Tag Archives: Wordpress

New Rainmaker. Now you really owe me.

cb-rainmaker

If you’ve ever heard the expression “pay it forward,” then you know that if someone does something kind or altruistic to/for you, you’re supposed to do the same thing for someone else.

Hence, pay it forward.

Today, someone put me onto something that promises to revolutionize the way we look at DIY site building.

And since I’m learning front end web development, I probably shouldn’t hip you to a tool that will potentially make my new found knowledge obsolete, but…

It’s called New Rainmaker and it’s a one-stop-shop for building a high performance website for your business or brand.

You probably know a few free or low-cost site building tools: SquareSpace, WordPress, Tumblr, Web.com, etc.

But if you’ve used any of them, you’ve probably encountered some roadblock or hurdle, that made it less than it was cracked up to be.

Maybe there was no eCommerce component.

Or social sharing was a hassle to implement.

Perhaps creating columns required advanced knowledge of cuneiform.

Rainmaker promises to change all that.

Per the New Rainmaker website:

Introducing Rainmaker, a hosted turn-key online marketing and digital sales platform designed to give you everything you need to build your business by building an audience. It’s not just everything we use on our sites (such as Copyblogger and StudioPress), it’s exactly what we use on our own sites … ready for you to make your own.

Now I can’t actually tell you anything about the platform, as it hasn’t been released quite yet.

What I can tell you is that it’s built off of WordPress, and allows you to take advantage of all the plugins and widgets natively – that is, without having to call up or install anything individually.

It’s also built on HTML5, so it’s fully responsive.

That means it will be optimized for whatever screen users are viewing your site from.

Building your site using Rainmaker’s platform is also supposed to be dummy-proof.

Simply select the options you want via their wizard, and the Rainmaker Platform does the rest.

At the end of the day, Rainmaker is supposed to make setting up your site and running your online business a cinch.

Supposedly, it will make building sites using SaaS offerings like SquareSpace and WordPress feel like learning Chinese.

We’ll see.

StephenChukumba.com is a hosted WordPress blog.

So whenever Rainmaker does turn on the switch, I’ll be one of the first to convert my existing site to their platform.

And I’ll give you a blow-by-blow assessment of how easy (or difficult) it was to get set up, as well as my impressions.

Oh yeah.

The reason I feel like I’m paying it forward, is because there is a limited window to sign up to join the Rainmaker trial.

If you sign up at NewRainmaker.com/Platform, you too can register to take their platform for a test drive.

In addition to having first dibs to Beta test their platform, you’ll have access to the Rainmaker knowledge center, complete with podcasts, webinars, reports and video presentations from industry veterans and experts.

Now if you’re happy with your site (and it’s performance, conversions, etc.) then you can ignore this post altogether.

But if you’re looking to start a new business or website, and want just the right tool, then Rainmaker may be the thing for you.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under digital advocacy, technology

Like to blog? Get Blogsy.

It’s been a while since I reviewed any apps.

So today, I decided to take a look at the apps I have on deck and talk about one of them.

Checking out the apps on my iPad, the choices are many.

I’ve got them arranged (roughly) by category: productivity, social networking, entertainment, finance, etc.

Since I find myself opening up my social networking dash quite often, I figured I’d write about one of them.

I’ve got nine apps designated as social networking: AIM, Facebook, Blogsy, WordPress, Find Friends, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite.

Now which to write about…

With the exception of Find Friends, each of these bad boys gets run.

And since I’ve already written about WordPress on at least one occasion, that brings us down to seven.

Hmmmm…

I guess I’ll do this scientifically.

Eenie, meenie, miney, mo…

Blogsy it is!

So Yoda put me up on Blogsy a minute ago.

If you’re not up on it, Blogsy is a blogger’s dream app.

In one spot, you can create blog posts, tag them, drag & drop photos and video, and post to virtually any blogging platform.

Sounds too good to be true right?

But it is!

Blogsy has a powerful dashboard that lets you access any of your supported accounts, including YouTube, Vevo, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram, Picasa, Flickr, and Facebook, all from within the app.

You can configure all of your accounts in Settings, and access them in the handy drawer conveniently tucked away on the right side of Blogsy’s main window.

In addition, its got a built in browser, that lets you find and grab content from the Internet and drop it right into your post!

I initially started this post in WordPress (force of habit) before switching over to Blogsy to complete it.

What better way to demonstrate how something works?

So here is a shot of me launching Blogsy in the built in browser.

And here’s a preview of this post inside of Blgsy.

And here’s a video from YouTube.

In addition to being able to grab stuff from virtually anywhere, you can also publish directly from Blogsy to any of your blogs.

Case in point: I published this right from my iPad.

Or save your drafts locally or in your platform of choice.

It’s really a complete, well thought out and super convenient app, and I highly recommend it if you’re a power blogger like me (not really).

Not that there aren’t some glitches.

For example the drop and drag function is a bit wonky.

Placing an image or video exactly where you want it to go can be…challenging.

Your text goes all haywire and its hard to know where your image or video is going to end up.

If you’ve got multiple blogs, like I do, figuring out which one you’re in and making sure you’re posting to the right one is a chore.

And getting around the app take a bit of getting used to at first.

But I found that messing around a bit will help you to not freak out and figure out how things work.

Anyway, I dig Blogsy a lot.

And I think you will too.

So get out there and blog(sy)!

Note: I am not being paid by Blogsy to endorse their product. But if anyone from Blogsy wants to cut a brotha a check, I’d be much obliged.

3 Comments

Filed under apps, iPad, technology

Blogging by iPhone (on the commode). Wordpress is the truth!

blogging_from_my_toilet.jpg

I’ve been blogging (on and off) for about five or six years now.

Sometimes more than others.

But now, I think I’ve hit my stride.

And it’s all because of WordPress.

I know this sounds über dramatic, but hear me out.

When I was first bitten by the blogging bug, I tried out Blogger, the blogging platform from Google.

Since I was already using Gmail, it was nothing but a chicken wing to start using Blogger.

But I found the interface flat and there were too few template options available for me to personalize my blog.

Even though it was customizable, I wasn’t terribly technical and coding HTML or CSS simply wasn’t in the cards.

I posted a few times and that was it.

Not long after, someone told me about Tumblr.

They were new to blogging, like me, and had a similar experience with Blogger (being flat and boring).

So (on their recommendation) I tried it out.

Tumblr was much easier to use, had several interesting templates, and before long, I had set up and posted my first blog.

I noticed, almost immediately, though, that my blog posts weren’t showing up in search engines in Tumblr as rapidly as they had with Blogger.

What Tumblr made up in overall ease of use and simplicity, it lost from an overall SEO perspective.

I was creating far more, but seeing far less traffic.

If a blog gets posted in cyberspace and no bots crawl to it, does it make a sound?

Demoralized, I abandoned Tumblr for another free blog platform contender, WordPress.

Cue the angelic music and blinding white light.

WordPress combined the SEO dominance of Blogger, with the ease of use, simplicity and design sensibility of Tumblr, and a few other smoking features to boot.

And with a clean UI and dashboard, WordPress soon became my go-to platform.

But what MADE WordPress for me, were the apps!

Ever since I got the WordPress iPhone and iPad apps, I’ve become a prolific blogger.

Prolific is a tad extreme, but I have authored over 250 post on WordPress, and at least half of them were on my iPhone or iPad.

Whenever an idea for a blog comes to mind, I simply whip out my iPhone, dial up the WordPress app and start typing.

Once I save it, it’s automatically uploaded to my WordPress account and synched whenever I pull up WordPress again from any of my devices.

So if I start it on my iPad, I can pick it up later from my desktop or iPhone.

I can tag, add pictures or video, select categories (or create new ones) all from within the app.

My girl Aliya King issued a 30 day blogging challenge to her blogging peeps, and the WordPress app has kept me on task for the past two weeks.

I’ve been able to post from virtually anywhere: trains, the office, the toilet (yes, I blog on the toilet), from the convenience of my iPhone.

I’ve been so impressed with WordPress that I’ve turned a butt load of my clients, friends and associates on to the platform.

At the end of the day, I’m really enamored with WordPress because it’s enabled me to find my voice AND get it out hassle-free.

So if you’re thinking about starting a blog (I’m an inexhaustible source of inspiration – I know), give WordPress a try!

And ‘no’ I am not a paid spokesperson for WordPress.

But if anyone over at WordPress wants to cut a bro a check….

1 Comment

Filed under apps, iPad, iPhone, mobile, opinion

I’ve got no Klout? Gimme a break!

I’m like a gangsta without a gun…I’ve got no Klout!

I just created an account on Klout and was appalled to discover that I had an influence rating of 10.

10!

Mind you, the Klout measures influence on a scale from 1 to 100.

So you can imagine my shock to learn that I had the influence of a kumquat.

In my professional self, I regularly discuss influence as measured by services like PeerIndex, Twitalyzer and Klout, as points of reference for how individuals and entities can assess the impact of their social media.

But I hadn’t thought of the type of influencer I was.

I publish a blog for chrissakes!

True. I haven’t published very regularly since April…

And I’ve completely fallen off the wagon on Facebook…

Can’t recall the last time I pushed a flick up on Flickr either…

But of course I have influence!

I’m registered with virtually every social media platform (of significance) under the sun.

When I signed up with Klout, I registered my Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, WordPress and Instagram accounts.

Even though I’ve got a Blogger and Tumblr account, I left those ones out because I rarely use them (but perhaps I’ll go back in an add those too….hmm).

And every so often, folks comment on my blog posts, retweet my tweets, share my Facebook updates, watch my videos and generally seem to respond to my virtual ramblings.

But clearly not enough for Klout to feel that I have real influence!

Damn you Klout!

Now I’m not really smarting about my dismal Klout rating.

Yes I am.

But it does present a compelling case study for how influential one really is online.

Prior to registering with Klout, I had received numerous requests from friends and associates (via Facebook) to join Klout.

To me, it was yet another app fracturing my attention online, that I would have to show some love.

Unless, it’s one of those truly useful apps, that runs in the background, without you having to log in and actually do anything, and actually provides value, I’m sure it will go the way of many of the social media platforms/applications vying for users/user attention, and fall into obsolescence once the sheen wears off.

But who knows, I may find Klout truly useful and have a change of heart.

I doubt it.

The relationship with Klout has already started off a bit too rocky for my taste…

…an influence rating of 10…

Klout you’ve got some m*tha f*ckin’ nerve!

PS If you’re within the sound of my blog, please throw some K’s on a bruh!

Leave a comment

Filed under branding

Why don’t you have a mobile site yet?

Here is the mobile version of my blog.

I met with a potential client today, and they were very excited to show me the site that they had recently released.

The site had a nice stylish design, but when viewed from my iPhone, I was looking at the exact same site – and NOT a mobile site.

Now, of course, I offered my unsolicited advice regarding the utility of a site, not optimized for mobile devices, and the growing trend of search from mobile devices.

This experience underscores what I have observed in most of the brands I interact with.

Many have failed to adopt a mobile web strategy.

I’m certain that this ‘oversight’ stems from the fact that mobile is still not perceived as a significant element in most brand’s marketing mix.

While apps may be all the rage, they really only apply to a small swath of devices, primarily iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.

Other internet capable devices, or users who haven’t downloaded your app (or aren’t aware of it’s existence among the hundreds of thousands of available apps), can’t take advantage of whatever utility your app was designed to provide.

But developing a mobile website gives you the ability to still reach those users, without having to develop an on-deck app.

More importantly, if your site comes up as a relevant result from a search conducted on a mobile device, when the user navigates to your site, they’ll encounter your mobile you (not your PC you).

If your site it built right, you’ll convert that visitor into a member of your tribe, and they’ll bookmark you, share you or engage in whatever behavior you want guests to your site to perform.

Anyway, if you’re interested in learning whether your recently developed site is mobile-compatible, simply pop your web URL into your mobile browser and check.

If you’re using a open source platform like WordPress, many of their templates contain the option to publish a mobile version too (like this blog).

If it’s not (or if you’re not sure) and you’re interested in learning how to convert, feel free to drop me a line.

Go mobile!

1 Comment

Filed under branding, mobile, opinion

2012 Will Be a Blogging Year (and what I didn’t tell you about 2011)

I just looked at the end-of-year summary that WordPress sends to folks who use its blogging platform, showing me what 2011 looked like.

Sooooo….last year I authored exactly 14 posts.

14!

That’s abysmal.

I. Am. Ashamed.

I am constantly extolling the virtue of regular blogging to my clients, and in 2011 I was thoroughly remiss.

And unlike 2010, where I was a blogging superstar (relatively), in 2011, I was a friggin blogging hermit!

And it’s not like I didn’t have a lot going on to blog about.

So to make up for my total lack of posting, here is my 2011 in review.

December: Art Basel Miami

Hotness was all over..even on the walls.

I attended my first Art Basel Miami, which (if you didn’t know) is the largest international art festival in the United States. I spent four days hanging with some of the hottest contemporary fine and street artists in the game, partying at Miami’s most exclusive night clubs and meeting with clients in a whirlwind where days and nights seemed to blend together. Big ups to Sanford Biggers, Martin Luther, Rich Medina, Sapna Lal and all the good folks at Bardot, Townhouse, Gigi and Bond Street.

November: Jump N’ Funk After Experience at Red Rooster

The After Experience at Red Rooster was the bomb!

If you’ve never been to a Jump N Funk, then you’ve been missing one of the best parties ever. Literally. Jump N Funk is an afrobeat party, celebrating the life and music of Fela. The first time I attended a JNF, at WMC 2005, I left the event sweating like a slave. I was hooked. 2011 was the 10 year anniversary, and Rich Medina was in top form as he tore the roof off of the Red Rooster in Harlem, after the anniversary show at Harlem Stage.

October: The Digital Strategist

I was the guest of David Muhammed, the Digital Strategist, on his public access show on SoMa TV. In the renovated studio at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, I was interviewed about my experiences in the technology and mobile space. I posted a short piece about the interview, which lasted about 50 minutes, but felt like five, earlier, but if you missed it, here it is again.

September: Born To Shine

I spent some time with Rich Medina in September, who was fresh off of the show Master of the Mix (produced by GTM Central and presented by Smirnoff) on the set of Time Warner Cable’s new program, Born To Shine. Rich was the resident DJ for the show, which was recorded on the 106 & Park set, and provided his unique banter and musical je ne sais quoi to the show.

August: Q3030

I started consulting a tech start-up out of Atlanta, called Q3030. The brain-child of Marq Sears, a serial entrepreneur, Q3030 had developed an new technology, called The Cube, an interactive platform that enables brands to place interactive branded advertisements on a number of highly trafficked websites, like MediaTakeOut.com. I was brought in to help map out the strategic direction for the company, content acquisition, capitalization and branding. They’re actively seeking angel investment, but are moving forward.

July: Martha’s Vineyard

In what has become somewhat of an annual tradition, I took a working vacation and spent a week in Martha’s Vineyard with the family. We rented a quaint three bedroom house on a lake in Oaks Bluff.  Every day we hit the beach, the strip, the lake or some other outdoor destination. Now my kids are now hooked on the place, and it’s looking like this IS, in fact, going to be an actual annual tradition.

June: The Marksmen

I rejoined Marksmen Productions, a company I had worked with for several years, and immediately jumped back in the fray working on some really innovative projects. Several years ago, the Marksmen developed DOT.TUNES, a web-based application that gave users the ability to remotely access all the content of the iTunes library remotely over an internet-connected device. Since that time, they’ve developed several applications that run off of the DT platform, including HookUp (remote sharing over multiple DT instances), ReVenue and !mpulse. Stay tuned for the developments on this front in 2012!

May: Cannes Film Festival

Free Angela, the documentary film arrives in 2012.

I took my second trip to the South of France for the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival, where I put to use everything I learned on my first trip. I attended a few premiers, ate frogs legs, partied in a castle…and…on the beach…and…on a yacht…and…well you get the picture. I also met with some of the hottest up-and-coming film-makers, directors and producers. I also started working with Free Angela, the documentary film on Angela Davis by Shola Lynch, in association with Canal Plus, De Films En Anguille, and BET (yes, BET).

April: The Today Show

I'm waxing eloquent about going grey!

The highlight for April (aside from my 41st birthday) was being invited to participate in a focus group that was being taped for the Today show on NBC. The focus group was assembled to talk about perceptions related to aging, and whether grey was sexy or not. The segment, which aired shortly after taping, can be seen here. Check me out in my 2 seconds of fame, when I say “I love her with the grey.”

March: Winter Music Conference

I attended my third (or was it fourth?) WMC in Miami at the Miami Convention Center. It was my first WMC off the strip and in the convention center, and the mood was noticeably muted. I sat on a panel discussing the future of mobile with some mobile industry luminaries and hung out with Benzino and Dave Mays (the former owners of The Source Magazine) at their posh recording studio in downtown Miami (out of which they also publish their new publication, Hip Hop Weekly). I also spent a few hours at the King of Diamonds, the…ahem…’gentlemen’s club’, but we can talk about that later.

February: Morgan 4 Congress 2012

The new look of the M4C website!

If you followed me in 2010, you know that I was working with Vincent Morgan, a Democratic Candidate for Congress, running against Charles Rangel in the 15th District of New York (what is commonly referred to as Harlem or Upper Manhattan). Although he lost, it was a learning experience, and in February of this year, he assembled his inner circle to strategize for his 2012 run. We relaunched his website, created new marketing materials, and put together a strong team for his next run. Look for his formal announcement soon and repeat after me: “Morgan for Congress 2012!”

January: KiwiTech

I joined KiwiTech, a Washington, D.C. based mobile application development firm, that was moving from developing apps for the publishing sector, into the media space. This small family owned and operated outfit has developed over 600 iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad apps to date, and shows no signs of slowing down.

If you’ve made it down this far, let me say that one of my resolutions is to blog at least once a week in 2012. Which means that if I actually do what I say I’m going to do, you can expect at least 52 posts from me this year!

Yaayyy!

Now lets see how long it takes me to fall off the blogging wagon this time!

1 Comment

Filed under branding, Smack talking, technology

Do you Hootsuite?

Since I’m on this extended social media rant, its only proper that I go in a little deeper and talk about the tricks of the trade that I use to get my social media on.

My introduction to social media started about five years ago, participating in online forums and beta testing groups for different applications.

Back in the day (five years ago was so last year) forums were the original online social networks.

Today, there are countless social media networks of varying popularity, size and utility.

As more and more brands start realizing the value of social networks to their overall brand presence, managing these various networks is a growing issue.

I belong to a Social Media Marketing group on Linkedin, which discusses social media issues regularly.

One of the longest running discussions is about which social media management tool group members use.

The responses run the gamut, as do the rationales justifying the use of this tool over that.

Many of the responses talk about Radian 6, and recently Sendible has crept into these discussions as well.

In fact, there is an abundance of social media management and monitoring tools to chose from (of varying degrees of utility, quality and price), but one has stolen my heart.

Its Hootsuite.

Do you Hootsuite?

For those of you in the know, Hootsuite was one of the earliest free (well used-to-be-free, but I’ll get to that later) social media management platforms available.

That’s how they got me – first in the space AND free.

Hootsuite promised me the world: unlimited social media profiles, analytics, simple and easy to use interface, desktop dashboard.

And I used it all.

I used to boast  (to anyone who would listen) that I managed 20 social media profiles effortlessly – and it was all because of Hootsuite.

For those of you who are asking, “WTF is Hootstuite?” shame on you.

But if you, like me, are in the know, you know WTF Hootsuite is: only the best-es social media management/monitoring tool in the free world (although, as I said earlier, it’s no longer free).

With Hootsuite, you can manage multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook profiles, Facebook pages, Linkedin, Ping.fm, WordPress, MySpace and Foursquare accounts.

Social networks? Hootsuite does that!

From the Hootsuite dashboard, you can simultaneously manage and monitor multiple streams.

You can manage and monitor multiple streams from the Hootsuite dash.

In addition to managing and monitoring multiple streams and profiles, you also have the capacity to generate comprehensive statistics using Google Analytics, Twitter and Facebook Insights.

Hootsuite does statistics too!

Mind you, I’ve only really been freaking Hootsuite in the past few weeks because they’re about to start charging me, and I need to know that I’m going to get the right bang for my buck.

They’ve got a free 30 day trial, to take it for a test drive and see if its really the tool for you.

So if you’re interested in using a fairly inexpensive social media management and monitoring tool that won’t break the bank (it’s only $5/month for unlimited profiles and $15 for additional team members), then Hootsuite may just be the right tool for you.

I Hootsuite.

Do you?

Note: Hootsuite does not pay me to endorse their product (although I wish they would!)

2 Comments

Filed under opinion, rant, social media