I am thrilled to be posting about another one of my colleagues.
Hillary Norfleet is a Freelance Contract Web Developer and owner of On Time Web Development. Let’s hear from her in her own words.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve built, maintained, and optimized well over 300 websites. This experience translates into polished, sophisticated websites that load quickly, perform reliably, and instantly connect with visitors.
One thing that sets me apart from other developers is that I’m a Google Certified Expert. Using search engine optimization and tools like Google My Business, Google Search Console, and Google Ads, I make sure your site is found by your target audience.
Another advantage of working with me is cost. I provide the same level of service as large development firms for a fraction of the cost.
If you want to know more about Hillary and On Time Web Development, you can visit her website at https://hillarynorfleet.com/.
I’m proud to have Dawn Verbrigghe of Jottful talk a bit about her company and how they help small businesses with developing websites.
There are really three ways to get a website for your business.
The first option is to hire someone to build the website for you.
With a website built from scratch by a designer or agency, you can ensure it reflects your brand exactly as you wish. Many websites created by designers are built on the WordPress platform, giving your business access to all the plug-ins available in that software.
The downsides to hiring a designer or agency include:
The second way to get a website built is to do it yourself.
If you have some graphic design experience, you can make your own website using do-it-yourself (DIY) software such as Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly. DIY software features a drag-and-drop interface that makes it possible to create a website without even having to know how to code.
As you might have guessed, creating your own website with DIY software is far less expensive than hiring a designer or agency, often costing just $11-$26 per month.
The downsides of using DIY software include:
The third option is to get a do-it-together website.
In this final category is a company called Jottful. They’ve pioneered co-building and co-maintaining websites for small businesses that need a professional online presence, but have limited time or money. Jottful’s plans start at $59 per month.
With Jottful, you can change text and images anytime you want, but when you have a bigger update, such as adding a new page, Jottful’s designers take care of it for you. Jottful also provides personal customer support and handles all the technical stuff, such as security updates, launches, and website hosting.
The downsides of a Jottful made-together website include:
Description: Jottful makes and manages professional, affordable, and hassle-free websites for small businesses.
Mission: To make it possible for every small business to be found and tell their story online.
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Jottful was founded by Dawn Verbrigghe. Dawn is a marketing expert with more than 20 years of experience in marketing and design, including seven years as a faculty member at Parsons the New School for Design. She loves helping small business owners achieve their dreams through creative and inexpensive marketing that attracts just the right customers.
The Challenge We Address
In the U.S. alone, there are 4.6MM businesses with fewer than ten employees — and only half of them have a website today. These small businesses are underserved by the current design agency and do-it-yourself website builder software options because they have limited financial resources, are uncomfortable with website technologies, and are intimidated by the prospect of designing their own website. Nonetheless, these businesses are fully aware that the lack of a professional online presence means they are missing out on new revenue.
Specifically, these businesses want:
What We Provide
We offer an affordable, all-in-one service for creating, hosting, and maintaining basic websites.
We create professional websites that are mobile-responsive and optimized for search. We then maintain those websites for our customers, including: hosting; security; upgrades; backups; and uptime monitoring. Customers can easily make small text edits themselves and, when they need to make more significant edits to the site, they can just email us and we’ll take care of it.
We do all this starting at just $59 / month. We’re able to provide astonishing service at an affordable price because we use our own proprietary technology. It is software we specifically developed for rapid creation and easy updating of websites for small businesses.
For more information about Jottful, please visit their website at www.jottful.com.
If the answer is yes, then check out my blog, 4 DIY WEBSITE BUILDERS FOR STARTING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS WEBSITE.
If the thought of building your own website sends shivers down your spine, then I have a solution for you…
This week I’ll be highlighting 3 outsourcing options:
• McArdle Media
• On Time Web Development
Today I’ll talk about what McArdle Media can do for you.
If you are looking to create a basic website, your typical 5 page site with a home page, about page, contact me, etc., I can help.
I use a drag-and-drop program called Weebly. I can get your website up and running, and then teach you how you can manage it on your own. Don’t worry, there is not coding involved.
Here are some examples of websites that I have created for my clients.
Keep in mind, the websites that I create are very basic. If you are looking for a more complex site with various capabilities including eCommerce, then you’ll want to check out my friends at Jottful or On Time Web Development.
I hope this helps to ease the fears around building your website.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creating a website can seem like a daunting task. And it can be if you don’t have the right tools. The good news is, with the right tools, you do not have to be a coder or know anything about coding.
Here are some DIY website tools that you can use to create your own website.
WordPress offers 2 different options: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. These options are different, so before you create a WordPress site, you need to know the differences. One main difference is that a .org site will need to be hosted and maintained by you. The .com option hosts the site for you.
WordPress is a great DIY option, but it does have a bit of a learning curve. You are able to customize your site using different themes, some free, some paid.
Weebly is one of my favorite DIY options. Weebly is a drag-and-drop builder, which means you literally drag the feature you want, such as a text box or image, and drop it on the site. Weebly is very user-friendly and has professional themes to help you get started. It is also a low-cost option for building a website. It is a great option for beginners.
Squarespace is another drag-and-drop website builder, but in my opinion, has a bit of a learning curve compared to other drag-and-drop options on the market. Squarespace is a great option for eCommerce.
Wix is another drag-and-drop website builder that is easy to use. It is similar to Weebly and is another great option for beginners. Wix also offers customizable templates.
If you are interested in creating your own website but have questions about the best option for your business, contact us for a free, no-hassle consultation to talk about your DIY options. This is not a sales pitch, but rather a short conversation to help you decide what works best for you based on your needs.
A website is crucial to today’s businesses. Many people rely on the internet to make their buying decisions. Here are 5 reasons your business needs a website.
1 - Your audience expects it
When your customers are searching for your and your products and services, they expect that you will have a website. Having a website lends credibility to your business. If they cannot find you online, it is possible that they may move on to the next product/service provider.
2 - Your website is open 24/7/365 even if you are not
When you are closed, your website is OPEN! You are able to display information about your business, your products, and your services even when you are not available.
This is also a great way to generate new leads.
The other thing to consider is your website as an extension of your customer services. When you are available, your website provides information to your customers and potential customers about your business and FAQs that may help them in their buyer’s journey.
3 - You own your website, you do NOT own your social media
Social media is great. Here at McArdle Media, we provide social media support to our clients every day.
But… you do not own your social media.
Think about it… do you pay for your social media? Maybe you pay for ads, but social media is “free” which means it can be taken away at any time. The other thing to consider is that social media platforms can be shut down without notice. If you are spending ALL of your digital marketing on social media, you could lose it if the platforms “go dark” or shut down altogether.
Your website is like a home you own vs. social media which is like the home you rent.
4 - Your website gives you credibility
When your business has a website, it gives your customers confidence that you are credible. Whether we like it or not, this is how people gauge if you are a legit business or not.
5 - Your competitors have a website
Your competitors are online. They have websites. Customers are finding them online. If you do not have an online presence, you will be missing out on these customers.
June is DIY (Do It Yourself) Marketing Month. If you are a small business owner, every month is probably DIY Marketing month.
Many small businesses want to do their own marketing, but may not know where to start.
Susan Solovic's article, "21 Easy Marketing Ideas to Cap Off DIY Marketing Month" from Constant Contact gives some great ideas to get you started.
We spend a lot of time worrying about getting out content "perfect" before we post it, which often means that NOTHING ever gets posted. How long have you been thinking about posting on social media or starting a blog, only to overthink it to the point where you never post.
The video I shot didn't have perfect lighting, it wasn't perfectly scripted, but it was enough to get the intended response from the audience.
Your social media, video, and/or blog doesn't have to be perfect. Take a chance and do it.
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
“Make the prospect a more informed buyer with content.” - Robert Simon
Often times I hear small business owners say that they need to educate their clients and perspective clients about their products and services. This usually takes place over the phone or an in-office visit. Occasionally they may have some of this information on their website.
Using your online presence to educate clients is an excellent way to answer some of their questions up front. Your content, and the methods you use to deliver your content, will help education your audience and help them in their decision making process.
Social media platforms are a great place to share valuable information with your audience. They are already on social media, so you are meeting them where they are.
The information must provide value to them. Share a 25 page industry report will not provide the value that they are looking for on social media, but an infographic outlining important points from that article would catch their attention.
I'm sure you know that video is one of the best ways to grab someones attention online. People will scroll past text on social media, but video may pique their interest and pull them in.
Video content does not have to be complicated. It doesn't even have to be produced professionally. In fact, some studies show that people prefer "raw" video shot from a cell phone camera.
If you have valuable tips or tricks that would benefit your audience, a quick 30 second video could be the way to reach them.
Much like video, people can be intimidated by the idea of blogging. Having a regular blog on your website can help educate your audience and help you stand out as an industry leader.
Blogs don't have to be long. In fact, Seth Godin is famous for blogging short posts every day.
Email marketing is different from your regular email. Email is sending timely messages to clients, customers, vendors, etc. Email marketing is sending our carefully created and curated content to your audience on a regular basis to help add value and to help promote your business.
Email is your Gmail or Outlook account. Email marketing is Constant Contact or MailChimp.
There was a time when people thought that email marketing was "dead," but there has been a resurgence of email marketing in recent years.
Email marketing is a way to educate your audience by adding value to their inbox. If someone has signed up for your email list, they WANT to hear from you. They want valuable content.
These are just a few examples of how to educate your audience online. If you develop a plan, you can easily implement these suggestions and many more.
Know what you want to communicate to your audience, then craft a plan on how you want to reach them.
As always, McArdle Media is here to help. We can devise a plan to reach your target audience, with the correct message, using the best platforms. The education you provide to your audience will be useful for them and set you up for success.
If you’ve ever looked at another entrepreneur and wondered how they manage to get it all done, the answer might surprise you.
They’ve got good systems.
It’s true. The most productive people all have one thing in common: they don’t reinvent the wheel every day. Instead, they’ve figured out the best, most efficient way to do every task, and they create a system to do just that.
No matter what business you’re in and what projects you find yourself tackling, a systemized approach will help you:
The Magic of Templates
How many times do you answer email from potential clients? What about responding to customer complaints? Or communicating with your clients online?
All of these tasks and more become effortless when you create fill-in-the-blank templates that can be repurposed for specific cases/people. Templates can be as simple as a “canned response” in your email client or help desk, or you can use software such as Text Expander (for Mac) or Phrase Express (for Windows). You might even create a template document in Dropbox or Google Drive to house all your templates for easier access.
While templates will undoubtedly save you time, the real beauty is that once they’re created, you can easily outsource things like email and even sales.
Checklists Prevent Mistakes
It might seem counterintuitive, but when you perform the same tasks over and over again, it’s easy to miss a critical step. You might think you paid your affiliates this month—you might even remember doing it—only to look back and see it was never completed.
But when you implement checklists, it’s suddenly much more difficult to miss an important task.
You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document. If you’re managing a team, checklists in your project management system allow you to see exactly what tasks are complete, and which are still outstanding.
One of my favorite books, The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, “shows what the simple idea of the checklist reveals about the complexity of our lives and how we can deal with it.”
Templates and checklists turn smart business owners into productivity superstars, and it’s easy to get started. The next time you answer an email you’ve answered before, save your response. The next time you set up a new product in your shopping cart or create a new opt-in page, take the time to record the steps. These documents will make future projects easier and faster to complete, and best of all, you can hand them off to your assistant or marketing team to do instead.
If you want help creating and/or implementing templates and checklists for your marketing, contact us. We are happy to help your business systemize your marketing efforts.