Responsive Web, Inverted Pyramids and Door County, Wisconsin

Cave Point, Door County, Wisconsin

If there’s anything that reinforces the need for good web design, it’s a 4-day weekend in the boondocks. Think about it: If you’ve got the who, what, where, when and why right in front of you, you’re pretty much good to go no matter where you happen to be.

Like Door County, Wisconsin. In February.

Door County is an almost 500-square-mile jut of land between the Green Bay and Lake Michigan. My husband and I were there last weekend for our anniversary. We love going at this time of year because it’s the quiet season. We can snowshoe in the many parks, find miles and miles of diverse shoreline and visit cozy, lakeside villages, all free of the crowds that make them a hot spot in summer.

That’s Cave Point in the picture. Isn’t it stunning? Often, the crashing Lake Michigan waves cover the rocks with sprays of water. This day everything—I mean, everything— was so very still. With temperatures well below zero, the water was a frigid wonder of clarity.

But Door County Wi-Fi? Understandably, not so clear.

Even though Door County is  more commercially developed than it was decades ago (sadly so, in my opinion), it’s still rather remote, especially when it comes to the internet. As we randomly zig-zagged the peninsula on country backroads, I perused my iPhone in search of the next cool place to stop. One minute there was reception, the next there wasn’t. Knowing it could give out at any time, I really appreciated a well-designed website.

I appreciated responsive websites even more.

Nowadays, a responsive website is a necessity for good business. Responsive web design is like the inverted pyramid of the old journalism days; it puts the most important information up front for optimal viewing no matter what device is being used.

Here are three sites I found helpful while in Door County. Two are simply well-designed and put the necessary information where it needs to be. The third is a fully responsive site that properly rearranges itself according to the order of importance and size of the device.

Wild Tomato Pizza, Fish Creek, WI

Here’s the Wild Tomato Restaurant and how it appears on my iPhone. Mmmm, this looks good, doesn’t it?

Many Door County businesses are closed for the winter. Yet when I googled “Door County pizza,” I found right here on Wild Tomato’s home page that they are open, where they’re located and their phone number. The fact that they link to a beer menu tells me they have artisan beers even if I don’t take the time to click into it.

Good business? You bet. The restaurant was super fun and the food was delicious!

St. John Lutheran Church, Door County, WI

Most churches don’t think of themselves as a business. Yet sometimes they need to act like one; for example, when they want to reach out to the tourists of their unique vacation community.

St. John does just that with its website. Right there on the home page I found the 5 W’s needed for knowing about the congregation and how we could attend its services. And yes, the members of this beautiful church in the country were as warm and welcoming as their website!

Door County, WIsconsin

So here’s the fully responsive site: The Door County Visitor Bureau. Check it out on your computer, then check it out on your iPod or smartphone. Notice how it’s packed full of interesting information and rather than proportionately shrinking it en masse for small devices, which would make it way too small to read, its responsiveness vertically rearranges the contents into segments in order of their importance.

That, my dears, is responsive web design and that’s what brings people to Door County, even in the dead of winter!


What about your website? How does it look on a smartphone? Can viewers clearly find what they need to know? Here’s a completely responsive website Adunate did for a Donny’s Girl Supper Club. Contact me if you’d like the same exposure for your business.


 

10 Ways Restaurants Are Using Social Media

Restaurants using Social Media Infographic
How’s this for a great infographic? It’s put out by the makers of Digital Dining, an integrated management system that helps food industries better serve the people they feed.

Finding this graphic was timely because I’m currently working on a website for Donny’s Girl Supper Club. Recently, I asked owner Jaci Mueller how her restaurant has changed since she was a girl and her parents, Donny and Sue, owned it. Jaci is proud to offer the same service and quality her parents worked so hard to achieve for 22 years. Yet there is one thing she does quite differently—advertising. As in social media advertising.

Jaci’s a savvy marketer, particularly on Facebook. She’s regularly tantalizing us with pictures of her daily dinner specials or reminding us it’s Friday and we need to drive out to the country for a good ol’ Wisconsin, family-style fish fry. She even uses Facebook to advertise her job opportunities.

Jaci and I discussed ways to further develop her Facebook and how to incorporate the awesome photos her niece Mariah shot for our website. We also brainstormed ways to encourage greater conversation amongst her Facebook fans (which already is quite active, by the way).

How about some of these ideas?

    • “It’s our bartender’s birthday! C’mon out and wish him a happy day!” (Jaci’s clientele is a close-knit family, she could also do this for customers—given the right person:-)

 

    • “Thirty-two years ago today, my parents bought the restaurant. Remember those early days?”

 

    • “The weather’s steamy now, but snowmobile days will come soon enough!” (Jaci says she has a fun photo of customers’ snowmobile helmets filling her hat rack).

 

  • “State health inspector made a surprise visit. As always, we passed with flying colors!”

All of these work to create a feeling of family for Jaci’s Facebook fans. They enable a sense of belonging, which is something we all crave. They even give us a sense of ownership, if you will, because we learn to know Donny’s Girl Supper Club in a more personal way. Most importantly to Jaci, they motivate us to come to her restaurant.

By the way, today is Friday! Are you coming? Donny’s Girl offers the best fish fry in Wisconsin!

Donny's Girl Supper Club website homepage


Need help developing your social media marketing? Need a new website or blog design? Let’s talk!


Swiss Dining in New Glarus

Glarner Stube Restaurant, New Glarus, Wisconsin

Last weekend as we bummed through Green County, we stayed overnight in the town of New Glarus, also known as Swiss Town. What a quaint place—actually, there’s enough there to spend a day or two.

Anyway, we ate at the Glarner Stube restaurant and it was divine. You know me, I’m a sucker for an eclectic atmosphere and this place didn’t disappoint. The hospitality was great—lots of New Glarus Beer, if you can imagine that, and traditional Swiss and American food. We had Roesti (swiss fried potatoes), oooh, they were good! And yes, we had to ask what they are—two layers hash browns with swiss cheese between. Delicious, as was our whole meal.

Fun evening—gotta go back sometime and see the rest of the town.

Wednesday Webs: Empowering the People

City of Toronto Archives, public domain

In the old days entrepreneurs were at the mercy of banks or venture capitalists for financing their innovative ideas. Nowadays crowdfunding provides resources at the grassroots level. It’s a “teamwork makes the dream work” approach that offers even the little guy an opportunity for success.

Maybe you too have a dream?

  • Likened to an old-fashioned barn raising, crowdfunding is successful when recipients work hard and give back in return. This restaurant owner offered free meals.
  • A creative print and design business became reality with the help of Kickstarter, the largest of crowdfunding communities.
  • Crowdfunding is also for non-profits. StartSomeGood, who actually prefers the term peerfunding, connects social entrepreneurs with people who want to help.
  • Kiva helps under-served and poor people around the world. Just a $25 loan empowers people to create a better life for themselves.
  • A top ten list of crowdfunding websites.

 

Everyone’s Irish, Even in Wisconsin

The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill

This past weekend my husband and I took a St. Patty’s getaway. Yes, on St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish. And here in the Midwest, where we’re relishing an unseasonably warm spring, even the least celebratory of Wisconsinites was outdoors with great cheer.

First stop was Erin, Wis., an unincorporated community of 3790 people. Located in the foothills of the Holy Hill National Shrine, Erin honors its Irish roots in a big way. Every year, rain or shine, and no matter what day of the week St. Patrick’s falls, it celebrates with a full-blown parade.

Erin, Wisconsin St. Patrick's Day Parade

Like all parades, Erin’s St. Patrick’s parade is a fun way to promote small businesses. And, of course, every good Wisconsin parade must have horses.

Erin, Wisconsin St. Patrick's Day Parade

And tractors.

Antique truck at Erin, Wisconsin St. Patrick's Day Parade

And cool, old trucks.

Bagpipers at Erin, Wisconsin St. Patrick's Day Parade

And last, but not least, especially for a St. Patrick’s parade, there must be bagpipers.

St. Patrick's Day parade at Erin, WIsconsin, Washington Co.

Irish fashion is fun and intriguing.

St. Patrick's Day parade at Erin, WIsconsin, Washington Co.

I love this woman’s cape with its beautiful Celtic designs.

Erin Emmanuel Cemetery

The parade went right past Erin Emmanuel, a small cemetery where my husband’s Lohr ancestors are buried (no, not exactly Irish). The gate was locked but I was able to take pictures from the road.

Gravestones are such beautiful works of art, aren’t they?

52 Stafford Irish Inn, Plymouth, WI

After the parade, we headed on up to 52 Stafford, a historical Irish inn in Plymouth, Wis. We’ve stayed here before and have always been pleased with the beautiful building, the delicious food, and great service. Once again, we had a great time.

52 Stafford Irish Inn, Plymouth, WI

On Saturday, the bar was packed with people watching March Madness basketball games and enjoying Black and Tans or a Jamison (I’m a little softer and settled for a yummy Bailey’s on the rocks:-). Victory for both Wisconsin teams made for a happy crowd!

52 Stafford Irish Inn, Plymouth, WI

The 52 Stafford promotes itself as Wisconsin’s prettiest pub. With these beautiful stain glass windows and cherry millwork, they have a rightful claim.

52 Stafford Irish Inn, Plymouth, WI

On Saturday night, the hotel’s restaurant served Irish stew and corned beef with cabbage. It must have been good because this parlor-pub area was filled, as well as the restaurant’s dining room. A live Irish band topped off the festive atmosphere.

According to 52 Stafford’s information sheet, the 19-room hotel was built in 1892 and has been in continuous use for more than a century. The O’Dwanny family purchased it in 1978, and in 1987, they restored the building to its original appearance. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places.

So, to you the O’Dwanny family, we say go raibh maith agaibh (thank you) for preserving this beautiful building. It’s stunning! And thank you, 52 Stafford and the Town of Erin, for a very fun St. Patty’s weekend!