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Use a hosting service that you love and trust


Your hosting service is like the owner of your website’s house. Choose a nice landlord.

Me? My “website landord” is solar-powered hosting from – a sustainable earth-friendly hosting company that I trust with my business and my money.

In the past, I’ve used BlueHost with ease – and I support clients in using other services like HostGator and the like. (Just never use GoDaddy!

The choice is yours. But do look into your options! The best feature is a good referral from a knowledgeable friend – but a quality cpanel and good pricing is important too!

So why AISO for me? Continue Reading →


WordPress Essentials: regular automated backups of your website


Take it from experience… Creating backups of your WordPress website is absolutely essential.

Just last week, a client reported that his website had been hacked… just a week after we had completed the website’s redesign! The hosting service had an archived backup from 2 weeks earlier. But it was missing the key updates that we had made.

So what did we do? Continue Reading →


How I rock project management (Basecamp Basecamp!)


The success of a website design studio relies on an efficient process. And I love a good collaborative process.

From client intake to design to development, your process needs to be streamlined and user-friendly. My process, which I’ve refined and refined over the years, relies on one key application.

And what is that not-so-secret special application, you may wonder? Continue Reading →


What is my favorite WordPress framework?


Three years ago, I discovered WooThemes, and it has transformed my technical work with WordPress.

After exploring other themes and frameworks when I first started, I landed on WooThemes and found a treasure trove of tools and themes and functionality that I was looking for.

Then in February 2010, the WooThemes team released Canvas – a nearly blank theme with minimalist default styling for designing totally custom websites. That changed everything. Continue Reading →


Why and how to track my time through the workday?


The single most effective habit of small business owners is tracking your time.

It took me almost two years to figure this out. But once I found a time tracking application that I actually loved and really used – then I became a miraculously good time tracker. Want to know my simple secret tool? Continue Reading →


New! Sharing my notes from The Bright Studio: digital learnings and wisdom


Hello again! I’m excited to return to the blog here after a long digital hiatus.

For nearly five years now (5!), I’ve been working hard as a freelance designer and small business owner… And in that time, my attention has been hyper focused on client projects and expanding my service business (plus enjoying my everyday life!).

And now I am long overdue here on my own website. And there is so much to share! This year, as my work is transitioning, I’m looking forward to reflecting on what I have learned in my business and sharing that here on the blog.

I will be sharing my experience and knowledge about digital design, sustainable business and the simple+good life.

The ah-ha moments. The tips. The tricks. How I use my go-to applications – like WordPress and Basecamp and more. My work routines. How I run my business, and how I design and develop websites.

There is so much that we can learn from one another. There is so much that each of us has to share.

I look forward to stepping up and sharing more of my own digital love and experience with you. :: What would you like to learn about? What do I know that you’d like to learn about? Leave a comment below – or email me at lillie [at] thebrightstudio [dot] com


[2011] 3 Steps to Brighter Branding

These are the essential V’s of visual style — three simple steps to keep your personal or business brand in line. This isn’t a check-list. There isn’t anything that can be crossed off, completed, finito. Each of these requires an ongoing process to keep it balanced, sustainable. Oh no, this here is a checkin-list. Check in with your V’s on a monthly basis. Your biz and brand will thank you for it.

Streamline your visuals.

Visual style magnifies your business and simplifies your updates + edits. Even for my own projects, I like creating a simple visual style guide — a color palette and a handful of graphic elements, like buttons and icons — in a Word document or Photoshop file. This helps get new projects started, and it especially helps when jumping back into a project (like updating your own website!) to maintain a consistent visual brand. Let’s not recreate the wheel each time.

Polish your voice.

We’re drawn to the beauty of an authentic voice – even in business. It’s everything: the message, the language, and the display itself. Copy isn’t just for explaining your services. Keywords + phrases aren’t just for SEO. Yes, how you shape your message matters. So what keywords + ideas are part of your biz voice? (For me: creativity, sustainability, light, balance, beauty, growth.)

Refine your values.

This is the core of your work, why you do what you do, what lights your fire. Beyond the what of your offer, this is the why. For some folks, this is easy to nail down — for others, it’s more challenging to pinpoint. The important step here is to constantly circle back to these values of yours. Review, refine, reflect. Keep that at the heart of what your work offers.

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What tricks or tips do you use for your visuals, your voice, or your values? I’d love to hear them… Email me, tweet hello, or leave a comment below!


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[2011] Manifesto: Holstee’s Do What You Love

Holstee Manifesto

I’ve been mulling over manifestos recently. There’s such power in stringing together a page of words to embody the values and the spirit of your business – whatever that may be…

Where to even begin?

Well, this manifesto by Holstee, a hip-in-the-best-way product design studio, hits it perfectly. Their manifesto (now available on posters + notecards + mugs) is a testament to the people behind the business – and an inspiration to their customers.

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Have you written a manifesto for yourself or your business? What was your process for writing and exploring it?



[2011] Credo: Take Creative Chances

Take that next step – to the edge.

This past month of shifting + reflecting on my own web presence is pushing my edges. I’m opening up the space for myself, reconsidering what I offer, revising how I share my story, and discovering the opportunity to share more.

Take the chance – of saying no, of letting go, of saying YES THAT’S IT! Whatever it is for you, go there.

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What’s one creative chance that you can take today? What’s that next step to push you further?


[2011] Warm welcome + full gratitude

Welcome to the newly shifting and growing home of the Bright Studio online.

It’s been two years since I went from office work to make-my-own work… designing and writing and collaborating on the web. It’s been eye-opening and challenging and deep-down satisfying.

Today, two years into this new adventure, I’m reflecting back on where I’ve been – and I’m looking forward to how the next years will unfold.

So I’m opening up a new space here, for me and for you, to share more stories of my own inspirations and values and tips and lessons learned.

Thank you for stopping by – you’re welcome + invited to read, explore, and please say hello!

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Where is your gratitude coming from today? What inspires your work?



Forever loving the white space.

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