What Type of Website do You Want?

Type of websiteIs this the first question a prospective website developer should ask you?

No. The first question should be “what do you want a website to do for you?”. Or in other words what are your business goals for the site? However, to get a better insight into this it is useful to understand what types of website there are.  That’s the purpose of this article.

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Trust Your Instinct

It’s sometimes better to trust your instinct even when logic tells you otherwise.

Decisions

The scenario – you’re looking to get a website developed. You’ve approached three website developers and got three quotes on the table. They’re all offering what you think you need but they all have different costs. So do you go for the cheapest? If you do, are you going to receive a worse service from the developer than if you went for the most expensive? It’s a dilema.

When you’re faced with a decision like this and can’t decide what to do – which web design proposal to accept for example or whether to invest in a particular marketing campaign – it’s sometimes better to trust your instinct even when logic tells you otherwise.

This was brought home to me, quite poignantly, many years ago on return from a business trip.

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You get what you Inspect, not what you Expect.

car bonnet flies open

We all find ourselves in situations, from time to time, where we have to trust other people - doctors, dentists, accountants, even your website developer, and many others who offer services that we are not skilled or qualified to perform ourselves. But too frequently we simply assume that, because they have a diploma hanging on the wall or letters after their names, they are fully competent and capable of delivering what we want without being monitored.

The folly of this kind of assumption was quite shockingly brought home to me recently after I had collected my car from a body repairer.

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Use Google Adwords to Bring Visitors to Your Website

Google AdwordsOne of the things I’m often asked about, particularly by owners of recently developed website, is how quickly will the site appear in the Google listings.

That’s usually when the subject of Google Adwords is raised as a way of getting the sites listed in Google quickly. So, I thought is would be a good ideas to explain what it is, together with some of the pluses and minuses, if you are contemplating using it.

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Content Marketing – What Can It Do For Your Business?

Content marketing – the latest buzzword in Internet marketing.

content_marketing2This article is going to explain what it is, what it is not, how you can use it to drive traffic to your website and ultimately generate extra business. But only if you do it correctly.

What is content marketing? In summary, it involves providing content via your website, or blog; content that will be of interest to potential customers and cause them to treat your website as a rich source of information. The idea is that they will see you as an authority in your field and be more inclined come to you rather that your competitors. Content can take the form of text, image, video or audio. 

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Give Your Website The Hook

How does your website capture people’s attention?

Mcrazy_guitarist1any years ago I played guitar in a band. No you won’t have heard of us so I won’t even tell you what we were called. We played very local gigs around our hometown in Yorkshire, England.

I specifically remember one gig we played, in a small mining town near Doncaster. I remember it because it was the gig where we learned how to connect with an audience.

The gig was in a local village hall with an audience of local teenagers. We played the first set of about 40 minutes and after each number, got no reaction at all. It was as if those teenagers were either brain dead or deaf. Some of them probably were. It was that bad.

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Your Website Is Live. What Next?

Your websiteInterestingly that is a question that I rarely get asked after I’ve completed a website for a small business.  But it is a question that everyone with a new website should be asking.

Why? A website in itself will not do anything for your business because it is a marketing tool and like all tools it has to be applied in order to be effective. As such, that website that you’ve just had built and launched has to be used as part of your marketing efforts.

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Think You Don’t Need a Website? Here’s Why You Do

Heads in sandI recently had a conversation about a website with a local business owner here in Tenbury Wells.  When I pointed out that he hadn’t got a website his response was that he didn’t think he needed one because it wouldn’t bring in any additional business, most of which came from local referrals.

You know what, he was right on that! But he had missed the point. I think he was sticking his head in the sand!

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What’s the Purpose of Your Website?

So you’ve decided that you want a website? What’s the first thing you’re going to do? Look at the websites of similar companies to yours and get an idea of the design you’d like? Approach a number of web designers and get a bunch of quotes? Start designing it yourself? Sign up for one of the self-build services such as 1&1 My Website?Website Planning

 

Pick any one of these and you’d be on the fast track to throwing away your money and effort.

The first thing you need to do is to decide what you want the website to do for you; decide what the purpose of it is in other words. What do I mean by this?

There are a number of different types of website and the results you should expect from each vary. For the purpose of simplicity, here are three of the most popular types.

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Is Technology Affecting Your Productivity at Work?

Wasting time at workA recent article in the Daily Telegraph “Internet ‘fuels procrastination and lowers productivity‘” started me thinking about my own experiences (I’ve been developing and using internet technology in business for over 30 years), so I thought I would post my guidelines for using email.

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Spending a Fortune on Marketing? Try Inbound Marketing

You may have heard the term “inbound marketing” bandied around recently. But what does it mean?

Inbound Marketing

Traditional, or “outbound marketing”, involves sending out messages about your products or services to potential customers. Outbound marketing uses methods such as advertisements in newspapers, periodicals, radio, television, telemarketing and cold calling. The key characteristics of outbound marketing are an advert and an audience. You effectively push that advert in from of the audience.

But people are now becoming immune to this kind of marketing. Do you watch TV adverts and get a message about the product or company? Or, like me, switch off and ignore it? What do you do when you get a cold call about mobile phones or anything else? You probably find them irritating or down right annoying. I do.

Outbound marketing is becoming increasingly ineffective. So what can you do? Enter inbound marketing.

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How Not to Lose Money in Your Business

“Britain’s small businesses could be losing more than £800m of sales a year by not taking credit and debit card payments”.

So says a news story that is currently doing the rounds. Whether or not you believe the figure of £800m, the fact does remain that many small businesses such as, corner shops, local tradesmen, market traders, and numerous mobile businesses, can’t take card payments.

PayPal card reader

These businesses an only accept payment in cash or cheque. I don’t know about you but I rarely carry much cash around and I never carry a cheque book so, no card payment, no sale.

On the other side of the fence, I hate it when customers give me a cheque. They put a cheque in the post, which can take who know how long to arrive, given the vagaries of the Royal Mail, and then it takes another 5 days to arrive in my account after I’ve paid it into the bank.

The excuse for not accepting cards has been that card payments are expensive. But that’s not true any more.

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Hummingbird – Google Search Has Changed

Recently Google announced, what it described, as a “complete overhaul of its search algorithm”. Codeworded “Hummingbird”, the update is aimed at making search results much more relevant to users. Hummingbird seems to have created quite a stir so I though I would give you my take on it together with some practical advice.

Google Hummingbird

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16-Year Old Uses Internet to Devise a Test for Cancer

I recently came across this amazing story about a 16-year old , Jack Andraka, who recently devised a revolutionary medical test for detecting the almost always fatal disease, pancreatic cancer. I urge you to watch the 10 minute video below. It will blow you away.

The reason I want to share this with you is because Jack, having no previous medical training and not even knowing what a pancreas  is, managed to produce the test by extensive research on the Internet.

I’ve previously expounded, in this blog, about the power of the Internet but Jack’s story illustrates this to a tee. A mere thirty years ago it would have been almost impossible for a layman such as Jack to achieve such a feat.

If the internet can do this and enable Jack to produce such a result, just think what it can do for your business.

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Six Dos and Don’ts on Writing Blog Posts

Clients often ask me what they should write about in their blogs.

Small Business BloggingIt’s easier to answer this question by turning it around to say what they shouldn’t write about. I’ve also included some general points about what you should do in the list below.

  1. Don’t write sales pitches. A blog should be informative not a platform for sales pitches. So stay away from blog posts that try to pitch your products. The purpose of your blog is to attract interest and, whilst you might be interested in the latest variant of your xyz widget, most of you blog readers won’t. The only exception is if you’ve just brought out something so different, or even revolutionary, that it will immediately attract interest.
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Understanding Computer Jargon – Part 1

Computer Terminology

Are you bewildered by some of  the terminology that computer geeks like me use? If so, read on.

As someone who has been in the IT industry for many years I tend to use words that, to me, are commonplace. However, for many people who have only got to grips with technology recently, or who are still trying, many of these terms are baffling.

So I thought I would start a series of posts to try and explain some of this terminology in layman’s terms. This first post in the series is really just an introduction. Future posts will go into more detail.

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What To Use Instead Of Google Reader

Google ReaderAs I posted on this blog back in March this year, Google reader is being withdrawn by Google after 1/7/13. Google’s announcement claimed that the number of people using the product has declined and Google wants to focus its efforts on fewer product offerings. Despite protests from users of the product, it seems that Google is still going ahead with the closure. So what’s the alternative?

I looked around and finally settled on InoReader (https://www.inoreader.com/).

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Have You Updated Your Website Design Recently?

Microsoft Website Circa 2008

Do you wear the same things that you wore 10 years ago?

The answer is probably not because, the fact is, that fashions change. Not just in clothes or movies of TV programmes; fashions change in website design too; and changes in the online world tend to happen a lot faster than in the offline one. To give an example, I came across this interesting site to show how some popular websites have evolved over the years.

But the change is not just down to fashion. With web design, technology plays a largepart.

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Most Website Are Useless. Here’s How To Make Yours Effective

Most websites are useless, a complete waste of money and don’t do a thing for the businesses they serve. But it needn’t be like that.

Then a miracle occurs

You may think that, as someone who develops websites for clients, I’m shooting myself in the head by coming out with this statement. But the fact is that I hate to see my clients wasting their money and that’s exactly what I see when I look around the web at many of the websites out there.

The simple fact is that a website is a tool that will enable you to communicate your marketing messages to existing and potential customers in a way that, if done properly, can be extremely effective in terms of results and cost saving. But to do this involves investment in terms of money and time.

I’m continually contacted by potential clients asking for minimal sites (I’ve even been asked for one page websites) in the belief that this will give them a presence on the Internet on the cheap and magically start bringing in business. Well I’ve got news for all the people who think like that. Don’t bother.

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How to Kill Your Blog Stone Dead

Pushy SalesmanWhat do you write in your blog? The worst thing you can do is to use your blog as a sales mouthpiece where you continually write posts promoting your products.

I see this all the time even with some of my own clients; even after I have explained to them how to use their blogs,

You see, the problem is that, these days, people are inundated with sales messages to the point where they are immune to them, and even where they are turned off by them. Your website pages should advertise the products and services that you provide. What’s point of writing a blog if it’s going to contain more of the same?

What should your blog be used for? It should be used to demonstrate your expertise. Post articles about trends in your field of business; your opinions about what’s going on in your field; educational posts about your field; results that you’ve obtained for your clients. All these things will demonstrate your expertise.

Your aim should be to establish yourself as an authority and expert in your field of business so that potential customers will trust you. If your blog makes you come across like a pushy sales person, then it will simply push people away.

I’m not saying you can’t talk about the occasional special offer or promotion that you’re running. But the main thrust of your blog should be informative content.

How do you use your blog? Are you pushing people away?

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