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Miscellany

Mack’s Mother’s Day Post: Take Three

By | Mack's Musings, Miscellany | One Comment

It took me three weeks to write this freakin post. I revised it three times. Changed my angle. Started over. It still sucked.

Then I got a mother’s day card from my mom:

And I figured out what I really wanted to say.

Maybe it’s the stage I’m in as a parent (with two nuggets under the age of 5). Or maybe it’s the fact that I also run a company in a very demanding industry. But mostly, I think that being a mom is just hard.

I’ll be honest. Some days I really don’t like being a mom. But some days I don’t like being an entrepreneur either. Both require constant attention and carry a great deal of responsibility and work that some days just feels like this huge load that I’m going to become crushed under. Squashed like a little grape.

There are a lot of days where it’s all I can do to keep my head above water. “Balancing” both work and kids and marriage and life. These days I just want a lounge chair. In the sun. By a pool. And a cocktail. All by myself.

But.

When I stop comparing myself to what I think a mom should be, I start to gain some clarity about what I know to be true for me:

I love the shit out of my kids. I love that I have two (and only two). And I love that I have a boy and a girl. My heart melts when I watch Ryan and Easton play together. I love how wonderful Ryan is to her little brother and how amazingly cute Easton is (even though he is a pain in my ass).

I have an amazing husband who is so incredibly supportive, understanding, and helpful. He’s a trooper because he takes a back seat to the kids, and the business, and the alone time Mack wishes she had. And that’s why I married him. Because he loves me and he’s in no matter what.

I love Mack Web. I love what we do. I love our team. I love that we’re funny. I love that we are having success. And this is the stuff I have to remember when I don’t want to work on another stinking process for our company.

It’s not that I don’t love being a mom, I just don’t love it 100% of the time. But for all those days that I want to go mental, there actually are moments that are precious (like when Ryan is crunching her potato chips in her tiny little mouth, or when Easton lays his soft cheek on my shoulder). I just have to remind myself to hang on to those moments for dear life because right now they tend to be few and far between.

I find myself choked up thinking about how big Ry and E are and how it’s all going by so fast (even though I wish away so many moments).

Some day soon I won’t have any diapers to change or butts to wipe and I will be sad thinking about when they were babies. But I’m taking it in. Appreciating and finding the joy in as many moments as possible. Taking it one day at a time. And longing for my lounge chair and cocktail.

 

 

 

 

Stuff About Us That’s Worth Reading (and Mack’s Big Trip to LinkLove Boston)

By | Miscellany | No Comments

Pilgrimage

So, pretty soon now (early April, in fact) Mack is headed out to Bean Town (aka Boston) to pay homage to some truly great figures in recent history.

No, not Kurt Schilling. Not Tom Brady, either.

No, Mack’s headed out to LinkLove Boston to meet some of the giants of our industry and, y’know, learn some stuff.

“LinkLove Boston?” we hear you say. “What’s that?”

That’s best explained in a manner reminiscent of the SAT. Thus:

LinkLove: SEO enthusiasts :: Star Trek convention: people with their own Spock ears and homemade tricorders.

We’re pretty excited to send Mack off to this experiential bonanza because she’s going to get a chance to bask in the presence of people like Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz and Will Crichtlow of Distilled.

These guys are our professional idols and they set the standards for everything Mack Web believes and practices about web marketing (or “inbound marketing” or “search engine marketing” or whatever the kids are calling it these days). They provide much of the inspiration behind our philosophy of sustainable results.

Please note, this trip has nothing to do with the fact that we are starry-eyed fangirls.

‘Cuz it doesn’t. ‘Cuz we’re not.

No, really. We aren’t.

In all seriousness, we’re really excited for this opportunity not only because it’s going to be a chance to meet our heroes and learn directly from them, but because LinkLove is the embodiment of one of our core values.

Namely, that at Mack Web Solutions, we never stop learning. Here’s more on that…

The Never Ending Quest

An insatiable hunger for more knowledge is an entirely reasonable response to the web world.

And really, the world in general.

Everything changes. Nothing is static.

Philosophical, we know. But hey, we’re deep like that.
Jokes aside, the web is always in flux. Every single day there’s something new: the search engines change their algorithms, social media platforms are created, mobile technology emerges, programming capabilities evolve.

Every. Single. Day.

At Mack Web we don’t rest on our laurels. We’re canny enough to realize that it’s impossible to know everything.

That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to try.

Rootling (yes, it’s a word. sorta).

In fact, we have devoted quite a lot of time making sure that we are as knowledgeable as we can be. We, like badgers or moles or other things that rootle, have rootled out the best sources of information on our industry and made a point of familiarizing ourselves with them.

We, collectively, spend hours every week researching, reading, connecting, and engaging in our online community. (This should sound familiar to those of you who have worked with us in the past since this is pretty much what we recommend you guys do too. What’s good for the goose, etc).

Feel free to check up on our bona fides and let us know if you spot anything we miss or run across questions you hadn’t thought to ask yet. Here’s a few of our favorite sources of industry information:

SEOMoz
Distilled
Search Engine Land
Social Media Examiner
LinkedIn (personalized industry updates)
.Net
Designrfix

“Broaden your minds: Have a beer. Have two.” (bonus points: identify this quote)

We have also managed to figure out that often the best learning comes from unexpected places and experiences.

Which is why every Friday, the Mack Web team dedicates 5 hours to working on us. We call ‘em Innovation Fridays and we spend the latter half of the day focused on strategy, vision, and goals for the company. We visit other companies, read, laugh, vent our frustrations.

We take the time out to treat ourselves like people with lives and emotions and curiosities. We let loose our creativity and sense of play (not that it’s all that restrained during the rest of the week) and we find the joy in the job.

Also, we eat lunch.

One of the ideas that came out of our Innovation Fridays was to start a Mack Web library. (To be fair, credit for this idea goes to Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com).

Funnily enough, for a web-based company, all of our members are pretty enamored of actual, physical books. And Mack actively encourages us all to indulge. Every quarter, each employee selects a book that we want to read (we try to keep it at least somewhat industry related).

Then, shockingly enough, we read those books.

The only catch is that we have to leave some notes behind so that the next person to read that book can see what we thought and maybe build on those ideas.

The idea is to stay rooted in bigger ideas, as well as expand our knowledge base.

Here’s some of the books we’re reading now:

Good to Great: Jim Collins

Rework: Jason Fried & David Heine

Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics: Brian Clifton

Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen your Design Skills David Sherwin

Pretty cool, right? The overachiever ethic is alive and well in Mack Web Solutions.

Cause and effect (like cats and sneezing)

So, when you are always learning more stuff about your ever changing industry, there is a certain natural and logical outcome.

More change. Alas.

This is even true internally here at Mack Web. The more we get to know about what is going on, the more we have to evolve our own systems and processes to keep up and take full advantage of all the cool stuff that’s happening on the great information super highway.

Mack has built our company around the practice of working smarter and never settling for being anything less than our best. Mediocrity makes us uncomfortable, both professionally and personally. When Google changes its methods or we discover innovations in the world of local search, we act quickly to adapt.

This, of course, means that our services and packages are always adapting and and updating as well.

Occasionally frustrating as it may be, this is also the only way we know to provide stellar service to our clients.

And, like we said, we don’t settle for anything less.

Case in point: the recent expansion of our social media department.

As it became ever more obvious that social media is influencing our clients’ search engine rankings, we realized that part of our job was to properly integrate this piece into their web marketing strategy.

So we got ourselves a social media strategist to take over and revolutionize what had previously been more of an afterthought.

Which, of course, meant that we had to totally alter our internal dynamics and processes, our service packages, our perspective on the industry, and our sugar intake. (Long story. Don’t ask).

But it’s all been worth it, because we are now able to offer better value and service to our clients.

Plus, we like June. She brings cookies and dances at her desk.

Thus endeth the object lesson.

We aced kindergarten

Beyond just attaining and hoarding knowledge like Smaug’s gold, Mack Web believes in sharing. We want to apply our knowledge to the benefit of our clients, yes. But we also want to help others learn. (We’re nice like that).

To that end, every week we study up and try to put out at least one relevant and meaningful blog post.

There’s a couple reasons we do this. Sometimes the act of writing the post itself helps us work out our ideas. Sometimes we like to back up our claims of expertise with a small display of our actual knowledge. (C’mon, be honest now. Who doesn’t show off just a little bit when the opportunity presents itself?). And sometimes, we want to give our audience an awareness into why we do and recommend the stuff we do. That we’re not arbitrarily making suggestions to you because we were bored one day.

But mostly, we want you guys to know this stuff, too. We typically try to post on changes and developments that have some practical application to your lives and businesses. Things you should be aware of, things that may affect you, things that you can do for yourselves.

And because we want to hear what you have to say. Like we said pointed out earlier: knowledge and wisdom can come from the most unexpected places. We want to hear your perspective and benefit from your insight, too.

‘Cuz we like learning stuff. (See how that works out?)

And it all comes back to knowledge. Like a circle or a wheel. Or something else that goes around.

In the end, this is what we see as the biggest bonus to Mack’s upcoming fieldtrip: she’s going to get to learn so much. Participating in a conference like LinkLove gives us the opportunity to get a new perspective, new ideas, and new practices that can benefit our clients.

She gets to hang out with other people who are as excited about this stuff as we are. Absorb their energy like actual real people. We spend so much time working digitally (emailing, texting, tweeting, posting, pinning…other virtual things that end in “ing”) that sometimes we forget what human interaction is like. (Which is no good, since the fundamental belief that people are people is another core value of ours).

But, above all else, we’re excited because Mack (and through her us, and through us you) gets a chance to be on the leading edge of our ever-changing industry. Which is pretty darn awesome.

(Also, the rest of us are having a two-day party at the office. You can come if you bring cookies).

Mack Web Solutions Top 10, uh, 15 List: Food and Drinks in Fort Collins

By | Miscellany | No Comments

So, here’s a true thing: Mack Web Solutions loves Fort Collins. Full-on big, sloppy, puppy adoration.

And what is one of the hands-down best things about this town-that-we-love?

Well, the food, obviously. Rumor has it that Fort Collins has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the Union.

This, obviously, has nothing to do with Web Design, SEO, or Social Media. (Except for the fact that we find deliciousness inspiring for mind and body alike).

All the same, we still felt that our giant crush on Fort Collins’ gustatory delights was worthy of some small celebration.

Which is why we’ve put together this list of our top 10 favorite local food and beverage spots. Except, we couldn’t decide on just ten. So we bumped it up to fifteen.

Just ‘cuz we can.

If you, dear reader, are a local, you might already know this stuff or maybe you’ll find something new to try. If you’re not a local, well…you should come visit. Some of this stuff really is worth the trip.

So, without further ado, we present “Mack Web’s Official Favorites (Insofar as Dining, Snacking, and Imbibing Are Concerned).”

(Long, yes. But so descriptive, no?)

1. Onion Rings at The Crown Pub. Just the best onion rings. Certainly around here and possibly in the whole world. They practically melt in your mouth to begin with and they come with this dipping sauce and…yum. Plus, the Crown is one of the few bars where you can Strongbow. Tart cider and sweet, rich onion rings: heaven.

2. Avo’s (more formally known as Avogadro’s Number) great tempeh burgers (2 for 1 on Tempeh Tuesday!) and strawberry milkshakes. They have other shakes, too, but, according to Courtney, strawberry is the only true milkshake.

3. The gluten-free burger buns at Al’s Burgers. These are a dream come true for Natalie, who is partial to (by which we mean “is required to eat”) all things gluten-free. It says a lot when she calls a restaurant “dreamy”. (Presumably, she means that the remainder of the burger is good, too. The rest of us here certainly think so).

4. Drinking margaritas at the Rio (on the back patio). This is a great activity for Friday summer evenings. We think everyone in town would agree. It certainly seems like we see them all there.

5. Ice Cream stops at Walrus. These are an office favorite for sunny afternoons. They have some great original flavors and are just enormously satisfying. Some of us don’t even need it to be sunny as an excuse to visit.

6. Bann Thai’s Drunken Noodle dish (ordered super hot). This is Natalie’s feel-better-quick remedy for colds. Something spicy and delicious always makes her feel better.

7. The Cobb salad for lunch at Austin’s. It is the best Cobb salad in town…and yes, Mack has tried them all. Plus it comes with that cornbread…

8. Coffee (and homemade treats) from Cafe Ardour and Starry Night. We can’t decide between them. And, really, why choose when you can just alternate?

9. The breakfast burritos from La Luz. We love them. We eat them with glee. And great frequency. This has as much to do with how good they are as it does with the fact that our office is right above them.

10.  The Helvis (a bloody mary martini) from Elliot’s. It’s delicious and satisfying, but it doesn’t make you feel full. It has just the right amount of spice, and June recommends pairing it with bleu cheese-stuffed olives.

11. Bottomless Mimosas for brunch at Cafe Vino. It’s only $10 bucks for the Signature and, so far, is the best deal June can find in town. The ambience is relaxing and the outdoor seating area is just lovely in the summer. And what says lazy, luxurious summer mornings like champagne and sunshine?

12. Eileen’s colossal cookies. In our collective wisdom and through careful experimentation, we have come to the conclusion that they make fantastic bribes for your kids. June’s son loves the sprinkled and frosted sugar cookie. And, to be perfectly honest, so does June.

13. Vodka Martini straight up with 2 olives, from Jay’s Bistro. Don’t you be putting no olive juice in Mack’s martini.

14. The Chicken Tortilla Soup from Zquila’s. It is super scrumptious. Just the right amount of fresh avocado and spice.

15. The Chocolate cafe. Really, anything on the menu, but if we have to choose? The Chocolate Noire with Raspberry Sherbet and a split of champagne. Dare we say it? Downright delectable.

So, what would be on on your top 10 list for your town? Will you too, find it too hard to choose just ten.

Mack Web featured in City of Fort Collins Economic Newsletter

By | Miscellany, Web Marketing | No Comments

We’re kind of excited (giddy, really) that the City of Fort Collins has recognized our company, Mack Web Solutions, in its recent Economic Newsletter.

‘Why did they do that?’ we hear you ask. (Yes, we do hear you. We hear lots of things).

Apart from our sheer awesomeness, it’s pretty exciting that in a time when unemployment in Colorado is 7.9%, Mack Web Solutions finds itself in a period of growth.

We attribute this growth to the value of all that we have to offer.  In addition to some pretty fantastic web design work, Mack Web offers a robust search engine marketing package which allows our clients to raise their search engine traffic and web visibility in a time when an online presence is quickly becoming a business necessity. We’re on our way to becoming the most knowledgeable search engine marketing company in Northern Colorado (and when we get there, it’s all about world domination).

Thank you City of Fort Collins for recognizing our company and for writing such a thorough article. We love living and working in this town! Seriously, Fort Collins is the best town ever.

Except, maybe, Atlantis. Utopian society, island living. Hard to beat that.

 

 

Please join Mack Web in welcoming our new Social Media Strategist

By | Miscellany, Social Media | No Comments

All of us here at Mack Web Solutions would like to welcome our new Social Media Strategist into this world of search engine marketing and web design. June Macon is the newest edition to our roster of innovative employees.

Ms. Macon is experienced in public relations, marketing and social media and enhances the creativity, reliability and professionalism Mack Web Solutions currently provides for clients. Macon, with her expertise in social media and ability to identify the wants and needs of a company’s audience, will focus on social strategy and social engagement.

Prior to joining Mack Web Solutions, Macon held the position of Director of Public Relations, Professional Relationships and Events at a local company with a focus in education. She also consulted with companies in the education, health and real estate fields, providing web writing, social media management, social media strategies, social media campaigns and services in public relations. Macon holds a Master of Arts in Adult Education and Training and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations.

“In today’s web-driven world, it is imperative for businesses to establish an online presence,” says owner Mackenzie Fogelson. “We’ve found an approach and process that really works, giving our clients the web exposure they want and need. Bringing June onto the team expands our expertise and opens new avenues to generating great results for our clients.”

If your company would like a free consultation to learn how Mack Web Solutions can improve your search engine marketing and increase engagement in your current social media efforts or you are interested in learning more about what Mack Web Solutions can do for your company, contact info@mackwebsolutions.com.

About Mack Web Solutions:

Mack Web Solutions specializes in custom website design and development, search engine marketing, email marketing, social media, public relations and navigation development. For more information or to look at Mack Web’s portfolio please visit www.mackwebsolutions.com.

Tday Eating Advice from the Mack Web Team

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We here at Mack Web Solutions LOVE eating. We even have designated snack time everyday. So it should come as no surprise that we are wicked excited about the upcoming Eat-and-Eat-Some-More-and-Be-Thankful-for-Stuff-and-then-Eat-More-Day (We believe most people refer to it as Thanksgiving).

Here is some expert advice on getting the most out of this delightfully gustatory holiday (and by experts…we mean US):

Start early.

You warm up before you exercise right? The same holds true for Tday eating! Snack lightly (and holiday appropriately—olives stuck on your fingers, just like you are five again. We love this holiday!) throughout the day.

Eat slowly.

Take a tip from nature’s feasters: Wolfing down your food like a starving, uh, wolf is the surest way to feel as sick as a, uh, dog before you get a chance to thoroughly enjoy your repast. Take a lesson from the turtle and the hare: Slow and steady wins the yadda yadda yadda.

Indulge.

This day only comes around once a year. (With leftovers for the next week or so, but, potato potahto. (mmmm….potatoes…). You’re allowed to enjoy it. Even you crazy dieters can reward yourselves. How bad could it really be to consume 2,000 calories at one meal?

Be selective in what you eat.

Tday food selection strategy is NOT to be taken lightly. The table is going to be groaning under the weight of a lot of different dishes. Stomach space is limited and life is too short for Hippie Cousin Moonbeam’s really delightful tofurkey. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a vegetarian…but Cousin Moonbeam should stay OUT of the kitchen).

As things are winding down, start a meaningful conversation on what people are genuinely thankful for.

While everyone else is talking, you can sneak the last of your favorite dishes onto your plate without much competition.

That’s what we got. But we’re open to suggestions. Got any?

Oh, and….HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM MACK WEB!!!

 

I know, finally!

By | Miscellany | One Comment

Yes, it’s true, Mack Web Solutions now has a blog. It only took us 8 years.

Even though I’ve been writing and posting articles on our website for years, I never felt the need for a blog. I didn’t want to make the commitment to weekly posts. But, as the web has evolved, so have we (as a company), and now I have decided that the time has come.

The most important goal we have for our customers is to keep them informed; provide our clients with the knowledge necessary to make the best decisions. And that is the reason that I finally bit the bullet.

Although this blog will feature information about anything web, the Mack Web blog will primarily focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge. In today’s market, SEO has become all consuming to a lot of people, including our clients, and it is important to me that we are a reliable source of knowledge on the subject.

I look forward to providing useful and valuable information. I hope you choose to participate and enjoy.

P.S. If you are on Linked In, you can join our “Search Engine Rankings” User Group.

Mack