How to create a Website that engages with your Customers …

If you are creating your own website, keep it as clear, simple and intuitive as possible. Focus on the following:

1. Have you identified who you’re appealing to and what values and messages the site will communicate about your business? How do you want to appear to your target audience?

Colour, typography, imagery and layout decisions will strongly influence your audience’s perception of you and your company.

2. What is the user journey? What type of “experience” do you want visitors to have? Do you need a straightforward online brochure or an interactive media rich site? Does the site need to be transactional allowing e-commerce and online orders?

3. Content is king. Merely having a web presence will not make any impact if users do not gain in some way from visiting it. Remember this is more important than the aesthetics of the site. Put your content together before worrying about colour schemes.

4. What is the call to action for the site, what is the one thing you want visitors to do after they visit you? How is the site going to achieve that for you?

5. Participate. Make use of all the free social networking tools to get your name and url out there. Use Twitter / LinkedIn / Youtube / Facebook / Flikr et al and make sure they feed in to your site in some way even if it just a link.

5. How are you going to be found? If you want Search Engines such as Google to list you high up in their rankings you need to follow the many and varied rules for search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO is not just about placing keyword loaded phrases in critical positions; you need to encourage external linking from a plethora of other online collateral.

Get advice from a professional about how to make your site work best for you before proceeding.

A web presence in 10 minutes: As a starting point you could simply forward a domain name (see Domain Names) to a social networking page such as Twitter or LinkedIn.

Templates: You can buy pre-configured web pages that you simply drop your content in to. Have a look at: This is a cheap way of getting your content published, the only drawback being it is a one size fits all approach – you could in theory end up sharing the same template with a competitor!

Go Opensource: Developers get together in online communities and create free tools which you can use as a platform for your website. The king of these is WordPress . It’s essentially a blogging platform but by applying “themes” you can turn it in to a professional looking site. Some hosts offer “one click installs”, or you may want to consider paying a developer to help you customise it.

Or DIY – Write your own web pages: If you have a computer with a simple text editor (e.g. Notepad) and a web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer/Firefox) you too can become a techie. HTML is not difficult to learn, particularly with the abundance of resources on the web. Try for some starter tutorials and head to when you get stuck.

Concentrate on learning how xhtml and css relate to each other. Download the Firebug extension for the Firefox web browser and see how your favourite sites are compiled.

If you want to add graphics you’ll need an image editor / graphics application. “Photoshop Limited Edition” is sometimes bundled with digital cameras. You’ll also need an “FTP client” to transfer your files to the web host.

Domain names: Grab your domain name first. They are cheap and you shouldn’t be paying more than £5 a year for a and £10 for a .com. There are many places to register a domain name. is competitive and has been around for a long time and has the backing of Webfusion, a large player in the market. Make sure the provider offers an “online control panel” to administer your domain name. As a bare minimum you should be able to forward the name to other domains / web space and set-up aliases for your email accounts e.g. and

Hosting packages: Once you have your domain name you will need to find somewhere to host the website. Essentially you’re renting a space on a computer somewhere. Web hosting packages start at less than £50 a year for a basic solution and go up and up depending on your requirements. Try or buy a copy of .net magazine and check out the ads. Also talk to your existing ISP; they may have a deal for existing customers. Your Internet Service Provider is likely to offer free web space included with your monthly contract. Although the amount of storage and functionality may be limited, coupled with a cheap domain name which you “forward” to the web space, this is a great starting point for a “brochure” website.

Call us on 01483 537890 for any help that you might need in getting your website up and running.

How to survive Live Communications – Presentation Tips

Olivia offers her thoughts on surviving live comms as published in Communicate Magazine March Issue.

• Keep your presentation short and to the point. There is nothing worse than seeing eyelids drooping in your audience.

• Make sure you know who your audience is so you can gauge the level of the content to them.

• Always do a practise run though your presentation. This will help you cut out any unnecessary detail.

• Confidence is key. This will come from being genuinely passionate about what you are saying and being well prepared.

• If you can’t handle questions as you go along, invite your audience to ask questions at the end.

• Ask people at the back of the room if they can hear you.

• Smile and speak slowly less is more.

• Don’t fiddle, fidget or move your hands all of these can be distracting. And don’t balance hot and cold drinks anywhere near you.

• Pray that the room is free of noise (drills, banging doors, alarms, too hot or too cold). Sometimes this is out of your control, and make light of it if that is the case.

• Bring an electronic copy, charged laptop and hard copy of your presentation with you in case there is a power cut or equipment is not there that should be.

Top Tips for Managing your Time

So much is said about the value of effective time-keeping and for good reason. But how easy is it for those good intentions that you brought away from your Time management course to get forgotten about?

We would like to revisit the role that commitment and attitude have as the driving forces behind good time management, and how if you get that part right, the rest is easy.

Here are some tips from us.

1) Draw up a scale of Levels of Commitment from 10 to 1 – where 10 is “I am totally committed to achieve this, whatever”, 1 is “Over my dead body” or words to that effect, and 6 is “It’s very important to me”. You may want to include words/phrases like “determined”, “no.1 priority”, “important”, “obligated”, “doubtful”, and “reluctant” when defining the levels of commitment for your scale.

2) Now look at the list of actions that you have for today. These can be business or personal actions. How likely are you to get these done based on these levels of commitment? Be honest about this part 🙂

3) Experience proves that you will only action tasks for which your commitment is at level 6 or above. The other things on the list will not get done and will eventually fall off the list because the commitment is just not there. The time spent in thinking about not doing them will be wasted, and activities will start to control you and possibly will begin to keep you awake at night.

4)How about your colleagues at work? What tasks are on their list? Again, any actions that are perceived to be doubtful, unclear, not useful will get carried over time and time again. More wasted time will be spent in reacting to the consequences of not doing these things (as some will in fact be important or urgent), stress will start to play a major role, and both you and they will start to feel out of control.

5)So here’s what we suggest:
* Above all a positive attitude when defining goals with your colleagues (or family)-this will affect the quality of how each person experiences the time taken to achieve any related tasks. Positive attitude and commitment from leaders will affect those around them who, in turn, will influence and be influenced by the effectiveness of time management as a whole.

* A flight plan will get from A to B and will help colleagues see their part in getting to the final destination. Involve people at all stages of planning before you get started to get the best possible plan in place plus ownership and commitment from each team member to achieve goals.

* In your team, think of who does which task best and delegate the parts to the appropriate people. This will encourage individual committment in itself as the tasks are being done by the people who are best/quliafied and/or most motivated to do so, and by giving praise and support as the plan evolves, you will make the resulting success contagious. Focus on the preferred roles of your colleagues and use their natural flair whenever possible. (Bring in external resources only if you do not have them within your team and get agreement from your team that this is a necessary step, otherwise you will lose commitment very quickly.)

* Record how much time being saved and use the time that you have saved in celebrating with your team (for brainstorming creative or fun ideas, chilling out time together, and/or rewarding with early finishes). You’ll be amazed at how motivating that will be. Above all, you will be well on the way to achieving a very healthy work life balance for you and your team and your business performance will improve as a result of you and your colleagues looking after one of the most precious resources that we have. Time.

Thank you for sharing any tips/comments that you have too with us too.