Your man on the inside
This is not about pretending you are something you are not. Branding is about creating something that potential customers will immediately recognise and remember you by, whereas Image is about telling customers who have never heard of you what your company is all about.
People remember shapes and colours more easily than names because, as humans, we have been doing this for thousands of years. In order for your company to be instantly recognisable and remembered you need a simple logo: a shape and colour that can be understood at a glance.
I can help you create a strong brand image that can be used on your website, vehicles, stationery, work clothes, signage - in fact everywhere. If you already have a company logo we need to carry it through to your website design.
You want to come across as professional, competent, efficient, and approachable, but what about market segment? As a company are you 'jack-of-all-trades' or do have a particular specialist niche? What kind of business are you looking for?
Obviously you don't want to turn away income but it is an old adage that "20% of your customers will generate 80% of your profit".
Create the right image so that your enterprise attracts the type of clientele that you want.
Turn that 20% into 100%!
Google is so powerful on the Internet that many people do not understand where Google ends and other Internet services begin. This, of course, is Google's intention.
There are two main ways to get prominence in Google search results: pay them for advertising or have a strong and relevant Internet presence. Google prioritizes up-to-date content. If your site is not updated regularly it slips to the bottom of the search list.
You can (a) pay for an advertisement on their search results page (b) use 'pay-per-click' - as the name implies you are charged each time a visitor lands on your site via a Google ad or (c) pay for 'Google Directory'. This last option essentially utilises Google's skill at 'fiddling' search results to give prominence to your website by manipulating their search coding. The downside of this latter option is that so many enterprises have now subscribed that you may still find yourself at the bottom of a long 'prominence' list. Also, viewers are now 'getting wise' to the fact that this list is, in reality, a false result.
Whether it is worth your company paying for Google advertising depends on several factors; for example: your area of operations; whether you have a specific geographic catchment area; what type (if any) of promotion and/or advertising you do.
Everybody wants to be on page one of Google. Obviously this is not possible. In reality, however, most searchers will look at the first three pages of a Google search result, especially if it is for something important. Arguably, many people are now wise to the fact that the results at the top of the list are not always what they seem, and so they search down the list to check the real relevance of any particular result.
Unfortunately Google does not measure the skills or competency of any business when it lists results; only a website's relevance to the Internet. Therefore, to get a good listing on Google any website needs to interact properly with the rest of the World Wide Web. Attempts to 'cheat' may actually result in a site being 'blacklisted'.
Much is written about 'SEO' - Search Engine Optimisation. In truth almost no one knows how Google's search algorithms work because it is a big secret. In spite of Google's own manipulation of the system in their 'Directory' sales dept. the best way to get near the top of any search result is to have good quality relevant content on your site. By that I mean, if you are a solicitor you should have quality legal content; if you are a builder have lots of substantial building content. "Joe Blogs - we're the best builders" will not do it.
Look at a case study:
The technical design of a modern website has to take account of the fact that there are now so many ways to access the Internet: PCs, tablets, phones; landline, Wi-Fi, 3G/4G - each with its own operating system: Windows, Linux, Android, IOS and a host of browsers: Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera - to name but a few. Then there is the problem of old and new versions of both the equipment and the software. It is truly a minefield.
A balance has to be drawn between using coding that is too old and assuming that all viewers have access to the very latest kit. Both extremes may result in the website not appearing properly on a prospective customer's device. And if your website is their first impression of your company a 'duff' site will damage your credibility straight away.
I try to ensure that my code is 'bomb-proof' - concise, robust and rooted in tried-and-tested protocols.
16% of your website visitors use Internet Explorer and one quarter of these are still using the old IE6 version which is unable to handle some types of coding. Meanwhile 33% of all Internet activity is via a mobile device with the Apple iPhone representing about one fifth of all mobile activity. Its main competitior, Android, is now availalble in a number of different versions some of which can alter the way a website is displayed. Take a quick look at the stats.
Many designers use 'plug-ins'. These are lines of code acquired from often unknown sources. Worse still, as the term implies, these code 'plug-ins' cross-connect your site to a server somewhere else in the world - and neither you nor your site designer knows where. It could be America but it is just as likely to be Russia or China. The purpose of these 'plugins' is to allow a designer to offer functions that he (or she) is unable to write themself. The problem is you do not know what else they may be doing. At the very least they will be gathering information about your site, about you and about your visitors and customers. They may, however, be doing something much more insidious.
I am one of the very few website builders who takes the trouble to build clients two sites instead of one. The first is for viewing on the larger and wider computer screens and the second is specifically coded for mobile applications where screens are smaller and bandwidth is limited.
Most designers (in my opinion) cut corners by using automated adjustment systems referred to as 'Fluid' or 'Responsive' programmes.
The issue here is that machines lack judgment and finesse. In order to make a single site view on large and small screens it has to be designed for a small screen so that the automated system simply enlarges everything. Sometime this works OK; sometimes not. Consider the example opposite. This is taken from a real website.
Because the designer did not take care with the coding, enlarging the text simply caused pixelation. This is a real site, live on the Internet.
Many visual gimmicks that look good on a PC crash on some mobile devices. One-size-fits-all website design is poor design. Look at how the big boys do things. The BBC's mobile site is completely different to their main PC site.
In order to place a website on the Internet (or to be more precise the World Wide Web) you need your own domain. In it's basic form this is simply a virtual address in 'hyperspace', the equivalent of, say, "6 High Street" in the real world.
Once you have this address you can turn it into your virtual head office. You will have heard of Facebook or Amazon or Google - but you have never visited their offices. In hyperspace you can be whatever you want to be - and I can help you.
For example my domain name is citycoder.uk. The full and proper address is http://www.citycoder.uk - however, most browsers are configured to assume the http://www. part of the address so you rarely have to type it.
Once you have your own domain you can also use it for your email, and, in fact, you can have several email accounts. My email is email@example.com but I could also have firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com - so it is like having several telephone numbers for different departments.
There are now lots of different domain suffixes, the main one being .com but there are also .net, .co.uk, .uk, .org and many others.
If you don't already have a company domain you should choose carefully because it can impact on the quality of any Google search results and whether your prospective clients remember you.
The subject of domains is a big one. You can read more HERE.
You are probably interested in how many visitors view your site and, if you are running any kind advertising campaign, this is a good way of monitoring how effective it is. If you make sure to include your website address in any advertising material you can tell from the number of website visits how effective that advertising is. So it can be a good way of keeping an eye on how effective your newspaper ads are or if your leaflet drops are being done properly.
I charge only £2.00 per month to monitor your website statistics with a dedicated programme. At the end of every month I send you a report with a comprehensive breakdown of who has visited your site and how much interest they showed in it (ie number of pages viewed).
The data supplied is in numeric and pictoral form so you can examine the detail and the at-a-glance summary.
Take payments from customers while you are mobile. I can advise on mobile merchant services that sync to your smart phone and won't cost you a fortune in fees.
IMAGINATIVE SITES THAT CUSTOMERS REMEMBER Phone: 07521 941 560