Tips and insights from the blog team at Calliope - Presence in media for branding and polishing graphics, writing, social media, and online presence for yourself or your small business.

Web Design Planner Print-ables

We have been in the land of HTML, CSS, CMS, #'s and padding... aka - A BUNCH of web design work. Sometimes I need a bit of a reprieve and get back to my roots. Design in its purest form = sketch. Enjoy!

Thought we would share our web design planners that we love to take on client consultations:

Here is a our Desktop Browser Planner:



Here is our Mobile Browser Planner:


We love to use these planners for client consultations because while we usually take diligent notes, sometimes the client likes to get their hands dirty and sketch out ideas and layouts for themselves. We have even sent these to clients before hand to sketch their ideas prior to meeting to everyone save time. 

We adore when clients have "wish lists" and this is also a great tool to keep the creativity channeled and not let it become a gaudy mess. Parallax images, animated text, fades, snap scrolling, OH MY! It can become too much. Showing the client how it will be too much before you get your hands dirty and do the hard work saves everyone time and frustration. 

So feel free to poach. Images are also pdf's here for quick printing.

Printable Desktop Browser Planner

Printable Mobile Browser Planner

why we sometimes will work for free

why yes... I did just say that I work for free on my business website... this is cray right?

The truth is, if you know me (Danette), if you know CalliopePIM, or if you know we have a "heart" for charity then it wouldn't come as a surprise at all. If you were to ask our clients how much we do for free vs payment, you might see a staggering ratio... probably 20:80. We have found that a generous and grateful business model will always yield an impressive client retention rate. We are not talking about giving away websites or logos, but reformatting a clients logo into a vector or creating a brand guideline or a posting manual to an order is not only a deal but kind also. While this might make us come across as magnanimous, it also holds a significant amount of purpose and value to us. Each project is a learning experience, and the story and interviews below illustrate our reason to work for free (sometimes):

A dear friend reached out to me about editing her 501c3's website. They were trying to do a few simple edits but the website was straight html on a FTP host. While I have some experience in coding, I would never sell this as a feature in our services. But, since she was a dear friend and heck, they run a charity, (I'm not Ebenezer Scrooge after all) I agreed to the few text and image edits. (At most it was going to cost me 2 hours including breaks for diaper changes and tantrums) Long story short, the code was a bit messy, full of bugs, and command after command lead me against a brick wall of messy css and js. In my 5th hour of frustration, I stumbled upon exactly what I needed... Codementor

Codementor is a lot like Fiverr. It connects you to top developers, makes them available via chat, shows you their rates, expertise, and makes it simple to pay your mentor when the problem is fixed. I was extremely lucky to reach out to an amazing developer and a man with the patience of a saint, Carlos. 

I asked Carlos to answer a few questions for me about Codementor and his background. Here you go:

How did you hear about Codementor? 

On Google, searching for a tool that helps me to handle requests from friends that always ask me for help with their codes.

What is your proudest or most impressive project you have worked on? 

Once I helped a guy who was developing very complex charts for a science webpage. I though I knew how to handle charts until this project came to me, took me extra hours that I didnt bill the client because I was frustrated, at the end, everything ended well.

Biggest developer win?

When someone asked for a twilio /php  developer and I had no idea what twilio was, I tell him that I was good with php but not with twilio, he gave me a chance to help him and within a few hours of tests and documentation reading, the project was up and running. It helped me to know that I can accept challenges without fear

Biggest coding fail? 

A guy asked me to help him with a webpage, mainly CSS but he offered to pay me a fixed price. Since it was one of my first projects and I find CSS easy to write I accepted and I worked a lot of hours. At the end  it was a big mistake, they asked for a lot stuff and took me triple the time we agreed. It was my fault for not setting rules at the beginning like max amount of time, schedule, and extra quote.

What is the craziest thing anyone has asked you for help on codementor? 

It was not what they asked me but how we worked. He wanted to improve his old code but he didnt wanted to give me access to the code. He wanted me to connect via Teamviewer to his computer and tell him what to code, which file to open and dictate sentence by sentence. I'm a patience person but after working two hours like this was not productive at all. 

What sort of work to you want to be doing in 5 years? 

I will lie if I say that I will quit coding, its something I really enjoy, but in 5 years I see myself working with people around the world, I call it being a "travel developer".  Like they hire me for weeks or months to visit them in their town and help them code a project or two and then go help in other project elsewhere.

Tips or resources you use in your coding knowledge? 

The best tip I have is never stop learning, I'm always coding something even small stuff just for me. My other tip would be, to never just copy and paste code that you dont understand at all, it could be full of bugs or security issues, try to at least understand what are you copying.

Websites or generators you would recommend?  

I would recommend Udemy and codeschool for learning and having good practices.

Any information about you that might be interesting for someone seeking your expertise?

My name is Carlos Guevara, I'm mexican and Im a very* patient person. If you want to learn php/css/javascript/html or if you want me to code I can do both. You can find me on codementor or wizpert . You can take a look to my resume . You can also visit our portafolio


Programs, code languages you know, experience, etc.

  • PHP
  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • JSON
  • AJAX
  • API integration
  • Wordpress
  • Shopify

So what was this project that I needed the big and bad Carlos for? My friend's charity for sweet precious Airedale dogs. Check out their experience with Calliope - Presence In Media below:

Tell us about your Business:

The goal of Airedale Rescue and Adoption of the Delaware Valley continues to be to provide prompt and safe assistance for any Airedale who has no responsible owner or breeder to meet his needs. Simply put, our purpose is to find a suitable, loving home for any Airedale who needs one.  Airedale Rescue and Adoption of the Delaware Valley was established in 1995 in the New England states of NJ, PA, and DE. 

What were the special needs that you had for this project?

We needed to update and revise the website with the most up-to-date information and to be able to read things more clear. 

Did CalliopePIM capture your vision? If so, how?

Danette did an awesome job updating the website to meet our needs. She is very organized and quick to make revisions. Her professionalism is amazing! 

How was working with CalliopePIM different then other website designers, graphic designers, content authors, or social media managers?  

My experience has been very pleasant, and the updates to the website have been done correctly. Danette is very personable and delightful to work with. What would have taken forever to complete, she did in one day. Thanks! Look forward to working together in the future. I highly recommend!

So there you have it, I did a job for free and I ended up learning more about my skills and abilities than I could ever have imagined. Has working for free with a honed skill of yours ever worked out better than you could have ever imagined? Let us know in the comments below. 



Web Makeover for Traditionally Trendy

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We have had the privilege of working with one pretty unbelievable entrepreneur these past several weeks. Taryn is the proprietor and creator of Traditionally Trendy, a company that combines sacred, unchanging—albeit sometimes a little boring—tradition with uniqueness and total customization. Traditionally Trendy's product, the Peppy Ploma, is a brilliant twist on the old-at-heart diploma framing process.

The quote above from comedian, Robert Orben really serves to explicate the mission of Traditionally Trendy. There is no better way to showcase your individuality and your reverence for time-honored tradition (as well as your intelligence and perseverance, of course) than by transforming your diploma into a Peppy Ploma! Don't let the name deceive you, though. The final product is polished, sophisticated, flawlessly constructed and can range from peppy (proudly displaying your school colors) to priceless (worthy of being displayed among your personally curated art collection).

Taryn is an aesthetically astute client, to say the least, but her business offers products that can appeal to almost any on the spectrum of artistic tastes. We were practically drooling at the opportunity to work with her and at the challenge of giving her website a makeover. We hope that we rose to the occasion with this project and that her new website adequately showcases the scope of what Peppy Plomas can become. Custom graphics, meticulous attention to detail, loads of bells and whistles (like popups & live chat assistance) and a beautiful online marketplace all combined to make what we think is a pretty great website! Without further ado, here's the link:

We'd love for you to let us know what you think—be honest!—in the comments section following this post. Thanks!

French Bulldogs and Squarespace and Web Design — Oh, My!

During the last few weeks, one of Calliope's main projects has been a total branding overhaul for Milton's Grooming Parlor. The owner is a generous, kind-hearted, and energetic person with a deep affection for his French Bulldog, Milton, who serves as the inspiration and mascot for the Grooming Parlor. The owner's (and Milton's) colorful personality shines through his personal aesthetic and vision for the business. So with a brightly hued inspiration, we set out to create a polished, functional, and beautiful website.

For this particular site—as well as for our own—we used the all-around wonderful web hosting and design service, Squarespace.  We combined the intuitive functionality of Squarespace's web editing tools with the passion of Milton's Grooming Parlor and our own exceptional design skills to create a beautiful synergy. The result—we hope you'll agree—is a fresh, professional, beautiful, and still true-to-the-vision online presence that makes the viewer an instant fan of Milton's Grooming Parlor.

 Visit the website and let us know what you think by commenting below! And if you think your website could use a makeover, contact us and we'll be happy to help.