Most of us find it difficult to get started with writing for our websites. Maybe it’s because we call it “creating content” which is probably not something we’ve ever thought of doing. Perhaps we should refer to it as “writing a story about our business”. Maybe then we’d find it easier to start?
I think often, it’s a classic case of being able to talk about doing but not actually being able to do the deed. You have ideas, you want to do it, you even yearn for the enjoyment of the task and the outcome. You open your favourite editor, try to put your thoughts down but you just freeze.
Whether we’re talking about writing for a website or any other important discretionary task you need to get on with, our frustrations have yielded tonnes of metaphor and cliche. Could this be evidence that we find it hard even to find the words to describe this “writer’s block” that we all experience?
Taking the plunge.
Moving from talking the talk to walking the walk.
When it comes to the crunch.
Time for action.
Most of the time, for most of us, most efforts to motivate us toward something new or to change the way we operate end in failure. Even (or perhaps especially) in these times of technological revolution and multivariate choice we remain generally unwilling to make big (or even small) changes.
It goes to the heart of change management theory. You can talk about doing something all you like. The minute people get back to their desks, offices, inboxes – the easier thing to get on with is more of the same.
We’ve experienced this most often when it comes to clients writing content for their sites. Or more accurately, when an organisation decides – with all best intentions – that everyone should be producing content for their new website or other online channels. Producing content for work doesn’t feel like an instinct for most people – especially if its never been part of the job. But produce content we do – all of us. How else would social networks like Facebook and Twitter become so ubiquitous?
I’ve taken the first step in writing this piece, but I’m out of time; the inbox is calling me back.
Maybe sometimes it’s OK just to make a start, to put something out there and come back to it further down the line. Another cliche right there.
Perhaps we can agree that this post of mine sets out the question, giving me the space to return in a few weeks with a few thoughts about the answer.
Last year we were privileged to spend some time in the Moon Grove garden of Bruce Anderson to find out how he’s used PagePlay and what he’d recommend to others.
The Rusholme & Victoria Park Archive is an online treasure trove of photographs, postcards and tales from a part of Manchester with a significant history.
Bruce explains why the simple editing tools offered by PagePlay was perfect for his task. He also appreciates the help and support we’re able to provide when he needs it.
Aside from the noise of some nearby building works and my own dodgy video editing, I hope you enjoy watching this video of our conversation with Bruce!
We want PagePlay to be even faster and more reliable than it currently is, so we’re making a couple of changes for the benefit of all sites that use PagePlay. Unfortunately, we’ll have to make your site unavailable for a short period of time to do this.
We hate downtime as much as you do, so we’ll aim to keep disruption to a minimum. Your website will be offline for up to an hour from 11pm on Wednesday 25th July. All email accounts will be unaffected by these changes.
These changes are part of our ongoing work to deliver the best PagePlay system we can. As a subscriber you always get the best we are able to offer, and that includes the improvements to speed and reliability these changes will bring.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact email@example.com or give us a call on 0161 850 0561
The PagePlay Team (Chris, Harry & Matt)
Since launching PagePlay in 2008 there have been two particularly important partnerships for our business.
The first is with Orchard Hosting – working with us to make sure we always have the right hosting set up to meet our customers’ needs, as well as providing the vital supported hardware which forms one of the most important aspects of our service.
The second is with Typocom – now responsible for all bespoke graphics work delivered for customers as part of PagePlay website setups. The Typocom team is consistent, professional and easy to work with.
We believe that the success of each of these indispensable partnerships is down to three important principles for startup businesses.
1. Play to your strengths.
Generally speaking, the best work comes from specialists who have decided to focus on their own craft. We are good at building software and using it to deliver a service. We work with Orchard and Typocom because they each bring their own strengths. Maybe we could learn what they do or buy in that experience to our team – but it wouldn’t be the same. We would distract ourselves from what we really know and love – building great software. When you have a natural interest and strength in something you’re more likely to keep up to date with the latest developments, and to develop your own skills over time. We believe the same dynamics are true for small teams. We all need to be generalists to a point – but in the areas which really make the difference for customers – hosting and design for example – it pays to have proper geeks in those areas on your side!
2. Work with people you trust.
Nothing’s been more important to us in these first four years than the notion of working with people we trust. When you trust that someone is going to help you on time, on budget and to care as much about the result as you do, magical things start to happen. As a group of people you start to get out much more than you put in. Economists call these results ‘network effects’. We just call it being surrounded by great people we can rely on. And in turn, it’s helped us to become a very reliable brand for our customers. Time and time again it’s PagePlay’s customer service standards which are cited by customers. Of course our tools are easy to use – but that’s not enough to stand out. We stand out by giving our customers the ability to trust us. And we can only do that because we work with people we trust – like Orchard and Typocom.
3. It pays to be agile.
There’s a certain reality-check that you get from working with other people that run their own businesses. They – like you – will have learned how to be flexible, so see the bigger picture and to find better ways to work together. This might be true on a particular job – or it might just characterise your whole approach to working with someone. When everyone is focused on an outcomes which pay well, build reputation and leave everyone happy with the deal then you know you’re winning.
So we’re really pleased with our years of partnership with Orchard and Typocom. They’ve helped us to focus on our strengths, to build trust and their agile approach has helped us to keep growing through tough times.
From all at PagePlay – we’d just like to say… thanks!
We’ve been getting requests for the ability to put small images into paragraphs since the early days of PagePlay. We’ve always prioritised new features on a how-much-it-hurts basis, it was a no-brainer to include the feature into our recent 24 days of PagePlay.
Here is a little about how we went from just the idea to a fully fledged features on the live system…
We pride ourselves on providing great phone and email support for our PagePlay subscribers. From 9-5 every weekday we’re available by phone and you can still call out of hours if you have an emergency or believe something is not working properly.
Over December 2011, we’ll provide a mixture of ‘Full’ and ‘Emergency’ service. Here’s the detailed breakdown…
Thursday 15th December (we’re moving to new offices)
AM – full
PM – emergency
Friday 16th December (Christmas Party)
AM – full
PM – emergency
26 & 27 December
28 – 30 December (inclusive)
Fri 31 December
AM – full
PM – emergency
Back to normal full service
If you need assistance – call 0161 850 0561 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be pleased to help. We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
TV commercials have begun to appear recently for various DIY web design tools. A couple of good friends asked us whether we see such tools as a threat. They asked how similar these services are to PagePlay? Our answer: not at all.
The market for web design is very competitive. There are thousands of web designers and hosting companies out there.
Why do we believe PagePlay still offers the best value for small business and charity websites? Here’s five reasons:
1. It’s always good to have a helping hand.
PagePlay’s entire approach is about looking after you so that you can look after your content. You can email or call us and we’ll help you with your website. Behind the scenes we’ll take care of anything boring or complicated so you can stay focused on what’s what’s import: the pages, words, images and videos which make up your site. PagePlay is a subscription service, and because customers aren’t locked into a contract, we have to make sure our service is really up to scratch. If our customers were not happy with our service, then we would soon go out of business, so it’s something we take very seriously indeed.
2. Web technology constantly evolves.
Digital technologies and the standards for how they are used constantly evolve. Rather than building everything from scratch each time we create a site, then moving on to the next, all PagePlay sites share our common core architecture. You can’t tell as a visitor – the sites look just like individually created ones. The difference is under the hood. We constantly update the system not only to improve site performance for speed and search, but also to add new features for you to add and edit your content. Because the web constantly evolves, you need a system that constantly evolves too – and to know that someone will be there to help you through the changes when they come.
3. We make it easy to connect all the dots.
Domain names, name servers, email accounts, hosting, FTP, forwarding and re-directs. Who really wants to get involved with all of this when setting up their new website? Everyone’s setup is a little bit different so the one-size-fits-all approach from most DIY website providers is usually inadequate. The PagePlay team takes the strain by dealing with anything boring or complicated about your site setup and ongoing hosting needs. Whether you’re a one man band or a large corporate company with an IT department, we have a personal setup approach which means everything will be taken care of, without you having to read any manuals or submit any support tickets.
4. You don’t need to learn anything.
PagePlay sites are pretty impressive and their owners have full control over all of their content. But that’s not what we’re most proud of. We have never met a customer who takes any longer than 3 minutes to learn everything they need in order to manage their own website. The whole system has passed the Mum-test and ongoing improvements only serve to make things even easier. Why spend time learning how to be a web designer unless it is your job?
Put that time to better use by creating some great content and building your business or charity to achieve its aims.
5. PagePlay is extremely good value.
It isn’t ‘cheap’ because there are more affordable ways to simply throw a website online – DIY website tools for instance. But PagePlay is amazingly good value for what it really is.
A fully content-content managed website; with no limits to the amount of pages, text and images you can add; which requires no training for people to update; which performs very well in search engines; which plays so well with your social media channels; whose technology is constantly being improved; with email accounts included and personal service as standard.
These kind of web projects and systems are usually quoted in the tens of thousands of pounds whereas PagePlay subscriptions start from a very affordable £24 per month.
2 years ago today the Modlia office received a call to tell us that our – then very young – first product PagePlay had made it through to the final three of the New East Manchester EnterPrize All Stars competition.
At the time it was massive for us. Just by getting that far we knew we’d won some – much needed – funding and would receive publicity across the manchester business community.
The award ceremony took place in the amazing Gorton Monastery where myself, Chris, Matt, family and friends were wined, dined and interviewed for a likely very embarrassing official awards video.
It turns out we didn’t win the competition, a very worthy Wigs Up North did, but the experience was invaluable and the money we did win was used to stabilise and push PagePlay forward to what we knew it capable of.
In the last 2 years the company has changed beyond recognition. We now employ Matt full time as our first employee, our second product Cluster – which you will hear a lot more about in the next few months – is live on its first few projects, and we have a third product in the works which is currently under wraps, but has the potential to be much larger than either of its siblings.
Although still based on producing easy to use web tools, Modlia is far more organised and stable now, with operations manuals and procedures. PagePlay has become the strong oak tree we always hoped it would and the number of people who end their subscriptions is still astonishingly low thanks to the A1 customer service Matt often provides and the ease-of-use we bake in to our products from day one.
So here is to the next 2 years and the exciting developments in Modlia and the products we so carefully cultivate for our fantastic and supportive users.
I can assure you that we love what we do at Modlia and will try our best to keep you enjoying the products we build and continually develop for you.
Today is Pageplay’s 3rd Birthday. We’ve come a long way since PagePlay launched to its first 10 customers.
Imagine Pageplay with no Photobanner, PayPal, SubPages, Feeds, Hidden Pages, Statistics or Gallery! Your can see all our bolt-ons.
We also have our first full time employee, the wonderful Matt. If you’ve given us a call in the last 12 months then you’ve more than likely spoken to him.
Here’s to the next 3 years!
For many, times are tough right now, so we’ve been thinking of ways that we can save you money whilst also growing the business. We think we’ve hit on two that do the job really well.
Refer-a-friend and earn 10% every single month
Everyone knows someone who’s been talking about setting something up on the side, or who needs a website for a new project they are involved in. Why not help them to discover the joy of PagePlay? As a PagePlay customer, if you recommend someone who includes your email address in their signup form, we will give you 10% of all of their future subscription revenue. So on a starting subscription of £24 per month, that means you’ll be getting almost £30 per year just for helping someone out! There’s no limit to how many sites you can sign up, so you might be able to more than cover the cost of your own site.
Remember small charities and social enterprises get their subscription half price – so think of community groups, sports clubs and voluntary groups who you know that could benefit.
Sign-up for another site and get your own 10% discount
Of course – you might well have another string to your bow and fancy starting another website in addition to your current one. If this is the case then we’re very happy to give you a 10% discount, not only on your new subscription, but on your existing one as well! The discount will apply for as long as both sites remain active.
If you’re interested in more details on either of these offers, then we’d love to have a chat. Give us a call on 0161 850 0561 or email email@example.com