hurricanes that hit over the next year), and how that “near-death experience” gave New Orleans the clarity to rebuild not as they were, but as they wanted to be.

President Bill Clinton

In a fascinating conversation with the editor of Inc, Presdent Clinton discussed a variety of topics, including small businesses’ role in the economic recovery (as detailed in his new book), a proposed method for alleviating current mortgage problems, a proposed national job training program based on the successful Georgia Works program, and his work in rebuilding Haiti’s infrastructure. Best line… “trying to bury America is like playing Whack-A-Mole”.

Alex Osterwalder

I bought Osterwalder’s Business Model Generation a few months ago, but hadn’t gotten to read it yet. After his interactive presentation, I’m bumping it to the top of my reading list. His premise is that, when discussing business models, we don’t have a common language. His book (and corresponding iPad app), provide that common language in the areas of:

  • Customer Segments
  • Customer Relationships
  • Channels
  • Value Propositions
  • Key Activities
  • Key Resources
  • Key Partners
  • Cost Structure
  • Revenue Streams

Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham

A few of the concurrent breakout sessions, but as an avid reader of Norm Brodsky’s monthly column and his book, I had to attend this one. It was one of the most informative (and entertaining) talks of the day, as he answered questions from the crowd. There were almost too many gems to list here…

Advice from his father on hard work: “There’s a million dollars under your shoe.”

When asked about selling or keeping a company: “Work on your life plan before your business plan.”

On hiring and training: “Skills can be taught, but attitude can not.”

When asked for advice on quitting a day job: “Even the worst business idea is better than working one day for someone else.”

Neil Blumenthal

The co-founder of Warby Parker gave a behind-the-scenes look at the business, from the initial idea, the product and website launch, and their meteoric rise. (After launch, they passed their first year sales projections in 3 days!) They credit their success to a solid idea, a great price point, and stellar customer service. Internally, they also place a high value on their employee culture, as expressed in their publicly released annual report. (As proof of how culture drives sales, the report spread virally after being made public, leading to their highest 3-day sales period.)

Eric Ries

Being in the web industry, I’ve heard much about Eric Ries and his lean Build-Measure-Learn methodology, so this was on of my most anticipated talks. He did not disappoint.

He advised entrepreneurs to “get good at the boring stuff,” like management and accounting in order to achieve success. Without those skills, it’s impossible to implement his iterative approach to business. He recommends:

1. Establish a baseline
– Build a Minimal Viable Product
– Measure how customers behave

2.Tune the engine
– Conduct experimentsto improve baseline metrics

3. Pivot or persevere
– If experiments reach diminishing returns, time to pivot.

Key takeaway? Ghostbusters is actually a movie about entrepreneurship.

Daymond John

This had to be the most high-energy talk of the conference, or at least the one with the best soundtrack. After a short intro video to set the stage, Daymond walked through his background in starting Fubu, how he marketed it, and the partnerships that led to its explosive growth. Throughout the talk, he gave his 5 tips to Shark success:

S – Set Goals
H – do your Homework
A – Amour (always do what you love)
R – Remember, you are the brand
K – Keep moving

Megan Duckett

Megan Duckett told the story of how she built her industry-leading theatrical curtain business. After starting it nearly by accident, it grew quickly. After losing her largest potential contract because she didn’t have a website (hint, hint), she embraced technology and went on to develop custom software that manages all aspects of her company.

John Besh

Unfortunately, I had to duck out halfway through this talk to catch my flight, but it started with an inspiring story of rebuilding after Katrina. Besh came back to the city to cook for stranded residents, and then rescue crews, and eventually oil and construction workers. Six years later, he runs 9 restaurants and a thriving catering business.

Were you at Growco? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Continuing The New Look

Our New Business Cards

As part of the  site redesign, we also took another look at our other materials. First up, business cards!

I’m headed to Inc magazine’s Grow Your Company Conference (#GrowCo!) next week, so what better time for a new card?

We printed a small test batch of the new design, with our updated typography and new tagline. On the reverse side, I’ve given conference attendees a link to a page where I’ll post thoughts and takeaways from the conference.

If the cards get a good response out in the wild, we’ll print a larger batch without the conference-specific side and use them as our regular cards.

The 7 Year Itch

As we quickly head towards our 7th year in business, we took a look at our old website, business cards, and other marketing materials and it was clear that it was time for an update.

Over the years, as we’ve stayed busy helping clients with their websites, ours had fallen into a state of disuse. As we advised our clients to update their sites frequently, to use blog posts to keep readers coming back, to use social media to spread their message and draw traffic, and to use A/B testing to increase conversion, our site had become stagnant.

So, it was time we start following our own advice. It was time to hit the reset button.

With this website redesign, we’re increasing our commitment to these best practices. We’ve scheduled blog posts twice a month to sharpen our writing skills, share industry news, and celebrate completed projects.

We’ll also be layering in a social media strategy to help get those blog posts out to the world, and meeting new people as we do. And, we’ll be testing at every step to see what works and what doesn’t.

So, subscribe to our blog. Follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn. And see what we come up with.