Central Packaging

“Blue Gurus is the company to call if you want a sharp website on time, on budget. Blue Gurus brought more than just a website. They helped integrate LinkedIn, culture, values and valuable suggestions to give the site personality. I will use the Blue Gurus again in the future. Thank you Blue Gurus!”
– Mike Pasley, Owner/President at Central Packaging

Mike Pasley, owner of Central Packaging, called Jason and let him know that he wanted to update the look and feel of his web site. He said he had been referred to Jason from “multiple people in the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Program”.  Jason met with Mike and talked to him for an hour about the process, including web site, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

The thing that blew my mind is that this was the first time that a business owner had listened to our entire strategy and was then able to explain it back to me in detail at the end of our time together.

Before we started the project, Mike had also indicated that he was looking for a better email solution, so I connected him to Tony Sheets at UMZUZU to set them up on Google Apps (Gmail, Google Calendar, etc.) The other advantage to moving to Google Apps is that the email accounts at Central Packaging were no longer tied to their web hosting service. In short, this makes the move to a new web host easier because email is no longer tied to the web site.

After Mike and I agreed to move forward on the project, Mic coordinated the calendars and we were able to complete the entire project in one month (4 half-day sessions on site).  Our typical development and launch cycle is 4-6 weeks and the industry standard is months.

The other thing that we celebrated with this WordPress project is that it was the first project that the newest Blue Guru, Melissa Zarda, worked on. She provided tremendous WordPress expertise and also brought some graphical expertise to the site to make it that much better.

This was a great project for Blue Gurus! We loved working with Mike and his team and are thrilled to have them in our portfolio!

Click here to visit centralpkg.com

 

Bender, Weltman, Thomas, Perry & Co, PC

“Working on our new website with Jason and Mic was a great experience.  They listened carefully to what we thought was important to the success of launching our new site, thought outside of the box to create solutions to give us the results we desired and empowered me with the knowledge and experience to tackle a variety of issues to maintain our online image.  I am looking forward to working with the Blue Gurus again!”
– Andrew Hinrichs, CPA

I met Andrew when I was the speaker at an event covering the importance of social in growing your business.  Andrew manages the branch for BWTP here in Kansas City. We LinkedIn together and stayed in touch over a period of many months.   When Andrew heard that Bob, a partner with BWTP was driving a new website project, he called me to see how we could help.  This is another great example of why LinkedIn matters so much.  There is a good chance that Andrew and I would not have been able to effectively stay in touch across so many months.  Andrew mentioned that he saw my regular status updates on LinkedIn that helped keep me top of mind when this opportunity surfaced.

We did the project here in Kansas City with Andrew and Bob provided input from their corporate headquarters in St. Louis.  This project went incredibly well because Andrew came to the table prepared.  He had done his homework and collected the content and images that we had requested for the web pages.  We had the basic site up and running with a lot of the content loaded by the end of our second 4-hour session together!  The remaining sessions were used to enhance the content, find new pictures, incorporate new marketing pictures with the white stick man and more.  We were able to integrate their web based financial tools and client portal within the original budget, even though these were not in the scope.  Mic and I enjoyed doing this project with Andrew and Bob, and look forward to working together in the future as we continue to help BWTP be a social company!

Click here to visit bwtpcpa.com

SpectraGraphics

“We evaluated multiple firms recommended by peers for our new website.  I cannot stress enough how happy we are with choosing the team at Blue Gurus.  Exceptional service, finished products and all under original budget!  I will recommend them to anyone seeking a new and very trusted website partner.  Awesome to work with and we will continue to use them as we grow!”
– Kevin Briggs, President at SpectraGraphics

We were referred to Kevin by our good friends over at Umzuzu.  (Thanks Tony!)  Kevin trusts Tony with all things technical and when he mentioned that he was in the process of updating his web site, Tony suggested that he talk with us.  I met with Kevin at Panera, walked him through the power of the WordPress platform and explained that we do our work on site in a collaborative format.  Kevin was specifically looking for this kind of model.  By the end of our meeting,  Kevin had agreed to move forward with us!  Definitely proves the power of being referred by someone you trust.

We did the project at the SpectraGraphics facility in Lenexa and enjoyed getting to know more about Kevin’s business.  The site tour was amazing.  There are dozens of huge machines that crank out full color printed labels at an incredibly high speed.  We were able to see how the plates for the labels are made and how their engineers monitor the job batch process to make sure the machines are printing perfect labels.

This was a great project that included Mic, Melissa and I and resulted in another happy customer.  Kevin can change the content himself quickly.  He is blogging.  And he knows who to turn to if there is something he can’t figure out!

Click to visit spectragraphics.com

 

A Common Business Mistake: Have You Looked At Your Web Site Lately?

Since the beginning of the year, we have spent several hours updating the Blue Gurus WordPress web site. Because we are work an hour, bill an hour consultants, when we do this work, we aren’t making money. But that’s ok because we believe it is critical for all businesses to work ON the business and not just IN the business.

We started the year by installing a brand new WordPress theme (because it’s relatively easy in WordPress to change the look and feel of your site, we do this every year), and followed that up by starting a portfolio of the web site projects we’ve done for businesses around Kansas City (This page is still being updated. We have several more web site projects to feature and will do so very soon). In addition we went through every single page on our site and reviewed and updated the content. 

In fact, we did more than that. You see, we’re coming up on our third year of business in April 2012. As any start-up or small business owner will tell you, things change quickly. You have to be versatile. You have to embrace change. You have to roll with the punches. You have to continue to be creative and remember all of the things that got you into business in the first place. 

So we’ve redefined some areas on our site, expanding on what we do and the services we offer. For example, we added a drop-down menu under “What We Do” in our main web site navigation. You’ll now see the following new pages: Overview, On-Site WordPress Web Site Development, LinkedIn Training, and Blogging. There are other things we do (culture change, business process improvement, etc.) but those things usually come later after we’ve spent time getting to know our clients and their pain points.

The point of all of this is simple: Your web site is the gateway to your business. It needs to accurately represent who you are, what you do, and how you can help people and businesses. It needs to be a living, breathing tool that helps your business grow.

We see far too many companies that have grossly outdated web sites, with content that isn’t relevant or interesting, and who built their site and haven’t looked at it or updated it in years. That my friends is a huge mistake…and a horribly bad business practice. You should review your web site every six months…or, at a minimum, once a year. 

So take a look at the new Blue Gurus web site. We’d love your feedback and suggestions. And go take a look at your own company web site. Does it need some TLC from you? Do you need to start from scratch and build a new web site that is more modern and functional? If the answer is YES, let us know. We’d be glad to help you get there. 

Galvmet

“With Blue Gurus help, we were able to switch to a WordPress web site quickly and affordably. We have worked with Jason Terry for a long time and trust him for guidance in technical situations.  We were telling him about some of the issues we were having with our old web site.  Specifically, our inability to control the content on our own.  Jason explained how easy it is to update content using a WordPress based web site and we decided to move forward immediately.  We couldn’t be happier at the ease and convenience, in addition to the significant drop in expense for upkeep.”
– Steve Ketcham, Sales and Marketing Manager

I met Irene Brooner through my Vistage Key Group. We had known each other for years through this group when Irene asked if we could help update the look and feel of their web site. Irene also wanted to utilize LinkedIn and blogging to help educate their customers.  I also knew Ernie Ketcham, the owner of Galvmet, through the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program.

During the project, I worked with Ernie’s son, Steve Ketcham, the General Manager at Galvmet, to create the new site.

Steve really enjoyed how easy it was to add content to the new WordPress site and saw the value in being able to provide weekly stories on their site and through social channels to educate their customers about what is going on in their business….and how they can help.  Soon after Steve realized that the weekly grind of publishing and sending out content was something he’d rather have Blue Gurus do, so each week Steve creates the stories and has Blue Gurus find pictures, proof the content and publish the posts for Galvmet.

Since the launch of the web site, Blue Gurus also created a custom MailChimp email template and helps Galvmet send out weekly and monthly newsletters to their customer base.

Click here to visit galvmet.com

LPF High Performance Coatings

“Although our journey of developing a social media program for LPF is still in its infancy, the Blue Gurus have been invaluable in getting us to connect the dots and realize the importance of social media in our sales efforts.  We have seen measurable results since starting our relationship with Jason and Mic. The Blue Gurus are also trusted consultants to our company having guided us in crafting our IT strategies as well.”
– Jim Stuelke, CEO and President, LPF High Performance Coatings

Jason has worked with Jim Stuelke and the team at LPF High Performance Coatings since 2003. Besides being a trusted resource, Jason and Jim are good friends. Looking at the old and new pictures below, you will be able to tell it was definitely time for a new web site!

Jason worked directly with Dana Brown, VP of Sales, to create the new site. Because Jim is a K-State alum, the color purple is incredibly important to him and to the branding of LPF High Performance Coatings.

Now that LPF High Performance Coatings has a site that they are proud of, they are updating their blog weekly and reaching their vendors and customers in new and exciting ways.

Click here to visit lpfcoatings.com

Downtown Council of Kansas City

“A funny thing happens every time the Downtown Council staff prepares for a meeting with the Blue Gurus. We actually look forward to seeing them, learning from them and being inspired by them. The Blue Gurus are great teachers, particularly when navigating a potentially mind-numbing IT lesson. They make it manageable, affordable, practical and fun! In the two years that we have been working with the Blue Gurus, we have come to count on them as trusted members of our team. They coached us through a complete conversion of our old website into a new WordPress site, and set the bar high as they led us through the ins and outs of launching our LinkedIn and Facebook presence. Jason often tells me that his goal is to get things done efficiently and to have fun during the process. Well, my friend, you are getting it done beautifully.”
Mike Hurd, Director of Marketing

The Downtown Council of Kansas City is the perfect example of how doing good work for one company will lead to referrals to other companies that they do business with. Jason did a lot of work for Terri Hurd when she was the VP of Marketing at First National Bank of Olathe.

Terri’s husband, Mike Hurd, is the Director of Marketing for The Downtown Council of Kansas City. So when Terri heard that The Downtown Council of Kansas City needed a new web site, she not only let Jason know, but she set up the meeting too! Three other firms had submitted quotes, and after an hour with The Downtown Council team, Jason earned the business.

The key factors were as follows:

1. The collaborative nature of how Blue Gurus does WordPress web site projects ON SITE over 4-5 half-day sessions per week.

2. Timing – Blue Gurus could get the project done faster than every other company they were looking at.

3. Price – The final price for Blue Gurus was half the cost of what the other proposals were.

Since launching the site, we have worked with The Downtown Council of Kansas City every month on their web site and social media efforts. We’ve added new functionality, changed things around, and made the site better. We think this is an important lesson for all companies. Your site is a living, breathing, “thing” and you need to routinely give it the attention that it deserves. Especially when blogging…and The Downtown Council of Kansas City does an excellent job with a team-based approach to blogging.

Finally, every single person on The Downtown Council team contributed to the final site. They were responsible for their own content and they all learned how to add content themselves using WordPress.

Click here to visit downtownkc.org

Bistro 303

“Prior to Blue Gurus, Bistro 303’s website was not user friendly. It was idle and unchanged for years. After hiring Blue Gurus, I am able to update and change with ease. And with using their advice on Social Media sites, we have actually been able to grow and improve sales in this ever changing economy.”
– Jeffrey Schmitz, Owner, Bistro303

One Spring day, Mic and his wife Missy, as they often do on Saturdays, went to the Kansas City River Market to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. After they had gathered their goodies for the day, they wanted to grab lunch. They went back and forth on a location and then Missy said, “Hey, let’s go to Jeffrey Schmitz’s restaurant, Bistro 303!” So how did thet know Jeffrey Schmitz? Well, Mic went to grade school and high school with Jeffrey and his sister Lori was in Mic’s class.

So off to Bistro 303 they went. Mic and Jeffrey hadn’t seen each other in awhile so they spent some time catching up. Jeffrey asked Mic what kind of work he was in and during the conversation Mic mentioned that Blue Gurus does WordPress web site projects ON SITE with clients and typically are done in 4 half-day sessions. Jeffrey mentioned that his web site was old, needed to be updated badly, and that he was frustrated that he didn’t have control over the content when he wanted to make changes to menus, etc.

Mic explained that WordPress solved all of those problems. Before Mic and Missy left after lunch (By the way, the Croque Madame sandwich–and all of their food–is delicious!), Jeffrey agreed to moving forward with Blue Gurus for a new web site.

Oh, and one more “small world” note: While working on the project, Mic and Jason (owner of Blue Gurus) discovered that they had both worked for Jeff’s dad at Godfather’s Pizza in Wichita during their high school years! How crazy is that?

Click here to visit Bistro303.com

Kansas City Internal Medicine

“Working with Mic and Jason has been an exceptional experience. Jason’s vision and technical ability together with Mic’s vision and detail focus have both been key assets to the development of not only our web site, but now our social media business strategy. I consider Blue Gurus an integral part of our team and am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with a company that truly considers their work a passion and partnership.”
– Lori Mallory, CEO, Kansas City Internal Medicine

This is one of Mic’s favorite client stories…and rightfully so. One day he was reading the online edition of the Kansas City Business Journal and came across a guest blog post written by Lori Mallory, CEO of Kansas City Internal Medicine.

Mic noticed that the blog was written very well and was very informative. He also noticed that Lori’s email address was at the top of the post. So Mic sent an email to Lori complimenting her writing style and suggesting that she should be blogging regularly for her company too. The two exchanged a few more emails and then decided to meet. Mic and Lori hit it off instantly.

During the conversation, Lori mentioned that the first thing that KCIM needed was a new web site. She had a $30,000 proposal on her desk from another local company. Mic explained that Blue Gurus does WordPress web site projects ON SITE and that we would get the bulk of the work done over 5-6 half day sessions at her office for about a third of what the other company quoted her. Lori asked for a proposal and a day later we got the signed contract and dove into the project together.

Click here to visit kcim.com

 

Akismet – Fighting Comment Spamming on your WordPress Site!

If you have a web site that is powered by WordPress, you might be familiar with the concept of Comment Spam.  We get calls from people that are getting dozens of spam comments every day on their web site!  (Noteworthy is the fact that more than 25 million web sites currently use WordPress to power their content, so this tip could help you or someone you know!)  We wanted to let you know that there is an easy way to reduce a majority of spam comments with a great plugin called Akismet.  The Akismet service is free for personal blogs and inexpensive for company blog protection.  We install this plugin on every site that we do for our clients as a best practice.  If you don’t have it running on your WordPress based site, you need to take the time to hook it up.  The installation takes just a few minutes!

Comment Spam is the behavior of a hacker or spammer posting a comment to one of your news/blog articles.  It is done by automatically posting random comments or promoting commercial services to your blog.  Adding links that point to the spammer’s web site artificially increases the site’s search engine ranking.  An increased ranking often results in the spammer’s commercial site being listed ahead of other sites for certain searches, increasing the number of potential visitors and paying customers.

Some examples of a spam comment (usually accompanies by links to the spammer’s web site):
– Thank you for the shares in this blog. I will visit it again. (from DualShock 3 Wireless Controller)
– I identified a really great internet site for you folks. (from Morocco Currency)
– I am finally in the United States but need your help to get my money out of Saudi Arabia (from Prince Akheem)

Don’t just ignore comments in your WordPress site… you are allowing the spammer to accomplish their goals!  Use Akismet to help with the problem.  Akismet isn’t the total solution, but it is a step in the right direction for fighting comments spam on your site.

Let us know if you use Akismet or have another suggestion for combating spam on your WordPress site!