Owner/Director"If your website isn't working so well, get in touch and let's see what we can do about it. My aim is to give you an effective website that pays for itself and more. That's why you have a website - isn't it?"
Anyone responsible for spending on behalf of an organisation, be it your own business or not, needs to make sure that the spending only happens for good reason. As the economists will tell you, money is a “scarce resource”. Nobody has an unlimited budget.
We know that a very large budget opens up a lot of doors and possibilities. We know that a very small budget makes things very difficult. At the smaller end of the scale, where most small businesses and non-profits operate, there is (or at least, should be!) a healthy focus on managing limited funds tightly. So when it comes to spending those limited funds, there are two ways to go – look at the price, or look at the value.
Up until a couple of years ago, Winch Websites was definitely a “price” centred business – the dollar amount was key. Essentially, the philosophy boiled down to whether the expenditure was mandatory eg. a phone service, internet, domain name renewals or whether the expenditure was optional eg. advertising, training, graphic design tools. In all cases, the cheapest deal was likely to be the best deal so long as the bare essentials came with it.
But then the business took a turn to a different direction. Not left or right, but up. Purchases were made on the basis of “value”. Here, the price is no longer relevant (really!). What matters is what that spend will bring back. A few examples;
So as hopefully you can see, viewing potential expenditure through the lens of “value” leads to a different perspective. Relating this to websites, it is easy to simply see the quoted price and not see past it to the value. “A website that you’ve described will require an investment of around $4,000” often leads to sticker-shock for a new or young business (or small business moving up in the world) – yet if that same business was to open a real brick-and-mortar shop, $4,000 would be a small fraction of the required budget. Once more, the question to ask in response to the amount is “What will that get me?“. If you are happy with the answer, then you’re getting good value.
If you’d like to chat about your own website, and what would be good value for you, please get in touch.
When you set out on the road to create or revamp your website, one of your most important (critical!) duties is to assemble and provide the information to guide your website creator. Think layout, design, logos, words & images for each page, the overall ‘feel’, the specific colours to mach your other marketing materiel… It’s no small job, and it’s very important to the success of your website. If you don’t engage, don’t get involved, you’re very unlikely to get the site you want. You absolutely need to give your website designer freedom to build a great site that reflects your business AND works well AND looks impressive. But you need to guide that from the outset.
How this is done in practice varies enormously between website creators.
One of the services that Winch Websites makes use of in the process of building a business-effective website is called ContentSnare. A client is invited to login to the ContentSnare website, and in there the client finds a number of forms to complete. These ask for things like the logo file, the colour-scheme to use, links to websites that the client likes the look of, webhosting account login details, the official contact info for the business, and the contact info to put on the website if it’s different, and lots more.
These forms are custom-built for the client to reflect their project. They can be completed in any order, one item at a time, with each one being marked by the client as ‘Complete’. It means the client can provide bits and pieces as they get the opportunity at a time that suits them. The ContentSnare system reminds clients that there are items to be done, and this keeps projects moving along – we all know what it’s like running a business, you can get so busy “doing the do” you completely forget the development stuff that is so important to grow a business. ContentSnare automatically sends reminders as deadlines approach, saving time & trouble for both web designer and client.
ContentSnare also provides a dashboard view for an overall look at how things are going. It’s a great feeling to hit that “100%” done target!
This is one example of an internet service that Winch Websites employs to make specifying, designing, building, managing and maintaining a website a smoother, easier, and ultimately more cost-effective process. It’s a great example of what the internet can do for businesses – automate, standardise, and most importantly offload tasks while ensuring that they get attended to.
If you’d like to investigate what Winch Websites could do for your business, please get in touch. There are ALL sorts of options these days!
To find out more about ContentSnare, visit contentsnare.com
A few years ago, Google initiated a campaign encouraging website owners to protect their visitors from eavesdropping and snooping by third parties. They are ramping this effort up in stages, beginning with mild indications, to gentle warnings, and up the scale all the way to all-out red-flagged “Do Not Proceed” banners.
It’s a worthy objective, because the path between a website visitor and the website itself can meander through all sorts of machines and providers. Internet service providers, webhosting companies, website speed optimisation services, government organisations, there are many potential ears listening out to what’s happening on the internet and recording it all. Worse of course are the people who shouldn’t be doing it, who are out to get personal and private information to sell or use.
One solution is to simply encrypt all the communication between a website visitor and the website. Anything that is intercepted is meaningless gobbledygook. It’s actually very easy to do. Just about every web browser is capable of being given a special ‘key’ by a website which is used to lock up (encrypt) anything that gets send or received from a particular website. It’s safe, and secure, and it’s known as “SSL” (or Secure Sockets Layer).
The website owner has to do all the work, to obtain an SSL certificate and install/link it to that website. Depending on the certificate, some are linked more tightly than others ie. there are several levels of proof that the website owner can choose from. At the very top, for example, the website owner not only proves ownership of the website, but also proves the ownership of the business that runs the website (independently verified by government appointed organisations).
How do you know if a website is ‘secure’? Just look for the green padlock up in the web-browser address bar at the top of the page.
PLEASE NOTE: a ‘secure’ website does not mean you can trust what the website contains. Fraudsters and scammers can easily create a website and add an SSL certificate so that your connection to the site is ‘secure’. But they can still be ripping you off, ie. the site is not ‘safe’. Buyer beware, as always!!
If you manage or own a website yourself, check your site to make sure it is automatically making visitors use a secure connection. For example, if you just put “winchwebsites.com.au” into your web browser, you will automatically be redirected to “https://winchwebsites.com.au” which is the secure connection.
If your site is not automatically secure, talk to your webhosting provider or your web people to find out. Of course, Winch Websites is happy to help & advise if you’re having any difficulties. Feel free to get in touch.
So one Saturday you set off around town to buy yourself a car. New or used, it’s the same process.
You’ve done a bit of research beforehand – read the newspaper ads, maybe read a few magazine reviews on a few different makes/models. You’ve probably done a bit of Googling too, to see what other people are saying about their experience of buying the cars you’re thinking about buying. You might even have done a bit of research on who you’re planning on visiting to buy the car from – the internet is great for reviews of both products and the businesses that sell them.
You rock up to a car dealer, and mosey about a bit. You find the make & model that you are particularly interested in, and show some serious interest. A salesperson approaches you and starts the conversation – “If you’re looking for something reliable, with a bit of power, and some of the luxury add-ons, that’s a great example.”
“I’m just looking for something cheap. I don’t want to spend much, but I need it quickly”.
“Ah. So what’s your budget?”
“I’m not telling you that, just tell me what’s cheap and available right now”.
Well, of course, it’s a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string’ conversation from there. The salesperson cannot match you up to what you are seeking unless there’s a clear idea of what you are willing to spend. Your dilemma is that if you say how much you have, the salesperson could simply oversell you on a car you would otherwise have been able to do a deal on. This is based on the assumption that the salesperson is out to give you as little as possible in return for as much as possible. Classic “you vs me” deal-making with a loser and a winner.
That’s an old-fashioned approach though, that may work short-term but fails in the modern world of easy communication and online reviews. When you find out you’ve been ripped off a thousand dollars, you won’t be happy and you’ll be looking for ways to tell not only friends & family, but the whole world.
Besides, odds are you’ll be average at picking out a ‘shark’ or a hard-sell – because most people (especially in Australia) have a good nose for it.
So long as you can find someone that you are willing to trust to a reasonable degree, and you judge to be “of good character” as they say in legal circles, then you will likely find that by establishing how much you have to spend, you enable the salesperson to make the best possible match for you. The conversation heads off along the direction of; “Well, for $x,000, we have these four cars around that price – this one I think you should consider, because it’s pretty close to what you need”
When you’re looking into getting a website, you’re making a very similar investment. That last word is key, though – because you are putting money into something that you should be expecting a return from. You buy a car, you get personal transport (generally you get lots more bills too, mind you, and the car loses value constantly!). You buy a website, you get more leads, or you make more sales, or you generate more awareness and support.
Your relationship with your website designer or agency is absolutely critical. You have to be able to trust that when you say you have $4,000 to spend, that you’ll get maximum value for that expenditure. Be ready to negotiate, of course. That’s not the same as deal-making, where 2 parties are looking for the win-lose. When you negotiate, you’re looking for the win-win – “I give you this and you give me that and we’re both satisfied”.
So be prepared to be open and honest about what your website budget is. Expect a reasonably detailed description of what you are getting. You definitely want enough specifics (and in writing, too) to be able to compare against other website designers if appropriate. Alternatively, draw up a list of what you must have in your website, with some optional ‘nice to have’ extras, and ask for a quote to build that (this may limit what you ask for to what you know about though… and you don’t know what you don’t know!)
Winch Websites aims to establish long-term ongoing relationships with clients, with a view to building and continuing an essential element for their businesses. Please get in touch for a chat about your project, whatever stage you’re at.