By Steve MacDonald, Founder of Practical Social Media



Entrepreneurs have a new tool that will make a dramatic difference in the way that we can create, maintain and control websites and landing pages.  Websites created on Google Sites can be done completely on your own and without cost or technical experience.

To compete effectively today, entrepreneurs must have real-time control of our websites.

To help businesses achieve this level of control, Practical Social Media has created a new, step-by-step tutorial on how to use Google Sites.  Each tip specifically addresses the types of obstacles that are usually only discovered once you have already started the process.  The goal is to eliminate the frustrations of not knowing the inside tips in order to ensure that you have a great tool that is truly easy to use! This advice is not available anywhere else.

Listed below are the resources from within this two part series that runs today and tomorrow:

• A point-of-view on the role of Google Sites for any entrepreneur in any business (Part 1)
• Two video tutorials that include all the tips and tricks necessary to easily create websites and landing pages with Google Sites (Part 2)
• An additional list of the tips and guide for registering your Google Site (Part 2)

Point-of-View: Real Time Control for Web 2.0

What is one of the most important aspects of a website in the world of social media marketing?  Is it interactivity?  The ability to stream in content from across the web?  Or perhaps the display of photos, videos, tweets or posts?  Not even close.

Your website is a conversion tool.  It is a place where you enhance your brand reputation, accelerate purchase decisions and add value.  In today’s online world, your website is an important business tool for creating, re-creating, changing, updating and adding content.

The most important aspect of a website in the world of Web 2.0 is REAL-TIME control of content.  And you don’t want to wait on anybody when creating an event listing, adding a photo, changing a typo, inserting a testimonial, putting up a press release, adding a promotional offer, inserting a new link, displaying a news headline, showing a new video, highlighting a new service, adding a poll, re-writing an odd sentence, etc.

Today’s Web 2.0 website is a constantly ebbing and flowing point of interaction with customers and prospects.  Creating value through content is something you want to have 100% within your control.  In fact, you want to be a control freak when it comes to your website’s content.

Here’s another perspective.  According to Wikipedia, the definition of social media is…

The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and content (words, pictures, videos and audio).

A definition of social media intuitively would include new technologies and create social interaction, but it is the inclusion of ‘content’ that surprises most entrepreneurs.  But it shouldn’t.  Content is the key to adding value through online relationships.  Just as you wouldn’t approach someone at a business mixer and start to hard sell, that isn’t appropriate in social media either.  Value is created in relationships online by sharing content.  Content is the currency for creating and scaling relationships online.

This is the point where most entrepreneurs put on the breaks.  We don’t want to be in the business of content creation.  We chose our industry because that was what we enjoy, what we want to do as a profession.  However, sooner or later we all discovered that we are not only in the industry of our choice, but also the business of sales and marketing.  After all, if we don’t promote our companies, then who will?  And now, in the world of Web 2.0, we also find ourselves in the business of content creation.

In order to attract more high caliber prospects, companies give away content every day that you would have had to pay $200-$300 an hour for just a few years ago. It is now part of the value stream that is created online to attract new customers.

Since content is king for your website, you can’t let your site become a stale, online brochure.  One of the biggest reasons this happens is that the process of changing content is not easy.  You have to call or email your web developer who then goes into the back end of your site and changes HTML code, updates style sheets, feeds and more.  And if you give them a few things to do, one might get done right, one wrong and one not at all.  It’s not that they are lazy, but they usually don’t make a lot of money on these constant changes and it’s just lower on their priority list than it is on yours.

So why spend what can be days of time and lots of frustration making site changes when you can do it all yourself?

Introducing Google Sites

This is a great new choice for entrepreneurs who want to start with a clean sheet of paper and end up with a website that places you in the content driver’s seat.  Part 2 of this series, which will run tomorrow, will contain an overview of Google Sites, two do-it-yourself videos and five must-have tips.  Essentially everything you need to get started on your new website.


Practical Social Media Special Offer to WE Magazine for Women Readers – Valid through July 14th 2009: For anyone who wants to learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Yelp, Google Apps and more to grow their business, the Practical Social Media Magazine is being offered with a special bonus feature package.  With any new trial subscription, you will also receive a five part video series on “How to Start Using Social Media to Grow Your Business”, an MP3 interview on “Why Branding is the Foundation for all Social Media” and one issue of the Practical Social Media Magazine absolutely free.

Steve MacDonald is the founder of Practical Social Media, a monthly online magazine that simplifies the overwhelming amounts of social media information and tools available for entrepreneurs.  He and his experts analyze daily trends and emerging tools that are then reviewed through a business-minded, return on investment perspective.  The result is an easy entry into the world of social media for business owners that can make a huge difference with no previous experience and little to no budget.  The practical social media blog can be found at Practical Social Media Blog.