Category Archives: Web Design

Web Design News, Hints, Tips & Tricks

Graphic Design Process

Graphic Design Brief

So, you have decided you need a new website. You have done your research and picked a web developer. Now it’s time to design it. No matter whether it is a brand-new website or a re-design, there are certain aspects that your graphic designer will want to discuss with you before the project starts. All website development should begin with a graphic.  Sounds simple, right? A graphic designer works hand in hand with you on all graphics required in order to paint a clear picture of your new website before any development begins. By completing a graphic design brief, you will know exactly how your new website looks before the developers builds and this can eliminate multiple problems down the road.

There may be so many ideas floating around in your head about how you want your website to look and what you want it to do, before your design consultation.  It is always a good idea to jot these ideas down and even draw a quick sketch of how you would like it to look (This is of course if you know!)

7 areas to consider before your graphic design consultation:

  • Business description. What does your business do? If any member of the public landed on your site by accident would they know by the first glance what services/ products you are offering?
  • Target market. Who do you want your website to appeal to? Do you have a target demographic for your customer? If you answered no to either of the above questions you may need to go and do some research!
  • Logo & colour scheme. Your colour scheme will normally be centred around your logo colours with highlights of contrasting colours for buttons and call to actions. If you have strong branding colours you will need to have these ready for your design process, alternatively if you don’t have colours or don’t like them its time to get colour picking! All websites need a logo and if you have one that your happy with, we will need a high-resolution version of your logo to begin designing. The same rule as your colour scheme applies here if you don’t like your logo now is the time to create a new one.
  • Homepage layout. You may have a very clear idea of what you want on your homepage or you may not have a clue! Regardless of this you will need to go and do your homework, what are your competitors doing? Are you missing a vital piece of information for your industry? Think carefully about the content and don’t try to fit your entire website on to the home page.
  • Website pages/Menu. For an eCommerce the menu structure will be easily laid out by your product categories, but what other easily accessible information do you want? Some of the top menu items could include: Contact us, About Us, Meet the Team, Get a Quote, Blog, Special Offers, Testimonials to name but a few. Of course, these wont all fit on your menu so you will need to decide on what is important. Another thing you can do at this stage is to start to write your website content and collect all the information you will need to add to these pages. Many clients will put this particular task off – find out why that isn’t a good idea in our blog The Confessions of a Procrastinator
  • Suitable imagery. There are many online sources for generic imagery but is that the first impression you want to make on your customers? Getting professional photos of team members, services & products for your business will stand to you in the long term. These can be used, not only on your website, but for marketing your business after the website launch.
  • Websites that provide inspiration. Do your homework. Look at what your competitors are doing. Not only what they are doing well but what they could do better and overtake them! As soon as you know you are getting a new website, pay more attention to the websites that you use all the time. Note what you like and what you don’t what is easy to use and what isn’t. Most importantly which one led to a good customer experience?

Need some ideas? Have a look at our portfolio section

Social Media

Using Hashtags on Social Media

hashtag: n. A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic. Oxford English Dictionary

In the world of social media, the hashtag is likely the most popular means of categorising content on social media. It makes your own content discoverable and allows you to find relevant content from other people and businesses. The hashtag also allows you to connect with and engage other social media users based on a common theme or interest.

Knowing how to use hashtags is fundamental to your success on social media.

Here are some #toptips to help you achieve success.

  1. A hashtag used on a public account is discoverable by anyone who does a search for that hashtag. If you’re using hashtags for discovery, keep it short don’t string too many words together under a single hashtag as this is not how they are designed to work. Be specific, the more specific you can get with your hashtag, the more targeted your audience will be—and a targeted audience generally means better engagement.
  2. Users can now follow hashtags, and in turn they can also unfollow them. Don’t use irrelevant hashtags although it’s not a known fact it’s a reasonable assumption that this will have a negative impact on your organic content. For example, using a well-known travel tag such as #wanderlust on your new product release will have a negative impact on your ranking.
  3. Don’t #spam #with #hashtags. Avoid using too many within a single post. Don’t have more hashtags than words. Just because Instagram allows up to 30 on any single post this does not mean you have to add 30! Try to limit this to under ten for Instagram & LinkedIn and approx. 1-2 for Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Format your hashtags. No spaces are allowed but #YouCanCapitaliseToImproveReadability, do not use punctuation marks or this will break the tagging.
  5. Branding. Don’t go too long or too clever, in general, if you’re creating a branded hashtag you should try to keep it short and simple or else it will never be found or used by your target audience.
  6. Post Ideas. For upcoming hashtag holidays and to look through daily trends the Hashtag Holiday Calendar Here Is a very handy tool to have to hand.
  7. Cater hashtags to the social network you’re using, see Hootsuite’s Blog on this for more info about:
    1. Instagram
    2. Twitter
  8. Do your research. To try to calculate the popularity of a hash tag you can use hashtagify.me. They will also suggest alternatives and accompanying hashtags. For current trending hashtags pop over to Twitter where there is a top trending of the day list.
  9. Track your success. If you have an Instagram business account, you can now see the insights for each for your post as well as the number of views that came directly from the hashtag.
  10. Keep an eye on your competitors. As within all elements of business it’s always smart to keep an eye on what the competitor is doing, and social media is no exception. Check out some of their hashtags for popularity and if they are relevant to your business too.

Help Me Read Your Website

A guide to helping your visitors to read the important bits on your webpage.

There’s no easy way to say this so I’m just going to come out with it…. Your visitors don’t even bother to read the text on your webpage…….
they just about manage to scan it.

They scan over all your carefully thought out text skipping huge chunks of vital information because they have far more important things to be doing and unless something jumps out and grabs them by the eyeballs they’re closing this tab and jumping onto facebook to see how Fiacra is getting on in Finland.

We all do it, our behaviour when reading a webpage is different to printed material, our attention span is reduced and we are always searching for the bit that is relevant to us.

So how do we at least get them to read the important bits?

First we analyse the problem. How do we know they scan?

Thankfully some clever people have already done all the hard work for us. If we look at the revised F shaped pattern study 2017 by Nielsen Norman Group we can see a common behaviour pattern of  people scanning a webpage. This is the same pattern that existed in the original study 11 years prior.

The F-Shaped Pattern from a study by
Nielsen Norman Group

The F-pattern is the default pattern when there are no strong cues to attract the eyes towards meaningful information. This means users can easily miss the info we really want them to see. This isn’t the only scanning pattern but is very prevalent when no clever formatting has been applied.

We can’t manipulate this pattern to suit us  (like sticking the important words in the path of the pattern) as when the text responds to a different screen size the layout of our text will change. The important sentence on line 3 when browsing on my laptop has now moved to line 5 when I have a look on my tablet.

This F-Shaped pattern happens when these 3 things exist:

1 A web page or a section of the page includes text that has has not been well formatted well for web. For example, it has a “wall of text” but no bolding, bullets, or subheadings.

2 The user is trying to be most efficient on that page.

3 The user is not so committed or interested that he is willing to read every word.

Source: Nielsen Norman Group

The F Shaped pattern due to very little formatting on page.

What can I do to improve my text layout and avoid the F-Shaped pattern.

Point 1 you can actually do something about. Points 2 & 3 are harder or impossible to control so lets focus on point 1 and look at some clever formatting techniques.

Clever Formatting Techniques

Include the most important points in the first two paragraphs on the page.

Don’t save the best for last dish it out straight away. A webpage is not a book.

Use headings and subheadings.

Ensure they look more important, and are more visible, than normal text so users may distinguish them quickly.

This breaks up the page. The reader can categorise the info quickly.

Start headings and subheadings with the words carrying most information:

If users see only the first 2 words, they should still get the gist of the following section.

Visually group small amounts of related content.

Try using a different background colour or border. This helps the brain understand the info is related and separate to the surrounding content.

Bold important words and phrases.

This gives the reader a feel for the content at a glance. When reading a paragraph the introduction of some key phrases in bold breaks up the text and keeps the reader intrigued to read on.

Take advantage of the different formatting of links

Ensure that links include information-bearing words (instead of generic “go”, “click here” or “more”). This technique also improves accessibility for users who hear links read aloud and will help improve your SEO

Use bullets and numbers to call out items in a list or process.

Our brains can then instantly jump into list mode and again it breaks up the layout of the page.

Cut unnecessary content.

Cut the fluff and filler text. Adding in text just to fill out a page will result in none of the text being read. Remember, an image can say a thousand words!

Good vs Bad Text Formatting on a web page
Good vs Bad Text Formatting on a webpage

No more ‘F’ing pattern

Find a bit of text on your site that could do with a lift (the terms & conditions page is usually a good place to start) and apply the above. You will see that every word has more purpose and the page as a whole is more aesthetically pleasing.

You have now avoided the F-Shaped pattern and made the internet a more user friendly place.

If you want any further advise or a quick review of your site please contact us at dmac media.

Rural Companies Flourish Online

The enticing option of leaving the city and making an online living in rural Ireland

In modern Ireland, the cost of housing in the main urban centres is eye-wateringly  expensive and simply paying for the roof over your head, cripples any hope of enjoying other activities such as eating, driving and enjoying a sneaky pint after work!

It is little wonder that city folk, in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, are eyeing their country cousins with envious and jealous looks.  This ironic turn of events comes after decades of pompous disdain at the lack of bread and gin varieties available in your average Irish village.

Now, the lifestyle of rural Ireland has it all.  Panini’s, hummus, cocktails, nature, beautiful views and an easier pace of life.  Housing prices is just the tip of a large iceberg offering a better living standard. The eternal question for city slickers anxious to how to leave the rat race, but still maintain a living wage in the rural setting.  Online business’s have been the option for many rural folk and it could be the way forward for anyone seeking a more fulfilled life in the sticks.    A strong online presence may be the key to having your cake and eating it.

Quilt Yarn Stitch is one company who have both a shopfront on the high street and a busy, vibrant website. This beautiful fabric, yarn and craft store in Tuam, Co. Galway wanted to model their online presence on the personal experiences of their actual store.  www.quiltyyarnstitch is a flourishing, bright and engaging website. Róisín McManus explains ‘We wanted to have a webshop that customers would truly love and that would be their “go to” shop for all their needs, particularly for patchwork and quilting.   Our actual store is bursting at the seams (pardon the pun) so there’s something for everyone and we hope our website reflects this.   Our team love to serve fabric to yarn lovers of all kinds – quilters, dressmakers, knitters, crocheters, crafters, guys and girls, young and old- We feel  our website  is a place, like the shop itself, where you can find lots of lovely things.”   With a flat rate of delivery in Ireland of just €3 and a reputation for great customer service, QuiltYarnStitch has expanded their customer base far beyond the town of Tuam, and is now competing well in the lucrative school market providing Leaving Cert and Junior Cert packs.

Of course, good broadband infrastructure is a key to managing a rural online business.  If you are used to fast and unlimited, it can be a shock to go West and experience the digital divide first hand. The Irish Government has reiterated its commitment to providing Broadband connectivity to the entire Ireland in the coming years.  For those living in the ‘black spots’ of internet access, precariously poised on the wardrobe in the back bedroom to improve the signal to an outdated dongle, this is particularly good news. Some 50% of small business in the Cork/Munster rate their connectivity as less than excellent, so the improvement to the network is definitely needed. However, It is worth noting that most rural business cite the cost of going online as a much bigger barrier to change, than the connectivity issue.  In the IEDR SME Digital Health Index for 2018, only 6% of online businesses’ said that poor internet connectivity was preventing growth.  Certainly, it has not hampered some companies.

Quickcrop,  www.quickcrop.ie is a thriving company operating in a rural setting in South Sligo Andrew Davidson and Niall McAllister sell vegetable growing systems and products for the keen amateur (and professional) gardener.  Most of their business is online. Niall explains, “The internet gives you access to 7 billion people and you can build a business here very quickly. The reason we’re in Ballymote is because there’s good broadband here and the warehousing costs are quite small”. The secrets to Quickcrop’s success lies in their great products and service showcased through a vibrant, well designed and constantly updated website.  Niall is aware that it is an unlikely business to do well online, and yet it succeeds with a healthy domestic trade, while also doing well in the UK and European Market.

Working from a more relaxed country setting is not the only reason for enhancing your online presence. The Retail and Consumer Report of 2018 confirms that more and more Irish people search for goods and services online prior to purchase and that mobile Ireland has the fifth largest percentage of internet shoppers in the world.  That’s an incredible amount of retail therapy for one small country!  In 2017, keyboard consumers in Ireland spent a staggering €3.3billion.

Panelshack is a small family run business located in Drumnagran in Tullyvin, Cootehill   Co.Cavan. www.panelshack.ie. John Brady has been in the fitted furniture business for over 40 years. In 2010 he and his son James expanded the range and began manufacturing high quality wall panelling. The increase in popularity and the trend towards painted timber and furniture being used extensively in homes ensured success. They produce the panelling products in their workshop and host an extensive the showroom in Tullyvin.  A modern mobile optimised website, with an easy click and collect option and comprehensive delivery system ensures that they have plenty of clients who never ever set foot in Cavan.  A dynamic web presence is their key to providing a high quality product to a large and diverse customer base.

But it is not just manufacturers and retailers who prosper in a more rustic setting.  Rachel Gotto www.rachelgotto.ie conducts her Galway and online therapy consultations through a beautiful, informative and helpful website. The big sky and fantastic views of Spiddal are the backdrop to her successful business.

In Summary

There will always some reluctance before deciding to finally swop the stilettos and maccachinos for some stout walking boots and, well, maccachinos. (It’s not that backward in the villages anymore!)  The move to the good life is very enticing.  Who wouldn’t want to wake up to clean air and the sounds of nature, knowing that the bank balance is now as healthy as your lungs?  The cost of living is significantly lower in the Western Region than in Dublin and other areas. You get so much more for your money.  Housing is, of course the most obvious difference, with average rural rentals at just €613 per month and three bed houses for sale between €90 -120K So, it may well be time to consider that ‘big move to the country.  Rural companies are thriving online. So why wouldn’t you?

Resources

https://www.pwc.ie/reports/retail-consumer-report-2018.html

https://www.independent.ie/regionals/sligochampion/news/online-retail-can-work-in-rural-hub-35430638.html

Look West

Why are you not responsive?

Does your website do what it should across all devices?  Does it read easy on the eye with clever navigation and the minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling? Is it responsive?

 

A responsive website has been designed and optimised so that it looks its best on all devices, including mobile screens.  It looks different, but still good, on a tablet and slightly different again on a computer screen. A responsive website literally responds well. Obvious, huh?   So it changes images and font sizes as well as moving items to fit the screen of the user.  Smart eh? 

 

When we consider that 74% of consumers will only wait a maximum of 5 seconds for a web page to load on their mobile before abandoning the site. (Source: Gomez), then it makes sense to have a responsive website.  Both Obvious and Smart!

 

 

There is little point in having an amazing website if it is not displayed well across all devices, mobile phones and tablets as well as on standard desktops.  Adults are now spending at least two and half hours a day on their phone, but the up and coming generation are spending a staggering 11 hours per day! Not all that time is spent Snapchatting and looking for Google map directions to the nearest Pizza shop.  Online shopping is increasingly popular and research online before purchase is the order of the day.  If you are not showing up, smartly, quickly and in an engaging way, across all those screens, you are not giving your brand a fighting chance for their share of the market.

 

Google loves responsive

Yahoo, Bing and the great market leader Google love responsive websites and while you might not be too impressed with their approval, but when their love brings better rankings on searches, it is time to care.  If Google loves you, it contributes towards being seen.  Keep Google happy.

 

People love Responsive

Responsive sites have less bounce away and more interactions. It’s a good idea to check your website and test a purchase or a site navigation and see the customer experience. If people cannot read and navigate within the first vital seconds (not minutes!) they click away.  Easy navigation across all devices will keep them browsing.  For a relatively small investment, you could be capturing that audience in the way you first intended when you launched your site. In fact customers tend to hang around on responsive websites longer.

 

It could save you money.

Pride in your own business and brand dictates that you too will love a responsive site.  Nearly all new website templates have a responsive design built in and developers can, in most cases, make your existing website responsive.   It means less click-aways, more time spent on site and more referrals to other potential clients.

 

Google Loves Responsive. Your customer loves responsive and You will love it too.  So tell me again why your website is not responsive?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever launched an e-commerce website and failed, but don’t know why?

90% of all e-commerce business start-up’s fail!
 (Patel, 2016)

Every week I meet or take calls from business owners who all have one thing in common. They have tried launching an E-commerce website and failed, most of them don’t know why?

The top 3 reasons e-commerce businesses fail!

1. They haven’t developed a manageable strategy and timeline

2. They have too great an expectation and quit too early

3. They Choose the wrong web design team


1.  You haven’t developed a manageable strategy and timeline

During my e-commerce consultancies one of the first things I try to impress on the business owner is the need to Start Small & Grow Big” . You need time to learn, adapt and compete against similar companies or products that have a head start on you.

Each e-commerce project should have a strategy with measureable goals in place before you begin.

Key areas to consider:

  • What platform should you use?
  • How will you load your products?
  • How will you manage stock?
  • What delivery methods should you use?
  • What payment options should you choose?
  • How will you market the website?
  • What social media platforms should you use?
  • Have you got a budget set aside?
  • Do you have time to manage the site?
  • As the website gets busier can you expand?

Your strategy and timeline are intrinsically linked to your budget, so, be realistic at all times.

In the early stages of your project you’ll need to set aside a fair bit of time to engage with your web design team, you’ll need to adjust your schedule to include website related activities.

A typical breakdown of an e-commerce project should always include a Start Date and Delivery Date, within that timeline you should have other phased goals:

  • Graphic Design phase
  • Development phase
  • Testing and training phase
  • Content/product loading phase
  • Launch date
  • Post launch activities (Digital Marketing, Pay Per Click Advertising etc.)

“Execution of a strategy is a specific set of behaviours that companies need to master in order to have competitive advantage” (Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy, 2018)

2. Business owners have too great an expectation and quit too early

Some clients think that if we build them a website the money will start rolling in. I can tell you I’ve seen some disappointed faces across my desk 3 months post launch!

Surprisingly a good number of business owners who go to all the trouble and expense of building an e-commerce website abandon it after 3 or 4 months because it didn’t work!

It’s not that it didn’t work, it’s that they didn’t work the business! Currently there are over 1.8 Billion websites online. So launching your e-commerce website without a Marketing Plan is like putting a message into a bottle and throwing it into the sea.

Google may not trawl your website for a number of weeks so it will be practically invisible, it won’t rank well either, so it’s unlikely to appear on the first few pages of a search engine results, until you start working on your “Post Launch” Strategy.

Post launch strategies include but are not limited to:

  • Blog Writing
  • Video Blogs
  • Social Media Activity
  • Google AdWords Campaign
  • Facebook Advertising
  • Email Marketing Campaign
  • On site content writing
  • SEO development
  • Referral Request for your Google My Business account
  • Newspaper and Media Advertising

To deliver all or even some of the above to a level whereby you are going to see some results takes time –Blog writing may take 18 months or more to gather momentum, Pay per click advertising takes approx. three months of delivery, testing and refinement to achieve an optimised campaign.

3. Choosing the right Web Development Team and getting the Budget right

How to get the balance right?

If you’re really interested in building a business online then choosing the right team to partner with is a serious choice, you will probably be working with this team for a 3 to 5 year period, longer if the business model and partnership blossoms. Choosing the wrong Web Developer can set you back 2 years!

By talking to friends and colleagues who have either built a website or built a business around their website you will gain invaluable insight into the process and you may well get a decent referral, I know in my own life I will only refer someone who has done an outstanding job.

Choosing the wrong Web Developer can set you back years!

How do you choose the right web developer for your e-commerce project?

  • Do a Google Search, if the Website Development team know what they are doing they should rank well.
  • Look at their portfolio of work, does it resonate with you
  • Call a couple of their clients and ask them about their experience
  • Open a conversation with the Web Development team, meet with them to discuss the specifics of your e-commerce project

Questions to ask your prospective Website Development team:

  • How much will it cost and what’s included in those costs (Get a breakdown)?
  • How long will it take?
  • What type of support do you offer?
  • Who writes the content?
  • Who uploads the content?
  • Can I edit the content myself?
  • Who uploads the products?
  • Can you connect my EPOS system to the website?
  • What payment gateways can I use?
  • Will the website talk to my accounts package?
  • Who’s responsible for the SEO on the website?
  • Do you give training on e-commerce management?
  • Is my website Responsive (mobile friendly)?
  • Who manages the Google AdWords?
  • Who manages the Social Media posting?
  • Who Pays the 3rd Party Costs (Facebook Ads, Google Adwords etc.)

Conclusion

If you want your e-commerce business to be part of the 10% who launch successful e-commerce websites you should do the following:

  • Design a clear and achievable strategy, map it out on a timeline
  • Keep your feet on the ground, this isn’t going to be an overnight success
  • Choose your web development team wisely.

How Wholesalers get on line

If you are a wholesaler, manufacturers or distributor you have watched the growing global ecommerce trend with a mix of both fear and longing.  The idea that you can reach end users for your product is attractive.  However most realise that this puts a strain between you and your trade customers.  Why should they buy from you and compete with you at the same time?

This fear has meant that most of you have not taken the leap.  The thing that most wholesale operators miss is that there is a bigger opportunity.

Ecommerce can be used to sell more of what you have to your trade customers.

This blog looks at the common challenges and roadblocks that Manufacturers, Wholesalers and Distributors face in joining the world of always on and always open for business.  We will also discuss solutions that Dmac Media have implemented with customers in this sector to create profitable online presences.

When you talk to most suppliers, they will say customers have no time to talk to reps as the reason for slow growth in orders.  If you consider your average small retail customer. They are bombarded day after day with customers, staffing issues, stocking issues and much more.  On top of that they must manage accounts and payroll.  When the sales rep stops by or calls, they have almost no time to talk.  They just about manage to give the order and get back to their day.  This limits the sales opportunity for the rep.  If you were able to work with that retailer at a quieter time of day or better yet after they have locked up, you would find them far more receptive to looking at what options or offers you have for the month.

This is where ecommerce and more importantly searchable online catalogues have an edge.  They are always there.  Imagine a quick text message from a sales rep to say, “the new offers are now available online” Along with a handy link to the ordering page.  That retailer can preview offers when wolfing down their daily lunch or while hiding from customers in the bathroom (no one does that! …right?)

Ok, I am sure you have imagined that exact scenario for your business already or something close to it, but you struggle with the following questions:

  1. How do I manage stock levels?
  2. How do I stop the general public seeing my prices?
  3. How do I make my pricing and discounts customer or volume specific?
  4. How do I manage invoicing and accounts?
  5. How do I get the reps on board?

What-Should-I-Spend-On-A-Website

So here is our take on these common questions:

1. How do I manage stock levels?

Do you have it in stock is by far the most common question for any distributor and in some cases a slow response can cost you a new account.  By moving your stock online both existing or potential customers can see what products are in and out of stock.  This can be handled one of two ways:

Connecting to Epos or Warehouse software.
Almost all inventory management systems have a web service feature built in or at the very least it is an option you can add to your software at a reasonable price.  This allows you to send product stock and pricing info to your website on a regular basis (sometimes hourly) as well as receiving order data from the website so that stock is kept updated on both sides.  Dmac have integrated with multiple Epos systems over the last decade and it is very rare to find a system that cannot offer this service.  However, if you are a fan of good old Microsoft Excel or even a pen and paper system (Not kidding, I know you are out there) Then you should look at;

Manual File Uploads
A good website will give you product file import and export options.  This allows you to upload a file (as often as required) to keep your stock in line.

2. How do I stop the general public seeing my prices?

This is an easy one.  You can set your ecommerce website to display the recommended retail price for the general public or if there is no such price you can hide the price from public view all together.  The real pricing is restricted to users that log in.  You can control who gets an account for your website and that will keep out the random enquiries or tyre kickers.

3. How do I make my pricing and discounts customer or volume specific?

This is usually the show stopper for distributors as pricing can be very different depending on who you are dealing with.  Customers that order small volumes do not get the same level of discount as the large volume customer.  When they view your product ranges it is vital that they see their price.

The best way to manage this is to use a volume discount option which can be set for each individual product or product type so that the more a user orders the more favourable their price gets. On top of that you can also set customer specific prices so that when a customer logs in they can only see there pricing.  Again, accounts and epos connections can be useful here but as discounts do not tend to change daily it is not crucial.

4. How do I manage invoicing and accounts?

Your ecommerce website will, by default, create an order delivery docket that is sent to both you and your customer.  Many ecommerce sites use these to manually generate their invoices.  For more automation we come back to that magic word, web services.  Online accounts packages like Xero or big red book give you the option of automatically creating both purchase and sales invoices automatically via the website.  Even older platforms like Sage & Exchequer now carry web service options.  This kind of automation can cost but you will only need it if you are generating large volumes of orders through your website so if it is needed the budget should be there.

5. How do I get the reps on board?

This is a common concern when we are working with distributors and wholesalers as they believe reps will feel like the website is a replacement for their role.  The reality is quite different.  The sales rep’s job is to manage the account.  The Ecommerce website makes it easier for that rep to generate more orders and garner more commission.  Once they realise that they can make life easier for their customers they become a champion of the website rather than a detractor.  In a lot of cases the sales rep has been demanding this very solution for years.  Getting your sales team involved in the specification and development of the site will make it a lot easier to roll out to clients and give real world feedback on what the customers need.

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Hopefully this blog has helped removed the fear of ecommerce for you but if you are still not sure give us a bell and we can tell you how we have helped other wholesalers manufacturers and distributors to crack the online nut.

{Video} What is Cyber Squatting and how to avoid it

Have you ever heard of Cyber Squatting?

 

We’re going to guess the term cyber squatting is relatively new to you, but the practice of cyber squatting has been around for many years and the victims of such practice are far and wide. To learn more about Cyber Squatting and to save your business from paying exorbitant sums for a relatively cheap domain name watch the video below where Dave McEvoy sheds some light on the practice. And more importantly how to avoid it.

 

 

GDPR Ready - Dmac Media Blog

3 Important things your small business needs to know about GDPR

There is a growing buzz in the business community about the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and what it will mean for small business.  In this blog we are boiling things down to basic principals.

 

We are not going to cover every single aspect of GDPR,  but we will give you a breakdown on the three most important aspects of the General Data Protection Regulation for your business.

 

Let’s start with a brief definition and deadline.

What: The General Data Protection Regulation is a change in EU legislation governing the way we manage personal information of our customers.

 

When: It was actually agreed and adopted by all member states in April 2017 but more importantly it is scheduled to come into enforcement on May 25th 2018.  This is the point where compliance becomes mandatory and fines can be applied to companies or persons found in breach.

 

The 3 most important things for you to know are:

 

Communication

As a business you will be required to tell your customers what information (data) you are collecting about them.   You will have to inform clients what you are going to do with that data and how long you are going to hold onto the information.

 

It is a good idea to carry out an audit of the data which you currently hold on your customers and update your practices to match the new guidelines.

Generally speaking,  terms of business, terms and conditions of sale and, most importantly, your privacy policy documents must be updated to fall inline with the new regulations.  In particular,  you should pay attention to which third party services you share your customers data with.

 

Consent

Customers must now give specific consent to the use of their data. You can no longer collect it for one purpose and use it for another without express permission.

 

If you operate an online store or website that collects personal information you may well use the, all-too-familiar, tick-box, “Add me to your mailing list”.  Most websites have this box ticked by default.  From May onward this is no longer acceptable.  Customers must give consent by actions rather than inaction.  They must tick the box themselves.  This will force you as a business to create better incentives for your customers to join your marketing efforts.

 

Another consequence of this regulation is that all existing data must be brought in line with the regulations.  If you all ready have a mailing list you must have specific consent for each person on the list.  Many larger companies are already running re-commitment campaigns to get their lists up to scratch.  This type of campaign can decimate the volume of emails addresses or mobile numbers you can communicate with, so it is important to plan carefully, we can help with this.

You can expect to see a growing number of these Re-Commitment campaigns as the deadline for compliance approaches,  so best not leave it too late.

 

Control

Your customers will have much greater control of how you handle their information. They have the right to be forgotten,  and If they ask you to destroy information you hold on them,  you will need to comply with that request within a 30-day period.

They have the right to access, you have to be able to show the information you hold on them within a 30-day period.

You must also make the data you have on that customer portable and if they want to move to an alternate provider you have to facilitate that.

 

To recap, you have to communicate in a transparent fashion with your customers.  Your customers must give you specific consent and they have much greater control of the data you hold.

For more details or pop over to the data protection commissioners own website gdprandyou.ie/ for the whole story or if you want help in getting your marketing efforts in line then just get in touch

 

 

 

 

Web Designers - I need a new website

Is your website like a grumpy salesperson?

How many times have you found yourself getting irritated while trying to
complete a process online?  Booking flights, hotels, buying a product? Well if you struggle to complete a task on a website the good news is you are not to blame.

 

Jakob Nielsen,  arguably the first and definitely the leading expert on website
usability has said that a bad website is like a grumpy salesperson.  Meaning it actively drives customers away from it by frustrating or irritating them.  If a website is difficult to understand or use it is the fault of the designer or company not the user.

 

We often design websites around our experience or understanding of our products and this is usually bad news for users.  The worst sin of all is to assume everyone uses the website the way you do.  Remember you are not your customer, they have different experiences, needs and understanding of your services or products.  You need to consider your website from their perspective.

 

When you do that, the all important questions are:

 

  1. Are all menus consistent throughout the site?
  2. Are the main sections or functions (like product search) obvious?
  3. Are you bombarding them with everything at once, or are you giving them relevant information one piece at a time?
  4. Do you know what your visitors are trying to achieve and why it maters to them?

 

If we are honest, most of us will not have a definitive answers, it will be more of a gut feeling.  So how do you diagnose a bad website?  Well it might be common sense but unfortunately it is not that common.

 

Ask your users!

Conducting a Usability study

 


This is actually a lot simpler than most people imagine.  It consists of gathering a small group of people (normally 5-6) in a room with a range of devices (Smart Phones, Tablets, Laptops)  and asking them to carry out specific tasks.  While they are carrying out the tasks you observe and record there behavior and reactions.  Do not listen to what they say but watch what they do (thanks again to Mr Nielsen for that tip)

 

An important caveat here is that the users you gather should relate to your ideal customer or user.  If you are not sure who that is you should check out our research options here but in short they are the people you expect to use your website to buy from, or learn about you.

 

The specific tasks you set your users is up to you but you are looking at there behaviour and assessing 5 key aspects:

Learnability:

How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the website?

Efficiency

Once users are familiar with the website, how quickly can they perform tasks?

Memorability

When users return to the website after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?

Errors

How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?

Satisfaction

How pleasant is it to use the website? remember, the more relaxed and comfortable your user, the more likely they are to convert.

 

 

Studying the results of your tests through the prism of these pointers will give you a very clear idea of what you need to improve on and what is all ready working well.  Once you have made improvements to the way users experience your website the most important thing to do next is…

 

Ask your users again!

 

The best way to ensure your results keep getting better is to test, tweak and test again.  This should never stop.  As the intelligence, technology and attitudes of your users keeps evolving.  So should you.

 

This article is giving you the briefest outline of something called usability which is vital to User interface Design (UI), which in turn is a major aspect of User Experience (UX)  I have intentionally left these buzzwords until the end of this article because a lot of you out there have a negative reaction when you hear them.

 

You assume that it is either too complicated or too costly but as you can see from the simple steps above it is very easy for any business to start listening to how their customers feel about interacting with them.

 

If you feel like you need a bit more help on this then why not get in touch and we can start a conversation.