Messing With Minds: How Important Is That Online Experience?


We call it “user experience” (UX) for a reason. Users can have a good one or a bad one. They can have a memorable one or a forgettable one. My vote is to have all my clients give all of their users a memorable, good experience. How does this happen? What can be done to help it along?

Scream: Jason Bolonski
Scream: Jason Bolonski

Facebook, Twitter and WordPress are all phenomenally successful. Owing in greater part to the layout of their sites the user experience they offer is quite memorable even if the site itself seems mundane and average. Sure to be the bane of wildly creative graphic artists you’ll see the reason for this is because every element on the page is generally where the vast percentage of visitors expects it to be or the design is so simple it is impossible to miss “what to do” or “where to go”.

Granted there are elements and functions of Facebook which seem to be hidden and the same can be said for Twitter but the more important features are basically “in your face” from the first visit. Whether this is by design or simply due to the designer’s human and personal preferences I do not know but what really matters is the layout, positioning and visibility of the necessary interactions are neither obscured by design nor are they obfuscated by content. Busy pages are UX killers for new users and you can’t get repeat users if your new user experience sucks enough to permanently dissuade them from revisiting.

I read an article recently about a Computer Associates (CA) study done back in 2010 where users were wired to an EEG machine, which reads brain activity, and put through a series of online experiences included UX challenges. The results were overwhelmingly conclusive that bad online experiences, including looking for links, buttons and functions, excited the parts of the brain associated with anxiety and frustration. The test proved that a bad online experience caused the user to concentrate with 50% more effort and even resulted in contortions of the face though subtle they may have been.

Different users have varying thoughts on what a bad user experience is. Site owners must determine which users to cater to because, as in all things, it’s virtually impossible to please everyone. Twitter did it by being simple and above the fold. Facebook did it by making it pretty simple to get started and highly rewarding for one of the greatest emotional needs, acceptance and involvement, once you did. WordPress does it because although themes may vary the common layout which exists among most means always having a good idea where the search box is, what the header does and how to use the features like the menu, comments and login.

Kim Bannerman on Ladybugs and Broomsticks recently shared her list of bad UX ideas with us:

My 7 top examples of Bad User Experience and User Interface Design

  • Mobile “optimized” site – that looks like a table of contents
  • Flash – I have an iPhone, iPad and a MacBook
  • Pop Up Ads – I click to close them. Period.
  • Flashing Banner Links – again, it looks like an ad and I will not click
  • Site Consistency – your user needs to feel comfortable
  • Auto Play Video – huge problem on major media/magazine sites
  • Keep it simple – the best design is often the most clean

For the most part I think we all agree on the majority of the site. Although only a small percentage of us have only Apple products the disdain for Flash extends far and wide. (In case you aren’t aware Flash is memory hungry, not necessarily that secure and is really just a way for the code challenged to make a website perform like a video. Basically is sucks for all real and useful purposes.) Her inclusion of Auto Play Video, as regular readers know, is on the top of my list.

A Tale of Two Clicks: Like vs Buy

In this quick click trick we talk about two buttons, two clicks: 1 button says “Like” and the other button says “Buy”. Which came first the Like or the Buy? Which one is an investment and which is a return. Since there has been online media, social media and “web traffic” the war has raged about which is more important between mass numbers of traffic with a low ratio of transactions or highly targeted traffic with a high ratio of transactions.

Today is no different and the question is not completely answered. Hopefully this is enough thought starter to make sure your social media efforts are on target with your cost and revenue goals. If not let’s talk about what those may be and see what it will take to get you where you want, and need, to be.

5 Ways To Anger Website Visitors (and lose them forever)


Remember the good old days of the “Website Under Construction” banners? That is actually how I used to find a lot of clients. I would use my spider to go out and look for “construction.gif” and a short time later have a small business website client ready to go. It was almost like, well – you know, fish in a barrel. Only clients aren’t fish. Clients are people and they have the same personality traits as the rest of us. Heck, you’re a client to someone.

The web has changed a lot since I did my first site for Media Play back in 1994 – which never made use of the afore mentioned (and pictured sample) greeting. In fact I rarely see the sign but what I do see is equally or more disturbing. Many of these are simple to address and cure even if you, heaven forbid, do you own online development.

Five Tips To Drive Away Clients

Small business websites are just as crucial, perhaps more so, to a small business as enterprise sites are to major corporations. For the small business person a website usually handles part of the job of sales clerk, part of the job as communications tool and even part of the job as marketing intern. Converting casual visitors to dedicated clients is generally the goal so wasting their time in the first visit generally means that’s there last visit.

  • Noise that plays automatically – in crude terms people refer to this as ear rape and it’s a great way to have them click away from your site and even say negative things about your site in social media networks. Silent pop-ups, silent auto streaming videos and even silent redirects are all more acceptable to visitors than anything which makes noise when they visit your site. Imagine someone at work trying to sneak a visit to your site or someone in a shared workspace – or a parent who just got their children to sleep. Noise that plays automatically is here at the top of the list because it’s an horrible offense.
  • Broken Links – websites with broken links are generally websites with too many links and no dedicated webmaster. Promising someone a peak at your menu using a broken link generally results in them navigating away never to return. The worst broken link you can have is your “Contact Us” link but any broken link is not a good thing. Trim your links, use a service to scan regularly and have a human person double check at least monthly.
  • No live chat response – and I admit I have been guilty. If you are going to install one of the many “Live Chat Now” services on your small business website be sure to either (a) turn it off when you cannot monitor it or (b) pay someone to monitor it at all times. In addition be lite on the canned responses. For example if the user types in “small business help” as their user name and your system says, “Welcome small business help, what is your question?” then ten seconds later posts “Just one moment small business help I am answering your question”, then ten more seconds “While you’re waiting, small business help, please check our FAQ section” … you get the picture.
  • Past date events and announcements – not too long ago I stumbled on a site which offered a local meeting I was interested in. It was talking about “next week” and giving the date of May 11 and I was interested in going. As I was completing the free RSVP I noticed it was May 11, 2010 and this is 2012. Why is that still on this site? What else on this site will I waste my precious seconds reading?
  • Excerpt marketing – you’ve seen it. You go to your favorite search engine and typed in “price of 10k gold” and clicked on the link which took you to a page that simply has a link to another article about the price of gold. Just a short line designed to capture search engine traffic for page impression purposes. Google is trying to thin these out but they often pop-up, get high in the ranking and trick a lot of people before they are de-indexed. That’s the black hat method but you can also be guilty of it on a small business website by doing the same thing in innocence.


Small Business Websites and Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM)

It is my belief every small business needs a web presence. While brochure sites are easy to build they don’t do much for the prospective client except ask them to pick up the phone or stop in. Contact automation has a powerful place but must be used wisely. Using the big name companies with fees of $30 to $100 per month just to manage a small list of contacts really doesn’t make sense when you can own your own, custom developed CRM for about the same as it costs to subscribe to a major service for a year. You never worry about a customer who forgot they signed up and reports you for spam or how many emails you can send to each contact per month when you own your own Customer Relationship Management System.

Got more? We’d love to read yours, too.

What, Exactly, is SEO and Why is it Important to Small Business?


Small business SEO is the realm of snake oil and magic bullets. It’s the place in cyberspace where digital hustlers spread their lore and captivate audiences with stats and stories from around the globe. You will find both the trustworthy provider as well as the ant-lion hustler spewing great gushers of acronyms in volume enough to spin the heads off ten penny nails.

Let’s see – what all did I confuse the search bots with in that paragraph? I got “small business SEO” there at the lead then I hit it with “snake oil” and “magic bullets” in one sentence. I think by the time I got to “ant-lion”, “hustler” and “ten penny nails” the Googlebot probably thought I was using an article spinner. That’s another topic in and of its own but for now let’s get to the pertinent information for the small business online marketer who, let’s face it, needs to be found in search engine searches.

How we got here today, I mean the history of search engines, is important but that’s a little beyond the scope of time I expect you to invest in learning the what and why about small business SEO. Today nothing matters more than Google. That said there are other important tools and systems relative to online search marketing but none of them tops Google. In fact Google dominates the search engine space with 83% of the search engine activity as of May 2012 (resource).  The closest “competitor” is Yahoo with 6.5% and Bing is all the way down at 4.15% of total global search share.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization, SEO, is the practice of creating or modifying a website, a webpage and/or the content thereof to be more “search engine friendly” and thus result in more searches displaying your page higher (ie closer to the first result) in the search engine results pages (SERP). As an example if Janet makes wood beads for jewelry she would certainly like for her website link to appear at the top of the search engine results when anyone searches for “wood beads for jewelry” or “wood beads”. It could mean the difference between a few sales and thousands of sales – this, of course, depends on the demand for the product.

In our example above the “key words” are “wood beads for jewelry”. While keywords are important they have, over the years, become only one crucial component of search. In the early days when search robots used thinly constructed algorithms (the way the search engine scripts treat the contents of a web page) it was easy just to load a page with keywords. In this example maybe just posting the words “wood beads” about 50 times. It didn’t take too long until we made changes to the way the search “robots” (the script that reads and catalogs the pages) treated textual content and we started counting percentages, where keywords appeared and even how they were presented on the page.

Today we look for human readable content with keywords used in context. As technology has grown so have the calculations for scoring and cataloging web content. Today the most important part is to have human friendly pages with fresh, unique and relevant content. There are still a high number of SEO “experts” out there who use what are called black hat techniques. They may work to boost your results for a while but run a very high risk of your site being de-indexed (removed and blocked) from Google’s search results. For this reason it is very important to look past any flash, glitz, promises, and high prices, and work with a small business SEO provider who knows the rules and understands the inner workings of the search engine program.

Good SEO results in solid website visits from qualified buyers. It is rarely the answer to all of your needs but it certainly can represent a high rate of return for any small business.

Looking for a master authority on the topic of small business SEO isn’t as challenging as one may think. There are a few tips of the hat which can help thin the herd and they can serve you well. These are not all you need and some authentic professionals can also seem like snake charmers but keep these in mind:

  • Paying for search engine placement is not SEO – it’s marketing and it works but when you stop paying you lose the results you were getting. True SEO results in an organic growth of traffic to your site. Paid placement buys you results only as long as you continue to pay.
  • Ask them how important the “keywords meta tag” is to Google – if they say it’s crucial just thank them for their time and move along. (resource)
  • Ask them if they can get back-links to your site – this one is tricky because white hat (acceptable) back-links from relevant, well ranked sites is important. If they say they can get back-links ask them how they do so. If they say “comment marketing” or “we have several sites we can link to you from” just be careful. While this can be an acceptable, viable technique it’s closer to a gray area.
  • If they ask you to move the hosting of your site – be very cautious. About the only viable reason I can think of moving your site would be if during the analysis it was discovered you are on a shared server with websites which have been blacklisted. I cannot think of another acceptable reason to move.
  • Ask them if it helps to use a gateway page with a re-direct to your site – if they say anything short of no then thank them for their time. This is not to be confused with a landing page or an index page. A gateway page refers to a page the user never sees because it redirects to the page you want them to see. The gateway page is written exclusively to attract the attention of the search engine … it may also attract the attention of one of the thousands of site surveyors who have the ability to de-index your site with a single click and no explanation.

Why do small businesses need SEO?

The name should say it all in most cases. Small. Small usually means small staff – like a staff of 1 for example. Search engine optimization, when properly performed, can act like another member of the marketing team. Combined with the right website, one that performs like a member of the sales team, a small business person (like you?) may free up time to actually do the service they opened their business to do. Good SEO results in solid website visits from qualified buyers. It is rarely the answer to all of your needs but it certainly can represent a high rate of return for any small business.

Consult with an accomplished, knowledgeable, small business SEO expert today. In fact since you are reading my blog I’ll be happy to spend several minutes answering your questions and helping you get going in the right direction. Just call me at 678-439-8683 or use the contact form on this site.

Five Startup Tips for Small Businesses

Chances are you have thought about it, dreamed about it and even discussed the idea of starting your own business. Congratulations you still believe in the American Dream.  There are currently somewhere around 25,000,000 small businesses existing as a legal entity inside the United States of America. I chose the word “existing” instead of “operating” for the simple fact that some of these small businesses never quite get off the ground. I further used the word “legal entity” because there are also thousands, if not millions, of small businesses operating “under the radar”.

Starting a small business is a big decision. Making big decisions requires planning – if you plan to succeed. True enough many, maybe even most, small business owners start out by “just jumping in there” but there are many pains which can easily be avoided just by taking a few breaths and planning.


When considering starting a small business, at least the first one, most people are quite clueless, even in this age of the Internet, about required steps, suggested steps and steps to avoid. Don’t count on this article answering all of those. However, from my 33 years as a small business person having owned and operated nearly a dozen with an array of results, there are some pointers from experience I can share with the average person to possibly make things a little better for you. These tips should apply well to almost any business and will certainly give every reader food for thought on how to start a small business.

Tip One – Passion

If you’re not passionate about what you are thinking of doing then sleep on it until you are passionate or until the idea passes. How many people have gone to a food storage container party or a make-up party on a whim only to leave with hundreds of dollars worth of product samples to go home and start their own business? As an avid yard-saler I can tell you it appears to be a very large statistic. My favorite place to buy those well known kitchen items is at yard sales from people who are selling their demonstration kit for pennies on the dollar. If you haven’t been already planning and strategizing for at least a few weeks I strongly recommend waiting until your emotions level out.

Tip Two – Partners

Be careful about partnerships. I’m not saying don’t enter into a partnership I’m just saying be very careful about them. Once you join a partner in a business you have a relationship which is not too unlike a marriage. Even friends who have been so for many years don’t necessarily make good partners. If you do intent to have a partner then please make it abundantly clear between yourselves what is expected and what is forbidden and do so in legal form. If, for example, one is a money partner and the other is a sweat equity partner the sweater has little right to whine when the funder isn’t required to show up for work – if that is how the agreement reads. No agreement? Expect a world of hurt at some point. It’s called a Partner’s Operating Agreement and it’s court worthy.

Tip Three – Income

Don’t quit your day job. Having been a partner in a mortgage bank for several years I cannot count the number of time we saw where someone would have qualified if one of the borrowers had not quit their day job X months ago. To qualify for most loans, including small business loans, the small business generally needs to have been filing taxes and operating for a minimum of 24 months. Not two tax years, 24 months. It is also worth thought to keep your day job until you do start showing a profit from your small business. Opening a retail store obviously may preclude this unless you have trustworthy employees who earn less per hour working for you than you do at your career positions.

Tip Four – Services

Never hesitate to engage a professional. It’s really easy these days to Google around for legal documents and set them up yourself. There is even a very successful online service which offers all sorts of legal support but is also quick to tell you they are not an attorney. If, for example, you need Intellectual Property protection you really should contact someone like my friend Rebecca Prien at Calling before you get in trouble is so much less costly than afterwards. Trust me when I say I know what it’s like to think you can do everything yourself even if not as good as the experts. I’ve seen the results of enough attractive but useless websites and social media campaigns to hurt for people who lost it all because of wearing the wrong hat.

Tip Five – Do

Go for it! With all of the small business guides and small business resources available today it’s almost impossible not to find a niche and fill those needs. From online shopping carts to auctions, community listings and growing numbers of community events for local, small businesses I truly believe your chances for success (however you may define that) are as strong as they have ever been. Yes the cost to the government is higher than it has been in our lifetimes in this nation but savvy, hungry people will make it in spite of any excuse that keeps the others from simply reaching for it.

Small Business Blogging: Why Do People Blog?

Why should you blog?


Blogging is an elective. There is no requirement for blogging just as there is no requirement to eat diet food … unless, of course, you really need to. Likewise with blogging. If you study the statistics for small businesses you will find certain types of businesses do much better as a result of blogging than others. We know, for example, that social media’s highest participatory demographic is females between the ages of 18 and 34 (report link). We also know that companies who blog have 55% higher website traffic than companies who do not blog (report link).

Every legitimate business should have an online presence. If any business has an online presence they should also employ some method of making sure that online presence is seen.

Small Business Blogging

For the small business person the concept of outbound marketing to gain inbound results really is simple: find the highest return for the least investment which pays off the quickest. What some “social media gurus” may try and sell you is that blogging and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all you need I, who depend on internet marketing clients to buy my pies, disagree in a pretty major way. While these tools certainly should be in virtually every small business marketing strategy they should never be depended on to achieve your fullest results.

Every legitimate business should have an online presence. If any business has an online presence they should also employ some method of making sure that online presence is seen. One advantage of blogging over a simple, static, brochure type site is the frequency at which relevant content can be published. Google prefers new to old and so do readers. If you are in a business like many of my clients who are either in the mortgage business, real estate business or training/public speaking business the content of your business is constantly changing and therefore needs to be reflected in your online information. Blogs are perfectly suited for this by leaving the older copy available in an archive and publishing the most current and accurate information regularly.

The benefit to leaving the old information on, such as in the old blog posts on my site here, is that they have already been indexed by Google and likely already have inbound links (hopefully) which you do not want to break by deleting those pages. Google likes sites which have been around for a while and have consistently added information. So do readers/visitors – even more important than the Google.

In the video I break out 4 Reasons to Blog. These are major categories and there may be others but I find these to be the four most likely super categories.

  • To make friends and build relationships. Let’s face it – this is the “social” part of social media. Over the years I have made a long list of true friends as a result of social media.  Many of those have turned into relationships which even cross over into the business realm. People like other people and social media is truly all about people.
  • To build a brand or get discovered. Does the name Justin Bieber ring a bell? They say Barrack Obama is the first social media president. Most major brands today have social media teams. Virtually everyone I know has a blog and social media accounts. It’s the blogs, generally, when the conversations become transactions and the real work is done.
  • To get paid. As indicated many enterprise and even small businesses have teams of bloggers and social media accountants. These people do not always care about the outcome and quite often it is reflected in their attention to detail when it comes to facts and accuracy in the content of the blogs they publish. While I am certainly paid to write blogs for small business people there are large companies who outsource by the thousands – you’ll spot them fairly easily if you try.
  • For artistic or creative relief. I wonder how many short story, poetry, baking, and craft blogs are out there. Many have become successful because of the FUR. You don’t know about FUR? Ask me – almost every successful blog (or any marketing campaign for that matter) had to have some APE FUR to get there. Ask me about APE FUR and I’ll let you in on it. Most creative outlet type blogs are not created to have a financial result. They care more about creating something worth sharing … or even not. You can be yourself with blatant disregard for the ROI.

So to sum it up you really need to start with APE FUR. I do recommend blogging, take some lessons if needed, hire a professional when the time comes, and make the best of it for your readers. There are plenty of us with experience and skills to help you write the best words at the most optimal time to achieve the highest results. Let us help!

When A Small Business Person Should Hire A Professional


The end.

“And now”, as Paul Harvey made famous, “the rest of the story.” I get it – you’re a small business owner. You know how to do it better, faster, more efficiently, with a special twist, or any other number of ways to make it “better”. If you did not think one, some or all of these to be true you would not be a small business owner or independent contractor. For you the world offers few challenges you are not willing to take on regardless, or in spite, of your experience in the given field.

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.netThe truth is I could do my own dental work. I can certainly cut my own hair and even press my own clothes. Just because I can does not mean I should. Even the pressing clothes one has a trade off which may prove best to contract the services of a professional for any number of reasons. One big failure of small business people is to calculate the true value of what may prove to be our most valuable asset: our time.

But I can do it myself

Recently I explained to a client I can write, comfortably, SEO articles on virtually any topic. I can write real estate SEO articles and I can write articles on recombinant DNA. What I failed to include is that I can also do my own taxes, file my own corporate formation documentation and even represent myself in court – should the opportunity so present itself. So where should I draw the line?

Remember you’re not the only light in the sky. It takes thousands and thousands of (visible) stars to make the night sky dazzling. One star alone does not a starry night make. Learn to identify your limitations and leverage your strengths to create opportunities for the true professionals – the other stars in the sky. When it comes to where you are the sunshine then you’re still not the only light in the sky but in your time you will outshine the others.

There are currently around 27,000,000 small businesses in the United States and that according to old figures from 2007. We are pretty certain that as a result of corporate downsizing  and economic disaster many people have joined the self-employed and small business ownership ranks since 2008. If you are one and you’re still finding it difficult to fit all of the necessary hats on your head perhaps this is just the discussion for you. Rather than spending hours listing things you probably suck at but attempt to do anyway, like your own website and your own payroll (if that’s you), let’s look at recommended ways of determining your strengths and leveraging the results from exercising those to cover the small monetary fee for hiring a professional to take their field off your table.

You could click on over to Authentic Happiness by Penn State and take a few tests or you could do what most small business people do: figure it out yourself. If you want to figure it out yourself try these tips:

  • Be honest with yourself about what you are passionate about. Great sales people are not always, maybe even not usually, the best at the paperwork part of a given process. If this is you consider a personal assistant who has amazing organizational and follow through skills.
  • Consider your personal presentation. Chances are if I, with my 7″ and growing beard and long hair, need to make cold calls to Fortune 500’s it would behoove me to hire a front person to make the initial call. There’s nothing wrong with hiring appointment setters who are great at setting appointments but have no deeper business skills or who are just entering the business world.
  • Show intelligence when determining your limitations. I have been coding websites since websites hit the ground or shortly thereafter. I can rough code by hand with the best of them but going back to clean it up and annotate what I have done is not a job I enjoy and therefore it is best left to an understudy. Go to an automotive shop and you may find a guy who is great at brake jobs but couldn’t identify a throttle position sensor for $100. Be the one who knows their strengths and find others with strengths where you have need. There is something highly intelligent about hiring a brain surgeon when one is needed (as opposed to rooting around in your own head).
  • Ask others what they think about you in a certain roll. This one is tough and, if you have friends like I do, can sting a little. One of my business partners continues to remind me I don’t do his style of graphics. Noted – I no longer offer to do any graphics for him. No biggie, he’s honest and we have a strong agreement. On the other hand people are occasionally surprised that I have the public speaking skills I do. Recently someone had been told they should hire me to speak at their event and did so solely on their trust of the person who made the recommendation. After I finished my 14 minutes the man said, “Wow! You’re so laid back in person I had no idea you would be that dynamic at the front of the room.” So though others may have an opinion you, more than anyone else, simply need to be honest with yourself.
  • Remember you’re not the only light in the sky. It takes thousands and thousands of (visible) stars to make the night sky dazzling. One star alone does not a starry night make. Learn to identify your limitations and leverage your strengths to create opportunities for the true professionals – the other stars in the sky. When it comes to where you are the sunshine then you’re still not the only light in the sky but in your time you will outshine the others.

To sum it all up

Chances are you are currently in need of several professionals in your life. If you are a start-up it is very difficult to find others to invest in you enough to get you over the initial humps and that has long been my desire to facilitate. When CheepMonkey came along I didn’t get at first the fact they have the same concept. Whatever you do it is imperative that you align yourself with people who know things you do not know and that you trust the professionals enough so that when they look at your needs they will know answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask.

Suggested reading

How To Record Skype Calls

You bet it can be valuable to record conversations on Skype. But I bet you have search for “recording skype calls”, “skype call recorder” and even “free skype call recorder” before you found this article. According to Steve Ballmer’s CES closing keynote there were over 300 billion minutes of Skype conversations in 2011. It’s fair to say many of those were important business calls or even audio interviews which need to be archived. For my personal use interviews for either Social Media Edge Radio or RETSO Radio are a regular part of my week. Using a Skype call recording application is crucial.

Using this free application to record Skype calls is definitely not the only way it can be done. I have tried others including PrettyMay, Freecorder and others. Of all the few I have tried for Windows the MP3 Skype Recorder (available from here) has been the easiest to setup and use and has delivered the highest quality of its class.

Yes there are other ways! If you have a different way please share it with us and tell us why you like it.

The Facebook IPO and Your Next Venture or Investment

Remember back in 1998 and 1999 when everyone, at least in my world of web and application development, was getting checks for just crazy sums of money? It was the Dot Com Boom, yes it is. I mean was. Or is?

What We Learned About Web Start-ups The First Time Around

Back in the late 90’s I made some pretty good cash doing websites for people who really needed a data driven, dynamic web presence. They already had businesses and not just business ideas. It was the day of Front Page and early Dreamweaver when people were finally learning the difference between “the Internet” and AOL. It was in the days when you asked for someone’s email address and they gave you their AOL username without the part. It was the wired west.

My sister ran the front office for a startup here in Atlanta who received millions of dollars from angel investors and proceeded immediately to buy everyone matching BMWs, rent some of the most expensive space in town and fill it with ungodly expensive furniture and decor. Since that wasn’t enough they overpaid everyone and threw lavish parties. They didn’t even make it to the bust, they were long gone before that happened. Bad management, no real product and pure money lust propelled them to failure – along with the millions they never earned or repaid.

Dot Com Boom 2.0?

Because we have now seen the failure of “the field of dreams” scenarios and the success of some of the most unlikely cast members investment funding for idea projects is once again flowing. In reality one is much more likely to win from investing in a successful Internet startup than they are to win big in the lottery or at the casinos. Why, then, does it seem such a challenge to get small investments from large crowds of the same people who will gladly spend $500 a year on the lottery and have no problem losing a few hundred at the craps table? Perception …

How Facebook’s IPO Will Change The Way We Invest

Until recently before one could “go public” and accept investment funds from ordinary people who also want a shot at greatness the corporation had to jump through many legal hoops to prove their viability. Likewise investors had to prove their financial status to make investment early in start-ups. Not that this stopped bigger investors but that only lead to people with money getting the first shot at big payoffs while smaller investors didn’t stand a chance to get in before the IPO or in the first round of sales.

As long you’re investing money that you can afford to lose, helping someone take a crack at making his or her dream come true can actually feel pretty good.

Enter 2012 and some very important changes to the laws which affect how companies, specifically start-ups like Atlanta’s CheepMonkey, can raise capital. Prior to the passing of the JOBS Act the system was, “set up so that you have to have a certain amount of money in order to invest in startups,” Alen Peacock says. Regulations require that you have $1 million, excluding the value of your house. “So for people who don’t meet those minimum requirements,” he says, “they’re just out of the game.”

Another start-up manager, Sara Hanks adds in the NPR interview quoted above, “Let’s be clear about this, most startups are not going to get anywhere,” she says, which raises a question: “Why would you invest in something that’s probably going to fail?” According to Hanks, the answer is that it’s fun. As long you’re investing money that you can afford to lose, helping someone take a crack at making his or her dream come true can actually feel pretty good.

Now with the IPO of the unprecedented success of the start-up Facebook, run by – no offense – a bunch of children with absolutely no business experience or savvy, everyone will have glittering gold in their eyes about Internet based start-ups. They may not, however, have been able to play had not it been for the JOBS Act. Arguments are diverse and plenteous so research on your own.

The Bottom Line

There are start-ups who have great ideas and may make it on their own leaving the founders with millions or billions of dollars in reward for their sweat and blood. Then there are great ideas which garner millions in investment only to never get their wings. Somewhere is a middle ground and the odds are more often in favor of the company starting up to actually provide a service and not just for the purpose of being acquired.

Simple! Create Your Own Business Website on Google Sites – and it’s Free

Why would a web developer be giving a tutorial on how to create a web site? Simple: you need a professional one that does a lot of things you probably cannot get your own to do but you also need others to help build your network for lead generation. Google Sites provides just such a location to help you catch a few more eyes and turn them in to fingers that call you or enter their credit card number into the form on your main site.

Because Google Sites does allow HTML you’ll be able to do quite a bit with the site even if you are an advanced user. But the beauty is you really don’t need to know one line of code to create a decent site, for free, on Google Sites. My intention is to do a series of video tutorials as short in length as possible to get you going. Don’t worry if someone comments on the video or blog about how juvenile this is or how you can never depend on these pages for business – they’re just jealous of you. In reality you can’t have too many web pages. It is mathematically impossible.

The only link you need is and if you don’t have a Google account, I mean if you’re one of the last 37 people who don’t, now is the time to get one. Then follow the video and you’ll have a website in less than 10 minutes. Very basic, but a site none-the-less.

Read along as we develop our site or visit it if we’re already finished: