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Quick Tip: Beautiful Web Typography Is Now Easy!

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Beautiful Online Typography Is Now Easy!

Are you still primarily using Arial, Verdana or – please not! – Comic Sans MS on your websites? Until recently, beautiful typography and the internet didn’t play nicely together. Using fancy fonts meant embedding all of your text in images, or risking incompatibility with many users. It was a royal pain!

Today, however, there’s hope. As browsers have matured, support for embedding custom typefaces in webpages has advanced. Many new online tools and services have popped up to make web fonts easily accessible to web designers. Unfortunately, though, most services are rather expensive, and most do-it-yourself tools aren’t easy to use.

In this quick tip, I want to share an option that’s both free and easy to use. Google Web Fonts is a free service offered by Google as part of their effort to help beautify and improve the web. They’re working together with the community and typography specialists to create special fonts that are 100% free for you to use on your commercial and non-commercial projects. Best of all, they handle all of the messy technical details to get them onto your webpages. Adding these special fonts to your pages is as simple as adding one line of code to your page and updating your CSS’s font-family declaration.

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Is It Time to Raise Your Rates? (Part III)

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Handshake on the deal

In my work with small technology and web companies, I see certain problems over and over again.  One of these is how to get paid fairly for work produced.  In this series we’ve been looking at five common reasons why tech and web professionals don’t get paid what they’re worth.  To review, the 5 reasons are:

  1. Benign Neglect – "Everything is going smoothly.  We have other issues to worry about."
  2. Fear of Loss – "I’ll lose clients."
  3. Misguided Strategy – "We want to be the affordable option."
  4. Uninformed – "I’m not sure what others charge, but I know we’re competitive."
  5. Trouble Communicating Value – "I’m not really a sales person."

Last time we looked at how to escape the trap created by fear and a misguided marketing strategy.  Today, we’ll wrap up with Reasons #4 and #5.

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Is It Time to Raise Your Rates? (Part II)

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Man giving presentation

Many professionals of all kinds will be raising their rates for the new year.  That’s why during this last week of 2011 we’re looking at the issue of rates for professional services and 5 reasons web and tech pros often underprice themselves.  To review, the 5 reasons are:

  1. Benign Neglect – "Everything is going smoothly.  We have other issues to worry about."
  2. Fear of Loss – "I’ll lose clients."
  3. Misguided Strategy – "We want to be the affordable option."
  4. Uninformed – "I’m not sure what others charge, but I know we’re competitive."
  5. Trouble Communicating Value – "I’m not really a sales person."

Last time we looked into Reason #1 – Benign Neglect.  We also started to explore Reason #2 – Fear of Loss.  We’ll go into more depth on that today, and consider how it relates to Reason #3 – Misguided Strategy.

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Is It Time to Raise Your Rates? (Part I)

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Pensive woman

I watched her mouth tighten slightly, and her voice became a little tentative as she spoke.  This was clearly a difficult subject for her to talk about.  The seven of us, all small business owners and professionals, were seated around a small table.  We listened intently as she began to explain her problem.  "I’m considering a rate increase and need some guidance," she said.   This successful young counselor was asking us, her Mastermind group, whether she should raise her rates in the new year.  We started asking questions and she answered.  She had been practicing over 10 years and had never raised her rates.  Other professionals in her area were charging 25-30% more.  Her practice was respected and received many referrals.  "Would a 20% increase be too much?” she asked us.  The uncertainty in her voice and body language betrayed her anxiety about making this change.

As a financial advisor to small web and technology firms, I see a similar scene played out again and again as business owners wrestle with the core issue of “how much do I charge?”  For perspective, consider your CPA.  If she’s like most of her colleagues, she will start the new year with a new, higher rate for the beginning of a busy tax season.  Many other professionals also adjust their rates at the beginning of a new year.  How about you?  As a web professional, have you made plans to roll out a new rate structure in January 2012?

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