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Marketing, websites and the 3 legged stool

marketing, websites and the 3 legged stoolThe most significant thing about a 3 legged stool is, well, the 3 legs. It’s a minimalist thing: any more would be excessive, and with any less it would fall over!

What’s this got to do with marketing and websites?

Think of the 3 legged stool as the support  structure that holds your website up, with the 3 supporting legs representing Visibility, Accessibility and Persuasion.

If a website is accessible across all plaftorms and features highly persuasive copy it will all come to nothing if prospects can’t find it using popular search engines.

If a business has a significant number of prospects who use mobile devices to access the Internet, and their website is not accessible to those users, then an important market segment has just been ignored.

And even if the website is visible (ranks well) and can be viewed on all devices, it will be a wasted effort if the copy is not persuasive and clearly focussed on achieving the owner’s business goals.

So there you have it. It is simply not good enough to have one or two out of three when success is at stake. All three are required, and they are required in equal measure.

Of course understanding the principle and being able to put it into practice are two very different things. Fortunately the crew at eziStart can join the dots for you. Have a look at their website and you will see just how easy it is to ensure that when you are starting a website , one of the legs that underpin your online success won’t fall off your stool!

Website development – and why DIY isn’t always the best option

It is tempting to think that the most effective, cost efficient way through the website development maze is to use one of the new generation of online website builders. After all, they’re low cost, well designed and quick to get going.

That’s the upside. The downside is that they only provide part of the essential mix that is required to achieve a successful outcome from any website development. For this to occur the DIY aspirant will need to know:

  • something about visual design, layout and typography in order to achieve a consistant, professional appearance
  • what constitutes effective website navigation and what doesn’t
  • how to ensure that the website displays correctly on smartphones and tablets as well as desktop PCs
  • how to write concise persuasive marketing copy
  • and last but not least, how to optimize their website for high search engine rankings.

Not surprisingly, I have yet to come across a busy small business owner who can even begin to come to grips such things.

And why should they? These are not skills that are in any way related to the running of their business. So what this means is that a small business owner looking to launch an effective online presence is usually faced with a stark choice: contract a website designer (professional results but may be outside the budget), hunker down for a very long learning curve (a real problem where time is such a valuable commodity), or settle for a ‘second best’ solution that is unlikely to be effective.

Fortunately, with the launch of eziStart, there is a fourth alternative. The eziStart team deliver a professional, highly effective website that is optimised for search engines and comes with professionally written copy. All for under $2000!

What it doesn’t have though, is a long learning curve. Why? Because the  team at eziStart do the entire website development for you! That’s right – no lengthy research, no never-ending learning curves and no chasing around trying to sort out domain names and hosting accounts. They even use an experienced marketer to write the copy for you. In other words – it all just happpens.

Take a few moments to slip over to the eziStart website and check it out. It really has introduced an easier path to successful website development in melbourne for small businesses.

Managing email the easy way with IMAP

Having set up email accounts for many small business clients one thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that most people now access their email in multiple ways. Typically those ways could include the office PC, the home PC, a notebook, a smartphone or a tablet.

Traditionally small business people have set up email applications such as Outlook to access the mailserver on their hosting account using the POP3 protocol. In simple terms this means that when Outlook connects to the mailserver it downloads the emails onto the PC on which Outlook is installed and then deletes them from the server. When this is done  none of the emails are then available for viewing on any other device (e.g. smartphone, home PC etc). Or to put it another way, they become captive on the device they were downloaded to.

These days with the availability of high quality, low cost hosted email services, there is a better way that involves  two important steps:

  1. Setting up an email service that stores all your emails permanently online.
  2. Setting up each of your decices to connect to the service using the IMAP protoc0l.

Step 1: Take your mail services online

Many people will be familiar with Hotmail or GMail. These are actually quite good services, but not ones I would recommend for business for two reasons: they do nothing to assist with your branding and if you are ever unfortunate enough to run foul of their terms and conditions you run the risk of your account being suspended with the loss of all emails. Sound unlikely? – unfortunately,  it happens!

A better way is to take out a paid account with a dedicated business email services provider such as Fusemail. Accounts are cheap as chips, storage is huge, reliability is excellent and support is first class.

Click to watch a one minute video for a quick overview.

Step 2: Setting up devices for IMAP connection

For emails stored on an online server to be constantly available to any device that connects to them, those devices (PCs and mobiles) must be set up with an IMAP protocol connection. The reason for this is that the IMAP protocol does not download the emails and store them on a  local device. Rather, it ‘views’ the emails on the  mailserver.

In operation this is all quite seamless. Reading, creating, replying and forwarding emails is done in exactly the same way and with the same applications  you are used to (Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird etc as well as smartphones can all be set to use IMAP).

The result? Regardless of what device connects to the mailbox they will all see the same thing. Because none of the devices actually download the emails, they will always be there waiting for the next device that connects.

Once again, because Fusemail is a business grade service, excellent support is available to help you set up your  desktop and mobile devices to work with their system.

If you would like to know more about setting up such a service watch this video on how Fusemail accounts are set up.

Still not confident about switching over?

Ask TOSD Web Design to set it up for you. We have been using the system for years!

But wait, there’s more . . . one of the things I really like about using an online email service and not downloading emails to a local PC is that if you ever need to swap that PC, or simply like to try out a new email application, you don’t need to muck around importing vast amounts of emails. You just connect to your online service and go!