I am speaking at the upcoming Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose on a panel entitled, “So You Want To Be A Search Marketer!” The session looks at ways budding SEMs can educate themselves plus get started in the industry. I am presenting on the angle of one who entered the field of search marketing after performing search marketing techniques on my own sites – in other words gaining hands-on experience before taking on paying customers.
When I entered this industry back in 1997, there was very little information available regarding search engine optimization (SEO) and other online marketing techniques. That has all changed today as there is an abundance of resources available – forums, blogs, eBooks, online courses, seminars, and even major conferences like the one I am speaking at.
Another thing that was scarce back in 1997 is tools to automatically create decent looking web sites. After all, if one is going to practice SEM techniques, they need a site to do it by, right? Times have changed in that arena as well. There are a variety of automated web site building programs available but I want to highlight one – Flare9.
While Flare9 is a relatively new product on the market, it was developed by a company that has been around for awhile now. My friend and colleague, Joshua Strebel wanted to develop a product that would serve clients that could not necessarily afford $10,000 plus web sites. That is where Flare9 comes into play.
Joshua describes the service in this way:
“Flare9.com is a DIY website builder based on the popular blogging platform WordPress. We have made some enhancements to the system to enable patrons to easily and effortlessly deploy a professional looking website in just minutes. We know the “aggravation factor” of learning Dreamweaver or using other similar offerings, and have taken the pain out of creating a professional looking website.”
Some of the features include:
- Multiple themes to choose from at any time
- Multiple editable regions per page
- WYSIWYG Content Management System built in
- Upload photos, .pdfs, .docs, into any page
- Embed YouTube and Google videos in any page
- Multiple page styles (2 column, Single column)
- Full featured blogging w/ RSS
- Google Sitemaps and Analytics enabled
- SEO Compatible (full control over content and meta data)
- Hosting and 5 webmail email addresses included
- Your own domain name
The sign up process takes all about 3 minutes with an additional 20-40 minutes needed to personalize the site. There are currently 35 templates avoidable to choose from. They have also provided ticket based customer support, video tutorials, and a FAQ’s section to make it even easier for users to get started.
Joshua informs me that over the next few months they will be adding full featured e-commerce
capabilities, logo integration (uses a support ticket to request placement of your personal logo currently) as well as podcasting support.
This may sound like an advertisement but it is not. I just know Joshua personally and think this is a great service for small to medium sized business who are on a budget. I see Flare9 as something we would most definitely offer to our own clients who are looking for an off the shelf CMS driven web site solution but have a limited budget to work with.
How much does it cost? $59.95 to set it up and $39.95 each month thereafter. If you don’t have a domain, they can register one for you for $12 per year.