This site showcases the (mostly) digital work of Andrew DiFiore from both Virtual Arts Studios and answerYES Interactive as well as random thoughts and experimental projects too volatile to be contained anywhere else.

 
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    My nephew is a very talented artist out in Bozeman, Montana, and he just launched his new photo blog (with a little help). Living in Big Sky Country, Jason has some breathtaking shots of the scenery (not to mention skateboarders defying gravity).

    Use URL Shorteners Wise.ly

    I was going to write a Top 10 Best URL Shorteners like tinyurl, bit.ly, ow.ly and most recently goo.gl but after a quick Google search discovered that plenty of people have done this ad nauseam. According to the URLshortener.org there are over 1,100 URL shorteners currently online with new ones added everyday (they’ve compiled the biggest list to date). Quite frankly, I’m not sure what’s the point of creating yet another URL shortener but then again I feel the same way about Reality TV.

    So, instead, a word of caution about overdoing it with URL shorteners. These services are good for use with microblogging sites like Twitter where every character counts but that’s it. Since a URL shortener replaces the original (long) URL domain name with that shortener’s own domain name you really don’t know where that link links too. Spammers and other shady types exploit this fact to trick people into clicking a link in a tweet or an email. Some URL shorteners like Twitter’s Link Service (http://t.co) do a decent job protecting users from malicious intent but it is not foolproof.

    Use a reputable URL shortener (like the ones mentioned in this post) when you have to, not every time you write a link in a blog comment and certainly not on your own website or blog. That brings me to another point; domain names are part of your branding so why would you replace it with someone else’s domain if you don’t have too. From an SEO perspective, you should use your own URLs whenever you have the opportunity (this includes social networks).

    In the past I’ve recommended the poor man’s online reputation manager was to use Google Alerts with Social Mention. Google today expanded Alerts with a new feature to your Dashboard called Me on the Web (located right under the Account info). This works much like Alerts where you can be notified about “mentions” on a weekly, daily, or real-time but the really nice touch is that you now have an easier way to remove unwanted information about yourself from Google Search. Learn more reading this post by Google’s Product Manager Andreas Tuerk.

    Batternay Collection launches new website designed to engage and educate visitors on how custom photographic artwork has the power to express the mood in both residential or commercial spaces. We helped founder and artist Nora Batternay explore the marketing opportunities for custom photography in the US before introducing a new brand online. Out of this process emerged a style and language that most effectively reaches interior designers and art consultants. answerYES collaborated with Betsy Moore of Brains for Rent on the art direction and copywriting. Nicely done.

    If your web presence has become so out-dated that you rather say you don’t have a website then it might be time to call a professional. And if you’re going to call a professional, you might as well call the best (I don’t recommend waiting this long though). Such was the case with CONNECT Computer, an IT company based in Fairfield County that provides comprehensive network solutions, application hosting, and disaster recovery and business continuity.

    answerYES redesigned the entire website under the Umbraco open-source ASP.Net CMS with search-friendly site architecture and copy. We added new client-centric features like Live Chat and Citrix Assist for remote assistance. We setup CONNECT on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and provided on-site training to their sales team.

    In addition, CONNECT has retained answerYES for ongoing SEO, link building, and content development. We manage the company’s editorial calendar which includes social media updates and a monthly newsletter. Within the first 30 days of launch the new website generated over 1,000 unique visits. It consistently earns top-page ranking on Google for target keywords within the company’s local market. And this is just the beginning.