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Sandvox User Profile: JJ Semple

JJ bikes to work...

Location: Bayside, California, USA

What kind of websites were you planning to build?

I'm a publisher. My first experience with the web came when I started Life Force Books three years ago. I traded some video equipment to a web developer in return for two years of web services (building and maintaining a site). About all I got from this relationship was some first-hand knowledge about website design and SEO. Yes, I did get a decent site, but by and large, the person didn't understand my marketing needs, nor was he able to make timely updates. To be responsive to real business situations, I decided we had to manage our site. We researched the available Mac tools. First, we tried iWeb. Great concept, but too much freedom and too few business/ SEO tools. We then looked at Rapidweaver — for about 45 minutes before realizing that it wasn't for us. Too Byzantine and complicated. Somehow we found Sandvox, the web design application with the unlikely name. After about 20-minutes, we realized we could understand the concept, use the tools, and build a site. We pounced.

How did you hear about Sandvox?

We found Sandvox through Google search results. We were a bit put off by the strange names of both the company and the application. So many Mac applications have rather flighty names, but when you look over the apps, you find they aren't worth the time. Fortunately, we got with Sandvox.

What made you decide to get Sandvox?

We looked over the Sandvox website and galleries, searched opinions on the net, then downloaded the trial version and got to work. JJ Semple says, "I got so carried away, I almost finished an entire site in one afternoon. Me, who doesn't know a whole lot of HTML or anything about CSS, Java, or all the rest." We knew that we needed the Pro version for its customization capabilities.

Now that you have Sandvox, what do you like about it?

After purchasing Sandvox, we finished our first site within a week and started reserving a bunch of other domain names. With Sandvox, we knew that could create an interlocking spiderweb of websites that would focus on the various aspects of our business. Three months later we completed our second website. This one only took three days to complete.
We like the fact that Sandvox doesn't give you too much freedom. That's the problem with an app like iWeb — too much freedom. Items bounce around from page to page. We also like the SEO capability; it's very well-thought out. It's easy to get a site listed with Google.

We like the Pagelet and the Main Body concept.

We like the HTML capability. We know enough to be dangerous. So far we've had no problems.

We like weblets and widgets, little code elements you can copy from other sites and paste an HTML pagelet. And for a book seller, what could be more useful than the Amazon list? And now that PayPal has code widgets, you can set up a workable store, make changes on the fly.

The ease of creating links, the code injections, collection notion, the easy audio/video, blogs and Podcasts are all great. We haven't used all the features yet, but plan to use blog and video in our next site.

It would be really nice if Sandvox came up with sub menus.

What would be a good way to search for a program like Sandvox?

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Golden Flower Meditation

Golden Flower Meditation

“We used our Life Force Books site for a marketing test to see whether people would discover JJ Semple's second book, "The Backward-Flowing Method: The Secret of Life and Death." When he finished the book, we printed up some "Publisher's Bound Galleys." These look just like a real book, but are...”

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Common Sense Kundalini

Common Sense Kundalini

“We created a page on stillness. It was the first instance of using the carousel widget code from Amazon.”

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Zardoz Press

Zardoz Press

“This was the first we created using Sandvox 2.0. We have to toggle back and forth between Snow Leopard and Lion to manage all our sites, most of which are still on 1.6.8. We like the sub menu feature and plan to use it a lot as we add titles.”

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