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To kick the New Year off we are now officially offering 3 New Products, ( although a couple of existing customers have had advance access to them already ). All 3 are web related services or products, and you can read more about them either in this newsletter, or on our website. We should be adding another product next month, but more on that as its released.
There is also an introductory Special Offer on 1 of our new Products, which could save you 33% off the standard price. The Offer Ends at the end of January and won't be repeated, so don't miss out if your in the market for a website.
If you would like this Newsletter emailed to you on a monthly basis as it is released, then please sign up to our email list using the sign up box on the top left of this page. You can unsubscribe at any time, and we do not redistribute or sell your information. It will be used solely for the purpose of sending you our newsletter.
Take care, and hope to talk to you all again next month.
It is true that getting a website for your business can open up your business to a worldwide market, however it is also true that the majority of small to medium Australian businesses aren’t looking to do this, and are quite probably looking a lot more local, either Australia-wide, State-wide, or just in your local area, especially if you’re a service oriented business.
All Business Websites should contain certain key elements, regardless of which category you fit into, whether its trying to take the next greatest Aussie invention to a global market ( With summer on its way, possibly a shed made out of the same material as Esky’s?…the Esky-Shed !!...maybe…kinda… ), promoting your products and services nationally or locally, or simply getting a website to serve as an online Company Profile / Portfolio.
Below is a list and explanation of the 7 Key Elements that will serve as a foundation on which to build your new website.
1. Design & Structure - Frontend & Backend ( Static or Dynamic )
As well as being its own Key Element, this first Key Element could also be considered an Umbrella Element under which the following 3 Key Elements could sit, but more on those later.
The first decision you need to make when it comes to the structure of the site is, “do I need a dynamic or static website?”, and before you can do that, you need to know the difference between the two.
In Simple terms “What is a Dynamic Website?”
A Dynamic Website is generally one that contains a backend Content Management System ( CMS ), or a database, or produces data on-the-fly to display on your website. A typical example of such a site would be an online store. You are able to go into a backend admin area ( CMS ), and add/remove/edit products or content on the website without the need for a web designer. The information you put into the CMS is stored in a database and then displayed on the frontend of the site ( the WebPages that your visitors see ) in a predefined format. Other parts of the site that may also be dynamic are newsletters, photo galleries, events, or any other part where the information will need to updated on a regular basis.
In Simple terms “What is a Static Website?”
A Static Website on the other hand has no such backend functionality. The site is designed, and the information laid out, who you are, what you do, what your products or services are, and of course how to contact you. This information can still be change ( as with any website ) but will require the web designer to make any amendments or modifications for you.
If you are a business that is looking to start an online store, or would like a product catalogue online that can be updated on a regular basis, or you have a need to have another specific section of the site updated on a regular basis ( e.g. News / Events / photo Gallery ) , then you most likely will require a Dynamic Website.
However for the majority of businesses that aren’t in retail, or even those that are, but don’t require an online product catalogue, this is not the case, and for the most part will only require a Static Website. You want to tell your website’s visitors about your company, products or services, and how to contact you etc.
Once you have decided whether a Static or Dynamic Website is more appropriate for your type of business, you can then move on to deciding how to break down your companies information. For example most websites will have a “Home” page, “About Us” Page, and a “Contact Us” Page, after that you may have a “Services” Page if your in a service industry, or a “Products” Page if you sell tangible items. Some other examples may be a “Photo Gallery” ( static or dynamic ) if you’re a photographer, “Events” if you are a bar or nightclub, “Portfolio” if you’re an architect. You may also choose to break down some of these pages into sub-pages, for example if you offer a wide range of services, you may break them down by category ( e.g. taxation or superannuation for an accountant ), or by target market ( e.g. Residential or Commercial ).
The main thing to remember is the path to the information your site visitor is looking for must be a quick and direct one, that doesn’t involve too many clicks, or too much reading.
There are 2 options here, “Custom” or “Template”. I’ll discuss the pro’s and con’s a bit later in the 4th Key Element when discussing the cost of a website.
The main thing to remember though, is its representing your business, and as such must look professional at the very least. I know there are still businesses around that have had someone’s son or nephew who are still in high school do a website up for them, and unfortunately it shows. If you would not let a high school teenager design your business cards, stationary, shop front sign or even make any other important decisions for your business, then your website should be no exception. Customers landing at your website will judge your business based on the impression they gain from your site, you need to make sure it’s a positive one.
2. Content – The Old Chicken and the Egg argument
There sometimes is a bit of a debate in the web world over the content or body copy of a website and who it should be written for.
The body copy of a website is one of things that can effect Search Engine rankings or placement, and as a result there are people who will argue the content should be written for the search engines first, the site visitor second. Their argument being that its pointless having well written content for a site visitor if they can’t actually find you on the search engines in the first place.
The other train of thought is its useless having the body copy written for the search engines, and getting thousands of visitors if this doesn’t actually translate into those visitors making contact or being able to get to, or understand the information within your website.
I’m going to side with the latter, and say that the content of your website should first and foremost be targeted to your site visitor ( whether this is the chicken or the egg in this analogy I’ll let you decide ). Here are the 3 reasons why:
The only other thing I can say about the content, and body copy, is make sure you have enough. Whilst you will target it towards your customers first, you do still want enough of it for the search engines to latch on to. Have enough of it, Make it easy to read, and you should get the best of both worlds.
3. Usability – The 5 & 10 second Usability tests
Every page in your website has a purpose, as does the site itself. Sometimes a page will have more than one purpose, and its important to know that the page is doing its job by testing its “Usability” with a simple 5 second test.
The 5 second test consists of getting a colleague, employee, friend, relative, or business acquaintance, someone who is not already familiar with your website. You then give them a scenario that is relevant to the page you wish to test, for example if you have a photography site, you may tell them that they have landed on this page of your website and want to know if your photography services include commercial building photography. You then give them 5 seconds to view the webpage, after the 5 seconds is up, you ask them to write down two things, 1. If you offer the commercial photography services, and 2. Any other information they can recall from looking at the page. Now at the very least you would hope they get the first, if not, you may need to question if the information or usability of the page is as good as it can be, and what could you do to improve it. The 2nd lot of information they can recall, will help you determine how the page is working for you overall, for example they may be able to recall that in addition to the commercial building photography, you also offer corporate event photography, or what areas you service.
Now its best to run the 5 second test using several people before making any decisions to change anything, this way, you will more easily identify patterns or trends relating to your sites usability, and can then more efficiently adjust the sites content, or how the content is laid out.
The 10 second test is essentially exactly the same as the 5 second test, the only difference being, instead of starting them on the relevant page to the scenario in question, you start them on the home page, and let them navigate themselves to the page that contains the information. This will also help you identify the “Usability” of the site in general i.e. how easy the site is to navigate, or how easy the page containing the information is to find.
4. Website Cost – You don’t need to buy a Rolls Royce just to go shopping once a week.
One of the main concerns a business owner/manager has when getting a new website is always cost, and quite rightly so. If you offer painting services, in your local area then you probably don’t want to be spending $20,000 on a website. Likewise a bank making 4 billion dollars profit a year would want to spend more than $20,000. You have to find the right budget for your business, and the right website for that budget. As the title states you don’t need to buy a Rolls Royce, if all your going to be doing is the weekly food shop.
You have to find the Web Solution that’s right for you and your budget, and will convey the information you need, no more, no less. Obviously the more you require from your website, the more its likely to cost, but the average business will simply just want to say who they are, what they do, what products or services they offer, and how you can be contacted. For this you don’t need a huge budget.
A lot of the cost in getting a website is actually in the design element itself, an initial project meeting with the client is held to find out what they want, a design concept is then created, another project meeting with the client, amendments to the design, and further meetings with the client until the design concept is approved, and then the site's webpages are created ready for the content to be laid out. This process takes time, and can add quite a bit of cost to the overall price of the site. If you absolutely require a custom designed website, for corporate branding or other purposes, then you’ll have to spend the money on this.
If what you want however is a site that looks professional, represents your business well, and conveys all the information that you want to convey, but the “custom” design component is not essential, then a Business Template Website is the way to go. Because the Template website has already been designed ( and to a professional standard ), all that needs to be done is to select a template that you like, and that uses your company colours, integrate your company logo, then for the individual pages to be created from the template, linked together, and for your businesses content to be laid out within those pages.
a website this way, you eliminate the cost involved with
that “custom” design, and will reduce the overall
cost of your website quite considerably.
5. SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation ) – Build it, and they may not come. Why its not an old Kevin Costner Movie.
Unlike building a baseball pitch in the middle of a corn field, building a website does not automatically mean people will come and visit it ( not even baseball players ). In order to get people visiting your website, they need to be made aware of its existence. I’ll cover in a moment some methods that you can do yourself, but the number 1 way of finding a site via the internet is through search engines, the most notable being Google.
Your website will unlikely just appear in search engines without a little help, and having got into the search engines, the next issue will become your placement within the results for specific search terms, that are relevant for your business or industry.
Without getting too technical, a search engine will look at your site ( called crawling ), and based on several factors try and determine how relevant your website is for a specific search term. The more relevant your site, the better listing you get.
The art of SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation ) is first, allowing the search engines to see that your site is relevant, and then to tweak your site so it may appear more relevant than other websites for the same search term. This tends to be an on-going process, as results will change as the search engines change their criteria. You could have a good listing one month, and a less desirable listing the next.
Because this area can get quite technical, and can sometimes frequently change, it is best to pay for this service, it shouldn’t be too expensive, and will make all the difference. The problem with most websites that do not work, is simply they have not had the SEO process carried out on them.
Its also worth thinking about the SEO when having your site built, as some styles of sites are much harder to optimise than others, sites built using only Flash content for example, make it hard for the search engines to see relevant content within the site.
of whether its with labels or a marker pen, Mums worldwide
brand their children’s clothes with their name. My
own Mum’s branding tool of choice was labels, and
whilst I could never figure out what sort of scenario she
might imagine, where I would end up shirtless and trouserless,
walking down the street in my underpants looking for the
rest of my clothes, the methodology mums use actually proves
to be quite effective when it comes to your business website.
Brand everything!!! Any advertising you do ( print or media
)……add your web address. Any directory listings
you have……add your web address. Business cards,
stationary, signs ( building or company vehicle ) ……add
your web address. Any promotional material ( pens, hats
etc ), email signatures, product packaging……add
your web address.
Websites have to be one of the most informative methods of advertising. You can say far more on your website than most other methods of promotion. It simply makes sense to add the power of your website to all your other promotion methods, and the more informed a potential client is about your business, products or services, the more likely they are to use you.
7. Statistics – 100% of your websites visitors have been to your website….but how many, when, where, and how did they find it?
a lot of forms of advertising or promotion it can sometimes
be hard to determine how well its actually working for you.
Fortunately with websites, most information is trackable,
and a good statistics package attached to your website will
provide you with a wealth of information about how well
your website is performing, whether it’s the number
of visits your site has received, number of visitors, number
of pages viewed, what countries your visitors are from,
how they found your website ( e.g. Search Engines, link
on another website or directory, or by simply typing the
web address into the address bar ), or even which search
engines as well as the search terms your site visitors have
used to find your site.
Having this information can help you determine, how you should grow your site, which webpages are popular, and is there opportunity to capitalise on the high traffic pages, or even if other paid online advertising that links to your site is actually worth the money you are spending on it.
Its not how big, flashy or expensive you could make your website, But how well you build it, promote it, use it, and integrate it into your business that will ultimately determine its success. I have provided what I believe to be the top 7 elements that your website should contain, and whilst there are possibly others depending on your type of business, and what you are looking to achieve from your website, these 7 Key Elements will be hold true regardless of the industry your in, or the size of your website, whether its for a large corporation, or a small business. Stick to these, and you’ll stay on track.
I have had a few customers report to me that they have received
phone calls from people saying they worked for a company
affiliated with Microsoft® ( which they're not ), and
receive the error messages that your PC sends if you choose
"Send Report" when one of these errors pops up
( Only Microsoft® receives these reports ). They then
go on to try and coax you into downloading an application
that will allow them to log into your PC, and take control.
In one case the Scammer showed the customer a folder full
of legitimate windows files and told them they were all
It is important to understand, that unless you know the company to be legitimate, or know the person calling, you should not allow anyone to log into your PC, nor give them your credit card number. Sometimes these companies may appear to be legitimate and even have Australian phone numbers, and a website, but what if they're not?
If in doubt, check it out. Don't allow them to log in, check around, do a bit of googling to see if others have come across the company that you have received the call from, or better still, call me ( Ph. number is on the website ).
If you would like more information on this scam please Click Here.
Advantage Computer Systems is pleased to announce that we have extended our product and service range to include Web Hosting Services for both your websites and business email, Search Engine Optimisation Services, and our first Web Design product - Business Template Websites.
For more information on these products and services, please check our website or follow the links below:
***Until the end of January the Business Template Websites have been discounted to just $660, but orders must be placed on or before Monday 31st January 2011. Just mention the offer in this newsletter when enquiring.***
DVD Profiler is for those of you that are movie buffs, and have a DVD collection that your quite proud of, but can never remember what you have and what you don't, especially when your at the shops trying not to buy a movie that you already have.
You can download the program for Free, and use all of its features until you have entered in 50 DVD titles or more, at which point it will restrict certain features, but allow you to continue adding your new DVDs, as well as viewing those you already have.
It's quite feature rich, and easy to use. Adding most DVDs is as simple as typing in the barcode number, it will then download all relevant info for that dvd including front and rear cover images.
Should you wish to have the full feature set again, then you will need to purchase a license off of the Invelos website. Currently the price is just US$29.95
In Google we trust......
1. Using the Google toolbar to search will allow you to highlight the search words you used, and enable you to find the specific area within a webpage that was relevant to your search. Go on...try it ( Click Here to Download & Install ).
2. You can use Google as a calculator, simply type in your equation, and it will give you the answer ( * means multiply, and / means divide, + for add, and - for subtract ).
3. Google also works as a currency converter, type in something along the lines of 3.5 USD in AUD or even 3.5 AUD in US Dollars, and you will get the amount in the requested currency.
4. Converting other units of measure is also possible with Google, feet into metres, ounces into grams, Celsius into Fahrenheit...plus more
5. Google's dictionary automatically tries to suggest the correct spelling if you mistype it in the search field, but if you're after the definition of a word, just type define: ( with colon ) before the word or phrase you e.g. define: Web Design
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