We’re Still a WordPress Website Provider

WordPress website developerSimplified Solutions has been in the business of building WordPress sites for quite some time now. Since The Content Squad came to be, that hasn’t been as big of a priority for us because our business model changed directions a bit. Even though we haven’t promoted this service in a while, we still want people to know of Simplified Solutions as a WordPress website provider.

The way we go about delivering and launching websites is a bit different now, too—but in a good way! We’re able to more efficiently launch sites and hand you the reins because our designer has devoted 100 percent of his time to this service. This service, by the way, includes a customized WordPress theme, social media set-up, and email marketing set up and integration.

Once your website is launched, we’ll help you get going and understand some basic details before we completely hand over the keys. It’s not for the serious inbound marketer, but it helps small businesses establish an online presence and effectively marketing their company.

We’d love to start a conversation and give you more details. In the meantime, check out our new portfolio page.

The New Top of Mind- 7 reasons to pump out content

Here is a quick list of 7 Reasons why you should start Pumping out Content for your small business, micro business or startup.

1) Because you can.

With a WordPress site and a premium theme ( of course I’m an affiliate) you are the director of “You” Publishing. It’s the ultimate in Bootstrap Marketing.

2) Because it’s fun.

What small business owner doesn’t get ideas in the middle of the night, driving down the road or in the shower. We all do. We care about our baby and even the most boring of us comes up with great ideas to promote his or her baby. Now you have the keys and you’re in control.

3) Because it educates and sells.

Want to get a point across to a prospect. Want to reinforce something to a current customer. Want to show your hand to a competitor. Want to tell your customers and prospects why they should look at your value propositions. Pump out the good relevant content.

4) Because you’ll be one of the first adopters.

No matter how much small businesses are chattering about inbound marketing, social media and blogging- very few are actually doing it. Want to get ahead? Then actually do it and stop just talking about it.

5) Because you’ll learn a lot in the process.

Creating good content for your site and blog is fun yet challenging. It requires you to rethink the way you run your business, the way you market your products and services and the way your community views you. Whether you’re recording videos and screencasts, snapping telling pictures, writing great posts or sharing key links- you’ll be forced to think and learn along the way.

6) Because you’re creating indexable content that can be referenced by you and search engines fo-ever.

Think about the difference between the web and sending a direct mail piece, running a print ad or buying a phone book ad. Print is finite. The web is not as of yet.

7) Because I said so.

I have your best interests at heart. I’m a nice guy and a lot smarter people than me are saying this too.

Why I use WordPress?

Let me count the ways … no that’s too cliche.

Here are the top 10 reasons why I use WordPress … no that’s too Twitter.

Please become a fan of WordPress on my Facebook page … no that’s too Farmville or whatever that Facebook game is called that everyone sends me and I ignore.

For only $19.99 get all my WordPress Secrets … too splash page.

Click here to download a free trial of WordPress … too spammy plus it’s already free.

Pick up the phone and call now and you’ll also get my bonus report “How I’ve made millions in 3 hours per day using WordPress” … too late night infomercial.

Ok seriously now, the reasons why I use WordPress are many. This post may just scratch the surface but WordPress is something I love to use and write about. I’ve also built a business around it. Did I mention [start of shameless self plug] that my wife downloaded a virus on her PC last week for the 2nd time this year. It’s toast this time (I use a Mac and she wants one too but wouldn’t this Netbook really hold her over for another year or so- I think so too) [end shameless self plug] and we could use a new Netbook.

WordPress has leveled the playing field in two big ways:

1) It has made Web Design way more affordable. You no longer are tied to a webmaster if you don’t need to be. You also don’t have to get a custom CMS (content management system) built. You can launch a website or blog in a matter of hours. With the amazing number of premium themes and plug ins you can focus your attention on creating compelling content and building a community around your product, idea, service or cause. Instead of focusing all your attention on design, functionality and technical stuff, you get to redirect that energy toward the things that truly drive traffic and create bottom line results. Plus it has widgets and you can’t go wrong with widgets.

2) WordPress has allowed you, me and anyone with a business, passion or hobby to self publish. You no longer have to wait to be published in a magazine, newspaper or journal. You no longer have to pay big bucks to broadcast your message on TV or radio. You hit the publish button everytime you post something in WordPress. If it’s good they’ll find it through Google. They’ll share it on Twitter. They’ll Digg it or Stumble it. The ball is in your court like it’s never been before. It’s the ultimate bootstrapping tool. It’s homebase. It’s better than the other blogging platforms and open source CMS’s because it has a legion of fans, developers, designers, writers, podcasters, video bloggers, visionaries and entrepreneurs making it better daily. It’s a movement. It’s a community. Did I mention it has widgets and that’s fun to say.

I heart it and it’s high on my list.

Thanks to WP Studio for putting on the contest and to ithemes and webdesign.com for all they do to make WordPress better.

Keeping track of your contacts

In the past it was a daunting task to keep track of customers. This was true especially if you let it get away from you over the years. If you’re like most small businesses and busy professionals, you probably did.

That brings me to the good news. If you’d done a bad job of keeping tabs on your contacts in the past- you’d have had an uphill battle. Your company would be in for a laborious session using Google, Yellowbook, Whitebook and online directories to find each and every contact. Not anymore.

Here is a strategy I share with all my customers. Get a legal pad and allocate a few hours in several batches throughout a week. Write down those you’ve done business with, networked with and just befriended over the years. Now take said notebook and go to Google. Type in their names one by one. If they’re on the grid, then you’re leveraging the power of six degrees of separation or six pixels if you prefer.

Many will show up in your Google search on Facebook. From there you can find most of their friends. Bet they’re on your list as well. Not on Facebook? No problem. How about LinkedIn? Found someone on LinkedIn, scan their connections. See anyone else on your list? Not on Facebook or LinkedIn, but hey there’s still Twitter. Oh yeah and Flickr, WordPress, Blogger and a million others. Maybe they show up on a contact or about page of a website. Heck maybe they even own their own business now.

Now you are connected to them and their information is fresh because they updated it themselves. No directory guessed at it. So you can connect with them where they’re at or you can bring their info in to your CRM. Now the hard work starts- building relationships and staying top of mind.

10 simple steps for WordPress as CMS

Obviously, we know that WordPress has become much more than a blog platform. It’s won awards for the top CMS so you’re probably aware that it can work nicely for your website.- especially if you’re looking to Bootstrap your way to success. So what are some of the simple ways aside from blogging to keep your site fresh? Here’s a quick list of 10 to get you started.

  1. Add new links weekly to your link widget and display it in your sidebar.
  2. Add an RSS page template and pull in all your favorite feeds to that page.
  3. Embed your Google Reader share items in a page or widget.
  4. Embed your Delicious bookmarks RSS feed into a widget area.
  5. Embed your Google Calendar into a page.
  6. Pull in social media badges from Flickr, Youtube or Twitter.
  7. Change key widget areas on the home page with simple text widgets.
  8. Use a plug in like Billboard to easily update ads, sponsors or promotions.
  9. Add to your portfolio, case studies, testimonials or services pages.
  10. Blog- sorry for the obvious but it had to make the list.

A New Direction

It’s time for a new direction. I’m posting this verbatim on my other sites as well.

For the last two years, I’ve planned and built, tweaked and refined, sold and invoiced, collected and accounted. I’ve marketed and branded and promoted. I’ve written and blogged and spoke and taught. I’ve coached and consulted. I’ve laughed, cried and learned a whole lot along the way.

I don’t regret starting Simplified Solutions, LLC two years ago. It has been the single best business learning experience I have ever had. I made so many mistakes. Too many to list here. I definitely failed forward at times. The best part was that this last two years was a training ground. A preparation if you will for the greatest business opportunity in my life thus far.

As my business has started to succeed the last several months, it’s been in large part due to a company called ithemes- and a open source platform called WordPress. I owe a lot to WordPress and to the team at ithemes. WordPress gave me, and more importantly small businesses, non profits and ministries; an affordable, effective, and attractive way to gain an online presence. Ithemes created some amazing themes powered by WordPress. That made the rest pretty easy for me.

A few months back my relationship with this amazing company grew a little closer. I always wondered how employable I was after being in sales most of my life and then running a small freelance business. Deep down though I knew I could follow a great leader and be a contributor on an amazing team. Well I’ve found both. The great leaders are Cory Miller and James Dalman. The great team is the team at ithemes and now WebDesign.com.

About a month ago, we started a serious dialogue about me joining a new venture that ithemes was launching. Time passed, many chats and conference calls lined out the details and I flew to Dallas this past weekend to meet the team and join this new venture – WebDesign.com

I am joining a thriving team at ithemes and have become their first sales consultant with WebDesign.com. To say I’m thrilled would be the understatement of the year.

We have a rockin team and we are ready to show the world an amazing model for web design and the customer service that comes with it.

You can follow all the details here at http://webdesign.com

You can also follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/webdesigncom

My new email address is bryce@webdesign.com and the cell phone is still the same.

I have already spoken to most current customers and this transition will be very seamless. I’m just joining the company that I promoted and sold before accept now I have a team of programmers, project managers, coders, designers, graphic designers, tech interns, owners and partners behind me. Way cool!

Simplified Solutions, LLC will still be an accounting entry in Quickbooks. Some things will trickle in and trickle out but I’m putting my 100% focus on making WebDesign.com the best in the world.

Add this to your to-do list today

Small Business, Corporations, Organizations, Associations, Non Profits, Ministries

If you operate in any of the above worlds, you need to run around your office this morning and find this person.

This person will be your new bootstrapping marketer, advertiser, PR agent, communications department, sales manager and all around buzz expert. We’ll call him or her a “Content Manager”. Find them quickly, not hastily but quickly. Good decision makers make them quickly right? That’s what I’ve read everywhere under the sun.

Alright now that you have that person. Lock them in their office, obviously providing the best take out food in your area, plenty to drink in the way of coffee, lattes, cool specialty drinks like Root Beers, Ginger Ales or Sasparillas and water. Give them plenty of breaks to refresh and do fun things in between their in depth study sessions.

OK you ask, what shall they learn? WordPress and Twitter. Start there.

I see one organization after another that could benefit by having a Word Press site. I’m a big fan of Ithemes cool themes. I don’t have a lot of time to elaborate here, but it’s important that you take my word for it.

You see two days ago I listened to a very prominent person say something that stuck with me. The remark was that he would spend 5 minutes per day posting to Twitter and engaging followers. They would have a CMS (content management system) and I think hands down WordPress does this the best for the least investment of time and money. They would have a “Content Manager” who they would touch base with for 5 minutes per day to get updates and posts done. Here’s the scoop today.

Simple yet powerful. This is where the leaders are and where the followers are heading. Get there.

Learn and use WordPress and Twitter. If you need help, contact me. I know some great training resources and the most awesome theme company with package hosting and great support.

If you can’t find this person in house, you better outsource this one. It’s too important to ignore.

Social Media Workshop

This post is mainly geared for a free workshop I did today. However, I think most folks who are new to social media will learn a lot.

Here is a quick summary of some bullet points from today’s talk:

LinkedIn is probably the most professional of the tools we discussed today, but also probably the most in depth. Within LinkedIn there are many directions you can go with your job search or networking. There are groups to join, connections to be made, recommendations to write and to seek out, and much more.

The biggest key is to first set up your account. Then set up your profile. From there you can get more acquainted with the site and tools over time. If you have at least created an account and set up a profile, then people can connect with you. Google can also index your results. Again this means that if someone Google’s your name (it’s become a verb), they can research you. Todd Doyle did a great job explaining LinkedIn and it’s value.

Twitter- is a great and simple tool that can help you to encourage others, promote others, contribute to discussions, plug yourself, and it’s also a lot of fun. Everything in Twitter is based on permission. People follow you based on the content of your tweets (posts). You choose to follow them back based on their content or by searching for people via (searchtwitter.com) Don’t forget to bookmark or favorite these links in your browsers. Another great way to find people to follow is by looking at the followers of your followers. For instance if you looked at my list you may see some people we know commonly. Then so on and so forth. Twitter followers are very faithful about reciprocating as long as you don’t over do it with a far too many posts or spam them with lots of unwanted solicitation type tweets. Mixing in the occasional plug, link, cause or promotion is not only expected but helpful to the entire community.

Twitter can help you connect and develop relationships when you genuinly become interested in others and when they reciprocate. Often people share information, job opportunities, new promotions, referrals and much more on Twitter. After you create your account and set up your profile, you will start to tweet. You only have 140 characters. Once you’ve went over that limit you’ll start to see the screen change colors. It’s a good idea to make your thoughts as concise as possible. Over time you will see many of the tricks and hacks that people use to get the most out of the 140 character limit. It’s simply brilliant and brilliantly simple in the way this works. Don’t forget to add a picture, a bio and a link to somewhere online that you have a presence. LinkedIn or Facebook profiles work well.

I’ll leave you with a few tips that will save you time and energy. I learned these the hard way by watching and by trial and error.

  1. If you want to link to someone else on Twitter in your tweet- @username is the format. You can look up their user name on their profile page or through a search.
  2. If you want to add a link then this website can help you shorten the link so it takes up less characters. You simply copy the url (the address in the bar up top) and paste it into the box on the website I’ve linked to above. Then you click make tiny and copy the new link and paste it into your tweet box. It sounds a little complicated but it’s really not. If you use a mouse then highlighting and right clicking will let you copy and paste easily. If you prefer using your keyboard – On a PC -Ctr button + C = copy while Ctr button + V = paste. On a MAC Command button + C = copy while Command button + V = paste.
  3. If you like what someone else says you can copy it and paste it into your twitter box and put the letters RT in front of it. This is called a retweet. It is the highest compliment to retweet someone elses tweet (post). You can make it easier for someone to retweet your material by making your tweets 120 characters instead of 140- don’t try and understand that one yet, just trust me. Here is the magic in the retweet. If someone has 15,000 followers and you say or link to someone interesting, many of their followers may quickly follow you. Viral marketing at it’s best.
  4. Don’t tweet too much and don’t tweet too little. A couple times in the morning, at lunch and around dinner is plenty to start with. At least try it once a day if that’s not possible.

Next week we’ll talk more about blogging, facebook and Ning. Also we can have a Q&A for those who have jumped in sideways into Twitter or LinkedIn.

Screencast Tutorial Videos next week

Next week I’m planning on launching screencast tuturial videos on a variety of topics to assist small business owners, non profits, ministries and even working professionals.

There are so many tools out there it will make your head spin. I try to keep up with them and sift through them. I’ll tell you about some of the real winners and put together “How To” videos and “Power Tips” videos to enable my fans to maximize their use of these tools.

I plugged this survey on my weekly newsletter but the voting is open to anyone who stumbles on this post. The tools we highlight will focus mainly on productivity, communications, marketing and creating a buzz.

Bootstrap with WordPress

Recently I was given the opportunity to write a guest post over at Ithemes. They are the top dog in my mind when it comes to producing and distributing Customized WordPress Themes.

If you have a non profit, small business or ministry, you know this; but repetition can never hurt. If you get a chance to speak for a group, or write a guest post on a blog, or be interviewed for a podcast, say yes even if you’re not ready. Even if things are not perfect. Even if the timing is bad. Say yes.

To paraphrase Abe Lincoln said ” I will study and prepare and one day my chance will come.” Was he a prophet or what? Failure after failure after failure prepared him to lead our country through a dire strait.

It won’t be perfect the first time or the second, but soon you be riding a bike without the training wheels.

Here is the article I wrote. It’s about bootstrapping your business or non profit using WordPress and Ithemes. You really should read it. It’s the kind of thing you’ll look back on and say I’m glad we positioned ourselves to capitalize on these trends.