I’m going to be busy this week meeting business people at the Donegal Enterprise Board Enterprising Donegal Week on Tuesday and others at the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Enterprise Week on Wednesday. So this is just a quick (late night!) post to say if there are any members who would like to come and meet business people who are looking for advice on using all aspects of the internet in all kinds of business I would welcome your expertise at the IIA stand between 4pm and 6pm on Wednesday 25th March. All details via the link above. At a previous enterprise event I was asked questions about choosing web developers/ designers, email marketing, using social media for business, as well as more bizarre and thankfully expected questions about the IIA and the internet in general!
If you are a member of the IIA and you think you have half an hour to spare please email me at members at iia dot ie.
Thanks again to everyone who has participated in Feedback Friday over the last few weeks. Since last week the Subscribe to Comments has been added (about time says you!) so it should help keep the conversation going.
This week’s Feedback Fanatics are Sonru.com, a member of the IIA since who have only recently gone live with their site and beta service. Edward Hendrick, MD of Sonru has a very specific aspect of his site that he would like you to focus on. He explained in an email to me:
“We are having some difficulties getting our message across from our home page. We are being confused with Skype etc, we need to get across the fact that two people do NOT have to be online at the same time.
We currently don’t have benefits up there and are trying to think of a nice way of doing so.
So we’d love some feedback on our home page and the message we are getting across. We would really appreciate people’s suggestions on how to improve it.
I think Feedback Friday is a great idea because you are getting fresh eyes giving genuine opinions, we are so used to looking at it now, it has become hard for us to judge.”
Please bear in mind the few low key guidelines and let’s hear what you think!
BizCamp is a user generated business conference with open, participatory workshop-events, where content is provided by the participants. It is a new feature on the Irish business events calendar and is based on principles of interaction, engagement and conversation. It’s a free event and therefore sponsors are very welcome 🙂
I had my first experience of a camp-style conference last September which focussed on one of my main interests: social media. At that camp, I learnt lots of interest in that arena. So I didn’t hesitate to sign up for Bizcamp either – I figured if I learnt half as much as I did at Podcamp Ireland and met half as many people who have been a boon to my work with the IIA it would be a day well spent. Bizcamp Dublin is being organised by, among others, Keith Bohanna, who is on the IIA Board, and Alan O’Rourke of Spoiltchild, an IIA member. In the video below Keith explains a bit more about what to expect at Bizcamp. Watch it and then go register!
More salubrious company for the IIA blog in the longlist of the Irish Blog Awards. Do you know, while I’m thrilled that the IIA is featuring, I am even more thrilled that so many members of the IIA are listed amongst these business blogs too. The IIA is all about the business of the internet and business on the internet so it’s great to see so many members getting this kind of recognition. Congrats to all longlisted in this category and in all the others too!
Best Blog of a Business – Sponsored by RedCardinal.ie
- Keith Bohanna
- IIA Blog
- Puddle Ducks
- Icecream Ireland
- Krishna De
- Sabrina Dent
- Peter Donegan Landscaping
- Robin Blandford
- Curious Wines
- Worldwide Cycles
- eWrite Cork
- Fortify Your Oasis
- Brian Honan Consulting
- Blacknight Blog
- Niceday Designs
- Brightspark Consulting
- Nononsense Blog
Aedan Ryan of Puddleducks recently attended the IIA event “How to do Business Online – Securely” and even though he was completely exhausted after taking in all that information he wrote this summary of all he heard on the day. Thanks Aedan – we’re glad it was a worthwhile trip for you.
A lot of companies join the IIA after launching their new, improved or indeed very first website. Many of the new members ask me for feedback on their site. Generally I try, as is my wont, to be helpful and offer constructive advice based on my experience. But I always feel uneasy doing this because I am just one person with only so much experience of the web. I have my own likes and dislikes and although, yes, I might have more exposure to business websites than most, I do not feel that my opinion should be granted any extra weight because of this.
However, I also know how difficult it can be to get good, qualified feedback on your site that you have spent hours breaking your heart over one way or the other. With this in mind, I thought we might try a little crowdsourcing. If you are a member of the IIA and you would like some feedback on your site with a view to making it look, feel and work better then please email members at iia dot ie with your URL. Please include notes about any particular aspect to which you want to draw visitors attention and a 100 word blurb about what your company wants to do/ is doing with the site. I will then blog about it here and we will invite feedback from all comers via the comments and trackbacks.
We’ll call it Feedback Friday and I’ll publish the sites looking for feedback on, yep you guessed it folks, Friday!
The following guest post is written by Leon Quinn of Reverb Studios Multimedia & Web Design. Reverb Studios recently rejoined the IIA which I was really glad to see. Leon Quinn, the company owner, had been on my radar through twitter and had made some valuable input to the Social Media Working Group’s recent blogging workshop through the live twittering (You’ll hear me passing on his inputs in the podcast where I mistakenly say that he is based in Co. Clare when he’s actually in lovely Leitrim – my bad!)
I ask all new members what prompted them to join the IIA. Leon told me that “Good key worded anchor links from a site like the IIA’s with a Google page rank of 6/10 and Alexa rank of 135,562 should help promote my web site so I guess you could say I’m mainly using the IIA site for link backs but in return you should get some useful content via my 2 blogs through your excellent RSS feature.”
Over to Leon:
The dominant mood in the current economic climate amongst the general public and businesses especially is to cut costs, save money and look for deals. Bearing this in mind, and if you run a business looking to increase your sales leads, now might be a good time to look at your marketing methods and spend.
‘Old fashioned’ marketing methods such as Print, Radio, TV, Brochures, etc.. remain effective at least in a local context but they also remain very expensive. If you are a business manager who has managed to avoid going down the online route to find leads until now then you should realise that according to recent statistics more and more people are using the internet to find services and purchase products online and you may not be able to afford to ignore this fact for much longer.
Web Design companies, if they have morals! will realise that companies may turn to the net in the current crisis to service their sales needs and therefore will hopefully lower their prices in the face of greater competition so hiring a web development company should no longer break the bank like it used to.
So what are the benefits of having a web presence over traditional marketing means?
- The web has a much greater reach, anyone with a PC and internet connection, anywhere in the world can find your site and potentially do business with you.
- The web never sleeps. Your website will not keep normal business hours but will continue to sell your services 24/7.
- It’s easier and quicker to find a product or service on the web thanks to excellent search engines such as Google therefore people will use this method to find companies much more.
- You can say more and sell yourself better on a web site than any other media. Consider the cost of an ad in something like the yellow pages and what you get for that price as opposed to a web site on which you can have text, photos, audio, video, news and as many pages as you like!
- The ongoing cost of a web site is quite small compared to other media. If you are managing the site yourself then the only repetitive costs will be your domain name and hosting and these should be reasonable.
- Spending money on something like Google Adwords to get people to your site is a much more efficient way of spending your marketing budget and you can monitor the effects of a campaign much more closely.
- You can use Google Analytics on your web site for free and gain very useful information about the type of people visiting your site and what they looked at most while there. This information can allow you to optimise your site to maximise the amount of people who actually contact you and give you a valuable sales lead.
Article by Leon Quinn
Reverb Studios Multimedia Design, Leitrim
We have a new video widget on the IIA homepage to which we invite members to submit YouTube videos. I created this video just before Christmas in order to show off the space. Happily it has been replaced since! I’d love to update this on a regular basis so please do email your YouTube URLs to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to showcase yours.
FYI nothing fancy involved in creating the above video either: some stock photographs from IStockphoto.com, some podsafe music from PodShow.com all mushed together in Windows Movie Maker which comes with Windows Vista. See comments on previous post to read more about what other people use for quick and dirty videos or please add your own comments about software and hardware you use for video creation.
Due to a slight technical hitch on today’s Digital Digest one of the links was broken. A cardinal sin online! Mea culpa!
So in order to redress this I am now republishing the link to the Goodiesthat were included in the “Next year it will be annual IIA Virtual Hamper” which included a delectable selection of gifts from IIA Members Enterprise Ireland, BlueMetrix, Applied Signs & Display, AllGifts.ie, SureSkills.com, DoneDeal.ie, 4GiftsDirect.ie, FlowersMadeEasy.ie and IGoPeople.com.
Generally I try to keep things upbeat but there’s no getting away from that budget, is there? Cadamedia, a web design company based in Wexford and IIA member, have posted a timely reminder on their blog about how one aspect of this budget could seriously affect companies who aren’t quick off the mark. They remind their clients with online shops that the VAT rate has increased so changes will need to be made on their sites. All members who have online shops should ensure these changes are made as well.
And you may be wondering what brought Cadamedia to my attention? Their RSS feed is included in their profile in the IIA website. If you are a member you should add your RSS feed to your profile on the IIA extranet as well. If you need help mail me at members at iia dot ie.
Grabbing RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds and adding them to your RSS Reader from other sites of interest to you is a great way to keep up to date at a glance with what’s going on in your sector. If you don’t already use a reader try Google Reader or I know the latest versions of Outlook and Thunderbird have RSS readers too. (Please feel free to suggest others you like in the comments below.) If you write a business (or any other kind of) blog it will supply you with endless inspiration for blog posts and will allow you to join in the online conversations in the blogosphere with ease. Just like Cadamedia’s RSS feed did for me here!