Just like your website, email is one of the main faces of your business and often the first contact potential customers will experience. So you can’t afford not to do it properly. But ever since I started out in the business, people seem to have been making the same old mistakes over and over again. That makes it a great subject for the latest in my series of blog posts which are looking increasingly like they should be called “rants from a grumpy old web guy”.
Design and Technology Blog
People who describe themselves as IT consultants aren’t usually experts at marketing and don’t often have a track record in design. The reverse is also true; Designers and Marketing people are not IT experts. The two are worlds apart. But in my experience, thanks to some questionable claims made by IT people, the average business owner has trouble distinguishing between them, often to the detriment of their business. A lot of businesses end up with cheap and nasty looking websites.
I’m a graphic designer and web designer. My expertise is in design, visual identities and marketing communications. I’m not a Microsoft Systems Administrator or an IT support guy. In fact I don’t even use a Windows PC. And yet I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said to me “You work in computers don’t you? Can you fix my PC/set up my email/show me how to use Excel…”.
When buying a computer for their business, most people don’t look beyond a Windows based PC. Microsoft’s operating system is pre-installed on every PC from low-end to top of the range, and therein lies the problem. Whatever machine you choose, the user experience is the same. You can buy the best PC in the shop but you’ll still get all the crashes, virus attacks, spyware, unintuitive interface and annoying security warnings.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Thanks to the popularity of the iPhone among business users, more and more people are waking up to the fact that in addition to making the device that rewrote the rule book on mobile phones, Apple also makes computers that feature the same reliability, ease of use and polish. And best of all, they don’t run Microsoft Windows.
We all know running a business requires a certain amount of speculation. Dealing with enquiries that might not come to anything, quoting for jobs you might not get, and offering the benefit of your advice to prospects in the hope that they’ll become customers. It’s all part of the game. But you only need to run a business for a short while to realise that there are a lot of people out there who will quite happily waste your time. Since I became a business owner, I’ve worked out that there are two basic types of time waster.
A business consultant gave me a very good piece of advice when I was about to start my own business. He asked me what my job title was and I replied “Web Designer and Graphic Designer”. His reply was simple: “No you’re not, stop thinking like that!”. He had been appointed by my previous employer to offer help and advice to those of us who had been told we were about to become victims of the latest wave of redundancies.
Web site owners spend a lot of time optimising their content for search engines and promoting their site through Facebook and Twitter. But some are then disappointed when they find they aren”t converting as many visitors to customers as they”d like. Read more »
Search engines are a lot like humans. When somebody searches for something, a search engine reads the text on a page and decides how relevant the content is to what that person is searching for. It then decides how important that page is in relation to all the other pages that may also contain relevant content.
So you’ve had your web site a while but you’re still waiting for all the business to start flooding in? It’s a familiar story. As a web designer I’m constantly amazed at some of the very basic mistakes I see on company web sites.Here are 10 tips that will help you get the most from your web site and perform better in search rankings. Some of these are primarily from a point of view of helping you perform better in search engine rankings, others are general improvements that may improve usability and convert viewers to customers.
I love my job, and the vast majority of my clients are intelligent people who know their businesses better than I do, and are able to strike a balance between taking sensible advice and asserting their wishes. But over the years I”ve had a few requests that have left me wondering why I bother. Some of these crop up time and time again. So here”s a fun look at some of the things they say.
Your logo is in many cases one of the first things people notice about your business. It speaks volumes about who you are, what your business does and what kind of an outfit you run. It is essential that you get it right.
But as a small business owner, you probably aren’t in a position to hire a team of marketing and design consultants to create a logo for you. The good news is, you don’t have to. Follow a few basic principles and you can have a logo that’s perfectly suitable for your business.
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Many people find themselves leaving the world of nine to five drudgery as a paid employee for the exciting life as a business owner or self employed person. It may be through choice, or it may be due to redundancy, but whatever the reason, it can be a massive culture shock for anyone who has been cushioned by the safe world of paid employment for a long time.