Moving Web sites to New Servers

When ever I move a client's site to our hosting servers, I get myself all worked up. Static sites are not too complex, copy down to local computer and upload to new servers. Database driven sites, like Wordpress, always make me a little paranoid.  Wordpress offers some best practices on moving the site, but something always seems to go wrong. Key in the process is backing up the database.  Where I've run into problems is with plug in settings that don't seem to carry over.  I ran into this with the Contact-7 plug in and ended up having to redo the entire thing.   I copied down the entire plug in directory and uploaded it to the new servers and got nada!  Oh well, at least it was an easy fix. My problem is that I want everything to be perfect.  I do not want the client to miss a beat or see any down time.  I set up wordpress, upload the theme, plug ins and database files, then change the DNS to let the domain propagate over to our servers.   85% the process goes smoothly, but every once in a while I get a little surprise. It's nice to know, I suppose, that I am still learning after 10 years in business.

The Rules of Engagement

As we close the door on 2010 and open to 2011, I have a thought I'd like to share... There are still a lot of people doing it wrong. Image by fredcavazza via Flickr They are using social media as a platform to yell, blast and spam out their goods and services.  At no time do they explain what they are about, who they help or how they work.  While the goal of using social media is awareness, the best way to get there is by encouraging people to talk, write, converse online and off. We live is a world where there are so may people / businesses / things screaming for our attention.  Sometimes the noise level is painful. Encouraging people to get into the conversation, by sharing things that are of interest, peek curiosity and by simply being nice is a far better use of Social Media tools. For example: Real estate agents typically post about an open house or a new listing in their Facebook status or Twitter stream.   Does this spark interest or encourage conversation?  No.  It's flat out boring.   Talk to me about the trek in the snow you made while showing the property, share tips on making the house show ready, talk about the goings on in the neighborhood, upload a photo of something cool you saw on the property... these things create curiosity and encourage interaction. Quick ideas: Post up on other people's pages Ask questions Be interesting Take an interest in others Be informative Be helpful It's never been about the tools, it's always been about the outreach.  Get the methods of outreach down and you can succeed in any platform you chose to use. Make a promise to yourself and your connections in 2011 to do social [...]

An evening with Peter Shankman: Inaugural Social Media Club of Tech Valley Event

The big take aways: Transparency Relevance / Ask your audience how they want to receive information Brevity / Learn to write Top of mind Sponsored in part by NewWard Development, LLC. Visit the Social Media Club of  Tech Valley to learn more or visit us on Facebook! Related articles Come meet Peter Shankman at Union College ( Social media | you can't buy friends or loyalty ( Facebook's New Profiles - A Shot through the Heart of LinkedIn? (

Avoid Reply All in “Mass” Facebook Emails

Help a girl out... will ya? I don't mind those Facebook emails that get sent out to 25 people.  What I do mind is the "Reply All's"  I get in return.  I don't need to see everyone's responses (I don't want to either). So - here's a tip to reply to only the person who sent the mail: At the top of the email there is "Reply" in text form.  Use this instead of the reply at the bottom of the email message to respond to only the original author. See how easy that was? Related articles Facebook Page Admins Can't Reply To Fan Comments (

Facebook Places and Deals

Have you claimed your business on Facebook yet? It's fairly simple.  Search for your business and select the one with the pin next to it When you get to the Places Page - click on "Is this your business?" And verify you are a legal representative of the company. From there you fill out a form with all the business contact information, address, web site, email, phone number, third party review site (such as Yelp), etc.  Facebook also requires a utility bill or something with the Company Name on it and the address you listed. Once that information is submitted, Facebook will send you an email confirming the information has been received and will send another once it's all verified. When Facebook considers your business "legit" you can set up a "Deal" if you are in the Beta area.  Facebook Deals are similar to Four-Square rewards.  You can give rewards based on number of check ins, number of people checking in with you and other combinations. There are four types of deals: Individual: Check in and receive 10% of any purchase Friend:  Check in with 5 friends and each will receive a free scarf Loyalty:  Check in 10 times to get a $10 coupon (this is a biggie) Charity:  Check in and we will donate $5 to the Ronald McDonald House A visitor checks into your place of business on Facebook, and the Facebook Deals coupon will show up on their phone.  The visitor shows the cashier the coupon and gets their discount, free goodies, OR you donate a % to charity. You can set rules and restrictions on the Deal. Limit the number of Deals available (the first 50 check in's get the deal) Set a time frame for the Deal [...]

Location Location Location – Using Google Places

You want me to put my business on another web site?  YES Why?  It's free (there's more) Google Places offers local businesses a free listing, with map pin and all the little details (including coupons) for free. It's a great way to get noticed on the top of a search page and the analytics Google provides are quite good. Take a peek at this video and then head over to  See our listing as a sample NewWard Development on Google Places Imagine how you can promote a whole community..... ?

Faucets and Filters – The Impact of Water: Blog Action Day

As I kid, I can remember the Sesame Street song telling me to shut off the water while I brush my teeth.   It seemed silly to me at the time.  After all, how much am I really saving in just my one little house? Little did I know. If my little house and the house next door and the house down the street, and so on and so on and so on, all saved a little water every day, that turns into a lot of water being preserved. Being a part of a Rotary club is the same theory.  It's not just one club, but thousands of clubs across the globe that band together under one umbrella to accomplish amazing things. Rotary International has proclaimed water purification to be the key challenge of the coming decade. To meet minimum world health goals, 125,000 people a day for the next 13 years will need to have access to safe water. Each year, 1.8 million people (90% of them children under 5 years old) die from preventable diarrheal diseases. Rotary has asked every club to identify a project associated with providing safe water in some part of the world. In my district of 43 clubs, there are water projects in Honduras, Haiti, China, El Savadore, and Pakistan.    Rotary water projects involve bringing in a slow sand filtration system that can be managed by the local population.    One club in our district , the Glens Falls Rotary, partnered with 74 other clubs, 4 districts, The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, and Pure Water for the World, to combine funds and efforts to provide 2,500 bio-sand filters to serve 15,000 people with clean drinking water in Choluteca, Honduras. And that's just one project. Several factors [...]

What happens when you “Re-brand” then really screw up?

I have watched the whole Gap fiasco with interest. For those of you who don't know, GAP quietly launched a new logo last week.  The onslaught of responses they received forced the company to bring its old logo back.   They took a "we were only joking" sort of approach.  But that isn't the bad part, as I see it. On the GAP fan page, the admins put out a request for people to submit a logo they felt was representative of the company.  That's when the shit hit the fan.  Although some people did reply with design ideas, the majority of the comments reflected extreme offense at a major brand trying to get a cheap logo designed by its fan base. The response forced GAP to pull back again, with this response.  Basically saying "Thanks for your passion, we're keeping our logo."  Ignoring the fact that they pissed off every graphic designer on the planet. This whole story came at an interesting time for me.  I had just returned from a Rotary conference where the discussion on changing the Rotary wheel logo came up.  The Rotary wheel has been an icon for its members, the question is, does it mean anything to anyone else?   Rotary has managed to dilute its brand by having a dozen or so different logos for its programs, annual themes which force people to forget the "Service Above Self" tag line and other various marketing snafus.   As with most organizations, Rotary is trying to "spruce up" its image to stand out and capture the attention of the (busy) community service-minded people.   I am not sure revamping the logo is the right answer, but they do need an image overhaul... [...]