Getting ahead of the potential for Zika

aedes aegypti mosquitoAlthough concerns about Zika settled temporarily during the winter months, Mosquito Tek who is one of my clients that’s been focusing his efforts toward mosquito control in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham and the surrounding Triangle has brought it to my attention how important it is that everybody plan ahead this season in preparation for what could be a record year for mosquitoes.

2016-2017: Record Warm Winter in North Carolina

The 2016-2017 winter season in North Carolina saw record high temperatures according to NOAA and even though precipitation was lower than normal, what can be expected is that mosquito season will come sooner than expected. Along with the longer mosquito season comes the potential for an unusually warm spring, summer, and fall that will be perfect breeding for mosquitoes.

Get ahead of the Mosquito Infestation

mosquito sprayingWith mosquito season starting early, Mosquito Tek has already seen a major increase in calls for people trying to prevent their homes and businesses around the Triangle from the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes which carry Zika, and face the potential for Zika since the CDC indicated last year that North Carolina is among the eastern states that are within the estimated range for risk of Zika. The best defense against Zika is a good offense, and that includes spraying the area around your home and business early in the year before mosquitoes can set up for breeding.

Posted in Chapel Hill

Help MDA

I’m going behind bars. Yes, that’s right — me, in the slammer — here’s the low-down.

Every day, kids and adults are diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases that take away the most basic freedoms – the freedom to walk, talk, hug and even breathe.

I am doing a little time, to do a lot of good by being a Jailbird at a Muscular Dystrophy Association Lock-Up to help give those freedoms back.

Please donate to my bail and support me, and the thousands of kids and adults who will be served by MDA this year.

It’s easy — just click on this secure link to make a tax-deductible donation.

Thank you in advance for joining me as I fight for everyday freedoms for individuals with muscular dystrophy.

Posted in My Life

The Most Important Aspects of Website Design

A beautiful, user friendly website is key for converting customers. Your businesses website is just as important as a traditional brick and mortar store. However, it is different in that unlike a storefront, it never closes and is always available to your customer. A website should showcase the company brand, as well as successfully sell or inform its visitors.

When designing your website, there are a few aspects that are more important than the others. “Good design” includes basics such as white space, color, navigation, positioning, mobile ability, typography, and usability.

White Space

White space doesn’t have to be white, it simply means that there needs to be blank space on the page. This helps to draw the viewers’ attention to where you want it to go, as well as gives contrast to the page. When done right, leaving white space helps to balance out the page and set a more upscale tone.

Color

The colors that you choose to use on a website will have more of an impact than you might think. The colors chosen should follow these guidelines and more:

  • Match the colors to businesses current branding color scheme. Consistency with colors across all platforms and with your logo is best.
  • Colors should not be too overpowering or overwhelming. You don’t want the colors to get in the way of the message.
  • The colors should also compliment each other. Clashing colors are abrasive to the eye.
  • More bold colors should be used to draw the viewers’ eye to Call To Actions or points of interest.
  • More subtle colors should be used as backgrounds or for secondary pieces of information.
  • Background colors should work well with font colors. While it might be fun to play around with multiple colors, the most important thing is still readability when it comes to text.

Navigation

Navigation on a website refers to how the menu is set up and how the viewer finds where they need to go. One of the most frustrating things is being on a website and not being able to figure out where to go. This can be because the information is too congested, or that it is simply not labeled well or hard to find. Some items to remember when creating a website’s navigation are:

  • Always label menus or buttons clearly enough so that people know where they will be going when they click on it. Simple descriptive text is best.
  • The menu and buttons should be in easy to find places and coincide with where viewers are used to finding these links on a website.
  • At least the main menu needs to be on every page.
  • On larger sites, add in a site map, breadcrumbs, or even sub headings to help people when they might get lost.

Positioning and Alignment

When arranging elements of a website design, where pieces are placed truly matters. Where the element is placed on the page dictates the order in which the viewer will see it. Having the proper flow of pieces and information to walk a visitor through the website is vital.

Alignment comes secondary to this point but is still a necessary aspect to address. Once pieces are all placed in the correct positions, they should also all be consistently aligned. Nobody wants to surf a website where everything is different sizes, has different amounts of space between, and overall feels off.

Mobile Friendly

All websites today should be built for mobile viewing as well as the traditional desktop view. There will undoubtedly be a large number of your websites visitors coming from smart phones. When they reach your website, you want them to stay! If the website needs to be zoomed in on, played around with, and is hard to see on their phone, they will leave as quickly as they got there.

Typography

The text on your website says a lot about your brand. It helps to set a visual tone and can bring a lot to the design. Some aspects that should be addressed in relation to typography are:

  • Font style
  • Font size
  • Text colors
  • Spacing, length of lines, and paragraph styles

Usability

Last but certainly not least is usability. Testing out how your website works and making sure that it is easy to use is probably the most important step. Some tips to remember when designing for usability are:

  • Think about what people are used to and expect. Stick to standards of design such as having the menu at the top or on the side, using certain symbols of use, etc.
  • Understand what the user might want to experience. What are they going to try to do when they get to the site, and what might they search for? Knowing what they might be trying to achieve will help you to plan a successful and accessible design for them.

In the end, when a potential customer visits your site, make sure that they are impressed! There are so many other options online for every sector of business or product. If a visitor doesn’t see what they want they will bounce off your page immediately and visit your competitor.

Christopher Dill is the lead SEO ninja at The Dill Design. He has a passion for helping businesses grow through digital inbound marketing and increasing organic sales and conversions. Chris also manages responsive web design projects for SMB’s.

Posted in Web Design

Taste the Event

Taste The Event DurhamI have to admit, the last three years of my life has been filled with staying inside, eating leftovers and making sure that my 3 year old stayed in his bed. I know, it’s pathetic. But it’s time to change that. Babysitters do exist. And it’s time for me to get out and explore some of Durham’s amazing restaurants and pubs.

I have recently been working with Shannon Media on their 3 main websites, Durham Mag, Chapel Hill Mag and Taste the Event. TASTE is the largest annual culinary event in the Triangle area. This is the fourth year running! It’s an event designed to celebrate the Triangle’s awesome food.

Durham is a great place for food, babysitters exist and I need to get out more. So I am definitely going to sign up for some events.

Posted in Durham

2017, the year I finally hire some help

That’s it!  It’s time to get some help.  If you haven’t noticed, the Penner Web Design website hasn’t been updated in ages.  Basically, 2015 and 2016 presented some serious challenges that prevented me from doing any sort of work on it.  So, It’s January 2nd and I posted a craigslist ad to see what I can find. If you’re looking for work in the Triangle, here’s the ad:

I need a full time worker to help me with my business. This is a work from home position, but you must live in the Triangle or within driving distance.

Penner Web Design designs and develops WordPress websites. I’ve run this company for 8 years by myself, and I need some help! Here are the skills you must have. Design experience, photoshop, html, css, php, WordPress, and basic social skills so that you can talk to my clients. Anything else is a big bonus (app design, SEO, marketing).

Pay will be relative to experience. I will consider a full time position or a part time position. I’m flexible, it sort of depends what works for you. Chances are that you won’t get health insurance with this job. But on the bright side, I’m cool and pretty chill. We’d probably meet in person once a week to go over projects and what needs to be done. Otherwise, we’ll chat via skype or slack. You’ll be pretty independent, I don’t care what you do as long as you get your work done. So basically, it means you need to be a self starter.

If you’re interested, send me a resume, but more importantly, some examples of your work. Tell me what you’ve done and what you’re interested in doing.

Posted in Durham Web Design, Raleigh Web Design