Are Web Designers the new Tax Inspectors?

Having been a professional software developer for around 25 years I recently struck out on my own and started a small web design company. As a fairly new start-up I have been fortunate in that the local council run some extremely good free workshops to support new business.

In the last 4 months I must have attended 7 or 8 of these workshops ranging from how to write a business plan to the most recent on website SEO, I must point out that so far every single workshop has been well worth attending and I have learned a lot, however, on 2 of the workshops I have come away feeling like I am the local tax inspector come to check the accounts.

The first was a business workshop and didn’t have anything to do with websites but during and after the workshop the presenter made a valid point that no one these days has to pay for a website there are plenty of “free” websites available in the form of templates, free sites when purchasing hosting and free websites with adverts, however, over and over he stressed that web designers simply want to charge for something that anyone with a little knowledge could well do themselves at little or no cost, and to be honest he is right to a point any fool can drag and drop a fairly reasonable site together. The second workshop presenter was teaching SEO and what could be done by the average site owner who has access to the CMS it was a worthwhile extremely informative workshop and I learned a lot then we got into the “Why pay some guy to do what you could easily do given time” discussion and once again I fully agree, there is no way I can hide it in fact I wouldn’t try. I charge for websites and SEO both of which a business could do themselves certainly cheaper and possibly at no cost other than time and effort.

Now to the reason for the rant and the reasons I charge for my time and effort:-

Why I feel I add value to a small business are as follows:-

  • Most people are capable of dragging and dropping a website together but to be honest I make a better job of it.
  • Most business owners are too busy doing what they do best to build their business and simply don’t have time to build a website or perform SEO – This is where I spend the long hours on doing what I do
  • What sort of an image does a new company trying to build a reputation and build trust give to other businesses when the site has “provided free by SkiddlyDo” at the foot of the site and adverts for hemorrhoid cream popping up over what I am trying to read
  • How many businesses will cobble a free site together, make a reasonable job of it then not touch it again for 5 years complaining all the time that it does nothing for the business and doesn’t get any visitors.

What finally added the icing to the cake was a “Networker” I bumped into at a local meeting, we were sat doing the obligatory one-to-one, I told him I was a web designer, did SEO social media and other internet related stuff to which he replied “why would anyone pay you to do that it’s all free” so I explained that I could possibly make a better job of it and at worst I could free the business owner up so that they could concentrate on their business, “what do you do?” I asked “I am a life coach, I speak to people and make them feel better as well as telling them all what they are doing wrong with their life and helping them” mmm, “and do you get paid for that?” I asked unfortunately I didn’t hear the reply he got up and wandered off not sure but I don’t see him having any future one-to-one sessions with me.

Just a few examples I could buy the parts from a local shop and replace the brakes on my car but I choose not to because the mechanic is far better at it than me, I could pull my own teeth but I prefer the dentist to do it I am a bit squeamish that way, I can advise myself on how to invest what little money I have, I could build my own house, garage or extension I might even get some wire and make myself an electric blanket for winter but I choose not to the point I am trying to make is that all things can be cheaper or sometimes free, I can’t think of a single business that with time, effort or trial and error I couldn’t do myself if I really wanted to or had the time to do so but I choose not to, why, because if its not my area of expertise there is probably someone who would make a better job of it.

And as a final footnote the “Why would you pay someone to do SEO? ” workshop presenter who I might add was extremely good and certainly knew his stuff and to top it all seemed a really nice guy he runs a large and very successful Web Design and SEO company when he isn’t teaching.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At Activ Web Design (Yorkshire) we have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more information please visit http://www.activwebdesignhull.co.uk/

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 01482 861875
Mob: 07850 009750

Email: info@activwebdesignhull.co.uk
Website: www.activwebdesignhull.co.uk/
Twitter: @activBeverley

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old Chinese proverb).

Your Business Needs a Mobile App!

How many internet enabled devices do you own?, definitely a Smartphone, maybe a tablet add to that a PC or laptop now try and imagine your life without at least one of these devices. We rely heavily on these  devices to remind us of birthdays and appointments,  checking the weather, or sending and receiving messages and in the case of phones even phone calls, we would be lost without them.

In daily life how many times have you sat in a restaurant or coffee shop and seen someone tapping away on their phone at the table or on the beach in the office or the supermarket the list is endless it seems we just can’t survive without being connected. 

Now, what if you are a business owner with a mobile app, this puts you in direct contact with these potential customers 24/7 and 97% of messages will be read as opposed to 30% of emails for some reason a message delivered to one of these devices not only has to be read, it is normally read immediately.A business mobile app is a fantastic “branding tool” which is used for keeping your clients aware of your services or your products whilst increasing the level of customer loyalty.

As an example take the Starbucks coffee chain, the company launched a mobile app back in 2011, they included a rewards system called “My Starbucks Reward”, the account allowed customers to top up with money and make purchases, the user was then awarded stars that he or she could later exchange for more Starbucks products.

The program proved to be highly successful and more important profitable for Starbucks, so much so that today every 10th purchase for a Starbucks product is made via a mobile device.

The Starbucks example shows that a mobile app serves the purpose of keeping clients loyal and bringing them back time and time again to your business.

The app of course, should not only create more business for you but should also be  “user friendly”  and add value for the user, if it doesn’t add value or is difficult or time consuming to use the user simply won’t download it or if they do they will soon remove it.

As a minimum, the application should serve at least the following purposes:

  • Fulfill a need for the user
  • Make it easy for the user to access your products or services
  • Offer a reward or benefit for their loyalty in turn creating a desire to use the service again

The second point is probably the most important as users are already used to the convenience and ease of using mobile technologies. quite simply if a user has to jump through hoops to buy your products and doesn’t get a discount or reward after all that, he or she will go elsewhere and probably not return.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At Activ Web Design (Yorkshire) we have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more information please visit http://www.activwebdesignhull.co.uk/activ-apps.html

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Email: dave.rowland@activwebdesign.com
Website: www.activwebdesignhull.co.uk/activ-apps.html
Twitter: @activmobileapps

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old Chinese proverb).

 

Why does my business need a mobile app

Whether you have seen a mobile app for another business or you have read about them I hope to help with reasons why a mobile app would be good for your business, club or school.

What can an app do for my business?

  •  An app helps build brand loyalty, all business owners desire brand loyalty. With a mobile app your business can stay in direct contact with your clients or members. You can stay engaged with customers and keep them informed about your business activities, events and special offers, or in the case of schools inform parents of events, school closures or information regarding their child.
  •  A mobile app allows you to present information, services and products to your customers through a medium that people use and have with them constantly, this provides your business with an excellent affordable tool to inform and market to your customer base at any time.
  • A mobile app provides you with a ready revenue stream allowing your business to reach an audience that you normally wouldn’t reach through other means of marketing (97% of messages are read), people are always searching for the easiest and fastest way to get the information, products and services they want.
  • Customers always have their phone with them, no matter what they are doing people are always fiddling with their phones or tapping away on a tablet, this means that people can search, buy, browse or share at any time of the day or night regardless of where they are or what they are doing, with an app your business will always be available to them.
  • An app will keep you ahead of the competition, whilst your competitors may not have an app at this time, you could, here at Activ we have made developing and launching an app more affordable allowing you to reap the benefits with a sensible ROI, allowing you to engage with customers, build brand loyalty and be on the cutting edge of technology.

Why wait, your customers are using mobile devices everyday browsing for products, services, booking appointments, purchasing goods and much much more, how many people these days book a hotel or visit a restaurant without first reading the reviews, looking at on-line maps to see where it is, what the parking is like or what’s on the menu?. For the price of a couple of adverts you could have the latest technology advertising only your business.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At Activ Web Design (Yorkshire) we have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more information please visit http://www.activwebdesignhull.co.uk/activ-apps.html

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Email: dave.rowland@activwebdesign.com
Website: www.activwebdesignhull.co.uk/activ-apps.html
Twitter: @activmobileapps

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old Chinese proverb).

Low Cost Ways To Promote Your Business

Starting a business on a shoestring? or just looking for ways to stretch a small business marketing budget?

Here are some low-cost, high-impact ideas to promote your business.

Most important
Plan your attack, define who your prospects are, and then determine the best way to reach them, be as specific as possible, is the decision maker the CEO of the company or a working mom? will you find them on Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest or Facebook?.

What about networking at local business meetings? will they be searching for your type of product on Google or eBay?  do you want to start promoting your business to them at the start of their buying cycle, or when they’re about ready to make the purchase, write your answers down and most importantly read them before you start any new marketing campaign.

YOU MUST – Have a website, if you don’t have one get one plain and simple.

Set your business up in the free listings and local directories, be sure to include your website link  (you do have one don’t you?) and business description.

Then
Create a business profile page on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. make sure your business profile includes a good description of what you do, why you are different, and why customers should come to you, make sure you have the right keywords and a link to your website.

Look for groups or conversations that talk about your type of products or services and participate in the conversations, but don’t spam them with constant adverts for what you sell.

If you’re just starting out and don’t have a business card and business stationary, get them as soon as possible, your business card, letterhead and envelope tell prospective customers you are a professional who takes your business seriously.

Be sure to list your website address on your business card and, letterhead and any handouts you create.

Get your business cards into the hand of anyone who can help you in your search for new clients, call your friends and relatives and tell them you have started a business, visit them and leave a small stack of business cards to hand out to their friends.

Talk to all the suppliers who you buy products or services from, give them your business card, and ask if they can use your products or services, or if they know anyone who can. If they have bulletin boards where business cards are displayed (printers often do, and so do some supermarkets, hairdressers, etc.), ask if yours can be added to the board.

Attend meetings of professional groups,and groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, 4 Networking, BNI, or civic associations, have your business cards ready and don’t forget to ask other people about their business, not only will they appreciate your interest, they will remember you because of it.

You may need to pay for membership in those groups but if they attract your target customers it is worth it, many of these groups have a website where members can promote their business, make sure your name and website link get added as soon as possible. Once it is added double check to be sure your contact information is correct and your website link isn’t broken.

If possible become actively involved in some of these groups, this will add to your credibility and give you more opportunity to meet possible prospects. however, opportunists are quickly spotted for what they are, and get little business.

Whilst you don’t want to become involved in many groups that require a lot of your time, you are after all running a business, you can and should make a real contribution to them by offering useful ideas and helping the groups success when possible.

Look for something unusual about what you do, and publicise it, send out press releases to local newspapers, local radio stations and magazines whose audiences are likely to be interested in buying what you sell, be sure to post the press releases on your website or blog too, being sure to include links to your website in the release.

To increase your chance of having the material published, send along a photo (not the radio stations🙂 ) with your press release, editors of printed publications are often in need of photos to fill space and break up the gray look of the page.

Write an article that demonstrates your expertise in your field.Send it to noncompeting newspapers, magazines, and websites and blogs in your field that accept submissions from experts, be sure your name, business name, phone number, and a reference to your product or service is included at the end of the article.

If the editor can use the article you get your name in print, and possibly get your contact information printed for free which helps drive traffic to your site.

Whenever you do get publicity, get permission from the publisher to reprint the article containing the publicity.

Ask for work or leads, contact nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges, and even other businesses that have customers who may need your services.

Network with others who are doing the same type of work you are, let them know you are available to handle their work overloads, but don’t try to steal their customers you will only get away with it once and it will do your reputation no good at all.

If you are confident enough, offer to be a speaker at industry conferences or local business groups they often need speakers for meetings, you will benefit from the name recognition, contacts and publicity.

If your product or service is appropriate, give demonstrations of it to any groups or individuals who might be interested.

Put videos of your product or service on YouTube and other video-sharing and slide-sharing sites, this is highly effective when it comes to SEO and your website.

Find out what local government programs are in existence to help you get started in business, most offer free counseling, and some can put you in touch with government agencies and large corporations that buy from small businesses.

Send out sales letters to everyone you think might be able to use what you sell, be sure to describe your business in terms of how it can help the prospect. Learn to drop a business card in every letter you send out, follow up periodically with mailings (email or post).

If you use a car or van for your business have your business name, contact and website information professionally painted on the sides or back of the vehicle that way your means of transportation becomes a vehicle for advertising your business, if you don’t want the business name painted on the vehicle, consider using magnetic signs or stickers.

Get on the telephone and make “cold calls.” these are calls to people who you would like to do business with, briefly describe what you do and ask for an appointment to talk to them about ways you can help them meet a need or solve a problem, but don’t forget when you make these calls that they are also trying to run a business.

Get samples of your product or your work into as many hands as possible.

Offer a free, no obligation consultation to people you think could use your services, during these consultations offer some practical suggestions or ideas.

Learn to ask for referrals ask existing customers, prospects and casual acquaintances, when you do get them follow them up.

Use other people to sell your product or service in addition to selling your products yourself, look for affiliates, re sellers or people who will generate leads for you in return for a commission on sales, be sure your pricing structure allows for the fees or commissions you will have to pay on any sales that are made.

Get together with businesses who serve the same market, but sell different products and services to you, arrange to exchange leads.

Have sales letters, flyers and other information printed and ready to go.

Trial Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on the search engines. some offer a voucher or code worth £50 to £75 in free advertising to start, however, know how they work before you start and plan very carefully watch what you spend on a daily or more frequently until you are comfortable using PPC ads and make sure you monitor the return on your investment.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At CodeSpinnewe have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more tips, or would like to receive a free 90 page eBook on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) please visit http://www.codespinner.co.uk/free-ebook.html

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Email: info@codespinner.co.uk
Website: http://www.codespinner.co.uk/
Twitter: @CodeSpinner

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old chinese proverb).

Top 5 Start-Up Questions

  1. What Kind of person makes a successful entrepreneur
    If you take a cross section of successful entrepreneurs you will see certain characteristics they have in common, whilst not a guarantee to success it is worth asking yourself if you have any of these attributes.
  • A strong desire to work for themselves and do things their way
  • A history of making good decisions
  • An ability to see the whole picture of where the business is and where it needs to be
  • A high energy level for the inevitable long hours
  • A thorough knowledge of the area that the business is positioned in
  • Ability to persevere when things become more challenging

Whilst it is not essential to tick all the boxes straight away, more crosses than ticks would certainly highlight a cause for concern; however, it may be that further training or investigation would go some way to turning crosses into ticks.

  1. Should I have a business plan?
    A business plan is necessary because it not only summarises both your vision of the future but gives a roadmap to follow towards ensuring your success.

The plan should include (but not limited to) initial start-up details, future direction, who is who, and projected profit and loss, cash flows and assets, the plan should include as a minimum:

  • A table of contents
  • A page identifying the company
  • An ‘Executive Page’ giving an overview of who you are, where you are and where you intend to be.
  • The background of where you and the business came from and skills possessed.
  • A Marketing plan summarising how you will promote your business and products
  • Financial forecasts and statements showing expected performance
  1. How do I estimate start-up costs and expenses?
    You need to know up front what your start-up expenses are going to be, without that information you have no way of knowing how much capital you need to get the business off the ground and running even if you are intending to be self financing you need to know whether you are going to hit cash flow problems. You need to find the costs of business premises (unless you are working from home) , rent, rates, telephones etc.
  1. Analysis of Monthly Cash Flow.
    Your projected financial figures may differ substantially from ‘Actual’ income, ongoing analysis will highlight whether you are accumulating enough cash to cover operating expenses as well as showing hopefully when there is an excess of cash to make purchases or expand your operation.
  1. The Competition.
    All businesses have competition, it is vital that you know who your competition are their prime concern is to get the business that you are now hoping to get, analyse how they get their business, their products their ‘uniqueness’ (the reason the customers chose them in the first place) their prices, their strengths and weaknesses.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At CodeSpinnewe have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more tips, or would like to receive a free 90 page eBook on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) please visit http://www.codespinner.co.uk/free-ebook.html

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Email: info@codespinner.co.uk
Website: http://www.codespinner.co.uk/
Twitter: @CodeSpinner

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old chinese proverb).

10 Things to Remember When Running Your Own Business.

Running your own business can be exciting, rewarding and stressful (not necessarily in that order), but life will be a little easier if you follow the following tips.

1.      Be passionate about your business
Work can and should be fun, having a passion for what you do makes coping with difficulties that little bit easier, regularly take time to think about why you enjoy being your own boss.

2.      Be flexible
It is a fact of life that plans will change from time to time; you need the flexibility to be able to cope with rapid change.

3.      Make timely decisions
It is ok to rely on intuition by all means plan and think about things, but don’t miss opportunities through lack of faith in your judgement. Don’t jump in to a new business venture without thought or planning but don’t wait for months either, try to find a happy medium most people benefit from a little pressure under fire.

4.      Don’t be afraid to fail
Learn from failure the alternative is to never try anything, if all captains went down with their ships there would be no captains left, hindsight is a wonderful thing, pick yourself up and assess what you would do differently. Remember you can’t run a business without taking risks, don’t let fear hold you back.

5.      Self Belief
You have to believe in yourself and your company, confidence is contagious both to employees and customers.

6.      Maintain a strong work ethic
Employees will follow your lead; it will help beat competition and maintain your edge with customers and suppliers.

7.      Your biggest asset is you!
Take care of yourself; your health is more valuable than anything maintain a healthy balance between work and family life.

8.      Step out of your comfort zone.
Periodically we all need to leave our comfort zone; there will be many times when you will feel uneasy implementing change.  So long as you mitigate the risks change can be good so long as it’s managed.

9.      Bounce back!
Learn from setbacks and move on.

10. Accept honest or justified criticism.
You won’t always get it right and just because you are the boss doesn’t make it right.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At CodeSpinnewe have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more tips, or would like to receive a free 90 page eBook on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) please visit http://www.codespinner.co.uk/free-ebook.html

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Email: info@codespinner.co.uk
Website: http://www.codespinner.co.uk/
Twitter: @CodeSpinner

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old chinese proverb).

How Good Is Your Software Team

Just how well does your software team rate? Answer the following questions it won’t take a minute honest.

  1. Do you use source control?
  2. Do you do daily builds?
  3. Do you use bug tracking?
  4. Do you fix bugs before adding more code?
  5. Do you have an up to date project plan?
  6. Do you have a specification?
  7. Do your developers have a quiet environment?
  8. Do you have testers?
  9. Do you do UAT testing?
  10. Do new developers have to write code at their interview?

Didn’t take long did it now let’s look them in turn.

1. Source control is a must have, not only does it keep your precious source code safe but developers don’t usually know what the last developer did, how good he was, whether the code he checked in actually builds. A good source control versions your code, keeps a history and allows roll backs to an earlier version.

2. Unless you perform regular builds on your code you never know what state it is in till you come to work on it. The process can be automated not only to build the whole codebase on a regular basis but to create single step checkout and builds (overnight if required) the more steps you need to get to the point of building the code the more prone to errors. Daily builds on the whole code base will highlight errors such as a developer checking back in the code but forgetting to checking new classes or libraries, the code will obviously build on his machine but won’t for anyone else checking out the code (even worse if he locks his machine and goes on holiday).

3. Without an organised listing of bugs you are going to ship not only low quality code but probably re ship the code with reported bugs unfixed, you can’t keep all of the bugs in your head. As a minimum your bug tracker must keep:-

  • Steps to recreate the bug
  • Expected behaviour (without the bug)
  • Who spotted the bug
  • Who is to or has fixed the bug
  • Current status of the bug

4. If you are not fixing the bugs before adding more code you are simply compounding the problem, not only will it make bug fixing harder (you can’t even attempt to debug till the current code compiles) but you could well be introducing new bugs to the existing ones.

5. The code is important to the business, it is important for them to know when the code is going to be ready, developers are notorious for saying “however long it takes” unfortunately that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) cut any ice with the business,  they have to plan in advance for  when they expect to get ownership back of the code and the only way to do this is to plan ahead and keep the plan up to date, from the developers point this means that there is a good chance that you won’t suffer from “feature creep” and end up working on the code for the next ten years.

6. If there is one thing about spec’s it usually that everyone agrees you should have one but no one provides one.  As a result, when teams consisting solely of developers  approach the problem they go straight for a solution and dive straight in to coding resulting in much higher costs to fix any design or code issues. Software which wasn’t built using a specification quite often results in a badly designed product which doesn’t meet requirements and timelines spiral out of control.
7. We all know the developers work best when they can get into “the zone” where they can fully concentrate on their work, the trouble is that it is hard enough to get into “the zone” as it is without constant distractions, phone calls and the ever present “can you do this for me it won’t take you long” interruptions.

8. If your team doesn’t include at least 1 tester (ideally to every 3 developers) you are probably at best using a highly skilled developer to do a lower skilled job and at worst delivering buggy code to the business, saving money on not having testers is a false economy and can dramatically cut delivery times.

9. You simply have to have UAT testing, how many times are users given a new system and told to get on with it, more often than not they have had no input as to how the system works, scarily end users won’t even be asked what is wrong with the old system. UAT is an invaluable must have step in the process; no code should be delivered without first going through UAT.

10. Is there any other professional you would employ without first checking their work or at the very least have them highly recommended by someone you totally trust.You are placing a lot of trustthese people not to bring your business down, not to destroy the trust you earned for your business with your clients, every new developer should be asked to show competence to the level that the position requires.

 

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At CodeSpinnewe have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more tips, or would like to receive a free 90 page eBook on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) please visit http://www.codespinner.co.uk/free-ebook.html

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Email: info@codespinner.co.uk
Website: http://www.codespinner.co.uk/
Twitter: @CodeSpinner

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old chinese proverb).

Why should you work for yourself?

1. You get paid for the work and effort you put in

When you work for someone else, you have a set number of hours a week that you are contracted to work and your wage is set, based on the contract you signed but in most jobs you work far more than you have to, if you work for yourself every minute you work will be for your own benefit.

2. There has never been a better time.

There has never been a better time to start a business; in the current economic climate most people are scared and holding onto their jobs tighter than ever. The rewards are out there for the people who have faith in themselves.

3. Don’t just wish it.

Do what you love whether it is money, people or a hobby do what you are passionate about this will give you the energy to succeed where others are failing.

4. A more flexible approach

Your work schedule should work for you, not the other way around. Some people are ridiculously productive working a few hours a day, others need to put in 40 hours a week, but few people work at their full potential if they are working 40+ hours a week with no breaks. Don’t get me wrong the work will be hard and the hours will be long until you are established but all the time you will be working for you.

5. A challenge

You will have no choice but to be creative. When you work for yourself you won’t be able to ‘coast’ along, instead you have to constantly stay on top of things, making sure your business and more importantly your life don’t go off the rails. This adds to pleasure and excitement of working for yourself as you have a solid purpose and often get great satisfaction from the work you do. Don’t allow yourself to be part of the mainstream anymore, instead start working for yourself, get creative and build something you’ll be proud of in years to come.

6. Set Goals

You cannot build a successful business if you don’t have your priorities straight and ego in check,”

While entrepreneurs should be confident don’t let it run away with you

7. Set Goals

Too many people think they need to reinvent the wheel, why not make an existing idea better.

8. If funds are limited

If you have limited resources your business need to be focused on making money. Determine whether an expense is a necessity.

9. Clients don’t normally seek you out

Put yourself out into the world. Always look to sell yourself without being over the top and annoying, try Joining groups, network (4N, BNI etc) regularly, and find different ways to get your business in front of people who matter.

10. Be afraid, be very afraid

Do you want to wake up 30 years from now doing the same job you are doing now?, how much more scary can it get.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At CodeSpinnewe have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more tips, or would like to receive a free 90 page eBook on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) please visit http://www.codespinner.co.uk/free-ebook.html

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Email: info@codespinner.co.uk
Website: http://www.codespinner.co.uk/
Twitter: @CodeSpinner

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old chinese proverb).

When was the last time you looked at your own website?

I don’t mean just visited the home page to check the site was up, I mean the last time you looked at every page, not just looked but read the page in full and clicked every link.

If it’s been a while, it’s probably time to refresh both your site’s content and its look and feel.

Fix any problems. As websites grow, things tend to get a little messy and “bolt-on”. You can end up with mixed fonts, broken links, extra colours or simply a different “look and feel” between pages, the next thing you know, the whole site looks unstructured or messy. Take the time to look at each page, make sure information is accurate and that all links are working.

Get a makeover. If your site hasn’t had a new look in ages it is probably starting to look dated, return visitors can be left with the impression that your business is the same.

Simplify.  Get back to basics, look at each page of your site and ask yourself exactly what would you like visitors to do, is it sign up for a newsletter?, call your business?, buy something from you, whatever the answer, make that the only action to take on that page.

Create a News page. Not only will your customers appreciate it but it won’t do your web stats any harm either. Post press releases and on your site and keep customers or prospects up to date with what’s going on in your company. Create the impression that your business has a lot going on.

Update the about page. The About page is usually the second-most visited page of any site, which means it is an important page. Put a friendly ‘face’ on the company; rewrite this page to include new news, new products, charity events, a biopic of new team members who have joined the company.

To Blog or Not to Blog. That is the question, If your site includes a blog, and that blog hasn’t been updated recently, remove it altogether there is nothing worse than seeing the last blog entry was three months ago.

Good blogs can drive new prospects to your site. Make a conscious decision to either post at least once a week or simply get rid of it.

And finally. You wouldn’t believe how many business websites there are where the phone number, address, contact names, product prices and hours of operation are either hard to find or missing altogether. Check to see if your contact information can be easily found, don’t just put them on the contact page.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At CodeSpinnewe have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more tips, or would like to receive a free 90 page eBook on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) please visit http://www.codespinner.co.uk/free-ebook.html

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Email: info@codespinner.co.uk
Website: http://www.codespinner.co.uk/
Twitter: @CodeSpinner

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old chinese proverb).

 

What is cloud computing and what can it do for me

The term cloud is used as a metaphor for the internet. Cloud computing is a general term for anything which involves delivered hosted services over the internet.

In broad terms a cloud service has three characteristics which differentiate it from traditional hosting, these are;

  1. It is provided on demand (by the minute or hour in some cases)
  2. It is scalable (a user can have as little or as much as they want)
  3. the service is fully managed by the vendor (you typically only require a computer and internet access)

Cloud computing promises to speed application deployment and lower costs, whilst increasing business agility. It has transformed the way we design, build and deliver applications to the users. Have you used a search engine today?, have you accessed web mail if so you are already using cloud services.

There are public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds but don’t let the jargon put you off, everyone agrees that cloud computing is the key to the future of I.T but lots of these people are unsure of what it is. Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon to offer “cloud services” so it is worth understanding such terms as SaaS (software as a service) or PaaS (platform as a service) or IaaS (infrastructure as a service) to name a few if you need to evaluate a suppliers claims.

Cloud computing has some real benefits but also has risks such as loss of services if your provider has downtime or worse still goes out of business also regulatory concerns over data security so choose your vendor carefully.

I recently setup a really simple system for a plumber who lives down the street; he already had an iPhone, an Apple Mac and an iPad although in his words he wasn’t really sure what to do with them. During our conversation he mentioned that his wife mans the phone at home and jots down all of his incoming appointments then rings him at regular intervals to give him the new list, if the call is urgent she tries to call him straight away, within 10 minutes we had connected his Apple Mac, iPhone and iPad calendar applications up to iCloud (he was familiar with the calendar app anyway), now when his wife enters the call details into a time slot on the calendar app on the Mac the appointment appears on his iPhone and iPad almost instantly and any Urgent appointments are highlighted in red, he now knows exactly when and where he should be, what the problem is before he gets there, the address and customer name and contact details and it cost him nothing as he already had the technology simple, but had this come up a year or two ago it would have been a little more difficult and a lot more expensive to achieve, it’s certainly not the best solution to his problem but it works for him and cost him nothing.

The reason for the anecdote above is to show that the “Cloud” isn’t frightening or intimidating, it’s not the answer to everything but in certain cases it does exactly what it says on the tin.

To conclude, here are a few more terms you may want to research if you want to know more, it is a fascinating subject.

Utility Computing
SaaS
– Software as a service
PaaS – Platform as a service
IaaS – Infrastructure as a service
RIA – Rich internet application
Multi-tenancy
Public, Private, Hybrid Clouds
Virtualisation

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence or would like more information on cloud contact us.

At CodeSpinnewe have over 25 years experience of producing custom software.

If you would like to get more tips, or would like to receive a free 90 page eBook on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) please visit http://www.codespinner.co.uk/free-ebook.html

Alternatively if you would like us to discuss your software requirements contact me at:

Tel: 07850 009750
Email: info@codespinner.co.uk
Website: http://www.codespinner.co.uk/
Twitter: @CodeSpinner

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand (old chinese proverb).