Busy Two Weeks

The last two weeks had a lot of moments of achievements and let downs. There were a couple of times the server went down on jhasmal.com and the site was completely non-functional. After a little bit of stress and a couple of emails later I was moved to a new server.

The new server is better and some of the upgrades needed to the website were performed. Now jhasmal.com is truly an online event promotion platform.

To assist in getting some traction I’ve started running adwords ads to promote the events currently on the site. There some good things going on around Wichita now I just need to make them easy for users to find them.

I’ve kept my budget and bid pretty low to start with the intent that my ads will show throughout the day. I’m not always interested in having the clicks run out early. I’m more interested in having my ad being seen for an extended period of time so people will remember the website name jhasmal.com

Test by using

The only way to truly understand if your website is performing as intended is to use it.

I had a lot of free time this weekend so I actually tried to use jhasmal.com like it was my first time. I found out the map feature sucked on my cell phone. The filter function was very difficult because I had to click on each bubble to see what the event was – that was stupid.

Finding an event on the site should be really easy. My site seemed to be overly complicated. I feel like if it takes more than 5 seconds to find an event the site is useless. With that being said I scrapped the map and decided to use static images to represent each event.

Campaigner Email Management

So I’ve added a newsletter subscription signup to my website.  How I’m going to use it is to allow the visitors of the site to signup so they can receive events by email.  This will help with users who don’t consistently come to the website on a daily basis.  The newsletter will link back to some of the events to make sure the user comes back at some point.

I haven’t completely figured this out but I’ll probably randomly select one or two events.  In the newsletter I’ll try to go more into detail only on those two events and then add the “See All” link below to get them to go to the website to see the rest.

To manage the email subscription I’m using Campaigner.  I’ve used Campaigner on some smaller projects in the past so I’m familiar with how it works.  Campaigner is a pretty affordable solution.  If you are looking for something simple to use for sending out emails visit www.campaigner.com

Websites Do Have Problems

If you think that you are going to launch a website and nothing is going to go wrong you would be mistaken. I’ve never launched any website whether it was a corporate site or a personal one that didn’t have some issue.

I’ve been working on my personal site www.jhasmal.com since last year. It’s starting to be a little bit of a headache now. I entered in a couple of local events and when you click them it doesn’t want to take you to the corresponding page. This really sucks considering it used to work.

I’ve been struggling with whether I should start programming this site myself or keep letting the existing people work on it. It’s starting to get a little old considering it has never worked completely from day one.

This is the life of a digital person though. There is no perfect solution that you build and walk away from it and collect money.

Putting the sites together

So I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with www.jhasmal.com.  What I’ve come up with so far is trying to use the site in tandem with a business that I’m thinking about.  I love slot cars so I’ve been thinking about open this type of business on the weekends.

I want to introduce the business customers to the website by including events such as car shows.  Car show visitors and slot car buyers have something in common – they both love cars.  If I can get the people in charge of the car shows to pay to post their events I’ll have a good start.  I would naturally send my slot car customers to the site by having print pieces inside my store.  I would put these print pieces in the customers bag or figure out a way to print them directly on the receipt.

I’m not sure yet how I want to use slotcarsblog.wordpress.com yet.  I’m not sure if I want my paying customers going to that site.  Should it be a place with general information about slot cars like it is currently?  I just don’t want people to get stuck on that site and forget about www.jhasmal.com.

Made it to Chapter 5 – Sitecore Configuration and Strategy

For me this book isn’t what I was expecting.  I consider myself to be an average user of Sitecore, certainly not a novice. I use Sitecore every day to maintain the sites I work with. A lot of my training has come from the Sitecore cookbooks that you download from the sitecore user forum for free. The Practical Sitecore 8 Configuration and Strategy book has the same feel that the free book has. I was truly looking for a little more considering the book was $59. How about a download of the software that is made specifically for the book? How about real examples of how to use the campaigns? I feel like there was so much left out that could have made me feel better about spending the money. I just really feel like the free cookbooks explain the same things.


Long Time Posting

It has been a while since I have time to post on this blog.  Work has been keeping me really busy; trying to build a new site for one of the aircraft models.  I’m trying to spend more time focusing on building my own endeavors.  It has been a couple of months since I’ve got to work on jhasmal.com.  With the change in weather I want to start pushing getting this site up and working.

I’m going to say the first couple of months has been a little bit hard getting it going.  Hopefully I can find the right mixture of people to post on it.  I’m not going to give up on it, I really feel like I can make it a success.  I’m going to give myself until the end of this year before I scrap the site.

New Sitecore Book

If you are interested in learning more about Sitecore there’s a book coming out in January.  There’s very limited amounts of reference material out on Sitecore for some reason.

If you have no experience with Sitecore you can get the marketing cook books from the sitecore development portal but they aren’t as detailed as you need some times.  The books in the portal are free pdf downloads, you just need to create a login account.

I’m looking forward to “Practical Sitecore 8 Configuration and Strategy”, by Phil Wicklund.  It’s a real physical book so I’m hoping that it’s more detailed and really dives into some of the concepts that the pdf documents briefly touch on.  A marketer like myself I really need to understand the details about a concept and how it was intended to work.


Barnes and Noble


Online Speed Balance

Building sites fast is a push that the team I’m a part of strives for.  Finding the balance of building quality sites at a high rate of speed is the hard part.  If the design looks good to most people they believe the site must be great.  The reality is the design is just for show, it’s the stuff on the backend that makes a site truly valuable.  (I know some people will completely disagree with me but it’s the truth.)

There are times where my team pushes back on the requestors of sites.  We don’t want to put out something that no one is going to be happy with.  But the requestors many times have a date in mind that they want a site launched.  There’s no true advantage to my team when we don’t stand up against rushing to meet deadlines while compromising on the quality.  We tend to ask ourselves, “Do we want to fix the site now or wait until it’s live and the user experience is not good?”

What’s your corporate digital strategy

Companies believe they have a strategy but often times they only have individual tasks they are focusing on.  When asked if all the tasks are driving to the same online marketing goal it’s clear they didn’t think about that.

Most online marketing plans are fragmented, groups are working in their own silos.  There’s no combined message so the consumer will never hear the same message in multiple online platforms.

Companies need to spend less time on buying new tools and truly focus on how they are enticing new consumers to buy online.  Marketing teams forget the company is in business to make a sale, not purchase new tools.

How does your digital strategy support the sale of your product?  If you can’t answer this question you’ve missed the whole point of your online strategy’s purpose.


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