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This is a weekly diary series focused on marketing strategies and tactics. The objective is simple. Outline the basics to help somebody working on a grassroots political campaign raise money or secure votes, help a group increase awareness about their cause, or just help a small business owner who wants to market themselves more effectively.

It wasn't that long ago it took some programming skills to launch a website/blog, but that is simply no longer the case. There are a number of cost effective options that if you can get around on Daily Kos, post a Diary, and leave a comment, then you can have a website/blog in a matter of minutes.

More than any other Diary in this series I'll be talking about a lot of third party products or services. Three important caveats. Every product I mention I have used for years and would highly recommend. Two, with every product I suggest there are dozens of other options I have not used. And finally, I don't work with any of the companies I mention.

INTRODUCTION

For most people, regardless if you are running for office or trying to sell a product or service, about the first thing you need is a website/blog. And the reason is simple. If you start to attend professional meetings or mention to somebody you are running for office the first question they will usually ask, is what is your URL (unique resource location), or domain name?

DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION & HOSTING

Your domain name is just that, the name somebody types into their browser to arrive at your site.

You could purchase your domain name from one company and use another to host your site, but I strongly suggest against this. Once you purchase a domain from a firm you then need to have a server to host it on and upload the files that will become your website/blog. It is best to get both the domain and hosting services from the same firm.

A hosting account means you just rent a small amount of space on a hard drive of a really fast computer (server). Your domain name, IP (Internet protocol) information, and email is attached to that section of the computer, so you can upload (like copying files) to create and manage your site and other people can type in your domain to reach it.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of companies that provide both of these services. I use GoDaddy. They are cost effective, easy to use, they can install all the applications I mention below (and many more), and they have free 24/7 US-based customer support.

I've used GoDaddy with dozens and dozens of clients and never had a single problem. Their most basic hosting account is $4.99/month. Domain names $9.99/year. Up to 100 email addresses. That is all any of you will most likely ever need.

NOTE: I've done some consulting work for a number of people running for office, and as you might expect they wanted to use a local provider (union) if possible to support their district. Of course I understand this. But unless you live in a major metro area or running for a state-wide office a local hosting service might be impossible to locate.

WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET (WYSIWYG) EDITORS

Basic HTML programming, the core code (along with CSS) that creates websites/blogs is not rocket science. I wouldn't even suggest I am an expert and I have to admit at times I will attempt to make the most basic change to a page and end up banging my head against the wall for hours.

But all the applications I am going to mention have WYSIWYG/HTML editors. Meaning you don't need to be able to code to do some fairly advance formatting. Just point and click on icons. In fact, Daily Kos uses a very basic editor, that is below each comment box to let you bold, italic, link, or insert blockquotes.

The editors in the website/blog applications you would use to create your site do about 20 times as much.

HOSTED ACCOUNT/SERVICES

Blogger, WordPress, and Typepad. These are by far the easiest applications to launch a site/blog. In fact in many instances you can have a site/blog set-up and "live" in a matter of minutes, not hours or days. Hosted means they are run off the servers of each company so you don't even need a domain name or hosting account. The downside is that cause they are hosted on another server you have less control. You have limited ability from a design/visual point-of-view, you can't always use your domain if you bought one, and you can't create email addresses.

Blogger

Blogger is a service now owned by Google, and where I set-up my first blog. Without a doubt the easiest service to set up and manage. Heck, if you have a Gmail or Google News account you would just use that log-in information to set-up a site/blog. It is very limited from a design point-of-view, you only have a few dozens templates to choose from.

And at its core it is just a blogging application and doesn't offer many of the options I will mention with the other services.

However, I want to stress if you are not trying to sell something like web design services, the content of your site is far more important then what it looks like (but both are nice). Heck, several of the more popular liberal blogs run Blogger and have become more than a little successful.

Typepad

Typepad is a hosted service owned by SixApart. I maintained a blog on this platform for five years. It is a powerful service, monthly fee of $4.95 (basic package). It is harder to manage than Blogger but offers many more advance options. They also offer a number of templates/designs as well that I find visually pleasing.

You can also easily use your own domain name with this service (but not email). Once you get comfortable with the application you can use the more advance features to drastically tweak the design/layout of the site. Plus they have partnerships with a number of third parties where you can add pretty advance features (called a Widget), with just a mouse click or two, to your site/blog (interactive photo galleries, search, news feeds, Twitter, Facebook, and many more).

WordPress

WordPress is a free, open source service. Open source means that they allow developers/programmers access to the code of their product so people can write plug-ins (like with your Firefox browser) to drastically change the functionality of the site and design custom templates (there are thousands of them).

Therefore, for multiple reasons it is the most powerful product in this section. The hosted version is so similar to the custom version (installed on your own server) that I will talk about many of the features in far more details in the next section.

They offer a free version (where you don't need a hosting account), that still has a lot of functionality, but they reserve the right to run Google Ads on your blogs, you can't use your own domain name, and a few other restrictions you can read about here. There monthly fees vary, depending on what you want to do, but start at $29.97/year.

Note: Of all the products I mention here WordPress.com is the only product I have NOT used, the version hosted on their server. But looked at the video before posting this diary and read through the site and I am 100% sure the core product is the same, with a few small restrictions, as the version I use and will talk about in detail below.

CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (CMS)/SERVICES

WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are free CMS applications. CMS is just a "buzz word" for applications that are far more than just blogging platforms (like the above ones) and once installed they are pretty advance (although still pretty easy to use) applications that will let you manage complex sites.

These services require a domain name and hosting account. They also require some advanced applications be installed on your server to run. However, all of the "popular" hosting services have "One Click Install" of these applications (Python and SQL for example), so it couldn't be more stupid simple. Some of the smaller hosting services might not have "One Click Installs," but you should quickly be able to determine this by looking at their site.

Note: Since you have your own server space with these options you need a FTP (file transfer protocol) program. Or put in non-tech jargon, you need a way to get files (images, PDF files, audio) from your computer to your server so they can be used on your site. Most major hosting services with let you do this through the back-end of your account via your browser, but I find them clunky. I use FileZilla, a free Windows application. I use Transmit on my Mac ($29.95). And you can even use this free Firefox extension, FireFTP to make your browser an FTP application.

WordPress

I currently use WordPress with my two blogs and professional/business site. It might be the most popular web site/blogging software on the Internet. And I feel very safe in saying that the majority of the most popular, and high traffic blogs run WordPress. In fact it is even used by sites such as eBay, New York Times, Wired Magazine, and Sony PlayStation.

To just get a basic site/blog up and running isn't much more difficult then the previous applications I've outlined. The difference with WordPress is if you want to take the time to learn, and they have an outstanding help forum, you can literally do anything you could ever want with the site/blog.

Put in its most basic terms, you have the basic functionality of the application (more than you need to manage your site/blog), but the real power of WordPress is noticed when you get into third party templates and plug-ins.

WordPress HTML Templates

As I mentioned WordPress is open source, so there are thousands of free templates you can use, developed my third parties, to give your site/blog the look and feel you want. There is a searchable template database on the WordPress site, and also countless third party lists of the best of the best (here, here, and here for example).

All you do is download the template you want, unzip, and then FTP to your account. They then all show up in the design area of your WordPress account (in a test account I have more than a 100). You could have 5,000 blog posts, and if you want to change the design you just click on the one you want and it changes, all your content still there. It is actually pretty freaking cool.

WordPress Plug-ins

Third parties have also written thousands of free plug-ins that can drastically change the functionality of your site. Interactive photo galleries. Integrated your eBay store on the site/blog. Multiple tools to help you get better search engine rankings (SEO), create complex forms, electronic commerce (shopping chart), you name it they have it.

My core list of recommended (again all free) plug-ins I use include:


Drupal & Joomla

These two applications, both open source, are by far the most complex applications on this list. They are not for the "faint" of heart. But I would be remiss if I didn't include them. In fact, some of us news junkies here might recall there was more than a little buzz in the tech community, cause Obama based Whitehouse.gov on Drupal.

Each of these applications, if you use somebody like GoDaddy to host your account, have "One Click Installs." But once installed they get a lot more complex to use than WordPress. As with WordPress the application has its built in functionality and also uses templates and plug-ins. You have far less template options and many of the best plug-ins cost anywhere from $4.95 to $50.

WordPress has been around longer than Drupal and Joomla, so it is more polished and has a much lager universe of people creating templates and plug-ins. But Drupal and Joomla are quickly catching up and they are far more powerful. Literally they will let you do anything and everything you can imagine.

In fact, I could recreate all the functionality of Daily Kos and add a whole lot of other stuff with either of these applications, if I had the time and a business idea.

Note: I just started a project based on Joomla for a large school district. Of course they need a site with basic information, but they also want teachers to be able to upload their class schedules, maintain a calendar for parent/teacher conferences, let student/parents create password protected log-ins to view their grades, even complex threaded discussion forums. Both Drupal and Joomla will allow all this a lot more.

HTML TEMPLATES

I didn't want to mention this option, but felt for full disclosure I should. There are any number of sites (here, here, and here) that will sell you (prices can start as lower at $25, one-time only fee) HTML templates, including all the images you need to create your site. They just have "place holders" for copy, like "Headline Goes Here" or "Body Copy Goes Here" where you add what you want, upload via your FTP program to your server, and you are done.

Cause you are not using the "One Click Install" to get databases and applications on your server, they are NOT blogging platforms. Just a static site. But if you just need something very simple, you can live with one design, no need for a blog, and don't want the added functionality of plug-ins, this may be a perfect solution for you.

Note: There are any number of stand alone WYSIWYG/HTML editors that are 100 times more powerful then the editors you can use via a browser. The most powerful/popular/expensive ($399) option is DreamWeaver (what I use). But there are other more cost effective solutions, like HotDog ($99.95), that are wonderful. It is nice to have one to look at and tweak the design/code even if you use one of the services I have mentioned, but if you are a novice and decide to use a static HTML template it is a must.

CONCLUSION/FINAL THOUGHTS

I did my best when I edited what I wrote here to not use any more jargon then needed. I also tried to give you enough information to be helpful, but not scare you away. I swear to you, if you can get around and write Dairies here you have most of the skills required to manage a site via something like Blogger, Typepad, and WordPress.

And if you are willing to spend a few hours here or there and read a few help documents you can use the hosted version of WordPress. It is not rocket science!

Note: If you consider yourself a novice start with Blogger, then move to TypePad, and then finally WordPress hosted on your own server. All the services I have mentioned here allow you to export and then import any content you've written. Therefore as your experience level improves you can upgrade to a more advance service and not lose your content (although there may be minor formatting issues). So don't think if you get your "feet wet" with Blogger you'll never be able to move to a more robust option later on.

MARKETING 101 TOPICS

See you all next Monday at 8 AM CST when we talk PPC ads on Google. MSN (guess I should say Bing now), and Yahoo!.

Originally posted to webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:06 AM PDT.

Poll

If you have a site/blog, is it developed with:

29%13 votes
18%8 votes
15%7 votes
4%2 votes
2%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
6%3 votes
11%5 votes
11%5 votes

| 44 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  thanks (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      webranding, Losty, feeny

      i have to redo all my pages because hubby wanted to change internet providers after 9 years.
      So now I have to rebuild them all.
      Tsk

      come and get your Evolution goove on http://www.danottesymposium.com

      by TexMex on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:22:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tell Me A Little More About The Site (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        keirdubois, TexMex, feeny

        and what you used to build it, cause you shouldn't have to rebuild anything, just move it.

        "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

        by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:24:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  these garish things (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          webranding, Edward Spurlock

          come and get your Evolution goove on http://www.danottesymposium.com

          by TexMex on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:31:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  All You Need To Do Is Take The HMTL (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TexMex

            files and upload them to your new service provider.

            Now with that said, I only mentioned products I have used. HotDog was one of the HTML editors I mentioned. I am sure if you spend a few minutes on Google you might be able to find something similar that is shareware/freeware that is a free version, where if you wanted to tweak and/or update the "look and feel" of the pages you could.

            "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

            by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:34:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  they need updating big time (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              webranding, Edward Spurlock

              come and get your Evolution goove on http://www.danottesymposium.com

              by TexMex on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:36:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, I Work A Lot With Folks In Education (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TexMex, Losty, Edward Spurlock

                and I can tell you your pages, other than the background color, is what I generally see :). I've seen sites of folks with PhDs and published hundreds of times in stuff like astrophysics that look just like your pages do.

                Although with that said, I would like to ask you to NEVER use that green again :)!

                "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

                by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:39:12 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  well I am a TexMex :) (0+ / 0-)

                  Well I build these long ago during hubby's sabbatical.  And then had help updating them and moving them from another provider. But years ago, but that was 9 years ago. Lots of links have died, and I haven't had the time to change update them.  But I need to change it now that I have changed providers agaim.
                  I am assuming I need to save the pages as source.
                  My computer skills are weak as things keep changing.  

                  come and get your Evolution goove on http://www.danottesymposium.com

                  by TexMex on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:46:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  my daughter greatly regrets (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    webranding

                    the yellow I painted her house.
                    Screaming Amarillo!

                    come and get your Evolution goove on http://www.danottesymposium.com

                    by TexMex on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:47:31 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, That Is Correct (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TexMex

                    In fact, you can do that right through your browser. Just open each page you have, including all the sub-pages, click "View" in your browser, and select "View Source."

                    Copy and paste that copy into a .txt (text) document in something like Microsoft Notepad and hit save. Then get the FTP information from your new ISP and use any of the programs I mentioned above to FTP them.

                    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

                    by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:50:03 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  netscape (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Edward Spurlock

          they are old

          come and get your Evolution goove on http://www.danottesymposium.com

          by TexMex on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:35:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Looking at the source of your pages... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            keirdubois, TexMex, webranding

            ...it looks like you avoided the whole "Hey, I can use HTML tables to lay out my web site!" mistake that many of us (cough, cough, blush) fell into over the past decade or so.

            Strip the presentational elements (e.g., FONT tags and CENTER attributes) out of your HTML source, and your pages are almost ready to go as modern, CSS-based static web pages.

            •  TexMex, What Ed Is Talking About (5+ / 0-)

              is called cascading style sheets (CSS). They are both really simple and really hard to explain at the same time.

              Think if it as one document that controls how all your HTML files and/or pages will look. You can many samples online you can "steal."

              A style sheet is just that, a style sheet. Lets say you want all your headlines to be one size, font, and color. Subheads something else. Blockquotes something else.

              I instead of codding the HTML for each headline as 20 point, Times, red, and bold. You put all those attributes in the style sheet and then just code the headline as a headline.

              It is the "modern" way to do things.

              And much faster, cause lets say you have 100 pages and want to make a change just to how blockquotes work. You just change the Style sheet once and all 100 pages are updated to reflect the changes.

              "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

              by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:57:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Also (4+ / 0-)

                It does the great organizational thing of separating appearance from content.

                •  As an example of what keirdubois is talking about (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  keirdubois, guyeda, Losty

                  ...check out the CSS Zen Garden. Look at the home page first, then click on one of the links under "select a design" on the right-hand side of the page. The look of the page changes -- but the HTML file is the SAME for each design! Only the CSS style sheet changes.

                  For example, if you click the link for CSS Co., Ltd., you get a corporate-looking page, while if you click the link for Oceanscape, you get a design that looks inspired by a cartoon aquarium. But the CONTENT is the same on each page.

                  •  wow! (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    webranding, Edward Spurlock

                    come and get your Evolution goove on http://www.danottesymposium.com

                    by TexMex on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:50:28 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Pretty Freaking Amazing Isn't It! (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      TexMex, Edward Spurlock

                      I almost linked to one of those sites, but didn't want to confuse you. Style sheets can do a ton of stuff, as you just saw, but I wanted to start with you .... well just with formatting text :).

                      But the power of style sheets used correctly is staggering.

                      "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

                      by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:53:04 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Re: wow! (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      TexMex, webranding, guyeda

                      A couple of years ago, just after I'd discovered the CSS Zen Garden site, the Toastmasters club I belong to wanted to update their site. The club president was a woman who was familiar with tables, didn't understand CSS, and didn't trust it. The other officers weren't that technical, so I figured explaining the concept of CSS to them, in the face of the opposition of the club president, would have been a tough battle.

                      I copied several of the CSS Zen Garden stylesheets and associated graphic files into folders on my laptop, and copied the HTML page file that is common to all CSS Zen Garden pages into the parent folder on the laptop. I then scheduled a demonstration speech at the next club meeting.

                      In my speech, I explained that the Web had originally been designed to transmit scientific information, and design took a back seat to content. To illustrate what web pages looked like in the olden days, I opened the HTML file from CSS Zen Garden -- since it was in a separate folder from any style sheets, it looked just like a 1994-era vanilla page in the browser on my laptop.

                      I then explained that web designers discovered that HTML tables (meant to format scientific tables) could be used to format web pages -- but there were problems with this approach, and these problems made web pages hard to maintain.

                      "Now," I said, "we have style sheets to format our web pages. Let me show you what I mean." I started poking around in the subfolders containing the style sheets and graphics files, then said, "Guys, I'm really sorry. I don't know how I did it, but I didn't save the HTML file I'd need to show you what can be done with CSS." I paused, then added "Well, maybe I can use this old-style HTML page that I showed you a couple of minutes ago."

                      I moved the HTML file into one of the subfolders, then double-clicked it to open it in the browser. SHAZAM! It opened up with all the great style, just as it looked on the CSS Zen Garden site. I heard a couple of "Wow!"s, one or two "Cool!"s, and even an "OOH!" I then moved the file to another folder, opened it again, then moved it to another folder a few seconds later and opened that there.

                      The non-technically-savvy were impressed. Better still, the club president who had been suspicious of CSS was won over then and there.

                      CSS is FUN!

              •  I will look into that. (0+ / 0-)

                come and get your Evolution goove on http://www.danottesymposium.com

                by TexMex on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:35:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  thanks! (0+ / 0-)

              come and get your Evolution goove on http://www.danottesymposium.com

              by TexMex on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:35:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  one reason I didn't do tables is (0+ / 0-)

              that I couldn't figure them out.  I am a dinosaur when it comes to computers. I started out with Pascal and punchcards but my typing skills sucked too badly for those days.

              come and get your Evolution goove on http://www.danottesymposium.com

              by TexMex on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:37:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  One Quick CSS/HTML Note (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TexMex, Edward Spurlock

                If you download a program like HotDog (and they have a free trial period) they'll have sample HTML and CSS files included with the program.

                What is key about CSS is how easy it is to change stuff. If your current site was in CSS, and some asshole like me said get read of the green, and you had hundreds of pages, to change the green throughout all you'd have to do is change one five digital hex color code and all the pages would change.

                BTW: Microsoft has a WYSIWYG/HTML editor called FrontPage (they also offer a free trial). Not a fan for more advance stuff, but it has the exact same interface as the rest of the MS Office Suite, so you can get around in that it might be a good choice for you cause there will be less of a learning curve.

                "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

                by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:42:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Well Written (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, Ed G

    I am not sure why you would use DKos to write such a tutorial... but it is well written. I am a full time freelance webmaster and php developer.

    •  Thanks. Just Through Interaction Here (8+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poe, navajo, TexMex, guyeda, Losty, Amber6541, Ed G, feeny

      I've met and helped more than a few people running for public office get a site set-up. Cause of what we do for a living we think it is pretty stupid simple. Most people have no clue where to start. And once I show them the basics, they get mad they didn't get one up and running sooner cause with the tools today it isn't that hard.

      "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

      by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:18:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for generously sharing your knowledge ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TexMex, webranding, guyeda

        I've been doing much research on this topic over the past several months, and this is by far, the best, most informative summary that I have found anywhere. It's written in simple, clear language and easily accessible to those of us who aren't professional web designers or programmers.

        •  Very Cool. You Made My Day (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TexMex

          That was the point, keep it stupid simple. My experience is folks like to make their jobs more complex then they really are, and web folks are at the top of the list.

          It isn't that hard to do the basics!

          "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

          by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 09:10:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  wow. thanks for sharing your expertise! (5+ / 0-)

    it's an ambitious project you've started here - I hotlisted this immediately!

  •  My site was created with (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, webranding, feeny

    Network Solutions' Image Cafe software.  Lame, I know, but it does what it's supposed to:  host songs for free download.

    Songs up at da web site! Also. . . It's Kostown, Jake. . .

    by Crashing Vor on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:19:02 AM PDT

  •  Generous nerd, thanks from a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, webranding, feeny

    nerd-wanna-be. I tried Wordpress and got frustrated. In contrast, Blogger is SO SIMPLE. I've been meaning to set up a real site, though. The learning curve and necessary experimenting time is a tough commodity.
    Thanks for giving us some clear instruction. Great help here.

    Stay calm, cool, collected.

    by heart4idaho on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:24:10 AM PDT

    •  That Is Why Included Typepad (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexMex, heart4idaho, feeny

      Far superior to Blogger but easier to use than WordPress. They have a 30 day free trial that you can run to see if you want to use it before you start to pay their monthly fee. I find the interface of TypePad to be a little hard to get around in, will take an hour or so to get used to, but a powerful and easy to use service.

      "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

      by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:27:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Options (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TexMex, webranding, heart4idaho

        We want a company blog that is organized into topics.  
        Typad has an option to create navigation tabs, like a website, but Wordpress didn't seem to have that utility.  Did I miss something?

        Our main site has been custom programmed in html/php.  Dealing with programmers has been a continuing nightmare for many years.  Do you have any suggestions for either minimizing their role or finding someone who is reliable?  The site is www.artfibers.com.  Thank you!

        The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein -- best book ever, I nominate for a Nobel Prize!

        by xaxado on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 08:07:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You Did Miss Something, But The WordPress (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TexMex, xaxado, heart4idaho

          interface can take a little to get used to. Within WP the pages/tabs you mentioned for stuff on your site like "About," "Cart," "Mailing List" would be created as "Pages."

          Now, with that said .... finding a good programmer is like finding a good plumber. They are out there, but not always easy to find. And those that are good at what they do are busy and not cheap.

          I just looked your site for a few seconds, but I don't see a single thing that can't be done in WordPress. Joomla and Drupal would be a piece of cake.

          My email is in my profile if you want to talk more about this.

          "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

          by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 08:12:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you! (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            navajo, TexMex, webranding, heart4idaho

            The objective with the tabs is to have at least two separate blogs with related content, with the hope that readers of one would take a look at the other.  For example, one focus would be products and the other events.  I did a trial setup in Wordpress but found the Pages utility to be a way to keep static site info, like faq's and company history, from sliding down the queue.  Can it actually be tweaked into sub-blogs?

            So the question arises, should we consider migrating our current system to Joomla or Drupal.  We need at least one section with commerce, organized around a catalog, and one interactive section for events scheduling where viewers can sign up (free).  We would also like to have a gallery with content submitted by viewers (moderated).  How do we know what the best platform should be?

            Our current programmer is starting college at the end of the summer (he took over the programming from a college professor when he was 14!) and will be unavailable after a few weeks more work.  So I will definitely contact you through your email address next month when revisions currently in process are complete.

            Note on Godaddy:  we have used them for years and have always found their tech support to be outstanding.  But my clientele is primarily educated women who find the Godaddy advertising to be offensive, so having their secure certificate prominently displayed has led to angry complaints.

            The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein -- best book ever, I nominate for a Nobel Prize!

            by xaxado on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 08:43:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well A Lot Of Points In Response (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              navajo, TexMex, heart4idaho
              1. I have not tried nor do I think it is possible to have two blogs managed through one WordPress install. My suggestion would be to install two versions of WordPress in your hosting account. One as your main, and then use the domain name manager to create sub-domain for the second blog/install in your hosting account.
              1. About migration. It depends if you want to do it in-house or have the budget to bid out the job. My gut, either way, is to develop a 2-3 page document that outlines, in detail your specific requirements.  Then bid it out and also internally check to see what you could do in-house.
              1. To a large extent age doesn't matter much. My experience (and I am 39) is people my age learn something and then refuse to use/play with new technology/applications. So they get stuck in the past.
              1. GoDaddy has a reseller program. For $99/year they will basically give you an entire version of their site, branded to your firm, where people can sign-up for all their services, even use the back-end and not know it is GoDaddy. In fact they'll even give you a different 1-800 where the same support people don't mention GoDaddy or any company until they are given your account info and then they act like they are calling your firm.

              Now I know there might be some ethical issues here. I personally don't do it cause there isn't enough profit for me to manage their sites or charge them a monthly hosting fee.

              But the option is there.

              "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

              by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 08:53:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  1st rule of marketing: Excell at something. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, webranding, Losty

    Period.

    2nd rule of marketing: do your homework (do your research, not only to confirm your ideas/thoughts, but also to challenge your ideas.  If you don't do this, then you are only masturbating...).

    If your idea is the same as everyone else - ie, liberal political opinions, and there are millions like you - ie, plenty o' blogs -- then you are irrelevant even before you invest time, effort and most important, money.

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect -- Mark Twain.

    by dcrolg on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:35:05 AM PDT

  •  Thank you so much for this. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, webranding, Edward Spurlock

    I've had a very simple blog with blogger for a couple years, and it works fine for my purposes - mostly posting photos.  Recently I started thinking about how to put together a website for my workplace, a private physicians office.  I started messing with Microsoft Office Online (yeah, that probably shows how tech-un-savvy I am!  I think they sent me an email at the office or something) but haven't gotten very far.  I will check out some of your suggestions.  I can't use blogger because I need at least a few separate pages, and would like for patients to be able to print entire pages.  

    I also have a question: whenever you search the usual search engines for a physician, you always get a list of "ratings" and other non-useful results.  Is there any way to make our website at least make the list when patients are trying to search for a doctor?

    I feel kind of ignorant jumping in here, but I suspect the reason you wrote this diary is to give us amateurs the courage to take it to the next level.  Many thanks for that.

    •  That Is Exactly The Point Of This Series (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poe, TexMex, briefer, Amber6541

      to get "novice" people to ask questions and try to figure stuff out on their own.

      I can't use blogger because I need at least a few separate pages, and would like for patients to be able to print entire pages.

      Totally understand, you need more than just a blog. You need individual pages such as "Contact Us" and "About Us" and "Services" (just to name three) I am betting. I would start with TypePad. That service will allow you to do this. They also have a 30 day free trial so you can play before you pay.

      I also might suggest playing around with the HTML template sites I mentioned. They are always organized by categories, and as you might expect medical/health care is one, and you can get some nice looking sites for under 100 bucks!

      As to your last question that is SEO (search engine optimization). And as you'll note, it isn't even included on my lists of topics cause it isn't something easy to explain (although it isn't rocket science).

      The reason is there are a lot of third parties, not docs that want to be listed in the search results. Plus it is just a competitive field and there are a lot of other docs that want to get listed.

      I got no magic bullet here, although kind of one when we talk about pay-per-click ads next week.

      "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

      by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:18:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll tune in next week for sure... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TexMex

        I stayed home sick today and was thinking of working on the office website (guilt?) and you happened to post this very educational diary with just the information I needed. Will definitely hotlist!

        •  Here Is The Thing "Poe" As You Learned (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poe, TexMex, Losty

          with Blogger. About 90 percent of getting a site up (outside you need some content) is learning the application you are going to use. Sure it can take time, but once you learn you it, you don't have to do it again.

          Now I think Blogger is a wonderful service. It does what it does, even of limited, very well.

          I suggested TypePad cause they will give you want your company needs, but you also said you mainly use Blogger (your personal site) for photos. They have a number of third party Widgets/applications (direct link to the photo options) you could add to your personal site that would blow your mind.

          Two other quick points:

          1. You can export your personal site directly from Blogger and into TypePad, even under the free 30 day trial.
          1. If you purchase a mid-level version of their product you can have more than one blog. So both yours and the one from your company. Always nice to be able to manage multiple things through one account/application.

          Here is the link to the page that talks about creating pages, and not just a blog.

          "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

          by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:37:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  As a niche market alternative, some folks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, webranding, Losty

    might want to consider Mediawiki.  This is the software that runs Wikipedia and, apparently, the DKos FAQ.  It's also free.  It's not all that user friendly to set up, but it has its charms and, for those whose main purpose is content collection, it's a great program.

    www.legalwikipro.com Check it out.

    by briefer on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:15:09 AM PDT

    •  It Is A WONDERFUL Application, Just Wonderful (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexMex, briefer, Losty, Amber6541

      and if you use something like GoDaddy it has a "One Click Install." If you are in something like education or you have hundreds of pages of information you want to put online in an easy to navigate format, it is a perfect application to use.

      I am working with it now to develop a "Help" section within my business site for clients of mine I create sites for based on WordPress.

      I am also thinking of using it to create a Wiki for this series. I got SO much more content of this nature on my site for free (no registration) but I don't want to pimp what to appear to "pimp" what I sell.

      "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

      by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:24:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I'm a newbie, but check out my little (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, TexMex, webranding

        hobby site, www.legalwikipro.com if you have a second.  I've had a great time learning Mediawiki and it's very customizable (although I have not pushed too many envelopes so far).

        www.legalwikipro.com Check it out.

        by briefer on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:26:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Neat. And Admit It, Now You've Learned The (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TexMex, briefer

          application it is kind of fun isn't it :)!

          "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

          by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:38:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh yeah. I just wish that I had discovered the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TexMex, webranding

            one click install that my web provider had available before I did the manual install.  But once you get the hang of what's going on, it's just a big blank slate that's very easy to work with.  There are a couple editing tricks you have to learn for your text, but they're easy-peezy.

            And it's - what's the web name for it??? - SCALABLE.  It appears that you can start very small with the potential of growing into a large site, with no change in software.

            I'd love to see your wiki.  Sounds like a great resource.

            www.legalwikipro.com Check it out.

            by briefer on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:54:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks so much (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, webranding

    One of my goals for the summer is to start my own blog -- the info you provide is very helpful. Thanks a million.

  •  GoDaddy = GOP values (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, danmitch

    I would think twice about using GoDaddy for your domain services.  Bob Parsons beat the drum loudly for the Iraq invasion and has been quoted as saying the Guantanamo Bay interrogation methods were "soft".  

    Get to know GoDaddy's CEO before you choose them for your internet services provider.  They are on the cheap side for basic domain hosting, but they are NOT a blue company.

    "We all do better when we all do better." ~Paul Wellstone - 1944-2002

    by Calamity Jane on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 08:06:35 AM PDT

  •  GPS Marketing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex

    Google has mined lots of gold for people to make money off, it is matter of people learning how to market using location based services, even google has  has not exploited  location based marketing

    •  Not exactly true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexMex

      I worked on system that used geo->IP lookup as part of the conditions for determining which ads to present on a given page three years ago.

      If you find an unexploited niche and can find a way to turn a profit from it, by all means, rock on. But don't take the field thinking that there aren't tons of geo-based marketing options already out there.

      The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

      by kingubu on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 09:02:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bah! Heresy! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, webranding, Edward Spurlock

    All you have to do is find an ISP that offers static IPs, dig up a couple of public DNS servers and associate thst IP with yer domain, take an old PC laying around from the last century, pick and install a Linux distribution, install the Apache Web server, set up a VirtualHost in your Apache config so the daemon listens on the right IP/domain/port, fire up your favorite commandline editor and create the markup and CSS "by hand".

    You kids and your silly "turnkey solutions"... Sheesh.

    The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by kingubu on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 08:56:08 AM PDT

  •  for anyone (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, Edward Spurlock

    who owns a restaurant we found a great website "base" or whatever you call it for restaurants...basic is free, ad free is like 10 bucks a month...we love it! it's letseat.at....you can see what it's like by seeing our website at treatscreamery.com

    I know I'm going to heaven cause I've seen hell in this lifetime!

    by Spedwybabs on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 09:03:10 AM PDT

    •  That Is An IMPORTANT Point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexMex, Spedwybabs, Edward Spurlock

      For almost any large industry there are third parties that will automate the process for you, as you just outlined. Now I am working for myself and with smaller companies then I am used to, the "how the fuck to I get a web site" is such a common problem folks a lot smarter than myself have realized it and created "solutions" to make it about as stupid simple as possible.

      "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

      by webranding on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 09:13:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why no mention of Soapblox? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, webranding

    Paul Preston, the owner is a kossack.

    http://www.soapblox.net/

    Thanks for this series.  I will go back and read the previous entries and I will look for the rest of the series.

    I use dreamweaver also and have built a few websites for small businesses. Mostly self taught and still learning so I appreciate your posts.

    My interest with your series is to help my blog Native American Netroots get a better readership and comment participation.  Right now it's bare bones.

    Worked on ideas to beef it up last night and trying to get up the nerve to go in and make some drastic changes.  Scary.

  •  Sorry I'm late (0+ / 0-)

    I leave home when you post the diary and didn't have time at school to check Daily Kos thoroughly.

    I love this diary series, it gives Monday's something to look forward to.

    Thanks again!

    A Contributing Writer for the Northwest Progressive Institute http://www.nwprogressive.org/weblog/

    by danmitch on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 07:09:41 PM PDT

  •  I have a site but not a blog (0+ / 0-)

    I built my site with Yahoo site builder.

    Weds: What are you reading?
    Sat: Daily Kos Univ.
    Sun: Godel Escher Bach
    and the occasional Morning Feature and random diary

    by plf515 on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:49:49 PM PDT

  •  Thanks - tip'd & rec'd (0+ / 0-)

    Hope to read more about online marketing for nonprofits in a future episode.

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