It was more than 10 years ago when I first came up with the idea for SellBox. I reserved the domain name on September 10, 2002 and sellbox.com launched a few weeks later (this screen shot was the first home page). The original intent—still true to large extent—was to provide turnkey, technology-based sales and marketing services to businesses and individuals that did not have the expertise or interest to handle it on their own.
Through the years I’ve pursued different markets, most notably with the purchase of the Golf Yellow Pages in 2005, but the core mission has never waivered. In fact today we are even more committed to the opportunities associated with providing outsourced sales and marketing services. While technology itself has gotten less expensive and easier to configure, the skills and experience necessary to make your digital investments successful have only become more valuable.
So I’m at it again, this time with a design and content strategy focused on our core market of publishers, business publishers and authors. Here are the three motivations for this redesign:
1. A focus on buyer personas. Once I researched the reasons why people were contacting us it was easy to place them into four buckets: those with a book, a manuscript, an idea for a book, or a need for consulting–usually about selling direct to readers. A publisher looking to outsource their book conversions has very different needs than an author who has a MS Word document. Credit for this really goes out to David Meerman Scott, a long-time advocate of marketing to buyer personas.
2. Put more energy into the site! I’ve always loved the color red so when I heard fellow National Authors Day speakers Jennifer Thompson and Deirdre Maloney talk about colors I knew it was time to retire my sleepy blue theme. The other two changes implemented for this design was an image slider and the inclusion of testimonials. I’ve never made testimonials a focus of my site designs but when I found this WordPress theme I knew they would work. The key is putting them in context or keeping them from being obtrusive. I hope you agree they serve a purpose.
3. Promotion of Successful eBook Publishing. With the publication of my new book I launched a supporting website called SuccessfulEBookPublishing.com. And because “SEP” has its own blog I felt I needed a way to distinguish the two websites, yet cross-promote them. It’s still a work in progress but I envision “SEP” to feature posts and articles serving authors and indie publishers while SellBox focuses on content publishing for businesses and more strategic issues such as selling digital media products direct to readers.
The SellBox.com Colophon
As I mentioned earlier, technology is far more affordable and configurable today than it was 10 years ago when I had to have someone else help me code and launch the original sellbox.com. Now, when I need a new website, I’m able to build virtually all of it on my own using free or inexpensive tools.
So when I read Michael Hyatt’s terrific new book Platform, in which he talked about including a colophon for your website, it seemed like the perfect thing to include in this post. In the world of book publishing a colophon describes the technical details involved in printing and publishing a book. Here then are the key tools and technologies that make SellBox.com possible.
(By the way, none of these are affiliate links. Research your needs thoroughly because my tools may or may not be relevant to your skills, needs or experience.)
- Hosting: Bluehost
- Website software: WordPress (self-hosted) using the Genesis framework and Education theme.
- Email: MailChimp
- Contact forms: Wufoo
Beyond this, all the coding in the theme is standard out-of-the-box stuff. I don’t care for editing CSS because it is one more thing to change when you do upgrades. The images are from creative commons and the four original graphics created for the site (those cool gray logos) were done for me by Yolanda Zuniga.
Thanks for Reading
I’m not sure if I’m missing anything but leave a note in the comments and get back to you. I use a variety of plug-ins that sometimes changes so contact me if you have a specific question about those.