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.

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.

like_us_on_facebook_small

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.

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!

Brands & Sarcasm!

Social Media, as we all know is a very vast field for those who use it, for those who doesn’t use it, for those who study and monitor it and for those who still struggle to find the correlation between it and people.

Anyway, when it comes to marketing, some brands have rightfully How-to-Boost-Your-Marketing-through-Social-Mediachosen Social Media platforms to display a whole bunch of products, generated conversations and shoved the idea of that product in Social Media users. But, as a study suggests that only 14% population trusts marketing, rest 86% still look for peer recommendations. Also, trust score for a brand increases when it has 38% negativity amongst it’s consumers. As I have previously mentioned in one of my post “Social Media When…” that negativity spreads at 100x speed than positivity and comes down with the same frequency, similar is the case with the trust score.

People with such negative comments/ posts, can say anything and everything about something. It can be direct, related, indirect or sarcastic manner. This post is all about how should brands take “Sarcasm”.

For that, I’ve a very critical question, which I would like to bring to your attention:

a) Are brands allowed to take sarcasm? Social Media and your brand

The answer to this one isn’t simple. Because it totally depends upon what kind if brand are you. Of course, there are more chances of you being a consumer based brand since you are using Social Media to maintain your brand loyalty and market yourself. If so, what industry do you belong to? Say, telecommunications, beauty products, fashion, consumable goods or anything in which you are in touch with your end-user. Then, YES, totally YES, you are allowed to take sarcasm. In fact, it gives you a golden opportunity to immediately go a clock ahead of your competitors.

Wonder HOW?

Here’s how. We all know about the Burger King twitter hack, anyone knows how burger king treated the situation after they restored their communications, successfully? They ACCEPTED it!Sarcasm Redefined

There you go, the key to successful engagement post crisis is accepting. Same is with sarcasm. If someone’s being sarcastic towards you, welcome it. Accept it. Win it. Treat that person. It would work as a charm for your brand’s trust score. Just don’t ignore. Turn the situation to an arena and turn to the stage as a stand up comedian, if you have to; everyone likes to laugh. Just don’t ignore.

Simple steps to get you there are:

1) Formulate an engagement strategy as soon as you know your sarcastic influence.

2) Build up a conversation on a personal note. Just remember, this one can bring a 100 more to you, without any effort and investment.

3) Once you have given enough attention, try and accept it again with a sarcastic tone of “it happens to the best of us”.

Not in one case, I can think of, this can go wrong. Communication on Social Platforms is similar to communicating in any public meeting, hence, doesn’t require a rocket science strategy. Plain communication is enough to cater to your own loyalty.

Social Circle

#Tip: Social Media is not “Word of Mouth”; it’s “World of Mouth”, hence, lets not make it complicated.

My Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia, a mobile phone company, really close to my heart because almost 7 years I user Nokia 6630 and I never faced a single problem with the Symbian OS which was more or less Nokia’s spinal cord for quite sometime. But none the less; it’s back with a bang with Flagship Lumia series of 510, 520, 61o, 620, 720, 800, 820, 900 and 920.Nokia Lumia 920 with Box Packing

With the courtesy of Nokia, UAE, I had an opportunity to use and review the Lumia 920 (yellow). The box unlike the old big packaging, was sorted as that of an iphone/S3/BB z10. It contained the phone, charger (USB) and earphones. I was totally delighted to receive the same.

With first looks, it looks like the first love, I will be a little biased here. Because I wasn’t impressed with iphone’s or S3’s first look out of their packages. The embossed screen from the body, looks pretty. Finally time to boot, impressive and a quick one just as Win 8 takes in any new machine.

Below created is a table of it’s positives; neutral and negative facts:

For every smartphone now a days, there are these three categories, depending upon what kind of usage you are seeking. For Lumia especially, there are a lot more positives than negatives. Neutral would be the features, which are readily available in almost all the smartphones these days. Will not completely brag but Lumia or let me say Windows 8 OS, gives some disadvantages to the handset, such as ‘file sharing’ and ‘skype’. They are difficult to understand. For example; I couldn’t sign out once I signed into my skype account; What if I have two accounts for different purposes?

I cannot possibly list each & everything out of my limited usage but here I go:

Review_Nokia_Nokia-Lumia-920_Prafsa.com

Some basic facts have already been pointed out; there and by how you use your phone; things change then. But I would straight away give my comparison to iphone and android flagship be it Samsung or HTC, it stands out. Plus I wouldn’t call the app store developed; the third party applications are scare and are in a short-supply but they are surely keeping an eye on the same and on-going development is foreseen from here.

In addition to everything I would also answer one key question: “Who is it made for?” or “What type of people should buy it?”

Clearly, Nokia Lumia & Windows 8 are not made for all. There is a specific set of people who should be buying it. Nokia-Lumia-920-colors

  • It is made for people who remain satisfied with their phones and are not frequent on changing their handsets no matter for what.
  • Made for people who are kind of addicted to Social Media, Gaming, heavy calling and frequent messaging.
  • Made for people who love music and photography.
  • It is not open source, so techies strictly be away from it.

Overall my rating: 4.0/5

Social Media is supposed to be fun…

A lot of us are actually missing the one fact which the whole Social Media Industry sits on, “FUN”.

Story of ‘facebook’, I guess all the readers know it, if not I encourage you to watch “Social Network – The Movie”, the story was a true depiction of a guy who just wants to have some fun. Hence it all began. Blogging for days, months, years & one day we are confined to 140 characters and clearly are asked to be smart, hence twitter showed up.  I’ve devised 10 things done by brands on facebook and twitter, which are a total fail strategy and because it is not fun anymore, it looks bold to my eyes, therefore cannot ignore. Following are the 10 mistakes made by brands while using Social Media:

1) Making ‘facebook’ page for brand and every other product they have.SMTrends

2) Not having a ‘help’ account for twitter & those who have are not doing a great job.

3) Focusing more on pictures and albums, which is a total bummer.

4) Not engaging with fans and followers with-in a certain time frame.

5) Writing formal and professional language, it’s not a corporate communication class, it’s Social Media, yes brands are allowed to troll at times. It’s not a fail.

6) Competitions, 90% of all the brands have a common facebook competition. Why can’t you have a platform based competition? Unless, you are saying that facebook and twitter are all the same to you.

7) Delete and re-post: If you’ve made a typo, use it to strengthen and come up with a punch-line and crack some people. Do not delete that stuff. This is an era of “Trollism”.

8) Promoting one platform on the other: Most failure strategy of all, actually. Never market your facebook page on twitter account or vice-versa, for obvious reasons.

9) Timings of the posts: Time is a crucial factor in generating the sense of engagement you are expecting, so manage that wisely.

10) Lastly, encourage your own employees to promote the brand and be quite proud of the same because a saying that is strongly followed “Change comes from with-in”.

So, the above also hold tips and tricks to engagement, check your current policy of engagement and try something new. Don’t be active for one day and nothing comes for the rest of the days in a week.

Bottom-line: No need to be extremely professional in your writing, be decent that would be enough because the fact that everyone needs to remember is “behind my profile, it’s me, behind a brand’s profile also, there is no machine, it’s someone like me”

Twitter and it’s Media

Twitter, today, has announced a new fresh outlook to it’s media. Yes, the traditional, slow format has been converted to something similar to picasa on your PC/Mac. It has begun rolling out a new feature that will let you view a larger version of a photo without going to a separate page (as pictured below), as well as another addition that will see videos from Vine, YouTube, Vimeo and others video engines.

A little tweaked are it’s conversation view. This change should surely boost it’s usage and should totally bind it’s loyal users. Looks like, all the Social Media sites are on a roll. Good stuff 🙂

Twitter New Media View