Recent Work: Brand Ambassador/Product Tester

Laura helps leading optics companies learn and use social media, conduct content marketing, test products in the field, and use social media and Nature Travel Network to promote product launches. She also works with them on advertising campaigns on Nature Travel Network.

Laura also conducts or assigns book reviews and lodging reviews for Nature Travel Network.

Most recently, she was invited to the Darién of Panama to test a new spotting scope (coverage here) at the Canopy Camp Family of lodges.

Recent Work: Travel Ambassador/Fam Tour Organizer for Ecolodges

In the summer of 2017, I organized a group of 12 writers and tour guides on a familiarization tour of southeastern Peru to explore several conservation birding lodges.  My role as travel ambassador for this location was to:

  • Identify quality writers and tour guides who could bring either expertise, a platform, or an audience to the table.
  • Help client narrow down the trip itinerary based on needs and angle of the writers.
  • Work with client to communicate details on the trip itinerary to the writers
  • Act as a liaison between the writers and the client, being sensitive to the writers’ need for information and the client’s need to promote their lodges.
  • Maintain a Facebook page for the group to exchange questions and answers about the destination and to nudge writers on follow-up articles.
  • Feature the destinations in articles on NatureTravelNetwork.com

This process helped the trip go smoothly and keep the writers and guides happy. Several trips were planned within a few months of our return.

Recent Work: Partners in Flight bird conservation website

Really proud of our latest website development project. Some projects inspire more than others, and working to reshape the Partners in Flight website ranked very high. This is Phase II, which we conceived and delivered within three very busy months – no small feat considering there were a number of diverse stakeholders throughout North America who had to be brought to consensus. Very grateful for this project, and excited to see how this helps advance the mission of Partners in Flight. 
Custom features of this site include:
  • Species Conservation Profiles
  • Resource Library
  • Blog/News
  • Working Group Portal templates
Take it for a spin!
 
https://www.partnersinflight.org/
PIF website

Recent Work: Complex Multimedia Website for Nature Travellers

I started a unique and exciting project three years ago: Nature Travel Network (NTN).

NTN is a multimedia travel website designed to promote and engage people in nature travel. It encourages people to dream, plan, and explore the farthest reaches of the world in search of birds, wildlife, and the joy of wild places. The site’s first iteration was nice but it was in need of a serious overhaul. So for most of the last year, in between scraps of time left over from work, family, and my own travel, I worked on completing the vision for NTN phase 2. Read all about it in this press release.

Thanks is due to the small army of people who helped make it possible, my partners in code, my writers, content managers and Associate Editor.

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Recent Work: Amazon Conservation Association Website

Last month we finished working on an exciting web project for the Amazon Conservation Association. They needed a site to promote their birding lodges in Peruvian Amazon, Wayqecha, Villa Carmen, and Los Amigos, and we could not have been more pleased to help bring that to life. They have not yet made it live, but here’s a sneak preview of the home page.

ACA Home Page

Recent Work: Invasive Species Website

In New York, the invasive species ‘PRISM’ network is tasked with educating and coordinating people on invasive species control and management.  Last March, we released a website built for the Adirondack office, and yesterday we released a new website for the Finger Lakes office. In a few months, we will be releasing a new website for the Western New York office.

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Even though each office is managed independently and has their own identify and set of partners, the common theme is ‘invasive species in New York,’ and the ‘PRISM network’.

We felt it was important to maintain a thread of relationship through each site, while preserving their own brand identity. Therefore, we chose the same design theme (WP-Bold), which gives the site its basic structure and functionality. Then we added unique branding, photos, logos, and content. So even though the sites are different, they appear in the same family.

The clients receive several benefits from choosing one contractor for the projects.

  1. Should the network ever decide to promote the umbrella identity in the future, it should be much easier to manage.
  2. Partners and recurrent site visitors can develop expectations for how to navigate among each of the sites to find information.
  3. The clients shared the custom work we did to display invasive species profiles (see one below for Alewife, an invasive species of fish). This includes the novel programming plus the images and content, which makes it easier and faster for each new website owner to complete their site. And who doesn’t love easier and faster?

flprism-internal-v3

The clients are also benefiting from each other’s experience in dealing with the web development process, which can be very confusing and daunting. They can rely on each other for advice and troubleshooting tips as time goes on.

It’s been a great pleasure to work on these two sites and I look forward to the next one.

 

Current Projects 2015

THREE INVASIVE SPECIES WEBSITES

One of our greatest accomplishments of 2014 was to earn the business of three out of eight working groups in the New York invasive species network. Make that four working groups, because we developed a site for the first one way back in 2008 when we were cutting our teeth on WordPress.

We completed a site for the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program in March (http://adkinvasives.com/). We just contracted with the Western New York PRISM for early next year. And we are putting finishing touches on a site for the Finger Lakes PRISM as we speak. You can see elements of our design here:

flprism-fullhome-v3

For the clients (each independently operated), it made sense financially and energetically to have one company build out each site. Each sites includes an invasive species glossary/index that helps visitors identify and learn about invasive species, so we are able to share the technology, images, and content across each site, while allowing each client a different “look and feel” and organization. From the clients’ perspective, this saved time during the content strategy and content entry phase.  It is a real privilege to help the invasive species put their best foot forward on this important subject.

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OTHER PROJECTS

In addition to these projects, we are working on a variety of website and communications projects including:

I (Laura Kammermeier) will have another busy year of travel and work ahead, especially now that I’ve been nominated as the President of my local bird club. I’m eager to dig in and help the club expand and make a difference in her community.  I hope to hit the Rutland BirdFair and Africa sometime this year. Good thing I have a great team at home to keep things going when I’m away.

My Digital Nature is looking to help another three major clients in 2015. If you or someone you know is looking for web developer and communications company with great coding, design, and content writing skills, then the My Digital Nature team can help. Your word of mouth recommendation goes a lot further than a fancy brochure ever could.

Thanks, and may you have a prosperous new year.

 

 

Remember Birds, Words & Websites? It has a new look.

lmk

Way back when, when I started blogging about nature, birds, and technology, I started a blog called Birds, Words & Websites. It gained some traction, and I became known in the small world of the birding community. This blog was found on my personal URL: laurakammermeier.com.

Eventually, I created this website (My Digital Nature) to separate my digital communications work from my blogging, and closed down the Birds, Words & Websites blog to put my energies into a birding travel project called Nature Travel Network.

Being someone with diverse skills and interests it was hard to figure out what the laurakammermeier.com domain should look like, so I closed it down for a long while.

lmk2I’m happy to report LauraKammermeier.com has sprung back to life, with a new look and new layout that serves as a portal to my other projects and websites. It’s nothing too fancy, but my partner and I employed a “parallax” theme that scrolls downward, effectively displaying the contents of each menu item on the home page. This is a favorite style of site for individuals, portfolios, sole proprietors, etc.

I like the monochrome organic sage and ivory elements – a few of my favorite colors. Please visit and let me know what you think! How do you like that parallax style? Does the site clearly convey what I do?

If you’d like a quote for a similar site, reach out anytime.

Recent Work: Email Newsletter Template

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 2.22.21 PMBranding. At one point, I felt this was a vague construct of overpaid marketers. But over the last many years, I’ve learned that in the digital world, the importance of maintaining a branding standard across all your digital tools (website, PDFs, email templates) can’t be overstated or ignored.

This is because the information superhighway is infinite and cluttered; your customers minds are interested only in a tiny sliver of what flashes before them in a day. So if they come across one of your branded web properties that triggers a positive association, they are more likely to stop and pause the next time one of your other branded properties come before them. That’s may sound like neuro-digital mumbo-jumbo; the other reason is very simple. If all your digital web pieces (again, website, PDFs, email templates, ebooks, etc) a acheive a similar level of branding, you come across looking like a sound, professional company worth doing business with; one that is worth their investment.

One of my clients understands this, at least begrudgingly, and has over the last two years gradually upgraded his web properties to really nice effect.

First, we started with a logo, then we developed a website, then upgraded the design of his internal PDFs, and most recently, developed an email template that showcases and complements these other power materials. At every stage, my team built on what was designed before and now, my client sleeps better at night now that nary a digital speck has been left behind in his online branding.

We look forward to building more email templates in the future.

Recent Work: Invasive Species Website

ApippYears ago, when I was cutting my teeth on WordPress, a client of mine (The Nature Conservancy of Central and Western NY) hired me to create a new website for an ongoing invasive species project.

The result was fine and the site editor still loves it, though it makes me cringe by today’s design standards. WordPress has evolved so much in the last decade, and a great benefit is that what used to be hard is now easier than ever. Design themes have improved so much that sites can easily appear dynamic and multi-dimensional.

Just like the New York Nature Conservancy has many state chapters, this NY invasive species group has many regional offices. So it was very cool when one of the other offices called me to ask for a quote to build the same kind of site. It’s like having a do-over without going back to the original client!

We started this site in September and handed it to the client on December 16th. They are still in the process of adding content, but most of it is done. To keep the project in the client’s budget range, we used an off-the-shelf theme and made minor customizations, such as a soft nature background, font changes, and hyperlink colors, plus customized a few widgets for the home page.

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We also created specialty pages (custom post types) for each invasive species, and made hotlinks to each species group as a secondary menu.

We added a calendar (time.ly) so they can advertise workshops, trainings, etc.

I like how today’s footers have become important navigational elements, and how studies show that the footer, if done well, can be an important navigational tool. On this one, we placed important messaging, a call to action, and contextualized the organization under the New York umbrella.

It was great fun working with the client, as they were on the ball, fast with feedback, and had great attention to detail. That helped the project proceed quickly.

Now, my fondest wish is to build a new website for the other five invasive species groups, using the same theme with different design and content to again, provide a measure of statewide unity across the invasive species groups.  Time will tell whether that wish comes true. : )

Thanks to Sam Hotchkiss Consulting and Katherine Koch for their development assistance with this project.

Recent Work: NatureTravelNetwork.com Media Site

NTN homehttp://naturetravelnetwork.com/

Nature, birding, and travel have been my inspiration for as long as I can remember. So have communications and digital media. The NatureTravelNetwork.com website brings these interests together into one platform that promotes birding and nature travel on a fresh, continually updated platform. This is a place where birders can dream about, and plan, future trips.

This project is my own, and it’s a true labor of love. Not only does it help connect the dots for nature travelers, but it satisfies my itch for making a mountain of information about world birding travel accessible and appealing in a digital format. Now that it is launched, I am also in the business of promoting travel tourism–travel writing, selling ads, and helping make connections between travelers and destinations.

I used the WordPress framework to create the site, launching with a “starter” content strategy that I knew would grow rapidly with the content. I invited more than a dozen authors with keen travel and nature experience to write, so the site is continually updated with new articles.

As usual, I credit my brilliant subcontractors for the initial customization work. More design and indexing will come with time and budget.  I also thank the fun and engaging writers who help make it an interesting site to visit.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Oops! Turning Project “Afterthoughts” into Budgeted Plans

As part of our  website project, my client realized that after investing in the new branding we had developed for his website (logo plus website), he couldn’t just slap on his old PDF trip itineraries to the site – the difference in branding visuals was so large as to be disturbing — like unwrapping Velveeta when you’re expecting Camembert or tapping a Bordeaux to find a Gallo.

So we transferred the visual identity (branding) we had created for the website into a PDF template that he could use over and over again to create new trip itineraries. The client is on Mac, but doesn’t have sophisticated software. So we built him a template on Apple’s Pages program, which is just like Microsoft Word, but lighter and more adept for small projects with lots of images. Now, all the client does is opens Pages, opens a new template, enters his new data, saves, and Voila! Job is done.

After a modest learning curve, the biggest challenge for my client was finding time to transfer all the old PDF material over to the new format. Of course we are always available to do content entry and management at competitive pricing, but the client wanted to do the work in-house since this wasn’t included in our original website proposal.

A great lesson here is: a simple website project may evolve into several working parts. Even the minor parts can be much larger than you first realize. Taking (and investing) time with your consultant to work out the content strategy in advance, and looking at every aspect of your work flow, will help you better anticipate your project needs.

HiLoEcuadorPDF_cover HiLo_Itinerary_Ecuador

Recent Work: Birding Tour Website

I am thrilled to announce the recent release of our latest project, a birding tour website for High Lonesome BirdTours.

High Lonesome Birdtours Website

The challenge was to transition the owner’s website from a poorly organized, visually ineffective website built on an open source framework called CMS Made Simple to an organized, visually appealing site with high search engine value. Most of all, the owner wanted his customers to easily find his site when searching for birding tours on Google, and easily navigate to make a purchase. Our previous work on a different birding tour site had impressed our client enough to make an inquiry. Our “professionalism” during the proposal process impressed sealed the deal, even though our price was “a bit higher” than other quotes.

We implemented a customized WordPress solution utilizing custom post types to design each custom tour detail page. A great deal of content strategy went into the information layout. We did our best to interpret a typical customer’s mindset as he/she lands on the home page and tries to find an ideal destination to travel to. We took into account that a motivated customer may wish to find a specific tour by region (e.g. “I’m seeking a tour to Alaska!”) or find a tour during a specific time span  (“I need a birding tour in April of next year!”). But we also tried to appeal to the casual dreamer who stumbles upon the site and surfs from region to region until his/her interest is sparked (note to self: visuals matter a lot to dreamers).

We took into account that some users are visual learners while others ignore images to read only text. Because I’ve done quite a bit of birding travel myself, I realize how information hungry birders are. So it was just as important to provide quick overviews as it was to provide easy access to detailed itineraries and trip planning information.

Each tour page provides an overview, details, full itinerary, downloadable itinerary, info on accommodations, top birds and mammals lists, habitats covered, as well as trip reports and travel planning suggestions (recommended readings, clothing and gear, and other attractions). Luckily, most of this information was available in some form or another on the former website, though it took considerable effort to move it over into its new format.

Another notable addition is a shopping cart that keeps track of the number of spaces left on each tour – to avoid booking too many people on these small-group tours. Custom forms were built to court the user through the booking process, culminating in a Make Payment page that lets the user make a deposit either via check or online via Paypal.

We are thrilled with the results but even more so, the process of working with our client, who allowed us to “get into his business” and solve problems unique to his company and the tour shopping process.

Nothing interests us more than solving problems – and we never lose sight of the fact that every problem we solve must have positive implications for the client’s business (or it’s not worth solving) and have respect for his work flow. 

Better yet, our client seems happy, too:

I asked Laura Kammermeier and her group, My Digital Nature, to help me build a new website after mine became outdated. We started working together in August and, this month, we were able to launch the new site. I’m extremely happy with the results. The site is professional and user-friendly, exactly what I wanted. Laura was highly responsive and helpful. She was always available to answer questions and work through problems. I can highly recommend Laura and her group, without reservations.” — Forrest Davis, owner, High Lonesome BirdTours.

BUT DID THE SITE IMPROVE BUSINESS? Time will tell but here’s a good indicator: within one week the site crawled up in the Google search engine results from oblivion (not within the first 20 pages of search results) to page 2, #7. Impressive what a SEO-friendly platform, sound content strategy, and smart implementation will do.

P.S. Special and abiding thanks to those that helped make this project possible: Bill Klingensmith (mydarndest.com) for custom design and coding; Sean Koch for content entry; Stina Kennedy for logo and design work.

 

Recent Work: Yoga Website

We recently released a new website for a fledgling yoga studio in Belgium. The goals were to:

  1. create a low-cost new business website that fuses nature and yoga,
  2. highlight classes, workshops, and events,
  3. make sure students can easily find the hours and location of each class,
  4. create an easily updated class and pricing schedules and,
  5. demonstrate the fun, enthusiastic personality of the studio owner.

TreeofLifeStudioOur solution wrapped mainly around an off-the-shelf theme that provided a sensible information architecture, several hours of custom tinkering to overcome idiosyncracies of the theme, integration of an existing logo into the design, creation of the fun tagline, and custom Contact Us and e-newsletter forms…sprinkled with, of course, the requisite social media buttons.

Using images taken by the owner, and inspired by the yoga studio itself, we used soft, green colors against a backdrop of a wooded forest with ferns and moss. (This particular studio offers nature inspired classes in addition to kids’ yoga.)

Designer Bill Klingensmith did a fantastic job with coding and design. The client played a part in the creation of the site by providing site content and images and editing most of the content once it was placed online. I admired her tenacity in learning new tools and wanting to make it ‘just right’ for launch.

Now my client has a website where she can actively recruit new students and send traffic from her Facebook page to her domain, where she can turn traffic into leads.

Please visit her site at TreeofLifeYoga.be. Let us know what you think!