Surelutions

Surelutions Website strategy, design, and growth for nonprofits and community-focused businesses. Website design, management, and digital strategy consulting since 2003.
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Our long-term relationships with clients ensure that their websites, marketing plan, advertising, and social media all work together seamlessly to engage with customers, reflect their brand, and promote businesses.

Operating as usual

Check out the website reallygoodemails.com for some fun examples to get your creativity flowing for your next enewslette...
08/31/2020
Really Good Emails

Check out the website reallygoodemails.com for some fun examples to get your creativity flowing for your next enewsletter. The site has different categories to browse layouts, images, headlines, colors, etc.

PRO TIP: Any time you're sending out content to your fans and supporters, be sure that you're following your own brand guidelines. (You have a brand guide, right? Message me if you need help!) No, you're not stuck with plopping your logo and using two colors for everything you send out. It just means that your communication should MAKE SENSE with each other so if someone clicks from your enews to your website they know immediately that they are in the right place.

What kinds of things make you love or hate an email newsletter?

The Best Email Designs in the Universe (that came into my inbox)

Google tip and time saver: Did you know you can use Google search for simple calculations? For example, try googling "Wh...
08/27/2020

Google tip and time saver: Did you know you can use Google search for simple calculations? For example, try googling "What is 125 times 85" and your search results will bring up a calculator with the answer. Or try something like "1200 is 40% of what" and the answer pops up in a featured snippet. Of course this also works with your voice search tools like Alexa, Google, and Siri.

Well this is interesting... There are new settings in Facebook that let businesses identify themselves in various catego...
08/25/2020

Well this is interesting... There are new settings in Facebook that let businesses identify themselves in various categories of diversity ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🖤🤍🤎. Surelutions is proud to be a woman-owned business, and I went ahead and identified as such in the settings, but it didn't seem to change anything on our public facing FB page. One odd thing is that it only let me choose ONE category. Not sure what that means for business owners who fall in more than one category like LGBTQ women of color -- do you have to pick just one category? 🤦‍♀️ I'll be keeping an eye on this to see how it gets integrated in Facebook's search tools. What do you think of this new feature?

🔍 TECH TIP / PSA: Are you making it difficult for people to connect with you?If you run a business or nonprofit and want...
08/21/2020

🔍 TECH TIP / PSA: Are you making it difficult for people to connect with you?

If you run a business or nonprofit and want people to know about your services, be sure to update the About section on your personal Facebook profile to include your business info and links. Same goes for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other social tools you use.

In the screenshots here, I'm not Facebook friends with either of these people. Person 1 is someone who was recommended to me by a colleague. If she had filled out the same boxes on her profile that person 2 did on his, then I'd be contacting her right now about a job instead of posting this PSA.

😟 How many opportunities are lost when someone clicks over to your profile because you were recommended, or you provided a helpful answer in a group, only to find that there is no way to connect with you? No one wants a dead end on nonprofits they wanted to support, small businesses they wanted to buy from, consultants and contractors they wanted to hire. This doesn't need to be your personal info. As you can see in Person 2's screenshot, the blurred company names are actually links to those businesses.

If you want people to find you, make it easy for them!

Are you spending time on the right things? If you could free up a few hours each month in your job by delegating somethi...
08/20/2020

Are you spending time on the right things? If you could free up a few hours each month in your job by delegating something, what would be the best use of your newly found extra time?

I ran across this old book when researching a font for a project. The title is: "Specimen Book: Types and Borders Orname...
08/19/2020

I ran across this old book when researching a font for a project. The title is: "Specimen Book: Types and Borders Ornaments and Brass Rules". It includes typefaces, borders, drop caps, images, and equipment used by printers in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Font nerds, graphic designers, and antique lovers will all enjoy perusing it. 😍 See the whole thing here: https://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101063891269

Designers (and clients, too) often struggle with including all the options vs. keeping it simple. Simple designs are typ...
08/18/2020
The rainbow flag “reboot” is a triumph for inclusiveness—and a design disaster

Designers (and clients, too) often struggle with including all the options vs. keeping it simple. Simple designs are typically more eye catching and effective. What do you think of this rainbow flag reboot? Is adding more colors more inclusive? https://qz.com/quartzy/1303522/the-new-rainbow-pride-flag-is-a-design-disaster-but-a-triumph-for-lgbtq-inclusiveness/

The rainbow flag meaning rests not in its individual colors but in the symbolism of the entire spectrum.

08/17/2020

PRO TIP: You can have a separate business Facebook feed to browse and share posts, just like your personal Facebook feed. Just go a FB page where you are an admin, and type "/news_feed" after the link. For example https://www.facebook.com/[YourPageName]/news_feed .

We've all been there. It's 4pm and you've gotten next to nothing done. Take heart, read this article, take a small step ...
08/03/2020
How to Salvage a Disastrous Day in Your Covid-19 House Arrest

We've all been there. It's 4pm and you've gotten next to nothing done. Take heart, read this article, take a small step or two, and know that you're not alone. "The critical point here: Don’t aim for perfection. The goal is to end the slump and re-establish stability. Your job for the rest of today is to take small, discrete actions to help you get unstuck." https://community.chronicle.com/news/2339-how-to-salvage-a-disastrous-day-in-your-covid-19-house-arrest

Here are three ways to get yourself unstuck on those particularly bad pandemic days.

07/31/2020

FAQs: What is a domain extension (and why should I care)?

A domain extension is the ".com" part of your website's domain name. We're all familiar with websites that end in .com and .org.

There is a huge variety of other domain extensions available, too. From the international ones such as .ca or .fr, to multi-purpose options like .info or .site, to very specialized extensions like .schule, .beer, and .dentist. There are at least 500 to choose from!

One clever way you can use a non-traditional domain is to complement your existing domain. For example, if your regular website is myorganization.com, and you're adding a new training course to your services, you could purchase myorganization.courses or myorganization.training for that educational content.

Have you seen any clever examples for non-traditional domain extensions?

07/27/2020

In what expense category would you put the costs of website redesign? Would it be Marketing, IT, Computers, Utilities, Other?

What do you think?

07/23/2020

We all know how to send and receive email messages, but beyond that, how much do you understand about how email works?

We're working on some documentation and educational materials for clients who have Care Plans with us. If you're someone who likes to know how things work, I'd love to hear your questions and feedback about this overview on email terminology.

-------ABOUT EMAIL ADDRESSES-------
Email is more complex than most people realize. Most of us only see one aspect of email, which is sending and receiving messages. The other layers take place behind the scenes, and folks only become nominally aware of the inner workings when something goes wrong. While you don't need to know all the inner working, here are some email terms as they relates to accounts to keep track of:

EMAIL ADDRESS is a term that everyone knows. This is where you receive your email messages.

Your EMAIL PROVIDER or EMAIL HOST is the company who's storing your email messages for you. If you have a Gmail, Yahoo, or Comcast email address (e.g., [email protected]), those companies are your email provider/host. If you have emails at your domain name (e.g., [email protected]) your provider is likely a website host such as GoDaddy, or a third party provider such as Gsuite. (NOTE: Nonprofit organizations can get Gsuite for free, which we highly recommend.)

HOSTED EMAIL is a type of email account that stores your sent, received, and draft email messages. It gives you the ability to log in and check your email, see all your incoming, outgoing, drafts, and attachments. This is in contrast to a FORWARDING EMAIL which doesn’t have its own account, but is a pass through. Let’s say you normally log in to check email at [email protected]. You could also have a forwarding email like [email protected] that doesn’t have a separate account to log in to, it just lands in your normal inbox.

EMAIL APPLICATION, also called EMAIL CLIENT or EMAIL PROGRAM, is the software program (or app) you use to send and receive messages. Popular email clients include Outlook, Gmail, Thunderbird, and many others. You may have different email clients depending on your device. For example, you might check email with Outlook on your computer, and the Mail app on your iphone.

To add to the confusion, your email client can also be your provider. If you log in to Yahoo to check your [email protected] email, then Yahoo is both your provider AND your client/application. If you log in to Outlook (email application) to check your business email, your email may be hosted with someone like GoDaddy.

Many organizations have a separate IT department or vendor who manages their email along with their computer software and servers. Smaller organizations may have that responsibility rolled into another role. On your end, it’s important to know where your email is hosted so that you can keep track of expenses and renewals.

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Does that make sense? Did you find it helpful?

Welp, Facebook changed their layout again. If you have a business page or group, be sure to take a look at your banner a...
07/17/2020

Welp, Facebook changed their layout again. If you have a business page or group, be sure to take a look at your banner artwork to make sure it still works with the new layout. See photos below to compare old vs. new layouts with the same graphic. The new design has a subtle gradient fill on both sides, curved corners, and a dark gradient near the bottom. You can also add a slideshow or video in that section, which could be fun! Need help? Give us a shout. We'd be glad to help!

07/17/2020
Mana Maoli

Happy Friday everyone! Here's a little something to make you smile. 😄

He mele leʻaleʻa nō ia!

Mahalo e @world_best_voices on Instagram for sharing.

"Mesfin Johnson hopes that by continuing to have candid, collaborative conversations ... the region’s nonprofit leaders ...
07/08/2020
Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit leaders navigate grief, racism through collaboration

"Mesfin Johnson hopes that by continuing to have candid, collaborative conversations ... the region’s nonprofit leaders can find a way to deepen their relationships and create a shared vision. She’d like to see the sector to get away from what she calls a 'panic and trauma response' and move towards 'values-driven response' which is less about individual or organizational survival and more about finding flexible and collaborative ways to make meaningful change in communities."

https://www.secondwavemedia.com/features/nonprofit-journal-project-072420.aspx

A grainy screen and distorted audio over Zoom can’t disguise the fact that Yodit Mesfin Johnson is processing a substantial amount of grief and anger right now.

07/06/2020

I know my little life and daily decisions don't affect a huge number of people, but today as I was choosing which of two companies to purchase from, I opted for the one who has a diverse team and whose values aligned with mine. The other company? I don't know. I just couldn't find that information on their website.

No one cares if I spend $179 at one place vs the other. But but on a larger scale, if diversity, inclusion, equity, animal rights, sustainability, or other causes are important to you or your organization --- is that clearly stated on your website? If a donor has $5000 to give and they are trying to decide whether to donate it to you or the place in neighboring community, what would make them choose you?

State what is important to you on your website in both obvious (tagline or about us statement) and subtle (colors, imagery) ways. Values are important to every business, but absolutely essential to a nonprofit who is literally founded on certain values and mission. Make sure that yours are easy to find and you'll attract like-minded followers.

How about you? Do you make purchasing and donating decisions based on values? What do you need to improve on your website to help your visitors make a decision to spend their dollars on you?

06/23/2020

***Tuesday Tips: Make it easy for your website visitors***

To minimize the risk of COVID-19, like most people, we've been opting for hands-off contact as much as possible. So rather than going to the office supply store yesterday, I spent way too long searching for the right ink for my Epson printer on Amazon. It really shouldn't have been that difficult, but I didn't want an off-brand of ink, it was harder than it should have been to tell which of the options were the right one for my printer, and I had a difficult time figuring out which of the sellers were legit. There seemed to be a lot of sketchy options --- reviews saying that the ink was half full, or dried up, or took 3 weeks to arrive because it came overseas. Anyhow, it was 45 minutes wasted and I did not make a purchase.

I decided to check Staples instead, since that is the store I normally shop in person at. Within 10 minutes, I found my ink, had full trust in where it was coming from, and also found a $15 coupon. Oh, and I decided to buy a lamp for my desk, too.

So what, right?

The reason I bring it up now is that Staples had FEWER choices than Amazon. This was a good thing! It made my buying experience much easier. When I typed in my printer brand, I had 4 or 5 options. On Amazon I had over 100.

If you're a small business, take a look at your own website and identify places where your visitors might get confused, and then make it easy for them. Do you have a top selling product? Put it front and center. Do you want people to buy online or visit you in person? Give them clear path and incentive to do so.

If you're a nonprofit, clarify what you want people to DO when they get to your website? Donate? Volunteer? Visit? Sign up? Make sure that it's very easy for them to see what they can do, and immediately how to do it.

It's often difficult to view your own website from a visitor's point of view, in the same way it's hard to proofread your own writing. Do you have too many options? Analysis paralysis is a barrier to making a sale or getting a donation. Do you have a clear message? Confused people don't sign up for mailing lists or follow you on social media.

Need a second set of eyes or some advice? Share your website below and I'll take a look for you.

~Leslie

Today on Juneteenth --  it's trending the #8 spot on Google right now, so you're not alone if you have to look it up -- ...
06/19/2020
Black Lives Matter. It didn't seem like my problem to solve. I was wrong. | Surelutions

Today on Juneteenth -- it's trending the #8 spot on Google right now, so you're not alone if you have to look it up -- I thought I'd reshare the blog post I wrote last week about BLM, from a small town white woman's point of view.

I'm curious, have you made any changes in your own life, or seen any good examples of small business owners using their influence to promote racial justice and equity?

I was raised with, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” and “There are two sides to every story.” I try very hard to see the best in people and look for silver lining in situations. I mean, there is literally a f*ing pandemic right now and I’m like, “Well, at...

The topic of negative reviews and comments on social media came up in a recent discussion with a client. Their situation...
06/16/2020
Your Business Needs More Negative Reviews. Here's Why

The topic of negative reviews and comments on social media came up in a recent discussion with a client. Their situation was a little trickier than just a negative review, but I thought it would be handy to share some good advice on the topic with everyone.This article from Neil Patel is an excellent read. I highly recommend it to anyone who manages a social media page for a business or nonprofit organization. https://neilpatel.com/blog/your-business-needs-negative-reviews/

Key points:
- Negative reviews give customers the opportunity to see how you handle customer support
- When you only have 5-star reviews, customers may wonder if they are fake
- Have an Action Plan within your organization so everyone within your organization knows how to respond well
- Dont' get defensive or angry - be empathetic, respectful, and factual
- Take the problem offline (DM, PM, email)

Have you ever had a negative review? How did you handle it?

If you’ve put all of your focus on avoiding negative reviews, you’re going about reviews all wrong. You may find that hard to believe, but it’s true. Here’s why you need negative reviews and some of the ways that they can be beneficial for your business.

06/11/2020

When was the last time you updated your social media banners? How about those changes in hours & services posts on your front door? Are your digital ads in the local news looking good? If you need a bit of an upgrade, good news -- we have some extra design hours available in June.

We normally only offer graphic design to ongoing clients as part of a larger vision to keep their website, brand, social media and communications looking sharp. But since a lot of our scheduled work in June is technical stuff related to website improvements, we have some extra design time we can play with.

Comment below or send us a message and let us know what you need help with. (Current clients: As always, send us a support email if you need anything, we're here to help with both technical and design stuff for you

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Chelsea, MI
48118

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web design, development and management | print and digital design | marketing strategy | social media management

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Our Story

Surelutions was founded in 2003 in Chelsea, Michigan by Leslie Surel. We’re experts in website planning, design, and ongoing support. We’re a small business with a big heart, and enjoy working with nonprofits and small businesses who are on a mission to improve their communities.

Our Goal

Our goal is to help you use your website as a tool to engage your community, increase donations, free up your time, and grow your organization.

Our Values

Surelutions embraces diversity and inclusion. We love animals and the environment. We are always asking questions, learning and sharing. We feel that our differences in identity, race, age, culture, religion, and life experiences inspire more creativity and better solutions.

We’re on a mission to connect, collaborate, and work with other people and organizations who share our values and are making their corner of the world a better place.

If these goals and values align with yours, we'd love to connect with you.

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