Catena Creations celebrates 10 years

Today is a day that seemed so far away when I first thought about it: It’s the 10-year anniversary of the beginning of  Catena Creations LLC.

Catena Creations 10th anniversary logoTen years ago, I had just been laid off for the second time in 2008. I was doing freelance work for the first company that had laid me off. The first episode of  Bravo’s Tabatha Takes Overwas on that night, and she asked the couple she was helping: What’s your passion?

While laid off, I’d been working at home and taking care of my then-13-year-old-son and getting him ready for school. And watching that show, I realized I wanted to do what I’d been doing since that second layoff: Work at home. Manage my own schedule. Set my own pace. Enjoy a variety of work with more creativity.

It’s amazing to think of all the changes that have taken place in the past decade.

When I started, everyone wanted to build their websites in tables with a fixed width so you could control their appearance. Now websites must be mobile-friendly and responsiveto adapt to a wide variety of devices and platforms — some that we couldn’t even imagine 10 years ago.

Search engine optimization was kind of a concern, if you knew how to do the programming. Now we integrate it into every step we take when redesigning or building a website. For example, the home page for my first website was a large graphic with links. That would be unthinkable today — no keywords!

Photos on websites were small so they wouldn’t take too long to download. Now we showcase photo galleries and use video backgrounds on home pages.

I taught myself Flash in the fall of 1997, using the “Flash for Dummies” book that came with a 30-day trial of Flash on a CD. Flash has since given way to multiple better options for animation and photo shows that are more secure and less buggy.

The most important change: My son is now 23 and has finished college. He just got engaged a couple of weeks ago. But he still is my biggest supporter. I would not have made it this far without his love and encouragement, and I very much appreciate it.

In 21 years of website design and 10 years of owning my business, I’ve seen a lot of changes. A lot of “must haves” come and go.  What hasn’t changed is the need for excellent writing, design, photography, video and editing to create a website that sells your products or services and helps you make a profit for your business. Or raise funds for your nonprofit organization.

I’ll say this again: I may be a sole proprietor, but I don’t do this alone.  In addition to my son and now his fiance, family, friends, clients and colleagues have cheered me on, guided me, lent their strength and enhanced my business. I am very grateful to everyone who’s helped me on this journey, and I thank you for being part of the history of Catena Creations.

I’ll be using this new logo this year wherever I can to celebrate this milestone.  More celebrations are to come. Stay tuned!

How to stop robocalls about Google listings

It’s a question I receive quite frequently: Clients who say they just got a call from someone saying their Google listing will disappear if they don’t do something RIGHT NOW. Or they are not appearing on Google. Or they can always rank no. 1 on Google. And they want to know if they need to respond to those calls.

Stop robocalls about Google fraudNow, thanks to Google, I have a new answer: Report these calls. They’re scams.

ZD Net reported in its May 24 newsletter that Google is taking legal action against several U.S. firms that make these calls. The Federal Trade Commission unsealed documents about the case earlier in May.

If you get one of these robocalls, you use this form to report the violation. You can bookmark the form so you can easily find it in the future.

Google also has updated its Google My Business (GMB) policies to include transparency requirements and guidelines for third parties that manage GMB listings for their clients.

Many businesses don’t realize they may have a problem with their My Business, Analytics, Webmaster Tools and other Google accounts until they switch companies that manage these accounts for them. It takes a lot of work and time to get things transferred correctly, and to ensure the business client owns the accounts — not an agency.

If you have questions or would like a review of your accounts, please contact Catena Creations. We can look at your setup and ensure that you, the client, own and manage the accounts that track your business.

Metamorphosis: Basking in the glow

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of viewing the Metamorphosis exhibit at Lauritsen Gardens. I was fortunate enough to attend on the last Friday when the exhibit was lit up at night for a special “Art Aglow” show.

I bought a membership to Lauritsen Gardens that day, and made a donation as well. I did this in honor of my aunt, Barbara Stander, who had passed away earlier that week. She and her husband, Chuck, lived in Pensacola, Fla., and were avid gardeners. At one point, they had more than 400 varieties of roses in their yard and greenhouse. What better way to honor her memory?

I saw the exhibt by day, took a dinner break, then came back for the night show. It was fun and eerie both to see the conservatory lit up at night. Most of the sculptures were lit from underneath, giving visitors the best view of the hundreds of recycled objects used by Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robson to create each sculpture. I’ve decided that next time I have insomnia, I’m going to go over these pictures and see how many objects I can find.

Read More