What Is WordPress? 8 Basic Questions Answered

WordPress logo on VW

WordPress– the peoples’ platform

Three years ago, I decided to learn as much as I could about WordPress so that I could base all the websites I build on it. Am I ever glad I did!  Today there’s growing interest in WordPress from people at all levels of tech understanding, including successful business owners whose orientation is so non-technical that when I ask what kind of browser they use, they have a hard time answering.

A conversation I had with a friend last evening is what inspired me to write this post. He’s a really bright guy, but his focus is on his profession and not on the mechanics of websites, so when he wanted to pick my brain about WordPress, I realized there are probably many more like him.

So, here are eight of the most basic questions you might have about WordPress, some followed by a “translation” for readers who  don’t routinely reserve brain cells for facts about Internet technology. Continue reading

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Lion in the Grass: Are You Missing the Profit Pattern?

5K Run Bird
My training run this morning.
Yeah, I know, it’s a bird, not a lion.


Our brains are wired for pattern recognition. False positives are our bias, because when the grass rustled on the African veld, if you assumed it was a large carnivore and ran like hell, you survived whether it was or was not.

The penalty for assuming it was something harmless was that you were weeded out of the gene pool. Conclusion: we’re all descended from fleet-footed primates who erred on the side of caution.

That’s why we have bogus conspiracy theories, “miraculous” water stain resemblances and the ability to recognize elephants in high-altitude billowing water vapor (clouds). Continue reading

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What do Susan Cain and Nyan Cat have in common?

Susan Cain - Nyan Cat I really have been enjoying reading books since we cut back to basic cable. I was addicted last year to two weekly TV shows, The Killing and Falling Skies, but now I devote that time to books. As I write this, I’m in the middle of All Quiet on the Western Front and The Jungle Book. I feel good about the switch, four months in, even though the creators of those shows had left me with a powerful hunger for the new season.

There’s a reason a tiny percentage of the books of any age are not forgotten, and it’s quality, and you know it when you read them.

Speaking of quality, a woman named Susan Cain recently became famous for writing Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which is now at the top of my list of books I would like to read must-read list will-read list. Continue reading

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HubSpot vs. WordPress & Google Analytics

hubspot-wordpress-googleHave you heard the buzz about HubSpot marketing and analytics software and wondered what all the fuss is about? Why would a company pay $200-$400 a month or more for what appear to be services you can get free elsewhere?

Arguments pro and con can be found if you search on, for example, “alternatives to HubSpot” on Google.

Most small business owners begin with a natural resistance to the monthly fees. It seems wiser to use free tools such as WordPress for blogging and Google for Analytics, and inexpensive hosting such as GoDaddy.

Well, that path is cheaper, but is it as good? Continue reading

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Muddling Through, Part I: Tweet More Often

Tweeting in April

Starting tomorrow, tweet it up!

Is your company or organization making all the right marketing moves online? Are you doing enough? That’s easy: probably not. I know I’m not, and I’m in the business and trying to set an example.

My dad used to say this: “Sometimes you just have to muddle through.” I used to think that was kind of dumb, but as I got older Dad magically got smarter, and now I think he wasn’t saying don’t do your best; I think he meant that often you find yourself in the midst of too much complexity, too many gray areas, an abundance of choices, and you just have to humbly move forward and do the best you can.

Take, for example, the online environment in 2012. Continue reading

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Three Online Marketing Rules for Good Times and Bad

Tiny car, big camper

Does your business ever feel like this?

The plight of the struggling small business owner is on my mind today. Whether from economic recessions that suck the oxygen from the business climate, or from mistakes and other factors well within our control, most entrepreneurs have known failure in varying degrees. Except in rare cases, most of us have had to cut back in lean times, dismissing valuable employees, searching for new sources of revenue, scrambling for every penny.

(Disclaimer: I know the Great Recession is receding, but many sectors are still lagging. As I write this, if you’re in the automotive industry you’re golden; not so much in housing and construction.)

Traditionally, marketers tell you that marketing and advertising budgets should be the last to go in lean times. Also traditionally, business owners usually cut the ad budget along with everything else.

But we’re no longer living in an era in which tradition applies to marketing decisions. Continue reading

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Earn Their Trust: Post the Picture that’s Worth 1,000 Words

A certain relative of mine is a smart guy, a well-educated professional who seems to be functioning reasonably well in modern society. He has this one quirk, though– he still uses a film camera. Yep. When the 36-exposure role of Ektachrome starts flapping, he does a film-ectomy, takes it to the corner drugstore and drops it off.

Before girdling root removal

Before girdling root removal

Hours or days later, he finds out what he snapped blindly over the past weeks or months. Needless to say, he doesn’t email a lot of photos, and let’s not talk about using a scanner because there isn’t one of those in the picture either.

Are you feeling pretty modern by comparison? You should be. Chances are you have a digital camera, maybe even one that’s integrated with your cell phone. That means you have a powerful tool that can (a) greatly improve relations with your current customers and (b) help you get new ones. Continue reading

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