Wow, the folks at ChannelAdvisor really went all out for Halloween this year. Looks like fun. Check out all the pics of their employees today. I wish I could have made it over to see in person!
Retailers: here is some good advice for the holiday season offered by some experts. Video features Lorraine Twohill and Eric Schmidt from Google, Jeff Haddox from Pier 1, Brad Smith from Best Buy and Michael Jones from SCV portfolio company, ChannelAdvisor.
If you want to learn more, check out the Google Retail Advertising Blog, which highlights this video.
Internet Summit is next week Nov4 and 5 in Raleigh, NC. Our firm, Southern Capitol Ventures is co-presenting along with TechJournal South.
Friends of SCV can receive a $50 discount when registering by using the VIP code "SCV50." That will bring the cost for you down to $245. Register here.
We have a fantastic lineup of 75 speakers including brands such as Google, Pandora, Expedia, ESPN, Digg, Lending Tree, Technorati, comScore, Huffington Post, Meebo, AOL, Gannett, IBM, Goldman Sachs, SAS and Microsoft just to name a few.
Last year was sold out. This year we expect north of 1,000 people to attend.
Hope to see you there!
Adobe recently acquired GoodBarry but it looks like they are changing the strategy a lot to just focusing on offering their software to web developers. A few months ago, I started thinking about the do-it-yourself business website market for our own site. The good news is that there are still a number of providers out there that have great products for business owners who want to manage their own business website. We have used a few of them, but the one that we signed up with very recently is an innovative startup in RTP called Preation. Given that it is a relevant topic lately and we recently re-launched our website using software that does this, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts and experiences here.
As background, we felt like our old website was too static. My partners and I wanted a website that was flexible, included more features, allowed us to easily add/subtract pages and quickly change content. We wanted a better marketing web site. I think we grew tired of emailing all the changes to our website developer once/month and explaining everything in detail. My partners agreed. Also, not like we spent a lot with the website developer that designed and updated our old site (he did a great job for us), but bringing that expense to $0/month is an added bonus.
Initially, we started with Squarespace for 30 days. Given the limited time we could invest in learning their software, we had a hard time with it. It wasn't easy for us to make the changes we wanted to (colors, format, quickly adding titles, pages, etc.). I think if we had a website developer on staff or someone that could hand over a template (we asked), this one might be a great solution. We liked the low price point. The cusomer examples on their site atracted us and these guys have been getting lots of GREAT press. Their customer support rocked and they were very flexible and understanding and were quick to extend our free trial. We needed something easier for us to use internally.
Next, we tried Preation. They gave me 20-30 minutes of training on their product called Eden and that's it. I was off and running. Really. Their customer support team is fantastic. I have my own account manager and he was very responsive (1-2 hrs) when I hit roadblocks. Anyway, I ended up building out our new website myself... quickly. It didn't take long to get hooked and once I gave my partners a quick demo, it was a no-brainer we inked a 1 year contract with them.
What I also liked is Eden is not only the low price point (I'm told that it starts at $10/month) but all Eden features (SEO, forms, photo slideshows, galleries, calendars, event registration, testimonials) are included for everyone.
The real bonus the Preation guys shared with me is that Eden includes SEO which is dummy proof to use. The software gives you specific advice on what to change on each page to make that page more effective. Right now, I am not following a lot of that advice. This should be big savings for a lot of small companies. For example, I know a local company that was looking for SEO help. They were getting charged a few thousand bucks per month for help. Eden would bring that extra spend to zero. I also dropped in Google Analytics on our site, which is also easy to do inside of Eden.
Anyway, if you are looking at options for your own site and I can help guide you, let me know. Hope some of our experiences help.
Some random comments before going into the weekend. I hope everyone had a great week!