I had a meeting a couple of weeks ago that really got me thinking about how different products and services that are called the same thing - can be so very different. Take for example, the humble website.
The customer could pay anything from free - to £10,000 and anything in between. So what are the differences?
1) If a website is low-cost or no-cost. Think about why. The old adage of "owt for nowt" - not getting something for nothing. Some of the common caveats are: advertising is added to the site, can only use templates from a restricted range, restricted add-ons, restrictions on pages, low or no support, no human interaction and no sense checking from a known and trusted expert.
2) Editing Access. Most free to create sites, heavily restrict how much you can or cannot eidt or create. Therefor, if you suddenly decide to add a new element to your website - you may find it limiting, stifling your creative flow - so to speak.
3) The design aspect. Many sites are based heavily on Flash. As I am sure that many of you already know, Flash is outlawed on Apple devices - meaning that those elements built in Flash won't show. Because of the one size fits all concept, many sites are not optimised for mobile viewing, which makes the site look like its been thrown together - and that is NOT the impression you want a custoemr to walk away with!
4) You become an "also ran". Yes that's right. Although a free to build website company may boast (hundreds of templates to choose from) you end up looking like your competitor. The whole thing about business is that you should have a unique offering - which if you use this type of website - you won't have.
5) So lets say that your business is thriving and you now want to get serious online. You have been playing with your free site, but realise that it is now limiting your potential. You want to get stuff off the old site. But there is no clear and easy way to do it. You are then faced with a choice of spending a great deal of time (and cash) moving information over - or the other option is to just ditch the whole thing.
The long and short of it is that these websites have their place. They're great for small events, school fetes and kids to mess around on. But are they a serious business tool? Compared to a professionally designed site - no. They are less money, but cost you more in lost opportunity and credibility and not to mention the support aspect.
If you're serious about your business speak to an online marketing company that can help your business achieve great things!
Excuse the pun - I couldn't help it! It has been long known that web developers can be viewed as the geeks of the class. You tell them to do it - they make it happen. They don't question they whys or where fors they just do it!
The problem is, as a business owner, you may not know entirely what they SHOULD be doing, only what you want as the end result. Let me explain further:
You have a product - let's call it product "X".
You have decided that building a website to promote and sell Product "X" is the way forward. The all too common approach for the business owner is as follows:
1) Make a cool name
2) Make a cool logo
3) Work out the price
4) Work out how many will be sold
5) Work out how to send them
OK - before going into cloud cuckoo land with the runaway sucess of product "X" - isn't it better to work out HOW you will make the sales online?
Below are 5 areas of consideration in creating great calls to action
1) Create the infomercial. What do I mean? Sell the sizzle! - tell them the benefits before they commit
2) Incentivise your visitor - throw in a freebie or discounted item
3) Use language that snaps people into action - BUY - REGISTER - DO! - make it timebound
4) Make it bold (make it large - a contrasting colour maybe)
5) Put it on (almost) every page
Following this almost common sense approach will start to get your customers along the process you want them to follow. The most important rule is to know what action you want them to take. If you can't work taht out - its probably best to wait until you do - or contact an expert.
Call NOW you see! It's easy!
The Little Aqua swimming school, based in and around the Cambridge area recently contacted IT Genetics for not only a new website, but a back-office database system that helped them to run their business more efficiently.
IT Genetics set to work, working with a desginer to produce a website that Little Aqua could manage themselves. The design was provided by Little Aqua and after adding our special touches, really reflected the swimming school and showed how they set themselves apart from their competitors.
We also produced a web-enabled database that the staff at Little Aqua can take the register, complete the progress charts and email marketing to all of their pupils parents. It also allows them to update the website with when available slots appear and can be filled every day.
Both partners of the business were thrilled with the Cambridge web designers results - and are already looking at plans to expand the system functionality in time to come.
Getting data from a Joomla website into a local database has always been a little tricky and taken a degree of knowledge and understanding to even examine the possibilities. It has oftem been a case of exporting data and re-importing them again. All OK - but of course with any multi-faceted task - fraught with issues. For example, what if the export didn't work, mapping the fields into the database or spreadsheet - Argh! and don't forget to import the new data. The idea of getting data from enquiries, surveys or infact anything that a customer fills in is becoming more important as many businesses are now looking to their website as an important part of their marketing mix. Geting the all important details into a database, spreadsheet or CRM system is often price prohibitive or indeed almost impossible to realise.
IT Genetics have harnessed some of the best plugins on the market to allow both Macs and PC's to talk to Joomla in real time and to be able to harness that contact data as it arrives - therefore being able to call or place that contact information into an e-marketing campaign or indeed adding them to a phonecall listing, spreadsheet or anything you could imagine on your Mac or PC.
Imagine being able to ask your prospect the questions you want to ask and getting those answers pinging right into your database in an instant.
If a database is a bridge too far - imagine being able to look at a list of prospects on a spreadsheet - live!
All of this is possible through IT Genetics - using a PC or an Apple Mac. So call on 01223 650009 to find out how we could change your business and save time and money.
Thinking through the bewildering amount of information on websites and trying to identify whether the author has a sub-text, can prove to be a minefield. Especially when it comes to working out the pros and cons of having a content management system (CMS) integrated into your website. The concept of being able to manage your website is awesome.
- You can change stuff on a whim
- You can change it back again
- You can add new products or services - instantly
- You can add new pictures or pages
- You can do it all yourself!
But one of the sticking points is - who to believe when it comes to selecting a content management system. There are those who have spent thousands of man-hours creating their own CMS. They have built it - so they can add and maintain it - with ease - as they know exactly where everything is. They can add new functionality and styling. They can also help you with updating your site too. It is probably fair to say that it feels like a "one-stop shop" when it comes to web development.
The downside of an in-house system is that you are tied to that company. Which may be really good - but what happens of they go "pop!" or - what happens if they start charging you extortionate amounts of money? You are well and truly stuck. Short of thowing the whole thing away and starting again - you are left with no choice. We have come into contact with several companies who have experienced the rough end of the deal when it comes to in-house CMS.
As an independent company specialising in producing websites and other online media, we decided not to go down the route of in-house CMS. There are several different (and we use 3) open-source CMS that we auditioned when we decided to offer CMS-based websites. Whilst we too offer our clients contracts for maintenance at exceptional prices we believe our client should always be able to have the ultimate choice - to vote with their feet. That is why we are so proud to have such a high retention rate. We primarily use Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal to develop our customer websites. So if you are in the market - why not drop us a line?
When a project has to come to life quickly - sometimes it can prove to be a challenge. When we were called to produce a website for an upcoming new indoor golf-simulator venue, we were enthusiastic - always good to work on a new and innovative project. There was one small issue, we had 2 weeks to bring the project to its conclusion - EEK!
After spending some time listening to our customers needs we set about designing the look and feel for The Golf Lounge. The goal was to attract visitors to the website from Cambridge and the surrounding areas.
We customised a booking module to bring online booking to fruition too. The customer is already benefiting from online bookings and can manage the reservations received by phone within the system too. The website sends confirmations to the customer regarding their booking and takes the payment.
Having attended "The Golf Lounge's" open day on Saturday I can confirm that the venue is fantastic - especially when its miserable and cold outside. It gets the heart pumping and also provides a lot of laughs. For those cynics out there - there is nothing to fear. The Golf Lounge has been tried and tested by seasoned golfers and have their own pro (Stuart) on hand for a little extra tuition. Book up and have a go at www.thegolf-lounge.co.uk
IT Genetics has just completed a new website for plumbing and industrial heating engineers - Huttie. The website has been created with two distint client bases that the business has. Huttie has domestic engineers who cater for all aspects of home heating and water jobs and issues. They also offer their own boiler contract that offers custoemrs complete peace of mind throughout the year.
Not only does Huttie look after homes, but also businesses and have to date worked on some large and impressive projects in and around East Anglia.
Huttie came to IT Genetics with a need of updating their online presence and also to introduce their commercial works. IT Genetics took the Huttie branding and created a website that supported and showcased their identity - whilst adding some extra finesse - such as the emergency area - for customers to click to should an emergency occur and they don't know what to do.
Got a responsive website? Even know what I am talking about? Well let me enlighten you. A responsive website is a site that adapts to the device that you are browing on - be it an smartphone or a desktop.
It simply places buttons clearly and visibly whilst making text larger and images resize - by magic! With statistics proving that mobile devices are becoming more and more used as the primary surfing device - having a site that is clear and easy to read and simple to navigate is really important. Some of the sites we manage have reported anywhere from a 300% to 1200% shift in mobile device visits in the past 12 months - amazing! I think that a lot of this comes down to affodability and also hand-me-downs. I did this with my wife - she had my iPhone 4 when I upgraded to a 5 and my son got a 3GS. So that now only leaves my 6 year being phoneless ( and long may it continue!)
What's more, responsive sites are seemless - in as much as they take the site you have and re-jig it. It also takes a layer of complexity away by removing all of those plug-ins and pages where in the past you have had to double - enter data in two different ways to make sure it looks good.
My advice is simple - if you do nothing more with your website this year - look to getting a responsive template created - you won't regret it! By the way - did I mention that the search engines love them?
IT Genetics has just completed a 3 month long project with the Association of Professional Landscapers to produce a brand new website that serves both the public and members alike. For anybody looking to hire a landscaper for a garden project - large or small, the website is packed with helpful hints, tips and tricks. Not only that it houses a database of all association members who ahve to conform to regular checks by the APL and Trustmark to ensure that they conform to the rigorous guidelines the association sets out. Visitors can search for a landscaper in their area and get in contact with them.
We have produced the website with CMS to allow for regular updating and continuous Twitter feeds. The website can be found at www.landscaper.org.uk
Cambridge based web design and online marketing company IT Genetics has just completed a large project involving the Horticultural Trades Association and its annually run National Plant Show. The new website offers far more to visitors in an intuitive and simple to use format. We used an open source CMS system coupled with some cutting edge template design to allow the events members to be able to add and edit content anytime - which proves to be ideal when announcements and news come thick and fast in the lead up to the show. Early signs show an increased amount of visitors to the site in comparison to its predecessor.
The trade only event takes place in June. we look forward to sponsoring the app that supports the website too!
Cambridge based IT Genetics - a market leader in IT based solutions has contributed to the the HTA's new white paper on IT in the Garden industry. QR codes, smart phones, apps, contactless payment, Twitter, Facebook – just some of the IT terminology in regular and increasing use. An HTA white paper, ‘How to profit from a connected world’ was launched yesterday at Contact 2013 in Bromsgrove
It highlights the importance of embracing technology in the garden industry and the opportunities that it presents.
Caroline Owen, HTA President and chair of the HTA Marketing Committee, adds, “This white paper outlines some of the technologies driving change in our industry. Based on research among consumers and across different industries, this paper explores how these technologies may change the shape of gardening and garden retailing in the coming decade. We want it to provoke ideas and debate about what potential technology holds for invigorating the nation’s favourite pastime.”
HTA Market Information Manager, David Denny said, “Smart phone and tablet ownership is increasing rapidly. More use is being made of the potential to help inspire and inform customers about plants through smart technology. Consumers want access to information on the go.”
According to Future Foundation consumer surveys, more than half of our highest garden spending age group (British 45-64 year olds) will own a smart phone by 2014. What’s more a 2012 report published by the Sponge Group1, 42% of Smart phone owners in June 2012 claimed to have used their device to compare prices or look up information on a product in store. So it seems that technology intervention is certainly in demand among consumers and will no doubt be well received by the garden retail staff members who advise over 3 million people a year on how to improve their gardens.
Devon based West End Nurseries have just taken delivery of a beautiful new - natural looking website. Peter van Delft - the owner of one of the largest plant-liner companies on the South-West has been really pleased with both the integration of the new content management system as well as the brand new Filemaker Pro developed back end. This will allow his custoemrs to place order with ease. Not only that - the back-end web-based administration panel will allow him to make stock changes from anywhere with an internet connection.
This has been a very interesting project to work on - especially the bespoke development for West End. It was really important from the outset that ordering was as quick and simple as possible - therefore standard e-stores simply did not cut it. Re-developing it to Peters specifications was quite an interesting challenge - however - we rose to it and have improved it to show customers even more information!
After some excellent work and LONG days - we have just moved back into our refurbished offices. We just have the final touches before we are completely finished. However IT Genetics is open and ready for business!
And so with the new floor down, work starts today in ernest to construct our new full-wall desks and shelving. We have designed some natty inclusions into our design to keep the desk area clutter free, whilst keeping important stuff to hand - like our Macs. Our carpenter Adrian of Attwood Joinery has been a complete legend and inspiration on this project.
We'll put sompictures up soon. Currently having to use the iPad as EE still haven't delivered my Christmas present :(
David Hall Furniture are synonimous with high quality products. Having spent many years fitting bespoke furniture and uniquely crafted kitchens in Kensington and Chelsea they moved their operation to Cambridge.
To display their truly jaw-dropping quality - they asked us to produce a stunning website to showcase some of their finest exmaples of kitchens, lounge furniture, bedrooms and bathrooms - that simply make eyes pop. Their attention to detail is awe inspiriing and we were very flatterred to be offered such a commision. Nautrally we jumped at the chance.
We worked with a sleek and dynamic styling to showcase the qualities of the craftsmanship - and let the furniture do the talking. The site went live on 18th December - we hope you take the opportunity to be amazed by the David Hall experience
We received a call from Four Winds Nurseries in Leicestershire in October - as they had recognised that their current website was limiting their reach to local customers. Not only that they felt that the technology had moved on and they weren't embracing it.
After a meeting and discussion with our customer - we developed a new web design as well as a new look and feel to the business - incoorporating their current company logo and produced the new website on an open source content management system.
The website went live at the end of November, within our customers timescale and is now being updated by our client.
We love it when a plan comes together!
When we were approached by Real Insurance Solutions - a well established and vastly experienced insurance borker in the heart of Cambridge we were really flattered. As Real Insurance Solutions not only deals with the run-of-the mill personal and business insurance solutions, but also an array of specialist solutions for specific industries.
Our Cambridge based web design team have provided Real Insurance Solutions with a fantastic newly branded website that truly stands out from the crowd. Philip May, the company's director wanted to reach a new audience with media unfamiliar to many insurance companies - and so we have incorporated a social media element to the website too. We have also incorporated some specialist enquiry forms to capture the needs and requirements of those industries "real" work with.
Cambridge marketing company Appletime contact IT Genetics six week ago asking for a fresh and new website to coincide with their new company brand. IT Genetics were only too happy to oblige. Having received the brief and working closely with Appletime's owner, IT Genetics have produced a fully functional and article/blog driven site that the members at Appletime can change themselves. IT Genetics also managed to secure a new domain that had eluded the company for some time, which proved a plus. Liz Lewis at Appletime has given some hugely positive reaction to the new website, which went live on 2nd November. IT Genetics is not just a web design company, we listen to our customers needs, work closely with and produce a website that get your business results.
Who has made a wrong turn when it comes to a website. Which of you has ended up with something that you did not expect or want?
I'd like to write about my sons socks. I got dressed in the dark the other day and by mistake - and a lack of diligence from whoever put them in my drawer I put on a pair of my sons socks.
At the time I did not know they were my sons socks and thought that I was getting what I had envisaged.
HOWEVER! What I got was an ill fitting and actually completely counter productive alternative to what I was expecting.
What I got was an imitation of what I had hoped for - sure it was a sock - but it wasn't what I was expecting - it didn't have the comfort levels I had hoped for my feet
As a result I was completely distracted by the wrong choice and got blisters and hobbled around for the rest of the day.
And that is what it is like when you buy a website from "other companies" - you may think you are getting what you wanted - but you could, in fact be getting an alternative that doesn't really fit your business needs and will distract you from your core goal.
Talking to expert in not just web design and development - but also a company that wants to get a return for your online investment is important - so why leave it to chance? Talk to IT Genetics and discuss how we can ensure you pick out the right socks everytime!
LITEwire Limited - based in Norfolk are a new and innovative company who design, manufacture and sell vehicle lighting solutions to the automotive industry. They had a requirement for both an app and new website to produce their new "QUICK-CONNECT" concept. The UK manufacturer has produced an innovative system that allows all commercial vehicle lighting to be connected via a single wire connection - cutting down on costly loom manufacture and installation time. It also reduces errors by installers as there is only one way to install. IT Genetics produced a fully functioning website and app to promote these new and innovative systems - in time for the companies debut at the IAA in Hannover.