Engagement Strategies
We share our thoughts on how best to engage your audience, covering topics from video best practices to project management, and even the best place to get a beer in Columbia Heights. If you love our ideas, or if you have better ones, let us know.

Blog

We love to share our ideas on creative content, video production, responsive design, web and mobile development, user engagement, and the best place to get a beer in Columbia Heights. If you love our ideas (or if you don't) leave a comment!

The Power of a Hook and 5 Ways to Write Them
Teighe Thorsen
BLOG
The Power of a Hook and 5 Ways to Write Them
When it comes to short form storytelling (like a blog post or animated video), there is a pretty standard path to follow. Start with a hook, follow it up with supporting information, and end with a call to action.
The #1 Reason Your Social Media Marketing Isn't Working
Teighe Thorsen
BLOG
The #1 Reason Your Social Media Marketing Isn't Working
You’re an entrepreneur or a small organization and you know you need online and social media marketing, but you don’t have the time to learn a new trade or the resources to invest in a professional digital marketing agency.
Waterways NESP Marketing Campaign
Heming Nelson
BLOG
Solution: Animation to Tell Your Story
4Site produced a series of entertaining animations to help the Waterways Council publicize the critical benefits its members provide, and to get Congress to fix dams on the Mississippi that are collapsing.
Viral Video Marketing DC
Teighe Thorsen
BLOG
Anatomy of a Viral Video (Part 2)
The Tools Know Your Medium Viral videos are largely shared via personal computers, phones, tablets, and other fairly small devices over youtube or vimeo (when was the last time you saw #LikeAGirl or Will It Blend? at the theater?).
Made a video--1 million views overnight MEME
Teighe Thorsen
BLOG
Anatomy of a Viral Video (Part 1)
So you want to make a viral video. You’re in luck! There are, in fact, a few tried and true strategies for creating a video with traction, and you don’t have to be rolling in money to do it.
4Site videotaping an Event on Capitol Hill
Heming Nelson
BLOG
5 Tips for a Successful Event Video or Webcast
Webcasts are a cost-effective way to augment your outreach while generating content for your site and social media channels. Webcasting increased in popularity with the proliferation of services that offer live stream options.
Screen cap of a Geekbot Slack meeting screen.
Heather Schneider
BLOG
Sit down for your stand-up meeting with Geekbot
Here’s how 4Site made our update meetings more efficient using a great Slack tool called Geekbot.
Wufoo Site header with buttons and the Wufoo dinosaur.
Michael Wilson
BLOG
How to export Wufoo submissions from ALL forms
Today, I was asked to support a marketing effort by exporting all the email addresses of registrants for a client who had 99 forms on Wufoo. The problem with this, was that Wufoo does not offer bulk form export.
Google Adwords Logo
Michael Wilson
BLOG
Google Adwords in an iFrame
Recently, I was brought in to a project to figure out why adwords wasn't logging conversions for a campaign landing page. The way it was set up, was that the landing page was the target for the adwords links...
Drupal 8
Michael Wilson
BLOG
Drupal 8 is ready for prime time, but here's what you should plan for
You may have noticed our new website (launched but being improved), and we built it on Drupal 8!
Network Solutions Logo
Michael Wilson
BLOG
Network Solutions is Terrible
NetworkSolutions is a well-known registrar.  We've used it for years, but its sketchy in the way they attempt to trick you into paying for services you don't need, their support is horrible, and their zone file management is buggy.
Hostgator Logo
Michael Wilson
BLOG
99 Problems But a Plus Ain't One
Do you use Hostgator?  Sadly, so do we.  Many years ago, Hostgator was a nice "budget"-level webhost for smaller clients and they offered support exceeding what you paid.  Now-a-days, things are bad.
Why Video Matters image
Bryan Casler
BLOG
Why Video Matters
Americans have an insatiable desire for online videos. We collectively watch over 150 Billion videos per month, that’s 94% more than in 2014. And 20% of those views are on mobile.
Office workers abstractly networked overlaid on a cloud
Heather Schneider
BLOG
How to Run a Successful Online Meeting
How to run a successful online meeting While nothing is as good as face-to-face meetings, as a vendor, it’s often more efficient to gather a group of people together in an online setting.
LinkedIn logo
Michael Wilson
BLOG
LinkedIn is about to get more restrictive for development
On February 12, 2015, Adam Trachtenberg, Director of Developer Network at LinkedIn, announced in a blog post that LinkedIn would be restricting access to their API. This is bad news for many developers...
Drupal and Wordpress logo superimposed over SEO analytics graph
Feld Giesy
BLOG
Wordpress, Drupal and SEO
Something that’s seen a resurgence of late is the importance of SEO and site/page ranking (though if your job revolves around content, you’d probably say it never left).
Hubdub brand graphic
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
HubDub Theming: A "How To" Guide
Previously, we announced our new interactive video module for Drupal, HubDub. We followed that up with a more detailed under-the-hood look at how HubDub works...
Hubdub branded graphic
Michael Wilson
BLOG
Inside HubDub, Part 2
Last week, we announced our new interactive video module for Drupal, HubDub. We followed that up with a more detailed under-the-hood look at how HubDub works.
Hubdub mini infographic
John Shortess
BLOG
Inside HubDub, Part 1
As we announced previously, 4Site has just released HubDub, a Drupal module that leverages the jPlayer framework and Popcorn JS to overlay web content...
Hubdub brand with drupal drop in background
John Shortess
BLOG
Introducing HubDub, Interactive Video for Drupal
A little over a year ago, we announced Dub, our custom interactive video player, which allows you to overlay web content—such as social media, maps, or web forms—directly onto a video as it plays.
LinkedIn Calendar header image
Michael Wilson
BLOG
Save the Date! Event Calendars with LinkedIn Integration
While we love showing off our work on the Our Work page of our website, not every project gets its chance to shine.
Glass slipper
Feld Giesy
BLOG
E-Commerce is E-Complicated
I was recently tasked with the creation of a basic e-commerce site - one of the small, less-than-twenty-items variety.
Redbooth logo
Heather Schneider
BLOG
Ensuring Successful Projects with 4Site
Ensuring that your project’s success is about more than just enlisting a team with top tier design and programming skills, it’s also about keeping a project on time and in scope...
Drupal 8 banner
John Shortess
BLOG
Drupal 8 is Coming! Eventually.
It’s been a while since my last Drupal 8 update — what’s happened in the last 17 months?
Video camera recording
Heming Nelson
BLOG
Content Tactics for Your Video
In the absence of a strategy, here are a few simple things to leverage your video content You’ve heard it before, video is the most important format for conveying your brand and your message on the Internet, especially if you are a non-profit.
5 things I wish Convio could do
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
5 Things I Wish Convio Could Do
As a web developer, I work with many publishing systems, from open source CMSs like Drupal or Wordpress, to CRMs like Salsa, Salesforce, and OnePage, and, as you might expect, they each have their strengths and opportunities.
Word hacked overlaid over hackers viral code
Michael Wilson
BLOG
Hacked!?
If your site is using a CMS (Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.), there is always the possibility of it being hacked; in the last two years here at 4Site, I’ve had to repair nearly a dozen websites from new (and existing, to a lesser degree) support clients.
Pasta on a board
BLOG
Faces of 4Site - Feld Giesy, Developer
I do a bit of everything here at 4Site. Unfortunately, that also includes writing about myself--something I’m not particularly good at.
Heathers beloved dogs
BLOG
Faces of 4Site - Heather Schneider, Project Manager
In this series, we will be featuring the different staff members of 4Site Studios. We asked each member of the team to answer a few questions about themselves to give you a sense of who they are.
Pile of legos
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
Inventing the future of… websites.
You know how every box of LEGO® comes with that pretty picture on the front of what it’s supposed to look like at the end...and how you might build it that way once, but just once?
Social media words displayed tag cloud style
Riche Zamor
BLOG
5 Ways You Should Be Optimizing Your Campaigns for Social Media
For many of 4Site Studio’s clients, and most nonprofits, social media is becoming the dominant channel driving traffic to their websites...
Colored pencils laid out in a spiral pattern, tips in
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
Content & Design; content drives design
Occasionally I’ll get complete creative freedom on a project, room to do whatever I choose. Sounds amazing, right? A designer’s dream?
Infographic showing process of journey map
Riche Zamor
BLOG
Content Strategy for Knowledge Management within Organizations
I recently wrote an article for Information Outlook, a trade publication for library scientists, exploring how to foster greater knowledge sharing among internal stakeholders of an organization...
Bottle of beer
Heming Nelson
BLOG
Where Can I Get a Good Beer in Columbia Heights?
By Zach Brooks and Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch (guest bloggers) Two Washington, DC coworkers set out on a mission on a Tuesday Night in Columbia Heights. Zach, a Capitol Hill resident, and Beth, the native Columbia Heights-er.
Row of bare feet in grass
Heming Nelson
BLOG
The Cobbler's Children Have No Website: What Every Client Should Know About Building a Website
I’ve been designing and building websites since 2001, probably crafting several hundred sites over the past 12 years. So I know what it takes to build a site, or at least I thought I did.
Healthy Child Healthy World page header screenshot
Riche Zamor
BLOG
3 Ways You Can Easily Improve the UX of Salsa Donation Pages
We recently worked on a project for Healthy Child, Healthy World (HCHW) to help improve the usability and design of their Salsa donation pages.
Drush text with Drupal drop logo
John Shortess
BLOG
Building a site with a custom Drupal install profile using Pantheon and Terminus
The recent introduction of Pantheon's Terminus CLI opens the door for an elegant, automatable way to provision sites using custom install profiles.
Camcorder recording video
Brad Johnson
BLOG
Benefits of Video for Nonprofit Fundraising
With the number of nonprofits vying for the public’s attention continuing to grow, it’s more important than ever to make sure your organization’s website stands out from the crowd.
Image of pitfall game with hero swinging over pit
Riche Zamor
BLOG
8 Pitfalls to Avoid When Developing Content Models in Drupal
Last week, I wrote a post about the differences between content types, taxonomies, and entities in Drupal, and how you should use each. Now, even with having a strong understanding of how to use these mechanisms, there is still plenty of room to mess up when developing a content model.
Abstract image with triangles attached by lines
John Shortess
BLOG
Beyond the Page: An Introduction to Web Services (for Humans)
One of the (many!) things we’re looking forward to in Drupal 8 is greatly improved Web Services support. What are Web Services, I hear you ask?
Image of download button
John Shortess
BLOG
Creating a Squeeze Page to Access a Video Using the Webform Module
Recently a client for an "inherited" (that is, one where we weren’t the original developer) Drupal 7 site asked us to change how a series of videos were presented. They needed to collect some demographic information from site visitors before making the videos available.
Michaelangeo painting Creation of Adam partial screenshot
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
How Minimalism Came Online, & Web Design Trends
With the release of such new OS designs as Windows 8 and iOS 7, the world is becoming a bit simpler. It even seems like our favorite CMS, Drupal, is beginning to catch up with modern trends. The “flat” trend is not simply that, but rather a response to art as a whole.
Example of dub player
Michael Wilson
BLOG
Announcing DUB, our custom video player
In response to our clients’ needs and our own particular strengths at leveraging interactive video to engage audiences, we have been building a custom video player that integrates web video with online services commonly used to for running campaigns.
Database schema
Riche Zamor
BLOG
When to Use Content Types, Taxonomies, and Custom Entities in Drupal
I recently had a conversation with a client who was confused by Drupal terminology and didn’t know the difference between content types, taxonomies, and custom entities.
Quad VTR
BLOG
Faces of 4Site - John Shortess, Director of Technology
In this series, we will be featuring the different staff members of 4Site Studios. We asked each member of the team to answer a few questions about themselves to give you a sense of who they are.
Donkey Kong graphic
BLOG
Faces of 4Site - Michael Wilson, Developer
In this series, we will be featuring the different staff members of 4Site Studios. We asked each member of the team to answer a few questions about themselves to give you a sense of who they are.
Riche holding a cup of Starbucks coffee
BLOG
Faces of 4Site - Riche Zamor, Director of Strategy
In this series, we will be featuring the different staff members of 4Site Studios. We asked each member of the team to answer a few questions about themselves to give you a sense of who they are.
Alexis wearing shades
BLOG
Faces of 4Site - Alexis Findiesen, Designer
In this series, we will be featuring the different staff members of 4Site Studios. We asked each member of the team to answer a few questions about themselves to give you a sense of who they are.
Heming speaking from the presidential podium
BLOG
Faces of 4Site - Heming Nelson, President
In this series, we will be featuring the different staff members of 4Site Studios. We asked each member of the team to answer a few questions about themselves to give you a sense of who they are.
Salsa platter
John Shortess
BLOG
Using Salsa With Drupal, Part 2: The Salsa API Module and Custom Code
In my last blog post I talked about ways you can integrate the Salsa CRM system with your Drupal site using the Salsa API and Salsa Entity modules.
Bowl of salsa
John Shortess
BLOG
Using Salsa with Drupal
I recently presented Salsa: Spicy CRM Integration for Drupal-Powered Nonprofits at CapitalCamp, the District of Columbia's Drupal camp.
Component Style Guide
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
Where do mockups stand with responsive design?
The traditional method of designing a website has its roots in print. When you design for anything from a logo to a soda can label, you start out with the basic (sketches), work toward the finessed final design, and show your client developing designs at each stage.
Zendesk helpdesk software logo
Michael Wilson
BLOG
Our Approach to Post-Launch Website Support
A lot of work goes into designing a functional and eye-catching website.  But what is equally important is the post-launch support--the technical, creative, and strategic services to keep your site current, functional, and viable. Regretably, post-launch support and maintenance often falls betwee...
4Site black on white logo
Heming Nelson
BLOG
Weekly Round-Up: June 21, 2013
Weekly Wrap-Up: June 21, 2013 We are kicking off a new blog series to share must-read and entertaining content we have found been delighted by throughout the week.
Chipotle burritto
Heming Nelson
BLOG
What entertains you on your lunch break?
We all just took a trip down to the local Chipotle to grab lunch, and upon our return has an interesting conversation about what websites we go to for entertainment.
Abstract content model
Riche Zamor
BLOG
4 Ways to Improve Your Content Modeling
The most important part of a content strategy, in my opinion, is your content model.
4Site Services Icons
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
Creating a New Design Direction for the New 4SiteStudios.com
This series outlines our project process through the lens of our development of the new 4SiteStudios.com.
4Site Hub
John Shortess
BLOG
Building the New 4SiteStudios.com: Planning for the Underlying Technology
This series outlines our project process through the lens of our development of the new 4SiteStudios.com.
Confab 2013 image
Riche Zamor
BLOG
Put people at the center of content strategy - The Common Theme of Confab 2013
Eight days after Confab 2013, and I have finally come down from my conference high. The conference was insightful to say the least - it is by far the best industry conference I have ever attended.
Banner from the Mill Mile site
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
Putting Mill Mile National Park in the Palm of Your Hand
When we partnered up with the city of Paterson, New Jersey to design a mobile app for Paterson Great Falls National Historical Landmark, we were excited to be working on a project that was recognized as being one of the few sites in America whose natural beauty is matched by its historical significa
4Site Studios wireframes
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
To Wireframe or Not to Wireframe: User Experience for the New 4SiteStudios.com Redesign
This series outlines our project process  through the lens of our development of the new 4SiteStudios.com.
Content audit spreadsheet partial screenshot
Riche Zamor
BLOG
Developing a Content Strategy for the New 4SiteStudios.com Redesign
This series outlines our project process  through the lens of our development of the new 4SiteStudios.com. In this post, we will discuss our process for developing a content strategy and user experience for our new website. I tell the team here at 4Site that we are all strategists.
Moms Not Lovin It campaign graphic
Riche Zamor
BLOG
How we helped Corporate Accountability International launch the "Moms Not Lovin' It" campaign
For years, Corporate Accountability International (CAI) has been taking on global corporations, like McDonald’s, to stop abuses that are harming people’s health and the environment.
Drupal Con photo
John Shortess
BLOG
DrupalCon Portland Wrap-Up
Last week, Alexis Findiesen and I traveled to Portland, Oregon for DrupalCon. Portland, cleverly noting that Drupal's logo is a water drop, welcomed over 3,300 Drupalistas from all over the world with four days of nearly non-stop rain!
Rock Em Sock Em robots with Wordpress and HTML5 logos for heads
Riche Zamor
BLOG
To CMS or Not to CMS? THAT is the question
I admittedly can be a bit of a rabble-rouser at times. I believe a lively, but productive and civil, debate will often bring about some breakthrough thinking and cutting edges ideas for solving challenges, especially those of our clients.
Creative User Engagement image
Heming Nelson
BLOG
Allow Us to Reintroduce Ourselves - Launching 4Site Studios' New Brand
If you have worked with 4Site Studios in the past, you know us as either a video production firm or Drupal development shop. But we are much more than that. Serving Non-Profits for Over a Decade 4Site was founded in 2001 with a mission of making innovative videos and websites for nonprofits.
Drupal 8 Banner
John Shortess
BLOG
Drupal 8 is Coming? What's That Mean for Site Owners?
On Monday, a couple of us are headed to Portland for the last North American DrupalCon before the expected release of Drupal 8 late this year.
Ubercart Logo
Michael Wilson
BLOG
Non-Functioning Ubercart Invoice Emails
A support request recently came in where a client had changed hosting for their Drupal 7 website and found that their email had ceased to work. To resolve the issue, they installed the SMTP module to use an alternative email server for sending messages from Drupal.
lettering.js logo
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
Enhance Your Drupal Site with jQuery
The thing I love most about creating websites is that there’s always some new technology being developed we can use on projects. Recently, we started having “brown-bags” every few weeks on Friday afternoons to share ideas, cover new developments in the biz, and teach each other new skills.
Drupal Terms arrayed cloud tag style
John Shortess
BLOG
Our Go-to Modules for Building Drupal 7 Websites
As a Drupal Site Builder at 4Site, Drupal allows me to create a dynamic and scalable site without any programming. If you want to add functionality to your Drupal site there is usually a module that can do it. Drupal has been our go-to CMS for building client websites since 2007.
Social Learning Summit 2013 logo
Riche Zamor
BLOG
Best Tweets from AUSMC Social Learning Summit 2013
This past weekend, I attended the American University Social Media Club Social Learning Summit 2013. This was an amazing conference for a one-day summit. I felt a greater level of engagement and took part in more in depth conversations at this event than I have at most industry conferences.
Hand-drawn whiteboard video screencap
Heming Nelson
BLOG
Whiteboard Animations: User Info-tainment
Our clients are finding it harder and harder to target a specific audience with their critical message.
Dartboard
Riche Zamor
BLOG
The Changing Digital Landscape pt. 2 -Content is now paid media
This is part 2 of a 6 part series further exploring predictions I made in my presentation at the NetSquared DC Meetup  “What’s on the Horizon for 2013” event. Fifteen years ago, Nielsen declared banner ads are not fit for the internet due to banner blindness.
Image of king chess piece
Riche Zamor
BLOG
The Changing Digital Landscape pt.1 - All Content is Created Equal
Last week, I had a discussion with one of my fellow panelists from last month’s NetSquared DC event “What’s on the Horizon for 2013”.
popular social media logos
Riche Zamor
BLOG
The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media
If you haven’t already done so, it's time to get some religion about leveraging social media for your organization or cause. But beware, the road is treacherous and the temptations many. We’ve divined a list of the most common sins to avoid in order to achieve social media salvation. Sin #7.
Highway sign entitled The Future
Riche Zamor
BLOG
Emerging Trends in Digital for 2013 and Beyond
Last night, I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel for the NetSquared DC Meetup with Colin Delany, Suzanne Turner, and Lawrence Swiader.
Riche Zamor
Heming Nelson
BLOG
Riché Zamor Joins 4Site as Director of Digital Strategy
4Site is proud to announce the newest addition to our team, Riché Zamor.  A digital “jack-of-all-trades,” he has extensive experience in content strategy, email marketing, search, digital media, and website development.
Millenium Falcon made of legos
John Shortess
BLOG
4Site Hub: Virtual Legos
Over the holidays I got to take a break from Drupal and spend nearly two weeks at home with my seven-year-old son. Just like I was at his age, my son is obsessed with Legos, so we built lots and lots of Lego sets. I’m amazed at how much Lego has evolved in the past mumblemumble years.
Pivotal Tracker Project Management logo
Michael Wilson
BLOG
Introduction to PivotalTracker: Part 1, Understanding "Stories"
4Site trainer Mike Wilson's series for 4Site development clients. This first installment shows you how to set up an account in our story management tool and how stories are created.
Pivotal Tracker Project Management Software logo
Michael Wilson
BLOG
Introduction to PivotalTracker: Part 2, Working With Stories
4Site trainer Mike Wilson's series for 4Site development clients. This second installment covers how our team works with stories and what your responsibilities are.
Drush and drupal drop logo
John Shortess
BLOG
The Three Most Useful Drush Commands for Drupal Novices
We maintain dozens of Drupal sites for our clients, in a wide variety of hosting environments. Keeping all of these sites up to date could be a nightmare, but our job is made much easier thanks to the awesomeness that is Drush. If you manage a site, but haven't yet dipped your toe in the world of...
Various devices that can access the web
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
Do you need a responsive website? (Part 2)
In Part 1, you were introduced to what responsive design is, how it differs from mobile sites, and then were given a list of things to consider when deciding if you need a responsive site.
Evolutionary steps
Michael Wilson
BLOG
The Support Imperative
“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.” --H.G. Wells Building your website is an exciting process, as well as an exacting one.
Various devices that can display webpages
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
Do You Need a Responsive Website? (Part 1)
What is responsive? Responsive is the new cool kid on the block - everyone is talking about him, and everyone wants him. But do we really know who “he” is? The technical side can be complicated.
Screenshot of blog page advertising job opening
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
Ten Tips for Getting the Job
Recently, the team at 4Site embarked on a quest to find a new member of the team…a junior designer.  I began the search innocently enough, posting an enticing description touting the allure of an office dog, opportunities for professional development, etc. on Smashing Jobs and the local Craigslist....
Drupal 7 header from website
Alexis Findiesen
BLOG
Homepage template quirks in Drupal 7
So it's time to theme another Drupal site. You've got your base theme installed, customized, and ready to roll (we like to use Zen).
3D glasses
Heming Nelson
BLOG
3D Workflow: Production with an Added Dimension
Three-dimensional video can make for an amazing, immersive viewing experience, whether at the theater, on TV, or on the Web. There are various viewing technologies available to watch video in 3D.
Materials laid out for measuring and cutting
Brandi Jones
BLOG
Measure Twice, Cut Once
It's an old maxim in carpentry that you should double check your plans and measurements before actually constructing anything. And with good reason. Changing your mind after you put saw to plank is tantamount to starting over. Once you cut a board, you can't make that board longer.
Jason Munn Outside Lands poster of white bird holding a musical note in its mouth
Brandi Jones
BLOG
Screen Printing, You Move Me
Inspiration is an important part of the design process for any creative person.