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Is Email Getting in the Way of Your Business’ Productivity?

August 16th, 2012 by Erin Peters

Google AppsOnce upon a time, POP was the gold standard for email accounts. When email was a simple feature we accessed from one computer, POP’s basic message retrieval service was all that most email users needed.

And in POP’s prime, IMC offered free POP email hosting and support for web hosting clients. POP email accounts were, at the time, well suited for our clients’ business email needs.

But as technology progressed, people began to access email from their desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets, and soon POP email accounts became outdated. POP only communicates in a one-way direction with email servers, meaning there is no synchronization across devices.

If you access a POP email account on your mobile device to download new messages, those emails are deleted from the server and can’t be accessed through your desktop client or your browser. And if you force the POP email server to save copies of your emails, the server quickly fills up and can’t receive any new messages.

POP email accounts only became more frustrating for our clients when they had to call customer support every time they wanted to change a password or create a new account. It became clear that POP email accounts weren’t the best way to serve our clients.

Luckily, there is an alternative that modern business owners can take advantage of.

Today’s forward-thinking business owners realize that POP email accounts are not a solution for productivity and are using IMAP email accounts.

IMAP email accounts are able to synchronize your inbox, sent messages, deleted messages and folders across all your devices, no matter where you want to access your email. This flexibility is crucial for today’s business owner.

Email and website hosting are two very different services that should always be hosted on separate servers. While Graphtek specializes in web hosting, we also recognize that no one does business email better than Google. That’s why we use Google Apps for Business as our own business email solution.

Countless business owners and former IMC clients have also made the switch to Google Apps for Business and haven’t looked back. Graphtek support technician Cole Slankard, who handled web and email hosting at IMC, says Google Apps gives users unparalleled control over their email and productivity:

“Google Apps really lets you take control of your domain and email. Anyone can benefit from it with all the different services they offer, whether you are just checking emails or are wanting to organize your day to day in one simple and central solution. Never has this much control been in the customers’ hands.”

Google Apps for Business provides a user-friendly email service through Gmail, allowing you to have email at your domain that synchronizes across your mobile device, desktop email client and browser. With a 99.9% uptime guarantee, you always have access to your important emails, and built-in security and automatic backups mean you don’t need to worry about losing important data.

With years of experience in email hosting and web security, Cole says Google Apps for Business is the most secure and accessible email option for business owners:

“I enjoy the peace of mind that with Google my information and emails are always backed up and will never be lost. With syncing across all computers and devices I use, I always have access to what I need. The Google servers are reliable and will protect our domains from ever getting blacklisted or hacked, which is very important for any business.”

Best of all, the Google Apps suite increases your business productivity so you’re working smarter, not harder. Google Calendar allows you to easily view when your team is available and schedule meetings accordingly, while Google Docs lets your team share and collaborate on projects in real-time. Learn more about these features and more in the video below:


If you’re looking to increase your business productivity, there’s no better solution than Google Apps for Business. You won’t have to download any clunky software or upgrades, either. Upgrading your apps is as easy as restarting your browser.

Savvy clients who have already made the jump from POP email accounts to Google Apps for Business have told us repeatedly that they could never imagine going back to POP. As Google Apps users, neither could we.

Setting up Google Apps takes about half an hour, and once you make the switch, you’ll wonder why you didn’t move to Google Apps sooner.

Plus, Graphtek has partnered with the most knowledgeable Google Apps experts to provide additional support as needed. Whether you need basic support for less than 10 users or support for hundreds of email accounts, there’s a Google Apps package that will fit your business.

Former IMC clients, if you’re ready to ditch your outdated POP email account, strengthen your email security and boost your business’ productivity, call Graphtek today at (760) 341-4583. We’ll answer all of your questions and find the right Google Apps package for your business needs.

Recent Work: RandyWillardInc.com Gets a Website Redesign

August 16th, 2012 by Erin Peters

Randy Willard WebsiteIs there any fashion designer faux pas worse than having outdated collections on the brand’s website?

For men’s custom clothing designer and desert resident Randy Willard, who frequently styles and designs custom clothing for high profile athletes, releasing a new clothing collection meant his website would become outdated.

Willard, who designs custom suits for clients including Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Joe Buck, NBA player Grant Hill and former NFL player Kevin Carter, was frustrated with his website when he turned to Graphtek for help. He needed an easy-to-update website design that could keep up with his fashion forward collections.

He also wanted his website to be a strong tool to help sell the look that Randy Willard’s collections offer. We knew nothing could sell the Randy Willard look better than high quality fashion photography, but the existing website design wasn’t very photo-friendly.

“Randy has always had amazing photography but it had to be cropped to fit his old site,” Graphtek President Kate Spates said. “When we started the redesign, we wanted to make it so that the photography would be the center of the design.”

Keeping this in mind, Graphtek recently redesigned the Randy Willard website to focus on dramatic, full-screen fashion photography, allowing his products to speak for themselves.

And with Willard’s fashions constantly moving forward, we needed to ensure that his website could keep up with his new collections. To achieve this, Graphtek incorporated a user-friendly content management system into the redesign that will allow Randy and his team to easily change the website’s photos, headlines and content as needed. Collections can easily be changed out as soon as they become dated, and the CMS also allows Willard to update the “Events” page with information on the various charitable events and social functions he donates to.

Since Randy Willard is not only a designer but also a renowned stylist, we added a “Stylist” page that features his handpicked style pairings. As Willard says, a beautiful suit means nothing if not styled correctly, so his redesigned website provides plenty of visual inspiration on the art of styling.

The redesigned and recently launched randywillardinc.com is now an immersive men’s fashion experience that effectively sells the Randy Willard look by focusing on stunning photography that’s easy to update.

With summer being off-season in the Coachella Valley, it’s the perfect time to redesign your website. Whether you want to make a few functionality changes or completely overhaul your existing website, starting your website redesign during the summer means your perfect website will be ready for business this fall.

At Graphtek, we understand that there’s more to effective website design than templates and text. We specialize in custom-designed websites that work for your business, and we’re ready to help your website reach the next level. Whether you need website design, a site redesign or other digital marketing services, contact Graphtek today to discuss how a digital marketing strategy can benefit your business.

What’s Going on at Graphtek? Meet Our Summer Intern!

August 16th, 2012 by Erin Peters

We love sharing our knowledge of digital marketing and web design with the next generation of influencers so every year, Graphtek speaks at local schools for Career Day. One of our favorite Career Days is held each spring at Palm Desert High School and has resulted in a number of interns coming to gain experience under Graphtek’s wing.

But this year’s story is a little different. Usually, we’re approached by interested students who introduce themselves and ask for one of our cards. This year, we were approached by a student with a real go-getter attitude: Sayra Lozano. Sayra not only asked Graphtek President Kate Spates for a business card but gave her one of her own! At that moment, Kate knew Sayra was something special—after all, how many high school students carry their own business cards?

Sayra’s go-getter attitude didn’t stop there. She immediately followed up with a resume and LinkedIn profile, further demonstrating her proactive and professional approach. We learned that Sayra already completed an internship with a local news station. Realizing the importance of gaining all the experience possible to stand out from the crowd, Sayra was pursuing a second internship before heading off to college this fall.

With her professionalism, ambition and eagerness to learn about web technology, we knew Sayra would be the perfect fit for Graphtek’s internship program. We welcomed our 5th intern from Palm Desert High School to the Graphtek team shortly after her graduation in June.

A week into Sayra’s internship, our team was already impressed with her development. Sayra started out by learning the in’s and out’s of server transfers from Graphtek’s web developer, David Drake. David couldn’t believe how quickly Sayra picked up complex processes:

“I’ve had the opportunity to teach her basic HTML methodologies and was pleased to see     that she picked up on the practices pretty quickly. We then moved her over to adding  websites to our host server using a process called Subversion and a Hosting Control Panel called ISPConfig. I had my doubts that, even if she seems quick and eager to learn, that  she would learn this process quickly as well. To my surprise, however, by the next day,  she was plugging away all on her own with only a few errors. That’s more than I can say for others I trained on the very same process. All in all, I am impressed and confident that she is learning from everyone here at Graphtek.”

Sayra attributes her positive experience with Graphtek to the passion she sees daily in our company.

“The best part of this experience is watching everyone work,” Sayra said. “They’re so passionate about their jobs that it makes it so easy to learn. And their passion for what they do makes me passionate, too. There’s not one job here that I wouldn’t do.”

Although Sayra’s excited to learn about all aspects of digital marketing, there are two things she really hopes to do at Graphtek: learn how to build a website from scratch and sit in on a sales meeting. We hope to offer both of these experiences and more this summer.

With weeks of hands-on training under her belt, Sayra said one of the most important things she learned so far was a life lesson from Graphtek’s CEO and Creative Director, Mike Cheley.

“Mike told me once that he hasn’t worked a day in his life because he loves what he does,” Sayra said. “That’s how I want to be one day.”

While Sayra’s still deciding what to study this fall when she starts attending Latin American Bible Institute, we’re confident this internship will help her discover her passion.

“She is very fast and bright,” Kate said. “Just like her future.”

Welcome aboard, Sayra!

8 Tips to Be the Master of Your Domain

August 15th, 2012 by Erin Peters

Do you know the name of your domain registrar?

How about your login information?

Are you even the registered owner of your domain?

If you’re not sure, it’s time to take action. As a business owner, the loss of your domain could be devastating to your company. But by being proactive, you can prevent the potential disaster  of losing your domain.

Whether you worked with a web development firm or a freelance web designer, it’s up to you to ensure that you have full control over your domain name. Here are eight tips to be the master of your domain:


1. Know who your domain registrar is. Do you know which company your domain is registered with? You should, as you’ll need to go through the registrar to renew your domain or switch web hosts. A few popular registrars include Go Daddy, Network Solutions and Register.com. If you’re unsure, use a free look-up service such as whois.net.

2. Make sure you are the registered owner of your domain. Who owns your domain? You or the web developer that set up your site? All too often, we see clients come to Graphtek needing to reclaim domains that were registered to disappearing web developers. Fortunately, this can be prevented by proactively ensuring your web developer registers the domain under your or your organization’s name. Your domain is an integral part of your business and should never be owned by a third party.

3. Know your login information for your domain. One of the advantages of working with a web developer is that they’ll handle the setup and maintenance of your domain. This can be great—until you decide to switch developers or your developer disappears. Unfortunately, we see this happen a lot. Don’t let a web developer hold your site hostage—make sure you have the login name and password to access your account.

4. Keep your contact information current. If you no longer use the email address associated with your domain registration, you’ll never see the expiration and renewal emails your registrar sends. Not only is keeping your contact information current required under ICANN’s Whois Data Reminder Policy but it also helps prevent an unintentional lapse in your registration. Make sure the email address on file is one you check regularly so you don’t accidentally lose your domain.

5. Set your domain to auto-renew. Do you know when your domain registration expires? Most people don’t, and if you forget to renew your registration when it expires, you risk potentially losing your domain to another buyer. Don’t gamble with the rights to your domain name—opt for your registrar’s auto-renew option bills you automatically before your registration expires.

6. Set a registrar lock. Also called a domain lock or transfer lock, a registrar lock ensures your domain isn’t accidentally transferred to another owner. It also prevents your domain from being illegally transferred to another owner without your permission. With a registrar lock, the only way your domain can be transferred is if you log into your account and unlock the domain.

7. Avoid domain registration scams. Scammers love to target domain owners with false claims of domain expiration, such as Domain Registry of America’s recent domain renewal scam. While the company name may sound legitimate, they were actually sending false renewal notices that, if paid, actually transferred ownership to Domain Registry of America! Never respond to letters or emails about your domain registration, expirations or renewals from anyone except ICANN or your domain registrar.

8. Add domain privacy to your registration. If your registrar offers domain privacy for free or a small fee, we always recommend that our clients opt in. Domain privacy prevents your personal information, such as your name, phone number and address, from being publicly linked to your domain registration. If you don’t opt for domain privacy, your personal information could be used by scammers, identity thieves and direct marketers to target you and your domain.

As a full-service web development firm, Graphtek Interactive never holds client domains hostage. Whether you need help with an existing domain or are ready to set up your company’s web presence, contact Graphtek Interactive today to get started.

What’s the Real Deal with Checking In?

August 15th, 2012 by Erin Peters

Does this sound familiar? Your business has a Facebook page and a few check-ins on Foursquare but your audience isn’t growing. You can’t remember the last time you saw a new “Like” or check-in, and you’re wondering if it’s time to give up on the social media fad altogether.

Before you give up, have you thought about what drives people to click “Like” or check in?

The answer is simple: Deals.

The bottom line is people like to save money. If liking your Facebook page or checking into your location on Foursquare can help them save money, people will be more likely to click “Like” or check in.

These social media deals can also help bring a new customer base to your business. If you are a restaurant owner who promotes deals on Facebook, potential customers might see that special and change their lunch plans to come to your restaurant.

All because you offer an online deal.

With City Wok, a Southern California Chinese restaurant and Graphtek client, we use a few different social media deals to grow the restaurant’s brand recognition, audience and, ultimately, profits. For example, City Wok’s Facebook fans enjoy a weekly deal when they say the secret word found exclusively on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

And customers who check in on Foursquare get a unique special when they show their phone to their server. As an added bonus, City Wok rewards check-in loyalty by rewarding the Foursquare mayor (the person who has checked in the most over the last 60 days) with a special discount on their order.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when launching your social media deals:

    • Promote: Let your audience know they can get a special deal by checking in on Foursquare or liking your Facebook page. Consider putting a sign in your window or near your registers to let your existing customers know about your online promotions. And once customers start liking your Facebook page, communicate with your growing audience by engaging them and having conversations online. Don’t be afraid to cross-promote, either: City Wok’s Facebook page is regularly used to let fans know about Foursquare check-in specials.


    • Be Consistent: Offering consistent deals on Facebook or Foursquare will help build brand loyalty as your audience will begin to check your social media pages regularly. If you consistently have a weekly Foursquare check-in deal or Facebook promotion, you’ll also continue to attract new customers who find your specials while using social media. Graphtek has worked with City Wok to build a loyal audience by consistently offering new deals on Facebook and Foursquare each week.


    • Train Your Staff: When setting up your promotions, be sure to establish a method of internal communication that will keep your staff educated on the current deals and how customers can redeem them. It can be discouraging to customers when they have a difficult time redeeming a deal, but a painless redemption process will help build brand loyalty and bring customers through your doors time and time again. City Wok issues a weekly memo to its staff to ensure they are aware of all check-in and Facebook deals.


    • Track Results: As with any marketing strategy, you need to track results to measure the effectiveness of your promotions. How many customers are coming in and asking for the Facebook special? How many people are checking in to your location on Foursquare? Implement a method to effectively track these results. At City Wok, each promotion is redeemed through a unique code in the POS system, making promotion tracking a breeze.

Is your business ready to cash in with a social media marketing strategy that builds customer loyalty through check-in specials and Facebook deals? Contact Graphtek today to get started!

7 Essentials to Turn Your Website On

August 14th, 2012 by Erin Peters

7 Essentials to Turn Your Website On

Congratulations! Your business finally has a website. After months of development, your site is online and ready to bring quality leads and new conversions to your business. 

Or is it?

There’s a difference between website development and website marketing. Your site might be online but is it engaging and connecting with your audience? Is it being found by search engines and potential customers? Is your site serving a purpose?

In other words, is your website turned on?

Aside from showing off your corporate logo, your website needs to convert. When your website is turned on, it’s a powerful marketing tool that drives results. These seven essentials can help turn a frigid website into an irresistible marketing machine.

Be Engaging

Create and maintain a presence on the Web that accurately represents your brand and resonates with your target audience. The best way to engage your audience is to find your voice and use it well. Here are a couple of ways to create an engaging experience on your website:


    • Update Your Content: Well-written blog posts and informative articles can educate your audience and position your business as the go-to resource in your industry. Fresh content not only ensures your audience is engaged but can help boost your search engine ranking, too.
    • Analyze the Competition: Have you looked at the competition’s digital marketing approach? Learn from your competitors’ marketing hits and misses. Analyze their efforts to make sure you’re keeping up with the industry and constantly innovating.
    • Analyze, Measure and Strategize: Every marketing strategy needs to be based on analysis and measured for results. Your site’s analytics not only provide a baseline reading of its performance but can also show where there is room for improvement and help you measure a campaign’s results.


Be Found

Develop and implement interactive marketing plans that leverage a combination of analysis, analytics, SEO, PPC and targeted local search. If you give search engines the right data, they’ll find your site and index it properly. Here are a few ways to increase your site’s chances of being found:


    • Implement SEO: Look at your analytics, the marketplace and the competition to develop a set of keywords. While working toward organic SEO, you might consider running a pay-per-click campaign for keywords you aren’t ranking for. At Graphtek, we can also use tools such as a grader to uncover the best keywords for your campaign.
    • Use a Grader: Is your call to action the first thing your readers are drawn to? Are small code errors hurting your search engine ranking? Our graphics analyzer and grader can analyze your site and ensure your site is optimized for both your readers and search engines.

Be Connected

Build ongoing relationships by providing “must read” content that seamlessly integrates with your website blog and social media. Regular communication with your clients is the key to successful online marketing. Here are two ways to connect with your customers through your site:

    • Integrate Social Media: It’s a smart idea to link your social media accounts to your website. The trick, though, is to keep readers on your site, not on Facebook or Twitter. Rather than linking to third-party websites, embed your Facebook stream or Twitter feed directly onto your site so your audience stays with you.
    • Make an offer: What action do you want your potential customers to take and what result do you want to get? Put it on your website with a strong offer. One great strategy is to offer something of value, like a free white paper or report, in exchange for an email address or newsletter opt-in. Your offer should always be something that is given in exchange for customer information.

Is your website turned on yet? If you need some help, Graphtek has the magic touch. Learn how we can help turn your website on by contacting us today!

Graphtek Interactive Client Case Study: The City of Alameda, California

August 14th, 2012 by Erin Peters

Graphtek Interactive gives the City of Alameda website an extreme makeover while enhancing functionality.

coaIn addition to providing small to mid-sized businesses with Web development, website design, custom programming and interactive marketing services, Graphtek Interactive has been extremely instrumental in helping government agencies across California raise the bar on their Web development initiatives. For the City of Alameda, California, Graphtek Interactive’s dedicated team of in-house designers, programmers and support staff were able to breath new life into their outdated Web presence. Once uninspired, clunky and largely dependent on costly programming fees to make even the smallest of changes, the new website offers city employees practical functionality through Graphtek Interactive’s proprietary content management system, G | CMS. Training and support, overseen by… READ MORE 

CrazyOnDigital; showcases CS-Cart technology in recent website launch

August 14th, 2012 by Erin Peters

Graphtek Interactive, a leader in the Web Development and Internet marketing industries, and the CrazyOnDigital™ Corporation, an online retailer specializing in digital device accessories, launched a highly-customized ecommerce website powered by CS-Cart earlier this week. While CrazyOnDigital’s product have been available through some online retail giants like Amazon.com and eBay, this week’s website launch marks an exciting evolution for customers looking to buy their digital device accessories directly from CrazyOnDigital. Read the rest of this entry »

Graphtek builds website for Benchmark using Magento; eCommerce platform

August 14th, 2012 by Erin Peters


Graphtek Interactive, a leader in the Web Development and Internet marketing industries, and Benchmark Capital Partners, LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of quality display solutions since 1983, launched two websites this week – each built on the Magento® eCommerce latform. Displays Direct (www.displaysdirect.net) and Taymar Plastic Displays (www.taymarplasticdisplays.com) provide display solutions to wholesale retailers and the general public respectively. While each storefront caters to distinct target audiences, specialized programming skills were required to define custom rules for each storefront. Read the rest of this entry »

Productivity: What we’re using around the Graphtek office & Nozbe

August 14th, 2012 by Erin Peters

Like most organizations, the management and staff and Graphtek Interactive are always looking for ways to improve efficiency and workflow around the office. When we do stumble upon new technology or a service provider that makes life a bit more manageable, we feel it’s only right to share what we’ve learned with our clients and friends.

This month, we wanted to let you know about a Web-based time and project management application called Nozbe™. Whether you work independently or collaborate with a team, Nozbe can…READ MORE