Case Study master page

Carrd is a new, easy to use site building tool. By limiting options and features to those which are most useful, it allows noobs to build nice websites without the overwhelm of tools like WordPress.

Certainly there are places where more power will be needed, but frequently people get stuck because of complexity and end up with nothing.

Carrd will be a solution to that problem for many.

Case studies

Cases studies of Carrd in action seems like the best way to teach by example. Below is a list of Carrd sites I have built to

  • Act as example of how to build sites with Carrd
  • Show a simple drag & drop page builder in action
  • Show how the many templates can be customized as needed

Case study sites

When you click a link to these case study sites it will open in a new window. That allows you to compare them & explore the features.

  •   This is a more advanced Carrd site that makes use of sections to simulate multiple pages. This site also has embed code from my Shopify store. When clicked these buttons will take a buyer directly to a checkout page on OakCo, which is the name of my Shopify store. There are several advantage to this approach which I discuss HERE (Coming soon).

Jetpack from WordPress

Jetpack 4.5 is now available

I have not used Jetpack in the past for several reasons:

  • There is a fee per domain. Since I have lots of little sites, it gets expensive fast
  • I had heard about code bloat and speed issues
  • Developers seem to hate it

I plan to test the $9/mo. business version

  • Current reviews show that Jetpack does not slow sites down or bloat the code
  • It has 33 features presently and is growing
  • 4.5 comes with video hosting and should let me avoid some other costs
  • It has an ad module for generating income

A lot of the people  I work with find WordPress hard. I find WordPress hard. There are hundreds of blogs and books that claim it is easy. That is only true if you have some coding skills. There is nothing simple about figuring out plugin conflicts.

With Jetpack all the features are included in a single plugin. Since the plugin comes from the creators of WordPress there are not going to be any conflicts.

Cheap, fast, good enough

There is an old joke that says Good, Fast, Cheap. Pick two. It applies to software and many other products. If you want something good and you need it immediately, it’s going to cost you. If you want cheap but good, you are going to have to wait for it.

From where I sit it looks to me like a website built with WordPress, using one of their default domains and Jetpack will be cheap and easy to publish. The Jetpack features will provide the functions needed to make a complete website. Many potential issues which would require developer help are avoided. Bad code is avoided. The environment is simple enough most writers will be able to make minor changes themselves.

If success arrives and a more powerful platform is needed it will be easy to find an experienced developer to take your platform to the next level.

Jetpack seems to be a neglected backwater on Amazon. A search of the Kindle library turned up only a single book on the topic. I think that needs to change.


Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon Naturally Speaking is a software tool for converting speech into text. 

It has been around for more than ten years but never really become mainstream. It promises to speed up content creation ​a lot. So why hasn't it taken the content creation world by Storm? In the early years I think the technology really lagged behind the marketing hype. The computers were not a powerful and the software was less mature. Lots of people tried it and found it did not work for them. 

Dragon has gotten stronger over time​

Computers are more powerful and the software has been improved. I recently found The Writer's Guide to Training Your Dragon and am motivated to give it a try. ​The author has been using Dragon for years and points out the improvements. He and many others got past the startup issues because of health issues that left them no choice. 

Even minimal research quickly shows that learning to use Dragon is hard. The actual technique is not that impossibly difficult, but effective application requires  significant shifts in how you approach your writing. Speaking is not the same as typing and it takes a while to make the shift. 

Listen to this podcast

Scott Baker, the author of the book linked to above, did a really good Podcast in January of 2017. He made two points that I found especially helpful. He recorded himself reading some text exactly as he would for recording it for Dragon. That means speaking that includes punctuation. I found it very useful to actually hear how that sounds, not just reading about it.

Want to save $225?​

Scott also pointed out that an older version of the software is just as good as the most recent release. That is the difference between $73 and $300. In my case that is the difference between affordable and completely out of reach.

Don't expect one pass perfection​

To read the Dragon marketing material  you would think a few minutes of training would have you dictating with 99% accuracy. That isn't going to happen. It's going to take more time than you expected. It is going to require more mental flexibility than you anticipated. It may never be a good fit with your workflow or how your mind works.

The people who stick with it all seem to love​ it. There are Facebook Groups of users who will provide advice and encouragement. So I think it is time for me to give it a try.

​The right use case

I think people get discouraged when they are hoping for near perfection and it doesn't happen for them. It is really discouraging to commit hours ​and have nothing to show for it. 

I am looking for use cases where perfection is not required to have product which still has value. I think video descriptions for YouTube videos might be a good one.

Search engines still rely mostly on text to index content. They are not good at working with images or videos. On the other hand no real person is going to actually read a long description of a video. So recognition errors shouldn't matter much. ​I think that means it would be a good place for practice Dragon output that I don't feel like editing. 

Developing video scripts​

For making screencasts of software in use I prefer to wing it. If  I am reading a script, it sounds like I am reading a script, I am going to try recording a video while I speak to render Dragon audio. ​Then I will see if I can sound "normal" reading the rendered text and syncing the new audio to the screencast. I can see that timing will be an issue but hope some simple editing tricks will let me keep audio and video together.