Really Standing Out From the Pack

In a time where firing up your favorite Internet browser means becoming inundated with thousands of ads, photos, video clips, messages, and promotions, you have to do something to stand out. A well designed and well marketed website can go a long way in doing just that.

What’s important in this day and age, when it comes to having your business succeed on the internet, is not having the flashiest or loudest web banner, or having content bursting out of every seam of your website, but rather having a targeted and well thought-out approach to your web marketing needs. Let’s face it, most of us aren’t going to be rivaling the numbers of Face Book, Twitter, or Google anytime soon, nor would some of us want to. But we certainly want out piece of the pie so that we could promote our product or service to our customers in a more interactive and engaging way.

Well many large design firms will throw out buzz words like “Web 2.0”, “Social Networking”, and “Interactive Media”, those are just steps in a well constructed online campaign.

What is really important is having a website that speaks to your customers, and fills them with the desire to take the next steps, whether that is purchasing your product or requesting more information. You can have a Twitter account, a Face Book page, and a million moving parts on your website, but that isn’t going to make it any more effective if you don’t have a solid foundation based on the following things:

1. Your site MUST satisfy the needs of the customer, and encourage them to take action.
2. The website in question must be easy accessible, and look professional, without being overly complicated.
3. The site content has to be important, because if it isn’t, your client will not be coming back.

While all three of these things are important, they all hinge on number three. Without relevant and engaging site content, you have nothing that will keep your customer coming back for more. What I am asking here is that you work with someone who wants to better your business and help you succeed and not just take your check and add you to his or her client list.

This endeavor should be about getting online and going interactive effectively, and not about throwing everything out there just to see what sticks and what doesn’t.

Whether you work with myself, Adam Botts,, or another designer, is up to you. But please remember, bells and whistles are great interest builders, but if you don’t have a good foundation based on engaging site content, a customer driven method, and a dynamic and accessible design, then you have nothing to build their interest in.

/ Adam Botts

Working Through A Draught

emptystreetEveryone can relate to it, not just freelance designers. A draught. It can happen to any of us, and it a draught shall show no mercy. One day work is going great, everything seems to be going your way, and there is more than enough to do. Than, things change. Opportunities start to dry up, situations get ugly, and your motivation begins to drain. However, when destiny refuses to smile on your as your workload takes a dip south, getting discouraged is not the answer.

I have been there. Freelance work is sometimes scarce, and sometimes abundant. While I often find myself solving design problem after design problem, sometimes I am left scratching my head and wondering how to solve the problem of having nothing on the horizon.

What I find helps, and beware, it sounds ever so cheesy. STAY POSITIVE. Lame right?  Hang in there, please. Instead of giving in, or feeling distraught, the answer is to remain engaged and assign YOURSELF challenges. For example, when I was in my latest slump I found it hard to go upstairs to my office and try to work, when I had nothing I could really sink my teeth into. I wasted a week or so, before I realized that this has to stop. As I write this, I have a checklist in front of me.

This list contains few action items that I can accomplish to help intrigue new customers, or contact new clients. Or in some cases, just fun little self assigned projects to keep my wits sharp.  A checklist is a valuable tool in any profession, and that’s my honest opinion. Now I know what you’re thinking: “I am not a designer, and work is slow, what do I do?” Down time is a create chance to come out of this survival mode mindset we normally put ourselves into, and start to do some really creative work. Perhaps there is a project that has been begging for an overhaul, or a process in the office that could really be more efficient.

This is a great chance to challenge yourself, better your situation, stay engaged, and keep busy until the next wave rolls in, and trust me, it will roll in.
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Enjoy Work? Yes, please.

I think more often than not, most of us go through our routine day in survival mode. We know what time we need to leave the house to make it to work on time, how much coffee to drink to get us through lunch, and exactly which goals on our checklist need to be completed to call the day a success. We take care of these action items, go home, and then begin to do what we enjoy.  To me, this isn’t life; at least, not one I want to live.

There is a great book, called “Happy Hour is 9 to 5” that really made me think. You can find more information on the book, written by Alexander Kjerulf at, and I recommend that you do. The goal he has in mind is simple, love what you do, pour yourself into it, and you will be successful, and more importantly you won’t dread how you spend over a third of your adult life.

I know not everyone has the most glamorous job in the universe. There are days where I label photos all day…for the whole day. That’s 9 plus hours of changing IMG_8329.jpg to RandomEvent_March09-01.jpg.   Scintillating, is it not? But the point is that you find something positive in the work place, and in the everyday to make it enjoyable.  I am taking a stand and I am going to refuse to make like a Loverboy song and work for the weekend.

Like I stated previously, some days it is simply finding something to cling to. Whether that is a friendship or a funny comment from a co-worker, or challenging myself to go above and beyond on a project that I might be tempted to “mail in”. Even though things around you might not be what you picture your dream job like, you have the power to make them better.

 I have started applying this philosophy to both my full time job, and my freelance work and I can say that at two months in, things have never been better. I am not going to lie and tell you that I don’t have moments where things bum me out; that simply isn’t true. But instead of letting it ruin my day and zap my motivation, I am know attempting to use that as a catalyst for change.  

What I find that really helps is assigning yourself goals. And don’t confuse “goals” with a checklist. I don’t want a list of one off projects that I can get done in a day. “Send File to Printer” needs to get done sure, but that is just part of the bigger picture. A goal is something to the tune of “spend a half hour a day creative brainstorming”, or “come up with three ways to help your department be more efficient.” They aren’t items to be scratched off a list, but are measurable, and actionable, and give you the opportunity to mix things up in the workplace.

So let’s challenge ourselves, and let’s indulge in a positive frame of mind. With the monotony of work gets you done, spice it up. When someone’s bad attitude bums you out, be positive and show him or her how it’s done. Instead of just stumbling through your checklist, find meaning in what you do, and challenge yourself to do it better and differently.

It may not happen instantly, and it may be harder for some than it is for others, but in the end the pay off seems more than worth it. Take it from me, I’m just a guy that wants to love what he does and is trying to do just that.


The Twittering Kind

Like a lot of people on the ol’ World Wide Web, I was a little apprehensive about this new social micro-blogging (posting of short messages to the web) tool that is known as twitter.  I mean, everyone and their brother seems to be embracing this new tool, but, what was the point for me? 

Did I really need to let alert anyone at a moments notice what I was doing, thinking, or wanting to know?  Apparently the answer to that is a resounding yes. 

Yes, I am now a Twitter fiend, addicted to broadcasting my thoughts or activities 140 characters at a time.  While I can see why some people use it to stay in the loop with friends and family; I am loving the ability to network and find out what others are reading up on and looking into. 

Now, while it can be hard to manage and a little overwhelming if you start following people willy-nilly, it is still worth the ride, as you will no doubt learn something new once you work out the kinks. 

If nothing else, it’s a good way to gain some knowledge, and network a little, and with very little effort.   I mean, 140 characters is nothing, a sentence or two.  This is a small price to pay to stay in touch and stay informed in my opinion. 

Anyway, please visit on Twitter, and if you are feeling a little froggy, sign up and follow me: AC Botts Design on Twitter!

/ Adam

New Digs

Well, as you can see has re-launched, and is looking rather lovely.  There are several new features, one of which includes this blog, so please take a look around.

Since this is my first post, I figured I would start off by letting you know that this blog will not just be all design talk all the time.  That will obviously be the main point of chatter, but there will be times where these posts are more casual in nature, so please feel free to participate in some conversation.

Thanks for checking out and please come back soon, as I will be adding a interactive flash demo in the next few months.  Catch you soon,

~ Adam