Category Archives: Websites

Website info, news, and tips useful to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

The Importance of Good Design (Miss Universe 2015 Mishap)

The importance of good design cannot be stressed enough. Bad design will cost a business money.

A popular topic in the news right now is the Miss Universe 2015 mishap where Miss Colombia was mistakenly announced as the winner (instead of the first runner up) then later corrected to announce Miss Philippines as the winner and Miss Universe instead.

Let’s look at the card design that caused the confusion:

Miss Universe 2015 Card with Bad Design

Now let’s look at one redesign card created my Marco Leong to show how the card could have been made clearer to avoid the mistake:

Miss Universe 2015 Card with Improved Design

As you can see, the changes make the card so much more organized and easy to read.

This is to highlight why it is so important to hire and use professional designers to create your business material. Whether it is a website, Web graphics, brochure, menu, advertisement; use a good designer. You will make the most of your investment!

The video is available if you would like to watch the scene of when this happened:

 

3 Steps to Online Success: Step 3 – Managing and Maintaining (Websites & Online Campaigns)

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series “3 Steps to Online Success”. In Part 1, we discussed getting the right website. In Part 2, we discussed online marketing. In this article, we’ll discuss managing and maintaining (your website and online marketing) and why it should be apart of your business operation.

There are three steps to online success:

    1. Getting the right website
    2. Marketing online
    3. Managing & maintaining
3 Steps to Online Success

3 Steps to Online Success

There are two things you need to maintain or online success:

  1. Your website
  2. Your online marketing

Many (and we emphasize “many”) website owners and business owners make the mistake of neglecting their websites and not updating them. They have the “set it and forget it” mentality. If your website is to be a live marketing center for your business, you can’t just “set it and forget it”.

Here are a few reasons why you will want to manage and maintain your website:

  • Readers, customers/clients and any interested party that care about or has an interest in it will not read or look at the same content over and over again (how many times can you read the about us page of the same website?)
  • New content is interesting, it gives a reason for your interested parties to return to your website and pay attention to it
  • Your business’s environment and industry is always changing and evolving
  • The Web and the online world is always changing and evolving
  • Content such as textual information or even pictures/images can become outdated or look outdated, if left untouched for a while

Routinely updating and maintaining your website is not expensive. Losing customers because you don’t, can be very expensive. Maintaining  and managing your online marketing is also important and necessary. Here are the reasons why:

  • Different points-in-times require a differently tweaked message that is different in order to be effective
  • The world evolves so your message and how you’re distributing that message needs to also evolve
  • The Web is constantly evolving (and quite rapidly, we might add) so your message along with your choice on marketing channels needs to evolve
  • Managing and maintaining your online marketing helps you maximize your investment in online marketing. (Imagine if your favorite store decided to run the same holiday ads over and over throughout the year to “save money”. That would not only seem ridiculous but it is probably a poor use of their marketing investment and it’s probably not “saving” them much money.)

It is likely that your business is already constantly changing to adapt to the competition and challenges in its environment (you probably didn’t just “set it and forget it”). Make sure you don’t “set it and forget it” for your website and your online marketing. Follow these three steps, be persistently and patient. Over time, it will help your business reap the rewards the online world has to offer.

3 Steps to Online Success: Step 1 – Getting the Right Website

There are three steps to online success:

    1. Getting the right website
    2. Marketing online
    3. Managing & maintaining
3 Steps to Online Success

3 Steps to Online Success

We will discuss #2 and #3 in greater detail, in following articles. In this article, we’ll discuss step 1 – getting the right website.

When small business owners and entrepreneurs have a poor online marketing strategy it is usually because of a combination of the following reasons:

  • No clear idea or goal of what they need the website to accomplish or do for them
  • Not understanding some of the basic features of the website that they need or the website they are shopping for
  • Shopping based only on price
  • Not budgeting or allocating enough towards an online campaign

Task #1: When you shop for your next website, make sure you have a clear idea of what you need. Know what you want your website to do.

Do you want your website to:

  • Just display your business name, address and telephone number?
  • Gain more eyeballs and attract more potential customers/clients?
  • Improve your business image or brand image?
  • Sell online and conduct transaction for your business?
  • Provide the ability for your clients to self-service themselves?
  • Build and deploy features on a website that can help your office improve its operation (e.g. reduce burden on staff, free up time, free up labor, etc.)

Think about and know what you want your site to do for your business.

Task #2: Know some of the basic features and capabilities so you do not fall into the common trap of shopping solely on price. Saying “all websites are the same” is the equivalent of saying:

  • All shoes are the same
  • All cars are the same
  • All watches are the same
  • All clothes are the same
  • All computers are the same
  • All phones are the same
  • All wines are the same
  • All jewelery are the same
  • All steaks are the same
  • Etc.

Even if you have limited knowledge or a limited understanding about websites, you should know that all websites are NOT the same.

You can get by with a static website if you only need to do the following:

  • Post and display non-changing business information (business name, address, telephone, etc.)
  • Have a website because competitors and others in your industry have one and you don’t want to be left out
  • Be able to answer “yes” if a customer/client asks “do you have a website”

When it comes to websites, a static website is the “bare minimum”. If you want to do anything more than what is mentioned above, you should probably choose some form of a dynamic website. Dynamic websites come in all different varieties so you may also want to refer to our earlier articles about dynamic websites and their pro’s and con’s. (You can also read more about static websites and their pro’s and con’s.)

Task #3: Be realistic about pricing and allocate your budget accordingly.

Have a realistic expectation when it comes to pricing. Many people have a misunderstanding thinking that everything that belongs online should be free or almost free. Things you may be using “for free” online really aren’t free. When you hire a Web designer, Web developer, or a Web company / Web firm, you are paying for a few things:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Experience
  3. Creativity
  4. Mental labor
  5. Physical labor

Many Web designers and Web developers spend a significant amount of time learning and mastering their craft, practicing it, continuing their study to remain up-to-date on changes in their industry. When they work on a project, they spend hours upon hours thinking and using their creativity to help create what  you want. They work to strike the balance between giving business owners the look that they want while creating something that is pleasing and easy to use for their customers.

Business owners often make the mistake of allocating too little of their budget to their online campaigns. While print publications are seeing a rapid decline in readership and subscriptions, e-commerce has seen rapid growth. If you own or run a business, it is probably a very good idea to shift more of your focus to your online campaign. (If you don’t have an online campaign, you should begin one very soon!)

The Internet has created many challenges for small businesses that have decided to ignore it or discount it. At the same time, it has created vast opportunities for the small businesses who have learned to embrace it and take advantage. Which of the two will your business be?