Jackie Zimmerman is the Queen of Getting Shit Done.
On an average day, you can find her designing and launching digital content for entrepreneurs, advocating for women-owned businesses, and generally helping everyone around her increase their productivity by about five hundred percent. She specializes in creating captivating web design, guiding online course creation, and implementing time-saving productivity systems.
As an expert in turning lemons into lemonade, Jackie has channeled two chronic illness diagnoses into a side career in patient advocacy. She founded a nonprofit community for women with IBD and/or ostomies called Girls with Guts, and her patient advocacy game is so strong she’s written eBooks, advocated in Washington, given keynote speeches and launched various platforms to support patient care.
Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Jackie knows how to convert creative energy into successful ventures, and she is passionate about inspiring small business owners to dream big. She is especially invested in helping women demand their worth and dominate their field; as such, she created The GSD Collective, a virtual rolodex of powerful women and women-run organizations which she can personally recommend.
Check out this snapshot from 2011. Web design has come along way!In late 2006, I graduated from undergrad and I was ready to be a real grownup with a real job. At this time I purchased JackieZimmerman.com so I could build a portfolio site and get a job in marketing. I knew I’d need to share my design work online in order to be considered so I bought the domain and started the job hunt.
I got my first “real” job in early 2007. I let JackieZimmerman.com fall to the way side. Fast forward a few years and it’s 2011 and I’m in grad school. I’m ready for the job hunt again, so I revive JackieZimmerman.com and by the time I finish grad school in 2012, I’ve got my next job lined up, the website had done it’s job and I let it fall to the way side again. This time I made a huge mistake. I let the domain go because I thought “I’ll never need a portfolio site again! I’ll never need another job again! I’m so brilliant with my young 20-something knowledge!”. I didn’t renew the domain and it was sold in a bulk auction. This was a decision I would come to regret for the next ELEVEN YEARS.
Check out this snap shot from 2011. Web design has changed a lot sine then.
As time passed, I realized there were still applications in which I could use that domain, primarily in the health advocacy work I do. I tried to get the domain back but now instead of the usual $12/year, JackieZimmerman.com was going for $750. No way. Never in a million years would I pay that much so I bought an alternative domain, JackieZimmerman.co. Throughout the years I would check in on the domain, at one point it was up to $1,500. Every once in a while I’d reach out to the existing holder and low ball them with an offer but they never went for it. I had all but given up on it.
Earlier this week I got an email from a domain seller, which I totally thought was spam. They said they would sell the domain for $200. I knew this was close to the cheapest I’d ever see it…but it’s still wildly inflated so I counter offered for $150. I was shocked to see they accepted my offer…but I still thought it was a scam. So before I paid them a dime, we used Escrow.com to broker the purchase. I wanted protections on my $150 in the event that it was, in fact, a scam. Today they seller shared the Transfer Code (which you need to transfer a domain from one owner or host to another). I put the code in and the transfer failed. I was SURE it was scam. I tried the transfer with another registrar, and sure as shit…it worked. It went through. After 11 long years of waiting and enough sarcastic doubt to fill a yacht… I owned JackieZimmerman.com again.
So that’s the story. It may not seem like a big deal but I never, ever thought I’d get that back again. Which leads me to the actual info I wanted to share here, which is why you NEVER sell/not renew a domain unless you are CERTAIN you will never want it again.
What happens after I don’t renew my domain
Most often abandoned domains are purchased in bulk by domain squatters. These companies buy your domain and they sit on it and sometimes you might go to them to try to buy it back and they will skyrocket the price because now you have created demand.
Sometimes when I would check in on JackieZimmerman.com the price would be around $750. If I checked it again within a few days it would be over $1,000. So they know when you’re searching online for that domain and they are adjusting the pricing accordingly.
How can I find out who owns my domain now?
You can use a service called WHOIS to look up registration info on your site. Back in the old days this was nice because you could reach out the person who owned it and try to broker a deal directly. However now, with privacy concerns, most of us buy domain privacy which hides our personal info from the world wide web. This means its harder to contact domain owners, and sometimes it’s impossible. If a domain squatter has your domain after buying in bulk, you can reach out to them with the email address you find in the info listed. They may or may not respond but they will always inflate the price.
How can I get my domain it back?
The short answer is you can’t.
The long answer is you can get it back quickly if you’re willing to fork out the money for it but we’re talking about something that usually costs less than $20/yr getting inflated up to thousands of dollars. It might be worth it to you but it wasn’t for me.
What you can also do is purchase a similar domain, if you recall I purchased JackieZimmerman.co. I’ve had domain registrars through the years reach out to me on that site, and offer to sell me the matching .com. They all still wanted too much money. The domain was bought and sold about 9 times over the last 11 years buy domain squatters. It all comes down to cash.
I typically recommend that you say goodbye to that domain, and get something different. It can be heartbreaking but it’s so difficult to get them back.
How can I prevent losing my domain?
AUTO PAY IS YOUR FRIEND! Once you have a domain you care about, set that puppy to autopay and you won’t have to worry about losing it. Most registrars give you a 60 day grace period to change your mind after you do not renew your domain but once those 2 months have passed you might as well kiss it goodbye.
If your domain is bundled with your website on your hosting company, make sure that if/when you cancel your hosting plan that you still own your domain.
I typically recommend just keeping domains for at least a few years even if there is no website directly connected to it. For $12-20/year its a worthwhile investment in your ideas. If the domain is your name, I recommend putting that sucker on autopay and never looking back. It’s far to hard to secure your name in the first place, unless you have the most unique name on the planet, and you never know when you’ll need to promote yourself.
And MOST IMPORTANTLY….Own your own shit. Never let a designer/friend/wizard purchase your domain on your behalf.
As I enter year three as a Coschedule user I have grown increasingly thankful for its service. Like I mentioned in my post below from last year, Coschedule really saved my butt during the beginning months of the pandemic and continues to do so. As my life and my business changes, I have found that I am able to take the brain space I need away from social media post planning because I know that ReQueue has my channels covered.
I’m actually considering taking a step back from social media for a while, and as a business owner this isn’t an easy choice to make. There are so many considerations for visibility and leads and revenue and and and…that alone is overwhelming. Like many people I know that social media doesn’t always give me good vibes and I think it’s time to take a break from it. This is something I have wanted to do for almost a year but couldn’t quite wrap my brain around it. How do I leave social media? What if my business suffers? Where will I market?
The good news is that those are all choices that I don’t have to make right now because I have Coschedule as a member of my team. Right now I plan to load up messages for the next few months, plan a few more for ReQueue and as I take my well needed mental break from social media, my business will still be as visible as ever.
These tools aren’t new to Coschedule but the driving force behind using them has changed for me. It used to be about saving time. I could schedule posts across all my platforms and get analytics all at once, saving me loads of time. But now I can step away from my channels all together, and know that they’re in good hands because I will set myself up for a seamless transition in and out of the hands-on act of curating my content.
While I step away from social media, I think I plan to focus on writing more blogs and the WordPress integration with Coschedule will make it a total breeze to publish those blogs without having to log on to my channels, keeping me blissfully free from scrolling.
I’ve spent the past two years bragging on Coschedule and it’s amazing features and I still think its the top social media scheduling systems. But this year I appreciate it for another reason. Coschedule gives me flexibility and reassurance and addition to its features. And for that…I thank you Coschedule.
UPDATE: One Year Later
Last year I made this post about Coschedule, the scheduler I use to post to social media. And I’m here to say…I’m still in love with this scheduler. I still love it for all the reasons I wrote below but after consistently using it for my business for a year, I’ve discovered a few more!
1. Coschedule has saved my butt during this pandemic because it keeps posting evergreen content for me. I have bee admittedly neglecting my social channels during this time because they are just one more thing right now on an endless to do list that got much longer during a global pandemic. I can’t really explain why the to do list keeps growing when every one else’s seems to be slowing, but having a bunch of posts put into ReQueue has made it so my channels are full of crickets. Sure, even I’m tired of some of the posts that keep poppin’ up but at least something is popping up. It’s definitely reminded me I need to add more to ReQueue.
2. Having templates for the most common types of posts/campaigns that I run has saved my butt for when I’ve forgotten about things that need to go out. This hasn’t happened on the Queen of GSD channels but I also run my social media for my advocacy through Coschedule and when I need to promote live chats or other online events, I already have the promotion scheduled saved, so all I have to do is load it up, change a few dates and hit publish. I have sincerely appreciated this feature a few times over the last few months when pandemic brain has let a few things slip. Also…you can run multiple brands through one account on Coschedule which is a massive perk for me. It helps justify the cost and keep everything organized under one login.
3. I believe Coschedule cares about small businesses in general but if you read my review before you saw that I got a dope discount for writing this review. I think Coschedule is incredibly affordable as it stands but offering 50% for a review is an unheard of, amazing deal. By updating this post, I get another year for 50% off. And here’s the thing…I would have updated and ranted about Coschedule ANYWAY. I never promote tools I don’t use personally and I think it would be easy for their company to offer a one and done promotion and it would be REALLY easy to cut those promotions during a global pandemic. But I think Coschedule doubles down on small businesses and keeps their promises.
So the main takeaways are that:
Coschedule has saved my butt so many times
Coschedule is so affordable and helpful you’d be silly not to give it a try.
Happy Anniversary Coschedule. Here’s to a lifetime of our shared love.
You know that feeling where you’re searching for something to meet your needs but you keep coming up unsuccessful? I know that’s some seriously existential shit but looking for what you need and not finding it is something we all encounter. My current, most frustrating searches include: finding my keys, the perfect burger, a dog that won’t shed, and a headband that will actually stay on my head. If I start searching for things to meet my needs in business there’s a good chance that I’ll never stop looking. One thing that we all need more of and can’t seem to find is time, which is not a revolutionary thought but when I’m looking at tools in business, I’m looking for what can save me time, or help me regain time. Or even turn back time..right, Cher?
I’m a total sucker for trying out new tools when I see them. I always want to know that the systems I’m using are the most efficient, cost-effective and frankly that they’re the coolest ones out there. A few years ago I was working for a company where I inherited their social channels. The system they were using was inefficient for the number of posts I needed to make and it wouldn’t connect with all the social platforms available. I started the hunt for the perfect social media management tool and I checked out all the big hitters in the space but they weren’t what I needed. They didn’t do EVERYTHING I was looking for. Until…I found the one. I’ve never been more geeked to sit on an info webinar as I was when I found Coschedule. Coschedule is so much more than a social media posting tool, its a complete management system for all things publishing/outreach/editorial. We’re not just talking social posting, but blog management, enews campaigns, marketing campaign tracking and then some. And then they said the one word that made me swoon even harder. Templates. In Coschedule you can make social posting templates, task list templates, templates for your templates. Templates = Time saved. Just call me T-Pain because I am in love with a scheduler. We used Coschedule at my former employer and each new feature was like a gift from the gods. I loved it so much but when I started my own company, I did what we all do…I looked for a great free solution. There are great free solutions out there, but none of them did EVERYTHING. So I headed to Coschedule, signed up for the free trial just to make sure it was as dope as I remember. And it is. I dragged my feet in order to save a few dollars but what I saved in dollars, I paid for in time. Don’t be like me. Using Coschedule again feels like home…which might be weird to you, but for me having a system that works so perfectly and meets all my needs is exactly what I’m looking for.
Why is CoSchedule the Bee’s Knees?
Let’s say you post a blog every month but then you schedule 2 posts leading up to the blog on 3 different channels and 2 posts when you launch it on 3 different channels and then you repost it a few months later. That’s almost 20 individual posts that you have to schedule each time. In Coschedule, you can create a template for this posting cadence and then just fill in the pictures and any additional copy. Magic, right? Here’s what I love most about Coschedule:
Social posting, blog scheduling and email campaigns in one place. A full blown editorial calendar
It’s very easy to copy/duplicate social posts
Seeing everything I have scheduled for the month in one glance AND it’s color coded
The Idea section, where you can list out blog/post ideas you have and set them on a back burner so you don’t forget
Analytics in one place
Blog management from inside Coschedule
Here’s a few pics of the interface in all its glory. There is a bit of a learning curve when using Coschedule but only because there isn’t anything else out there like it but once you learn it, you’re going to be just as smitten as I am. If you need help learning how to use Coschedule, they have great help documents or I can help you get it set up. They offer two free weeks to give it a try and don’t require a credit card, which just makes me like them even more. So check out Coschedule and thank me later.
A lot of my clients have been getting new headshots (get it ladies!), and many of them have asked if I have any recommendations for what to ask the photographer for. And it just so happens I do.
For your personal headshots, do what ever makes you feel confident and happy but for use on your website we need to think bigger. No really, I mean we need bigger photos! A headshot is usually a square photo but if you want those large, banner-type photos on your site, a square headshot is not going to cut it.
Photos for hero images or banners
When you talk to your photog, ask for shots that are landscape and have a full background behind you. If you want to use them in the hero section at the top or as a background on anything we need more stuff behind you versus a close up. Vertical/portrait photos often don’t work well for websites because computer monitors are landscape. Portrait photos work well for lots of other applications (headshots, social media, etc.) but we need to make sure you walk out of your shoot with ALL the photos you need to shine online.
In my perfect world you’d walk away from your photo shoot with the following:
Landscape photos where you are at the left, right, and center of the shot. Sometimes we don’t want you right in the center, so options are nice.
A few different backgrounds. Some that have casual stuff behind you like a kitchen, office, living room, trees, etc. Some that are plain colors.
Shots where your full body is in the frame in addition to shots where just your torso is shown.
This picture of Mary Catalogna is a great example of a landscape picture that would work great as a hero image. It is zoomed out enough to show more of the background behind her. I’d love to have this shot also with Mary either to the left or right.
This picture of Wendy Garvin Mayo is beautiful but there isn’t enough background behind it to be use it as a full width hero image. The background is very complex, so I wouldn’t be able to redraw it or recreate parts to add to it. If Wendy’s photographer had stepped back, made Wendy a little smaller in the frame, and included more of the background this picture would be perfect.
Your photog is going frame your face or body in the way that is best for the shot, but it’s not always what’s best for our needs on your website. If they take any close headshots ask them to also take a few shots where your shoulders are both fully in the frame. We can always crop it smaller but what happens is I end up having to redraw shoulders because it looks weird if your shoulders are randomly cut off. It’s easier and looks much better if your head and shoulders are included in the original shot.
In my perfect world we’d have:
Different poses that include your whole head/hair and both your shoulders and arms.
Traditional headshots but also more casual and relaxed poses.
Standing or full body shots in addition to sitting poses. (We don’t often use the full body, but it gives me more to work with and then we can crop where it makes the most sense for the website.)
This picture of Cazandra Campos-McDonald is great because we have her full body AND it’s on a neutral/solid background. If I needed to turn this into a banner image, I can easily add on more of that solid beige color to make the photo work.
This picture of Lisa is great for a headshot but isn’t ideal for a website. Though she looks amazing, you can see her hair is out of the frame as well as one of her shoulders and both of her arms.
Remember! We can always take away from photos but it’s much harder and often impossible to add.
If you collect ANYT info on your website the answer is a resounding YES.
✔ That means if you collect credit card info you’re a yes. ✔ If you have a very simple contact form you’re a yes. ✔ If your site collects cookies you’re a yes. ✔ Don’t know if your site collects cookies? You’re still probably a yes.
My business isn’t very big, do I still need one?
The laws they are a-changin’ and the rules are changing so rapidly it’s almost impossible to keep up. You know how you’re always getting those emails from companies saying their privacy policies have changed? Changing laws and best practices are the reasons for those emails. The CliffsNotes version is that each state has its own laws but that doesn’t mean you’re immune if your state doesn’t have one of these laws. You could still get sued by someone you work with who is in another state. Still following? Privacy Policies are legal documents that let people know what you plan to do with the information you collect on their websites and that means ANY information. The video below explains this really well.
Ok fine, I’ll just snag one for free on the internet.
I would advise against this. Sure, we all love free stuff but let’s be real, you get what you pay for. Free policies are not always legally sound, you may not know how to customize it for your business AND are you really going to stay on top of the rapidly changing laws? Probs not.
This seems like a lot of work for something that may never happen.
New logos are exciting. When you release your new logo your vision and your business start to come to life. You’ve got your jpegs and maybe a transparent gif. You can put your logo all over the internet and maybe even on some swag. But let me ask you this…could you blow your logo up and put it on a billboard?
If you received any files from your designer that end is these file extensions, you can have that billboard.
These are editable, vector-based file types. Editable being the key word. This means if you ever need to enlarge your logo to the size of your SUV for a car wrap, you can. If you don’t, no car wraps for you. Let me explain…
Here’s a brief lesson in file types
There are two main types of image files: vector and bitmap (pixels).
Vectors are scalable to any size and I mean ANY size. All text is vector-based. Line drawings, shapes, and many illustrations are vector-based items. You want a vector version of your logo so you can scale to any size and so you can edit the original file easily.
These are vector-based file types: pdf, eps, svg, ai.
A vector file can be exported to create a pixel-based file.
Bitmap is the old school term for pixels. Every digital photo has pixels, you’ve seen them when you try to blow up a picture and it gets all blurry and pixelated. You cannot scale a pixel-based image to any size. They have limitations on how big they can get and the images you take on your phone will NOT scale to a billboard. Or your car. Or to a poster. You can probably get a screen saver and be happy with the quality.
These are pixel-based file types: jpg, png, gif, tiff.
A pixel-based file CAN NOT be exported to create a vector-based file.
Ok cool info, but really why do I care about these file types?
You need them because one day when you go to a different/new designer you have the files that they need to create all the stuff you want. I have spent lots of time (and your money) recreating logos because my clients were never given the correct file types. The reality is that you will probably never need these editable file types, you don’t probably don’t even have software to open them, but your future designer will need them and it will make them super happy to have the right files from the start.
My logo protocol
I always produce logos as vector-based designs because it not only offers endless options for scalability, but it makes it incredibly easy to produce other file types, and edit the original work.
This is what I give most of my clients if I’ve created them a logo
Editable pdf, eps, svg, and ai files
jpegs in full color & black and white in approx 5 different sizes
gifs in full color & black and white with transparent backgrounds in approx 5 different sizes
pngs in full color & black and white with transparent backgrounds in approx 5 different sizes
logo in square file size
I give my clients between 20-30 different versions of their logo so that way they always have what they need and if they don’t, they can easily get it.
What if I don’t have editable files?
Your designer should be giving you a SLEW of logo files. So many that you’re overwhelmed because this means you’ll have everything you’ll ever need moving forward. If you have a designer that has not given you these file types, I highly recommend you email and ask them for editable versions of your logo in a pdf, eps, svg, and ai. And specify editable. I have received editable files that have jpegs pasted inside them. That doesn’t help me and delays the process.
Your designer should not have a problem with sharing these files with you unless you signed a contract stating that you don’t own your files. PS: Always own your files.
If your designer has fallen off the face of the earth and you have no way to get your original file, we can recreate it and solve this problem once and for all. If you’ve gotten into a bind with your logo, send me an email and we can get you on the right track.