Pumpkin Spice Logos! *LIMITED TIME ONLY*

It’s that time of year again! We’ve all inevitably seen that orange glow gleaming down every grocery store aisle and on the menu of every coffee shop worth its weight in nutmeg telling us that it’s pumpkin spice season! Let your inhibitions go, and grab some pumpkin spice coffee, candles, cereal, peanut butter, air freshener, bagels, donuts, creamer, lip balm, lotion, muffins, tea, protein bars, and candy. Heck, you can even get Pumpkin Spice deodorant to complete your fix.

Pumpkin spice has certainly become the flavor of Fall, and that is why we are happy to announce JAC Creative is releasing for a limited time only, just in time for cozying-up-next-to-the-fireplace season, Pumpkin Spice Logos! Be sure to get yours before pumpkin-spice-flavored-everything goes out of style! (That hasn’t happened yet, has it?)

Fresh and cozy!

Real pumpkin inspiration!

Hints of cinnamon and clove!

See some of our examples below, and be sure to contact us to get your logo pumpkin-ized! Act quick—this offer is only available while supplies last!


Now get YOUR logo pumpkin-ized!

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Google and the “Not secure” website shift

Google starts giving incentive to secure the internet.

Last year, Google made a move toward a more secure web by putting pressure on sites that are not serving pages over HTTPS. This is the main component in ensuring what you view on a website is exactly what the company or server wants you to see. Although at this time it is just a warning, it will soon be a larger concern for all you travelers of the internet. Soon ALL sites visited in Chrome that don’t serve encrypted pages will be marked as insecure, and if you don’t enforce this protocol on your site you may not appear (or may appear lower in your Google ranking) in searches.

Google goes on to explain their suggestions on how best to implement your secure content. Using an SSL isn’t as easy as flipping a switch or paying for a Certificate. If you have a large website, with enough integrations, making the change could take time to ensure EVERYTHING is fully encrypted. Want to know how to get started?

Lock with Encryption

Security is now the name of the game.

Free solutions are also available (if you know how to sling code).

If you have the time and know-how, Let’s Encrypt is getting a jump start with free SSL certificates that will serve your pages over HTTPS. They can do this because they focus on promoting best practices, showing transparency for all records to the public as an open standard, and helping to build a community where we can all feel a little bit safer on the world wide web. More solutions like this will be popping up as Google starts its security shift.

Paid solutions exist (if you want to get it up and running fast).

JAC Creative Hosting can provide you with the tools you need to get secure. If you have your own hosting solution or would like to upgrade, contact us today to keep your site and rankings secure. It may be a small step now, but it can put you ahead of your competition as Google makes its move toward a more secure internet.

Writing Effective Web Prose, Pt. 2

Okay, you wrote a headline that will grab your reader’s attention. But now you have a whole lot more writing to do. Where do you begin? Below is part two (of two) of our “Writing Effective Web Prose” series that explores the subtle, yet important differences you should keep in mind when writing for the web versus any other medium. Let’s get right into it.

Writing Compelling Content:

When people search online, they are usually looking for a specific piece of information. They probably don’t want to know the entire history of the Olympic Games, but are much more likely to be looking for information on who won the 2016 women’s 400 m freestyle, for example. So keep your writing concise and specific.

Interest is quickly lost when people read online. So make sure your writing is exciting, easy to read, and organized in a way that will make sense to your audience. Don’t use jargon, which is sure to get an unfamiliar audience to find a different source for their information.

You might be familiar with the inverted pyramid style of writing, most commonly used by journalists. That is, starting with the most important information such as the “who, what, when, where, and why” at the top, then moving on to the details and interesting facts, and placing the least important information last. This style of writing is very important when writing for the web as well. When you have a web page with a concise, specific topic, make sure the most important information is at the top. People don’t like to dig for their information. They will look elsewhere. Also be sure not to introduce new ideas toward the end of your writing. The content should be able to be cut off from the bottom at any point and still make sense when reading from the top.

Determine what is in it for the reader, and make that apparent early in the content (even the headline). Think about who your audience is comprised of, and write for them. Provide enough detail that you think your reader will be interested in, but also link to reputable sources in case they want to dig deeper into the subject.

Also keep these tips in mind when writing:

  • Use lists when possible (bulleted when there is no order, numbered when there is an order).
  • Write in active voice.
  • Write in a conversational tone.
  • When posting articles to your website, be sure they include the date of publication.

Writing for Search Engines:

There is no secret formula that will secure a top position on Google. If you write great content for your target audience, you will inevitably rank well on search engines. Writing well, being concise, and thinking about what your audience is looking for is what will help your reach the top of a search query. If you write at an appropriate level for your audience and use proper headings (use correct <h> tag formatting), your article will be easy for users and search engines to read.

To dig a little deeper, determine what keywords and phrases are most important for your website as a whole. Use those keywords throughout your website. Use specific keywords to create content for specific pages that cover a specific topic. Think about what your audience will search for, not what you are trying to sell, when coming up with keywords. For example, “grow big tomatoes” might be a stronger phrase than “vegetable fertilizer.” 

That’s all for now

In case you missed it, check out part 1, Writing Headlines that Hook, to learn how to write an effective headline that will meet the standards of your awesome website content!

Sources (thanks!):

Lynda.com “Writing for the Web” https://www.lynda.com/Web-Content-Strategy-tutorials/Writing-Web/180104-2.html

Lynda.com “Writing Headlines” https://www.lynda.com/Content-Marketing-tutorials/Writing-Headlines/461915-2.html

Yoast “SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide” https://yoast.com/complete-guide-seo-copywriting/

QuickSprout “Headline Writing 101: How to Write Attention Grabbing Headlines and convert” https://www.quicksprout.com/the-definitive-guide-to-copywriting-chapter-3/

Writing Effective Web Prose, Pt. 1

So you know the difference between “their, ” “there,” and “they’re,” and you avoid incomplete sentences like the plague. But now you think you are ready to take your writing skills online to write some website content. Well before you start the next best food blog, consider all the differences when writing for the web versus the analog counterpart.

There are many specific differences when writing engaging content for your website that can make it different than your everyday writing. Below is part one of two of our “Writing Effective Web Prose” series that explores these subtle, yet important differences, starting with some tips for writing headlines. We will also explore some writing basics, too. So grab the nearest note-taking utensil, and get ready to expand your writing horizon! Also be sure to check out part two, Writing Compelling Content, which dives into writing the body of your content.

Writing Headlines that Hook

No matter the medium for which you are writing, there are four standard objectives when writing any headline. You should try to make your headline:

  • Unique
  • Useful
  • Ultra-Specific
  • Urgent

I won’t go into any detail, as they are pretty self-explanatory, but I will say that when writing for the web, these four components become even more important. Your headline needs to grab your readers’ attention, and it needs to be more unique, more useful, more specific, and more urgent than the plethora of other headlines that are competing with yours. Think about what benefits your readers will gain from reading your article, then write a headline that conveys those benefits.

When writing headlines, your goal is to hook your readers and assure them it is in their best interest to read on. Don’t be afraid to use alliteration and rhyming. Use words that are not used very frequently. Play off of a familiar phrase. Be interesting!

…But not too interesting. Don’t write “click bait” headlines (we’ve all seen them: “You’re In For A Big Surprise If You Own A Home In Ohio”), which end up disappointing the reader. The idea is to maintain the reader’s trust and keep their attention throughout the duration of the article. As you are adding a little style to your headline, be sure you are not removing any substance to make room for it. Use exciting verbs, not boring ones like “is” “gets” and “take.”

If you write in an appropriate reading level and use headings correctly (use proper <h> tag formatting), your article will be easy for users and search engines to read. This is very important if you want your article to be found organically online.

Headline Grammar Tips:


You might have notices that some publishers capitalize more words in their headlines than others. A publisher uses “title case” if all words are capitalized except for articles, conjunctions, and prepositions. All verbs must be capitalized, even “is.” “Sentence case” is used if only the first word in the headline is capitalized (and proper nouns), as in a sentence.

Search Engines

Headlines are a main source for search engines to determining the keywords of an article. So be sure to include the important keyword(s) in your headline. Your headline should be easy for your readers to understand, and should also tell search engines what your web page is about.


A subhead can be used to provide a little more information. Don’t repeat anything from the headline. Subheads can be used within the article as well, to separate specific parts of the article and divide it up. This is a good technique to make your article easier to skim. When writing subheads, use the same techniques that you use for headlines.

The Em Dash

The em dash (—) is used to separate a clause from a sentence. For example, “How to clean a dishwasher—and why” is a more effective headline than “How and why you should clean your dishwasher.” Don’t put any spaces before or after the em dash.

The word “And”

In some cases, commas can be used in place of the word “and.” This is a good technique if you are trying to shorten a headline.

Quotation Marks

AP recommends only using single quote marks in headlines (‘) rather than double quotes (“). Don’t use quote marks for emphasis!

Headline Trends:

Lists are really popular. For example, “9 ways to make kale delicious.”

Depending on the topic, informal headlines could be a great way of appearing more conversational to your audience. For example, “So this kale recipe is delicious, and you won’t go back to romaine”

Asking a question in the headline. For example, “A day without kale?” Just make sure your question can’t be quickly answered with a “no.” For example, “Could kale be the food to end all colds?”.

That’s all for now

Don’t forget to check out part two, Writing Compelling Content, which digs into to some useful tips for writing the main content of your website or article including some really useful SEO tips.

Sources (thanks!):

Lynda.com “Writing for the Web” https://www.lynda.com/Web-Content-Strategy-tutorials/Writing-Web/180104-2.html

Lynda.com “Writing Headlines” https://www.lynda.com/Content-Marketing-tutorials/Writing-Headlines/461915-2.html

Yoast “SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide” https://yoast.com/complete-guide-seo-copywriting/

QuickSprout “Headline Writing 101: How to Write Attention Grabbing Headlines and convert” https://www.quicksprout.com/the-definitive-guide-to-copywriting-chapter-3/

The Best Ads in (and around) Super Bowl 51

This year’s Super Bowl was full of funny, innovative, political, and emotional ads from a lot of the usual advertisers, but also some new players. Below are some of this year’s best ads from the big game, but first let’s look at some of the noteworthy buzz from around the Super Bowl’s ads.

84 Lumber was one of the new players to the Super Bowl Advertising game. Fox, the network that aired Super Bowl 51, deemed 84 Lumber’s ad too political for the Super Bowl and would not air the full version during the game. 84 Lumber held back on releasing the full, controversial video on YouTube until halftime, but released “The Journey Begins,” well before the game. The video went viral, in part due to its controversial nature, and garnered 1.1 millions views before the game on Sunday. Within 24 hours of the game, the full video, “The Entire Journey,” pulled in well over 3 million views.

Alfa Romeo, the Italian luxury and race car maker, made quite the introduction as well. With three Super Bowl spots, the company certainly got people thinking twice about which sports car manufacturers are available.

Although Tostitos and Uber didn’t see any air time during the game, those two brands came together and took a different approach to advertising for the big game. Tostitos released a limited-edition bag that can tell when you’ve been drinking and offered $10 off an Uber ride home from your Super Bowl party. Anyone can get behind the stand against drinking and driving, and this was a great way to let people know that Tostitos and Uber are on your side.

Now let’s dive right into some of our favorites ads from Super Bowl 51!

Three Stars:

Snickers – Live Commercial

First, you may have heard the big news about the first ever live Super Bowl ad that Snickers ran during the big game. Well, technically they weren’t the first. Only Schlitz beer can take credit for that, thanks to a 1981 live blind beer tasting during Super Bowl XV. The Snickers ad, starring Adam driver, was funny and stayed true to an already-existing and recognizable ad campaign. Here’s the ad:

Here are some other three-star winners:

Buick – Cam Newton & Miranda Kerr

Alfa Romeo – Riding Dragons, or any of their Superbowl ads

What is the best (albeit expensive) way to to get into the American market? Three Superbowl spots.

T-Mobile – #BagofUnlimited

This one was genuinely funny (in our humble opinion), but falls short due to the classic “I loved that ad, but can’t even remember what company it was an advertisement for.”

Wendy’s – Cold Storage

We liked the website Wendy’s created for it’s “competitor.”


Kia Nero – Hero’s Journey


Four Stars:

Coca-Cola – It’s Beautiful

Just the kind of feel-good message that America needs right now and have come to expect and love from Coca-Cola.


GoDaddy – The Internet Wants You


Audi – Daughter


AT&T – Mailman

This one hits close to home. I think we have all been surprised by an unexpected price increase.


Netflix – Stranger Things 2

I legitimately thought this one was an ad for Eggo waffles from the start. But it was just Stranger Things doing what Stranger Things does best: millenials nostagia.


A Cure For Wellness – Take the Cure

This one gets 4 stars for its creepiness alone.


King’s Hawaiian – False Cabinet


Amazon Echo – Any of the three ads that appeared during Super Bowl 51


Mr. Clean – Cleaner of Your Dreams


Bud Light – Ghost Spuds


AMC – The Walking Dead Returns


Five Stars:

Airbnb – We Accept


Wonderful Pistacios – Ernie Gets Physical


Bai – Christopher Walken & Justin Timberlake

This one is funny, teaches us the correct way to pronounce “Bai,” and you actually remember what company the ad is for!


Tide – Terry Bradshaw

This one was innovative in that the start of the ad was tied (see what I did there?) right into the live broadcast before going to the commercial segment.


National Geographic – Genius

Right after Lady Gaga’s halftime show, we got to see Einstein playing “Bad Romance” on the Violin in an awesome commercial! This was a great way to tie “Genius” to the halftime show, and a great way to introduce a new series.


Our Favorite Super Bowl 51 Ad:

Budweiser – Born the Hard Way

Emotional, historical, and beautifully produced, this ad will fire up the entrepreneurial spirit in anyone. It also ties the message directly to the company. Great job, Anheuser-Busch, for informing us all of how your company came to be, and the struggle you fought along the way.

SEO Basics: How to Get to the Top of a Google Search

We are often asked what can be done to improve a website’s search engine rankings. The very first steps to SEO include confirming a site is responsive (mobile ready), uses HTML 5 tags properly, has compressed media elements (e.g. photos), & uses a fast server. Beyond that, the answer often requires a more detailed analysis of the business and the goals in mind. The good news is there are some major ingredients in the search results recipe that can help bring your business to the top of that oh so crowded, competitive list.

5 SEO components that affect Google rankings:

  1. Have a high-quality Google My Business profile
    Visit google.com/business/ and follow the steps to set up your business profile. It only takes a few minutes, and can make a huge difference.
  2. Have really relevant on-page content
    Take the time to write truly well-written content that people want to read. Once your static page content is up to shape, get that blog rolling. Is there a question that you are frequently asked? Create a blog post about it! Maybe there is some new technology in your industry that demands a news release. Share your opinion with your audience!
  3. List your business name, address, and phone number consistently around the web on authoritative sites like Yellow Pages and Yelp
    Get your name on the web in the places that people see as legitimate, reputable sources. Sources include: Yellow Pages, Yelp, Facebook, Google My Business, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Angie’s List, Foursquare, and industry-specific sites such as Houzz, OpenTable, and ThomasNet.
  4. Collect great links to your website
    Maintaining a blog with great content to which other people will want to link, and offering to write a guest blog post on another business’s blog are two great ways to start receiving inbound links. Here are some others.
  5. Collect authentic reviews not only on Google reviews, but other authoritative sites like Yelp
    Encourage your customers to write reviews. Let them know which platform you prefer, and thank them afterward.

What not to do:

There are also some outdated techniques that some people still use but are actually a hindrance today. Spamming keywords, for example, was really effective years ago. People now recognize it as being obnoxious and will be less likely to click on your link and read your page. Search engines have become smart enough to recognize keyword spamming and will devalue your web page because of it.

Keyword spamming headline

This is a preposterously bad headline. Don’t do this.

You should also keep the topics of your pages focused. Grab a list of similar keywords for a particular category, and use them throughout the page. Link to other pages within your website, but don’t create a bunch of new pages for variations of one keyword. Don’t create new, uneccessary websites when the content can all be contained on one website. And finally, never, never, never pay for inbound links to your website. It is a scam, and search engines are smarter than some chump collecting your money in return for posting your website’s link on SEO directories, comment sections of random websites, and other irrelevant and even harmful sources.

Contact us if you want to chat more about SEO or your website in particular. We’d love to hear your story.





(Sources, thanks for providing great content that was easy for me to find!)

The Best Times to Post to Social Media

You may be aware that Facebook is making big changes to its news feed yet again. Facebook will give even less weight to posts from businesses and pages to make room for more of your friends’ posts. This sparks some thought about how shareable the content is that a business posts, but it might also make the time that a post is published even more relevant. With that being said, when should a business post to Facebook? And more broadly, when should a business post to any social media? Below is an up-to-date cheat sheet that you can use for your business to help boost your post’s likes, shares, retweets, +1s (is Google+ still a thing?), and clicks.

First, let’s clarify. We love Google+ and encourage you to follow us if you’re into that sort of thing. Also, this cheat sheet will cover Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and LinedIn based on data that Buffer and others have collected. Huge shout out to Buffer for being awesome! Keep in mind these are recommendations based on a bunch of data that only a handful of companies have collected using various means. Depending on your industry, the best time to post could be different. The important thing is to try out different approaches and see what works best for your industry and to make sure the content you are sharing is worthy of the likes, shares, retweets, +1s, and clicks that you are hoping for!


Here’s a quick tip for you and your business: on your Facebook page, click Insights > Posts. Here you can see “When Your Fans Are Online” which will be tailored to your specific audience. Thanks Facebook for amazing data! Or you can follow these general guidelines:

Best time to post: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, especially on Friday

Worst time to post: 8:00 pm – 8:00 am


People tend to check LinkedIn at work. Monday through Thursday are the best, and be sure to stay away from posting on the weekends.

Best time to post: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Worst time to post: 7:00 pm -6:00 am


People are too busy checking Instagram and Twitter to bother with their Google+ account. Keep your posts early to provide a quick break from work.

Best time to post: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Worst time to post: 6:00 pm – 6:00 am


The idea is to rack up clicks, retweets, favorites, and replies. Those of us who get bored or distracted toward the end of the workday might open up their Twitter feed at that time. Evenings and weekends are really good too!

Best time to Tweet: 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Worst time to Tweet: 4:00 am – 8:00 am


This mobile-focused network tends to get the most action after work. Give your followers some fun, lighthearted content to brighten their day!

Best time to post: 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Worst time to post: 2:00 am – 4:00 pm

Email (bonus!):

People are too busy checking their work email in the morning to bother with marketing emails. If you send before noon, you might end up right in the trash folder.

Best time to send: 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Worst time to send: 10:00 pm – 6:00 am

Sources (thanks!):





Flag Design Principles in all Designs

All design studies are related in one form or another. Tools change, culture changes, but the principles have always remained the same. Brand identity for businesses can be difficult to manage, but with a few lessons taken from flag design, your business can gain more traction in your market. Which leads us to…


Vexillology (Study of Flag Design) has been around for quite some time now. Think Coat-of-Arms, Banners, and basically anything used to tell things apart. Roman Mars goes into more detail about some of the worst-designed flags in North America, which teaches us more about good design.

Now, take the same principles for flag design and apply them to your business’ logo, website, or print material. Each new design can follow the same rules developed as the brand identity, and everyone is on the same page no matter what they add or change.

With this “locked-down” guide of your business’ identity, you may think the process is complete, but there is another aspect that may fall to the wayside….

Respecting Your Audience (Visually)

Chip Kidd, another great designer, goes into further detail of keeping things respectful.

When it comes to any print or digital design, knowing the mindset of your audience plays a large part into how everything is presented. Each element (typography, color, photography, messaging, call-to-actions) needs to play off of each other, and every element needs to be important. If something isn’t important or if another element already explains part of your message remove it.

Flag Design isn't pairing words with images.

Don’t insult you audience’s intelligence. Include the word OR the object. Not both.

Language barriers, reinforcement, and training are all exceptions to this guideline. But the idea is to keep your designs simple and to know who will be receiving your message.

JAC Creative works to keep these principles in our back pocket whenever we design anything. Contact us if you’d like to continue this conversation or if you would like us to design something for your business using these principles.

Online Advertising for Local Businesses

Our focus on helping small, local businesses grow sometimes means we have to limit online advertising to target specific locations surrounding those local businesses. Aside from simple location targeting, there are many practices that can help increase foot traffic and in-store sales straight from your online advertising campaign.

Let’s focus on Google AdWords. The first step to utilizing these tools is linking your Google My Business account to Google AdWords. If your Google My Business account is already under the same Google account as your AdWords account, you are already good to go! From there you can help people more easily find your business’ location, get potential customers to call you over your competition, and even give mobile users a button that opens GPS and will navigate right to your storefront! Just be sure that your ads are optimized for mobile.

Enabling Location Extensions

Check out this Location Extensions Best Practices video from Google for more information. These steps can make the searching process one step easier for your customers.

Finding the Right Keywords

From there, use phrase and broad match variations of your keywords, and monitor them to find the best keywords for your business. Look for keywords with a high click through rate, and increase the Maximum CPC on keywords of high value. Also be sure to look through “search terms” to find out what people are searching for when your ads appear. Use those search terms to create new negative keywords and exact match keywords.

Ongoing Campaign management

Online advertising is an ongoing process. It can take some time to familiarize oneself with all of the tools available for both Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Contact us if you need help with your campaign, or would like to start a new online advertising campaign.

Ad Blocker – Friend or Foe

It’s an easy road to go down… Download an ad blocker browser extension under 1mb, enable it, then you never have to sit through another YouTube ad, scroll past Google search ads, or deal with slow page loading due to the ads that have to load alongside the article you are reading.

Online advertising can be annoying, intrusive, and deceptive (see native ads). And they are easy to get rid of all together. Adblock Plus and AdBlock are the big players in the ad blocking game, but there are many others. They work by blocking Flash and Windows audio and video files from loading on a page, and then differentiating between webpage ads and non-ads. Ad blocker users usually have a choice between blocking all ads or just the intrusive ones.

It is becoming the norm on mobile, too. Last year Apple opened the gates to allow developers to place ad block apps on the app store. Google has a ban on ad blocker apps on Google Play (apps can not interfere with the operation of other apps), but still allows ad-blocking mobile browsers.

Pro Ad blocker Argument

Those in favor of ad-blocking software claim that ads bog down load times and increase data use on mobile devices on which users pay for the data they use. Ad blocker advocates look at the ratio of advertisement to non-ad content and see that advertisers have been able to run rampant on websites. They claim that this is their way of fighting back, putting advertising content back in its place: out of the way or gone all together.

nyt homepage ads

Arghhhh! where’s my content!?

Anti Ad Blocker Argument

But at what cost are ad blocker users scrolling through content ad free? As it turns out, there is a huge cost. Content publishers are not happy about this software because they rely on advertising revenue to produce the content that users want to read. In order to publish high-quality content, often times for free, those ads needs to be there. They support the publisher, help the advertiser, and just want to minimally occupy your web page.

It is in it for the advertisers and publishers to keep ads to a minimum,otherwise it deters users from reading on or returning to that website.

As ad blocker users are fighting back, publishers are fighting back too. The Atlantic, for example, knows when users have ad-blocking software enabled, and instead of showing ads, they display a message asking you to disable it or to support their work in other ways.

Atlantic ad blocker message

Forbes is also fighting back. When you navigate to the Forbes website with an ad blocker enabled, you are greeted with this message:

Forbes ad blocker page

You know, ad light doesn’t sound so bad.

Our Call To Action

As you decide whether or not to use ad-blocking software (and maybe you have already made up your mind), keep in mind the impact that it can have on the publishers whose content you are viewing. You may not want to have to deal with those pesky ads, but would you rather have to pay for a subscription to get that content?

With these things in mind, JAC Creative is taking a stand: disable, uninstall, and ban ad blockers. Help publishers continue to create the content that you are interested in. Take the second to scroll past ads or click the “skip ad” button. Or better yet, embrace the messages that advertisers are sending you, if they happen to resonate with you. Then pat yourself on your back, because you are doing your part to keep publishers, both big and small, creating awesome content!