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Website Overwhelm: Has it Hit You, Too?

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Has website overwhelm hit you, too?
Has website overwhelm hit you, too?

It’s funny, I warn clients not to talk over customers’ heads and just last week, I did exactly that: I wrote about how stoked I was with the new Serif WebPlus X8 software and posted a video of how it all works on my LinkedIn wall.  I had a very kind woman point out that she had no idea what I was talking about.

Whoops.

So, I decided to review 3 website building platforms – Joomla, WordPress and Serif WebPlus to give you a view of the back-end as well as the front-end of these website builders along with what the heck is the difference between hosting and domains (watch the video for the exciting conclusion.)  I hope it helps bring more clarity – especially if you’re in the uncomfortable shoes of having to revamp a website and you’re not sure whether to throw in the towel and hire a web designer to start new or fix the one you already have:

I’ve been working with Vinny Hebert over at Web Help U.S. because he’s a staunch Joomla fan and I am – well, I’m not – yet.  He’s been patiently touting the virtues of a Joomla website and I’ve been slowly coming over to his way of thinking – albeit initially kicking and screaming.

I guess what drives me batty about both Joomla and WordPress is the fact that I can’t see the WHOLE page laid out until after I’ve typed or put in an image.  You’ll see what I’m talking about when you watch the video on the comparisons.  Joomla’s very left-brained – and I am decidedly right-brained.  So, instead of complaining, cursing Joomla’s modules and WordPress’ plugins, I decided to sit quietly and play nice. And just like anything that is new – once I let go of my pre-conceived notions of how I think it SHOULD work, I just accepted the way it DOES work.  The result?

Joomla works quite well for enterprise level businesses.  If you have a business that needs to scale, that has multiple users, that needs logins, security, variables for products, unique permissions for different users, Joomla’s your go-to.  In fact, we’re using it for a MAJOR project we’re unleashing in 2015 for the insurance industry because little Serif WebPlus just doesn’t have her big-boy pants on yet.  However, for a small entrepreneur?  You can’t beat Serif WebPlus for simplicity, affordability and speed.

So here’s a checklist of what you should ask yourself before you delve into building your own website or hiring a web designer to do it for you:

1)  What do you want the website to do?

2)  How many people will be updating the website?

3)  If it’s an e-commerce, how many products will you be selling off the website?

4)  Where is your customer base and how will you attract them to your website?

5)  If you’re building it yourself, are there resources you can turn to for help if you get stuck?

6)  Database storage – how and where will you store your client list?

I love Serif WebPlus because it’s a wicked (yes, I said ‘wicked..’) easy platform that allows me to draw my ideas out start to finish.  Joomla is great for heavy-lifting – sites that need a login, protected pages, a subscription perhaps.  WordPress I’ve used primarily for blogging, however, it can also be used as a website and has similar plugins as Joomla’s modules.  However, what’s missing for me in both WordPress and Joomla is the ability to create the website as I see it in my brain from start to finish.  When I’m talking to a client, I already start forming the website in my brain before I’ve even pressed my fingers to the keyboard.  Serif allows me the creative room to put a picture skewed to the left or right – I don’t need to think about it.  I don’t need a plugin or module, everything I need is right within the Serif software – I just draw it the way I see it.  Boom. Done.

What if you have a website and it’s just not working right?  Or you don’t dare hit that update button for fear it’ll blow your website out of the water?  Web Help U.S. has a Dedicated Webmaster program that will update your website so you don’t have to think about it.  He works in both WordPress and Joomla and you can’t beat the price of $59.95 a month.

As much as I love Serif, there are some drawbacks to Serif WebPlus. One, if you have more than one person managing your website, it’s not the ideal platform.  Both WordPress and Joomla allow for multiple users with a simple login.  Joomla allows for limiting accessibility to the site as well (as does, WordPress, so don’t get your shorts in a knot for all the WordPress fans…)

Second, it’s not a very robust shopping cart.  Vinny showed me some fantastic things you can do inside of Joomla for shopping carts and subscription-based websites that I haven’t seen anywhere else.  As Got Clicks grows and evolves, I’m going to need the subscription capability because I’m recognizing many of my clients do not have two grand up front for a website, but they’d be happy to spend a hundred to two hundred a month to promote their business.  I need to pay attention to that, lean in to change, embrace it and see which of these platforms will suit my needs.

But dang!  You can’t ignore the ease of using Serif WebPlus.  I just launched the X8 tutorials last week and already have about a hundred hits on it – so that shows me there is still interest out there.  I have looked at Weebly and I do remember the Homestead websites that came and went, but those have a hard time showing in the search engines and didn’t seem to have a place to put metadescriptions in or page names which are critical to search engine visibility.

So if I’m feeling the overwhelm of what’s the right platform – I can only imagine what you must be going through.  Yes, there are big changes in the wind for Got Clicks.  Yes, Joomla is going to be a very big part of that change and yes, I’m ready to take the next steps – how about you?

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Making Money after Irene…

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I picked blueberries with a very close friend a coupla weeks ago –  right across the street from a house I used to own that I sold in 5 days on craigslist.  Got the price I wanted which was great, but I really didn’t want to sell it – I HAD to sell it for personal reasons and it still leaves me with mixed feelings when I see it sitting like a Vermont postcard across from the berry farm.

My friend and I started talking about business and how tight things are now and with Hurricane Irene devastating Vermont, we both wondered what would happen to our state, our economy and namely, our businesses.  I’ll bet you’ve been wondering the same thing – whether you’re in Vermont or California – what the heck’s going on, right?

I came home and started wondering how I could not only help my own business, but how could I help my friend?  How can I help my clients?  How can I help my family?  And then the subject of you came up and I wondered: how can I help you?  You’re reading this because you’re either a friend of mine and have seen my wild ride over the past 10 years (yes, I will be writing a book someday…) or you’re a client and have experienced my work first-hand.  At any rate, you know I’m of sound character, I love business and I’m very good at what I do – building affordable websites and doing internet marketing.

So this evening, I sat down and made some blueberry pancakes and started thinking about sales goals and how I wanted to achieve them.  How could I get a sales force that BELIEVES in what I do, would have NO PROBLEM telling others about what I do and would happily RECOMMEND me to friends, colleagues and others to HELP THEM build online businesses sensibly and affordably?   After smothering my pancakes in my other friend’s authentic maple syrup – it hit me.  This is how I can help Got Clicks and how I can HELP YOU…

I pay 20% commissions already to anyone who refers a paying client to me.  I’ve done this for about 4 years now, but I never publicized it or made a big deal out of it.  So I started thinking… geez, if someone refers a client to me who buys the Got Clicks Platinum package, that would mean $400 in their pocket!  That’s pretty good money for just passing along information to a friend.  So that’s exactly what I’m doing right now – I’m passing along some information to you as my friend, my colleague, my family member, my former co-worker, my client.  Refer a paying client my way and I will pay you 20% commission 30 days after their payment.  Use the money for whatever you wish – donate it to the many victims of the flooding, use it to improve your own business.  And if you are a business directly affected by the flooding, please tell me personally and I will see to it that I give you a 20% discount off your website purchase.

Why 30 days?

Because I have a 30-day money back guarantee on all my products and services.  I want to make certain clients are happy with the service and the website produced by Got Clicks.  Once the client is happy, 30 days has passed, you get your 20% cut – up to $400 per client you send my way.  Pretty cool, eh?

Just send your friends to this page http://gotclicks.biz/questionaire.html  and have them fill it out.  There’s a place they can put in your name and your email address (that’s important so I can let you know when your check’s ready…)  so I know where it came from and it asks questions I’ll need to know so I can gauge what they need for a website.  If they purchase the site, I’ll have the dated invoice and the date they sent the check.  30 days from the time I cash the check, I’ll be sending your payment to you – it could be $400! And that’s just for one person; imagine if you found more people?  Now how cool is that?  If this all makes sense to you, go ahead and paste the link on your Facebook, in your newsletter, on your forehead – I don’t really care as long as the word gets out.

I’ve “Got Clicks” – do you?  I sure hope so!

Happy Clicking,

Sarah