Monday, March 21, 2011

Is Networked WordPress Right for You? | Wordpress Meetup with Zane M. Kolnik

Tonight, I ventured out to the Beehive Baltimore co-working space in Canton for a Wordpress Group Meetup. Roni Noone was originally scheduled to present on Blogging, Community & Lessons Learned, but she went into labor and will be rescheduling for another time (congratulations!).

Luckily, Zane Kolnik stepped in to demo networked Wordpress and domain mapping. To start, Zane offered-up the Wordpress codex for creating a network--simply visit to get the full breakdown and requirements.

In essence, you will simply be placing code in your wp.config.php file and your htaccess file. After doing so, you will be prompted to login--if you are unable to login you will need to remove the code and start over (bummer).

In the next phase, you will need to choose whether your networked site will use subdomains or sub-directories--choose wisely as you will not be able to change your mind! To help you with your decision, below are two website examples. Visit each and compare the urls--also check out the content organization and notice how themes are adjusted according to the subdomain or subdirectory.

(see "Our Sites" menu)

(Click on Main Nav categories)

General Tips
*In version 3.1 you will see the "network admin" as a top right menu option.

*Be sure to enable uploads for the multisite in your network admin settings--towards the bottom there will be check boxes for images, video, and music.

*Initially, your uploads per site are limited in both number and in size. For example, each site may be only allowed 10 images at 1500kb each.

So why would you use this feature?
*Easily delegate administration
*Control user permissions
*Use separate themes / build unique themes within one website
*Works great for theme developers
*From a production standpoint, the subdirectory option helps to organize robust content

One attendee stated that this would give her a level of control that she required for a franchise business that will need theme and permission customization for their different regional locations.

To finish it off, here is Zane's favorite domain mapping plugin and his go-to tutorial

I am more of a student then a teacher, so I would encourage you to review the Worpress codex and visit blogs like Zane's for more information!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Heart Art: Finding Your Market with Megan Auman

Megan Auman recently presented for the I Heart Art seminar series at MICA. I was able to experience the presentation through a live webcast. As a chat room sardine I met many crafters, artists, and entrepreneurs anxious to refine their marketing strategy.
From the beginning, Megan had a great energy (despite all the sound blips and frozen screens) she really reached both live and online audiences with a great clarity. I believe her website states her mission best: 
"...what would business school look like if it was geared towards crafters, designers, and makers? At crafting an MBA, the goal is to help you polish those basic skills (like business planning and bookkeeping), develop a marketing plan (online and off), and help keep you up to date with trends in the business world – while also helping develop skills specific to a craft based business (selling online, craft shows, trade shows, and promoting your portfolio)." 

Everyone always tells us to "find your niche", but we often need questions and processes that allow us to really narrow the field.
Here are a couple of Megan's answers to the "niche dilemma": 

Ask a Bazillion Questions About YOUR Customer (Be Specific!)
Is your ideal customer male or female? Age?
Where do they live? Geographic area? Counties? City vs. suburb. vs. farm country?
What do they look like? Hair, skin, anything!
Are they in a relationship? Married? Single? Kids? Grandkids?
Employment/Career? Professional Occupation?
Office? Home? Checkout counter?
Income level? Do they get paid regularly? What is their pay check pattern?
Vacation? Do they have time for vacation?
What do they read or listen to? TV? Books?
Trend follower?
Friends? Loner?
Stay at home type? Go out on the town type?
How is my ideal customer different then me?
(Your ideal customer is NOT you!) 

The Social Media Spy Cam
We all know you have researched old boyfriends/girlfriends from college on Facebook, why not put the same effort into researching your fans? What about your twitter followers--who do they follow?
*Pay attention to what your fans and followers talk about
*Send out a formal Survey: Facebook/Blog Polls or Survey Monkey
*Start to have a dialogue: Post questions that your customers will answer freely
*Even Google map your online purchases
Research your Competitors
Do they have a press page?
Which blogs or magazines feature them?
Look up the target demographic of that site or publication using online resources like
What stores are carrying their products?
After your research is done be sure to ask yourself - how do I differentiate myself from my competition?

Amazing Resources and Presentation Links:
The Great Northern Crafts
: All based on embroidery for Twin Peaks
Girls Can Tell
: A craft shop that makes all products with diagram imagery
Peter Shankman: Social Media Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, CEO, Speaker, Consultant & Adventurist
More information on the NEW Business program at MICA and other Continuing Education programs.
A 12-week marketing e-course by Megan Auman!
Free traffic metrics, search analytics, demographics, and more for websites...