At about 930pm on Tuesday night, the peace and quiet of HDG Towers was shattered by the flap of the letterbox and a thud as a yellow book arrived.
Ok, I should be preaching to the converted here – using social media is a great way to attract more visitors (and therefore potential clients) to your website. So today’s top tips are 3 very simple fixes to increase the chances of those ‘listeners’ converting to visitors. And it’s all about where you put your website address.
It’s on the Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Mail websites, even the BBC have given the game away – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15968878 – so I will too…
Yes, our cryptic sponsored post – Can you crack it? – was sponsored by GCHQ as part of a recruitment drive – crack the code and you’re invited to apply for a a job.
My days of driving a gorgeous Alfa Romeo, all expenses paid thanks to big Pharma, are long gone. Nowadays I prefer my driving costs lower, positively frugal in fact.
Last year I managed to pick up an old Ford Escort on eBay, with a full year’s MOT for £400. No, it wasn’t in perfect condition but it was perfectly usable and served me well. It didn’t need to be serviced and I had no intention of trying to get it through another MOT.
So this year, once I had picked up a bargain replacement, I needed to dispose of the old Escort. I’d been offered £100 trade-in but that wasn’t convenient, but I didn’t fancy trekking around scrap yards either, so we got Googling.
I’ve tried to use webuyanycar before, and was disappointed by the ‘hidden’ costs and downward haggling you get after the valuation. Besides, this car wasn’t for sale, it was for scrap. So it was while looking for this we found Cartakeback.com – which promised to make the process easy. And sure enough, it did. I was offered quotes from four local yards but even better was the highest quote, which included collection.
It’s things like this that make using the internet to do business so good. They take a, lets be honest, nasty task of scrapping a car and make it a simple process. I entered my details on Wednesday, they called me to confirm on Thursday, on Saturday the lorry arrived to collect – the driver had a nice fresh cheque in his hand – and on Monday I received the DVLA Certificate of Destruction by email.
That’s exactly how this online life should be.
P.S. they gave me £170, so that car cost me £230 plus petrol and tax for a year – I think that’s pretty good!
We’re a bit behind on our updates – they say “the cobbler’s children never have any shoes” and it seems this applies to web designers too.
However, even if it was a month ago, we’re still very proud to add First Contact Languages to our fairly marvellous Kent Website Design portfolio.
A few months ago, a client came to us because she was having trouble with her website.
She loved the design, the look suited her and her business perfectly. She just couldn’t update it. It had been set up as a CMS so that she could, in theory, change it whenever she liked. It’s just the CMS was so complicated, the site so awkwardly designed that she couldn’t make head nor tail of it.
At first we took a look at it to carry out the updates for her but when we started to dig a little deeper it was not good news. Entirely Flash based it was far from accessible and not at all search engine friendly. The limitations of the CMS had meant the designers had to fudge the content so that it looked good.
So, we gave her two quotes – one to carry out the changes, one to completely re-engineer the site on a platform that would be far easier to maintain and far better at giving her the site she needed.
It would cost a little more at first but she could see the benefits, so we started to implement the design she liked in a far better tool – CMS Made Simple, to be precise. In the meantime, her previous website designers, who were often hard to get hold of, usually impossible, popped up demanding money for hosting costs that had never been explained to her.
She took great pleasure in telling them her plans and exactly where they could get off. She is now very happy with her site, Fill Your Face Cosmetics.
Time has passed and her site continues to grow, regularly updated with the content she needs and costing her less to maintain. So much so, she has already saved the cost of us re-implementing the site.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Yesterday she was contacted by some friends who had also had their websites designed by the same people. It turns out that the designers and their company have disappeared. Their website is down, and so are all the websites of their clients.
So all the clients have to convince the hosts of this particularly strange system to re-instate their sites, then decide where to go from there. We have a suggestion…
…but until then, what can we learn from this?
If your designers are also your hosts, you need to ask them a few questions…
1) Is my domain name registered in my name?
2) Where is my website hosted?
3) Is my website backed up?
4) Can I make changes to the site myself?
5) What are my user names and passwords, including ftp access to the site?
A decent designer should have no problem sharing this information. After all, they will want you stay with them not because you have to, but because you want to.
Wanting the answers to these questions doesn’t mean you are thinking of leaving, it just means you’re being careful – what if your designer gets hit by a bus tomorrow?
If you don’t like the answers they give, it’s time to start hunting for a new team to work for. Just don’t hunt too far, eh?
CMS – Content Management System – a way of building a website where the content (words and pictures) are kept separate from the design and software. That way you can easily change the bits you need without having to understand things you shouldn’t have to worry about.
Flash – Adobe Flash – a system for delivering applications and multimedia like animations across the web. Can create great looking sites that do nothing for your search rankings or accessibility.
I am fortunate that I am reminded why I enjoy running my own business at fairly regular intervals. This morning was one of these occasions.
Met up with a potential client to discuss a potential website. Things were going well when suddenly something went ‘click’.
We came up with (we think) a great theme for the site’s design. You could feel the excitement control turn up a few notches and by the end of the meeting we were both buzzing.
I’m not giving anything else away until November 1st, other than I hope I can do her justice and this is going to be fabulous…
Every now and then a bit of software, a gadget or a website comes along and makes the inhabitants of Geek Towers go “wow”.
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It’s not just michaelwaves and electrickery…
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