Website in 10 Easy steps

For any business, website is as crucial as stock/service. So why not follow a functional path and create one website in 10 easy steps?website1

A functional and well designed website can be one of the most critical factors in building an interface with your customers, suppliers, partners – and potentially investors. Below is how you can create an effective online presence:

WEBSITE 101

  1. Understand the purpose of your Website: Start by determining the purpose of your website. Generally, company websites are a platform to share company’s story – giving visitors a general overview and tour of the products/services. Alternatively, it could also be to generate online sales, where you would create an e-commerce gateway for customers to directly make purchases. Remember that even if you decide to start with a basic/static website you can always upgrade your offer at a later stage.
  2. Decide your Domain Name: The is the URL you will be sharing with your visitors, so it needs to be catchy and something that they will remember. Key insight here, keep it short, concise and free of complicated abbrevations. Very often, it is the case that the domains ending with ‘.com’ have already been registered and you would need to work with alternatives such as ‘.net’ or ‘.co’. This step involves careful research and planning – invest some time in coming up with a suitable domain for your business. It is also worth consulting an IT expert at this stage to ensure that you aren’t using a domain name that has already been copyright by someone else.
  3. Select your Web host: After you’ve decided on your domain name, you will need to choose a web host. Your choice of website host will depend in part on the software you choose but also on the speed and number of visits you expect to receive. With some companies, you can start off with less expensive but less powerful share hosting services, if required, you can step up to faster and more powerful dedicated hosting. This option is something you should consider when choosing a host, even if you start with less expensive option. Another consideration, particularly if you are setting up your website yourself, if whether your host provides for automatic installation of your chosen content management software. Most of the popular hosting services will enable you to do this with the click of a button. And in most cases you can use the same host for more than one website. If you are doing it yourself, the host’s support services should be an important consideration. While few, if any, will support the software, the hosting application related issues can be complicated.
  4. Choose a Web Content Management System: A web content management system is a software that allows you to create and manage your website content, without the need to have detailed programming knowledge. A basic software would allow you to upload information, edit content and manage participation. The primary advantages of using a web content management system are that it is accessible at a low cost and is fairly easy to use. There are several options available today – varying based on your need. Popular ones WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and so on.
  5. Select a pre-made design template: A simple way to get a ready template would be to purchase it online or choose from the free templates already available and ready to use. Think from a visitor’s point of view What would they be looking for when they first visit your website? What is the first impression you want to leave on their mind? Select one theme and stick with that throughout the website. Your website should be simple, consistent and easy to navigate. If there’s too much going on, it could be a distraction to visitors. The navigation should be intuitive and not too complex. Having a lot of unnecessary images and links can turn off visitors. Lastly, don’t make frequent design changes on your website: let users build familiarity with your web portal, remember it and revisit it in the future.
  6. Update the Content, Content is the King: What you’re saying to your audience is of paramount significance as this directly impacts their interests in your page. Ensure that the information you are sharing on your page is relevant to your audience and more importantly a good indication of your brand value. Have a content strategy in mind – (4 easy steps)
    1. How often does the website need to be updated – weekly or monthly or bi-yearly.
    2. Who is responsible for managing all the online activity?
    3. Who is your target audience?
    4. How is your brand positioned in the market and how can you reinforce this with your website?
  7. Setup a Payment System/Gateway: While this step won’t apply to all business websites, companies that want to offer the option to pay online will need to integrate electronic payment systems into their websites. The easiest way to do this is through e-commerce software or third-party payment processors, often called gateways. Some web hsts offer an in-house option for e-commerce integratuon but not all do. So if you hav e to choose one on your own, be sure to do your own research. PayPal, is a popular and cost-effective option to facilitate easy payments.
  8. Ensure Compatibility: It’s imperative to ensure that your company’s website is compatible with all mobile devices and browsers and also platforms. Not only does this enable quick and easy access, but it offers your customers and enjoyable viewing experience. Compatibility means that your website is completely optimized to work on a mobile device. This includes design changes; does it fit on a mobile screen? Also, interface changes; making information accessible in a click of two versus a comprehensive options menu.
  9. Promote your Website: It’s surprising how many businesses forget to promote their website. It should be prominent across all your marketing activities. This could include business cards, brochures, emails and social media. Basically anywhere you have your business logo, your URL should be there too. Implement SEO strategy to drive traffic to your website and to rank high on search engines. There is also the option to use Google Adsense, which will show Google ads on your website. Of course, don’t forget to supplement these activities with a solid social media campaign – targeting your fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter.
  10. Review your Website: Once your website is up and running, it’s time to check how well you did! Simple tools like Google Analytics can help you get feedback on what areas if your website work and those that don’t. It also gives you insights on your demographics, page views, returning visitors, time spent on each page and so on. Regular discussions with your web developer on these analytics is truly time well spent. Remember that having a website just for the sake of it is as good as not having one. Take time out to review the working of your website and it can work wonders for your business.

Finally, it is very easy to overthink and complicate things when building your website. So try to keep it as simple as possible. Your website should give your visitors a clear depiction of who you are as a company and leave them with one solid call-to-action. Have is as user-friendly as possible and think about user-journey as if you were your own customer/visitor.

button-do-not-forgetFor an entrepreneur or small business owner, a website is a great boon – an easy, cost-effective and efficient platform to communicate with a mass audience! Therefore, it’s only fair that you give sufficient attention and time to ensure that you are making the most out of it. DO NOT FORGET how Social Media can be beneficial in the whole process, historically and currently it has seen, working charm for a lot of businesses.

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Advertising Mantras

By a veteran of the Advertising industry from Europe Ad week, here’s Bob Hoffman bashing almost all major publications, magazines, news agencies & big guns like Bill Gates. Really interesting delivery of speech and precise examples on every note and love his “quotes” and satire.

He talks about important lessons of Social Media Marketing and Digital Media Online vs. Traditional and Native TV advertising. By the end of this lecture, I almost felt like keeping it simple and to the concept is still the best approach towards Social Media Marketing. He stresses enough on my favorite facts & I quote:

“The Golden Era of Bullshit”

“Everyone seems to know the fairy tales & no one seems to know the facts”

“People say they’re passionate about brands… You’re what??? — Dude, get a fuckin girlfriend”

“Do yourself a favor, stop listening to big mouths like me, nobody is smarter than the truth, take the time to find out the facts for yourself, draw your own conclusions, allow yourself the wonderful freedom of skepticism”

– Bob Hoffman, ladies & gentlemen!

Twitter and Future

Do you see future of Twitter? ($TWTR). Honestly, I do.

You might wonder why am I saying so, as the world favors Facebook as most preferable network when their social life is concerned. The answer lies in the question itself; people turn to Facebook for Social Life. For daily life, people turn to Twitter. Hence, they both have different goals to achieve, different audience to please and different planning to do.

Twitter is something you can breathe and rely on, given you’ve some reading and researching skills alongside complete understanding of (#) hashtags.

Constant updates on Twitter for web with regards to usage and advertising have taken a stand since $TWTR launch on NYSE. This is a good sign but also backfires at the same time. How? If you’re accustomed to coffee with milk and I get you a black coffee, I am calling for some emotional drama.

Some sweet numbers:

Twitter Statistics 2014

I see a strong and solid yoy growth for $TWTR and given another decade, the picture of Social Media is going to be clear, whether it was just a wave or it is here to stay.

Social went Public! – $TWTR #Twitter

So, great buzz about Twitter going public today with $TWTR as it’s @NYSEEuronext symbol. Twitter surged as much as 94 percent from the $26 initial public offering price. While trader nerves were tested in the hours after the open as a venue for over-the-counter stocks was closed and one NYSE data feed slowed, investors said they saw no impact on Twitter.

The whole #IPO of $TWTR went really smooth allowing the trading to stabilize around $45, from where it initially began. Not a great but definitely a lot better start than #Facebook, which was a blunder 18-months ago.

In literally the first 15 minutes of the trading there were 1,684,138 tweets relating NYSE_Twitter_Twitter Bannerto the #IPO, were recorded from various Twitter platforms/ applications, most coming from major NEWS houses. Social Media streams with #Twitter, #TWTR, $TWTR, #TwitterIPO hashtags were continuously refreshing with over thousands of tweets and retweets every second.

Below provided is the chart with tweets within 4 hours of trading:

Twitter Tweet Statistics

So, what do you think? The buzz can keep the momentum going?

 

Substance in Social Media

Funny is how people now-a-days are considering Social Media, the BIG thing now. Where-as it was a big-thing a long back ago, maybe 3-4-5 years ago. Now, it’s the only thing. Developed or Developing countries, all are fairly in touch with Social Media whether they like it or not. I won’t be surprised if you don’t find a single 50-year old or a 5 year old who hasn’t heard about Facebook. This has nothing to do with popularity of Facebook but the way Social Media has evolved over the years.

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It gives me goose bumps to think about the year 2020 or let’s talk 2035. It might take another level, it might vanish totally.Considering ‘Mark Zuckerberg’ who built the Facebook platform in one night, donno when next of his kind can pull of the one-nighter. The ultimate conclusion drawn is “WE DON’T KNOW” and the one who says “I KNOW” is probably a noob or lying in your face.

big-data-cloudSubstance in Social Media is not about Big-Data anymore. Tell me one company who needs to have Big-Data or to who Big-Data is useful? Everyone demands Unified Data. Social Media agencies are increasing exponentially, but do they have any idea what are the projects of Social for 2020 – 2035? Answer is ‘NO’. Why? No one cares, it’s hot now, let’s get on to it. Let’s get on trend. Implications are on the giants, local giants and segmented companies. Consequences, they don’t prepare well for.

I’ve seen a no. of Social Media reports now (well, you can too, just google them). I can tell you in crystal clear words, only one of ten reports have some substance and have projections related to near future. I mean, come one, if you gained 100 or 1000 fans on Facebook, how is it going to help you? Did you ever wonder, the pages which have over a million fans, how much engagement is there on their pages? If not, go and check.

Brand Influence

So if you are an agency, what exactly are you telling your client? Just a pie chart of his coverage? Or just his fan/ followeracquisition? Do you honestly think, it’s of any substance to the client or his requirements? Do you even know what are the right metrics? Well, in some cases, the client also doesn’t pay attention even if you write the script of the movie Matrix in it but in some cases the clients are going to grill you.

Whatever might be the case, on a broader perspective you need to question each page of your publisher. You need to question each metrics, each number on your pie or bar graph. That if I am telling the fan acquisition increased, why did it happen, what made it happen, what kinda post is likely to produce a similar impact on the Social Channel.

Social Media is not a business. It’s a subject or allow me to put it as a chapter under Brand identity. Regardless, it has to be in conjunction with ‘Marketing, Branding and Communication Strategies” of the client. Hence, if you just run after numbers in Caught in the wrong job2013 {After 6 proper years from evolution of Social Media}, in my language you’re just another man/ women caught in the wrong job.

There’s something for everyone on Social Media, has to be.

Paradigm Shift

Yes, as we speak. I think that was enough to say when it came to Social Media but how many of you knew there had been one, actually?paradigm-shift-11-e1335918096319

I bet, only a few of you. This is because the field of Media became Social with facebook, became digital with twitter & shot up ever since with WordPress, Tumblr, Pinterest & YouTube, essentially. Traditional media is one thing which is has taken a huge hit out of all this. That’s only because in a fast connecting world, people only had less and less time for other people in – person. But yeah, we all know that by now.

There had been a lot of Social Media Guru’s by now, I guess, people in this field have even overrated the term “Guru’s” because every other person is one. That ain’t the case, let me be honest with you. Even the people on highest positions are not. Pretending is one thing and knowing about the shift is another.

A lot of you need to understand the concept of ‘unified data’ rather than ‘bigdata’. If you can make out the difference between two, good enough. If not, BEWARE of this shift, it’s like the gigantic wave data that can hit you and your business model hard.

Paradigm Shift

Attention Audience!

How about an attention seeking experience. Will it be called “desperation” in terms of Social Media?

Answer is “NO”.

There is a good percentage of people who are up for a new experience, any given point of time. Hence, potential, opportunities which are hard to breach, otherwise. So, what do you do? Lot of people/ agencies I know, choose to ignore because of monetary cautions. I clearly state it every time that these types of experiences if given in any event/ meeting, in my previous article of “Events & Social Media Numbers”.

I had some quality experience with Costa Coffee Team in the UAE. It was a blend of their trade secret recipe and marketing event with a bunch of Socially active people. The agenda was the launch of their iphone app called “Costa Coffee” available at the app store.Of course, for now, it’s a regionally focused app where-in the concentration restraints to United Arab Emirates, essentially Dubai.

The app associates well with the brand, being of the same branded colors, ‘light maroon & cream’. It was pretty interesting as an overall experience because obviously it would contain the menu card but apart from that it has a puzzle game & music. Well, someone really smart came-up with that for sure. Locations of all Costa Stores across UAE are built-in courtesy, GMaps.

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I found it easy to use and pretty simple in the format it’s icons are placed. So good job Mr. Developer. One obvious addition I would make here is, launch it for Android & Windows as soon as you can.

Coming back to the Event, it has become a social norm to be socially involved with your key influences, in order to maintain the volumes of your buzz. A bunch of us who were learning the coffee art, or at least giving a shot for it… Honestly, it was fun, even though, I was not very much interested in that but always up for new experiences. Thanks for Costa Coffee UAE for hosting this event.

-P

Social Media Day – Social Media what?

A global event started by Mashable Pete Cashmore, thanks man!

buy-twitter-followers-bird-dollar-sign-webBut I think; it has lost it’s cause, at least bits of it. Why do I feel so? #Twitter might go public, easy reason of depression already even though Mr. CEO says – “Money doesn’t drive us, it’s just oxygen”. My point exactly. “That’s what makes it everything”.

Anyway, coming back to Social Media Day, June 30th, every year, I recognize it’s existence but no matter how much fun it sounds, it’s a money driven business like any celebrate-social-media-day-with-mashable-in-san-francisco-49dda7d314other. I see, Digital departments of corporations and/ OR Digital Agencies, they are number driven. It’s as good as like, someone like – Adolf Hitler sitting on your head with a gun pointed at you, that if you didn’t get 1 million fans or 10,000 followers; you will be fired. Now, you and me, both know, Adolf Hitler, has no idea about Social Media, whatsoever. His accomplice told him or I must say influenced him by saying, numbers drive this business. Yeah, what a ‘mess’.

Why don’t I see special campaigns? Why don’t I see bean bags? Why don’t I see, people dressed up in costumes? Why don’t I see cupcakes? Why don’t I see a flair? Why don’t I see some joy? – Questions; no Social Media department OR company will answer to. Because, everything costs oxygen! Everyone is happy to neglect people and people accept it. You know why? Here’s an example:

In an documentary with BBC- Saud bin Abdul Muhsin Al Saud, Governer of Ha’il province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said: [Rephrase of his statement] “I am the super-power, I can make a statement and it will be a rule effective immediately but will the people accept it? It’s not like something which is considered to be “Haram” will be accepted even by the supreme power – In here, he essentially talks about Women driving in KSA, getting a chance to speak and other rights.

Similarly, people working in the Social Media Industry are neglecting the basic norms and standards of it. It’s funny how some companies have actually termed “Social Media” as – THE NEXT BIG THING”. Well, if you are sitting on a billion dollars with millions of fans, for you, YES. This negligence is coming naturally because statistics are that, over 65% of the people working in Social Media are not even Social Media savvy, with no idea whatsoever. So, this education is going far beyond worse in coming years because the one who is teaching also has no idea of what is he/ she talking. I’ve actually been writing about something called “Fun” – “Social Media is Supposed to be Fun”

Not sure if I am right but I at least know I am not wrong.

Okay, for rest of the 30% – 35%, hats off for actually thinking/ planning every aspect; but you will get my vote only once it pops out for good. Hope to see some fun in 2014.

Respondents to Social Media Day:

Social Media Day Survey

The Social Keyboard

So, I am sure, a lot of you would have thought of it but my question is, why is it still not there?

Out of tons, the keyboard manufacturing companies, of course, I can only name a few such as ‘Microsoft’, ‘Apple’, ‘Dell’, ‘Logitech’, ‘hp’ etc. none of them came up with this. Why?

The Social Media Keyboard
The Social Media Keyboard

How cool would it be to have an Enhanced keyboard which is so much internet savvy, good for the conglomerates involved in mass communication, media and teenagers, of course. Yeah, that’s too much of a cliché.

But is that just because of a company patent war? Of course, I understand every one wants to be the no. 1 in terms of branding; but can you stop the battle for a second and actually be human-centric? Lets do it the people way!

Events & Social Media Numbers

Social Media

Social Media, a broad subject now, processes the big data for you which is hard to quantify otherwise, there was no concept of key influences before this. It’s always interesting to see a projector screen on the wall with real timeline on it. We only had power points or graphs that are totally capable of putting 70% audience to sleep. But yes, the innovation is excellent. At least, some of the audience or attendees just stay up to see their post on the wall while the presentation/ speech is on. However, there are a few key questions; which can be coupled in because they have a major impact. First of which would be:

a) What does an event does to your numbers? – If you are a consumer based business, then obviously you will want to see loads of feedback and/ or engagement with live audience. By analysis and putting the psychological context to it, it increases the numbers way faster than otherwise, best percentage guess is 20%. What should I say about quality but that ain’t relevant for now. It’s the aftermath, which can be looked at later on when we go to “retention”.

b) How do the numbers look after a fortnight? – For most brands, it decreases to a certain extent when they do not find the same content they followed you in the first place for. So let’s say I called it for an account “x” and I followed it for specifically for the content going on for the event and I find them deviating from the subject they belong to, after a fortnight, I ‘d be forced to un-follow them. But what if, I was being wrong in the first place? Well, can’t say, that’s totally subjective.customer-retention

c) Hence, “Retention” – The event is not something which was not in your plan. It was. So should have been the content you were pushing at that time. Of course, catering the live engagement is a little different all together but majority goes as per plan. So, until a fortnight; you have an option to either customize your push data as per the new percentage following or go by your usual style which could harm those numbers to some extent.

All in all, the numbers are effected at your events (essentially mean, increase). So, along side of your event planning, plan your push data and drive the engagement as you like and not let the engagement drive your account. Because you never know, there might be a good chance of your audience being 80% savvy with Social Media because they might be coming in from the info you pushed on your Social Media Profiles.

Your audience can be present in the ballroom or watching/ listening to you via a webcast which is also a very effective way of marketing, these days. It increases the trust score for the brand.