Thursday, September 30, 2010

Should You Take the Lowest Bidder When Hiring a Professional?

When we hire someone it is important to realize – we are paying for their expertise just as much as their time. All businesses live with a budget and in this time of economic uncertainty – it is more important than ever to make the right decision when hiring someone. Shopping around is essential when making that decision.

Even so, remember this piece of advice:

"The highest bid may not be the best – The lowest bid could be the worst."

Why do I say that?

I have been in this business a long time, so I have seen it all… Some people think if it is expensive it must be superior – so they go with a website/marketing firm instead of a small business.

Did you know nine times out of 10 when you choose a big company, you will not be dealing with the actual designer – but a sales person. Big mistake – it really makes more sense to deal with the person who is actually designing and building your website. On top of that I have had clients who once they signed on the dotted line couldn’t even get the sales person – to call them back, or they called back when it was convenient for them.

Some clients have paid an arm and a leg for a website and when their website was finished – and needed updates or changes. They were charged sky high prices. Or their web site was built with a scripting (programming) language that wasn’t needed and twice as expensive to have anyone update it.

A lot of very successful business owners are not internet savvy – and put their trust in the business/professional building the website. It is important that you find someone you can trust to act as a partner in your business – wanting what is best for you, someone who genuinely cares about your success.

Remember just like in all professions you will find some unscrupulous business’s that are dishonest and will sell you things even when you really do not need them.

What is the extreme opposite of the above scenario?

The business person who wants to find a bargain and will go with the lowest bidder. If you are given a very low price then chances are this web developer is new and cannot really give you good advice on what is needed to build a marketing website. Or will not take the necessary amount of time with you to really give you good customer service.

Inexperience really is a detriment when trying to build a successful online business. I have heard numerous times of web developers that actually abandon the project – and have left the client hanging – so unprofessional is an understatement.

How do you determine if you have the right professional to build your website?

A good web designer will:

  • Take the time to talk with a perspective client before they write a proposal – really get to know what their business goals and needs are.
  • Take the time to explain internet jargon in a way the client can understand.
  • Have good communications skills.
  • Have some experience under their belt – and know the ropes when it comes to what is needed on a website.
  • Understand and know; HTML – XHTML and a bit about programming languages.
  • Be creative and has an eye for design – web pages can be a lot like art.
  • Help’s their client achieve business goals by giving them good advice and great references.
  • Knows how to optimize a website so that it can be properly indexed on search engines, and tell you what needs to be done to make that happen.
  • Give excellent customer service and be an ongoing help when you have questions or don’t understand something pertaining to the website.
  • Be honest when they do not know something and find the answers you are looking for.
  • Have a network of professional connections who can help with things they don’t do like action scripting, data-base set up, etc.

Remember you need to be a partner in the building of your website; after all it is “your” website. Having a rapport and knowing that you will not be guided in the wrong direction is imperative.

In a nutshell; hire a web designer that is honest with integrity – and you cannot go wrong.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for a free consultation – no strings attached.

Pamela JacobArtista Design

Providing Creative Solutions & Amazing Results

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blogging Tips and Tricks

I am amazed at how many business owners do not have a blog. When I work with my clients I always try and convince them to start a blog. It gives their business credibility and shows them as an expert in their given field. What better way to market your business?

A blog also helps your website get better positioning on search engines. Search Engines love blogs – the fresh content that is placed in the pages will cause the search engines to pay attention, and it will allow you to gain more exposure for you website. Every business knows the best kind of traffic is targeted visitors – that is exactly what you will get from people who visit your blog.

A blog can be as easy or difficult as you want it to be, you can host your own blog or access a free one from Wordpress or Blogger. For a monthly fee you can also use services like The biggest fear I find business owners have is, first they are intimidated by writing articles, second, and they don’t feel they have the time. So how do you overcome these fears?

Find resources that make it easy for you to post appropriate articles to your blog. One of the most obvious ways is to hire someone to write original articles – a good writer can always do research, as well as get information from you about what you want to convey. If you prefer to have you name on the article posted hire a ghost writer (someone who doesn’t take credit for the article) you will own the exclusive rights to the writing, but it will obviously cost you more to do this.

If you just don’t have the budget to hire someone, no problem that is why free article sites are so popular. You would be amazed at the quality of some of these articles – the only catch is you must publish the resource box at the end of the article. These resource boxes usually have the name of the writer and a link back to a website or an affiliate page. Because of this you want to find writers that are not in direct competition with you but complement your business, this make it a win-win situation and will not effect your business in any negative way.

Please remember to check out the links in the resource box – this is just double insurance that it leads to a page you feel good about.

The “cream de la cream” of article marketing resources’ (in my opinion) is called Ezine Articles – You can also Google your niche market (article resources), and it will come up with article sites that are directed towards your business.

Another great way to get content driven articles is by having guest blogger's. A lot of businesses love the free marketing that the resource box will provide them when you use one of their articles.

Top 10 Article Resource Sites

1. Ezine Articles

2. Article Alley

3. Go Articles

4. Article Dash board

5. Search Warp

6. Buzzle

7. Article Base

8. Article City

9. Idea Marketers

10. Web Source

The best way to manage your time is by accessing some of these article websites – finding articles you want to use, copying and pasting the article in a word doc – to save time and stay organized you may want to set out a block of time to collect eight articles or more.

Then twice a week put an article up. Make sure and comment on the article you are posting. In addition, people love to read short blogs with links to information they care about, simply add your comment, and a link to the site or article you are referencing. Another great way to create a blog article is commenting on things that are in the news that pertain to you business – then linking back to the resource.

I have found a great tool called Post Later - I can write several articles and schedule each one to be posted on future-dates of my choosing. It is such a time saver - and since I post for some of my clients’ blogs it really saves me time.

If you are worried about setting up a blog – and having an attractive interface, contact your web designer, they should be able to set it up with all the bells and whistles you need.

Please feel free to contact me if you need help, for a small fee, I will set up your blog and make sure you have the elements needed to market your blog and reference your website. I will also teach you how to simply and efficiently add articles and pictures. I know the internet can be overwhelming, but remember step by step you will gain the knowledge and the systems you need to be in command of your online success!

Pamela JacobArtista Design

Providing Creative Solutions & Amazing Results