Imogen Thomas Films
Your Website on an iPhone, Android or Blackberry (17th Oct 2011)
Website owners are now seeing significant numbers of people visiting their websites via mobile devices like an iPhones, Android phones and Blackberry's. This proportion of mobile users is growing rapidly.
The small screens of these devices, combined fast touchscreen response instead of keyboard inputs, means that we are being asked to create a separate version of their websites, versions specifically designed for the mobile user.
We provide an entry page that automatically detects what type of platform is being used for display and then seamlessly transports the user to the look-and-feel that is most suited to their platform, whether Desktop, iPad or small-screen mobile platform like iPhone or Android.
Interesting how after so many years of being asked to provide more and more functionality on each web page, that small screens are now pushing our customers in the opposite direction - the direction of creating small fast pages that work swiftly for their business.
Contact us if you want to create a mobile version of your own website!
Despite a rather patchy economy in Australia at present, one of our customers recently sold his last bricks and mortar business. The reason? He is now making so much money from his online businesses that he can afford to go completely virtual. After 20 years of owning business premises and staff, his family might be a bit worried by his cutting of this last tie, but he isn't. Why would you be - when you are making $200K pa online with plenty of further online growth in the pipeline. Web Ascend has been assisting him with building up these online businesses over the years, helping this entrepreneur achieve his dream lifestyle including freedom from staff worries and the convenience of running his business from home.
One of our Corporate Customers achieved a rapid payback period of only a few months after installing a brand-new online B2B Product Catalogue and Ordering system custom-designed and built by Web Ascend. The encouraging reception of this online ordering system amongst their clients has led to plans to further extend the system into a new Retail market.
An automotive organisation that uses Web Ascend for their website development has seen 5000 unique visitors per month grow rapidly to 15000 unique visitors per month, the database recording more than 100 product searches per day from around the world, many of these searches leading to new orders via their network of dealers, searchable online.
One of the most important success factors in the above examples, seems to be the self-discipline to grow your online business in stages. A staged online strategy minimises the risk, allows for learning and corrections to take place at minimal cost and allows the company to achieve a quick return on each stage of their investment, thereby keeping the financial controller happy.
Contact us if you want help in turbo-charging your own online business idea!
A good friend, who owns a completely legal and ethical business that has been operating in Australia for decades, has been banned by Google. More specifically, a number of his Google Adwords campaigns have been frozen and ALL his Google online advertising has been blocked.
When i spoke with him about the banning, David (not his real name, to spare him any further grief) said that Google had told him that the landing pages looked ... wait for it ... "too much like a get-rick-quick-scheme" !
Which i found rather amusing, given that Google itself appears to most ordinary people like us to be one massive get-rich-quick-scheme. Moreover, the banned campaigns were of the Pay Per Click kind, the ads that appear in a column on the righthand side of the Google search results screen, under the heading "Ads". People clicking on these links surely know that someone is going to be trying to sell them something, otherwise why would they be called Ads? Finally, David's landing pages were nothing out of the ordinary, no flashing lights or sneaky code or anything underhand, just plain HTML pages describing the business services on offer, together with a call to action for anyone interested.
At the time of writing, which is now 2 weeks after the banning, David still has no idea when he will be able to restart his Google Adword advertising again. He says, ruefully, that it is a lesson to anyone to make sure they are not overly-reliant on Google advertising for their business.
I realise this must seem like fantasy-land right now, but perhaps it will be a mark of distinction in the not-too-distant future to be a successful business that cannot be found on Google. The logic being that, if you are able to run a successful business without any Google visibility, you must really be quite something!
Meantime, we just have to learn to dance with Godzilla without stepping upon his delicate little toes.
Contact us if you want to know more about these kinds of situations, or to discuss different ways of making your business a marketing success.
Today i attended a Federal Government sponsored Online Marketing seminar held at The Entrance on the Central Coast.
I have to admit that i had reservations attending the Web Marketing seminar. Not because of the monetary cost, which was very economical, but because i could see myself at the end of the training day resenting the fact that six hours of my time had been siphoned away from my rather over-full schedule of website projects - and maybe for no real benefit to me or my customers.
So i am happy to report that the eBusiness training event did actually turn out to be worthwhile. Mainly because it confirmed that most Web Ascend customers are on the right track with their websites, and with their online marketing in general, including:
But, in addition to confirming some of what i had already learnt (often the hard way!), i also came across some new things, some of which i found rather neat. One of the presenters gave a great demonstration of the power of Blogs. He posted a quick blog during the morning that included the business details of one of the seminar attendees. By the afternoon, those details were showing up on the first page of the Google organic search results. It wasn't for a particularly popular search phrase, but was nevertheless a pretty cool demonstration of the rapid uptake of the web.
Final note is regarding the "one mile deep versus one mile wide" marketing approach. If your business offers distinctly different products or services, the idea here is to create a number of separate websites that are named according to the specific product or service concerned. Then to drive customer prospects to these websites via Google Adwords and have them complete an online form in order to benefit from a special offer. You then have their email address for outbound marketing, as well as their contact details to sell them the product or service concerned. This is called the "one mile wide" approach because you end up with many websites, each containing only a shallow amount of information. Versus the "one mile deep" approach of having only one website that holds all the information.
Lots more - if you wanted any further information about any of the above topics, feel free to contact us.
I'm sure you have heard of the Plumber that never gets round to fixing his own plumbing, or the Mechanic that never gets round to servicing his own car.
Well, that's how i feel. It is truly scary that it is now more than a year since i made any updates to my website. It is no excuse to say that we have been too busy building and launching more than thirty customer websites in the meantime. Like many people, i have been simply too slack to attend to the health of our own website. Shame on me!
It is also irritating to me to find out how much easier it is to write copy for my customers than for our own site. It has taken me literally hours this weekend to rewrite the content of my Home Page. Now i know how our customers feel when we ask them to supply some starting text for their website. It is definitely harder to promote your own business without feeling self-conscious. It seems to be so much easier to promote the business of our customers!
Talking about customers - one of our clients owns four (4) different websites, one for each of their major brands. We began by creating a new website for their main brand that included many new features, one of which is an online catalogue. This has proven to be so successful that they get more than 3,000 product searches every month - many of them leading to profitable online orders - and we are now revamping their other websites to suit.
Another of our clients owns a highly seasonal business, with the bulk of their cashflow coming in during the summer months. Now that the weather is cooling down, they are using the opportunity to upgrade their website with us.
My advice is not to be as slack as we are with your website - think about your own business and whether your online presence needs upgrading. Contact us for any advice or assistance.
Does that phrase frighten you? I’m not surprised.
After all, who would wish for a risky 2009? Especially after seeing so much risk exposed during the past year, finally left bare after the many successive high tides of irrational exuberance finally receded.
It is not surprising that people now want to cloak themselves in the comfort of extreme caution. Except for a few. Warren Buffett is an obvious example of one of the few. A man who is famously rich simply because he was never being afraid to go against the mob. But there are others. Whilst not so rich now, they are putting themselves on the path of becoming so. These are people that are excited by their own vision and courageous enough to act, to rise above the prevailing atmosphere of stultifying caution.
I can think of the story of two medical professionals here in Sydney. Whilst they know each other and are good friends, they have different medical specialities.
The first has caught onto the idea of presenting seminars and recording motivational and educational videos. We have built him a website that promotes and sells these online. He is already making as much money from his seminars and videos as from his traditional medical clinics.
The second has seized on the opportunity to help with the medical treatment requirements of those large Australian organisations that have far-flung outposts located across the whole continent. We have constructed an internet site that allows for secure database access by authorised medical professionals. They can login from anywhere and at any time of day or night in response to a sudden medical incident.
Maybe you are one of those rare people that can break out of the straitjacket. Maybe there's an idea that caught hold of you during the holidays, something wild and impractical, but inspiring nonetheless. Why not take the next step? Why not do it now?
Have a risky New Year!
All the best from Web Ascend - putting websites to work from the Central Coast NSW
You may have heard that a 19 year old college student in Florida named Abraham Biggs tragically committed suicide on the web this week. People sitting in front of their computers at home watched in horror as he slowly lost consciousness and died in front of his webcam after taking some pills. The emergency services arrived too late to save him.
Here is my question to you - is your website committing online suicide? Whilst obviously not on the same scale as a human suicide, a dying website is nonetheless not a pretty sight. We are often called in to restore a depressed or dying website back to life. Here are some symptoms we often find - do you recognise any of them?
Symptom 1 - No visibility
Symptom 2 - No data
Symptom 3 - No sales
Symptom 4 - No cost benefit
Symptom 5 - Wrong image
Symptom 6 - No value add
Luckily, fixing these issues might be easier than you think. So take action to stop your website from dying online - before it's too late! Contact us now for an obligation-free opinion and quote.
People often ask about compliance to various compatibility standards like W3C DOM, XHTML and CSS.
Yes, it is important that your website looks right in all the commonly used web browsers like IE, Firefox, Safari etc.
But this is just the bare minimum. The much more important question that people should be asking, is:
To answer the question, here is what is needed in order to achieve a clear, easy-to-follow narrative...
Firstly, a website needs to have a clear mission. People need to know what it is about or they won’t trust it.
Secondly, the website should clearly indicate what makes it unique or different from competitors or other similar websites. People need a reason to explore your website. You also want to attract the right kind of person by highlighting what makes you compelling to them.
Thirdly, there should be some clear threads or sequences of pages for people to follow depending upon their interest. Visitors should not be left stranded on a page, wondering where they should go next. There should be clear signposts for them at every stage.
In summary, exploring your website should be like strolling through a large and beautiful garden where there are many and varied treats in store for the visitor, available via a system of well-laid out paths and signs.
Rather than being dumped in the middle of a pitch-black honeycomb of underground caves, with only a tiny flickering candle for illumination and no way of knowing where to go next, or what there is to see.
Cross-browser standards like the W3C DOM are just the bare minimum, checking cross browser compliance is like checking a car is roadworthy. Much more needs to be investigated and far more time and attention needs to be spent on making sure your website meets your business needs - and doesn’t become a jumbled honeycomb of dead ends.
Two different clients revealed problems with their websites that were exact mirror images of each other this week.
The answer to Customer A was simple. Their Google rankings should remain at or near the top, even after the redesign, provided that we kept the same text and maintained the same metadata tags in the page header. We showed them the "View Source" facility to illustrate why Google would be unlikely to know, or care, that the look-and-feel was different.
The answer to Customer B was that their poor rankings were because their existing home page had very little native text. The graphics were essentially invisible to search engines. I explained that Google prefers plain text information and that the best thing we could do to raise their ranking, was to add a bunch of useful and relevant text to the current home page. We could easily add a new information section underneath, in keeping with their current design and without needing to disturb the existing people-friendly graphics.
So there you have it - you can have a Home Page that suits both people and those pesky search engines!
Anyone can make money during the good times, it's when times get tough that we see the wheat sorted from the chaff!
With many of their weaker competitors being forced to shut their doors, companies that survive the aftermath of the current Financial Crisis will emerge stronger and more profitable when the good times return.
So what actions will help your organisation be one of the survivors?
What has all this to do with Web Ascend?
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