News + Ideas

4x3 News

4x3 partnered with The Heads of State on a web design project and proposal for our client, Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts. The professional relationship between the two studios has allowed for us to create a user-friendly, beautiful, and functional site. 

As the technology partner, 4x3 works directly with The Heads of State from the beginning of each project, to determine the scope, define the site architecture, and consult on functionality. The Heads of State provides creative solutions, and 4x3 takes the lead on the programming and development.

"4x3 is an ideal partner. The first thing that stands out to us is their clear, organized, and comprehensive proposal/scope process - all of the components of the project were clearly outlined and determined before we ever started the work, and once the project was underway they carried everything out to a T. Everything was done on-time and on-budget, with progress and updates clearly communicated along the way. They took our vision and made it a reality. They also pivoted quickly and easily when our client had random requests throughout the process and got back to us quickly with questions and changes. We look forward to working with them again!"

Joanna Leigh Simon | Producer | The Heads of State

Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts

Usdan is a premier summer camp for the arts for pre-kindergarten to high school, specializing in programs that emphasize creativity, theater and dance, leadership, environmentalism and music. With nearly 70 classes and over 1,500 students each summer, Usdan guides every camper on a path of individual and creative growth, with the help of a team of artists and talented arts educators. The Usdan approach is distinctively interactive and hands-on, rooted in a balance between creative process, artistic practice, and craft on the one hand, and final product and performance on the other.

4x3 worked closely with The Heads of State to create a completely custom Drupal CMS for Usdan's dynamic and content-rich website. The CMS is completely responsive in design, assuring the site looks equally great on all screen sizes and devices.

About The Heads of State

The Heads of State is an innovative design firm that blends a fun atmosphere and challenging projects with a no-nonsense motto: It’s all about the work. They are focused on the intersection of design, illustration, branding and entrepreneurship.

Visit The Heads of State's website » 

June 26, 2017

4x3 Ideas

Email hosting and management is an oft-overlooked asset to a company's brand image, but invaluable in communicating the right tone of professionalism and reliability. 4x3 has worked with several clients to host and manage email in a consistent and secure manner, ensuring its services match the needs of their customers, both big and small.

Why Email Hosting and Management?

Email is essential for business communication, yet the way both employees and customers connect with the service has changed throughout the years. Nowadays, people expect more out of their email service, and entreprise-level communication infrastructure should reflect such growing needs. Not only should your email service be flexible enough to be viewed on both mobile and desktop, but also consider the endless storage capacity email hosting offers. We've come to anticipate access to information at the touch of our fingertips, and email should be no different.

Using a hosted email is a remarkably effective and efficient solution for any company. While there are several free email services out there, businesses are more suited to utilize email hosting to create a unique, customized address for their company. For example, the utilization of a yourname @ yourbusiness.com format. This helps convey professionalism, instilling brand trust and loyalty in prospective customers. Hosted email can enhance a business' branding so your company's name will be prominently highlighted, while accomodating the flexibility and possibility of creating countless email addresses for employees and website maintenance.

4x3 provides two options for email hosting, Microsoft's Office365 or Google's GSuite (Gmail for Work). Either are great options, but it depends on your company's size, needs and budget.

Microsoft

Microsoft Office365 is a full-service solution that can be scalable to your business' size in terms of being a subscription that can contain many licenses, adjusting to your employee number growing or shrinking. If you have an existing software package with Microsoft, such as already using Microsoft Office Suite and want an upgrade or to add an enterprise level email service, Office365 is the best choice. Exchange Online is included, with 50GB storage for your email inbox and built-in spam/malware protection, as well as the ability to hold emails for legal purposes (like auditing or compliance). Office365 gives you the ability to manage licenses and billing in a portal, all in one place. A plus is that Microsoft constantly updates, so new services end up being included in your Office365 subscription like Microsoft Teams which aids collaboration. Moreover, you can add multiple domains and email aliases for Office365, and have the option to create a management login without a license for 4x3 to expertly and easily manage your email service.

Google

If you prefer Gmail's interface and don't mind your suite of services (Google Docs, Slides, Sheets and Drive, Calendar) to be solely online, GSuite is a good choice. It differs from the more traditional Microsoft Office365 in its approach to collaboration and automation. Google's suite of services is made for multiple people to work together on the same document, presentation, or spreadsheet, incorporating changes in real-time. You can also video call and chat within its services, to facilitate collaboration. GSuite provides a simple, friendly experience that is easy to learn for first-time users, complete with handy features like automated sorting of your inbox into categories (preset into sections like updates/promotions/social or custom created by you). Additionally, there are a few niche services GSuite offers like Forms and Sites that might be helpful for your company's needs, like having to send out surveys or creating intranet for employee reference and use. However, it differs from Office365 for administrators managing email since you have to pay for an additional email address for access, and provides 30GB of storage for your inbox.

Non-Profit

Both GSuite and Microsoft provide no cost to low cost solutions for 501(c)(3) non-profits. For instance, GSuite can be a good solution for qualified nonprofits since it offers unlimited email addresses. Meanwhile, Office 365 Business Essential is free for non-profits (up to 300 users with solely online access to MS Office products and Outlook) while other plans are available with discounted rates.

4x3 specializes in setting up your domain and email accounts, migrating existing email to a hosted solution, troubleshooting, and managing your subscription within GSuite or Office365 to ensure your email service is running smoothly. Best of all, the email hosting and management that 4x3 offers can be accessed anytime, securely and reliably. Need to check a quick detail the night before a crucial client meeting? You can simply log into a user-friendly interface without worrying about your email host experiencing any faulty errors like downtime.

About Norris Sales

4x3 provides email hosting and management for Norris Sales Company, a construction equipment distributor who facilitates purchases between customers and industry manufacturers. Norris Sales started with Office365 Exchange Online for all their users, which was just the email service. Prior to using Exchange Online, Norris Sales had been a traditional Microsoft Office products company for many years, using off-the-shelf licenses. However, since then, Microsoft has moved their products to be subscription based, so utilizing Office365 for their existing Microsoft Office products was an easy decision. When it came time to upgrade computer systems and licenses, Norris Sales made the move to add licenses for the Business Premium plan. Allowing for licenses to transition smoothly from Exchange to Business Premium is exactly why Office365 is ideal for their needs.

With a sizeable staff and clients from both sides of the construction industry, Norris Sales needed a large-scale, flexible solution that broadcast professionalism. Email hosting and management was a natural extension to accommodate Norris Sales' needs for personalized email addresses, each for different uses -- from staff addresses, branding purposes, and site organization.

Years of Experience in Email Management

Let 4x3 help you in your company's transition to email hosting and management. We have years of experience providing our clients with safe and reliable email hosting and management, perfectly customized to their entreprise needs. Contact us today!

June 19, 2017

4x3 Ideas

At 4x3, our SEO services are designed to increase client rankings organically on major search engines. For our client, Arizona Opera, 4x3 has developed a custom, fully functional website to manage content in an organized and SEO-friendly manner.

What is SEO?

Short for "search engine optimization", SEO is a online marketing discipline applied to websites to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness on search engines. SEO allows businesses and individuals to facilitate organic (non-paid) traffic to their website.

4x3 works closely with Arizona Opera to optimize their content and nurture organic SEO for their website. To do this, we have focused on 6 simple SEO techniques to increase their ranking and visitor traffic.

1. organized and structured site

SEO isn't just about building search engine-friendly websites. It's about making your site user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Having years of experience in web design and development, we created Arizona Opera's website in a way that search engines can understand. Simple URL paths and site maps are key!  

2. mention of locations

With approximately 3.2 billion people online, it is likely that at least several thousand are searching for any specific keyword at any time. A major way to target your audience and push yourself to the top page of Google is to mention your location.

Unless an Internet user is purposefully searching for general information about an opera or opera house they will not find Arizona Opera. As such, most people will search for a more narrow term like: "opera house arizona" (577,000 results) or "opera house phoenix az" (234,000 results). Luckily, Arizona Opera has a distinct advantage in this category simply because their location is present in their opera company name, which significantly helps with narrowed Google searches.

Arizona Opera is on the top page of Google because 4x3 has helped the opera company monopolize many searches in Phoenix, Tuscan and surrounding Arizona townships.

3. use of keywords in titles, headers, meta descriptions 

The same principle of mentioning your location on your website can be applied to titles, headers and meta descriptions as well. 

Whenever we update content for Arizona Opera we consciously include keywords about specific performances, ticket sales, events and press coverage that the opera company wishes to highlight. By repeating keywords whenever practical (especially in areas that search engines pull information from) Arizona Opera gains the top Google ranking.   

4. implementation of mobile site

It's important to remember that SEO has both technical and creative elements. 

Responsive design is a necessary feature for any modern website. In fact, Google has new mobile friendly test that can inform visitors if your site has a responsive design. This can inevitably affect your website's credibility, local SEO, click-through rate and lead generation. Google has even gone as far to state that responsive web design is the recommended mobile website configuration and penalizes any site that is not responsive.

5. engagement on social media

SEO is all about web presence. Active websites will always be favored over inactive sites. While this applies to website content, it can also refer to social media. Websites with active (and multiple) social media platforms attached to the website see additional traffic and credibility given to both their website and search engine ranking. 

Arizona Opera is extremely active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Soundcloud, which in turn drives additional traffic to the website and generates organic SEO. 

6. creation of content with a long shelf-life

Content that is consistently relevant (not time limited) can be searched months or years after posting. This kind of content, when found, will bring visitors to your website and then drive them to your more recent content. Timeless content always gives you a better chance at competing for the top slot on Google.

For Arizona Opera, we help archive of all past opera performances. When an opera fan searches for The Magic Flute or Rigoletto they are drawn to the Arizona Opera website where they can then search for more recent performances of their favorite operas. Visitors will always find what they want while Arizona Opera gets the views.

The Results

Interested in SEO?

Whether you need a website designed with SEO in mind or you just need help boosting your Google ranking, 4x3 is here to help! We utilize the most up-to-date methodologies to optimize search engine indexing.

Read more about 4x3's SEO services »

June 12, 2017

Website Launch

4x3 worked closely with URugby to create a fully functional website to promote invitational matches and upcoming events for the newly formed USA Islanders Rugby team. 

The USA Islanders is a team of USA Eagles and potential national caliber rugby players holding a resident status or USA passport with island heritage including Hawaii, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa among many others. Former USA Rugby star Vahafolau Esikia has been selected as the Head Coach, along with Tui Osborne and Alatini Saulala.

WORKING WITH THE USA ISLANDERS

4x3 was brought into the project by URugby (as their marketing arm) to handle branding for the team, web design and event marketing for the upcoming invitational match on August 10. 

The website features original logo and branding for the USA Islanders team. Organized by teams, matches and news updates, this website is a hub of information about individual USA players and press and will feature a cool marketing campaign matching USA Islander players against player from the mighty Saracens, a pro team based in London. The Saracens and the USA Islanders will meet in August 2017 in Bermuda.

With simple navigation and custom modules, the USA Islanders website is the epitome of functional and user-friendly. 

Visit the USA Islanders Website »
Check out 4x3's portfolio »

Coming to Bermuda this August!

The USA Islanders are to face off against the top London pro club, the Saracens, as a charity event in Bermuda. The game, scheduled for August 10, and will raise money for Beyond Rugby Bermuda.

Beyond Rugby Bermuda (BRB) is a partnership between the Family Center and Bermuda Rugby Football Union. Working with kids at Cedarbridge High School and Dellwood Middle School, BRB uses core values of rugby help children in Bermuda gain opportunities in life, including graduation. 

June 5, 2017

4x3 News

Relevant and timeless content is invaluable when developing a brand. 4x3 develops custom, fully functional sites to manage content in a SEO-friendly and organized manner.

Developing Arizona Opera

In 2014, Arizona Opera was looking to upgrade its web presence and reorganize the large amount of content on its website. 4x3 partnered with Cause Design on the redesign, redevlopment and rearchitecture of azopera.org. The Arizona Opera website required an organized way to publish and manage everything from news and press releases to performances and events. 

4x3 was up for the challenge!

4x3 developed a full site rebuild in Drupal, creating an inviting, user-friendly website for the opera's many visitors and stakeholders. We also integrated custom Drupal modules and and intelligent navigation tools to ease the burden of updates for this content-rich website and enhance the functionality of the site. The site can now be managed without any high-level programming expertise while remaining while fully incorporating responsive web design.

Due to the heavily content oriented aspect of the website, a high level or organization needed to be applied during the development process. We worked closely with Arizona Opera to create a detailed site map to guarantee a simple layout and easily navigated internal pages. This level organization was implemented in every step of development. 

About Arizona Opera

Arizona Opera, originally the Tucson Opera Company, was founded in 1971 by a dedicated group of opera enthusiasts. 

Since its inaugural year, Arizona Opera has produced over 170 fully-staged operas and concerts. The company’s artistic history is rich with a blend of opera’s traditional repertoire featuring baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas, and American operas. Arizona Opera preforms complete seasons in both Tucson and Phoenix.

About Cause Design

Cause Design Company was founded by Principal and Creative Director Rodd Whitney, an award-winning designer who has more than 20 years of experience at the intersection of design and the corporate and non—profit sectors.

Years of Experience in Web Development

4x3 has been developing websites since it was founded. As an integral part of our web design process, 4x3 implements thoughtful web development during all phases or building and programming (or reprogramming) a website; including Drupal, eCommerce, and custom CMS.

May 29, 2017

Pages

Like what you see?

tell us about your project »