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It’s hard for small businesses and non-profit organizations to keep up with the latest web technology or to even create a website in the first place. Small businesses and non-profit organizations need to compete with bigger companies that have many dynamic features on their websites. That’s why we started Affordable Web Design and Graphics Solutions. We wanted to help provide web design and development along with dynamic features for small businesses and non-profits to help them stay competitive and lower their costs in today’s web driven society. Having a website can actually lower operating costs for some organizations when they utilize the web as a central communication tool for their members.

Web Site Content

Affordable Web Design prefers that clients provide content as it should appear on their web site. Content is preferred in soft copy format. Written material, graphics and photos may be sent via email. Content provided in hard copy form such as manuscripts, brochures, literature, photos, graphics, etc., incur additional fees for processing.

Web Hosting

As a convenience to our clients, Affordable Web Design recommends hosting with ICDsoft.com (see link on the left). Customers also enjoy outstanding value and services with either of these companies.

Our customers also free to choose any web host. We can help pick on that will meet the needs of your site. At no additional charge, the web site is uploaded to selected host; however, the host must be able to grant FTP access.

Domain Name Registration

We are happy to complete this step at no set up charge; the client pays only the registration fee. You may choose to use any Domain Name Registration service that you choose.

Site Maintenance, Updates & Support

If a client wishes to have Affordable Web Design maintain the site, making changes or updates will be quick and easy. In most cases, all that is needed is a simple email exchange, and the web site will be updated within a matter of hours. We guarantee updates to be completed within 48 hours of receipt of email from client requesting a change(s).

Very often with volunteer organizations, small businesses and non-profit organizations – maintaining the website can be hectic, unreliable and inconsistent. Affordable Web Design offers a service to your business that is guaranteed to be reliable, consistent, and supportive of your goals.

E-Commerce

To sell products or services on the internet, clients will have to accept payments. This is a growth area and there are a number of different payment processing solutions. The right on depends upon your predicted sales volume as well as value of each sale.

When setting up an e-commerce store you will need a Merchant bank account that allows you to accept credit card payments.

Website Not Converting – Try Benefit Bullets

We live in an age when people’s attention spans are dwindling rapidly. No where is this illustrated more profoundly than on the web, many people will hit the back button in seconds if they don’t see what they want. Long pages of text simply aren’t read, but bullets illustrating the benefits of your product or services can be very effective.

When using benefit bullets, you must consider more than just which benefits you want to list. In order to make them as effective as possible, you have to be careful about how your bullets look on the page and even they type of symbol you use for them.

Your bullets can’t be thought of in isolation, but as part of your overall copy, so it all has to work together. You don’t want to take the trouble to create bullet points and have them disregarded because they’re not well formatted or placed. Let’s explore some of the main considerations you should keep in mind when using benefit bullets.

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We’re used to seeing bullet points following the introduction to a product that’s being sold. You can see how this can be effective. As effective as bullet points can be, though, if there are too many of them in one list they start to lose their power. More than half a dozen or so is as long as they should be for maximum impact. Also, use bullets as much as you can in other areas of your copy. People are real skimmers and scanners online, and the bullets greatly facilitate that process. Shorter sets of bullets also create more white space on the page, which is always beneficial.

There are certain formatting rules that apply to benefit bullets online, and it’s really pretty easy to figure this out. But, we just wanted to mention it and be sure you are aware of it because it does matter. Bullets should be indented, and in a way that’s uniform from one line to the next.

If you need any guidance in this area, look at some professionally done sales pages online. You also want to be certain that your bullets look as they should no matter what browser someone is using, so do some tests on this. Sometimes, for example, using an IE browser will create certain formatting problems.  Also check what they look like using a proxy or secure VPN service like this, many people use these tools nowadays and they can effect a sites display and formatting.

There aren’t many copywriting tools that are more useful to you than benefit bullets. You can decide what aspect of your offer you want to highlight by using bullets. You can create immediate enthusiasm about your offer this way. Your bullets should tell people the best reasons for ordering your product. This is a sneak peek and it has to be effective and full-weight. Even if some readers don’t look at anything but your Don’t hype it up and ruin the effect, but you can write something really powerful.

What I recommend you do is read this until you are sure you understand, and then go check out the benefit bullets in high quality copy.

Aside from recent examples, you can look at how traditional copywriters used them. For more recent models to look at, check out affiliate networks such as Clickbank. Once you begin your study, you’ll notice how many places benefit bullets are used.

 

Further Reading:

Some Innovative Traffic BUilding Techniques

What do you need to make a website successful and profitable? Well there’s a few possible answers to this question but in my opinion, there’s only one thing that no website can do without and that’s traffic.

The big mistake early on for many is thinking that traffic magically appears once the site has been made. It really does matter that you have researched your initial plans for traffic creation so you can make any changes to your site if necessary. What can you do to get targeted exposure? There are several ways to approach that question, but in the end you need solid information and then taking action on it. Just about all traffic strategies can be made to work, and there are differences among them as well. The purpose of the following article is to give you an insight into how you can leverage various traffic creation methods to get targeted results.

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You do not need to have a blog if you have a static site, but you should think about making a companion blog. What can happen is your site will gain extra SEO points due to the presence of the blog. All the major search engines love blogs and give them high priority; so if you add a good, informative blog to your website, you’ll only benefit from it. There will still be the need to make a high quality blog, so do not be lazy about it. Your blog posts will get indexed as well as the comments, and it opens up new avenues.

You can tap into insane traffic if you know how to navigate your way through Digg and Reddit. For one thing they have millions of users and readers, plus they can rank well sometimes. It is fun to play with it, and you can run some quick tests and then check out the search rankings for the keywords you used. You see, the more votes you can get for your story, the more prominent it will be on the site. If you want to game the system slightly then there are tools that can help you use multiple accounts to promote, be careful though you’ll need something to hide your IP address. This tool which people use to stream UK TV can be used for this purpose. Ultimately, your aim here is to get your site on the front page of Digg and/or Reddit, and if you get this right, there’s absolutely no looking back.

There are all kinds of ways you can develop traffic using videos, and the king of video is still Youtube. The combination of other video sharing sites besides Youtube may not make the effort worthwhile.

You can very easily make pretty nice videos, and there are tons of resources you can find pretty easily. You just need to take the plunge and learn from your experience, and a lot of Internet marketers think that video marketing is reserved only for a few niches, which is not true. The hardest part for all in business is the beginning when you have little to no traffic. Traffic is the one thing that will make or break your site, and even bad traffic is just about as good as no traffic. Sending traffic to your site using a variety of methods is better than only focusing on one method. It is smart to have diversity in the way you create traffic, but do not let your efforts get too thin. The only condition being that you take regular action, without giving up.

IP Address Changer – Further Information

Build your Own Business Coaching Site

It’s one of the most popular online vocations, and one that lends itself well to the internet. Successful business coaches are always in demand and creating a specialist coaching site is a logical step as it facilitates helping many more student irrespective of location.

You managed to do what just a few people have been able to do: you’ve completed a professional business coaching program. If you are among the most prepared business coaches, you have even completed an apprenticeship. A successful career as a business coach is in front of you, if you’re prepared to launch into it. But learning how to promote yourself is a new ball game. There are several ways you can do this but the simplest would be to have a web site made to advertise the services that you’re offering. Obviously, you’ll want the web site intended to promote your services to effectively attract new clients. It is important to start by identifying the main traits of excellent business coaching sites. It is important that you take your list of important business coaching web site features and build them into your web site.

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Your website needs to clearly define the fact that you are offering business coaching services. A few might consider advice such as this a tad too basic. It may seem totally obvious that you will be selling your coaching services on the site. Well, it may do this, but will it do so in a way that is very clear and succinct? Anytime you make modifications or envision changes for your website, you should step back and decide if it is still clear at first that the website is about your availability as a business coach. You’d be surprised at the number of business professionals who develop web sites without making it clear to website visitors what the purpose of the web site is.  Make sure you check from different locations and browsers, it might be worth changing your IP address using a tools like this.  Try to avoid this common and serious oversight. Your career choice must be obvious to all website visitors.

You face a great deal of competition in this hot new marketplace. Why should anybody pick you as their business coach? Do you possess any particular skills that set you above your peers in the field? You must make it clear you are among the great experts in your field. If you do not do this, you’ll discover that you can barely survive on the amount of business you get. Web site promotion isn’t about how many words you can use to explain what you have to offer. You simply need to focus on the basics. Speak about your expertise, from your exceptional education to a number of of your past work experience.

In addition, it won’t hurt to bring up if you have a specialty coaching skill. Your unique skill could make you a better fit for businesses in related industries. This can create a specialized niche for you, especially when you’re just starting out. Your areas of expertise need to be pointed out clearly. Make your unique skills clear to your visitors. It is crucial that they find out what those skills are so they know why you are the perfect candidate.

You shouldn’t neglect to include several ways of getting in touch with you. This might also appear to be really basic info, but often entrepreneurs get so focused on developing other areas of the web site they forget the simple yet important things. So, ensure you supply the right amount of contact info or else you may find the number of queries you receive is surprisingly low.

Blogging Can Boost Your Business

Sometimes people think that a blog is just for individuals, an online diary that people just use to document their lives. However blogs have been around for years now and some of the most successful are actually used to actively promote businesses. A blog is an ideal format for sending out updates about what your business is doing and products/services it’s selling.

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It’s safe to say that blogging isn’t just a temporary phase. There’s no way it could be just a fad, based on how long blogging has already been going. It’s been around longer than social media and it isn’t going away any time soon. Blogging is so simple anyone can do it. There are also businesses using blogging as a way to increase their online presence.  Many of these use buy IP address tools like this to blog on different platforms in multiple countries too. It makes no difference if your business is offline or online, having a blog is still a great way to interact with customers online. This article will look at how and why you should consider using a blog for business.

Using a blog is a great way to boost your search engine optimization tactics. If you’ve done any learning about promoting your business on the web, you know that you need to make sure that your website is search engine friendly. You have lots of things you can do to get this happening. Adding fresh content regularly is an excellent option. This is easy to do when you use a blogging platform. Adding a blog to a business website gives you the opportunity to add updated content regularly, which helps keep your site ranking well on search engines. Blogging is great because it lets you be conversational and casual. You can use a more formal tone for your main business website. But your blog lets you interact with your readers on a much more casual level. You can use slang and colloquialisms however often you want. You wouldn’t even dream of writing this way on a professional business site, so feel free to let loose on your blog. You may find that some visitors will feel more relaxed reading casual blog posts, which gives you a great opportunity to tell them more about your products or services in a conversational way.

Do you have plans to release a new product, maybe you want to target a new market perhaps you need a Canadian proxy? Perhaps you have an additional service to offer clients. You might just be offering a special discount on something in your existing range. Write a blog post that discusses these things in some detail. There are a few benefits you can derive from doing this. You get to take advantage of posting updated content on your blog. It also gives that particular product or service more press and helps drive up interest in it. You’ll find more people buy from you when you are very enthusiastic about how much you believe in your products. So you get the increased profits from more sales and your customers win by seeing more updated posts.

There are so many different things that matter when it comes to ensuring your business success. If you really want your business to succeed, blogging is a great way to start. Blogging is something that will be around for quite some time. If you don’t have a blog, this actually has a negative connotation in regard to your business. Get your blog up and running now!

Tyroler Kostumer – Redesigning their website

Time for another example of a redesign. This time the website Tyroler Kostumer which can be seen here. It’s a small online costume site, with focus on the oktoberfest or beerfest as some call it. They had an old site which looked like this:

Tyroler kostumer og udklædning til oktoberfest

Why analysing their Google Analytics account, they could see that a lot of their visitors left the site soon after visiting it. Often the reason for this is either:

Wrong information on the page, compared to which keywords they have searched for or it’s because the design looks so bad, that people either don’t want to hurt they eyes any more by looking at the site, or it simple doesn’t look trustworthy enough. The last part is especially important if you are running an E-commerce store. This isn’t the case with Tyroler Kostumer, but if it had been another site, a website then the problem would have been even worse. If the site doesn’t looko trustworthy and professionel, then a lot of people wouldn’t feel very safe typing in their credit card information on your site, and you would very likely loose a lot of sales.
The high bouncerate was one thing, but the old site had a lot of other issues. One of them being the navigation structure. It was actually pretty hard to find what you where looking for on the page, which resultet in people either leaving the site or using the contact form to get in touch with the siteowners and asking them for the information needed. Because of this, they had a lot of additional support, that could easily have been avoided, if their visitors had an easier time finding the info. The next problem was the design itself which looked really bad. With a design like this people can’t really take the site and it’s content serious. The owners knew that, but they had gotten a great offer on the first website and being low on funds as this was only a hobby project, they had taken the offer. The final problem with the site was the CMS system, it was something homemade, by their old design firm, and very hard to add new content to the site.
Now it was time to get all of this fixed, and after 3 weeks of hard work tyrolerudklaedning.dk now looked like this:

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It’s still a low budget site, so not a lot of fancy features or a breathtaking design, but it’s a much cleaner site, buiding in the WordPress CMS system to keep the costs down. People can easily find the information they need now, and it looks at least trustworthy enough to make people believe the text there. Here 2 months after they got their site, they have already seen the improvements. They get a lot less support emails and their bouncerate has been cut almost in half. Now Tyroler kostumer got a site they can easily update, and they save time answering support emails.

Redesigning hexen vinduer

nyt gulv hos pt vinduerThis months website resigning is hexen vinduer owned by Dyrby Paulsen. Back in 2002 they got a new website mainly so that they could post various company news on the front page, and people could visit their website and see some of their products like vinduer online. It was a website coded in a CMS system called Simpel CMS, which covered the basic part, you could add/edit posts, upload images, and there was even a product catalog included. Like many other CMS systems from around year 2000 it wasn’t the easiest to work with, especially if you needed to add other types of media beside images or special texts. It got infected with malware about twice a year due to lack of security updates and the design on the website was startet to look a bit old school. So after talking to them, we decided to do a full redesign so that they could show their products vinduer in a better way, and also got a new cms system, that would be a little easier to work with.

They had a few requests which basically came down to.
1) An easy to use CMS system, that didn’t require a lot of training to use.
2) A modern design that was easy for the search engines to index and easy for the customers to navigate around in.
3) Speed was an issue, so they needed some kind of backend caching too
4) A calender where they could add importent dates and events.
5) A product gallery (without prices or shopping carts, so not a full blown webshop)
6) A simple contact formular with captcha to prevent spam, and if possible with a google map.

We showed them two different choices that would support all their needs – Joomla and WordPress CMS, both good and free systems that would fit their needs just fine. After trying out the two systems, they settled on WordPress due to a greater amount of free plugins, and and a more userfriendly CMS system.

After that we created the first framework for their new design, which they accepted without any changes. Based on that we created a template that would give the most focus to their products betongulve and vinduer. After approval of the final design, we installed the CMS system, added plugins such as all in one SEO, dynamic widgets, calender widget, Woo Commerce, which we tweaked to remove the shopping part and contact form 7 + google maps. To ensure it was running fast, we installed zen cache combined with Autoptimize that minified all stylesheets and javascripts.

A month later we analysed the data, and found that the amount of visitors haven’t increased. But the bounce ratio had improved and it did look like people had an easier time, finding the information they where looking for. Based on the number of contacts related to products like beton gulve and vinduer, it did look like more of the visitors became costumers, but one month isn’t enough time to verify that completely.

Resources for Artists on the Internet

There are some great resources for art online.  Nowadays you can stroll around virtual galleries and view world famous pictures from the comfort of your arm chair. If you enjoy reading about art, then there’s many web sites like this to help provoke thought and point you towards the latest art news.  If you want something more discussion based there are many great forums where artists and people can meet – if you want want to try based in the UK then try the Artists Forum.

Many of  the non-profit making art websites and forums tend to look a little basic, but they’re often packed full of useful information and discussion about art.  The best organised ones are split into different subject areas, which makes them easier to navigate.  For example artist forum above has sections about digital and traditional media.  These are then split down into drawing, painting and other art methods, then split again into specifics such as the medium.  There’s some great tips on charcoal drawing in those forums for example.

But my favorite use of the internet is on a practical level.  After all you can look at an image of a famous painting or drawing on a monitor but it’s never going to replace seeing the work of art in person.  But for someone learning art what could be better – well how about this for an example.

For people learning art in colleges as students, of course pracical demonstrations are readily available.  But for the rest of us with perhaps an interest in art and no mentor – <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gihY_oL2iE”>videos like these</a> from the Pain Basket TV are invaluable.  A huge series of art lessons recorded and uploaded onto Youtube for free – they’re wonderful.

THere are many great art programmes on traditional TV but often these are inaccessible depending on where you live.  Some of the best are in the UK and US however if you live outside these areas it’s difficult to watch even online.  Sites like this can help you access some of the best art shows by changing your IP address online, however it does involve some small expense to watch it online.

There is no doubt that like many areas, the internet has brought artists together and enabled people to learn wherever they are.

James Ireland

What to consider when creating a webdesign

porteDesigning a website isn’t always an easy task. But if you ask some it is, they are told make a website for a site selling fences, and they sit down and start out right away, a few days later they got the design done and implemented. This is something we see over and over, and sometimes they manage to come up with a nice and useful design for their customers, but most of the time it’s a failure. It may be a great design, but ofte it’s not very userfriendly, targeting the wrong audience or doesn’t really fit what the company is selling. A few days ago a friend of mine asked me to look at the new design they had gotten for their company Hegn and Porte. Hegn and Porte is a metal company selling all kinds of steel solutions to other companies. It was pretty obvious that everything was from a standard template and only the text and the logo had been changed. This is also something that is quite common in the design industri. While a lot the standard premium templates are quite good, they ofte still needs some customization in order to fit the website they are used on. It was pretty clear that this wasn’t the case with Hegn, for instance they had used a dark puple as the main color, several places on the page were flower patterns as background. While this may have worked nicely for a hairdresser it certainly didn’t on a website related to steel.

But what do you need to consider when creating a new site? Well for one thing, start by learning a little more about your customer. What are they selling, and what are their policy? For instance if the company care about the envoriment and have spend a lot of money making their production as enviromental friendly as possible, adding a few green colors to the website may be welcome. Who are their customers, is it mainly women, young people or elderly business men? This is important because different types of people, navigate differenly on a website. For instance many elderly are having an easier time using a broad navigation structure over a deep structure. Certain colors are also more appealing to certain groups, for instance if the main audience are tweens, you may want to add some more colors, polls and other special features to keep them interested. Is it a business information site, make it more simple and remove those elements that isn’t nessesary. You also need to consider making it responsive, so that it works well on both a desktop computer, a tablet and a smartphone.

Another important step is finding the right webhotel solution. Selecting a cheap but slow solution may work for sites where people don’t have to change pages a lot and the number of visitors are relatively low, but if you run an ecommerce site with thousands of daily visitors, then you want a very fast solution, which often cost a bit more.

Wanna Punch Him – He’s Actually a Success

There is no doubt that Mcdonald’s probably have one of the most popular and iconic designs in the history of design – the famous golden arches.  However in other areas they don’t seem to have been quite so effective.  Over the years Mcds have had a few mascots, the longest running of course the singularly annoying Ronald McDonald.  The latest design is at first glance, well awful – here it is.

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I’m not sure why but like many, I find him extremely creepy.  He’s certainly not the ‘happy’ face I’d choose to promote a kiddies meal available at a popular fast food restaurant.    If you look across social media, you’ll find many more with the same opinion – calling him scary, weird and just unpleasant.

So how is the fast food giant responding ?  Well mostly they are very pleased. Of course no one is that impressed with having their designs criticized and complained about.   However the goal of this mascot is to draw attention to their range of happy meals and the new related items appearing on  their menus.

But the reality is that every blog post, every Tweet or share or troll on social media that picks fun over the mascot is basically increasing it’s reach and profile.    Just like this post which is effectively bringing a brand name to anyone who reads it.

In fact the mascot called erm ‘happy’ has been used internationally for some years already.  He is only new to the US market and he’s already creating quite a profile for himself and his company and product line.  There are measurements about how successful a brand or image in online and the companies who track these tell us he’s been a bit of a hit.

It’s always difficult for a worldwide brand to select mascots and brand designs which appeal to people across the world.  Mainly because of the simple fact that people are different – just look at the adverts you’ll see on US TV stations and compare them with say a European/British TV advert and you’ll see an enormous difference.    You can check online to watch these, American viewers can use this technique which demonstrates how to watch BBC iPlayer in the US – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VYyV0vrTfM

So perhaps that design doesn’t need universal acclaim to become successful, sometimes it just to just promote opinions.

Watch BBC News Live – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdEx5VAS4dU