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Google Plus Launches Vanity (Friendly) URL’s….


If you don’t have a Google+ Local Page (or more to the point if you haven’t claimed and verified your Google+ Local Page) the move by Google to launch Vanity URL’s should really make you consider investing some resources into a Google+ Page for your business some time very soon.

To be clear on what a Google+ URL looks like – until this week if you went to our Bear Web Design Google+ page in Lebanon you would use the URL:

As you can see with this image above  – the Google Search Engine also uses this URL in search results….

BUT – As of last week Google commenced offering Google+ Pages (and Google+ Local Pages) vanity URL’s….

And now our Lebanon Google+ Local Page’s URL is this

I suspect shortly this will start to appear in the Google Search as well – making your Google+ Local Pages listings even more valuable!  And for companies that have multiple locations Google will offer variations of the vanity URL (usually adding location) – so you can see our Nashville Office location is now

This also happened with the Google+ Social Media Page – My Google+ Page is now – so this is not just Business owners that have this opportunity.

So What Is The Big Deal About This?

This is definitely a new form of a domain name for your company being offered by the most powerful search engine in the world that delivers more traffic to your website (and businesses) than all of the other search engines combined….

As with current domain names (and .com’s in particular), if you share the same name as other companies, only one company can have your Google+ vanity URL…. (e.g. there cannot be 2 companies using +BearWebDesign).  So technically speaking the race is on!

Future Business will come through Google+ Local Pages

During this year’s Wilson County Fair we had a call from the Fair Office that a Google+ Local Page online was showing incorrect opening times for the fair. Of course this was a page setup by Google (not by anyone at the Fair) and had completely incorrect information.  But people were literally going to Google and typing Wilson County Fair and Google+ info was being presented incorrectly.  We immediately claimed the page (and updated the information) and linked the page to the website. (Later that week we established that Google+ page was receiving 5000 visitors a day) which really clarified how critical it is to have full ownership of your affiliated Google+ pages.

So What Should Your Company Do?

Before the vanity URL’s were released by Google we were already encouraging all clients to claim their Google+ Local Pages. If you search for Bear Web Design (your company name) Google+ you should see any Google+ Local Pages that have been set up. Google sets these pages up automatically and they are generally tied to Google Maps (and your business location). But the information is general and may be inaccurate, so it is critical to take ownership of your page (at worst someone else may attempt to claim your page) so here are the basic steps:

Step 1 – Find your Google+ Local Page (Google Your Company Name and Google+)

Step 2 – Select Manage this Page (and Claim Ownership) – Note you must have a Google e-mail account and a Google+ Page setup to do this generally)

Step 3 – Verify your business LOCATION – This is the most critical element to Google+ Listings – taking full ownership of your page.

Step 4 –Update your Google+ Local Page  with your accurate corporate information and start posting blogs and updates (just like you do in other social media websites).

Step 5 – Keep an eye out for the URL Vanity Offer from Google (and hopefully you will get the one you want)

If you need help with this process Bear Web Design can assist you. Generally this process can take 2-4 hours with verification usually taking up to a week or so.  But what a small investment for such a great potential return.

And just like domains – when the Vanity URL for your business is gone, it is gone, so get to this as soon as you can!

Mobile Website Usage Continues To Grow!


If you are like me, in the last 24 months or so you most likely have started using your mobile phone more and more for browsing the Internet.  Larger mobile screens, voice recognition software, and better wi-fi access are just a few of the advances that have made this possible. 

The usage stats that I have found support this tremendously. Approximately 15% of all web traffic in 2013 has been mobile.  I see no slowing down in this growing segment as the phones keep getting easier to use while more and more websites are becoming responsive (mobile friendly) websites.

It used to be for e-mail (and a phone call)!

My first 2 smartphones were Blackberry’s and their primary purpose was phone and e-mail. On my last Blackberry I started taking photos and sending them thru e-mail. That was great and it certainly gave me a level of connectivity with customers, family and friends that I really enjoyed and used.  When I was travelling to Australia it really become obvious to me how valuable a tool this was.

I didn’t really start actively using my mobile phone for a web browser until I had upgraded to an Android (in 2011) when I started reading the news on my phone  (in the bathroom  – and let me tell you it was just as enjoyable as a newspaper!).

We started developing mobile websites around 2010 when we saw initial demand for mobile sites. Creating the sites generally required separate templates from traditional desktop websites (and lots of development work to make the sites work) but it really wasn’t as clear back then what people would actually use mobile websites for. Today every website we produce is responsive (which includes a mobile friendly version) and this is now a standard with Bear Web Design.

SO what do people use Mobile Websites for?

The answer seems to be more and more obvious today – any web based task that can be accomplished on the mobile in a gnerally short period of time (and without the hassle of turning on a computer and finding a suitable work location). Of course this is my definition but here are some of the things folks now do on mobile sites:

  • Reading, Viewing and updating Content (News, Social Media, Entertainment)
  • Social Media Engagement (Facebook, Twitter & Google+)
  • Personal calendars and contact info (remember back when Day Planners were so popular?)
  • Online Banking and Online Shopping
  • Browsing QR Codes (in areas such as Real Estate and Retail Shopping in particular)
  • General information searching (Just like we do on a normal desktop with google
  • Maps and directions (locating nearest shops and restaurants)
  • E-mail (Voice activation which makes it even easier) & Phone

I am sure there is a lot more to this list, but the reality is if I can do something on mobile – say, transfer money from one bank account to another while sitting in the living room watching TV,  versus getting up and getting my laptop and turning it on letting it boot up and then having it sit awkwardly in my lap “OH THE ABSOLUTE INCONVENIENCE OF IT ALL!” then frankly I am going to use my mobile. Its more convenient and ultimately easier to do and based on that I suspect we are all going to continue to use our mobiles more and more in the future.

Banking Just Got Simpler with CedarStone Bank’s New Responsive Website

Over the last few months, CedarStone Bank has been working on a new responsive designed website. A responsive website is a website that is mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop friendly and provides an optimum user experience based on the device with which the website is being used.

With the significant increase in mobile and tablet usage over the last 12 months, the need to provide easy website usage (not just access) has never been greater, and CedarStone Bank’s new responsive website site provides a great experience for all website visitors.

The website was custom designed and developed by local company Bear Web Design under the direction of John B. Bryan, CedarStone Vice President, Business Development Officer and Tina Winfree, CedarStone Senior Vice President and Operations Manager.

“The entire CedarStone Bank team is excited about the launching of our new and improved website. is easier to navigate while offering the latest and greatest online banking applications. The responsive design makes it attractive and manageable from most any mobile, laptop or tablet device,” commented Bryan.

“The website project was a product of our bank’s ABC program. In July of 2012 we started a program designed to train and mentor CedarStone Bank employees in becoming aspiring bankers. The Aspiring Bankers of CedarStone (ABC) program was designed to educate, enlighten and develop employees to be well-rounded banking professionals as well as to empower them to make our bank better,” he added.

Incorporating the corporate brand and colors of CedarStone Bank with an exciting array of images and data display widgets, the CedarStone Bank website comes to life with a prominent slideshow and rich content, friendly navigation, and a direct and easy login to mobile banking. A new feature of the website is CedarStone Bank News and Blog, which integrates and publishes directly to social media, keeping customers connected with the latest website news and information in their favorite social media.

We Are Responsive!

Desktop Laptop Responsive Website CedarStone Bank

Laptop and Desktop view gives visitors the full experience, with easy to use navigation and lots of key information accessible from the home page. You can find a branch location easily and our contact forms integrate with Google Maps, allowing you to even get driving directions while staying on the website!

Tablet and Mobile Responsive Website - CedarStone Bank

Mobile & Tablet views will really show you the advantages of responsive design. While launching a great image-based website is becoming the vogue (with large image backgrounds and slideshows becoming more common), the fact is, if that site isn’t easily accessible in a mobile or tablet experience, then a larger and larger user segment base is being overlooked and ignored.

ALWAYS SECURE – security remains CedarStone Bank’s top priority, with the highest standards of website security and protocols being implemented.

SO, like never before, Banking Just Got Simpler with CedarStone Bank’s New Responsive Website.

We look forward to seeing you online and at a CedarStone Bank branch soon!

Bear Web Design launches Responsive Wilson County Fair Website

Over the last few months, Bear Web Design has been working on a new responsive designed website to launch for the 2013 Wilson County Fair. A responsive website is a website that is mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop friendly and provides an optimum user experience based on the device with which the website is being used.

With fair goers using many different devices to access event information — ranging from family planning on a laptop or desktop, to mobile and tablet users checking out their favorite events as they head down I-40 to Lebanon, TN to the Wilson County Fair — the new responsive website site provides a great experience for all website visitors.

The website was custom designed by our awesome design Team Vicki Beare and Dana Bryson under the direction of Helen McPeak, Nell Stephens & George Wallace. As always with Vicki and Dana, their designs are visually amazing while maintaining excellent functionality. Incorporating an exciting array of image and data display widgets, the Wilson County Fair site comes to life with eye catching graphics and logos, and with great photos from the Fair’s photography team.

Matched with great design is the tremendous content work by Nell Stephens, who manages all content on the website. There are close to 500 event listings for this year’s Fair, and to ensure each event is accurate as well as informative is something Nell has mastered.

To appreciate the full experience I invite you to visit the website on at least 3 devices (mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop) to get a full appreciation for responsive design which is where all of Bear Web Design’s new development efforts have been focused in 2013 –

Laptop and Desktop views will really give visitors the visual experience of being at the Wilson County Fair. As you enter the site you will see a great background photo (which changes daily and really sets the experience for the website visit). Our photo slideshow can quickly take you through several great photos that link to a specific event (or event category) or to any general article in the site.

Of course, the star of the website is the list of events, which are being presented through our new event system which can be accessed via the main menu. For the first time on the Fair website, we are capable of tying event listings to the actual events photograph. We are currently loading event photos for specific events providing you with the capability of reading event details and seeing some great event photos. Another great feature this year is Facebook comments that allow the visitor to post a comment about any event (that is not only shared on the site but also shared in Facebook).

Other key elements include:

  • Sliding icon based navigation system (key fair items such as contacts, vendors, directions, tickets etc.
  • Tab based info (In the right module) that can be clicked on to expand information (click on videos to see the Wilson County Fair video channel)
  • Blogs and News (that automatically update Social Media — Facebook, Twitter, Google+)
  • Digital advertising, with ads designed to effectively promote the Fair’s sponsors and advertisers while fitting aesthetically into the look and feel of the new website.
  • A twitter feed gives the fair a direct broadcast banner which will be used to provide key information updates throughout the Fair.
  • Sponsorship Scroller on the home page, providing great visibility and recognition of Fair sponsors.

Wilson County Fair Responsive Site on iPadMobile & Tablet views will really show you the advantages of responsive design. While launching a great image based website is becoming the vogue (with large image backgrounds and slideshows becoming more common), the fact is, if that site isn’t easily accessible in a mobile or tablet experience, then a larger and larger user segment base is being overlooked and ignored.

The Wilson County Fair’s mobile site provides key drop down menus as well as immediate search options. The key to a good mobile site is navigation, so these items are directly below the new fair logo.

wilson-county-fair-ipad-verticalThe logo and new slideshow are sized to 100% of the mobile device (and tablet when in vertical view) – and you can easily review the great slideshow you see on the desktop with touch-screen navigation to scroll to the next photo.

Touch navigation is relevant in both Mobile and Tablet,  and the behavior of finger touch screens are tested thoroughly by Vicki and Dana (using a variety of iOS, Windows, and Android devices and browsers) to ensure they are easily navigable.

Additionally, the mobile and tablet views are complemented by fully readable events, blogs & articles with access to photos, videos and key information. We even have our sponsors ads running on the mobile sites in 2013 as we are expecting a surge in mobile use this year with up to 25,000 unique visitors.

One important thing to keep in mind is that all of the responsive views use the same data and info as the full desktop site  — so there is only one site to maintain and update. (This is a huge and relatively recent improvement over the days when a mobile site had to be updated separately.)

Introducing the Wilson County Fair’s First Mobile App!

To cap off the new Wilson County Responsive Website we are introducing our first Mobile App (Event App) that is browser based.

This means you don’t have download the app to use it, and it does not require a different download for different operating systems (e.g. i-Phone, Android, Blackberry).

The mobile app comes with a sharp and crisp interface giving you a different look than the actual website event listing and these events are tied to Google Map and  GPS coordinates identifying precisely where the event is taking place in the Fair Grounds.

Wilson County Fair Responsive Site on iPhoneUltimately we are working with this app to have the ability to navigate around the fair with your mobile device while being constantly aware of what events are up and coming. We will be sharing more information on our new mobile app as we progress through its setup.

So like never before you can stay tuned, connected and engaged with the Wilson County Fair.

We look forward to seeing you online and at the Wilson County Fair – August 16-24, 2013!

What is Google Ad Words?

Recently I had a prospect ask me to focus (almost exclusively) on improving their Google Search Engine positioning based on key words. The belief of the prospect was that you can manipulate results on Google easily and quickly and that regardless of your website (and its design) this methodology (known as Search Engine Optimization) could be implemented very easily.

Of course this information had been passed on to our prospect by a “Search Engine Optimization” expert selling their services, maybe at $500.00 a month, maybe a lot higher. Regardless of the price, the premise itself should be considered and understood by every website owner. In a nutshell, if a company could “manipulate” the results of Google Search Engine it is obvious that Google would lose business (as the best websites would not come up on a search, only the best manipulated websites would come up). Google clarifies clearly on its website that no one can manipulate these results. They also identify that companies can help you with this process but it  should start at the design phase. If you want to have the best search engine results you have to have a great website. (PERIOD)….

Here is what Google Stats about companies offering number 1 ranking search engine results –

Big and bold this article states “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” So with that in mind,  there is a service offered by Google where you can ensure placement on a search engine.  It is called Ad Words.

Here is a basic introduction to Ad Words from Google’s Website:

With Google Ad Words, you can create and run ads for your business, quickly and simply. Run your ads on Google and our advertising network, no matter what your budget, you’ll only pay when people click your ads.

Ad Words ads are displayed along with search results when someone searches Google using one of your keywords. Ads appear under ‘Sponsored links’ in the side column of a search page, and may also appear in additional positions above the free search results. That way, you’ll be advertising to an audience that’s already interested in your business. You can also choose to display your ads on Display Network sites in the growing Google Network. Also you can choose the exact Display Network placements where you’d like your ad to appear, or you can let contextual targeting match your keywords to content.

You can choose from a variety of ad formats, including text, image, and video ads, and easily track your ad performance using the reports available in your account. There’s no minimum monthly charge with Ad Words, just a nominal activation fee. Learn more about the cost of advertising with Google Ad Words.

Based on the requirements of our prospect, we have now offered the service of implementing an Ad Words Campaign. Bear Web Design itself engaged in a month long Ad Words Campaign primarily to get a better understanding of how it works and what work is involved in implementing a successful program. One of the major benefits in running an Ad Words Campaign is that you really can hone in on what your customers are searching for (which gives you a great deal of direction from both an Ad Words Campaign and SEO)…

Do You Know What Google+ Is?

This week I presented Google+  to a lunch and learn session for the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce. Google+ (pronounced and sometimes written as Google Plus or G+) is Google’s social media network. I spent quite a bit of time preparing for the presentation as I have only been using Google + for the last 3 months or so and I was curious about what level of interest there was going to be.  Based on the lively group with many questions, comments, and feedback from my presentation, it is apparent that people are definitely starting to focus on Google’s social media network. 

Introduction to Google Business Apps

To actually use Google + you must have a Google e-mail Account (a Google Business Apps Account or a Gmail Account). We have a Google Business Apps account set up for Bear Web Design so that is where my Google + Page is tied.  This was an attractive feature of Google + to me – Google Business Apps has so many products that I use  – e-Mail , Calendar, Drive, Chat, Video Chat (aka Hangout) and then our webmaster tools such as Analytics, Website submission,  Google Plus Local Pages and Google Places, to name a few. And then when you add Youtube, Picasa (Photo Album), and Blogge, you start to see what Google + Social Media is going to be sharing (EVERYTHING!!!! – AND IT’S LOCATED IN ONE PLACE!).

Introduction to Google+

To get to Google+  from any Google e-mail account go to your Profile and you will see your Google + Page.  Many people actually have Google + Pages that are active (but don’t have updated profile information). To see how people will see your  Google + Page (search for Your Name and Google +) in Google’s Search Engine and you will most likely find your Google + Page.  I have set  up a personal photo cover on my Google + page to actually reflect the fact my page is Social. (In reality it is also for business networking!).

Get to Know Google Plus Circles

One of the issues I have with my personal Facebook page is that I have many different relationships tied to my account.  Since we are web developers, we have a lot of Facebook Apps we have set up for clients (which means we are administrators of their Facebook corporate pages) then we have business friends and family here in Tennessee and then we have friends and family back in Australia.  I find it difficult to manage this and worse I get so many posts that are simply irrelevant to me.

Communicate Effectively (and Efficiently)

Google + comes with a categorization structure, called Circles, which allows you to manage your relationships and easily add more Circles. You can quite easily set up business acquaintances, friends, family, sports clubs or whatever you wish.  And then when you post, you send the information to the appropriate Circle. This makes absolute sense to me. From a family point of view I don’t want to share my family conversations with anyone but my family (for privacy and also not to waste other people’s time).  Same with every circle I have. One of the biggest areas people ignore in Social Media is how valuable people’s time is. Circles help me respect everyone’s most valuable asset – their time!

Other Great Features Include Google Hangout!

If you use Skype, which has been the standard voice and video communication online, then you should try Google Hangout. Again, what I like most about this is that it is tied to my Google e-Mail Account and I can video chat with anyone within my Circles (or invite additional people) just like a I can with Skype.  It works great on your mobile as well, and is so easy to access from my email account. Since my mobile device has my Google account set up, I can easily get to Google + and then have a hangout (on the phone).

But even more exciting – Introducing Google+ Local Pages

So Google+ looks like the bomb (as my Grand Daughter Addison would say) – BUT – as a business owner my time and resources are limited… so, Is this going to help me with Search Engine rankings and deliver me more prospects?

The short answer is that Google + ultimately leads you to Google+ Local (Google’s Business Listing that ties Social Media to your Search Engine Listing).  And that is exciting to me!

When you go to the Google search engine and type in a standard search phrase – “Lebanon TN Lawyers” – you will see:

Google Plus Local Page Result
You can see here that Google gives a good amount of results for companies that have Google + Pages set up (and it shows you where these businesses are located, which can be a key in a prospect’s decision making parameter). Also, look how cleanly the listing stands out compared to the rest of the page – you can click on the listing to go directly to a website, to the actual Goolge + Local Page or the OLD FASHIONED PHONE.

I hopefully now have gotten your attention — and more to the point, Google+ is something as a business you are now looking at a little closer.  My next blog (next week) will be about Google+ Local Pages specifically, how to set one up, the Circle structure, and how they are tied to all your business app tools!

Hope everyone have a Happy Easter and a sunshine-filled week!

What is Responsive Website Design?

What is Responsive Website Design?

2013 has been declared the year of Responsive Design in many web circles. If you haven’t heard of  Responsive Design yet, you will soon. The reason it was created (and is snowballing in popularity) is because of the need to optimize websites on different devices — mobile, tablet,  laptop & desktop — with the growth of the mobile and tablet markets being the driving force for Responsive Design. 

In the last 12-24 months at Bear Web Design we have seen a significant increase in customers requiring their sites to be mobile friendly.  In the last few years mobile strategies have ranged from building completely separate standing mobile sites (which have been expensive to develop and quite often require double web content entry) to adding multiple separate templates to a website which would detect the device and execute the appropriate template.

Similar challenges have also emerged with the tablet market.  When you add the various browsers and operating systems into the mix of devices you can easily see the challenges that are facing websites today (and Web Designers and Developers).

Introducing Responsive Website Design!

Responsive web design is a web design approach aimed at creating sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).  Basically your website responds to the device and browser to give an optimal user experience.

Generally speaking these Responsive templates are built from the mobile level up (complete opposite of creating a mobile site from an existing full size website).  The template is then customized as needed to suit each device with image and content sizing and various element display.  The key is that all images, content, forms, buttons and other elements fit attractively (and usably!) into the device viewing the website.

Bear Web Design Commences Responsive Website Design

We have commenced designing and developing our custom templates using Responsive Design in late 2012 and we have our first client sites coming online in this quarter.  We will be sharing these sites with you and highlighting the sites on each device so that you can develop and increase your knowledge in this area. 

We are also very excited be able to offer Responsive Designs upgrades to our existing client base (which includes upgrading from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 2.5 as part of that process). There will be cost and time involved in these upgrades and we will be sharing the process with our clients. But the rewards will be immense, as there is no doubt that websites which are not mobile and tablet friendly are going to lose a large segment of prospects and customers in the upcoming years!

Be sure to watch out for our Responsive Design blogs from our Design and Development team over the next few months.

Talk to us today about Responsive Website Design!

If you wish to find out what’s involved in making your website responsive shoot me an e-mail (or call me at 615 504 6845) to discuss!



Education Is a Key to Website Success

With the improved usability of websites over the last 24-36 months (Content Management Systems in particular) and the integration of Social Media with websites, it has become apparent that education is becoming a key to having a successful website.

The general concept of just putting up a website that clarifies what your company does, plus a contact form and a phone number, has pretty much run its race. Websites are becoming far more dynamic in behavior and usage, with visitor engagement becoming an important part of converting a visitor into a contact, a prospect, a buyer or a customer. Even understanding what devices your website is run on (Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, and Mobile) are all part of this bigger picture.

With visitor engagement comes the requirement for your website to provide not only static content (About Us, History, Our Products, Our Services, Our Team) but also producing ongoing sales & marketing communication from team members sharing their specific areas of expertise and specialties (with the blog being the primary tool for sharing this info and attracting great search engine results).

So what is Website Education and what should it involve?

Around three years ago we started teaching Web Content Management classes. Clearly our first requirement was to educate clients in updating the content on their website. This was a good start and we have many clients that are now fully managing their website content effectively. Then Google Analytics came along and starting help with educating clients on staying aware of website results (traffic in particular). We combined this with periodical meetings to review website results.

Broadcasting your message and pulling people to your website has now become a priority!

This year with the focus on the Easy Blog System we added Intro to Easy Blog Classes to our quarterly teaching schedule. This class really opened up some great opportunities for clients’ team members to participate on their websites (ranging from the sales & marketing teams all the way to the quality control team).

Website Education can range from Content Management to Google Business Apps

We also offered 2 Google Business App Classes in 2012 which has also been in heavy demand all year long (clients moving to Google Business Apps – Google Mail , Drive, Calendar and other applications).

This week we offered a private class to Sanders Manufacturing and Sanders Marketing which included Google Business Apps, Intro to Easy Blog and intro to Social Media. Participants included the Sales Team, Marketing and Production Teams. Not only was the team educated (and motivated) but they also became owners of their website which means they will be out selling and promoting it as part of their normal marketing and sales activities in the upcoming year.

Look for more classes and seminars in 2013!

When planning your marketing and website budget for 2013 be sure to consider your teams website education and training. We are now formulating our education and training schedule for 2013 that will include:

  • Intro to Content Management (Joomla)
  • Advanced Content Management (Joomla)
  • Intro to Easy Blog – Advance Blogging
  • Intro to Social Media – Facebook, Google Plus, Linked In, & Pinterest
  • Intro to Google Business Apps – Advance Google Business Apps
  • Intro to eNEWS with Joomla Mailer & Chimp Mail

We are also looking to expand our class locations including classes being taught in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Lebanon as well our current training location – Mt. Juliet.

SO remember when planning for 2013 that Education-is-a-key to website success!!!



Needing to get 2013 and your website off to a Flying Start?

We are offering our final classes of the year (Intro to Joomla and Intro to Easy Blog) – be sure to register if you plan to attend:

• Intro to Easy Blog – November 8, 2012 – Details Here

• Intro to Content Management (Joomla) – November 17, 2012 – Details Here

What is the Best Blogging Environment?

A question that is often asked in our EasyBlog class is “What is the best writing environment?” It was a topic of discussion again this week. So I thought it would be fun to investigate and here is what I found out.

Obviously, a question for the ages, there are a considerable number of thoughts on this subject. A Google search for “the best environment for writing” provided about 650 million results. The results included tips, tricks, scholarly advice and a number of great anecdotes. There is even software designed to improve the condition. It boasts a range of soothing backgrounds to fit your mood. Oh my…

Peter likes to sit with a cup of coffee at his computer. He once told me that he likes to get up early, while it’s quite to write. He recently told me that he likes writing at a café. So I’m not so sure about the place, I think it’s just the coffee.

It appears that everyone has their own habits that put them in the “zone” for writing. However, I found that these habits fall into categories:

  • Setting: Generally the setting falls into two distinct groups – solitude or a bustling environment
  • Atmosphere: It appears to be a toss up between total quiet vs. music
  • Time: “Early morning” and “up all night” seem to be the two most popular times
  • Workspace: This is the category that has endless variations that include
    • an organized desk
    • a corner seat in a favorite café
    • at the kitchen table

When asked about the importance of the best writing environment, Stephen King described his workspace when he wrote Carrie and Salem’s Lot. He used a portable typewriter and set with a child’s desk on his lap wedged into the laundry room of his doublewide trailer. No wonder his stories are so tortured!

There were two common denominators of the successful writers that I researched.

  • Schedule: They all set a daily measurement for their work. The measurement was in length of time, words or pages.
    • Ernest Hemmingway limited his time to 500 words a day
    • Thomas Wolfe was a little more industrious at 1800 words a day.
  • Resources: They were all insatiable readers and chose like minded friends.

Famous writers are no different than the rest of us. They have all determined their best environment to write.Click on the Bear to take our survey!

Keep up with the survey! Go to the top of this article an click on “Subscribe to to this entry”

What is Permission Marketing?

Recently, I promised you information on the concept of permission marketing.  Have you ever promised  information to someone and then gotten stuck on the best way to deliver the message?   Welcome to my world.

In our last EasyBlog Coach article, we reviewed the concept of the “call to action”.  I posed the question, “Ultimately, what are the asking  for?”  The answer was “permission marketing” and  I promised to cover it in our next post.  Oops!  So here is my best effort.

In 2003, the visionary, Seth Godin, introduced the concept of permission marketing.  Prior to that time, interruption marketing was the standard.  Interruption marketing is the constant bombardment of messages and images with the intent of grabbing your attention.  Sometimes referred to as “outbound marketing”, the format is familiar to you.  Interruption marketing is delivered through various outlets:

  • Television 
  • Billboards
  • Newspaper and magazine ads
  • Guys standing on the side of the road throwing oddly shaped signs in the air
  • AND my personal favorite, message boards on the doors of restroom stalls (intended for the truly captured audience).
With the advent and rapid growth of the internet, something magical happened.  One on one advertising was possible.  Seth Godin, who is blessed with boundless curiosity and persistance, had a revelation – “permission marketing”.  And with the publishing of his book of the same name, the future of marketing changed.   The clamor, fury and expense of interruption marketing was no longer the only mode of communication to your prospective customers.  You could actually get the customers to raise their hands and ask for more information.  


Search engines and social media allowed the customer to create a very specfic and personalized search.  So instead of fighting through a storm of advertisers to find you, the customer types in a few words and is delivered right to your door.  Once there they ask for specific information, and if you fill the bill, they become connected to you.  And, as long as you continue to be relevant to that customer, you are their friend.

This is where I  have to tell you that I am a Seth’s Blog fanatic and if you are interested in marketing you should be too.  Obviously, the best way to learn about this concept, is from the person who developed it.  So here you go…Permission Marketing by Seth Godin.  And that is another wonderful thing.  If you have happy customer/friends, they will help you spread the word.  Now with a click, your happy customers can introduce you to all of their friends.  That’s marketing at its best!


I don’t know anything about Seth’s young life, but he was obviously taught to be polite.  And, as your mother always says, “It doesn’t hurt you to be polite.”  For Seth, that lesson really paid off.  The politeness of getting permission to market to our customers and friends can pay off for all of us!