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).

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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).

 

What is a squeeze page?

A “squeeze page” is a single page and its sole purpose is to either capture the visitors email address (in return for your free giveaway) or in some cases, to make a sale, but by far the main reason is to capture the visitors email address.

When building a business, a highly-effective squeeze page is essential for daily lead capture because without those leads network marketers don’t have a business!

Design an effective squeeze page.

“Who do you want” – One of the more important steps, yet time and again people charge straight in without a clear understanding of exactly the type of person they want on their email list yet without this vital step how are you going to develop a campaign good enough to create interest and gain trust.

Take the time to work out exactly who you are trying to attract on to your list in terms of your ultimate goals. Then and only then will you know how best to write the copy.

Your squeeze page has one goal to get people to sign up to your email list; every word on the page should support that single action. If it doesn’t, lose it.

Things to Avoid

Remove anything distracting the user from signing up that includes things like the sidebar, links, navigation menu, non essential text, links and images this page should have one purpose only “sign them up”

Your primary goal with a squeeze page is to get people to opt-in.

You must have:

  1. A headline: You’ve got to instantly catch attention with your headline.
  2. Benefits: You’ve got to tell by teasing, usually with fascinating bullet points.
  3. Call to Action: You’ve got to expressly tell people to sign-up.
  4. Opt-in form: You’ve got to have a way for them to sign-up.
  5. Build Trust: Add a photo or signature, privacy disclaimer, testimonials anything to show that you are trustworthy.

The Gift.

This could be a free report, eBook, or piece of software, news feed or any other freebie.

You will always get subscribers who take your incentive with an alternate “specially for spam” email address, or simply unsubscribe immediately, it is your job to keep them subscribed, you could for instance offer to drip feed them reports over time, break the eBook into parts or give early news on what’s coming next.

The key is to make people aware that you’re giving more than you’re taking.

Keep the page focused and concise, obviously the essentials have to be there, the headline, benefits, call to action and obviously the opt-in-form but also reassure the user that you will respect their privacy there is nothing worse than signing up for something useful then finding your details have been passed on to all and sundry.

How much information do you really need?

The less you ask for the more likely they are to sign up, you only need the email address, if you want more trial more but in our tests the email only option performed far better, however, if your business needs a mailing address, or other personal details consider getting them on board first then build up your contact details. The more trust you build; the more people open up to you.

Don’t Forget to Monitor and Test!

Every business is different the only way to find exactly what works for you and your potential audiences to do your own testing. Even changing a single sentence or word can make a difference good or bad so monitor.

If you would like any help or advice with your web presence contact us.

At CodeSpinner we 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).