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"I go to work every morning with the possibility that I might learn something I don’t already know… You should look at every problem and think, 'what can I learn by doing this?' And if you think you can learn nothing, forget about doing it."

Milton Glaser
Brian Bourn Speaking at the Sacramento WordPress MeetupRead Check Out The Sacramento WordPress Meetup Group
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Check Out The Sacramento WordPress Meetup Group

Live near Sacramento and want to learn more about WordPress? Check out the Sacramento WordPress Meetup group — and I don’t just say that because Brian and I are two of the co-organizers.

The Sacramento WordPress Meetup happens the first Tuesday of every month and has grown into a great community of designers, developers, consultants, copywriters, bloggers, business owners, and end users. We meet for informal networking at 6:30 pm, get started with out talks at 7:00 pm, and get anywhere from 25-50 attendees.

The meetup operates on a four month cycle, with the general format of:

  • A developer focused talk (about 45 minutes)
  • A designer/user focused talk (about 45 minutes)
  • Lightning talks (3-4 talks, about 7-10 minutes each)
  • A happiness bar / workshop style event (give & get help)

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WordCamp San Francisco 2014Read WordCamp San Francisco Recap and The State Of The Word 2014
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WordCamp San Francisco Recap and The State Of The Word 2014

Ah WordCamp San Francisco, the mothership of WordCamps. The two-day event focused around WordPress, was the largest WordCamp San Francisco to date with about 1,000 attendees, and all three rounds of tickets selling out same day. Thank goodness that as a speaker I got to snag my ticket in advance, and that Brian got his in the first round!

Planned Beautifully

The event, organized by Andrea Middleton and her team, was planned beautifully — even with a fire alarm and building evacuation on the first day.

Registration and t-shirt pick up were both fast and easy, the schedule was kept on time and was updated when there were changes — and the food (especially the chili) was great. Thanks for the vegan/vegetarian/dairy-free options and for posting the menus in advance!

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Bourn Creative RedesignRead A Rebrand, A Redesign, And A Vision For The Future
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A Rebrand, A Redesign, And A Vision For The Future

Let’s just get it out there — I never loved our logo.

The copyediting concept was just a quick idea and great play on our name that Brian came up with when filing our business paperwork. I mocked it up and went with it to get the business off the ground, never intending to keep it. But everyone we met loved it. People raved about it at conferences and networking events when they asked for my card, they raved about it when calling about new projects, and over time, it just stuck.

For the first several years Bourn Creative existed, I was by myself. The colorful rainbow branding we’ve had for years evolved out of my love of color and my desire for something other than the logo to represent me, because at the time, I was the business. I loved the color, the positive feedback, and the praise we received from others about how much they loved it.

Then Brian joined Bourn Creative and took over the company as CEO and all WordPress development, and the brand had to evolve. It didn’t represent a company, but me and my freelance history. So we redesigned the Bourn Creative site, simplifying the rainbows. And about 18 months later, we did it again to “man up” the brand even more. But…

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Jennifer Bourn Speaking at WordCamp San FranciscoRead WordCamp San Francisco 2014: Champion Purpose Driven Design in Client Work
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WordCamp San Francisco 2014: Champion Purpose Driven Design in Client Work

WordCamp San Francisco — the event, the talks, the people, the fun — was amazing.

I was honored to be selected as a speaker for the flagship WordCamp event and to give a talk alongside some of the most talented people I know and new people I was lucky to meet.

This year, WordCamp San Francisco did something a little different. Instead of each session featuring one speaker, giving a longer talk, they peppered in lightning talk sessions throughout the event, each featuring short 5 minute talks by three different speakers. I spoke in the design and business lightning talk session with Taylor Aldridge and Tracy Levesque.

My five minutes were dedicated to designers and encouraging designers to champion their design and be the expert they are hired to be.

In a world where web design can quickly turn to web decoration, designers are problem solvers who must not only lead clients through the creative process, but protect the integrity of the solutions they deliver. With an abundance of options readily available, it is imperative that designers step up and become the voices of, and champions for purpose driven design, where each element has a specific purpose and only the elements needed to compel action are included. No more, no less.

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Prestige ConferenceRead Prestige Conference Recap: When Like-Minded People Get Honest
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Prestige Conference Recap: When Like-Minded People Get Honest

Imagine a small, intimate setting where you’re surrounded only by like-minded people willing to invest in their careers, businesses, and success. Imagine all of those people working in the same space you are, but in different capacities and different ways, with different types of clients. Imagine being able to talk with them openly and honestly, to get real feedback and fresh perspectives, and to really have the opportunity to talk shop and learn.

Sounds amazing right?

This is exactly what I experienced at Prestige Conference. Prestige is a business & career development conference geared towards freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small shops operating in the digital marketplace.

I was thrilled to have been invited to speak alongside some ridiculously talented and accomplished business owners, and I knew the event would bring the value with Kiko Doran and Josh Broton at the helm. But what I didn’t expect was how different the event felt in comparison to a large WordCamp.

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Jennifer Bourn On The Matt Report PodcastRead Matt Report: Client Onboarding, Automation, Growing a Business
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Matt Report: Client Onboarding, Automation, Growing a Business

Recently I joined Matt Medeiros for an episode of the Matt Report Podcast, where we spoke about what it takes to go from freelancer to agency and the shifts you need to make, how to leverage more of your time using automation, and we also spend some time chatting about getting new clients, payment terms, and those pesky red flags that pop up!

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"The design you are looking for is not in the portfolio. Their portfolio is a record of problems they’ve solved for other people, with those other people’s constraints, and those other people’s budgets. And it reflects those other people’s brands.

Hiring a designer is like hiring a tailor. You look at their previous work to see the quality of their work, to inspect the stitching, and you study the posture previous clients, but you’re not here to grab one off the rack. Those are all datapoints to help you decide if you’re going to let them take your measurements."

Mike Monteiro
Jennifer Bourn Hosts Drad CastRead DradCast: The Bourn Creative Identity
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DradCast: The Bourn Creative Identity

Episode 057: The Bourn Creative Identity

Every episode of the DradCast begins with a monologue by the guest host, which means I needed to write a monologue! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I wanted it to be something meaningful, something that means something, not just to me, but to those important to me.

As I was contemplating my opening monologue, I read a tweet that inspired my message:

This tweet really hit home. When I started designing websites, I had no clue what I was doing, but I learned. I learned because my friends were willing to take time from their weekends and evenings to sit at my kitchen table and work on projects with me and teach me. I learned because the WordPress community responded when I asked for help and advice.

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SEO TipsRead How to Optimize Blog Posts For Maximum Results And Visibility
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How to Optimize Blog Posts For Maximum Results And Visibility

Every time I speak to a group or organization at about blogging for business, I share the same simple, but often eye-opening statements:

  • Every time a new blog post is published, a new searchable URL is added to your website
  • Publishing a new blog post just once each week for a year, will add 52 new searchable URLs to your website
  • That action creates 52 new ways people can find you online — that’s 52 new chances you have to appear in the search engines results when someone is looking for what you do

If audience members were skeptical about blogging before, they usually then agree that it’s worth their time to take a second look about how blogging for business could help grow their business.

The Problem With Blogging For Business

I speak to a lot of people who think blogging for business is a waste of time, ether because they tried it and it didn’t work, or someone else told them that they tried it and it didn’t work.

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Prestige ConferenceRead Prestige Conference: A WordPress Conference On Business
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Prestige Conference: A WordPress Conference On Business

A Premium Conference Focused On Business And Career

Taking place October 3-4, 2014 in Downtown Minneapolis and streamed live wherever you are, Prestige Conference is a new and intriguing addition to the WordPress conference ecosystem, including WordCamps and Pressnomics. Created by Josh Broton and Kiko Doran, the conference is hyper-focused on growing a business and building a career with WordPress.

First, let me say that I love WordCamps. They are positive, helpful, educational, fun events that pull local wordPress communities together. They give community members at all levels the opportunity to share their knowledge, give back, help others, build relationships, and improve their own skills — and with tracks/sessions on design, development, content, blogging, getting started, and business, there truly is something for everyone.

With that said, I do think there is space for additional WordPress centered events, especially those tailored to one specific subject like this one on building, and growing businesses, and cultivating careers in the WordPress community.

I look forward to seeing the landscape of additional hyper-focused WordPress-centered events evolve, and I am excited to experience the inaugural Prestige Conference.

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"The question is not whether your will be successful, but whether you will matter. Are you going for votes or are you seeking to matter?"

Seth Godin
WordCamp LA 2014Read Bourn Creative Pulls Triple Duty at WordCamp LA 2014
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Bourn Creative Pulls Triple Duty at WordCamp LA 2014

WordCamp Los Angeles — locally organized three-day conference covering everything related to WordPress — is happening September 5-7, 2014, less than a month from today.

I’m so excited for this event — The schedule and sessions look awesome, the attendee list is full of amazing people, and Brian and I will BOTH be speaking! While Brian and I have both presented at WordCamps before, this is the first time we’ll both be presenting at the same one!

So, if you are in or near the Los Angeles area, I highly encourage you to snag a coveted ticket before they sell out — and at only $45 for all three days, a party, a t-shirt, and food, this is an amazing opportunity to network, improve your skill set, learn more about WordPress, and have fun.

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Why Keywords Still Matter in SEORead Why Keywords Still Matter In SEO
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Why Keywords Still Matter In SEO

You may have heard that while the keyword meta tag used to be super effective and highly regarded, nowadays pretty much all search engines don’t even give the keyword meta tag another thought! A lot of websites, even some top authority sites don’t even bother to use the meta keywords tag anymore for this exact reason.

But why did it come to this? Why has the keyword meta tag lost its luster?

Because of keyword abuse (also known as keyword spam). Website owners were stuffing keywords into this meta tag like crazy, sometimes even repeating the same ones over and over, thinking that it would make the page more relevant for that specific keyword.

Many sites even stuffed keywords into the web page keyword meta tag that didn’t have anything to do with the actual page content. It got out of control and soon the keyword meta tag was no longer a viable way to assess what a web page or blog post was really about.

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Genesis Framework FAQsRead What is the Genesis Framework? (And Other Genesis FAQs)
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What is the Genesis Framework? (And Other Genesis FAQs)

As Genesis recommended developers, we get asked a lot of questions about the Genesis Framework and Genesis themes — and it seems like there is some confusion about what it is, how it works, what you can do with it, and more.

We work with Genesis every day and all of our custom WordPress sites are powered by Genesis. We’re proud StudioPress affiliates too. So to help clarify a few things, I’ve gathered together this list of our most frequently asked questions about the Genesis Framework.

If you have any Genesis Framework or Genesis theme questions that I don’t address in this post (other than how to write code — we charge for that), feel free to ask in the comments below!

Now let’s get on to the questions …

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“Success isn’t an event, it is a process. It isn’t a one time thing, it is a lifetime thing. It isn’t one beginning and one end, it is an endless adventure of beginnings.”

Aline Hanle
Wp Unicorn Project Hosts Jennifer BournRead WP Unicorn Project: Content Strategy With Jennifer Bourn
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WP Unicorn Project: Content Strategy With Jennifer Bourn

One of my favorite things to do is talk shop — to talk about business, design strategy, marketing, getting clients, content, blogging, WordPress — and recently I got to do it again with Suzette Franck and Natalie MacLees on Media Temple’s WordPress Hangout, WP Unicorn Project.

I originally met both of these incredibly smart women at Word Camp Las Vegas. We stayed in touch through Twitter and I connected with Suzette again at WordCamp Phoenix.

Suzette Franck is Media Temple’s WordPress Evangelist and she travels to and speaks at a lot of WordCamps around the country. Natalie MacLees owns Purple Pen Productions, is organizer for WordCamp LA, and is a published author, working on the second edition of her book jQuery for Designers.

Now, about that hangout …

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WordCamp Seattle 2014Read WordCamp Seattle 2014 Recap
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WordCamp Seattle 2014 Recap

Thank You’s All Around!

This past weekend Brian and I traveled to Seattle for WordCamp Seattle and we stayed a little extra to see the sights and explore the city on foot!

First, I just want to give a huge round of applause for all of the WordCamp Seattle organizers and volunteers. This non-profit, completely volunteer event of almost 700 people was incredibly well run, smooth, and organized — and as a speaker, I felt supported and really appreciated the hands-on friendliness of everyone involved.

Second, I want to say thanks for drinks all day long (no dehydration!), a diverse lunch menu, including vegan and gluten-free options, and delicious goodies at the after party (those vegetarian sandwiches were awesome)!

And third, a big thank you goes out to ALL of the WordCamp Seattle sponsors, including University of Washington for a gorgeous venue.

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Writing A Good Meta DescriptionRead Writing an Effective Meta Description
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Writing an Effective Meta Description

Believe it or not, now you almost have all the basics of natural, organic search engine optimization at your fingertips! I’ve covered how to optimize content, optimize images, and optimize links. We’ve explained what HTML page titles and meta descriptions are, and how to use page titles for SEO — and today, I’m covering how to use meta descriptions for SEO.

Writing a simple, effective, compelling meta description is no harder than writing a simple, compelling, effective sentence or call to action. In fact, your meta description, at the most basic level, is a just short summary of what your web page or blog post is about.

Like your HTML page title, your meta description is very important in attracting new visitors to your website from organic search. Often, but not always, the description shown by the search engines for your web page or blog post is the HTML meta description you write.

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"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."

Henry Ford
Writing An Effective HTML Page TitleRead Writing an Effective HTML Page Title
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Writing an Effective HTML Page Title

Yesterday I shared with you the importance of your page titles and meta descriptions and showed you some of the ways they are used. Today we’re going to focus on page titles and get into the nitty-gritty that makes them so powerful.

Creating powerful, client-attracting titles for each of your pages and posts is a low effort, high-impact search engine optimization strategy — as long as you use them the right way — and not a spammy way.

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Get Found More Often OnlineRead How to Optimize Links For Improved SEO
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How to Optimize Links For Improved SEO

I know there are a lot of different strategies that go into optimizing websites and I love all the little details and opportunities to optimize the content we work so hard to produce.

So far, I’ve shared how to optimize content and how to optimize your images, and today I am going to share with you how to optimize your links.

Optimizing website links is probably one of the simplest strategies you can implement because, there aren’t a lot of options!

I’ll bet you didn’t realize that when it comes to optimizing links on your website for search engines, you’re actually doing your website visitors a favor too.

You see, people and search engine bots move through the internet in the same way, through links. So, by optimizing links, you are creating links that are more descriptive and helpful to your visitors, and more descriptive and helpful for the search engines.

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Search Engine Optimization TipsRead How to Optimize Images For SEO
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How to Optimize Images For SEO

In my last post, I shared what you should and should not do when it comes to optimizing website content. Today let’s focus on how to optimize website images and photos — it’s actually pretty simple.

At Bourn Creative, we highly recommend that you leverage every free and simple way to boost your website’s SEO and the chances your website has to show up in the search engine page listings when someone is searching for your target keywords and key phrases. One part of that is learning to optimize images for web.

Look at these two images — while they look exactly the same, only one of the images is optimized for search engine optimization.

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