Friday, February 24, 2012

Soft Launch, BETA, In-Progress...

My latest nautical site,, is live on the inter-webs. You can google it. You can see the site and click around, subscribe to the news feed, etc. You can get to it by the aforementioned long URL, or the abbreviated, which has nothing to do with Nebraska and everything to do with getting a shorter domain name.

And, after I heard a friend actually say "N E Boater" out loud a couple of times, I also bought the domain "Any Boater .com", which could make a good name for an entirely different type of website in the future, but for now, just helps people find my new site if I give out the abbreviated version of the name and they get confused.

Northeast Boater was intended to be just like the Daily Boater... sharing news, tips and commentary with boaters, but with a laser-like local focus. However, I have expanded the plans for the site to include online charts of the coastal states, safety resources for each state, and an online events calendar - components that were never needed on Daily Boater because they already existed on So, in essence, NortheastBoater is essentially a 'regional' version of both the Daily Boater and First Boat combined.

NortheastBoater is currently focused on the waters of New England and New York. I had originally planned to also include other states, such as NJ and Penn, but will expand to cover a larger area of the Northeastern United States as resources allow. For now, seven states is proving to be keeping me busy.

So, in summary, NortheastBoater is live, but not nearly complete - there are entire state pages without content yet. After I fill in most of the gaps over the next couple of weeks, look for an announcement that the site is live (you'll see it here, first!)

In the meantime, please 'like' the new site's facebook page and follow it/me on twitter:

Thanks, and stay tuned!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tools I Use

Some of this web stuff gets confusing sometimes. When people ask me what tools I use to do one thing or another with my websites or social media, I am always happy to help. But on the tools that I "set and forget", I am often living proof of why that phrase exists.

This post is about those tools so that the next time someone asks, I can refer to or share this link...

For this and many of my other blogs, I usually use Blogger, which is free and is owned by Google. In fact, many of the tools I use to run my business are both free and owned by Google.  These include my ad-serving software, analytics tools, email and calendar. While I am comfortable and happy with Blogger, I am also testing out WordPress for a new site that is launching soon, and so far it is great... WP is also free, but not currently owned by Google.

For some of the trickier stuff that I sometimes forget about (when they are working smoothly)...

When I write a blog post on the Daily Boater, it instantly shows up (title, link and summary) on the Daily Boater Facebook page. This happens thanks to a free app called  networkedblogs. (You can get it by viewing one of these posts on Facebook and clicking on the networkedblogs link below the post:

The 2nd thing that happens automatically.  That same blog post I mentioned above is also sent to Daily Boater Twitter followers as soon as I post it on my blog. I don't have to log into Twitter as frequently as I used to. This is thanks to Free. Non-Google. I haven't looked into it, but this tool could probably replace what I use networkedblogs for, as it looks like it allows me to post to both Twitter and Facebook. I only use it for twitter. On the other hand, Facebook pages have a setting that now makes this service obsolete (on my FirstBoat Facebook page, every post I write directly on Facebook from that page gets automatically tweeted  from @FirstBoat / to do this, go to your Facebook business page, edit your page, and click on resources.)

This one is big...
The 3rd automatic thing that happens when I write a blog post on the Daily Boater is it gets sent out via RSS. When initially setting this up, I found RSS, which I believe stands for Real Simple Syndication, not so simple. However, with yet another free tool from Google called Feedburner, my blog posts on Daily Boater are automatically syndicated. This allows the blog post to:
1. show up on the home page of
2. Get delivered to my RSS subscribers' emails
3. Show up in peoples RSS readers or iGoogle or myYahoo home pages if they "subscribe" to my feed.
4. a bunch of other stuff that I can't think of right now. Which brings me back to my original point in this blog post. I have relied on a lot of great automation tools as I ramp up this growing network of web properties, and when they work well, you don't have to even remember what they all are!

Okay, now it's back to work using these and other tools... contact me if you have any questions implementing these things or about other solutions I use to run my business.