Author: Joyce

Closed Doors

Closed doorA lot of strange dialog and decision-making goes on behind closed doors – even if the rooms are not so smoky any more. This can certainly be true in nonprofit organizations. When what happens behind closed doors leaks out to your organization, it often takes the form of rumor and stories circulated via the grapevine.

By what method can nonprofits provide accurate information to their communities on a timely basis, thereby counteracting the flow of false information? How can truth see the light of day?

We suggest that living websites and e-newsletters provide tools for creating a culture of truth-telling. Put it out there in writing for everyone to see. Help your organization and its community get used to information in the open. Provide responses to shady stories circulating around you.

It may take awhile to develop these tools and have them adopted as part of a more open culture, but what other choice to you have? Sending your own message out through your own grapevine is a losing battle.

Simple Website for Authors

Website Fr. Zacharia

I just heard about your book. But before I buy it, I’d like to know a bit more about the book and about you.

Or, maybe I just read the book and I want to know if you’ve got anything else available for me to read. I’d also like to hear your story – about how you came to write the book.

Perhaps I’d like to contact you – would you speak to my readers group? Would you be interested in a booth at our book fair? Would you consider meeting for coffee to talk with me?

You’ve already addressed these readers and some of their needs on the cover of your book. And, you’ve probably packed a lot into that small space. Your simple website is your opportunity to expand on your book cover – and more.

Here are some examples of what you can present on a simple author website: Continue reading »

Web Definitions

Website Terms DictionaryIt’s difficult to carry on a conversation if you’re not speaking the same language – doable, but difficult. Talking about your website is no exception to this rule.

“Put the thingy beside the doohicky and make them both that same shade of green of those pants I like,” doesn’t exactly bring enough clarity to the request to result in meaningful action.

Computer geeks have developed a language all their own; web geeks have their own dialect of that language. These terms are interesting, fun, and helpful. Here are a few to get you started in the web world:

  • Blog – a kind of online journal describing, in somewhat personal terms, the thoughts, feelings, observations, and events effecting the life or the writer
  • Post – one blog entry, complete in and of itself while fitting into an ongoing series – composed of written content and images
  • Page – a somewhat static expression around a single subject, such as About Us
  • Category – a way to group blog posts around themes in order to make them easier to access
  • Comment – a reader’s response to a post or, in some cases, a page, which becomes part of the display of a page or post
  • Plugin – a discrete bit of software, easily added, which provides specific additional functionality
  • Theme – a somewhat interchangeable skin that gives a website a look and feel out of the box, and which can be customized or exchanged
  • Content – the most important aspect of any website – the words
  • Site Metrics – statistics about site visits, including how visitors arrived at a website, some information about their computer, and what they did while they were engaged with a particular website
  • SEO – search engine optimization – methods to make websites findable by search engines, hopefully moving them to the top of particular relevant word searches
  • Banner – prime real estate on a web page at or near the top, usually containing an image, logo, tag line, and perhaps advertisements
  • Navigation – the way a viewer moves through the pages and posts on a website, finding what they’re looking for via clearly labeled links
  • Architecture – how the pages, posts, sidebars, footers, banner, and links are organized on the website to facilitate the kind of interaction that the site owner desires viewers to experience

Why We Love Working with Nonprofits

Because there’s heart. Working with nonprofits is not the only place to find heart in work – it’s the best place.

We love clear missions and visions about changing the world.

We love organizations that put their missions and visions above money goals.

We love executive directors who leave the corporate world seeking a kinder, gentler way.

We love working with volunteers.

We love to have fun – and nonprofits have fun.

We love service – and nonprofits serve.

We love who nonprofits serve and the many creative, beautiful ways they serve.

We love helping connect nonprofits with their clients, volunteers, and donors.

We Love Nonprofits!

You Can Do Your Own Website

do your own websiteWell, maybe.

It’s certainly true that the tools for building and maintaining websites are growing friendlier daily, and that they’ve evolved to enable many more people to access the possibility of building their own website than ever before.

It’s also true that there’s more and better support online to help users along the way.

And, it’s also true that because more people are doing the work themselves, the overall quality of websites is declining – so you don’t have to worry about sticking out if your website isn’t the fanciest one on the block.

Finally, because of search engine optimization, you don’t have to have a great website to be found online. That’s nice.

On the other hand, not everyone is ready to take on these tools or interested. The tools require a foundational level of computer knowledge in order to get in the game. Some people just aren’t interested – computers aren’t their thing or they have better things to do.

And, it turns out that quality is an issue. You may be able to attract visitors to your site, but the look, feel, and functionality they find have a lot to do with whether they stay longer than ten seconds. Quality content has a larger effect on whether they respond to your call to action.

As user-friendly as the tools get, there are still difficult spots in the website development process – ones that the tools don’t address well or at all.

And, the help, especially when you get into a pickle, tends to be spotty.

Yes, you may be able to do your own website. Or, you may want to just hire someone else to take it off your hands entirely. In either case, Joyce understands!

What makes The Computer Spirit somewhat unique is the way she works with you. First, Joyce will help you make the decision about whether or not you want to/should/can do your own website yourself. Although she would rather help you create your website, she will do it for you. Helping could mean following a road map she provides or… getting detailed feedback from her at key points or… getting help when you get stuck or… having Joyce do some pieces of the work or… having a shoulder to cry on when you get lost or frustrated.

Yes, you may be able to do your own website. But really, why would you?

How We Serve Authors

How We Serve AuthorsEvery writer is different. Every story is different. And so every audience is different. Now what?

If you’ve been published, or self-published, or are preparing for publication, you probably understand by now that you’ll be doing the lion’s share of marketing your work. For me, that came as a bit of a surprise. I thought being the expert on my topic and being the writer were enough. I was just getting used to the idea that I had to find and sell myself to a literary agent. Now this.

Of course, if you’re self-publishing, as I did, you also find yourself in the book distribution business. All of this can be overwhelming. I know, because it overwhelmed me. I don’t shy away from a challenge – even twelve challenges-in-one. But still…

Marketing your work means you have to figure out who your readers are – and that doesn’t mean every literate person in the known universe. Then you have to figure out how to get your book in front of them in a way that has them actually read it. Sometimes this means you have to get yourself in front of them first.

We can help. Although we have written, edited, and proofed books, designed covers, and formatted and uploaded books, this isn’t our main focus. What we offer are ways to create your online presence and build your community of readers.

We present this in three layers: first we help you take actions that chase readers into your personal web; then we help you set up your website to capture and hold them; then we help you keep in touch with them on a regular basis.

In doing so, we help you create what book publishers call your “platform.” We help you show up in the right places online in order to build your brand as the expert on your book. We make it easy for readers to learn more about you and buy your book. And, we provide information about you in formats beloved by the press and those who book speakers.

Because we’ve been around this block a few times, we can save you time and money, and frustration as you go about the many little things that contribute to your success and the success of your book.

How We Serve Nonprofits

How We Serve NonprofitsThe Computer Spirit is working on two ways to support nonprofits in developing capacity and sustainability through effective communication.

The first involves providing opportunities and resources for nonprofit organizations to develop and own their own living websites and e-newsletters.

The second involves providing hands-on, just-in-time technical, design, personal, and organizational support to nonprofit staff and volunteers to improve their electronic and hard-copy communication with their volunteers, donors, and clients.

We’re currently partnering with the Sedona Community Center to host and promote workshops and the computer lab. Our idea is that any work that spills over from these free experiences is something that will fall to The Computer Spirit or other local web designers and software trainers.

We like to collaborate with nonprofits in helping them open up new and better ways to reach out and build their community of volunteers, clients, and donors. Our first several experiences with local nonprofits – both involving websites and e-newsletters – have been fun and rewarding. We feel we’re making a difference and we’re certainly meeting many terrific people.

We usually suggest a meeting over coffee with representatives of your organization to find out what you’re up to and learn about how you communicate with your community. We’re happy to pull together a suggested action plan for you to take back to your organization, and delighted to speak with your staff or board whenever that may be appropriate.

Although we’re capable of doing all the work ourselves, we prefer to help you take on whatever functions you’re comfortable with because this leaves you with a stronger organization and greater control over your communication tools. You save money too.

Along the way we’ll help you develop funding and train your volunteers if warranted. We like to fit into the process of creating your communication tools in ways that best suit you.

In any case, we feel we’ll all benefit from getting to know one another and talking over the possibilities. We encourage you to call us to set up that coffee meeting!

How We Serve Speakers

How We Serve SpeakersGenerally, we don’t do packages. We customize everything. We believe every person and every message are unique. We make an exception for speakers.

Speakers are treated as packages. You must have a certain set of information, presented in a standard way, in order to receive the attention of those who book speakers. It’s just the way the business is. So, we respond by suggesting – and it’s only a suggestion – some packages that are structured to do the job for you.

Here’s what we’ve come up with:

Speaker Packages

Write My Blog

Search engines love blogs – so do your readers. They want to learn more about you before booking you to speak; they want to learn more about you after they’ve heard you speak.

As an author – and a speaker when I get a chance – I would love to write your blog.

We can agree on topics in advance – either from a list you generate or from one I put together. We’ll agree on a tone and a style that fits your image. I’ll send you a couple blog posts to review and then I’ll make revisions until we’ve got the formula right. Then I’ll take it from there – including posting individual blog posts to your website if you’d like.

We charge $25 per post.

Do My Website

Organizations need speakers – those who book speakers need information. The easiest way for you to provide that information to them is to post it on your website. Strangely, that’s also the easiest way for them to access it.

A basic speaker website includes the following:

  • Your bio
  • Pics of you
  • Audio and video files of you in action
  • Your Q&A featuring the ten or so questions you’d like to be asked and your highly-quotable answers
  • Your contact information
  • Your blog
  • Information about your book(s) if you have them
  • Testimonials

We’ll create this basic website for you for about $700 – you provide the content, images, audio and visual files.

If you need help with the content, we charge about another $200 to provide finished content from your scribbles and email answers to our questions.

If you need more help or want a more elaborate website, let’s talk. Remember, we also provide e-newsletters for serious speakers who are building their communities.

How I Serve Healers

How We Serve HealersI find that healers are generally less capable of doing their own websites and e-newsletters than some of my other clients. That’s not always true, but it does seem to be a pattern. So, this is how I serve healers…

I can do a greater portion of the work myself rather than trying to teach healers to do it. That’s okay – we’re both fine with it.

I’ll probably create a simpler site.

I also tend to place a much greater emphasis on images that tell the healer’s story. Healers aren’t often writers, so I don’t usually expect a healer will make regular article or blog posts, or even provide content for their own e-newsletters. That’s okay. I’ll either talk through your ideas with you or accept them in whatever form you can cobble them together – and then I’m happy to write the content.

Healers have to feel great about their website – well so do all clients! However, with healers that’s usually not a function of technology as much as the way the site looks and the energy of it. I take great care to get the energy right, understanding that people who view your website come seeking help – they need to feel the presence of that help oozing off your website, through their computer screen, and into their heart.

All of this makes designing and managing a healer’s website a unique challenge – and one I particularly love. Let’s get together and learn more about each other. I would enjoy exploring ways to translate the healing you provide into words and images that tell your story energetically.