Website Owners: How to Instantly Improve the Quality of Proposals You Receive

By | Business | No Comments

I’m looking for someone to design a fairly simple website. I also need some input into logo design. I need an easy-to-use CMS with training in use of the CMS and an on-going maintenance support package. Budget is limited.

We’re a registered charity so funds are limited

Since this is only a hobby of mine, I can’t afford to pay much for it

As a startup, my budget is very small but this could lead to more work in the future.

I see this kind of thing all the time in proposal requests online. In fact these are actual quotes.

Everyone wants to get the best value for money and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, the budget issue can be worded differently or left out entirely at this point.

The problem is these requests will not get any quality proposals, because by mentioning their low budget in this way from the start they are immediately putting off the quality bidders by self-identifying as a poor quality client. Read More

Is It Possible for Your Website to Be Too Creative?

By | Business, Design, Guest Posts | No Comments

Everyone wants their website to stand out from the rest. It’s important to have a unique website design that is visually compelling. Great graphic design can make a website look more professional and inspire trust in consumers. But is it possible to go too far when making your website look creative? There are certain user interface conventions that people have come to expect.

What’s Your Point?

The main point of a website is usually some type of conversion – a sale, subscription, phone call, etc. The design and content need to clearly convey the main message to the visitor. It’s much harder to convince a person to take any action if they’re confused, because confusion leads to distrust. A design decision that makes perfect sense to you will often take too long for the average viewer to figure out. People prefer websites that are clear and easy to understand.

Navigation: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

One of the most important elements of your website to consider is navigation. When a visitor lands on a site they are most likely looking for specific information. Read More

Four Ways to Track Outbound Clicks

By | Business | No Comments

As website owners, we put some effort into setting up analytics so that we can find out where people are arriving from when they appear on our websites. We know how many came from Google and organic SEO, how many came from PPC, what keywords they searched for, and who came from social media, etc.

But it’s rare that we know where people are going to when leaving our sites!

Google Analytics Hacks Image by Search Engine People Blog via FlickrTracking clicks on outgoing links away from your website can be useful:

  • you might want to check how many clicks your externally hosted RSS feed gets,
  • you might want to track referrals for advertising revenue or affiliates,
  • you might want to create a popularity graphs for sites you link to,
  • or you might just be curious!

Here’s a rundown of a few different ways you can count clicks on links outbound from your website, and when you might want to use them: Read More

Boost Sales Conversion Using Six Bulletproof Leads

By | Copywriting | 8 Comments

Your Website Has One Job – Closing the Sales Funnel.

Your website is your mansion, your piece of web real estate. People drop in, but do they just look around or do they buy? To sell to them, your mansion needs some great rooms. Rooms as unique as every client. Each room, or sales page, is their final stop at the end of an advertising campaign. So whether you pull them in through ads, Twitter, Facebook, Google, guest posts, community events, or walks with your dog, make sure they get a unique url – a sales page designed for them alone.

Tailor your landing pages to each customer type and your website sales conversions will soar.

Why? Read More

Using WordPress Like A Boss: Essential WordPress Tips

By | Business | No Comments

As a website owner, there can be an awful lot to keep track of! And small mistakes – even ones that most other people don’t notice, can have a bad impact on you and the overall impression that you make.

You wouldn’t want your WordPress site to greet your readers without a clean appearance and smooth functionality – on the front end OR the backend. But what do you need in order to know you’ve got it all under control?

Here are some tips and lists to help you keep your WordPress website running smoothly, like a boss, so you can be free to focus on what you’re really great at – serving your customers!

Read “How Smart Marketers Use WordPress Like a Boss” on Firepole Marketing.

Are You Making These Mistakes On Your Website?

By | Design, WordPress | 3 Comments

In this post I’m going to take a look at the website RieWriter.com, which is the website of poet and novelist, Rie Sheridan Rose. I’m going to analyze some of the issues with the site and offer some simple actions that she can take to massively improve the effectiveness of her website without spending a fortune!

First Impressions

My first impression of the site is that it is a fairly typical “self-built” website, built using WordPress and using one of its default themes. There is a very limited amount of design customisation done, in terms of adding an image in the header, and changing background colour.

The fact that it’s built using WordPress is great because that means it is a user-friendly, powerful system that can be quickly and easily enhanced with thousands of plugins and themes, and there are lots of WordPress experts available to hand if external help is needed.

Aside: I’ll discuss the look and feel in a minute, but just a word of warning on customization of the default themes: if you customise it through the theme control panel in the WordPress Dashboard, there’s no problems.

However, if you actually want to edit any of the default theme files, be careful to use a WordPress Child theme, because otherwise you could lose your changes to being overwritten if there is an update for the default theme. In this case, though, I think the theme has been customised through the control panel only, so it should be fine.

Okay, back to the site critique! Read More

What Do Gaming and Highly Effective People Have in Common?

By | Blogging, Social Networking | 2 Comments

The concept of gamification has been gaining popularity over the past 3 or 4 years, adding game mechanics like points, levels, competition, badges for achievements, these are all being added to non-game contexts, like special Foursquare badges – and discounts – being given by Starbucks for check-ins, points and badges for answering questions on StackOverflow and other Q and A sites, businesses have used it to raise employee productivity, even the US military have used it in training. Read More

Building a Website with a Custom WordPress Theme

By | Design, Programming, WordPress | 5 Comments

I was recently asked what’s involved in integrating a custom design with WordPress,  i.e. creating a custom WordPress theme and then deploying a site with that theme:

How much is the cost of professional website design + development, using WordPress? I’m looking for an average, say 20 page, website, built with WordPress, with a good design. I know how easy it is to build a site with WordPress, so I expect design to be the main cost. Is integrating a custom design with WordPress time consuming / expensive?

To which I replied the age old answer given by engineers, designers, builder and creators in every field since time began: “It depends“.

It’s hard to read a short specification like above and know just how much work is required. We don’t know exactly what’s what with the spec and the question becomes something more like “does the total package provide good return on investment for the total cost?”

So here’s a quick run down of some of the steps involved in creating a custom WordPress theme from scratch and hopefully that gives you an idea of the scope of the work. Read More