Internationally Acclaimed Microsoft FrontPage Authority and Web
This week, Stephen
Ibaraki, I.S.P., has an exclusive interview with the internationally
acclaimed MS FrontPage authority; noted author, consultant, and Web
expert, Paul Colligan.
Paul Colligan is CEO of
Colligan.com Inc. (colligan.com),
an online provider of consulting, technologies, and Web properties
for Internet marketing. He is also the Webmaster of several popular
Internet Marketing sites that include FrontPage World and You Can
Sell Online (frontpageworld.com
Paul has played a key
role in the launch of dozens of financially successful Web sites and
Internet marketing strategies that have seen millions of visitors
and dollars in revenue. Previous clients include InternetMCI, the
Oregon Multimedia Alliance, Rubicon International, Microsoft, the
Electronic Boutique, and Pearson Education.
He is also a popular
presenter on Internet technology topics and frequently speaks
online, on the air, and before audiences. He has presented at events
around the country including Internet World, Linux World, Commission
Junction University, and Microsoft Tech-Ed.
Paul writes regularly for
a number of popular self-published email newsletters with more than
60,000 subscribers. He has also co-authored and been technical
editor for several books about Microsoft FrontPage, his most recent
being the popular, Special Edition Using Microsoft FrontPage 2003.
Microsoft awarded Paul MVP status in 2002 for his efforts with their
product. Paul also periodically updates a blog (Web log) that often
makes for "interesting" reading (colligan.blogspot.com).
Q: Paul, you are a
leading authority on MS FrontPage and a noted expert in Web
technologies and marketing. We appreciate you taking the time out of
your demanding schedule to speak with us.
A: No problem. Thanks for
Q: Give us a history
lesson about your life. How did you get into computing?
A: I grew up in Germany –
my folks worked for the U.S. Army. No American television so we had
to keep ourselves entertained in other ways. It started with a Timex
Sinclair 2k computer, then a Tandy Color, then an early PC, and on
and on …I was hooked from day one.
I saw a “little” movie
called War Games that not only showed me how cool it was when
computers talked to each other but it said that the geek could also
get the girl. They hooked up the computers and I got the girl. It
doesn’t get better than that.
Q: You have accomplished
so much--please share a few “surprising” stories from your work with
Web sites and marketing.
A: A month ago I did a
general FrontPage teleseminar (http://www.frontpageaudiomanual.com)
with Internet Marketing Expert, Alex Mandossian. I knew we’d get
some attention, but during the phone call someone said they were
calling in from Iceland. Wow! We had people all over the world
calling in, (and paying the long distance) fees just to hear someone
talk about FrontPage. I didn’t realize how hungry people are for
Two years ago I did a
little site called FrontPage Secrets (http://www.frontpagesecrets.com)
following the exact formula of an online marketing “guru” famous for
selling that very formula. It worked like a charm. For all of the
ways the “Internet changes everything,” all of the old rules of
marketing are still there. The one who can combine ‘em is the one
who will do really well.
Eight years ago, I was in
the office coding a Web page by hand in Notepad. My partner says
“Paul, look at this.” That day, everything changed. That was the day
I first used FrontPage.
Q: Do have any humorous
experiences to share?
A: I attended and spoke
at LinuxWorld 2000 wearing a Microsoft shirt and demoing FrontPage.
The booth I spoke at won “Best of Show.” They were ChiliSoft and
sold an ASP product for Linux servers. Great product.
The concept of the demo
was design the site (with database integration) in something simple
like FrontPage and then port it to a more “powerful” server (in this
case ChiliSoft ASP on Apache with Oracle in the back-end) at launch.
Great concept, great product, great idea, great demo.
The looks I got (and the
“presentation” I received during one of my demos from Slashdot) from
the audience was worth a million bucks. When the light bulbs came on
in their heads, that success is truly about best of breed, I
realized the same power I realized back when War Games taught me
that really cool things will happen when the computers talk to each
Some joked that I should
fear for my life at the event. I loved every bit of it.
Q: Detail your company
A: I think our mission
statement says it all: Delivering content, products and services
that help you do effective business online.
Using the best possible
technologies to provide the strength that only an Internet-based
business can bring.
Embracing the constantly
changing nature of technology and responding, to your benefit, no
matter the cost to us.
Teaming with the best
when we can't, or don't, provide the solution.
Q: Describe your work
with FrontPage World and You Can Sell Online. Can you share your top
online marketing tips?
A: All too often in the
technology world, when you visit a site or hear someone speak, so
many people say things like “this is what you can do” or “this is
what can happen with us.” I hate that. What are YOU doing and HOW
ARE YOU DOING IT? That’s my question. I’ve bet my career that that
is also the question of others.
FrontPage World is,
simply, this concept: Anyone can create a profitable and attractive
Website with Microsoft FrontPage. This is how Paul did it.
You Can Sell Online is,
simply, this concept: Anyone can sell online. Here is how Paul does
My top online marketing
tip is this: The rules haven’t changed; the tools have only gotten
better. You still have to play by the rules, just use the right
tools. Marketing ain’t a quick fix, it’s an art.
Q: You are a frequent
speaker. Which events are your favorites and why?
A: I love events with
“hungry” people. I do a lot of events where people signed up to get
off of work that day and they aren’t much fun at all. I can usually
wake a few of them up but those audiences are usually pretty boring.
But when you fill a room
with people looking to make the most of the Internet and to push
their tools and companies to places they’ve never been before, I’m
Honestly, level of
expertise means little to me because we can show you the path
quickly (the hard work is in taking the path, but that’s your job).
I want and like people who want to see change and are willing to
work for it.
I did a number of
Commission Junction Universities down in Santa Barbara before all of
their changes. I loved those – affiliate marketers are some of my
favorite people. I did a few Internet Worlds in the Microsoft booth
and enjoyed blowing the audience away with what FrontPage does –
you’d be surprised at what people don’t know. College students are
also fun because they grew up with this stuff and exploiting every
angle of technology comes naturally to them – they just need someone
to show them how.
Q: Can you share two
“interesting” experiences from your blog?
A: Well I’m always
surprised with the emphasis Google puts on Blogs. When you search
Paul Colligan in Google, my Blog comes up first. I have no idea why,
but I’ll take it. I try to make sure I have the most recent stuff
there because it is what some will see first.
I also track the links
that come out of my Blog to see what people are interested in.
Fascinating stuff there as it provides a real “peek” at what my
audience is interested in.
Q: What does it mean to
be a Microsoft MVP?
A: I’ll let them tell
http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/. Essentially we’re credible
and accessible resources on specific Microsoft topics recognized by
Microsoft as such.
Q: Please share some tips
from your previous books.
A: Then why would you buy
The big tip I’d give is
upgrade to the new version of FrontPage (regardless of if you buy my
book or not). It’s the best ninety bucks you’ll ever spend. The
changes made this round are so powerful that you’ll find yourself
doing twice the work in half the time. I, personally, redid all of
FrontPageWorld.com with FrontPage 2003 based on the new tools and am
hearing a lot of similar stories.
The flipside to this tip
is simple; examine the new technologies and really spend some time
to figure out what they could mean to you. I, for example, now won’t
create anything without dynamic web templates and the new publishing
features have resulted in me moving away from FrontPage Extensions.
Q: What makes your book,
Special Edition Using Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003, a compelling
read and essential resource? With so many books on the market, how
is it different from the “other” books?
A: My book is written by
someone who uses FrontPage in his day-to-day existence and makes a
good living doing so. I’m not a work for hire technology writer or
someone who did this just to supplement his day job income.
The examples throughout
the book aren’t “imaginary” Webs made for the sake of explanation,
they are my sites and they are live.
With this one you get a
text based on experience and real-world implementation. I personally
think you can’t do better than that.
Q: Share five of your
high-powered FrontPage 2003 productivity techniques.
A: 1) Develop your sites
with Dynamic Web Templates. When something needs a big change,
change the DWTs, not the entire site.
2) If you have any old
FrontPage hover buttons, themes or shared borders, kill them.
3) If you aren’t an
artist, and most of you aren’t (I’m sure not), pay someone good to
develop your site’s look and feel. The content is where you should
focus. DWTs mentioned in #1 just make it easier to do that.
4) Poke your head in at
http://www.frontpagetalk.com. There are some amazing people
doing amazing things with FrontPage 2003 and they’re more than
willing to share their experiences.
5) Give a good hard look
at/examine SharePoint 2.0 and FrontPage 2003 and what that combo
means to your business. For some, it will mean nothing. For others,
it will change the way you do everything.
Q: How can you use
FrontPage’s ASP.Net support to develop Web solutions?
A: Always use the right
tool for the job. A sledgehammer will always be more powerful than a
hammer but is still not the right tool for hanging a picture on your
wall. Because FrontPage 2003 supports ASP.Net, there will be times
when the other tools provided with FrontPage 2003 will make it the
ideal tool for you to work with your ASP.Net code. There will be
other times when you are going to need to break out Visual Studio.
Q: What are FrontPage
Behaviors? How do you add new levels of interactivity and
A: They are design-time
components that add script to your Web page without you having to
code a line of it. These are new in FrontPage 2003.
Looking to send people to
different pages based on their browser types? Wished you could
create a quick and easy dropdown menu without having to dig up that
are there and part of the program.
How do you add ‘em?
They’re in the Format menu and are as easy as a few clicks of the
button. Very powerful stuff – and there’s a lot of them that ship
with the product.
Q: Describe the new Split
A: Half the screen is
your code, the other half is your design view. Now you can see
exactly what your code is doing or what kind of code FrontPage is
really creating as you update your page. Very powerful for the
One thing they don’t
advertise a lot is that you can also stretch Split View between two
monitors and put the page on one and the code on another. How great
Q: Detail the improved
publishing and optimization tools.
A: You could always
publish via FrontPage Extensions. That option remains, but you can
now also publish via FTP, with WebDav or through a traditional
network file system. FrontPage 2003 will also not only optimize your
HTML during the design process but you can have it do it only at
publish, if desired.
In addition, you can now
synchronize your sites via FTP allowing you to work with multiple
developers in ways never before possible. Yes, FrontPage now plays
friendly with Dreamweaver.
Q: How can you integrate
XML data into your sites?
A: With FrontPage 2003
and a SharePoint server it is as easy as working with a database or
any other data source. All of the tools are built right in and you
don’t have to code a line to make it happen. You get lots of Wizards
to walk you through the process.
Q: What additional tips
can you give from your books?
A: 1) Don’t apply DWTs on
a remote Web server with FrontPage Extensions.
2) Replace your Themes or
Shared Borders with a more effective DWT approach.
3) Replace your Hover
Buttons with the new Interactive Buttons.
4) If you spend more than
an hour a week on your Web sites, update to the new version before
you do anything else.
5) If you are looking
around for e-commerce solutions that work with FrontPage, don’t
always assume that the most popular ones are the right ones. This is
an area that has no clear winners yet.
Q: Now provide us with
those valuable rare “special gems” that only you know.
A: That’s kind of hard to
do as once I figure them out, I usually tell as many people as I
can. Let’s go with this one: I can’t send enough people to this
http://www.solution-shelf.com. Everyone knows that you have to
create your Website for the search engines. Tom’s tool at this site
is the best out there for FrontPage.
I also recommend the
(free) FrontPage World IE Toolbar we put together (http://www.frontpageworld.com/toolbar/).
This thing lets you not only search Google from the toolbar but lets
you search Microsoft, Usenet and FrontPageTalk.com with the click of
the button. This is very practical when you are looking for answers
to your FrontPage problems. We also dynamically update the toolbar
with the latest and greatest links (or as you put it, “rare gems”)
as they come in.
In addition, take a look
http://www.frontpagecartcompanion.com. This changes everything
I’ve ever known or done when it comes to FrontPage and e-commerce.
Q: What future books can
we expect from you?
A: When the new FrontPage
comes out, you’ll see another book with my name on it ;-)
I’m also working on a
book called Everything You Thought You Knew About the Internet Is
Wrong. That’s a working title but you can get the idea from here.
I also have a project on
best practices for FrontPageCart.com in the works.
Q: What are the most
important trends to watch, and please provide some recommendations?
A: 1) Audio on the
Internet is finally exploding (and it doesn’t look the way you’d
think it might) –
2) The “old ways” of
surveying an Internet audience are dead –
3) Specific to the topic
at hand, FrontPage E-commerce is going to look very different with
the introduction of FrontPageCart.com and the FrontPageCartCompanion
4) Although everyone is
trying to come up with the Google killer, I honestly don’t think it
is going to happen. The only thing that might happen is an implosion
of the company when the IPO happens or a buyout by someone bigger.
Watch this issue like a hawk because the time is quickly coming
where if Google says you don’t exist, you don’t.
5) They’ve been a long
time coming but Web services are finally coming into play and you
are going to see a lot of them this year. In some ways this is a
great thing because when people are finally willing to pay for
content and services, the content and services are only going to get
better. The only problem is that when there are 1000 options to pay
for content and services, it is going to be hard to find the best
sources. That will be really fun to watch this year.
Q: What are your top
recommended resources for both businesses and IT professionals?
A: 1) Everyone should
read Wired magazine religiously. We don’t understand or talk about
how this stuff impacts our lives enough and the people who
understand how it does will do better than anyone else.
2) Everyone pick a few
Internet newsletters in their market and read them regularly.
Internet time is still very real and we sometimes need data at that
speed and shouldn’t wait for the magazine or book to arrive.
3) Everyone should pick
up either a copy of High Stakes, No Prisoners or Burn Rate and get
an inside look at the craziness of a few years back. They should
then ask themselves how they are going to prevent that from
happening next round.
4) Everyone should search
the Internet for the real experts in their field and keep up to date
with what they are doing. These people don’t always get (or want)
the book contracts and speaking gigs but a lot of them publish
online and are worth their weight in gold. Seek them out. If you
don’t know who the King/Queen of your field is, you are doing
something wrong. We have all got something to learn.
Q: What kind of computer
setup do you have?
A: I’m a Dell laptop guy
– always have been. I pay the full warrantee and swap ‘em out about
every two years. I’m typing this on an Inspiron 4150.
Q: If you were doing this
interview, what three questions would you ask of someone in your
position and what would be your answers?
Q1: What about
FrontPage’s history of creating bloated HTML code?
A1: It’s just that,
history. Look at the code FrontPage 2003 produces. That debate is
over. If you have got old code to clean up – take a look at
Q2: Are you on
A2: Nope. They send me
some software now and then as part of the MVP program and I got a
cool watch last year. I did some contract work way back when (years
before I got MVP) but I don’t see myself doing that again. I
honestly don’t have the time.
Q3: Is FrontPage really
as cool as you seem to claim it is.
Q: Do you have any more
comments to add?
A: Not really. Actually,
yeah, I do. I once heard someone say “just because you can, doesn’t
mean you should.” I can think of no finer mantra for anyone building
websites and Internet content. The tools let us do some pretty cool
things, but should we be doing them?
A lot of people lost a
lot of money during the Internet crazy years because we confused the
cool with the needed. Don’t make that mistake.
Q: Paul, thank you again
for your time, and consideration in doing this interview.
A: Enjoyed it.