Posts tagged site
So I’ve gone looking through all these themes and what do I find?
Lots of really talented web designer/artist types. With zero ability to develop web programs.
I also found (almost) zero theme’s that matched my needs — artistically or functionally.
In fact, the only theme I found that I liked was so limited that I couldn’t use it and couldn’t adapt it – at least not without a major rewrite.
And while it’s nice … it ain’t got that special thang!
So I’m going to end up going through this process all over again. Fortunately, not as extensively.
So what’s the solution?
First break the problem into two parts. After all, it’s going to take two different specialists to solve the problem. The artist/designer to look after the overall graphics look. And the web developer who makes sure all the php and xhtml and other bits and pieces actually work. Especially the menus.
WordPress is very powerful. It’s very flexible. But it does do only one thing and does it in a particular way. There’s only so many choices that make sense. Unless of course you are really creative in your business. And the truth is there’s no point. This is a business tool not a personal toy.
That means that there are perhaps 1/2 dozen different variations on layouts for the WordPress theme. Plus a half dozen or so menu possibilities.
Spend some time, identify the ones you like and will use. For example, all the ones that have a left sidebar are out. Why? Because Google doesn’t like left sidebars. So there’s no point designing one. (Yes, there are exceptions — this is an example only).
You’ll end up with a selection of basic templates. You should also end up with a basic set of requirements/needs. Hire a web developer and have him/her develop a theme for each of those templates you may want to use. You may find that you end up with only one or two templates.
Then hire an artist/designer to design the overall graphical look. Have him design several screens. Don’t forget to include both static web and blog type pages. Once those designs are converted to CSS, you should be able to plug the design into the theme you’ve chosen.
Result. You’ve now got a quality theme with a look that shouts “BUY FROM ME!”
Lesson Learned #2:
If you’re going to do this regularly … spend some money and get some designs done in advance.
It’s a lot easier/faster to get a site up if you don’t have spend time figuring out which theme is best. And then have to test the theme to make sure it actually works.
So better to spend some money. Get a developer to put together a basic framework or three. Keep it flexible. Keep it simple. Make it easy to modify.
Then hire an artist to put together a number of pages for you (meaning colour schemes, background art, and banners. All the graphics you will need).
Then when you start a new business or change an existing one, just select the form, select the theme and put them together.
Nice, easy, simple. In the end cheaper too!
Okay. It’s no secret that I’ve long decried the quality of tools available to the P/C programmer.
But after this last bit of nonsense I’m not sure who is to blame. The tool manufacturers, the people who work for them or their customers!
Now I’m not the world’s best art director. My wife, the artist, would probably argue that I can’t match socks let alone colour schemes. Successfully I might add. I’ve been married for 18 years — she always wins arguments like that :D
But what I am is reasonably capable as a web developer (aka programmer).
So when we converted to WordPress I made the (wise ????) decision that I wasn’t going to design my own theme. I would go looking for a theme that looked good and then tweak it to have the sidebars & widgets that I needed & wanted. Should only take an hour or so right? WRONG!
What I found when I went looking is that there are a lot of really skilled web designers out there. Some real artists.
And not a blasted one of them can program!
Virtually every theme I liked had at least one major flaw. I can’t tell you how many theme’s I checked where the menu didn’t work. And that’s not counting the number where they didn’t even try to get it to work! (Yo … Note to artists … the reason WordPress allows a structure with pages is that multiple levels are a pretty common technique for organizing what you’re doing).
Of course, every once in a while I ran into a theme that worked well. It was obvious that another developer had put it together. Very obvious. But it was well structured. The only problem is that spending three days trying to understand “pea, pea, where’s the pea?” style coding just doesn’t turn me on anymore. Some day I”ll figure out how to change the framework to display the way I want … but don’t hold your breath.
I could go on with other examples but I won’t.
So what does all this come down to?
Lesson Learned #1:
Find a theme you like and then just live within it’s limitations.
At least initially. Just get the site up with the basic theme as given. Trying to tweak a theme is a study in frustration. Don’t worry about being unique. Don’t worry about it having all the elements you need. Just get it up as written. Do the best you can. Then AFTER you’ve got it up, if you’ve got the time. You can always try to improve/tweak/fix it later.
Well, that was fun NOT! :D
So here’s what happened. We originally set up one site — TrainingNOW.ca. It was meant to be a simple brochure type site advertising our company, its services and our courses.
Unfortunately, things change … (bad word, bad, bad, word) … and we realized that a) we needed to sell our training over the web rather than live b) that we needed to sell other products and c) we were trying to sell too much through TrainingNOW.ca.
Cool. No big deal. Sometimes it takes a bit of convincing. A little learning. We’re not all born marketers, after all. ;>
So we set up a couple of new sites (learningcreators.ca, contentcreators.ca) to promote the extra services beyond the actual courses. No big right? Basic brochure sites. (Okay, so we started to …. it’s a work in progress. Work with me here).
Then we realized that LearningCreators should be doing more than just creating learning content or info products for other people. Better to teach people to fish than to do the fishing ourselves! So we set up LearningCreators.com.
That’s where the first of the problems came in. You see we started out by testing the waters using MyBestCopy.com. When it looked like the market was viable, we created the LearningCreators.com site. Including the blog.
But one of the things we learned was … in order to improve your SEO ratings you really, really need a blog.
No biggee. We created a blog on MyBestCopy.com. It worked. It drew viewers. Just copy it over and we’re set. Right! Nope.
Try as I might, I couldn’t convince any of the sites that www.LearningCreators.com and apps.LearningCreators.com were the same site (domain). So nothing I did on the blog helped the main opt-in & sales pages.
Meanwhile, we’ve been approached to host the training courses of another company. Great. That’s what TrainingNOW.ca is all about. Publishing training and training materials (e.g. books, DVDs etc.). But that meant we needed to upgrade from the basic Doteasy package to the fancy, dancy, super-special Unlimited plan.
Fine. Couple of headaches but no big woop! Cool so far….
But if we did that then there was no need to use the somewhat limited blog facilities provided by Doteasy for their basic customers. We’d be better off switching to WordPress like everyone told us to.
Silly sods … we believed them!
Sit back, grab a coffee. There’s enough material here to keep this blog alive for a week!
For those of you who were hoping I’d start keeping this blasted blog up to date …. sorry.
So what’s happenin’ now?
We’re changing again. We’ve updated the TrainingNOW site to better capabilities and are now going to host LearningCreators.com on it.
Why? Mostly because the site we have now is a proprietary blog tool (DOTEASY provides it) and is actually located in a different location. So Google et al. thinks this is a seperate site.
We, on the other hand, think it should be part of the main LearningCreators.com site.
By moving this site over to the upgraded TrainingNOW site, we get to use WordPress (much more powerful) and also to include it inside the LearningCreators.com site.
But of course, there’s a heck of a lot of work involved. So that’s my focus over the next week. New blog entries need to wait until I can move the site over.
But I will be back …. probably with some comments on spending money.
Keep Learning & Get Earning
Glen Ford & The LearningCreators team.
Sorry I didn’t manage to post the next few articles on How to Write Your Ebook related topics. It’s been quite some week.
Let’s see now … I finished the website to sell my book. It’s up now. Have a look at our Writing Ebooks course & book site That includes the new LearningCreators banner which you can see at the top of this blog.
I also finished the front cover and formatting for my eBook “How to Write Your Own How To Ebook in 24 Hours or Less”. I actually also finished the back cover … but managed to have a computer crash and lost it.
I filmed, edited and uploaded the first two lessons of the Writing Ebooks course plus connected it to the html.
Why? Because I started receiving the first of the requests to view the course.Several of them.
Which is nice to see but means I had to send out the course invitations ASAP.
Oh, yes. I also had a contract for copy (editing, rewritting and writting blogs) for a website.
And to make things more interesting — this was Grand Lodge week. So it was a short week as I was off with my masonic brothers making merry and electing officers.
Next week it’s back to real life once again!
Just looking for a little success
You know this is getting scary. I’ve been killing myself trying to get my sites up. I managed to get the first video made. I managed to get the first chapter done on my ebook. And I’ve no idea what else I’ve done. But somehow, I’m behind by several weeks ….
Now part of the problem is that I’m still in the middle of rennovations, part of the problem is that my son is home sick and my schedule is messed, and part of my problem is that I”ve been “working” from home for too long and part of my problem is moving up in lodge and prat of my problem is paid work …. But none of that matters ’cause the bottom line is that I need to get workin’.
So lesson learned …. I need to set up a schedule and objectives per week & per day. Every day I need to allocate time to my blog, twitter, ebook, videos etc.
So my suggestion to anyone starting up is to make two lists … first one is tasks to be done every day/week/month. The second list is for projects… in my case, write ebooks, film videos, rewrite websites, etc. Then every Sunday (cause it’s a day of rest) OR first thing Monday morning (before doing anything else) make a list of tasks to be done each day of the coming week. List your scheduled interruptions first (doctors’ appointment etc.). Then do the day/week/month list next. Then review the projects and decide which tasks you can accomplish this week. Note that when making the list, assign by day (and hour if scheduled) and amount of time expected. Don’t forget to make the list realistic. There’s no point in scheduling 26 hours in a day. Also don’t forget to schedule down time (e.g. Masons in my case, time with family etc.) And add an allowance for interruptions. Then first thing very morning or the last thing at night review the list and assign a time.
Then work to your list at the assigned time. If you have an interruption something has to make up for the interruption (which is why you have an allowance).
Now, I know how to do it. Let’s see if I can actually put my money where my mouth is.
Well, what do you know …. it’s been an interesting week (end) and I’ve learned something important … now I just need to do something about it.
What have I learned?
Well, better start with what has happened. First, I’ve been swamped both with work and other things. I had intended to do my videos last week, and write the ebook. But I received a contract to write a new release of a textbook I co-authored. And of course, the client wants it within two weeks. Normally, I’d say that was impossible but since it’s only a rewrite and the changes aren’t excessive … we’ll see.
Meantime, I’ve been given a new refrigerator to replace our old one … cool. Except that it has to be shipped from Hamilton some 60 km away. And my family can’t help move it. So since I have to pay for the movers anyway, I’m going to get them to move a dining room set I’ve inherited.
Now the problem is that I’ve got an old shag carpet in the living room/dining room. Let’s just say it needs to be replaced. So if I’m going to move the furniture in, I need to replace the flooring now. Which means all the furniture has to be emptied and moved out. Uggghhhh.
And of course, I’m not going to replace the flooring with carpet, it has to be hardwood (we’ve all got dust allergies).
And all of this has to be done by next week. Then I get to replace the baseboards! And did I mention that I really should paint the walls?
I don’t know whether I should cry over the amount of work to be done or the amount of money I’m going to be spending!
Oh, and I’ve also been handed another contract (short term) to prep content for a site where the owner wants to change the name.
In addition, I also need to upload the Expert Marketing webinar to my training company’s website . And I also did a speech Saturday on Creativity and Innovation in Business Today. Fun, and I had to rush the writing but no big. However, I’ve agreed to convert all the speeches to DVD. Which means I need to clean them up, edit them, put titles on etc. And then I need to upload the speech to the TrainingNOW website. And I’ve agreed to do a webinar on mind mapping (or possibly concept mapping) to include with it.
All of which needs to be done within the week.
So what have I learned?
I really do need to a) prioritize, b) list my outstanding tasks and c) do a little each day. I’ve also learned that if I can I’ll avoid work … so I need to create a system that doesn’t allow me to avoid writing and doing the other things I need to do. And if I don’t do that I’ll quickly become overwhelmed and I’ll never get this writing ebooks business off the ground.
I’ve also learned that I need to be more realistic with my desire to get the writing ebooks business off the ground. I can’t get it all done in a day!
Man, I hope this business takes off … and based on the number of hits I’m NOT getting …
Have Fun! Keep Learning! And Get Earning!
Wee … it’s Friday …. and I’m going cross-eyed.
I’ve been busy … if you visit my writing ebooks site you’ll see that I’ve just updated the sales letter.
Like any editing it’s best if you leave it for a day or two before trying to fix it. Get yourself a wee bit of distance before trying to change it. Or at least that’s what the gurus say.
I’ve been busy this week. I’ve gotten my blog up (really — you’re kidding!). I’ve checked my keywords and rewritten the sales page to increase the use of keywords to as high as 3% (some are still much less). I’ve completed the ideas map for my ebook and passed it to my partner Paul for comment. I’ve also checked with my webhost (Doteasy — great company) for info on how to combine the blog and my main website (supposedly Google already does it — despite the opinion of some of the gurus). So things are going well at this point. No sales (or give aways …. I did tell you about my great Create Ebooks give-a-way, didn’t I? But hopefully they’ll come in time. And I’ve finished 6 chapters of the course.
I’ve also changed the blog a little as I try to get it the way I want it.
And HEY … my interview with Techrepublic has been posted. You can find it here.
So what’s on for next week? Firstly, I’m hoping to finish the course (or at least another 6 chapters). On Tuesday, I want to film a short FREE course on writing ebooks. Basically a quick version to show people how to create ebooks. And to build an email list. I’ll post the URL when the first one goes up. I’ll also be posting the video on Youtube so keep an eye out.
So that means on Monday I need to redo my Writing Ebooks idea map into a presentations idea map. Shouldn’t take too long but then comes the practice!
Also next week I need to write a 12 minute speech for my Masonic Speechcraft course on Saturday.
Once Paul gets back to me I also get to start writing Draft 1 of the Writing Ebooks ebook. I’d normally expect it to take at least two weeks or more so we’ll have to see how much the system will speed things up. I’m actually hoping to have the first draft mostly complete by Friday but we’ll have to see how time works out.
That’s it for now — back to work for me.
Have Fun! Keep Learning! And Get Earning!
Welcome to my new blog…
Just to clarify … I’m the slow of wit … so maybe I should have said by not for….
Of course, I’ve written articles and books and copy (salesletters) before but this is my first try at blogging. I’m just a little bit slow I guess.
As you may notice when you visit the main site, I’m just getting going with this here new internet marketing biz thang…. so I’ll try and be good, let you know what’s happening and generally keep you up to date.
If you visit my main site www.mybestcopy.com/ebooks/index.htm I’m selling an ebook on How to write ebooks. Brilliant! Well to be honest at the moment I’m writing an ebook on How to write ebooks. And then giving away free review copies. That won’t last long however…. so if you want a copy hurry over.
The key to this is that if I intend to build a knowledge based ebiz I need to create ebooks. And having done so in the past, and having authored paper books, I KNOW just how much work is involved. Add to that creating courses to go with the ebooks and it doesn’t take much thought to realize that there’s got to be an easier way.
‘Course being a systems type I know how to build efficiency and creativity into a system. I know the tools and the tricks. And now that I’ve had experience as the author of books, I know how to turn it into a system. All I have to do now is document that system.
So as I travel along this route of building an ebiz and writing an ebook, I’ll pass along information on subjects that are near and dear to my heart — like writing ebooks. And being lazy writing ebooks. And I’ll pass along some hints on how to create ebooks. And just generally discuss the ebook business … which seems to be the darling of every internet marketing guru around.
None of whom tell you how to do it! As if you are supposed to just know how or absorb the ability from the ether.
Not likely. Writing ebooks is a craft and like any other craft, it can be taught. So if you want to author books keep an eye on this space. I’ll be filling it with hints and comments as I go.
As this project progresses, I’ll pass along my insights.
Have Fun! Keep Learning! And Get Earning!