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Advisory Funding from Government

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The Queensland Government is providing up to $10k in funding to established Queensland-based small businesses to engage business mentors, coaches, or an advisory board, for 6 to 12 months.

The Accelerate Small Business Grants Program provides targeted assistance to small businesses that demonstrate high-growth and employment aspirations, to engage high-level expertise for their business.

Already many people who have wanted to work with us have requested an estimate from us which meets the criteria outlined, so they can put in an application for this grant.

Matching funding of up to $10,000 (excluding GST) may be provided to eligible businesses to engage business mentors, coaches, or an advisory board, for 6 to 12 months. The funding must be matched by a cash contribution from the participating business.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for this grant, the business must:

  • have a minimum trading history of 4 years
  • have a minimum turnover of $750,000
  • have a maximum headcount of 20 employees at the time of application
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • have Queensland headquarters or significant Queensland operations
  • have competitive opportunities in domestic or international markets
  • be experiencing growth and have clearly defined high-growth opportunities
  • declare if any owners or directors of the business are, or have previously been, bankrupt or insolvent.

This grant is targeted at established Queensland-based small businesses that are financially sound and have the potential for high-growth over the next 1 to 2 years. High-growth is generally considered to be a 20% increase in turnover or employment. The participant must have a business plan in place, and the capacity to access finance to fund the growth of their business.

Participating businesses will need to have a clearly defined opportunity and plan for growth, and demonstrate how engaging external advice will allow the business to achieve these goals.

Only 1 application per year will be accepted from an individual ABN or business address.

Important dates

Applications opened on 25 October 2016 and may be lodged until the annual budget is fully allocated. At this time, the round will close and a new round will open at the beginning of the next financial year.

The participating business must provide a progress report after 3 months and a final report on completion of the project outlining:

  • the advice received
  • how the advice has been implemented
  • the impact on the business
  • the results and outcomes achieved.
  • Businesses will be surveyed 12 months after the completion of the project.

Who should apply

It is expected that participating businesses will be seeking support to manage and finance their business expansion which may include, but is not limited to:

  • increasing employment
  • improving management processes and systems to increase productivity and efficiency
  • introducing product process or systems innovations
  • entering new markets
  • increasing turnover/sales.

To review the eligibility criteria, see the Queensland Government web page.

Contact us today if you want to improve your website and social media presence and establish your expertise in your marketplace.

Office 365 Updates

Lots and lots of changes and updates in Office 365 since my last newsletter. Here are just a few:

Mobile Push Notifications for One Drive for Business and SharePoint

Mobile Push Notifications for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint is a new Office 365 feature. We are currently rolling this out to all customers and we expect to have this rollout completed by December 31, 2016

This new feature will allow end users to receive mobile push notifications when other people share files and folders with them from OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online. Because there will be some data, including the user and file name, passed through Google Cloud Messaging and Apple Push Notification Service, we have also enabled an admin toggle to disable any mobile notifications about content changes in your tenant.

New feature: Copy files and folders from OneDrive to SharePoint

We’re adding the ability to copy files and folders from OneDrive for Business to SharePoint team sites and Office 365 groups.

Users will see this new feature when they select a file in OneDrive for Business and click Copy to. In the Choose destination pane, users will see their SharePoint sites and Office 365 groups in the Recent, Frequent, and Followed lists. Currently, this feature has a 50-MB file size limit. Support for copying larger files is in the works and expected to be fully rolled out by early next year.

New Feature: Focused Inbox – Replacing Clutter

Focused Inbox is a new feature coming to Office 365. Focused Inbox helps you take control of your inbox and focus on the emails that matter most. This is coming to all versions of Outlook that receive updates, to give you one consistent view of the important items in your inbox.

Focused Inbox provides two filtered views of your inbox; Focused and Other. Emails that matter most to you are viewed in the Focused tab while the rest remain easily accessible, but out of the way, in the Other tab. You’ll be informed about new emails appearing in the “Other” tab filtered view, and you can switch between tabs (views) at any time to take a quick look. However, all emails remain in your inbox; no emails are moved. Focused Inbox is a refinement and improvement of a previous feature called Clutter. Active Clutter users will have to opt-in to Focused Inbox, and will be able to do so from an in-app prompt in Outlook.
More info about the removal of Clutter here

Today I thought I would update you on all the services we offer. Often people are surprised at just what we can do and outsourcing jobs to us is often a way to get things done more efficiently and cheaper. I have also included some Office 365 news as usual.

Outsource Your Tech Today

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We have been in business here in Australia for 20 years. Some of our staff have more than 25 years’ experience in computing and business. We have been active in the web since 1995. As a result, we have a significant skill set that you can take advantage of.

First some reasons why.

Can your business afford?

  • Missed sales and opportunities
  • Negative feedback – people talk about your business in social media
  • Wasted money

Common Mistakes of DIY

  • Buying unsuitable equipment on “special”
  • Incorrect licensing of software
  • Making the assumption the cloud is free
  • Untested backups, DR and BCP
  • Leaving it to untrained Gen Y staff
  • Inappropriate use of social media for business

Some of the products and services we can offer you

  • Advice – we employ professionals in these areas:
    • Business Architecture and Digital Strategy
    • Web Development and Design
    • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
    • SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
    • SMM (Social Media Management)
    • Reputation and Brand Management
    • Photography and Graphic Design
    • Sys Admins and Database Experts
    • Office Productivity Gurus
    • Writing and Content Development
  • Hardware:
    • Computer sales, repairs and upgrades – from basic business PCs to high end graphic design and gaming PCs
    • Mobile devices (phones, tablets) – sales, upgrades and connection
    • Internet connection – ADSL, NBN and Mobile Broadband
    • Wired and Wireless Networks – design, installation and security– design, sales, installation and configuration, racks and data storage
  • Software
    • Office 365 connection, setup and installation
    • Data migration – office accounting systems into the cloud, data storage into cloud
    • Website development, new sites, upgrades, ecommerce platforms, integration to store
    • Social Media - policy, setup and account management
    • Excel VBA development – spreadsheet design, automation, reporting tools and budgets
  • Training
    • Microsoft Office training – productivity and efficiency gains guaranteed
    • Website management
    • Social Media Use and Management

Talk to us about significant advantages to your business by OUTSOURCING YOUR TECH

Office 365 News

Using Skype for Business? If not why? Either way here are 8 features you didn’t know you needed for online meetings.

New Feature: Filtering common malicious attachment types in Email. Learn more about creating organisation wide settings to limit attachments of malicious file types. Ask us if you want this feature enabled.

Upgraded feature: The People Profile experience is being updated in Office 365. We are already using the new profile pages and it is a definite improvement when working with Delve. Ask us about how to improve your organisations information usage and sharing.

New feature: Integrate Dropbox into your Office 365 online experience. Ask us to talk through and plan this upgrade if you are heavy users of Dropbox.

Office 365 is changing all the time, schedule your free 6 monthly audit with us to see how you can take advantage of the tools that are available in your subscription

Follow Us On Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces, then connect with me:

Today I am providing some answers to common questions we get asked and not just focusing on Windows 10. However I will have one little Windows 10 section as well for those who have updated already.

Are you actually harnessing the power of Office 365?

Jethro-Facebook-Office-365-Mobility-Business

When you made the strategic decision to move some or all of your business to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365 that was a good call. But since you made that call have you actually extracted as much value from this tool as possible, or is a large part of your investment lying there just untapped?

With our free customer audits we offer the opportunity to discuss what you have in place and what you don’t but could be utilising. Here’s a quick checklist. Are you utilising the power of these products?

Feature

Description

Major Benefits

Who should use

Skype for Business

Instant Messaging and Hi Def Video conference communicator for staff, customers and suppliers

Find out about Skype for Business

Hi Def Video conversations

Instant messaging

Presence indicator

Tightly integrated with Outlook

Presentation and webinar system

Any business with multiple staff

Any business with customers or suppliers who use Skype or Skype for business

Anyone who uses Outlook heavily

Anyone who needs to share their content via voice conference or webinar (private or public)

SharePoint

Document management system

Find out about SharePoint

Multiple version management

Single point of reference

Reduce attachments in email

Remote / mobile access to documents

Collaborative (multi user) editing

Any business creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets, video content or PowerPoint decks

Any business with staff roles and security levels for access

Any user who has more than one device (e.g. laptop and PC, or tablet and mobile)

Any business who collaboratively creates documents

OneNote

Note taking application that includes web clipping, email saving and screen shot saving

Find out about OneNote

Organise notes, to do lists, screenshots, and other important information in one place.

Easily share some or all of any notebook with multiple people as read only or read write

Automatically syncs across every device you own with no need to save

Anyone who writes to do lists

Anyone who needs to store important information like passwords

Anyone who needs to share with staff important information e.g. shared notes about customers

Anyone who needs to create screenshots and turn them into images

Delve

Delve displays information that is most relevant for each person based on the work they are doing and the people with whom they are engaging

Find out about Delve

Surfaces information already being created in the organisation by other people you might not know about

Improves collaboration

Integrates with Yammer

Any business with a team working on a projects or shared work

Any user wanting to find other documents in the organisation

Any business with 3-5 or more staff who create and edit documents

Yammer

Private Enterprise Social Network.

Also allows connection with external networks

Find out about Yammer

Find information and answers to common questions easily

Communicate with peers and colleagues on projects and documents

Network with others inside and outside your organisation

Any business with multiple locations or remote workers

Any business that works with customers or suppliers who also use Yammer

Any business that runs projects

Sway

Online publishing tool

Find out about Sway

Create and share polished, interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more

Any business creating presentations or reports

Any user creating content

Anyone needing to provide a slick looking web presentation of their information or data

Contact us now to if you haven’t had your free audit or want to know more about any of these products.

SEO Is no longer an option for business it’s a Must

Here is a fairly long explanation of what SEO actually is if you ever wondered just what those telemarketers are offering when they ring up and say they can put you on the front page of Google. I debunk the myths and explain the actual science of SEO so business owners can understand it.

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  • SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – commonly referred to as getting on page one of Google for a search. However there is a lot more to it than that. It is actually about ensuring that the website has all the components in place to assist the search engine crawlers (Bing Yahoo and Google) to rank you correctly. There are a number of components and I have attached a cheat sheet that describes most of these. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization
  • SEM – Search Engine Marketing – paying for ranking improvements by the use of AdWords, Click marketing and other techniques.
  • SMM – Social Media Marketing – very broad term around utilising social media as a marketing tool
  • Black hat SEO – refers to aggressive and often “bad” methods of attempting to “game” the crawler algorithms by taking advantage of them. Usually a short-lived approach and is generally only used by the scammers – those who call up in a foreign accent and tell you they want to help you improve your SEO. While these often work well for 1-2 months the end result is usually a lower result as you can get blacklisted for doing it.
  • White hat SEO – the professional approach to doing it right using known techniques that actually work.

Measurement

There are some easy ways to define measurement and then a whole range of additional metrics that are far more in depth and specific. The first task is of course a goal or goals that need to be set in order to measure improvement of the metrics against those goals. For example measuring the number of people who come to the site isn’t really relevant without adding in calls to action and then measuring those calls to action. Then you can determine if a particular piece of work changed any of those things.

Using Google analytics is extremely important and should be enabled by your web developer. If you are not sure ask us. Metric management is about tracking the specific stats against a goal and the changes as you do things. Google analytics can measure how many people clicked on the contact form page and how long they stayed there, where they came from and where they went next. Some of the specific things that can be measured external to the google analytics are the number of enquiries you receive from the website forms. This can then help us create a ratio as follows:

no of people viewing a sales page : no of people clicking from the sales page with a call to action to the contact form page : no of enquiry forms received : your conversion from those enquiries to sales. Example 1000:150:8:5

This then allows you to set a goal around that ratio metric – e.g. increase the numbers or improve the ratios.

The actual measurement then requires three things:

  1. A measureable goal
  2. The stats being collected from the website
  3. And the additional stats provided by yourselves.

Additionally Goals themselves should be what is known as SMART goals:

Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:

  • Who: Who is involved?
  • What: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Where: Identify a location.
  • When: Establish a time frame.
  • Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
  • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week.”

Measurable - Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.

To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……

How much? How many?

How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

Realistic- To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.

A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labour of love.

Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.

Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.

When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.

How do we do this?

SEO is primarily about two things – Content and Currency.

Search engines rank you for the content on your site. They crawl words within context looking for relevancy. They look for timeliness or recentness.

This has to be developed backwards from the goals.

First you have to develop an avatar or a generic target customer. You create a mythical person who is your ideal next customer – the person you want to be having that phone call with selling your services. Once you identify the problem that person has that you can solve for them, then you need to work out how they find you. E.g. what was the problem? What words did they type into google to start finding solutions to the problem? How did that then find your website? When they found your website (page on your site) how well did the words you wrote confirm for them that you know how to solve their problem and convince them to contact you?

This leads you or us then to the ability to write content for your site that meets this objective. The more pages that can be written describing the real problems your customers have and how your company solves them. The more keywords there are that can be crawled by the search engines and the higher you will rank for those keywords. Adding in external links and other reference material, and then being referenced by other sites, analysts, uni students doing assignments on that problem and writing websites about them, etc. will help your rankings.

SEM – paying for it

A natural extension to the first component is to start paying for the results using AdWords and click marketing. E.g. paying for your site to be ranked higher or in suggested or advertised results sections on searches for certain keywords. Note there is no point doing this until you are already ranking well for those keywords. Your site needs to already have good content with those words before you can do this effectively.

SMM or Social Media Marketing

A powerful tool to massively leverage the ability for people to find your content and also improve SEO is SMM. This is extending the content you write on your site out into social media space – LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter are probably the best places and definitely Facebook as well. Each space has a different set of “rules” and ways to work and Twitter and Facebook also have the ability for you to pay money to advertise.

How do we help?

We have a very specific targeted approach to this and can assist at any one of three levels:

  • We can do everything for you including writing the articles
  • We can assist you by doing the technical and web stuff after you have written the content yourself
  • We can teach you how to do it yourself and then stand back and let you go to it on your own.

Our approach is simple.

The first step is to have a planning meeting where we assist in working out goals, setting a timetable of 6-12 months for content creation, determining the scope – e.g. website alone or extending to Social Media

From there we can help you work out who does what and what the cost will be.

Each step we take helps you identify the goals, how will measure it – who does what and how much it will cost. No black box “pay $40 a week and we will get you onto page 1” false promises.

Contact us today if you want a free analysis of your website for the 7 most common mistakes most business websites make (Usually $199). If you want a free SEO cheat sheet email and I will send one to you.

Is Your WordPress site secure?

wordpress-logoWordPress is one of the most popular CMS (Content Management System) website software out there. We have developed a lot of WordPress sites for our clients. What many people don't realise is that both the WordPress core system and all of the available WordPress plugins are vulnerable to hacking, and need to be monitored and kept up to date on a regular basis.

Keeping your website up to date will help safeguard and eliminate uninvited intruders or bugs on your site.

Nearly all of our clients take the approach to allow us to manage all aspects of the domain name management, hosting, development and ongoing maintenance. However we do allow our clients the flexibility to host elsewhere, manage the site and maintenance themselves if they wish.

Obviously we can’t be responsible for their site if issues occur if they’re choosing to host elsewhere or managing the site themselves. And unfortunately some people fail to keep their ‘versions’ of software and plugins up to date, again causing possible opportunities for hacking. The lack of updates, coupled with poor hosting environments can leave a website wide-open for security threats.

But time and time again, we have clients who do it themselves come to us pleading for us to help them out of a horrible hosting mess or to fix the site when it gets hacked or goes down.

Where there are WordPress sites there are hackers, and over time we’ve seen an increasing number of hacking attempts and malware on WordPress sites. We daily get reports from our managed sites indicating the targeted attacks occurring and the successful blocking of those attempts.

What Jethro does for our managed WordPress clients

  • Our servers are entirely owned and managed by us. There are no other resellers or websites on the server that we don’t have control of. When you host with crazy domains or any of the other cheap hosts you are subject to the fact that there are hundreds of not thousands of other sites on the same server – and while your site might not have any issues something happening to one of those other sites might cause your server to go down.
  • We monitor the servers constantly. Both at the server level where we receive text message and email notifications if something occurs, and at individual site level.
  • We harden the security of the default WordPress site way beyond the standard install. The standard install script most hosters offer for DIY leaves folders unprotected, easily guessable admin user names and no usually no password complexity requirements. We ensure that the site is as hard as possible to get to.
  • We don’t install 35 “that might be nice to have” plugins that may cause compatibility issues, security flaws or other issues. Every plugin we use has been tested over a long period of time, is compatible and has good developer maintenance.
  • We offer a maintenance service level agreement for all our clients that includes regular off server backups, plugin and core updates, documentation of all changes made and easy recovery if problems occur and active monitoring of the site.

Talk to us today about your WordPress website and ask us for a quick analysis of the site for potential problems. Better yet let us maintain this business asset for as little as $550 a year.

Welcome to the New Windows 10

Your Start screen

The Start menu is back—and it’s more personal, more organized, and more fun than before. Go to Start Windows logo icon on the taskbar on your keyboard. You'll find your most used apps on the left, the All apps list, and shortcuts to other locations on your PC, like File Explorer and Settings

win 10 start screen

Windows 10 Store

win 10 storeThe Store is a one-stop shop for music, videos, games, and apps.

Try out an app before you buy it, or pick a free one. Your Windows 10 apps will work on all your Windows 10 devices.

Application Switcher and Virtual Desktops

Click the application switcher for quick access to all your running apps. Or create and switch between virtual desktops.

win 10 desktops

Follow us on Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me:

All content © Tim Miller. Feel free to share or send these emails on. If you want to unsubscribe just reply with Unsubscribe in the subject.

Web design seems to be considered rocket science and a mythical art form by many small business people, who simply have no understanding of what’s involved. What is worse there are numerous web developers and design agencies that continue to perpetuate this myth, charge exorbitant amounts of money and deliver poor results. Ok the websites might look spectacular, but for a small business (any business actually) results mean delivering sales.

So lets get started. I’m going to debunk several myths, try and explain the methodologies that should be used in web design and give business owners some empowering questions that they can use to either vet potential developers or quiz their existing one.

This article isn’t intended to be a rant at either business owners or developers, but to simply try and help both achieve their goals. Business owners want a cost effective investment in a website and developers want to be paid fairly for what they do.

First lets start from a business perspective. Unfortunately it seems the majority of web developers do not do this.

A websites primary function is to do one of three things.

  • For an e-commerce (shopping) site it should provide a seamless experience for a customer to enact a transaction and the business owner to fulfil the order and meet all accounting requirements. The cost of the site and its ongoing upkeep and maintenance should be factored into the cost of goods sold as a direct cost. Sales less direct costs = gross profit. Simple formula to work out the profitability of a site.
  • A brochure-ware (usually just a few static pages – about, contact, products and services) site’s primary reason for existence is to simply state who you are and how to contact you. It should if done right have as good as possible SEO and you should be able to measure the number of enquiries received from the site. The cost of the site and its ongoing upkeep and maintenance should be factored into the cost of acquiring these new customers with a ratio of customers won over total enquiries.
  • A educational and news site (often utilising a blog) is really just a better brochure-ware site with more opportunity for SEO and also social engagement. Blog and news posts can be constructed to deliver keyword searches, and generate enquiries and contact for your products and services. The cost of the site and its ongoing upkeep and maintenance should be factored into the cost of acquiring these new customers with a ratio of customers won over total enquiries.

A business MUST approach this with the same business intelligence they would approach any other marketing or advertising opportunity. The marginal gain from new customers MUST be more than the overall cost – or the ROI is negative. No one is in business to lose money. Yet it seems common-sense decisions go out the window when choosing a web developer. A web developer should be able to help a business make the decision based on the economic value of the site to the business. And a business owner (who wouldn’t employ a sales assistant to stand in a corner doing nothing) shouldn’t be buying an expensive selling tool only to leave it standing in the corner doing nothing. To be fair to web developers many business owners are their own worst enemies here and do not understand this paragraph. Thus they allow developers to charge way to much for ineffective websites that do not produce $ results.

Understanding the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

SDLC chart

Unfortunately it seems many developers also have forgotten this – or conveniently ignore it when talking to gullible business owners (of which there are plenty waiting to have their wallets lightened). I’m not going to explain the SDLC in depth here – use Google or Bing for that!

While some take a waterfall approach to design, the more accurate approach is the circle – with an ongoing cycle that can span years.

As a minimum I would expect a web developer to follow this basic outline – and for a business owner to be prepared to pay on these approximate milestones.

  1. Requirements Analysis and Design. If a business owner is not able to do this themselves then they should definitely be prepared to pay their developer to assist them to do this. Setting out up front the goals for the site, the functional requirements and the actual stages of development provide a sound platform that any competent developer can then quote to – giving the business owner the ability to play the field. A good business analyst will develop a design requirement that they can quote to as well as any other developers.
  2. Initial development – usually a 50% or similar deposit is required to get the large amount of backend work completed. Host setup, often domain registration and business name registration, graphic design and image and other site asset compilation and generation, back end configuration and very importantly documentation.
  3. Go Live. the point where the site is up and running and visible to the public. At this point all social media connections should be made, search engine optimisation complete (for what is there now)
  4. Ongoing maintenance. This is all too forgotten component. Web software is constantly being updated and patched for security issues, additional features, bug elimination and so on. It should cost less with a good Maintenance Service Level Agreement (SLA) to keep o a site updated than to repair it when something goes wrong or to to do a massive number of major upgrades several years later.

Theming – function and form.

While it is possible to have function and form, e.g. great looking websites that provide great UI for the user as well as looking great, it has to be said function is more important than form. If budget is a consideration than definitely drop theming and focus on function. its not good having a snazzy looking website with poor navigation, difficult shopping cart completion etc. These days a professional quality theme can be purchased for WordPress, Drupal or Joomla for around US$50 and a good developer should be able to configure that to suit your site in 1-2 hours. And to be honest if you are a small business owner looking to invest less than $5K into a website than there is no reason to choose anything other than one of these solutions. They are popular for a reason.

Finally great content beats pretty graphics every time. People will be attracted to your business by what you say not what you look like.

So what can a business owner do to ensure they don’t get ripped off?

First, understand your own business, and set goals for the website. What does it need to do to assist your business grow, attract customers, sell products and so on? What results do you need to measure this by? And over how long? Calculate your own ROI.

Second, ensure that the web developers you are looking at can answer these questions:

  • Can you assist me to develop a requirements specification that i can take to any web developer for quoting?
  • What measurement tools can you put in place to ensure that my goals for this site are being measured?
  • What stages of development do you require payment on?
  • What is the total component cost of my site in theming?
  • What documentation do you provide?
  • What training do you provide and how much does it cost for additional training?

Authors note and disclaimer. We have been developing software and websites for over 20 years. While we approach all our clients development needs with best practice in mind, many clients choose to cut costs by cutting corners, don’t complete projects and in many cases don’t choose to follow all our advice. That is their prerogative.

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