How Small Businesses Can Save $1,000’s on Websites Using Squarespace vs WordPress

Time is Money and So Is the Right Technology

The Truth About Websites-videoframeWhen it’s time for a new website or a redesign, suddenly there are some serious differences to consider when choosing the platform. Specifically, WordPress is no longer a no brainer.

I want what’s best for you, and so I research and test technologies so you don’t have to. Websites are a core component of my business, so I especially stay on top of website design platforms in order to offer you the best options.

“I know that I can count on you 100% to know the latest and greatest marketing communications technologies… You know what’s over-hyped and what’s for real… We trust you to lead us in that way.”
– Randy Haldeman, CEO, Code-N

After a very successful run with WordPress, now—for smaller businesses where simplification can save tons of money, time, and aggravation—I am now recommending Squarespace over WordPress.

I want you to understand why. So, I’m doing Free Webinar on the advantages of Squarespace over WordPress. It’s coming up this Thursday, May 28th at 10am PT. Please click here to register or continue reading. This blog post and the a personal video invitation below—as well as the webinar—include more details.

Free Webinar Registration

The savings for small businesses by using Squarespace rather than WordPress are not only direct costs, but also significant reductions in wasted time and technical hassles. The benefits of Squarespace include beautiful templates that are always responsive, a smaller learning curve, and a more efficient work flow, especially if you don’t want to always be dependent on a web designer or developer. Here’s your video invitation:

The “Done-With-You” Revolution

Plain and simple, Squarespace has helped me to help more people in a way that’s more fun, more efficient and more collaborative. While anyone can use Squarespace in Do-It-Yourself mode—and there’s nothing wrong with that—it has also enabled me to offer 1-to-1 Get-It-Done Websites that are literally one-half the cost of our WordPress customizations (which we still do for larger organizations with more complex needs).

“I’m very pleased with the 1-to-1 Get-It-Done Website session that I did with Jon Leland at ComBridges. In less than the time it takes to play a round of golf, we had my new website designed and published… Prior to this session, I had wasted many hours over a couple of months trying to update my website. I finally reached out to Jon and in just one afternoon, he saved me a ton of time, money and effort.”
— Jim Draper, President, Draper Creative Group

We call this kind of collaboration a Done-With-You service vs the more traditional Done-For-You type of service which takes considerably more time—for both the client and the vendor—as well as more money. Please click here if you want to learn more about how this service works.

How Squarespace is Different & Why This Matters

Squarespace brings together a lot of features that I’ve been looking for in a website design platform, all in one compact, hosted package that provides everything most small businesses need with almost none of the hassle. Some of the features and benefits of Squarespace that I’ll be explaining and showing in more detail during the Free Webinar include:

  • Elegant, beautiful, modern templates that are on a par with the best of WordPress.
  • All templates in the latest version of Squarespace are mobile-friendly and the responsiveness doesn’t break when you customize pages.
  • Because it’s a closed system, maintenance could not be simpler. Upgrades are built in. No plug-ins. No getting hacked. No unexpected expenses.
  • The system is user-friendly so that almost anyone can learn quickly to make their own website updates.
  • Squarespace provides 24×7 support via chat and fast-turnaround email.
  • There are an impressive array of built-in, highly-customizable features including:
    • Response forms
    • Video and audio embeds
    • Animated picture galleries
    • Editable social media icons
    • And more

And all of this is provided without having to research and shop for plug-ins and without needing to worry about possible plug-in conflicts that can be an issue with WordPress when you install and/or upgrade.

If you want to understand these benefits better, I hope you will click here to register for free for the webinar where I will explain all of this and show you as much as possible via on-screen video demos—all in less than a half hour.

Free Webinar Registration

“Who knew that creating a new website could be so fast, easy, affordable and fun? Jon is a master of all things internet, and he brings a warm and enthusiastic spirit of partnership and creativity. If you are looking for help designing a quick new website, look no further.”
— Dara Ackerman, singer-songwriter

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to follow up with me in ways other than the webinar, here are some options:

New Experiment: Weekly Tech Talk Google Hangout with “3 Geeky Amigos”

3geekyamigos-logoOf course, we are all always learning; and another “always” is that I’m always telling myself (and others) that I need to do video on a much more regular basis.

I’ve also been attracted to the streamlined production efficiencies offered by Google’s Hangouts On-Air which not only provides a nifty and unique interface for group video chats, but a seamless integration with YouTube so that when you choose to record your Hangout, the “On-Air” part auto-magically posts the recorded video conversation to YouTube.

I’m also lucky to have some wonderful, knowledgable (OK, fellow “geeky”) friends who are excited to join my in this high tech video playpen (or I guess the tech term is “sandbox”). In this case, my co-hosts are Taylor Fogelquist of Active Ingredients and Peter Klein of Empower Your Brilliance.

The result is a new weekly tech talk show that we’ve dubbed, “3 Geeky Amigos.” You can join us live at 3pm PT every Tuesday afternoon (except June 18th). We’d love your feedback. Please tell us what you’d like us to explore. What would be most useful or interesting to you?

Here’s the first episode embedded below. It’s more of a “rehearsal” than a “premiere.” I’m confident we will keep getting better and better as we find the flow of this new media environment and get YOU involved. 🙂 And, we hope you will also join us this Tuesday at 3pm PT.

2013: The Year of Anything is Possible

As we enter the New Year, the inspiring message that “Anything is Possible” has come front and center for me. It feels so strong and positive that I want to start 2013 with a more personal than usual blog post.

It is the challenges of running a business (ComBridges) while simultaneously working to grow our “start up,” New Marketing University, that makes this message of “Anything is Possible” personally relevant for me. In fact, it’s the sometimes seemingly “impossible dream” of a large vibrant community of participants and members in New Marketing University that keeps this project alive. You could say that I’m writing this post in order to inspire myself. I also hope it helps to move some of you forward as well.

Media Windows Open Doors

My consumption of two recent pieces of media has helped to open these expansive “doors of perception” for me. One is a seemingly miraculous cancer healing and the other is from a young man named Steve Jobs whose life was changed when he discovered that he and his teenage buddy Woz could manipulate billions of dollars worth of global infrastructure. Given that these two stories are true, I ask that we wonder together, “why not me?” (No reason.)

There’s More to Life Than We Normally Know or Imagine

Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing (affiliate link) is mind blowing in every sense of the word. I highly recommend it. I have found it to be an extremely uplifting read. The video at the end of this post will tell you more; but, bottom line, through a NDE (near death experience), Moorjani healed from the worst possible cancer… in less than two weeks! She was literally on her death bed when it all turned around. When you read it, her story rings so authentically true that it has expanded possibilities for me beyond anything I could readily imagine. If that can happen for her, there really is nothing that is not possible.

Opening the Visionary Eyes of Steve Jobs

Over the New Years weekend, I watched a short little documentary movie called Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview via Netflix. In this truly historic interview, Steve Jobs explains that he also had a life changing experience without which he may never have become, well, Steve Jobs.

image via Wikipedia

As a teenager, he and his pal and soon to be partner, Steve Wozniak, heard that it was possible to build a box that would let anyone make free phone calls to anywhere in the world. Jobs literally said, “we didn’t believe it was possible.” But, they decided to see for themselves anyway.

Low and behold, in the bowels of a technical library, they discovered the appropriate AT&T manual and figured it out. Soon they were bouncing calls off of satellites and around the world for free. Jobs shares in this movie that it literally changed his perception of what was possible. Jobs and Woz, two kids really, were able to gain control of such technological power that they discovered that they were capable of having a far greater reach and were able to make a far bigger difference than they had previously imagined.

It wasn’t long before these two were pioneering the personal computer revolution. Like Moorjani, they discovered that anything really is possible.

What About You?

What is your “impossible dream”? And, more importantly, what are you going to do about it?

My commitment is to keep offering my authentic enthusiasm for the Internet marketing revolution (along with as much useful information as I can) in order to help as many people and businesses as possible to take advantage of all these changes. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help. We look forward to helping you to expand your possibilities while also enhancing our own in the process.

Luscious Links – Catching Up with the Goodness

I come across so much useful information in any given week that I’ve taken to these “Luscious Links” blog posts to try to share with you some of the best of the best that I find. Does this format work for you? Please let me know.

Google’s Focus on Quality and the PostRank Acquisition
This is an excellent & useful post from SitePoint clarifies the changing state of SEO & social media marketing. My take aways: 1. quality content rules 2. social media really does matter. 3. It’s the conversations, connections & relationships that matter most. Are you listening?

Why is Authenticity a Crucial Component of Internet Marketing?
As I’m re-grouping for the “next generation” re-invention of NewMarU.com, I was discussing with a friend, this ten-minute edited video conversation (linked above) with Robert Rabbin that came out of NewMarU’s first “guest” webinar. I LOVE what we said here and would really like more people to hear it. I sincerely believe that this is important information/perspective re marketing in the age of social media.

3 Smart Strategies for Book Promotion
Here are just a few smart ways that authors can promote their books with social media and PR. Practical steps any author can use for book marketing via SlideShare.

The “Talk Radio” Approach to Effective Email Marketing
I like the way that this CopyBlogger article underscores my core value that “it’s got to be fun.” Yes! In content marketing et al, FUN makes all the difference. Don’t you agree?

12 Awesome Facebook Stats, Charts & Graphs
Are you taking Facebook seriously as a marketing channel? If not, maybe you should check out these 12 stats via a nifty little Hubspot SlideShare presentation…

Learn How Your Website Can Be The Center Of Social Network Attention
My recent video comments on TheTVNews re social media marketing and a new solution that lets more active brands aggregate various social media conversations onto their website so it’s more of a “home base.”

How to Combine SEO and Social Media for Maximum Impact with Lee Odden
This is a good overview video interview that covers something I’ve been talking about a lot lately. It’s very important to understand the relationship between social media, SEO and content creation in order to produce effective marketing in today’s online environment. This is a valuable 5 minutes, IMHO.

Your feedback is encouraged. I’d love to hear any comments you may have.

iPhone Art, iPad Ease & the Mobile Revolution

Tonight I’m doing my first “art show” as an iPhone artist. It’s a small, private showing amongst just a few other creative people. I’m sure it’s not a career “game changer.” But, it’s certainly fun to have some images that I created with just my iPhone (and a variety of apps) that at least someone is calling “art.”

On the other hand, I am quite certain that the iPhone and the iPad are game changers—for me and for the world. As a qualified media wizard and innovator, I think there are still a lot of people who don’t yet understand what a majorly disruptive force all of this mobile tech stuff is—creatively, socially and economically.

Created entirely in iPhone

Personally, I am consistently delighted by the ways that all of this innovation provides opportunities for connections and all kinds of communications between more and more of us, all the way around “spaceship earth.”

In the spirit of all this, I’d like to offer a couple of  audio-visual “windows” into what is really an emerging new media world. Just in the past week, the following appeared to underscore this trend:

1. A two and a half year old child, appearing in a crowd-sourced video, demonstrates how intuitive the iPad is to use:

2. Twitter celebrates its 5th Birthday with a fun celebrity-infused promotion that extoles us to “follow your interests” and “discover your world” (fun):

3. I find another way to play and have fun creating “art” via an app called Flowpaper (used to create signature below)

So, whether or not my iPhone art catches on and gains any traction (fat chance) beyond my more-than-recreational enjoyment, if you don’t yet “get it” then please trust me: smart phones and smart tablets like the iPhone and iPad are hear to stay. Not only are they profoundly ubiquitous but they are remarkably easy to use (well easier to use than a PC… way!). This new electronic environment… ok, “canvas” promises to change things even more dramatically than the advent of the Web has already done. Really.

It will be a fun ride. Come on along. And, if you are already “on board,” thanks for playing. 😉

Stay tuned. Much, much more to come.

(signature image created with Flowpaper app)

New Twitter Website Press Conference, Live via UStream & Scobleizer

Twitter called a press conference today. I caught wind of it on Twitter just minutes before it began.

I noted (yes, also via Twitter) that Robert Scoble a.k.a. @scobleizer was webcasting live video of the press conference via his UStream feed.

The announcement was delivered in a surprisingly incoherent, rambling style that included a presentation computer crash.

The big news was the “New Twitter” website (video demo is here). It should be live by the time you read this.

I was equally entertained (and informed) by the chat stream that accompanied the UStream webcast, and it was interesting to see Mr. Scoble’s webcast go from just a few hundred viewers prior to the event to about 4,500 simultaneous viewers about 40 minutes in.

The new Twitter web interface looks more interactive and feels inspired to me by the excellent Twitter iPad app.

Twitter founder, Evan Williams, @ev emphasized the volume of Twitter users who access Twitter.com vs the variety of third-party applications and he noted something that I think a lot of the general public does not realize: “You don’t have to tweet to use Twitter.” You can just use it to access information, links and whatever from just the folks that you find to be of interest. (If you don’t know, Twitter Lists is a good way to do this.)

The new Twitter website will include a more interactive second-column (or pane) that will allow you to learn more about the tweeter or view pictures or videos without having your click “open” a new web browser window. This will provide more convenient browsing via Twitter, for sure. Also, messages via Twitter @mentions will be threaded (I like this feature in HootSuite) which should help the overall user experience as well.

Bottom line, Evan said, in an uncharacteristically grandiose style, that the online Twitter.com experience has been “completely transformed” into “one of the slickest web sites anywhere.” Or something like that. We’ll see.

Bottom line, I think this is an intelligent upgrade that will make the Twitter.com website much more useful for those browsing as well as those tweeting. Twitter is continuing to grow rapidly and I believe this growth will continue for the foreseeable future.

Even though Twitter lags behind Facebook in terms of total users as well as time spent, it offers a faster-paced and much more search-able platform where you can “follow” people of interest without having to have them follow you back (i.e. become “friends”). That alone, to me, makes Twitter a worthy investment of time. And, the opportunities to monitor the social, public conversation via highly-visual web applications like http://paper.li and iPad applications like FlipBoard ensure that, at least as far as I’m concerned, Twitter will continue to be a “foreground” information and networking resource for quite some time to come. Stay tuned.
—–

Addendum:

I’m still not seeing the new design as of the time of this addition to this post. Apparently the roll out will take weeks. Meanwhile, here are a couple of other interesting perspectives (presuming you consider mine to also be “interesting”):

Online Video Growth Spurt Marked By New Programs & Distribution Opportunities

As discussed in my New Media / New Marketing segment on the Tuesday, August 10th edition of the TheTVNews.tv (see VIDEO embedded below), the convergence of TV and Internet forms of online video are jelling into a significant reality extremely quickly after years of promises.

Evidence of this growth spurt include rapid growth trends such as the year-over-year doubling of streaming movies and TV via NetFlix, a new “digital locker” platform from major entertainment players designed to combat the iTunes dominance, and the increasing viability of “branded entertainment” including an Ikea-sponsored Web-only video series that is garnering 1.5 million views month after month.

I will post or embed my video commentary as soon as it’s available, but meanwhile here are links to what I think is some worthwhile reading. These three links include additional insights and details on the “milestones” mentioned above and more:

  • Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem Unveils UltraViolet™ Brand (press release)
    Major players from Best Buy to Sony to Comcast to Intel and quite a few others are aligning on a new kind of “digital locker” to help you watch whatever you want, whenever you want, on whatever kind of device you want… as long as you’ve paid for it! While this press release is just an announcement, I think this is both a needed kind of technology and an attempt to answer Apple’s dominance in digital media distribution. Expect to hear more, much more from the UltraViolet, UVVU brand.

As always, your thoughts, perspectives and comments are extremely welcome. Thanks.

Free Internet Marketing Webinar for Businesses, May 27 at 11AM PT

If you are new to Internet marketing, we want to help you get up to speed, for free.

Jon has given his one-hour workshop, “What Every Business Should Know About Internet Marketing” in locations from Kona, Hawaii to Silicon Valley (as you can see in the video clip on our web page). Now, for the first time, it’s being offered free via the Internet, Thursday, May 27th at 11:00AM PT / 2:00PM ET. Click here to register now >>

This useful and informative webinar includes a complete overview of the three main areas of Internet marketing, including:

  • The “Super Market-Trends” that have radically leveled the marketing playing field
  • The two essential strategies upon which all successful internet marketing campaigns are based
  • The three main types of internet marketing: search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click search engine advertising (PPC) and social media marketing (SMM)
  • A comparative analysis of the time requirements for implementation, the kinds and quality of results, and the cost-per-lead that is derived from each main category
  • Valuable tips, tricks and resources that are based on real world experience

Why are we producing this event for free?

  • Jon LOVES to share information and people love learning this material. It’s important!
  • It helps to expose the expertise that makes ComBridges such a valuable marketing partner.
  • This is a “free sample” of things to come. We are working on a new educational website to be called “New Marketing University” that will have many more programs. We hope you’ll like this program enough to become interested in more. To learn more, please register now.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 27th at 11:00AM PT / 2:00PM ET. We hope to see you there.

>> Please Click Here to Register Now <<
It takes just 30 seconds, really! And, even if you can’t make it live, by registering you will make sure that you get the link to the free recorded version.

Or view our 1-page PDF with the generic course description below . . .
What Every Business-Onesheet 03.25.10

Google TV Ads, Cisco Feeds MSNBC, & Interactive Marketing Agencies: A Fresh Perspective

Another week, another Tuesday segment on TheTVNews.tv. This week, I aggregated three new online video news stories that I think merit your attention. My video segment is below, and below that are the Google TV Ads video demo, more comments, and links to all the sources. Please let me know what you think.

1. Great Video Demo of Google TV Ads

Seth Stevenson of SlateV.com did a wonderful job of demoing Google TV Ads for the rest of us. I’m sure you will agree that he proves his point that, yes, anyone with the technical chops to produce a 30-second TV spot and set up a Google AdWords account, also now has the opportunity to be a media buyer and place those TV spots on carefully targeted cable TV networks in the time slots of your choice.

I’m impressed and ready for a client who wants me to do this for them. I’m highly qualified. Are you reading?

Here’s the SlateV Google TV Ads demo for your viewing pleasure:

By the way, for those of you doing the math, not familiar with Google AdWords campaigns, and figuring that, hey, that’s about $1.30 per website visitor… please keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for AdWords customers to pay $4, $5 and up PER click. And the visitors he “acquired” via this campaign were coming to a strange website URL with no identified service or product being offered.

2. Cisco Feeds Its High-End Teleconferencing System to Rachel Maddow and MSNBC

In what is said to be “a news media industry first,” Cisco has partnered with MSNBC to provide  The Rachel Maddow Show’s New York and Washington D.C. studios with its branded TelePresence technology. According to Cisco, “TelePresence offers what traditional broadcast interviewing technology often lacks: a truly two-way, visual connection between the studio host and remote guest with virtually no audio lag time.”

To me, that’s an interesting tech story, not only because of the “no audio time lag,” but also because of further in-roads being made by a traditionally IT industry player providing hardware services to the broadcast TV industry.

Click here to see for yourself.

For more details and illuminations of the interactive benefits of TelePresence, Beet.tv has a video interview with Charles Stucki, VP & GM of the Cisco’s TelePresence unit.

3. Forrester Research Predicts the Future of Marketing Agency Relationships

Anyone in the marketing or advertising business knows that all marketing agencies are being forced to cross “boundaries” that traditionally defined specific niches. Now, Forrester’s latest report, “The Future Of Agency Relationships: Marketers Need To Lead Agency Change In The Adaptive Marketing Era” sets the stage for overlapping, multi-discipline agencies and the ways we all will be doing battle (or not) in the future.

But if you don’t feel like plopping down $499 for the report, I highly recommend Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim coverage of the report, Forrester Predicts the Interactive Agency of Record Will Die. Beal reveals the main types of agencies discussed and some of the top level data including this quote which gives you a flavor of the sophistication being required in today’s marketing agency market:

It is not enough for adaptive agencies to understand market research, ethnographic, or behavioral data. To fully understand customers, and to leverage that knowledge to improve customer experience, requires agencies to understand the interplay between the various types of data, and crucially, demands the ability to turn the data into actionable intelligence.

Stay tuned. The landscape continues to morph at a record-setting pace. Keep on dancing… and keep your seat belt fastened. 😉

My Top 5 List of Top Whatever Lists: Happy New Tech New Year 2010

Tis the season of lists. Too many lists? Maybe or maybe not, depending on whether or not you are looking for some perspective, or maybe some bottom line insights about trends and/or tips on how you or your organization’s tech, social media or just plain ole marketing priorities should be focused for the coming year.

My high hopes are that the following list of lists (and grand perspectives) will help you make 2010 the best yet:

5. Super Geek David Pogue’s Pogie Awards
My favorite NYTimes tech writer’s picks for gadgets, apps & such include the killer Firefox extension READABILITY and a very funny (to me) iPhone app that let’s you safely text while walking, by using the iPhone’s built-in camera.

4. Google’s 2009: A Glimpse of the Web’s Next Decade
At least at the moment, as Google goes, so goes the Web. And, if you haven’t noticed, Google is hardly standing still. In fact, they have been innovating their butts off. So, if you’re not tuned in, you should be; and this post by Mashable is packed with eye-candy charts that help make staying up to date more fun.

3. YouTube Is the Top Social Media Innovation of the Decade
Also, via Mashable, and also not technically a Top Whatever list, I’m including this post because I think the importance of YouTube is about as important as it gets. For one thing, YouTube is frequently omitted from lists of social networking sites. Come on! This thoughtful article explains why I’m going to be posting a whole lot more video in 2010 and why I think you should too.

2. 8 Things Every Geek Needs to Do Before 2010
This post is beyond practical, it could literally save your life (technologically speaking). No kidding. Have you backed up lately? Have you edited your privacy settings and pruned your feeds? This is important stuff (via leading tech blog ReadWriteWeb) that can help make your whole year better.

1. 2000s Decade Recap – Business and Technology (video below)
Originally called to my attention by the TechCrunch post Video: A Decade Of Tech Highs And Business Lows, the 3:22 video below puts the past unprecedented decade in perspective, and given the magnitude of the changes, from the dot-bomb implosion through ground-breaking iPhone innovations and social media explosions, I think it’s worth taking at least 3 minutes or so to reflect. Don’t you?

As the Grateful Dead sang, “What a long strange trip it’s been.”

May the Tech Highs continue, and the Business Lows not so much.