Scrivener or OneNote

Mother & childScrivener and OneNote both look like they might be a great tools for tracking & organizing a collection of several hundred domain names and websites. OneNote is frequently described as the most unappreciated tool in the Office Suite. Because of their marketing orientation many folks think it is only for use with the Surface Tablet. That is not the case; it is a fully integrated part of the Office Suite.

OneNote is frequently compared to Evernote. According to the reviews I read, Evernote has better clipping tools so it works better for online research where you want to save and organize web pages and links. OneNote does better at organizing meeting notes, emails, and other user generated materials,

It sounds like there is a lot of overlap between OneNote and Scrivener. I really wasn’t looking for another piece of software to learn! However, now that I know about OneNote I have been thinking about how to use it. I have been wondering if it would be a better choice for my “go to” domain management tool. I really hate to think about copying all the information I have already put into Scrivener over to OneNote. However, I don’t think I really need both of them.

I have two goals for whichever program I select:

  1. I REALLY need to get my domains & websites organized & under control.
  2. I want to use what I learn to develop online courses to help others get their networks organized.

Scrivener is mostly unknown outside the writer & author world. Even there it has a reputation for being hard to use. Lots of authors have tried to use it and given up. Lynda.com doesn’t have any tutorials for Scrivener. That means there is little or no competition for Scrivener training. Any courses I offer will probably be the only ones available.

OneNote may be “unknown” for a Microsoft product, but that’s still a potential market several orders of magnitude larger than the Scrivener world. Lynda.com has an extensive OneNote course, as does Microsoft. Amazon has books on using OneNote from all the big tech manual publishing “names”. So getting noticed will take some effort.

On the other hand, managing domains and websites with either tool seems to be a niche no one has paid attention too. Of course, that may be because no one cares :(

As part of the Office Suite, OneNote clearly has lots of potential for derivative training courses. Those would also be competitive markets. Scrivener also has this potential, but for smaller, less known markets such as Kindle Publishing & Create space.  So there is no clear-cut winner for that criteria.

It may come down to the design objectives of the software. Differences in software design philosophy are subtle and hard to find but heavily impact the “fit” for a specific function. Feature lists and the typical software reviews never talk about them because finding them requires an actual user who spends a LOT of time on them.

Scrivener was built to help authors do everything it takes to get the next Great American Novel (or British, since the authors are Brits) ready for the publisher. They are trying to provide a tool which will let the modern author also manage the parts of the publishing process formerly handled by the publisher. The modern era of CreateSpace & Kindle are forcing non-technical writers in directions they never wanted to go. Scrivener wants to help them with that process.

OneNote, by its name, indicates it was designed for individuals & teams collecting and managing their own internal documents & research. Publishing the material, except for limited excerpts, is not important to their target users. Easy integration with other Office Suite programs is really important.

What does all this mean for domainers? It depends. For someone like me who likes to write content and build evergreen websites that will produce income for a long time, I think Scriver will remain the best choice. The pages on my sites look much like the content of several books and that is what I want to track & update.

For someone who buys & sells domains without creating content this might not be the case. For them OneNote would probably do a better job. It would let them track calls to and from potential buyers & sellers. They could record and track conversations during negotiations, etc. If they are a large enough business to have more than one employee or partner OneNote would make sharing easy. They would also have an easy way to move data to/from spreadsheets, Word documents, etc. This would be really helpful for printing out contracts, etc.

Curious about SEO Tools

Mother & childSEO, or Search Engine Optimization is vitally important if you want your website(s) to rank well for the key phrases you have chosen. Search engine or organic traffic is free so everyone wants a much Google love as possible. With such a premium placed on how well your site ranks there are millions spent on tips, tools & techniques to improve your SEO. Some are legal some are not. Some webmasters care, others will use any trick available to obtain better rankings.

That said, good content generally wins in the end. If you write about things you know something about you automatically  use the right words and phrases to attract visitors. However, the search engine programs (spiders) that check out your site don’t “read” a page quite the same way as a human. That can be a problem. Do you write for people or for spiders? If you have come across web pages that read “funny” they were probably written for SEO.

I do think it is worthwhile to do a few things to help the poor, dumb spiders figure out what you are talking about. The Rainmaker Platform has SEO analysis built  in. Every time you publish a new post the system goes through your writing and reports back on what it has found.

Below are the results for a page I wrote for Driven by Curiosity. You will see places where it looks for things that would not be present  in normal writing.

SEO Results

One factor which may not be obvious is that the SEO tool only checks for a single keyword or keyphrase. Good writing is more complex and can’t be accurately reduced to such simplicity. It sometimes leaves webmasters shaking their heads at the “logic” of cumputer systems.

I did not immediatly realize  how much I was starting to rely on this tool in Rainmake. This afternoon I wrote a post for another WordPress website I manage and went to check the SEO results. They weren’t there of course and I missed them.

There are lots of WordPress SEO plugins available, but I have never gotten around to slecting one and installing it on all my sites. Even if I did, the results would probably not be a conveniently displayed as they are by Rainmaker. Convenience really is convenient.

Curious about Scrivener

Mother & childScrivener is a software product for writers and authors. Imagine you have an idea for a 500 page fiction novel with a complex plot, lots of character development, & complex settings. Scrivener will let you keep track of all that and help you manage your writing.

For example, you can filter  your writing to only show you pages where a particular character is the protagonist. You could look at only pages which take place at a particular location. You can track what stage your writing, by page, is at. First draft, edited, ready to publish, etc. You can clip articles, and photos from your research and store them in an organized and searchable way.

When your novel is finished you can format an export that will be ready for publication as a Word document, pdf, Kindle book or a variety of other formats. You can also send the Scrivener export to InDesign for final editing into print ready condition.

There is a significant learning curve. Especially when you consider the target audience is writers and authors, many of whom are VERY non-technical. In fact, the biggest complaint I see is from folks who tried to use it and could not make it work for them.  Which is sad when you conside what it can do.

In some ways it is a tool which replaces some  of the functions of the traditional book agent and editor. With self publishing becoming more common I expect the number of people using it will grow.

Curious about Scrivener

I have a collection of about 250 domains. Some  have sites on them. Some are waiting for me to find time to write content fot them. Some are speculation.

Keeping track of where my domains are registered, where the developed sites are hosted, when they were last updated, my plans for each site, draft posts, research and reference materials, etc. is a huge problem.  I tried keeping them all in Evernote, but that ended up looking to much like a shoebox full of 3 x 5 notecards.

I decided to imagine my domain collection was equivalent to a novel. Each domain was equivalent to a chapter in my novel, and each page on a website was a file in Scrivener. Since Scrivener will nest things many levels deep this set up a nice hierarchy. Since it is easy to add or move files, the structure is very adaptable. If I sell a domain I can delete it, or move it to a different location so I can keep records.

I have been using Scrivener for about six weeks now and I depend on it more and more. I keep all my brainstorming ideas there. It is SO nice to be able to easily write down any ideas for a particular domain and know I will be able to find them easily later.

I have not yet mastered using it from multiple computers. I think I will be able to store the files at Dropbox and access them from any computer. Scrivener liscensing terms allow that and their documentation talks about it.

I am not impressed with Scrivener’s image handling abilities. Perhaps I am missing something, but so far Lightroom looks like the better tools for maintaining my large (40,000+) image collection.

I have yet to try any export features. For my use, I may never need to. Just the organizational power is more than enough to make Scrivener a valuable tool.