Local creates Web tech for do-it-yourself crowd
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Stephen Bedford’s job is growing business at The Bookworm of Edwards. Brian Chapman invented one of Bedford’s main tools for that job.
The Bookworm’s Web site is the product of SiteMyWay, a do-it-yourself Web site service Chapman invented. Visitors to the Bookworm site would never know that Bedford built the site himself, without much more experience than e-mailing, downloading music and doing his own online shopping.
Bedford and Chapman met while Chap-man was working on his idea from the wire-less Web hot spot in The Bookworm’s cafe. The two got to know each other, and The Bookworm became one of Chapman’s first clients, going live with its new Web site last Thanksgiving.
” We were literally bare- bones,” Bedford said. “Now we have video, graphics and a lot of interactive stuff.”
For all this connectivity, The Bookworm pays Site-MyWay $49 per month.
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The company has other packages ranging from free to $29 to $39 per month. The free service has small ads from other companies. The top level is a full-on e-commerce Web site.
Chapman says he’s not out to put Web developers out of business. But the seed of SiteMyWay came from Chapman’s days as an aspiring actor in California. He was told he needed his own Web site to better market himself.
“I got quotes in the thousands from peo-ple,” he said.
So Chapman, who’s been designing Web sites himself since 1998 and started his own business in 2000, started thinking about ways to open up the Web to people without a lot of money or know-how.
“I’ve taken all the code to do it and added some new technology,” Chapman said. “Now anyone can have a cool site and a presence on the Web.”
SiteMyWay starts from the premise that its users aren’t highly skilled computer users. There’s an extensive help area and a fairly comprehensive checklist to go through before a site goes live.
For folks who are still stymied, Chapman or his assistant are just a phone call away.
” We’d get almost an immediate response, either by phone or e-mail, when we needed help,” Bedford said. “He’d even come by when he could for an in-person tutorial.”
The longterm point, of course, is to grow SiteMyWay to the point that those in-per-son visits get pretty rare.
” My goal is to get people to sign up,” Chapman said. “But we’ll still be available by phone and e-mail.”