Why Simple Websites Work

i_heart_swI love simple websites. While in the middle of a making a website transition a couple years ago, a friend recommended Don’t Make Me Think – A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug. I found it incredibly useful. Steve gets straight to the point, and even throws in a bit of humor while telling you what you really need to know. It’s a must read for web designers and anyone who has a website. Don’t Make Me Think goes beyond web design and explains web usability, something many designers forget to consider. You want your website to look good, but more importantly, you want people to easily find their way around, i.e. don’t make them think!

In his book Steve says, “In the past five years I’ve spent a lot of time watching people use the Web, and the thing that has struck me most is the difference between how we think people use Web sites and how they actually use them.”

Continue reading Why Simple Websites Work

A free WordPress blog can really cost you

Wordpress Dog“I’m just going to get a free blog from WordPress.com. I mean, why pay for something when you can get it for free?” I’ve heard this more than once, and it makes me crazy. I’m sure that sometimes people think I’m trying to get them to hire me when I explain why a free WordPress blog doesn’t always make sense. I’m not. I just like to share information, especially when I think it can keep them from major headaches later on. (I know. I ‘ve had this headache.)

When someone says they have a free blog at WordPress.com, what they mean is, they have free web hosting. WordPress.com is hosting the site for them at no charge. They are supplying both the application, (WordPress is built into the site), and the web server. Web hosting is a service that companies provide to help you keep track of and store all the files for your website. Everything on the internet needs to have a home on some computer somewhere. When you hear people talk about their web server, they are talking about the physical computer or computers that their web host uses to store all the files that make up their website.

When you sign up with a web hosting company, like Bluehost.com, then you have access to all the files that make up your blog. The guts of your website, you know, the html, css, php, and all those other crazy coded files that don’t make much sense until you need them.

Continue reading A free WordPress blog can really cost you

I need a website! Where do I start?

wordleNeed a website? Well it’s never been easier! One option is to hire someone to set up a site for you, have them spend a couple hours teaching you the basics, and then you are well on your way. Below are some beginning steps to ensure a great start. Continue reading I need a website! Where do I start?

KGSR Radio, New Kid in Town, and Twitter

car_radio artThis morning I turned on the radio in my car to hear one of my favorite Eagles’ songs, New Kid In Town. I had a very nostalgic little drive to my neighborhood grocery store. This song came out in 1978, the same year I graduated from high school.

On my way back from the store what I didn’t expect to hear was “Tweet to Win!”. K-Geezer (a.k.a. 107.1 KGSR Radio Austin) engaging their listeners on twitter? I guess I don’t listen to the radio enough to realize it’s becoming the norm. I decided to do a search, and sure enough, I found a site that lists radio stations on twitter.

New Media and radio seem like a natural fit in many ways. When you think about traditional advertising, (Radio-Television-Newspaper), it’s clear who has had the edge all along. In fact, radio perhaps was the very first form of social media marketing using technology. They have been engaging with their listeners since the very beginning. I’m not saying they did it well, but they were getting feedback and engaging none the less, even way back in the early days of radio.

Continue reading KGSR Radio, New Kid in Town, and Twitter

I feel lucky, but still need The Scrupski Rules


I feel lucky. My husband always says that it’s not luck, it’s that we make smart choices. But sometimes it just feels like luck. Lately I feel lucky to be healthy, to have a vegetable garden, and to live in Austin, which often feels like the Social Media capital of the world.

When I first met Susan Scrupski, Ms. ITSinsider, at a holiday party over a year ago, I had no idea of how connected she was in the 2.0 community. I quickly came to realize that she is very smart and on the cutting edge of just about everything. I was intrigued and impressed by the story of how she began her Enterprise 2.0 career. She is one of those people that you hear about, but rarely meet. She started writing about what she was interested in, and her blog launched her into an exciting new position. Continue reading I feel lucky, but still need The Scrupski Rules

Email Nirvana? Use OtherInbox!

otherinbox_logo_800Got too many emails? Who doesn’t these days. Ahem, that would be me.  I’ve been using OtherInbox for about six months and honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without it. I pride myself on being organized, almost to the OCD level, and OtherInbox has helped me save time and anguish by pre-organizing my emails, as well as drastically reducing my spam.

Joshua Baer, founder and CEO, explains OtherInbox with one simple sentence.

“It’s the e-mail account to send all that stuff that you want to get but you don’t want interrupting you during your day in your primary box.”

Last fall Joshua Baer and co-founder Mike Subelsky presented Otherinbox at TechCrunch50. After watching the presentation online, I was sold. Then I got an invite from Joshua to use the beta version. Yay! I’ve been in a state of email bliss ever since. Insert Buddhist chant here: Name Ho Renge Kyo. Continue reading Email Nirvana? Use OtherInbox!

A great day for all women! Woo Hoo!

michelle-obama-official-portraitMichelle Obama makes me happy! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy hearing and seeing her in the news. She’s strong, smart, self-assured, and refreshingly real. That pretty much says it all.

March is Women’s History Month and today was a exceptional day. Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton presented the 2009 awards for the International Women of Courage.


Each of these amazing women has a courageous and inspiring story, but Hadizatou Mani‘s (pictured far right above) I found especially powerful.

iwoc_niger_137_1In 1996, when she was 12, she was sold for $500. “I was negotiated over like a goat,” said Mani. Her mother was a slave, so she was a slave, it was a simple as that. Can you imagine? This was just a little over ten years ago! Niger just criminalized slavery in 2003, but as we all know sometimes the law lags behind when it comes to law enforcement.

Ms. Mani was determined to somehow break the cycle so that her daughter would not have to experience the same world  she did. She knew she needed to be strong, smart, and self-assured in order to succeed. Continue reading A great day for all women! Woo Hoo!

Ferrets, cigarettes, and lasting friendships

If it wasn’t for ferrets and cigarettes, who knows if I would have even met one of my best friends, Cheryl Finfrock. In the late 80’s we were introduced to each other by mutual friends. They knew that we were both looking for a roommate and finding it increasingly challenging because of our individual vices. I had a nasty cigarette habit, (haven’t smoked for 14 years thank you very much) and Cheryl had ferrets, (can’t remember exactly when she quit those).

We decided to be housemates and became close friends. I didn’t mind if a ferret poked it’s head out between the cushions of the couch occasionally, and she didn’t have a problem with my smoky bedroom. Cheryl was the first person to impress upon me that psychotherapy is fun! She is a true therapy enthusiast. She is all about self-reflection and questioning her own motives. Cheryl loves to analyze her own thoughts and feelings, as well as those around her if  they are game. I think her paintings are merely an extension of that process.


Today my cool friend is an accomplished painter with a very impressive body of work. Last night was Cheryl’s art opening at Wally Workman Gallery, one of Austin’s most prestigious galleries. It was a real Austin scene. Here’s a little video snippet from the event. Continue reading Ferrets, cigarettes, and lasting friendships

Social Networking: “The Costanza Method”

The best and the worst aspect of social networking is one in the same.

There’s always a party going on online anytime, day or night, filled with interesting, creative, intelligent, funny people that want to have conversations, share their lives, offer business advice and connect.

Believe it or not, this was a recent revelation to me. I had one of those “A-ha!” Oprah moments, or whatever you want to call it. I must confess that the never ending Web 2.0 party is pretty addictive, but I try to remember it’s just an accessory to my 3D life. Just like going to a real party, two or three hours is more than plenty.

george costanza

Remember the Seinfeld episode (Season 9, Episode 16) where George Costanza devises a new social strategy after Jerry suggests he use some stand-up techniques? Continue reading Social Networking: “The Costanza Method”