Wix is Where It’s At (For Small Business Owners)

As someone juggling a full-time career with a busy part-time small business,  time and money are obviously very important to me. Effectively managing my time and money (expenses and sales) has been a challenge for me since I began this over five years ago.
It was then that I would manage my website with one provider, my email with another, with my accounting, marketing, social media and other business functions spread out over half a dozen other providers. Thus, I spent the majority of my time logging in and out of different sites.

Fortunately in recent years, Wix.com has made my life as a small business owner much easier. Wix started as a website building platform and has grown into so much more. It it basically the lifeline of my business at this point.

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The easy-to-use Dashboard from the Wix Website Builder.

Wix is a ridiculously easy to use drag-and-drop website builder and domain/hosting provider that anyone with a computer can use effectively. In the last couple years, Wix has grown and developed into an all-in-one portal allowing business owners like myself to manage their accounting, email marketing campaigns, search engine optimization, email inbox, invoicing, social media content, blogs, CRM, and more. They also have the Wix App Market with dozens of useful apps to business owners.

On top of that, they have also introduced a mobile app allowing me to connect with customers, manage my schedule, invoice and accept payments from customers anywhere, and at anytime.

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The Wix Mobile App keeps me connected to my customers 24/7.

 

So if you are thinking of starting a new small business, or already have one and looking to consolidate many  of your business functions into one easy-to-use software, I would strongly recommend giving Wix a try!

I’m always looking for new ways to help me run my business better and more efficiently every day. If you have any good recommendations for the latest and greatest in business software, I’d love to hear it in the comments.

COM0015, Blog 2: Photography on Social Media: The Good and the Not-So-Good

Perhaps the strongest social media strategy I’ve been from a follower’s perspective is at the National Gallery of Canada. They share a lot of information about what exhibits they have, retweet what other people are posting and only occasionally make a sales pitch. The National Gallery has Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts, making full use of the major social media platforms. What makes their social media strategy so impressive is how they use each platform differently, with little overlap of images or other content. A Facebook post about the new Canadian Photography Institute provides interesting information and images. They retweet quite a bit from their followers and following, and not just my share of their tweet on the Josef Sudek exhibit. Of course, it is the season for gift giving and the National Gallery does do some sales promotion, but it keeps the sales to a minimum.

Not quite as good is ViewBug because it shares articles freely and highlights many different photographers, not just the winners of its contests. It has Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn (although just launched three months ago with three posts and nothing more) accounts. But what surprises me from a photo-sharing website, is that ViewBug has an Instagram account. I mostly monitor ViewBug’s Twitter account, which is often repeated on Google+ (an area that needs improvement), not only shares serious articles like Photography: From Hobby To Full Time Job and Top Tips to Become a Great Fashion Photographer, but has fun sharing photographers’ images.

One would never know by visiting the Vistek website that they even have social media accounts because there are no logos or links to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and whatever other platforms they may use. As well as having too many advertising posts that directly sell to followers, Vistek spends more time with drones than cameras. Even its Facebook posts to its own blog is direct sales marketing. Its YouTube channel provides some how-to videos, which can be handy, but they end with a statement to “Pick up a [insert product here] from http://www.vistek.ca today!” Rarely does Vistek retweet messages. Having a constant stream of ads only leads to people unfollowing them. Vistek needs to spend more time interacting with the photography community and joining or starting conversations. They need to start listening to the various conversations. Once they have a feel for that, they should start commenting and sharing their expertise on those conversations. All of this will help inform them about what photographers want and need to be able to provide that. Asking for feedback would also help them engage their audience.

COM0015, Blog 1: Tools and Resources

I have a full-time job, which limits the amount of time I can spend on social media work for FlashDesignsStudio.com (FDS). I created a Feedly dashboard as part of the Social Media Monitoring and Measurement course; however, I found it limiting. I prefer Hootsuite. I spend a half hour on the bus going back and forth to work each day. Hootsuite allows me to be productive during my commute. Through the Hootsuite app on my tablet, I can monitor my various streams and like, share or retweet effortlessly. Feedly does not have that capability. On weekends, I use Hootsuite’s online interface to schedule a week’s worth of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. Hootsuite also connects to Drop Box, making organizing and posting images that much faster and easier. I sometimes use Ow.ly shortened URLs to track traffic.

On weekends, I use the Google Analytics plug in on the WordPress website to monitor traffic on the FDS website, which is one of the key success indicators. On a monthly basis, I can dig deeper into the website traffic and audience reports through the Google Analytics website. This is particularly useful to see who (demographic information) is coming from where (our social media networks or elsewhere). Having updated websites as far back as 1999, I am so thankful I no longer need to sort through raw website user data.

Of course, I also use Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics and Bitley to monitor and track social media activity, but I spend more time on Hootsuite and Google Analytics.

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I have many sources of news. I think my best source of information is a set of Google Alerts (which I view through Hootsuite) that shows photography contests, exhibits and other events happening in the Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto triangle. As well as providing content for the website, blog, Facebook and Twitter, Norm and I use the information to plan our photo excursions and submit images to contests. When I finish well in a contest, I post it on the FDS social media networks. It is a testament to the quality and creativeness of my images.

While most photographers are aware of all the magazines, stores and manufacturers on social media, few know about Science Daily’s photography research RRS feed (which I also view through Hootsuite). Having worked with medical and academic journals for more than a decade and with newspapers and magazines for longer than that, I can understand complex ideas and explain them in plain, everyday language. I rewrite the photography research media releases with information from the published research paper and post as Technology News in News Flash, the FDS blog. These have included advances in lens technology and how researchers are data-mining social media photos to guide land use policy, conservation planning and development decisions. This is well suited for our more advanced photographer audience and positions FDS as being knowledgeable of the cutting edge.

Give me “The Dirty”

the-dirty-2015-logo-ios.pngHas anyone else heard about the website “The Dirty” or have I been the only one living under a rock the last few years? This website came to my attention the other day when I was casually talking to my co-workers about relationships, and they mentioned the website, out of pure curiosity I checked it out. And all I can say is WOW!

For those of you who were living under a rock like me, “The Dirty” is a website for people to go and post things about other people in Ottawa, or lots of other cities, but I focused on the Ottawa website. It could be an ex-girlfriend posting about her ex-boyfriend cheating on her and how he is an awful human being, or it could be a friend of someone who has gotten screwed over one too many times. Either way this website is pretty interesting to me. How can this website stay running, when everything is libel. You can see some of the interesting news articles on the site, all over the web.

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 11.33.58 PMI can see both sides of “The Dirty” so here is my Pro and Con list of the website:

  • Pro List
    • Dating a new person, check to see what their last relationship had to say about them, maybe a little research before you jump in.
    • It’s super hilarious! Just to read the reviews and comments it’s purely entertaining. This website may be my new favourite guilty pleasure
    • Check out to see if something is a scam, one of the posts I read was about a guy who claims to rescue dogs, but actually turns around and sells them for drug money (again this is what one of the posts said, I have done no fact checking on this)
  • Con List
    • Everyone out there has a negative opinion about someone else. I am sure I could go on a huge rant about my ex, and I am sure he could go on a rant about me, hence why we are no longer together. So how do you take the word from a disgruntled ex?
    • There is no fact checking, yes I suppose other people can comment on the post, and put their two cents in, but there is never any actual facts about any of the post. I could go on and comment on every post if I wanted to agreeing to everything they were saying, and no one could stop me.
    • Has the potential to seriously impact someone’s reputation. What if somehow your boss was going through it (remember above I said my new guilty pleasure, once you start you just can’t stop) and sees something about you that goes against what they know of you. Will your employer now see you in a different light and start questioning your character at work.
    • You only know one side of the story!

Overall, I think this website is hilarious, if not lowbrow and a bit beneath me, still an enjoyable light read. When I look at the people that are being posted about, I have to stop and think, am I judging a book by the cover here, because if I met this person on the street, I would certainly believe everything they are saying!

Check out The Dirty and let me know your thoughts in the comments, happy creeping!