This is a question I’m asked quite a lot so I plan to shed some light on the best way of approaching your current web site.
If you are a business owner who hopes to generate some enquiries from your existing website, a redesign could seem tempting to reinvigorate interest – but as the old saying goes ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it’. That’s all good and well but potentially your website could be working harder for you. I won’t lie, it’s a tricky decision to make but more often than not I always say ‘Go for it’. This is because I believe that if a website is built correctly and is user friendly there is absolutely no reason not to strive for a better website.
There are some questions you need to know the answers to before deciding on what to do with your existing website, here’s a few for you to chew on:
- Do you feel your current website offers a good user experience?
- Can users navigate to the information they want easily?
- Does the design represent the company correctly?
- What end result(s) are you hoping the website will achieve? Is it achieving?
- What short comings does the site have?
- How does the website compare to your competition?
- Is the site contemporary and viewable on all platforms? (eg; smart phones, tablets etc)
Once you’ve answered the questions above you’ll have a good idea on what to do next. On average I would recommend that everyone should at least try and upgrade their website every 18 months / 2 years as the industry moves so fast that it’s so vital to be seen as up to speed with the latest technologies.
The final piece of the jigsaw should be whether to add elements of functionality to your site. If you want to generate customer enquiries, make it easier for them to do so by adding some call to action buttons. If you want people to buy products from your site, streamline the buying process – make it easy!
In regards to the website’s aesthetic, trust the designer you have hired. If they have a proven track record of delivering, trust their opinion and try and bounce idea’s around to see what your options are. The relationship you build up with your designer could last for years so it’s good to be able to tap into their knowledge and see what potential your website has.
All in all, you should always be striving for a better website, it’s an on-going process which should always be monitored. No other asset your company has can be reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It’s one of the most important parts of your business so why not make it your business to have the best website you possibly can.
While big in America, start-up culture doesn’t seem to have quite as much traction in the UK. Sure Dragon’s Den gets the viewing figures but it is little more than reality TV panhandling and doesn’t offer any insights into how to get the next Facebook beater off the ground. Here then is a quick guide to how to build your empire from scratch.
First up. What is the problem you are trying to solve? What possible solutions are there? What key metrics do you need to measure to see if what you are doing is a success? What is your unique value proposition? What advantage do you have that cannot easily be replicated? Who are you targeting? What will it cost? How are you going to make money from it?
Solve genuine problems. Don’t just come up with a list of features and don’t just offer a workaround to common problems offer a complete solution. Interview potential customers and find out what their problems are? What would be your solution? Everyone has that one great idea but it’s execution that counts.
Minimize your total time in getting something in front of potential customers. Launch as quickly as possible in fact you need to be even quicker than that. Your first step is your Minimum viable product, MVP in start-up lingo. This is always less than you think. It could be just a one pager with a sign-up form or a blog outlining your big plans. But you need to get something, anything, out there in front of your potential customer base.
Waiting until something is perfect is a recipe for failure. Things will never be just right and you’ll tinker forever over things that are just not important at all. You ain’t gonna need it is a mantra programmers follow and you should too when cutting features from your product. That’s right, you should always be thinking about what to get rid of next rather than what your next great feature is. Less is more. Keep it simple stupid. You need to find the one feature that customers LOVE. You’ll know you’ve found it when they complain that you’ve taken it away.
Iterate rapidly. Launch your MVP. Measure the analytics. Test your assumptions and trust in the data. Make the changes you need, optimise your product and launch again. Rinse. Repeat.
Fail Fast. You need to know if your product is succeeding or failing. This is why it’s essential to iterate and not go with the big up front product that is perfect. If you do and it fails you’ve thrown away months of work. Get the MVP out there and measure. If it fails start over again with the data you’ve got in hand.
Don’t feel guilty about making your product pay to play. It can be a big mistake to offer up all your work for free in the hope that someone might pay for it down the road. By charging money you’re telling people you think it’s worth something. By giving it away you’re telling them it’s not worth anything yet. Maximise your user acquisition, make your current customers happy and they’ll work as your viral marketers. You also did remember to set up your Twitter and Facebook accounts right ?
Don’t let customers get away. If you’ve converted someone through a signup you have their details. Follow up. Send them a personal email asking why your product didn’t meet their needs, what problems they encountered. If it’s viable then consider it for the next iteration.
Once you have found a fit between your product and customers you need to transition to growth and riches! Possibly. If you do make it to be the next Mark Zuckerberg just remember who gave you the advice…
eSterling have a full-time vacancy for an SEO Administrator to support the provision of service to our large customer base. Based in Digbeth, the company is well-established within the Web Design and Development industry and looking for the right person to join our team.
We are looking for a friendly and motivated person who wants to carve out a career in this fast-paced industry. The right candidate will be ready and willing to learn, with a good aptitude for administration and customer service and will be punctual and smart in appearance.
We welcome applications from those with or without relevant experience, but do require a good standard of written and spoken English and a basic knowledge of HTML.
The role will include:
- Basic HTML work
- Onsite and offsite search engine optimisation
- Customer service and support
- General and technical administration
- Email support
Candidates will attend an initial interview and will be required to undertake a basic HTML test. Second interviews may be required.
Monday to Friday, 37.5 hours per week and flexible working hours.
Salary range: £12,000-£15,000.
To be considered for this role please email your CV to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that Facebook timeline is in full swing after becoming a default setting, some budding designers have started using the new layout to promote their brand in the most creative ways possible. A new trend has emerged for designing customised timeline images that really stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the person stopping by at your profile.
Timeline has a lot of potential when it comes to promoting your brand, as you can use the large banner at the top to place a large image of a product – or customise a graphic with your contact details or company information.
Take for instance Jessica Barnard’s profile below. She has customised her personal profile to promote her brand and uses the banner to showcase her style of work. Very quickly, we learn that Jessica is a ‘web designer & self-professed technology addict’ with a sense of humour, who leans towards a vintage or retro style. She’s even had time to promote her Twitter and Pinterest pages.
A banner like Jessica’s can be put together fairly simply using Photoshop or Illustrator. All you need is a little imagination and a clear idea of what your brand is about. Or you can let eSterling do the hard work for you and talk to us about a customised Facebook timeline graphic.
Here’s a run down of some of my other favourite Facebook timeline graphics:
1. Robert Falken:
2. Neils Langeveld
3. Tiffany and Co.