It’s always exciting to launch a website, but Lorinda Web Design’s latest project is an eCommerce site with a worthy cause. The owners of www.EquatorialCoffee.com are passionate about educating Ugandan Coffee Farmers about Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Farming methods.

The founders of Equatorial Coffee and Pearl Commodities, Rashid Mbabali and Benjamin Kulubya, are from Uganda. Rashid and Benjamin know first hand about the economical and physical hardships that coffee farmers face. They started out as a local commodities company in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, servicing the East African region. In 2005, they entered the U.S. market and are now based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Equatorial Coffee’s Mission in Uganda

  • Improve Organic coffee bean farming methods.
  • Help small scale coffee farmers increase their yield by introducing Robusta washing to rural areas and teaching better organic coffee farming method.
  • Aims to create a unique relationship between the local coffee farmers and coffee drinkers in North America. This will help increase farmers’ farm-gate prices.

Benjamin’s Commitment to Organic Coffee
Benjamin has been instrumental in going down to the villages in Uganda to organize coffee farmers into co-ops in order to garner better prices for their coffee. He has helped introduce innovative and updated farming practices as well as convince farmers to keep their crops organic, which has helped Ugandan farmers get better quality coffee that meets world standards and garners better prices.

Benjamin has a long career as an entrepreneur and a marketing executive. Benjamin is also a coffee connoisseur and enjoys the Mchanganyiko blend. With his vast experience in coffee testing, he helped formulate the recipe which finally became this blend of 80/20 Ugandan coffee and world coffees.

Rashid’s Commitment to Fair Trade Coffee
One reason Rashid is so passionate about the fair trade coffee mission is to keep his family’s coffee farming legacy alive. Rashid’s great grandfather was a coffee farmer. The family coffee farming business was later passed down to Rashid’s grandfather, who in turn passed it down to Rashid’s father who decided he was going to become a coffee broker and began buying coffee from all the different regions of Uganda. Unfortunately, many coffee farmers stop farming because the money they get for the crops is simply not enough to sustain their livelihoods. Rashid believes that fair trade coffee is crucial to the survival of all small scale farmers around the world, including his own family members.

Equatorial Coffee not only offers some of the world’s most exotics coffees, but they are committed to giving back to the local community, through their coffee fundraiser program. For each bag sold, Equatorial Coffee will donate 30% of the proceeds to your charity or organization.

Lorinda Web Design is honored to be a part of such a worthy cause. Developing websites just doesn’t get any better than this!

Having a website is a real asset for small business owners; it allows your business to reach customers that you wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to. Unfortunately, there are some risks involved with owning a piece of the World Wide Web. Here are 5 tips for keeping you and your website safe:

1. Conceal Your Email Address

Posting your email address makes you vulnerable to spam. Spammers use harvesting software that scans the web for email addresses in order to add to their database. Falling prey to spammers can be costly – they can overload your email system making it difficult for legitimate clients to reach you. Instead of spelling out your email address like this, youremail@yourcompany.com, bury it inside JavaScript to conceal the “mailto:” link or use a contact form, that way it’s still easily accessible to clients, but not to harvesting software.

2. Be Careful with Images and Graphics

If you use photographs of people on your website, be sure you have obtained written permission allowing you to publish their picture online.This is especially important if there are children in the photograph.

Also, never use graphics, images, or photos you found on someone else’s site unless you have been granted written permission. Even though it’s easy to download an image, it’s still illegal. It’s a copyright infringement and if you get caught, you’ll be sorry. If you see a picture you like, contact the owner, sometimes he/she will let you use it for free and other times you may have to pay for the rights. Either way, it’s better than a law suit.

3. Monitor Your Blog

A Blog is fantastic a way to keep clients informed, but blogs also open you up to a host of unsavory events. Spammers may flood your blog with links to other sites, write offensive comments, or post illegal material. Even well-meaning people may unintentionally post copyrighted images or text in which you may be liable for. Screening your blog’s comments before posting them should help to eliminate this risk.

4. Don’t Let Your Domain Name Expire

Be sure to keep on top of your domain name. Know when it expires and renew it in plenty of time. There are people out there that are waiting to snatch up domain names the second they expire. This is one bill you can’t afford to pay late.

5. Copyright Your Pages

Every page of your website should have a copyright statement.In order for it to be valid it must have 4 things:

  1. The symbol © – Important note: using (c) is NOT valid
  2. The word “copyright” or the “Copr.”
  3. The first year of publication
  4. Your name

What would happen if you planted a garden and then just left it alone? It might do alright for a little while, but eventually it would whither a die, right? Well, websites are no different. Like gardens, websites need nurturing, pruning, and fertilizing.

 

Nurturing
Plants need water to grow and websites need attention in order to sustain themselves, too. A neglected website will not grow or evolve. As technology and styles changes, websites need to be updated in order to stay fresh and useful to viewers.

 

Pruning
In order to thrive, plants need pruning and weeding. Like weeds crop up in a garden, websites are vulnerable, too. Errors, broken links, and outdated information can creep up before you know it. It’s important to monitor your site regularly for these unwanted occurrences. Get rid of the unfruitful content and make room for vibrant, valuable, up-to-date information.

 

Fertilizing
Without fertilizer, plants will survive, but if you really want to see your garden flourish, fertilize it. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a website’s Miracle-Gro. A top 10 ranking won’t last forever. Keywords and phrases may need to be adjusted or the copy on the page may need to be revised in order to reclaim that #1 spot. Like adding fertilizer to a plant, SEO can revive your site’s search engine performance.

 

So, as with a garden, all a website needs in order to be full of vitality, is a little bit of regular maintenance and some TLC.

No matter how small your business, having a website is a necessity. Allow me to give you yet another example of why this is true…

My mother just came back from a trip to France and while visiting the town Chamonix, she stopped at little shop to buy souvenirs. She brought back the cutest placemats as a gift for me. They’re beautiful, but I’m afraid to use them because I don’t want them to get ruined. Well, wouldn’t you know it – on the back, printed in small letters, was a website!

Now, I can go ahead and not worry if I spill coffee, tomato sauce, or whatever on them. Why? Because I can order more from this little shop in France right from the comfort of my living room in Leominster, Massachusetts.

This small little shop near the Swiss Alps knows the value of a website. The same hold true for small businesses in MA and NH, too. You’re never too small for a website.

You never know where you customers come from or where their going after they leave you shop, restaurant, or business. Websites give them the opportunity to visit your business and buy your products from the comfort of their living rooms, too.

For more info on this topic check out 5 Reasons You Need a Website.

Just a bit of SEO humor when things start to get a little intense, John Battelle reminds us…

Google vs God

Photo by David Cancel 4-20-2007

“All Small Businesses Need a Website!” I’m thinking of making this my new slogan. I can’t stress the importance of having a website and I don’t mean it in a self-serving way either. Phone books are going to be a thing of the past – maybe not in this decade, but mark my words, “The future lies in the Internet!”

Search engines are already catering to the local crowd. Don’t believe me? Check out Yahoo! Local or Google Local and you will instantly be able to find any business anywhere in the world! No more flipping through pages trying to figure out what category the thing is your looking for falls under. No more dialing endless phone numbers to see if they have the services or products you want. Now you can just click on the link, go right to the website, and find exactly what you’re looking for.

But the only catch is… You have to have a website!

Think about it – would you rather choose a landscaper based on a add in the phone book or based on their live and in living color website portfolio? Or, say you’re looking for a restaurant, what’s better? Looking at a printed monochromatic take-out menu or seeing photos of their entrees and getting a feel for their ambiance on their website?

Websites SAY more and DO more than print advertising ever could. That’s not to say there isn’t a time and place for print media, because there most certainly is! But websites are an integral piece to your advertising campaign – they are a 24-7-365 extension to your phone book add, flyers, brochures, postcards, business cards, etc.

So don’t get stuck in the dark ages – go and get yourself a website!

For more info on this topic check out 5 Reasons You Need a Website.

I’ve finally given in!

April 26, 2007

OK, I’ve done what I always said I wouldn’t do – blog! I hate that word, it annoys me, but what else am I supposed to do? I eat, sleep, and breathe SEO, and well, it’s kind of hard to practice what I preach without blogging (Ugh! I hate that word even more!). So hopefully now, I can share what I’ve learned about search engine optimization and perhaps contribute something useful to this ever elusive specialty.

Peace,
Lorinda

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