Sep 30

Occasionally, we’ll stumble across something great that lives out on the web, and lately we’ve tripped over Google Reader.

Google Reader is the answer to managing all of your RSS feeds (yes, there are others). If you don’t know what an RSS feed is, then today is the day to find out what you’ve been missing.

Google Reader manages all of your feeds, marks off posts you’ve read, allows you to save great posts “star them,” share with friends and my favorite: Google Reader is available on iGoogle and for your mobile phone. So imagine, you’re sitting in the doctor’s office, and you remember you have 74 feeds that you’ve been meaning to read. Pull up Google Reader on your phone, and you have your 1 1/2 hours of reading material you never knew you needed.

For you RSS junkies or those who always wanted to subscribe to a feed, but really didn’t know the best tool to use, Google Reader is a great place to start.

For more information, Google Reader has a tour. And please, let Merge’s Blog be the first RSS you add:

Happy RSS’ing!

Sep 27

Know where you’re going. I was reading this morning about a wise man who once said, “I know where I came from and where I am going…”

Do you know where you’re going? Knowing where you’re going-or where you want to be-is called vision. I recently wrote a vision for my business, my role as a husband and father, physically (exercise), etc. If you know where you’re going, you know how to live. I’ve coined this proactive living (vs. reactive living). If I’m not careful, I find myself slipping in and out of reactive living, which is no fun.

Knowing where you’re going makes all of the difference in the world. It gives you a basis to make decisions. Vision determines your next actions. It gives you permission to say “no” to activities that won’t get you there. And you end up getting what you wanted-try getting what you want with out knowing what it is you want!

I highly encourage you to define where you want to be. Write a vision for your business. Your personal life. Hey-even your web site…? (Merge can help you there if you need it).

By the way, the wise man I referenced earlier, he ended up getting to where he needed to be because he had a crystal clear vision. Good thing for you and me-he ended up saving the world.



Sep 24

Why do you need a CMS? Because you can.

I could also give you a wrench and tell you to maintain your car-because you can-but you probably wouldn’t. You’ll take it to a mechanic.

I could give you a scalpel and tell you exactly where to cut to remove that tumor-because you can-but you won’t.

I could even give you something like Microsoft Publisher and tell you to go ahead and make a brochure for your company-because you can. But it would look awful, and you know it.

But when it comes to the web, it’s: “I have to have a CMS!” or “I know I need a CMS.” or how about this one: “My husband’s in marketing and he told me I need a CMS-this much I know.”

This just in: for 98% of you, you don’t need a CMS. Why?

  1. You are so busy managing your business, you don’t have time to manage your site. It’s more economical for a web developer to make a change for you.
  2. Because it’s not half as easy as it looks.
  3. You paid thousands of dollars for your web site, and once you start messing with it, you’re going to wreck the design.

A CMS for most businesses is like the bread machine you received for your wedding. Where is it now? Exactly.

Trust me, you don’t NEED a CMS. But here are some examples of content that may make sense for you to have the ability to manage:

  • Update the News Section of your site.
  • Update Job Postings
  • Maintain an Events Calendar

So, in deference to all of the CMS wanters and providers out there, I meet you in the middle-if you’re willing to come that far. A site wide CMS that allows one to edit any and all pages, create new sections of the site, etc. sounds all fine and dandy until you either a) find out you’ll never use it or b) discover that you wrecked your site’s design after say, 2 months of changing content.

However, for those functions that require constant updating and actually require a reason for editing functionality (such as maintaining an events calendar or updating job postings) specific web tools to manage your content totally makes sense.

Oh, and hey, Merge provides a CMS solution if you need one…we usually don’t recommend them to prospects. We don’t recommend holes in their heads either.