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EXPERT SERIES – Understanding Copyright and the Imagery on your Website

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Written by Rachel List, Photographer & Designer

“Can I use this picture on my website?”

We get this question all the time from our clients, and the answer depends on the image copyright. Websites today are very visually driven and including compelling photos can help your business gain customers.  Making sure that you aren’t infringing on copyright with the photos you use on your site is incredibly important to avoid costly bills and potential lawsuits. Here are some quick tips on determining which photos you can use on your website without committing copyright infringement.

 

“I took this photo myself, can I use it on my website?”

YES

Copyright for a photo or other creative work is held by the creator of that image or work. If you took the photo, you are the creator and you can use those photos in any way you like.

 

“A friend took this photo; can I use it on my website?”objective

MAYBE

Did your friend give you permission to use the photo? If they did, then yes you can use the photo on your website. If you want to be completely sure you’re covered ask your friend to give you permission to use the photo in writing.

 

“I found a photo I like online; can I use it on my website?”

NO*

In almost all cases, you can’t just find a photo online and use it on your website because you don’t hold the copyright to that image. This is true for almost all online sources from google to Facebook, and everything in between. Just because someone shares a photo online does not mean that it can be used by anyone. The original creator of the image still retains the copyright and can enforce that copyright, which can result in civil or criminal penalties. There are only three exceptions to images found online being off limits for general use.

  1. You purchased the image from a stock photography agency online, which specifically sells photos with limited copyright permissions allowing you to use the photo on your website.
  2. You track down the original creator of the photo that you found online and get written permission to use the photo on your website.
  3. The image is in the public domain. (There are a lot of rules regarding images in the public domain, which we will address in another article)

 

“I purchased a photo from a stock agency, can I use it on my website?”

YES

Stock photography agency’s like iStockPhoto or Fotolia are great places to find imagery for your website and you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement because you are purchasing the right to display the image on your website. Each agency has a slightly different policy about usage rights so if you have questions about how you are using an image you can refer to their usage rights policies to make sure you’re in the clear.

 

“I don’t know where this photo is from, can I use it on my website?”

NO

If you’re unsure where you found a photo and you use it on your website, you could be infringing on copyright and opening yourself up to legal action. It’s better to not use a photo if you’re unsure of where it came from.

 

In conclusion, when selecting images for your website it is important to know where they came from and make sure you have permission to use the image in order to avoid leaving yourself open to civil or criminal penalties.

EXPERT SERIES – Think Big, Build Small

 

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Written by Jeremy Jorgenson, CEO

As one of the senior developers at Robintek, one of the things I’m regularly tasked with is to help develop technical project plans and quotes for projects. Most projects start with our marketing team meeting with the project stakeholders, listening to their needs, and then putting together a quote. The quote has to take into account the project complexity, timeline, budget, staff availability, and all sorts of other complicating factors. All of these things are really important, but by far my favorite part of working on project plans is trying to find opportunities to think beyond the problem at hand.

Too often, we as developers want to exist in a binary world. Problem A will be solved by implementing Solution B. The real worldabstract_building almost never works that way. Problem A probably has dozens of possible solutions, each with its own advantages and pitfalls. To narrow the field a bit, we like to present our clients with what we feel are the “good”, “better”, and “best” options. Often we’re able to meet the minimum project requirements with the “good” option, but the “better” and “best” options are more robust solutions.

What I find most helpful about approaching projects this way is that it forces us to look past the needs of the moment.  By looking at and discussing the “better” and “best” solutions, we’re able to anticipate what needs may come up down the road. I often think of this in terms of a home constructions analogy. If you’re building a single story ranch house, but in the future you’re going to add an Olympic sized indoor swimming pool, you’ll probably pour the foundation a little differently.

Often, our clients opt to go with the “good” solution, and that’s fine. Not everyone needs an Olympic sized indoor swimming pool… but if we can lay the foundation for the pool without any additional time or expense, most people start making plans to do some laps.

WordPress Security Update – August 22, 2016

Internet Web Security

To Our Valued Clients,
The following is an important announcement for any of our hosting customers using the WordPress platform for their website or blog: 


WordPress 4.6 is now available. This is a core upgrade for all previous versions and we will begin updating your sites immediately.

During the update process, your site will be placed into “Maintenance Mode” until the new software installation is complete. It is also possible that the core WordPress software upgrade could affect other functionality on your website.

If after this update you notice any changes in aspects of your website or if you have any questions concerning this most recent security release, please email us at info@robintek.com or call 614-888-3001.

Thank you,
The Robintek Security Team

 

EXPERT SERIES – Why is consistent branding important to your business?

 

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Written by Eric Meinen, VP & Chief Creative Officer

Your brand is how you represent yourself to the world. Branding is not just your logo or your company colors (although important), branding encompasses so much more. From your website to your business cards to your overall message, consistent branding across all platforms helps establish your company’s identity.

A potential customer should be able to pick up one of your flyers, go to your website or look you up on social media and not feel like they’re viewing 3 different companies. The more consistent you are across every medium (web, print, video, etc.) the more recognizable you become. Recognition leads to familiarity which leads to trust.

When working with a client to develop their brand, we take into consideration many aspects of their business. Just a few questions we ask are:graphic_design_marketing_branding What is your current image? What makes you unique? Who is your target audience? Who are your competitors? Who you are and what you do should drive how you want you to be perceived. And although each business is unique with a different message, once your brand is in place, consistency of brand is something every company should have. Once your brand is established though, maintaining it might just prove to be more difficult.

Building a branding guide is a great first step towards maintaining your brand. A branding guide sets the usage rules for everything from logos to fonts to photos. Once your branding guide is in place, every member on your team will have a resource and reference to turn to when marketing your business across multiple platforms.

Your brand is the foundation of your marketing. It’s how you’re perceived by your clients. Without a strong consistent brand, your message is muddled, your image is blurred and your goals are unfocused. Contact Robintek now to see how we can help bring your brand into focus.

PRESS RELEASE: BalletMet Partners with Robintek to Improve Digital Presence

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Starting with the launch of a new website at BalletMet.org, Robintek has partnered with BalletMet to improve the organization’s digital presence.

“The website was just the first step. We plan to review BalletMet’s process for online class registration to better serve academy students, as well as explore ways the organization can better engage donors, subscribers, and event attendees. An integrated system managed by a firm with the technical expertise to keep it running and the marketing experience to make it effective will help BalletMet get more out of each online interaction with patrons.” – Joe Jorgenson, President, Robintek

The BalletMet Marketing team had this to say of their experience redesigning their website and launching it anew.

Thanks to Robintek, our website is now better equipped to tell the story of BalletMet. With an emphasis on stunning visuals and a new simple, modern design, we can engage current and potential patrons and more clearly communicate our message of artistry, education and community. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Robintek as they help us to improve our digital footprint. – Lynette Shy, Director of Marketing, BalletMet

 

About Robin Technologies, Inc.:  Robin Technologies is a family owned web development, multimedia, and technology company with offices located in Worthington, Ohio.  In business since 1998, Robintek is the primary web developer for over 600 companies and has done work for many more. The web is a powerful avenue that can change the way you do business and Robintek was founded to do just that. We can offer much more than a basic web design.  Clients select our company not only because of the excellent service and personal care, but also for our unique ability to blend custom web design with dynamic web programming that will help engage audiences and simplify business processes to make them more efficient. http://www.robintek.com

 

About BalletMet: Renowned for its versatility and innovative repertory, BalletMet ranks among the nation’s 20 largest professional ballet companies. Since its inception in 1978, BalletMet has made the commission and performance of new works a core organizational priority, with more than 150 World Premieres and hundreds of Company Premieres performed throughout its history. BalletMet stages 60 to 70 performances annually at home and on tour.

BalletMet’s Academy has also been recognized as an institution of local and national stature. It offers hundreds of classes to roughly 1,700 students of all ages each year. Students in our Intensive, Boys and Trainee Programs gain invaluable training and experience, including the opportunity to dance on stage alongside the company’s professional dancers.

Committed to engaging the community, BalletMet developed a series of educational and outreach programs, including the Wiggle Jig, Moving Into Literacy and urban dance and wellness classes, that reach more than 30,000 people annually, many from minority and underserved groups.

For more information, visit www.BalletMet.org

New Website Design and Launch – BalletMet

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Check out our newest website design and launch, BalletMet!  This site was built using the WordPress platform, complete with custom design elements.

Since 1978, BalletMet has brought incredible dance to theatres, studios and classrooms in Central Ohio and beyond. Located in the heart of downtown Columbus, BalletMet boasts a black box theatre performance space, seven dance studios, administrative offices and costume and scene shops.

New Website Design and Launch – The Guard Room

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Check out our newest website design and launch, The Guard Room!  This site was built using our Robintek CMS, complete with custom eCommerce, product management, and shopping cart features.

The Guard Room was created in 2005 by Jodi and Tim Fairbanks as a resource for all pageantry groups to Make Money and Save Money. Organizations with great used merchandise that they’re not going to use anymore can Make Money by consigning these items. Other programs can then Save Money by buying these items at a fraction of what they would cost brand new.

EXPERT SERIES – Benefits of Pairing Organic SEO Efforts with a Site Redesign

 

main_image_developmentWritten by Joe Jorgenson, President

Over the past several years, Google has shifted its focus to the ongoing activity and engagement level of businesses, and their websites, to help determine rankings. The efforts a business takes to improve its position without engaging in paid advertising, or Pay-Per-Click campaigns, is referred to as Organic Search Engine Optimization. The most common efforts include:

  • Launching a Blog and implementing an aggressive approach to producing new blog content.
  • Producing case studies, white papers or in depth analysis of services offered by the company.
  • Adding multiple well designed, single focus, landing pages with clear calls to action.
  • Keywords and Meta tags count for less than they once did, but they still matter.
  • Tracking your visitors beyond the monthly hit count. Where did they come from? What did they search for when they came to us? What page did they leave from? Was there a conversion?
  • A link building strategy can take time to implement, but is effective.
  • Social Media is a necessary evil in today’s competitive business environment.
  • Mobile responsive web designs or retrofits make the site better for mobile users and will be rewarded in searches performed on mobile devices, which is more than 50% on Google.

Most of the effective Organic SEO work has to do with ongoing activity. Putting programs in place that require content contributions for all levels of your organization spreads the work around and allow for a better engagement across disciplines. Sharing the results of keyword research will help inform those contributors as to the company’s digital marketing objectives, the competitive landscape and will help to improve the content’s effectiveness. Too often a variation of a phrase will get searched for many multiples more frequently than another. Knowing this from the beginning will help those authors use the most effective phrasing.

The same content can be summarized, linked to and referenced on social media to provide quality content consistently. Social media allows for a more relaxed tone. Quality engagement can come from all types of posts, including the simple ‘Friday Funny’, sharing a local sports team’s post or wishing everyone a safe holiday weekend can get as many likes or shares as a well prepared article.

If Organic SEO is tied to the level of engagement and activity, why is a website redesign a recommended addition to most plans? Why do clothing stores spend so much time staging their products? The consumers have already driven to the store, parked and walked in. Why spend so much time and money month after month to make the store look beautiful? The answer is to increase the level of engagement with the consumer, to increase the conversion rate and to sell each person more each time we interact with them.

Some of the specific benefits of a redesign are:

  • Consumers feel high quality, modern websites reflect that the company is more trustworthy, more stable and that the interaction on the website will be more secure.
  • A redesign can afford the opportunity to place contact forms on every page, without looking forced.
  • Anchors to blog content can be placed on relative pages allowing for an automated way to update content throughout the site. The homepage shows the three most recent blog articles. A particular service page could show the three most recent blog posts pertaining to that service. Post one blog and update 5 pages by hitting save.
  • The cost of retrofitting a site to be mobile responsive or to include common conversion tools can often cost as much as rebuilding the site from scratch.
  • If updating content on your site frequently is something Google rewards, a redesign will see every page on your website updated at once.

high street tattooThere’s no silver bullet. There’s no one answer and the person who emailed promising to get you to number one on Google is either lying or is selling Pay-Per-Click. The most effective solution is to have the best website and to publish the best content, period.

Start with a plan for how to manage the ongoing content generation, social media interaction and research into how your current site has served. From there, look at competitor’s websites and similar businesses from other markets to see how they’ve structured their site. Look at other websites for businesses who serve the same people you’re trying to reach. Take the best pieces from each, come up with a design that reflects well on your brand, then build a new website!

But remember, the best race car in the world won’t win anything unless you put gas in the tank and drive it.

Robintek’s Mission Statement

1748h0042Robintek is proud to unveil our new mission statement:

“Our mission is to improve your brand image, online presence and information management through the most effective and appropriate uses of technology.”

A big thank you to all of our clients who have made nearly 20 years of service possible!

New Website Design and Launch – High Street Tattoo

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Check out our newest website design and launch, High Street Tattoo!  This website was built using the WordPress platform.

High Street Tattoo has been proudly serving the artistic needs of the great city of Columbus for over a decade. They strive to not rest on the merits of their laurels, but to consistently and continuously evolve as artists while remaining true to tattoo history and to the tattoo masters of old.

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