Archive for 'Time And Money'

During my years in the design and marketing industry, I’ve spent a lot of time on the bleeding edge of technology, keeping up with new hardware, software and techniques, constantly training and re-training myself to take advantage of all these wondrous things that are supposed to make life easier.

A few years ago, I stopped doing this. I did not choose to do this. Stopping was imposed on me by all that new technology.

It seems that every time I upgraded hardware or software, I was stopped in doing the most important thing I can do for clients — producing their work on time and on budget.

You know the drill: Load a new program, then deal with the consequences of that action, which might include something a small as learning where your favorite keyboard shortcut went to in this version, to fixing the hardware that no longer runs the more powerful, and demanding, software.

Or, if you buy some new hardware, you then spend a week integrating it into your workflow and work habits.

I finally got tired of the rat race in technology, as I spent long years in various art and creative departments where the latest whiz-band shiny tech thing was a mandatory acquisition, if for no other reason than to stay compliant with clients new toys.

Enough.

So, in 2000, when we went full time with Wells-Smith Partners, I decided to use ancient technology, including my trusty Mac G3, a couple of small Raspberry iMacs, and a couple of hard drive to hold files. Our network was “sneaker-net” based — we went from one office to the next with files on a floppy disk or Syquest or Zip disk.

And I used that setup for three years, until I finally needed a little more speed, and invested a whole couple of hundred dollars in a new — wait for it — used G4!

From 2000 to 2010, I would not buy a new computer or upgrade my major software, because I simply did not want to invest time and money in getting the darned stuff to play well together.

The other graphic designers in my neighborhood laughed when I sat down at my computer, but I churned out a lot more work than they did, with a lot less downtime. My systems were tested, trusted, and (almost) never went down.

Of course, all good things come to and end, and my systems started failing. I saw the writing on the wall: doom and gloom from more and more crashes and incompatibilities.

Time to jump ahead in technology again. Nice thing about waiting for the bleeding edge to pass you by is that the hardware and software get better and cheaper.

So we bought new computers for eveyone, including a new server, with AppleCare for each, and all new software upgrades. We even added a single, lonely Windows PC, which sits in my office.

Happy, fast, reliable production days are here again. Everything just works, and I concern myself with satisfying clients, not troubleshooting.

At least for a couple more years.

Later…

 

We think they do! In fact, if you don’t have a web presence, then you are missing 71% of the prospects looking to make a purchase of your product or service. That’s the number of consumers who do Internet research prior to making a purchasing decision or even prior to leaving the house to make a buy.

About 79% of all adults are online for more than 11 hours a week. That’s a lot of potential customers to ignore. Yet, many small business owners think a website is something only a larger company needs — one with a national customer base. In fact, not having a web presence is a bit like locking your front door for 70% of your business hours.

Small business owners often hire someone to put up a website for them, but they don’t do the second, and equally critical, step if search engine optimization (SEO) work. When they don’t get any response from their website, they tend to dismiss the websiite as “this Internet thing doesn’t work,” forget about it, and their website becomes a lovely scrapbook and not much more than that.

SEO is how you get Yahoo or Google to index your site and rank it on the search results page. When a search is made for a product or service in your area, these search engines call up all of the web pages with relevant information to the search term. If the SEO work is done correctly, your site will appear on page one or two of a relevant search. If it hasn’t been done or its been done badly, your site will be somewhere around page 4,992, if that high.

Buying a website without SEO is like buying a billboard on the Interstate where all of the local commuters pass daily. Right before rush hour, you cover your billboard with a tarp. Just as this would be a crazy waste of time and money, it’s equally crazy to put up a website without SEO.

A site that is well indexed has been especially written for certain keywords and phrases that match popular search terms for a particular product or service. These terms are selected in advance of writing the site and woven into the text so it reads naturally. If the text doesn’t read well, the search engines assign it a low priority and send you back to the badlands of page 4,992.

A well optimized website is central to any marketing program for a small business, if it is written and indexed to attract local searches. So, to answer the question in the headline of this blog, yes, you really, REALLY need one.