We get it, you’re cooped up and ready to get out of the house. The travel bug is itching and you’re ready for warm weather. So are we! Sunny days are on the horizon and luckily, thanks to our friends at Explore Northwest Florida, their new website serves as your guide to all things activities and adventure.
Explore Northwest Florida is made up of 9 counties in Northwest Florida: South Walton, Jackson, Washington, Bay, Gulf, Franklin, Holmes, Gadsden, and Calhoun County. Their goal is simple– encourage sustainable tourism to preserve and promote the unique resources of the region.
Hiking trails, springs, historic sites, must-see murals, agritourism, scenic drives, and just about everything in between, the new website is bright, energetic, and will make you want to get out and explore! The website is full of information and resources so that you can make sure you don’t miss out all the region has to offer. Whether you’re planning a vacation from out of state, or live locally and are looking for your next weekend activity, there is plenty to do and go see. Check out the new website to see where your next trip will take you.
Get out. Get into nature. Go Explore Northwest Florida!
Toni Hernandez: KMA Intern to New Hire
March 3, 2021
The KMA team is growing! However, our most recent hire isn’t new to us. Toni Hernandez originally joined us as a Web Development Intern in February 2020 and, one year later, has been brought on board full-time as Jr. Web Developer.
Specializing in front-end development, Toni joins a team of 2 other web developers (hi, Bryan and Emma) who work together in bringing our clients website dreams to fruition. Formatting website content, knowing how to navigate a variety of CMS systems, and staying current with all things digital trends, Toni is a key player in website design and development.
As a US Army veteran, with a background in Cyber Security and a degree in Digital Media Web Development, Toni is an asset to our team. Graduating in 2020 from Gulf Coast State College, she was involved in a number of projects including the Friends of Bay County Libraries website and Omni Review website.
Looking forward, Toni is excited to learn more about “Full Stack” programming, which is knowing both the front and back-end of coding as well as taking on any and all projects clients come to us with. “I firmly believe that in order for a business to be successful, their online presence must grow, and I want to help make that happen.”
Jack Kerigan Celebrates 20 Years
February 1, 2021
This month we celebrate the man behind the brand. Jack founded KMA, in January 2001, and for two decades has led the marketing and sales growth for our company and hundreds of clients. Prior to that, he served in the marketing departments of RJR Tobacco and Community Coffee.
Jack has always had a fascination with consumer behavior and has developed a unique understanding of why people buy. “Big brand experience showed me that consumers make decisions with their heart—but rationalize them with their head.” He considers his unique talent to be that he lives in the shoes of the consumer and each of the dozens of KMA’ers he’s trained has heard him preach, “it’s not about you.”
His recent reads include Story Brands and Don’t Make Me Think. A favorite marketing movie is MONEYBALL. Why? “It’s because the guy is willing to challenge conventions and dedicated to see a strategy through…and it worked!” Jack enjoys helping small businesses that want to grow to the next level.
“My favorite story was the female charter captain that came to me when just starting out. It was clear that a professional logo, rack card, website and vehicle graphics was a big investment for her and a bit scary. But, she believed in herself, and I believed in her commitment.” She said, “I’m a single mom and this has to work.” Jack says, “Those are the kind of people that are really gratifying to work with. I’ll never forget the day she came back into the office, about 6 months later and said, ‘I’ve now paid for my marketing, I’m in the black!” I watched her business grow to beat out the boys, and she became the busiest charter captain in town, with her truck at the ramp when competitors were home without a trip. It was because she’d carved out a unique point of difference, invested in marketing to grow her image and stuck to her strategy.”
and readier than ever to crush whatever branding and marketing challenges the new year brings. Thank you for 20 amazing years and bring on 2021!
Bryan Baird 11 Year Anniversary at KMA
January 5, 2021
Bryan has become one of the area’s best known developers with over 12 years of website-building experience―11 of those at KMA!
Bryan officially joined our team on December 28, 2009, after earning a Marketing Degree from the University of South Florida, then served as Marketing Assistant for Quadrant Software in Tampa. Born in Dallas, TX, Bryan’s family relocated to St. George Island, FL where he was an avid sailor and Eagle Scout. Fun fact: Bryan’s dad, Thom Baird, is a talented photographer, now retired, that Jack worked with years ago on many projects ranging from Florida Tourism to the US Air Force.
Bryan has built hundreds of websites using content management systems ranging from WordPress to Squarespace. His talent for front-end design, combined with an interest in helping clients use their content management systems, has earned praise from dozens of clients. Whether it’s generating real estate leads, scheduling patient appointments, serving students, or online sales, Bryan listens to our client’s needs and creates web-based solutions that help them achieve their goals.
Outside the office, Bryan enjoys tinkering with bleeding edge frameworks, building computers, and playing bass in his praise band at church. He’s also really handy and is usually in the middle of a home construction project.
Website Growth: Annual visitor increases and what that means for your business
Understanding how your business is performing in the digital realm can sometimes be overwhelming.
As managers, we are responsible for staying on top of what can feel like endless tracking tools. And if we ignore important customer trends, we run the risk of losing prospects.
Monitoring your website’s traffic with Google Analytics can be difficult and time consuming. Understanding follower engagement across social media platforms is not any easier.
Business owners are tasked with staying current with the most relevant and effective digital trends to keep their companies competitive and profitable. With the emergence of so many social media options, many business owners are left wondering how important websites are for searching consumers.
We recently completed a one-year study of traffic growth for websites by industry so you can determine if yours is keeping pace.
Do you still need a website with social media platforms?
Having a social media presence is essential today, but it is not a substitute for a user-friendly, optimized website. Social media spreads awareness and generates interest in your business, creating top of the funnel leads. Converting interested, prospective individuals into buyers is dependent on providing the substantial information they are looking for. Websites serve as the foundation of your company’s digital presence and provides a place for prospects to take the next step.
Why first impressions are make-or-break
Seventy-five percent of consumers make judgments on a company’s credibility based on its website. A company’s digital presence serves as a window into the way a company operates and is often the deciding factor between sealing the deal and losing one.
The impression a customer receives of your website is so critical that 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site that has problems.
At KMA, we’ve built hundreds of websites since 2001 and report traffic growth to our clients monthly. Here are the results of our study of traffic growth for area websites we host and maintain.
Should your website traffic be growing and how much?
Website Growth Rate: June 2019 – May 2020 vs. June 2017 – May 2018
Government & Municipal
Real Estate Agencies
Shopping & Dining
Overall KMA Website Traffic Growth Rate
*Due to the devastating effect of Hurricane Michael on Florida Panhandle businesses in October 2018, 2018 has been removed from the data set.
Websites and Social Media: Better Together
The choice between having a website or social media should not be an either/or proposition. They operate most effectively when used together. Your engagement and activity on social media generates interest in your company, then referring clients to your website to augment your business.
Your web presence and reach depend upon using a website and social media as part of a robust, sustainable marketing strategy to generate awareness, solidify brand trust, and drive sales.
Want to know how many people are visiting your website?
As we build websites, we always install Google Analytics to start collecting data, which ultimately improves our campaigns. And as a Google agency partner, we’ve gotten pretty good at doing it. If you’re interested in getting Google Analytics on your website, we’ll be happy to help.
We’re doing our part to help you look your best on Zoom video calls. We’ve designed these fancy virtual backgrounds to disguise your location or hide your unmade bed. Sorry, we can’t do hair and wardrobe. Click here for easy installation instructions.
Click on the image to download.
Is Your Website ADA Compliant and Does It Need to Be?
In 1994, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, prohibiting discrimination in “any place of public accommodation.” People with physical handicaps filed lawsuits against restaurants and other structures forcing them to install ramps and make related accommodations.
Now, 25 years later, a new trend has emerged where businesses are being sued under the ADA based on claims that their websites are places of public accommodation and are not fully accessible to people with various impairments. Often, these lawsuits center on the fact that, although a visually impaired person can use a “screen-reader” to convert text on a website to audio, if there is no subtitle to a picture or image, such a user would have no way of knowing that a picture or image exists, let alone what it might be.
My personal breakthrough on this one came about a year ago while serving on the City of Mexico Beach Planning and Zoning Board. One of the five board members I serve with has physical disabilities. We review the cases of business owners and homeowners alike seeking variances for their properties. One night, a store owner was making his case why he was not legally obligated to add a wheel chair ramp to the sidewalk being poured in front of his new shop, because there was one within the required distance, about 50 feet away or so. We listened as the councilman explained what it’s like to get his wheelchair in and out of his car, and how he needed the extra width afforded with a handicap parking space. He said he’d be a customer but if he had to do all that, then wheel 50 feet down the other way through the parking lot to access the ramp then wheel back up the sidewalk, he probably wouldn’t do it. The shop owner decided that, even though it wasn’t a legal requirement, it was the right thing to do and said he’d spend the extra $450 for the ramp. It was a good feeling to see people working together and compassionate towards the limitations that some others have.
At Kerigan Marketing, we began noticing how important this issue had become during the summer of 2018 when multiple Clerks of Courts across Florida were being sued for ADA non-compliance on their websites. There continue to be lawsuits filed all over the state of Florida.
Just last year, Winn-Dixie Supermarkets lost a trial based on claims that its website discriminated against visually impaired individuals…
We’re Working Hard At KMA, Here’s How You Can Help.
November 12, 2018
Hurricane Michael’s impact has tested us in ways we could never imagine, but it’s also bringing out the very best of who we are and what we can accomplish together. We are grateful for the outreach from our clients asking how they can help. Inside our November newsletter is a glimpse into some of the work our talented team has completed since the storm as well as a profile of some of the services we have available.
The greatest way you can help is through your work, so please let us know what we can do for you!
Meet Our Media Expert
Dana Kerigan FSU, Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.)
Dana Kerigan is a skilled negotiator that has saved companies over $25 million throughout her 20-year career. Clients save time and get the support of an expert when they have Dana negotiate their media contracts for radio and TV buys. She is also a Google Certified Partner and Facebook marketing specialist. If you are looking for a partner that will drive website traffic or help you acquire new customers fast with specialized Search or Pay Per Click campaigns, contact Dana for a free proposal, or to connect to discuss ideas.
It will take time for many of us to return to normal, but the momentum we’re creating together is a powerful force. Our rebuilding started immediately with projects like these we’ve completed since the storm:
Epidural Steroid Injection explained by Dr. Matthew Neumann
The Spine Center of Baton Rouge
Student Recruitment Brochure
Enterprise State Community College
Now Hiring Digital Campaign
Want to Help in the Recovery?
Your Work Is Our Biggest Blessing. The best way you can help the families of KMA is with your work. We’re ready so bring it on! Start a project or get in touch below.
Does your website load slowly?
June 23, 2017
Did you know that images account for more than 60% of the bytes on average needed to load a web page? More bytes = more loading time, so let’s take a look at a few tricks to help your website load as fast as possible by reducing the size of images uploaded.
For this example, I’m using an image downloaded from Google. It’s 4,776 pixels wide by 3,138 tall and just under 2MB. If I decide to upload that to the home page of my site, you can expect the time to load to increase significantly, especially on a mobile device. So, let’s fix that by using some free online resources and completing the following steps:
Resize the image. Depending on the structure of your website, you probably don’t need an image as big as the one I’ve downloaded. I’m going to resize mine down to 1,920 pixels wide (consult your website designer for the appropriate size to use).
Compress the image. If you’ve read about compression at all, you may have learned about lossy vs. lossless compression. Generally if you’re working with a large jpeg with a lot of colors, you’ll need to use lossy compression. On a scale from 0 (low quality) to 100% (high quality), you start to see actual quality degradation at a compression rate of about 80%. If you’re image has a lot of texture, you can safely reduce much more than that without much difference.
Here’s an example:
My Image at 100% (2,015KB)
My image at 80% compressed (237KB)
So, compress and resize your images! It took me less than 1 minute to compress the one above so it shouldn’t be too hard to add to your workflow.
It’s a very special time of year at KMA, and our office will be closed for business Friday, April 14, as we celebrate Good Friday.
Easter means more to us than just eggs and candy. It’s about the renewal of life. It is during this week that Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem heralded as Hosanna. But by Day Two there was turnover in the temple.
Last Sunday, I heard a story from our pastor about perspective when we feel our lives are being turned upside down.
At night on an empty beach, a woman watched as a huge Loggerhead turtle heaved herself up into the dunes to dig her nest and lay her eggs into it. Afraid of disturbing her, she left before the turtle was finished. What she found the next morning was seismic to say the least.
The woman returned to see if she could find the spot where her eggs lay hidden in the sand to mark the site as volunteers often do. But what she found were tracks leading in the wrong direction! Instead of heading back out to sea, the Loggerhead had wandered deeper into the dunes, already hot and dry in the morning sun.
There she found her: Exhausted, all but baked, her flippers caked with dried sand. The woman poured a little water onto her but she was far too heavy to budge. She ran to get a park ranger who returned with a Jeep. The ranger had the woman help flip the turtle onto her back. He then put a strap around the turtle and used the Jeep to begin dragging her, upside down. The woman watched horrified as the turtle’s mouth filled with sand and her head bent back as the Jeep made its way to the shore.
At the water’s edge, he unhooked her and turned her right side up. As the waves broke over her, she lifted her head slightly, moving her back legs. Other waves brought her further back to life until one of them made her light enough to find a foothold and push off, back into the sea.
Watching her swim slowly away and remembering her nightmare ride through the dunes, I reflected that it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.”
A story by Barbara Brown Taylor in The Other Side Magazine, March & April 2000
We hope you and yours experience the hope of new beginnings and feel the love of family during this joyful Easter holiday.
Panama City Beach Event Looks Into Bay County’s Bright Future
June 12, 2014
If you’ve been in the Panama City/Panama City area for more than a few years, you have seen the remarkably positive development we have experienced. From a new airport to Gulf Coast State College’s Advanced Technology Center, to Pier Park and Harley, it definitely seems like we are on a growth trajectory (Hallelujah!)
Yesterday, however, there was a unique opportunity to be in a room with some of Bay County’s leaders of industry, a few of the folks making this development happen, and to hear their thoughts on the future of Bay County.
The Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce Idea Works Committee hosted the event at the the Advanced Technology Center, on the campus of Gulf Coast State College, a panel discussion dedicated to the idea of growth in Bay County.
The panel included Neal Wade of the Economic Development Alliance, Jorge Gonzales from St. Joe Company, Wayne Stubbs from the Panama City Port Authority, Parker McClellan from Northwest Beaches International Airport, and Pamela Kidwell, from the Business Innovation Center.
Each business leader had his/her own perspective based on the matte, but the theme and tone of discussion was consistent – Bay County is going places. We are poised to really take off and become a newer, better version of ourself. No, we will never be Miami, but one thing is clear – we are the Redneck Riviera no longer.
I, for one, welcome this change, have longed for it, in fact. When considering the future, communities like ours have two choices: Grow or die. One only need drive through Callaway to see the effects of neglect on an area, then take a drive down the west end of Panama City Beach for contrast.
I can’t wait for the active adult community St. Joe is building. I welcome the expansion of the port and airport that is planned in coming years. I want to see more tech companies like Nanthealth (iSirona) make their home in my neighborhood.
This is good for all of us. There is no significant downside, and yesterday’s event was just another indicator that this ain’t your granddaddy’s Bay County anymore.