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About Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the CEO and founder of DK New Media. He's been recognized internationally as a marketing and technology expert. He's the author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies and the founder of the MarTech Zone. Douglas is also a proud Navy Veteran and runs Veterans Media, a 501c3.

MarTech Interviews Podcast Recognized at Salesforce Connections

Our longest running podcast with the most subscribers is, by far, MarTech Interviews. Our most popular episodes are now reaching over 10,000 downloads/listenseach year – a goal I’ve been pursuing for a decade. The episodes aren’t regular because I wait and hand-pick the guests as opportunities arise. I feel as though forcing a weekly episode might lower the quality of the guests and conversation… so sometimes there are gaps of a few weeks between episodes.

Despite its popularity online, it doesn’t get a lot of industry recognition. So when a local colleague, Benji Craig, attended Salesforce Connections and sent me this pic, I had to post it. Salesforce is an incredible company… I have nothing but fond memories of my time at ExactTarget and I’ve helped dozens of Salesforce clients as well as startups in the ExactTarget ecosystem. Let’s face it, I wouldn’t have the career I have without having Salesforce in my history.

That’s one heck of a list to be in the company of – be sure to subscribe:

Thanks Salesforce for the recognition! And give me a call – I’d love to have your team on from time to time.

Bolstra: Custom Site for an Enterprise Reboot

What are you missing out on when you just buy a website? There are quite a few of them:

  • Will your website be easy to manage once you’ve made the purchase?
  • Will everything that worked previously for users on your old site work with your new site?
  • Will the new site be faster, rank better, and achieve better conversions after your launch it?

Well, if you buy a website, these questions are not only not asked, the answer is unfortunately no. We’ve worked on hundreds of sites for our clients. Most of them come to use not only because the site doesn’t perform well, but they can’t actually change anything. Settings are hard-coded in the theme, old URL structures are broken, functionality isn’t ported. The result is frustrated users and a site that may look great but can’t be updated nor capture new business as it should.

Our clients sign up with us for annual engagements where we’re still around to ensure that the site both performs and that they can manage it. We don’t want to be your agency of record, we want to make a living, breathing site that you can work on yourself. We spread the payments out for new sites over months – helping with your budget and ensuring that we’re held accountable.

Here’s what we do when we develop sites for clients:

  1. We build a child theme from the best WordPress themes available. A child theme enables customization while ensuring you have a fully robust, supported parent theme with all the bells and whistles.
  2. We ensure everything that worked before, still works. Sometimes, this is by migrating code over to the child theme, other times its building custom plugins for the client. Either way, we ensure that moving code never has to happen again.
  3. We test the site for speed, mobile responsiveness, cross-browser, search engine optimization, and conversions. A site is no good unless it’s optimized for every user that makes it there.
  4. The site launch date is the start line. The day we pause our relationship with the client because they’re performing well is the end line.

Bolstra is one of those clients that we love to work with. They’re in technology, a software as a service vendor, and are rapidly moving upstream to larger enterprise clients. We developed a custom look and feel for them that both matched their brand and built a beautiful user experience for visitors. By building it on a framework, our clients can drag and drop panels on any page, use dozens of elements like image carousels, tabs, modal windows, etc. out of the box. No code necessary.

Take a look around their site and you’ll see what I mean. We even build the shortcode functionality that does the replacement word animation on the home page – we shared it here if you’re interested. We also build a fully scored assessment with branch logic using Gravity Forms and fully integrated with Pardot.

Now that the site is launched, we’re working on content and search engine optimization to drive the relevant visitors that this client is looking for.

Restoring Search Engine Authority

An area of expertise and focus since I opened my business has been search engine optimization. Out of all of the channels, I do not believe any marketing medium has the intent to purchase than that of a business or consumer who is researching their next purchase via search engines.

Even with a poorly constructed site that’s been around for a decade, a company can get relevant traffic and a steady stream of prospects. Of course, an optimized site can even squeeze out more at a fraction of the cost of typical advertising.

That said, I’m disappointed in the number of companies that ignore the health of their website and put that authority at risk. Too many businesses decide to refresh their sites, but ignore the impact that it might have on their organic search visibility. To make things worse, ensuring you keep search engine authority isn’t a line item when working with agencies. In fact, most web design agencies are so focused on aesthetics that they totally ignore the damage they might do to the site’s health.

Below is a chart of a client who came to use who had lost over half of their organic traffic after a dramatic redesign to their site last summer. The work has been pretty grueling but we’re not on track to not only capture the traffic and visibility they used to have, we’ll have it beat within another few months.

SEO Restoration

Some key issues:

  • A number of highly-visible pages were removed from the site with no redirects to new pages.
  • A ton of image resources were no longer available and driving up errors on the site.
  • The site was updated with a secure certificate, but no one went back and corrected mixed-content errors.
  • The mobile version of the site had speed issues that needed to be optimized.

The great thing about search engine authority is that it’s not too late to get your site back in great shape and restore the authority it once had. If you’re having problems with your search visibility dropping, give me a call and we may be able to assist.

DK New Media is A Proud Supporter of Computer Science for Indiana

Having our offices at the Speak Easy in downtown Indianapolis was the best decision I’d ever made with my company. Being adjacent to so many leaders in our city that are driving our technology industry has been nothing short of amazing. One company, Nextech, is literally changing the landscape of the state technologically. Their programs are educating teachers on programming and technology so they can bring that to the classroom.

In Indiana’s State of the State Address, Governor Holcomb reinforced his legislative support for K12 Computer Science, specifically stating that Indiana will:

Enact legislation to require every Indiana K-12 school to offer computer science courses—and pay for the teacher professional development.

According to Nextech:

Not only does computer science provide every student foundational knowledge, it also leads to the highest-paying, fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. economy. Here in the Hoosier State alone, there are currently over 4,500 open computing jobs, in every sector, from manufacturing to banking, from agriculture to healthcare, and those jobs average $74,459 in salaries, much higher than the statewide average of $42,940.

CS for INWe’re huge supporters of this initiative and proud to have our company listed along with so many respected technology organizations in Indiana – including Angie’s List, Amazon, AT&T, Carbonite, Clear Object, Clear Scholar, C|Spring, Cummins, DemandJump, Doxly, Emarsys, EmployIndy, Glassboard, High Alpha, iLab, Indiana University, Indiana Chamber, Infosys, Kronos, Lessonly, Lilly, Microsoft, Mobi, Octiv, Nextech, PactSafe, Purdue University, Rook Security, Salesforce, Smart, Studio Science, and Zylo. We’re all supporters of the governor’s vision.

Computer Science for Indiana is an initiative to empower all Hoosier students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science and be equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to thrive in a digital powered economy and for our nation to remain competitive. be creators in the digital economy, not just consumers, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world.

We urge all organizations to publicly show they support a vision to accelerate the local efforts in classrooms, unlock opportunity throughout Indiana, and give an answer to all the parents and teachers who believe that every student, in every school, should have a chance to learn computer science.

[ef-button class=”btn btn-lg btn-primary” href=”https://www.csforin.org/” title=”Voice Your Support” target=”_blank”]Voice Your Support[/ef-button]

Douglas Karr’s Interview: The Startup Community’s Dirty Underwear

Douglas was recently interviewed by fellow Indianapolis Entrepreneur Chris Hoyt on his podcast, Post-Modern Living with Chris “The Brain”. We discussed the things no one tells young professionals about the startup world. We talk about why no one tells stories about failure, the real definition of success (hint: it’s not money), and the things that still don’t work even though it’s 2018.

Be sure to tune in as it’s a no-holds barred conversation on the good, the bad, and the ugly of entrepreneurship and startups.

Listen to the full episode here:

Be sure to check out the full show notes and any referenced links over at Chris’ site.

Oh, and how cool is it to be on a podcast that’s co-hosted by my daughter, Kait Karr!

I’ve Put Some Domains Up For Sale!

It never fails. I sit down with friends and come up with a new business idea, then don’t have the time nor resources to implement them. For 2018, I’ve decided to hyperfocus on the work that’s providing the greatest results – which means I need to step away from other hobbies and things that take my eyes off the prize.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to put my domains up for sale that I’m not implementing solutions for. One of the sites is Payraise Calculator – which happens to have a nicely scripted calculator already built. But the majority of these domains were never used… just reserved for future projects.

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If you’re interested in purchasing any, let me know through the contact form. Some of them have outstanding search engine authority and others are truly great domains.

DK New Media Helps Launch Tech Warriors for the Indianapolis Veteran and Technology Communities

DK New Media is proud to be assisting in the Speak Easy’s Tech Warriors initiative, along with the launch of Veteran Cast, a podcast dedicated to helping the Veteran Community.

The Speak Easy, in collaboration with Veterans Services of Indianapolis and the Indiana Veteran Services Committee is launching a new veteran’s initiative for Hoosier servicemen and women interested in joining the local tech sector. Tech Warriors seeks to connect local veterans with opportunities in local tech companies and educate tech leaders on the advantages of hiring veterans.

“Veterans come to the tech workforce with a unique set of skills that distinguish them from other applicants,” said former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. “Many have worked in highly technical roles, under tremendous pressure. Veterans from each service branch undergo rigorous training and must demonstrate incredible attention to detail. In my work with Indiana veterans, I have seen first-hand the value that veterans bring to the business community.”

As part of its Tech Warriors initiative, The Speak Easy is offering Indiana residents with a veteran’s ID or driver’s license a significant discount on membership with the co-working community. While members normally pay $75 per month, full membership for Tech Warriors will be only $25 per month when they present an active military or veteran indicator on their valid Indiana Driver’s License or Identification Card.

Veterans will also find new programs at The Speak Easy over the next year, as the organization will collaborate with member Douglas Karr of DK New Media on networking, mentorship, and job training opportunities for local veterans. Veterans will also find new programs at The Speak Easy over the next year, as the organization will collaborate with member and Navy Veteran Douglas Karr of DK New Media on networking, mentorship, and job training opportunities for local veterans.

“As the Central Indiana tech sector continues to grow, companies are seeking hundreds of qualified new employees,” said Speak Easy Executive Director Danielle McDowell. “As an engine of economic development in Indianapolis, we will connect local veterans with exciting new opportunities, and offer our Tech Warriors a chance to work with local leaders in tech innovation.”

The Speak Easy will host local veterans at its downtown Indianapolis location for a panel discussion on entering the burgeoning local tech sector or how to grow their own businesses. This panel will feature Marine Corp Veteran John Qualls of Eleven Fifty, Army Veteran Tom Gorup of Rook Security to speak on how military training can help pursue technology careers and panelists to outline specifically how to begin training for these roles. Mayor Ballard and Matt Hall of Veterans Services for Indianapolis will also participate in the forum. Individuals interested in participating in the Tech Warriors program on December 5, 2017:

[ef-button class=”btn btn-lg btn-primary” href=”https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tech-warriors-speak-easy-for-veterans-tickets-40113629947?aff=es2″ title=”Free Registration” target=”_blank”]Free Registration[/ef-button]

A Custom WooCommerce Implementation for the Speak Easy

Sometimes we get handed quite a complex implementation, and the Speak Easy’s site has been one of them. The site was built off of a custom WordPress theme from a custom framework that’s not externally supported. Because of this, we’ve really had to do quite a bit of work to improve the performance of the site, make it accessible to the administrators for editing and upkeep, as well as add new features.

WordPress isn’t a development framework, but it is a structured site with a ton of features and a robust API. If you’re a good WordPress developer, you can produce a fantastic site that’s fast, easy to use, and does the job. More often than not, we find that companies are frustrated with WordPress… not because of WordPress… but because the customized theme and plugins they’re using are terrible. WordPress is only as good as your theme and the plugins you use to extend that theme.

The Speak Easy has some rigid branding requirements and wants to keep the theme they’ve invested so much in. So we’re slowly deconstructing the site and broadening its use of WordPress’ robust API. One feature the Speak Easy wanted was the ability to sell products through the site. Because the theme wasn’t WooCommerce compliant, we had to develop this integration. While not every issue has been resolved, the site is now fully functioning for E-Commerce utilizing WooCommerce, The Speak Easy Shop is live!

  • We customized the menus with a shopping cart.
  • We built out custom WooCommerce shop, cart, product, category, and account pages.
  • We customized e-commerce confirmation emails.
  • We integrated Stripe along with Apple Pay.
  • We added additional e-commerce snippets for better organic search optimization.

The result is a beautiful shop that works seamlessly with the rest of the site. Shoppers have their own account pages with purchase history, and the staff are notified of any orders instantly. We even customized shipping since all products are delivered via the Speak Easy’s locations.

 

Thanksgiving 2017: A Year of Graduations

I’m not sure someone could have had a bigger roller coaster ride than I’ve been on this year! I’ve been truly blessed and want to extend my gratitude to so many people who have supported me. I’m sure I’ll forget someone – but I’ll try to remember them all.

One person had more of an impact than she would ever realize – my Mom. Without her support, I’m not sure where I or my kids would be. I only wish my business didn’t steal so much time from seeing her the last few years.

Let’s announce graduations first:

  • Bill and Katie – My son got his Ph.D. in Math from the University of Illinois, and Katie graduated with her BA in Events and PR… on the same weekend. I’ve been on a cloud ever since… nothing could take me down. My parents and grandparents helped make their schooling possible. As a single father, I didn’t have the resources, and I’m forever thankful to everyone involved from the teachers, friends, and family. Watching my son and daughter working alongside the businesses and entrepreneurs I respect has been awesome. And my daughter-in-law is just an amazing human being and incredible wife. I couldn’t be any more proud of my family.
  • Jenn – Jenn celebrated a few graduations of her own, from moving from my right-hand to getting married and owning her own agency. I always wanted to show my appreciation for Jenn’s dedication these past years. That didn’t happen the way I had pictured it, but the outcome was even better. We had some incredible years and some tough ones. Seeing Jenn blossom as a strong leader, an incredible friend, and now a wife, home-owner, and business-owner has been nothing short of amazing. I was never surprised. I’m so very happy for her and Ryan!
  • AJ – AJ went from a graduate I was introduced to by his Uncle and my friend, Sean, to ramping up his own business. He’s doing excellent video work for everyone in town and is now planning his studio on the Southside.
  • Harrison – Amplify was just some scribbles on the chalkboard, so watching Harrison pursue his vision of what networking should be in Indy is fantastic.
  • Ashley – A single Mom who was interning for me and bartending to make ends meet is now crushing it for the Speak Easy. I used to tell Ashley to relax and stand tall… no one has to say that to her anymore. Everyone loves Ashley!

There are so many folks that I need to thank for helping my business skyrocket this year, too! Harry, Mike & Wendy, Adam & Kim, Danielle, William, Diane, Ioana, Ryan, Stephanie, Lidia, Filip, Andrea, Marty, Randy, Jennifer, Thaddeus, Jason & Chris, Tim, Josh, Matt, Nathan, Ryan, Travis, Nick… all of you had such an impact. And of course, my clients – Korena, Emeric, Mark & Konnie, Alex & Rich, Aman & Amber, Bill & Kelly, Howard & Christine, Brad & Marty.

The reset that I did with the business is working out incredibly well. I let some clients move on this year where there wasn’t a fit, and brought on new clients that are amazing. I’ve upgraded the studio with live video along with 8 new podcast programs (some mine), and I’m helping launch Veterans initiatives with the Speak Easy, city, and state. I’m growing my speaking and training revenue and investing in some solutions I’ve built and partnered on. While I never feel caught up, I’m seeing some amazing leaps and bounds and can’t wait for 2018!

Thank You!

Elevated Marketing Solutions Logo Design

While I wouldn’t classify myself as a brand marketer, I do know how important a visual representation of your brand is. From the recognition it achieves to what it says about your company, it’s an absolute necessity. We work with partners and startups that are often unhappy with their branding but can’t afford to implement a full rebranding strategy. So, we’ve provided affordable brand refreshes over the years for those clients.

In this case, the partner was Elevated Marketing Solutions, a company that provides hands-on training for Google Analytics and Google Adwords, as well as management of Google Adwords accounts for some of our clients. Jennifer will be the first person to let you know that her specialty is not design and graphics – it’s data analysis, dashboard development, Google adwords optimization, and site optimization.

We were more than happy to help Jennifer out with a brand refresh and a great new logo that is a fantastic representation of our services.

Elevated Marketing Solutions-Brand-Kit

Our designers listened carefully to her needs as well as developing a complimentary color palette which she appreciated. Great results and a very happy partner!

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