Last week a friend of ours mentioned he was having website issues. As we dug into the conversation, we found out that ‘issues’ actually meant his site had been offline for 4+ months. Yikes! Now he hosted his site with a friend, who was “working on getting it back up”. But 4 months is too long for any level of friendship when it comes to business if you ask me!
So why do you need to host with a reputable company.
To avoid the horror story we just heard, here are a few things to make sure you have when finding a good web site host.
- Server load. How many clients do the have on one server. Some of the cheapest companies have thousands of accounts on one server. Think of that like a roach motel.
- Server access. Do you have FTP and control panel access? You want to be able to log in, and manually save down files, run backups, etc. Maybe not you directly, but you want to make sure you have the access so you can hire someone else if needed.
- Storage and bandwidth. Most businesses need under 1gb of storage, and 5 – 20gb of monthly bandwidth. Churches that podcast are a different story. You want to make sure you have a hard number. Companies that offer unlimited have a limit, they just hide it and decide on a case by case basis. I know far to many people with normal usage sites, that have been suspended for “resource abuse” by these unlimited companies. Frankly It baffles me that they can advertise this.
- Support. Can you actually get a hold of someone when you need to? Many companies have amazing support, some make you wait hours. Find one you are comfortable with, because it hurts to have a massive site issue, and no one to talk to about it.
- Backups. Do they run nightly and weekly backups? Are they offsite? Is the database included with that?
- What restrictions do they have on WHAT you can host. More important, what are they keeping off the server that other users may be hosting. You never want to be on a server that allows porn, torrents, file sharing, etc. Its bound to tie up the server, and possibly get shut down.
So next time you need to find a great place to host your site, make sure you think through these points. And in case you are wondering, YES the factor1 severs meet all the above with flying colors and we are super picket who we host. We rarely, and I mean rarely host anything unless they are a client of ours.
Dont get me wrong, I’ll be the first to look at a new idea and ask if we can make money from it. Where are the expenses, and where is the profit. But I need to remind myself and others often, to have value first.
Try not to become a person of success but a person of value. ~Albert Einstein
Lets take a look at twitter’s newly announced plans of advertising in twitter for a great example. This week twitter announced how it will be selling ads within twitter. Its a pretty unique method. But lets step back for a second.
Twitter was free of ads, and free to users for a few years. They built up a customer base, and refined their systems. They kept it lean and mean by only offering one core service—updates. No photos, elaborate profiles, member pages, or other things that have hurt others in the past. Just updates, and a way to follow others. This added a large value to its base, and probably one key factor to its growth.
So back to present day. Twitter built value, and a customer base as its first goal, income streams came later. Did they always have plans for a revenue stream, I hope so! Sure it may have been a rough outline or a few sketchy ideas, but I am sure they did, and their investors saw it too.
Here are some simple questions to answer as you launch a new business, new product, service, or idea.
- Who is my customer for this product & what is their need?
- How will this address their needs?
- Where is my competition on this new product?
- Where can this under promise, and over deliver?
- What is the opportunity for growth after we launch it?
- Where do we see this product in 1, 2, and 5 years?
- How are we going to make sure we keep up on the times
(value now, with outdated needs in a year is no value!)
- What if we fail to offer value now, can we innovate and change? or is the product dead?
- How will we gauge & measure the value created?
(It’s not always sales numbers, especially early on)
We at factor1 are always coming up with new things to help our clients. We clearly outline the goals, benefits, costs, target customer, and where the money is. We often will beta test and give out some freebies to make sure the value is where we expect it.
What tools do you use to measure your value?
Who do you turn to for advice on your new products, service, or ideas?
The number one concern in any organizations quest for a new website is the cost. Everyone generally wants the best work for the cheapest price. I would say we see 4 out of 5 clients base most of their decision on the price. Sure some things like features, quality, and experience come into play. It just seems price always outweighs the others for many clients new to professional web design.
I wanted to take a chance to openly discuss how we come up with our prices.
Good web design costs good money. There is no way around it. Just the other day we picked up a new client, who thought our first proposal was too high, and went with a friend of a friend for a fraction of the price. You know this person, its your mom’s-co-worker’s-son’s-friend’s-cousin. They always swear that they can do $3000 worth of web work, for $500 and a smoothie. Here is the issue we hear time and time again, they get started, the project gets rough, and they walk away.
We like to make sweet apps that help you out.
So today we made up some Bacon. Wait. What? Bacon?
We are excited to publicly launch our new email marketing service called Bacon. Why Bacon you ask? Because Bacon is always good. and it makes everything better.
Let’s think about it:
Burgers = good; bacon burgers = better.
Lettuce tomato Sandwich = boring; BLT = tasty.
Eggs and pancakes = good breakfast; Bacon, Eggs and Pancakes = now we’re talkin’.
pigs = ehh; Bacon = yes!
see. I told you.
So go, check out Bacon
So recently in the news, there was a chicago cemetery moving old graves, to make room for new ones. This got me really thinking about the business plan of a cemetery. And how it applies to other businesses.
So I had to lay it all out.
- The Family pays a fee for burial services and upkeep. Lets call this $10,000.
- the cemetery does the burial service, and so on.
- The Cemetery management company continues to keep everything green and pretty for ever and ever. or do they?
Here is where I get lost in why anyone would want this responsibility. It costs money to water, and maintain all that grass. To keep things clean and pretty. At some point, the money HAS to run out right?
If the cemetery ran out of plots to sell, at some point, there is no more income coming in. at all. Sure they could have been saving from all the years they sold plots, to pay for future upkeep. but even that has to run out. then what????
Do cemeteries close? go bankrupt?
In looking at other business models, the same process seems evident. Even in factor 1.
- Chrysler offers unlimited milage warranty, for unlimited years.
They are banking on you selling it before 3 years, as the average new car buyer does. And the warranty is non transferable. But what about that guy who keeps his car 15 years. Could be a pricey fix. but probably not a money pit in the big picture.
- Corsair Ram company offers lifetime warranty as well.
They bank on the fact that computers dies after a few years. Speed, and technology changes happen so quickly, that the actual life of the product ends long before this ram chip should. So replacements and service should be slim to none.
- Factor 1 (yes, even us) offers lifetime tech support on our website CMS.
We assume most people only need to be trained a few times, and upkeep is pretty painless most of the time. And we bank on the fact that most sites need a revamp every few years. But sure, we could be in trouble if someone kept it 10 years, and server technology really changed.
Im sure there are others. and while Factor 1 and Chrysler (the last time i will ever put us in the same sentence together) are probably okay, since we have a end of product life cycle at some point. What is the end of life cycle for a cemetery? Does the management company just go under, and the graves go unkept?
Am I the only odd one thinking about this news story from a business side of things?
We are super excited to launch this site. It’s the all new site for our local Maricopa Chamber of Commerce. Factor 1 (specifically I, Matt Adams), have been heavily involved with the chamber marketing board for a number of years now. We have aided in the planning, creation, and execution of several programs, events, and marketing pieces. All aimed at increasing local business exposure.
This new site will tie in all our past work, and goals. We have found that the user experience of a large site is key to the sites success. With the user in mind, we created this site.
It was an amazing site to plan out, and work on. We spent the last few months really refining the user flow, menus, and having fun with great photography.
Terri Kingery, Chamber Director had this to say:
Matt Adams and his staff have done a wonderful job in ensuring the transition process from our old website to our new one was seamless and error free. Their knowledge of social media and the incorporation of Twitter on our home page has, in my opinion, helped increase our traffic by 30%. I would recommend them without hesitation to any Chamber, or business looking to redesign their website.
Visit the Chamber website:
This is what trying too hard looks like.
So clearly Chevy is trying their hand at social media integration. Lets count up all the “apps” shall we.
- facebook link
- ohh i can create my chevy account
- a foum
- a blog
- photo feed
- twitter tweets
- and a site share stuff at the bottom
Wow. all on the home page. This site does NOTHING to promote what the volt is, why its cool, or why i should care. Instead it blasts me with its attempts to get me to engage. Unfortunately I dont really want to subscribe to the blog, be their friend on twitter, because I dont yet care about the car, or the site.
For me, the home page is overwhelming, and over the top. I appreciate the video, i think videos are cool. And a blog / news updates are good. The layout and presentation is so far behind the times. We used to see sites like this in the late 90′s.
The volt is a cool car, and should really be impressive for chevy to launch. this site is more in the way of other marketing efforts than anything.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll offer my solution. What are your thoughts? Am I being too harsh here?
do you have a typical boring product? like say a printer. sure it prints in color, and printers are always getting faster / better / fancier. Still, advertising a printer has been semi-boring. HP has always had pretty good luck making a printer cool.
Check this out.
The two designers are recent graduates from the Design Communication degree course at Kingston University, London, and they’re currently looking for experience within the creative industry.
Good luck in your search, guys. Love the video.
Music © Round Table Knights.
Have you thought of all the ways you can make your product or service sexy?
What do you think of the new Microsoft Zune ad? They say it costs $30,000 to fill an ipod. Check it out.
Do you believe this doom and gloom story? Are you now thinking that an ipod is a bad idea and you should “rent” your music for $15 a month?
Here is my issue. Nothing to do with the apple fanboy in me, but I tend to call shenanigans on any advertising that is unrealistic and confusing (yes, I sit at home and call out these ads for the new windows laptop hunter ads, most ads for beauty products, ads for hyundai saying its better than BMW, etc. Just ask my wife.)
- most people own cds, already completing some of their library.
- once you buy a song, you own it. for life. until you delete it or toss out that CD.
- who really ever fills up an ipod?
- the people who CAN fill up an ipod, usually “borrow” (read: steal) music.
- renting with the Zune pass is really throwing $15 a month away. Stop paying, and your music is gone. All of it.
So really, this ad is comparing apples to oranges. well, apples to microsofts if you want to be funny like I do.
This ad is like saying it costs $30,000 to buy a small car, and drive it for 3 years. but instead you can rent one for $350 a month. Ohh wait, that’s a lease. So maybe, just maybe, this Zune ad is genius?
Any thoughts? Does this ad make you want to toss your ipod and use a Zune pass?
Planning a big project is like planning a trip. The bigger it is, the harder the plans become.
Recently (okay this week), I spent some time packing for my trip to Ethiopia. We have been slowly planning for many months, and it all seemed to be rolling smooth. That was until it came time to pack our luggage. See I am in a unique traveling situation, where my wife and I are not just traveling to Ethiopia, we are traveling to bring back our adopted twins. The issue: I have to plan, and pack for not only myself, but two 6 month old boys as well. Basically once we arrive, they are all ours. So we have to bring diapers, clothes, and all the kid junk that goes along with it. Being first time parents….woah it’s a lot of stuff.
So what does this have to do with web or marketing?
I know what it feels like to step into something new and big. If you have never had your own web site, from scratch before, or are just starting a marketing plan, it can feel like a lot. Sure at first it looks easy, but we all know getting from start to finish on a large project may have hundreds of tasks.
So breathe. look at the list, “pick off the low hanging fruit” as Ryan likes to say. Work on it, set goals, and react as needed.
Me, I’m back to trying to pack and stick to the plans / packing lists we laid out.