Welcome to part 27 of Taking Your Business Digital For those afraid of Technology Series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up by clicking here.
You have decided to take the plunge and get a website for your business.
Your son’s friend does websites and he won’t charge very much because all you want is a couple of pages with your contact details, a few pictures with a bit of text about your products and services and a couple of testimonials.
You are quoted a fee, you pay the deposit and he tells you that your website will be ready in a week.
Welcome to part 24 of Taking Your Business Digital For those afraid of Braving Technology Series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up by clicking here.
Never assume that your online readers automatically understand what you have written on your Website or your Social Media. Your online reputation can be very ruined by a careless remark or you could lose sales because your prospective customers do not understand what you have written.
Welcome to part 23 of Taking Your Business Digital For those afraid of Technology Series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up by clicking here.
Which online presence is right for your business?
You have a limited budget, you are not very clued up about technology, and everyone is telling you that you need a Company Website and you need to be on Social Media. To complicate matters there are many different Social Media Platforms and it is impossible to be active on all of them.
Welcome to part 21 of Taking Your Business Digital For those afraid of Technology Series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up by clicking here.
Well, the name pretty much speaks for itself. It is presenting information as a single image or a series of images so that the reader can absorb the information much quicker than reading a whole article.
This challenge has presented me with the perfect opportunity to share via an Infographic how I helped a client who has a Training Business prepare to take their Company Digital.
Welcome to Day 5 of the Taking Your Business Digital for those afraid to Brave Technology. You can read the previous posts by clicking here.
Planning is the corner stone to any successful business and taking all areas of your business digital requires careful planning.
Don’t be tempted to go out and buy expensive computers, printers, tablets, phones or sign up for website hosting and website packages until you have spent a great deal of time thinking about what you need, doing the research and coming up with a budget and a timeline. It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement and get overwhelmed by all the advice that you leap in and fall flat on your face.
In yesterday’s post I talked about getting brave and taking your business into the 21st century by “going digital”.
In a nutshell, you use computer programmes and technology that connect to the internet which will help you to run your business more efficiently, connect with your customers and potential customers and close more sales.
Do you have a small business?
Are you overwhelmed by a cluttered office with paper everywhere, hand written invoices, scrappily typed quotations, and tons of messages on a spike that you have to answer but can’t find the telephone number or relevant information?
People are telling you to get a website but you haven’t a clue where to start. You don’t even know how to use e-mail. Anyway you don’t see the point of having a website, nobody will go and look at it anyway.
Perhaps you have a Facebook account and you have learned to make “Friends” and upload a photo or two using your Smartphone and in order to keep in contact with your children and grandchildren you have learned to use Whatsapp and Skype.
In fact, you probably aren’t even reading this because you don’t go onto the internet.
So, I shall re-phrase.
Do you know anyone who is in this situation and would like to help them take their business into the 21st century?
Welcome to part 17 of Taking Your Business Digital For those afraid of Technology Series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up by clicking here.
Are you scrupulous about crediting images, content and other media that you cut and paste into your blogs?
Are you even allowed to use that material? Should you have paid a royalty? Perhaps the creator of the material you have used does not want you to use their material under any circumstances.
Are you thinking of having a blog? Here are some principles for your blogging that I have learned. I hope you find them useful too.
1. There are zillions of blogs out there and it takes time and persistence to get noticed. You need to blog a minimum of once a week preferably more. Before you decide on your blog see how many topics you can come up with to write about.
How much effort should we put into educating our clients about what they are purchasing when they contract us to build a website?
Should we be like the banks, cell phone companies and other financial service providers whereby we simply present them with a few pages of minute text and ask them to initial our Standard Terms and Conditions and sign the final page?
Or, will a simple schedule of the features and services we are offering plus payment terms suffice?
This was the topic at our web group networking breakfast and I look forward to your comments at the end of this article.
Hi Pat, we've just been discussing our website. We would like more info on doing this correctly.
Is this how you feel when people are telling you that you need a website? Totally overwhelmed at the prospect?
The business owner who asked all these questions is a builder so I am going to use the analogy of building a corporate office block to try and answer his questions. I will leave the first question until the end.
Frequently small business (and sometimes big business) sign contracts for websites without understanding the implications of having a website.
They approach the process back to front. The colours and design of the site become the focus and in the excitement the purpose is forgotten. Since I started creating websites 4 years ago I have realised that there is a huge gap in the expectations of the person who wants a website and the designer/develop who takes on the job.
This so often leads to conflict and failed projects.
We help you to understand how to integrate technology into your business and we provide training and support to help you achieve this.
Regardless of your type of business, you have little choice. Technology is here and you have to use it.
There are something like 400 million blog sites out there in the ether clamouring for your attention. Then we have the news websites, company websites and all the Social Media channels. What chance does your company website or personal blog have of getting noticed?
Increasingly we have the attention span of fleas. If you are targeting those under 35 you have even greater problems. A study commissioned by Time Warner found that this age group changed media channels 27 times during a non-working hour. They flip from tv to tablet to phone at the speed of light. This is a nightmare for digital advertisers but equally so for content creators.
How are you going to get visitors to your site and then keep them there long enough to read one article let alone browse your other products and services?
Have you wondered how you are able to search for a website or topic using Google? Google Search and other Search engines “crawl” your site looking for specific Keywords and phrases that are repeated either in the headings, or the content which includes images so that when people are looking for what you are offering they can find you.
This is part of the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Process.
I love the story of a magazine owner who employed a new editor and placed an elegantly dressed black mannequin in the corner of the editor’s office. “Look at this fellow when you decide what goes into your magazine. He is our target market.”
For small businesses, this can be very difficult. Everyone is a potential client. You want to reach as wide an audience as possible in the hope that someone will buy something from you.
About 15 years ago I owned a Pastel Accounting and Payroll Software Training Centre. At the forefront of computerised accounting in South Africa a well advertised feature of the software was that you didn't need to be an accountant or bookkeeper to use this great software. Ideal for small business owners.
I quickly found that the people who registered on the courses had very different skills levels and needs:
Welcome to part 15 of Taking Your Business Digital For those afraid of Technology Series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up by clicking here.
There are many companies that offer you free hosting, free domain names and even free tools to build your website.
So, why should you pay someone to host yours and is a free website worth it?
There is NO SUCH THING AS FREE! The company offering you the free hosting and/or website is in business. They have to generate income to remain in business. What companies are doing is offering you a FREEMIUM option.
You need to read the fine print and assess all your options before signing up.
Joomla! is my favourite website development platform. I have been using Joomla! for the past 5 years and as it has developed from Version 1.5 to where it is now at version 3.3+ it just gets better and better. Joomla! is what they call a content management system and you can create small simple websites or huge websites with lots of different components and addons.
Joomla! is free to download and there are lots of forum and the documentation is pretty good. I have found that the core Joomla! has become so good that you no longer need nearly as many customised add-ons as you used to.
When I first started creating websites I used free templates (in Wordpress they are called themes). I found them very limiting in their functionality and the paid templates were expensive. I therefore decided to learn how to use a template framework. Gantry has proved to work well for me although I have had quite a steep learning curve to customise the various elements.
Gantry is free to download and you can find help on the various Google Groups and basic documentation. However to get top level support you need to join their membership club.
Admin Tools comes in 2 versions - free and the paid Pro version. This product helps you manage the backend of your website and helps to keep you safe from hackers and other nasties. The Pro version has fantastic additional site management tools and a very comprehensive Firewall.
Akeeba is probably the most popular Backup programme for Joomla!. It also comes in a free and a paid version. Your internet service provider (ISP) usually keeps backups of your website on their servers. However it is good practice to do your own regular backups and download them to your hard drive or perhaps Google Drive or Drop Box. Better safe than sorry.
Joomla! comes with its own inbuilt text and image editiors but the functionality is pretty limited. For those of us who are not the best at coding, JCE is a great option as it has what is called a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor. You type as normally and select your fonts and styles and other features and JCE converts it into the appropriate HTML code for you. The free version does most things but there is a subscription version that has additional features.
When you have a website you need to be able to tell people about what you are doing etc. Sending out professional looking newsletters via e-mail to a targeted database who have OPTED IN to receive your news is an excellent marketing tool. ACYMailing lets you collect e-mail addresses on your website, store them in different lists according to your needs. You can set up professional templates which look good on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. There are various levels of investment from a free basic package right up to an expensive package for large companies.
It is also important to see who opens your newsletters, which links they cllick on, who unsubscribes etc. ACYMailing handles all of these features. As with all website components a degree of customisation and knowledge of how websites work is required.
This is currently my favourite component to share the content on my websites to various social media and also to encourage people to follow me on my Social Media platforms.
It is a free download, looks elegant and works well with just a little bit of configuration
Everyone needs to brag a bit about how much their customers love them. Having a place where your customers can add a testimonial about your products and services is a great marketing tool. Freestyle Testimonials comes in a Lite and a Pro Version. Looks clean and neat and works well. You can also moderate the testimonials before they are published.
There has been a huge increase in websites being hacked. How secure is yours?
Who looks after your website for you? Do you pay them a monthly, quarterly or even annual fee to ensure that you are running the latest version of the software that the website is built on?
It doesn’t matter if your website is built using custom coded software or if it is built using one of the popular Open Source web programmes such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. It needs constant care to keep it free from the baddies.