Does Infusionsoft trump other autoresponder services?

Why Use Infusionsoft CRM for Your Email Marketing and Contact Management

Infusionsoft CRM offers something a little different and a little better for webmasters and small business owners.

Basically, Infusionsoft combines the features of a contact management system with those of an autoresponder. The result is a highly powerful tool that you can use to gain new contacts and leads, to manage them and to send out messages.

And best of all? Infusionsoft is a WordPress plugin which makes it incredibly easy to use…

Of course Infusionsoft is just one option and it won’t be for everyone. If you’re a digital marketer and you only need a very simple and straightforward autoresponder, then the extra features of Infusionsoft may be a little moot. For the right small business though, the tools on offer here are a real asset and well worth looking into.

Features and Uses for Small Businesses

Infusionsoft works like a normal autoresponder in many ways. This means it allows you to create an opt-in form where your visitors can add their e-mail addresses and then lets you send out newsletter e-mails to all of them to promote your brand and make sales.

At the same time though, Infusionsoft lets you do a lot more with those contact details. As a CRM for small businesses, Infusionsoft lets you organize contacts that you already have as well as leads that you get through your forms. You can then organize those contacts with tagging and segmentation.

For instance then, this would allow you to add multiple opt-in forms to different pages of your website and to tag your new contacts depending on which one they used. Likewise, you could keep a separate selection of contacts you acquired through in-person networking alongside the leads you collect through your squeeze page.

And for marketers, there are some other neat things you can do through Infusionsoft too. For starters, you can track the behavior of your leads to see how often they are coming back to your website, how many emails they’re opening, how often they’re clicking…. You can also score them based on their engagement and interaction with your brand, which ultimately allows you to organize them based on priority and how likely they are to buy from you soon. You can then automate e-mails to send only once your leads are ready to buy and receptive to your marketing messages. This is a smart way to make sales and it can drastically increase conversions while decreasing the time you’re spending managing your contacts.

Advanced Options

Other features include the ability to send follow-up messages to specific users, to keep notes on certain leads (great for sales) and more. On top of all that, Infusionsoft also comes with its own digital storefront and acts as an ecommerce platform too. This level of integration allows for some advanced automation and specific targeting of key customers and leads. When someone makes a purchase for instance, it triggers an automated communication ‘sequence’ allowing you to check they’re happy with their product and even upsell to them.

Another more advanced option is the ability to set-up an affiliate program. This allows other marketers to help you sell your products and to gain commission for doing so. This is a very powerful asset because it can drastically scale up your marketing efforts so that thousands more customers and leads discover your brand and what you’re selling.

Ease of Set-Up

Another great advantage of Infusionsoft is that it’s very easy to set up. As a WordPress plugin this literally features a one-click installation and from there it will integrate seamlessly with your site. If you have a WordPress web development company, they should be able to handle this for you in no time at all and very affordably.

Of course this is also a drawback for those not using WordPress as their CMS. If you built your site without a CMS, or if you used Drupal or Joomla, then you’ll be looking for an alternative option like Mailchimp or AWeber.

Which Autoresponder/CRM Should You Choose?

If you just need a plain CRM for managing contacts at your business, then there are more comprehensive and cheaper options out there than Infusionsoft. Infusionsoft then is for companies that are actively collecting leads online and marketing to them through e-mail marketing. By combining the benefits of a fully-functional CRM with basic autoresponder functionality though, you’ll be getting something that goes far and above MailChimp or Aweber.

So in that regard does Infusionsoft trump those other autoresponder services? Undoubtedly the answer is yes. But it’s also key to recognize that you may not need all of these features and that Infusionsoft is a little more expensive than the other choices. For small start-ups then, we recommend starting with a cheaper autoresponder to begin with and then migrating to Infusionsoft when you’re ready to step your marketing up a notch!

Reach us to integrating your WordPress website with Infusionsoft CRM capabilities.

E-Commerce Platform: How to choose right one for small business?

Selling your own products from a e-commerce website is still the single most lucrative form of monetization available. If you don’t choose a right e-commerce platform, then you are seriously missing out.

When you sell your own products rather than making money from ads, you will get to stay at the top of the ‘food chain’ – keeping your own visitors on your site for longer and getting 100% of the profit each time they convert (as opposed to a paltry 5cents).

Meanwhile, for a brick and mortar store, variety of e-commerce platforms  provides you with a way to reach thousands or even millions of new potential customers and to increase your ROI for each one.

And the great news is that in this day and age, selling products online is really easy.

All you need is an e-commerce platform and this will automate payment processing, design, hosting and more to give you a great looking online store that your customers can shop through.

The only difficulty then is knowing which one to choose…

Hosted Solutions

‘Hosted’ e-commerce platform are platforms that are not kept on your server.

These are stores that you simply link out to from your site and which let you create your own storefront by logging in and changing the settings.

It’s a little like having a profile on social media, except you’re selling things!

Of the hosted solutions there are a few popular choices:

Choose Shopify E-Commerce Platform

Shopify has a great interface and a lot of features. It’s also very popular with a lot of support, though it lacks some basic customization such as the ability to create your own checkout page.

A little limited though but a good starter choice that can support up to 5,000 products.

Bigcommerce Development

Bigcommerce is another hosted solution. Like Shopify, it’s suitable for large numbers of products (up to 5,000) and is generally a good choice for those who don’t need the flexibility of a hosted platform.

Bigcommerce is also a little more expensive than Shopify though and is slightly less known. Bigcommerce does have the benefit however of offering better support for international payments.

Self-Hosted Solution

Hosted e-commerce solutions are stores that you install onto your own server space. This gives you far more flexibility over the hosted options but often require more set-up for novices.

Remember though, ecommerce website developers can help you with this process if you find it daunting.

Choose Magento E-Commerce Platform

Magento is perhaps the best hosted solution and is a great choice for those who want to create something completely unique with lots of specific features and functions.

It is a powerful system too and capable of listing up to 50,000 items – even more than hosted choices. On the down side, it is also the mot fiddly of all the options on this list and may be confusing for some users.

It can also occasionally slow down page load times. This is the top choice for larger businesses.

WooCommerce Development

WooCommerce is a slightly smaller self-hosted option as compared with Magento.

What makes it so convenient for small businesses and entrepreneurs is the fact that it is a WordPress plugin.

This means it can be installed with a single click and customized through a number of simple-to-use plugins and themes. It has a large community of users, lots of support and an intuitive UI.

WooCommerce website development will be the best choice for many people reading this owing to its simplicity. However, we only recommend it for slightly smaller stores with 500 items or less.

Volusion Development

Volusion is also a WordPress plugin with lots of support. It doesn’t feature the same customization though and isn’t as capable of managing large numbers of items.

What it does do though is to offer built in CRM functionality, an autoresponder and even affiliate marketing tools. This makes it a good choice for the digital marketer selling 50 items or less.

More Hosted E-Commerce Platform Choices

Other popular contenders include ZenCart and the open-source OpenCart (popular options suitable for around 500 items), OsCommerce (suitable for 5,000 products) and VirtueMart (good for under 500).

At the tiny end of the spectrum is PrestaShop which is suitable for selling 50 products.

VirtueMart, OsCommerce and Prestashop are also free to use though you will need to pay for more attractive themes and powerful features – a business model used by several eCommerce options.

For .Net based options you have DNN, Umbraco, Sitefinity and mojoPortal all of which are suitable for products number up to 50,000.

Custom E-Commerce Solutions

But what if you have over 50,000 products? Or what if you want to add something entirely different to your ecommerce platform?

In these situations, building your own platform from scratch is by far the best choice and this is where every e-commerce business will eventually end up if it continues to scale.

You can’t imagine Amazon using a third party solution, can you?

To build your own e-commerce solution, all you’ll need is an ecommerce website developer and a vision for what you want your online store to look like.

How to Choose a Logo Designer

Your logo is one of the single most important aspects of your business there is. This is something that you will be stuck with for the rest of your business’ lifetime and that will dictate not only the way that your customers and clients see you but also the way that you design your website and your products. Your logo is what will form the bedrock of your brand’s identity and will likely serve as a starting point for all of your subsequent designs. Get this wrong and you’ll be left with an awkward image that hampers your ability to sell or be taken seriously.

So how do you get a great logo design? Simple: you choose a great logo designer! You can try and create your own logo design but chances are that you’re not going to be as effective at doing this as an individual or a team that has dedicated their career to creating logos. Why take time out of your schedule if it’s only going to result in an inferior end product?

That’s why using a professional graphic design service is always a good idea. But how do you know who to choose or How to Choose a Logo Designer? Here are some tips that can help you make the right selection…

Portfolio

The number one thing to focus on when choosing a best logo designer is their portfolio. What does their previous work look like? What does it say about their skills in design?

At a glance, ask yourself if you’d be happy with a logo of that quality for your own site. Now look closer: is the logo high definition, or can you see pixels and ‘graininess’ around the edges? Does the logo accurately capture what you perceive to be the tone of the business? Is it original and interesting, or generic and bland?

Look out for logos that include:

  • Ticks
  • Lightbulbs
  • Globes

These are all badly ‘overplayed’ and look severely clichéd. If a designer falls back on any of these tropes, it suggests a real lack of imagination!

Look closely at other details too. For instance, are the letters in the title well-spaced or are they uneven? Are there points where you can see errors?

Another place to look is at the designer’s own website. This should be an example of their very best work and if it’s not absolutely top quality then you should consider that to be very much a warning sign.

Finally, ask if the portfolio demonstrates versatility. Are they able to work with a wide selection of organizations? Are all their logos different?

Description

If you like what you see, then read the description of what you get a little bit more closely. At the same time, don’t be afraid to get in touch if you’re interested and ask them what they can do for you.

One thing to make sure of at this stage, is that you will get an AI file along with the PNG of your logo. An AI file is basically a ‘map’ that a piece of software can use to redraw your image as a vector. This means you’ll get 100% resolution, as well as the ability to edit the image as much as possible. Even if you’re not sure what the difference between a vector image and a raster image is yourself, your future designers will and so this is a useful thing to have! If you just receive a PNG, it will be impossible to edit in future without completely recreating and this suggests the company is somewhat amateurish.

You should also ask whether the company provides other design services. The ideal scenario is to get your logo design provided by your web development company. This way, you can get a consistent design that all ties together nicely and that presents a strong brand identity.

If the company also provides other services, then you can use them in future for additional projects and thereby maintain the same design language across everything you create.

Another thing to look for is a company that is willing to provide a few ‘suggestions’ before settling on the final logo. Mockups will ensure that you’re happy with what they’re creating and it will prevent you from being ‘stuck’ with something that you hate.

Communication

Finally, you should get in touch and discuss your project with the company. This is important as it allows you to get a feel for the company, their ethos and their communication. The best company will be one that listens to you and that really understands your company – get in touch and you’ll give them the chance to demonstrate this.

At this point, you can also discuss rates and thereby find out if you’re getting a good deal or not. Of course the price also has to come into your decision somewhere!

Key Components of a Successful Social Media Campaign

There are too many webmasters and business owners out there wasting time and effort on lackluster social media campaigns. You may know people guilty of this: people who set up Facebook and Twitter accounts, post occasionally and then wonder why they aren’t growing their followers exponentially. Unfortunately, social media marketing is not a matter of ‘build it and they will come’. To be successful, you have to work hard but you also have to work smart. You have to know how to gradually increase your reach and then you need to put in the time and the work to make that happen. In some cases this can even be a full-time job; for some people in fact it is a full-time job! (Even if some people view it as a somewhat dubious one…)

So the question is: what should you be doing to ensure a successful campaign on social media? Read on and we’ll look at some of the key components that will make all the difference and really ensure you dominate the networks.

‘Be Everywhere’

The golden rule of social media marketing campaigns is to ‘be everywhere’ and to be everywhere with a strong and consistent branding that will be memorable and help you to strengthen your influence and authority. You should be on every single social media channel – including the smaller ones – and you need to ensure that you have the same compelling logo design, user name and color scheme across them all.

And don’t forget the little ones! At the very least, you should have a presence on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram (actually bigger than Twitter!)
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Tumblr
  • YouTube

YouTube is not really a social media channel but it’s another great place to bring more attention to your brand and it syncs nicely with all the others. Post on social bookmarking sites too – they’re great for getting lots of new viewers and shares.

Website Integration

Likewise, make sure that your social media is heavily integrated into your website. That means there should be links to your accounts on the homepage, buttons from Shareaholic or other plugins for easy sharing and maybe even a live-feed or two.

Be Active

It’s better to have no social media account than to have one that looks like a ghost town. Make sure you are posting regularly then and use tools like Buffer, HootSuite and IFTTT to automate those posts.

Use Influencers Marketing

Influencer marketing is an incredibly strategic form of social media marketing. Here, you basically look for someone who already has a large degree of social influence – who already has lots of followers hanging on their every word – and then you convince them to work alongside you and to message their followers on your behalf. This is a great strategy because it means you can benefit from someone who has massive reach long before you’ve reached that point yourself. And if the message they share for you is popular, it’s a great growth hack that will help you leapfrog the competition and land straight at the top of the pile.

LinkedIn is great for influencer marketing but you can do it on any platform. The key is to choose your targets well and to offer something worthwhile in return.

Use Real World Networking

A lot of people on LinkedIn in particular, think they can just ‘add’ influential contacts because they know a friend of a friend. In reality, this doesn’t make you best mates and most people will just ignore your request.

If on the other hand you make the effort to meet them in person and chat with them first, you can create some pretty useful contacts. Go to networking events then and make the effort to introduce yourself. Why not take a selfie for Instagram and tag you both in it? That’s a great way to create an association!

Advertising

You don’t have to use advertising on Facebook to be successful but it is a very powerful tool if you do – and especially if you use CPA advertising for likes. That means ‘Cost Per Action’, i.e. you only get charged if someone likes your Facebook page!

Interaction

Good social media means engaging with the audience and interacting with them. Don’t underestimate the value of one vocal fan – especially if they trumpet your cause. Make the effort to answer questions and not only will it help your brand to look good but it might just win you a powerful champion.

Creating the Right Content

Your social media campaign should be intertwined with your content marketing to the point where you think of where you’re going to share your content before you even write it. Don’t just write posts because that’s what you think you’re meant to do: write posts because you have a plan for them and you know the perfect place to share them! Choose the right title and think of every article as a product tailor made for a specific demographic.

Why So Many Webmasters Migrate to WordPress?

If you had your website built for you by a web development company, chances are that it will probably rely on some CMS or other. A CMS is a ‘content management solution’ which basically means it helps you to keep all of the posts, the images and the videos on your site organized. At the same time, it enables fast and easy edits to the layout and appearance of your website and it provides a framework for all the different files.

In short, a CMS makes it much quicker and easier to build a website for your developers and it makes it much easier for you to update it and find your way around subsequently. But how do you know which one to choose?

Popular CMS Options

Popular CMS choices include Joomla, Drupal and Wix among others. Using any of these you’ll be able to create a new website very quickly and to then make changes and edits whenever you need them. On top of this, these CMS options also provide great support from a large community and their popularity makes it easy to find someone to offers website development services if necessary.

But of all the CMS choices, it is WordPress that is by far the most popular. We’re often asked to migrate websites from one CMS to the other and the most popular choice for where webmasters want to end up? WordPress. By far.

Why WordPress is Such a Popular Choice?

So what is it that makes WordPress so popular?

Popularity

At this point, it’s actually WordPress’ popularity that makes it such a good choice. In other words, there are so many people using WordPress at the moment, that you can be sure of getting excellent technical support. The community is constantly adding new plugins, themes and other features for anyone to use and almost any web development company or freelancer will know WordPress like the back of their hand! In fact, a lot of companies advertise themselves as a WordPress web development company!

Plugins are small portions of code that you can ‘activate’ on your WordPress site at the touch of a button. If you use WordPress, then you can find plugins to do pretty much anything – whether that means compressing the images on your website, or it means blocking spam. Look for the same plugin on Drupal and you may be disappointed – meaning you’ll need to pay to have it custom build.

What this popularity also means is that there are countless examples out there of high successful websites running on WordPress. This provides great peace of mind and shows other webmasters how popular it’s possible to become using the platform. There is concrete evidence out there that you can become highly successful this way, so why choose another lesser known CMS?

Ease of Use

Unlike the other popular CMS options, WordPress began life as a blogging platform. In other words, it was designed to let members of public set up their own blogs with no technical knowledge and to start expressing themselves. Over time, it evolved to become a full CMS and to have the massive host of features it has today.

What this means, is that the control panel is incredibly simple to use. You never need to have seen a website before in your life to understand how to get around – to make a new post you just click ‘New Post’. Installation is just as simple, as are upgrades and everything else.

Versatility

One of the reasons that a website might have to migrate to a different CMS is if it’s being moved to a different server. Some servers are Windows based, while others are Linux based. Unfortunately, not every CMS works on both type of server. But guess which one does work on both? That’s right: WordPress!

What’s more, WordPress also offers versatility in pretty much every way you can image. You can create any type of website with WordPress from a simple static business page, to a casual blog, to a large online ‘e-zine’… the options are limitless. The only limitation really is on creating a social network – though there are probably plugins you can use for that purpose.

Efficiency

And last but by no means least… WordPress is just good. Security isn’t flawless but it’s as good as any CMS, while the load times and everything else are snappy and efficient. The sites look great and there is no shortage of beautiful themes to pick from. In other words, you can rely on WordPress to help you create something great.

For all these reasons, countless website owners are migrating to WordPress. Color Whistle is a web development company that can handle this process for you quickly and easily. So if you wish you’d chosen WordPress, just get in touch and we’ll give you a free consultation!

Online Business Ideas that You Can Start and Run from Home

Running a business from home means being able to work when and how you like. It means being able to enjoy true financial independence and it means getting 100% of the reward for something that you took a chance on and are incredibly proud of. In short, it’s something that everyone should aspire to – and thanks to the web it’s something that everyone can aspire to.

Think you don’t have the skills or the inclination to start your own online business or your own business from home?

Then perhaps you haven’t considered just what a broad range of options are available… Read on and you’ll see that there’s a great choice for pretty much anyone interested in earning some money with their own business.

Buying and Selling

This is one of the oldest and most straightforward business models around. Simply buy products you’d like to sell for a reduced price and then sell them on for more money.

How do you get the products for a reduced price? Normally this will mean buying ‘wholesale’ which effectively means that you’re buying the items in bulk at a discounted rate. The company you’re buying from benefit here because they get a guaranteed ‘large’ sale and that’s why they’ll be more than happy to offer you the discount.

This means of course that you will need to make a small upfront investment and it may be a while before you breakeven. But that initial investment really does only need to be small – you can always opt to invest more money once the earnings start rolling in and this is then how you’ll grow.

Add a website to sell your items from and you can be earning money in no time at all!

Selling Your Own Creations

The only problem with buying and selling is that buying products eats into your profit margins. Create your own products to sell online on the other hand and you’re only investment will be the materials.

This is a great business model if you have some kind of creative skills for making crafts. For example, there are thousands of people currently making a lot of money selling jewelry, ornaments and other items on Etsy and eBay.

Likewise, you can sell an app, you can sell a book (hard copy if you self-publish on Lulu), you can sell clothing… you name it!

Offering a Service

Offering a service is another very simple and straightforward business model. In fact, this is the business model that ColorWhistle uses! We simply advertise to potential clients offering web design, logo design, CMS migration and a range of other services and then charge for that service.

There are countless services you can offer online, which include:

  • Writing
  • Advertising
  • Music composition (this is in demand for YouTube videos and advertising)
  • Video editing
  • Coding
  • Proof reading
  • Consultation
  • Etc…

And of course you can also offer services that aren’t ‘online’. For instance, if you know how to cut hair, this is a great service to offer. Likewise, if you cut down trees, mow lawns, teach piano or provide personal training, you can start offering these services too. All you need is a website with some advertising so that people can find you and then you can begin growing a list of clients.

Service Broker

If you think that writing thousands of words a day sounds like tough going, there is a trick you can use to offer the same business with none of the work. All you have to do is outsource the work that others hire you for.

To do this, you need to find a ‘white label’ company (like Color Whistle!) that is happy to offer its services discretely. So for instance, you might get paid $3,000 to create an amazing website and then simply outsource that process to a company that charges $1,000. The result is that you’ve earned $2,000 just for managing the communication and finding the clients. It can get a little more complex than that but ultimately you’re getting paid for doing very little!

Running a Website

Running a website or blog can actually be a business in itself. How? By monetizing it through adverts, through digital products that you sell or through sponsorship deals.

Here, the idea is that you build up a following and become an expert or ‘authority’ in your niche. From there, you can then start attracting a large number of readers on a regular basis and you can then monetize those readers by using your influence to help sell products and services.

You can also use a website to try your hand at affiliate marketing. Here you sell a product that isn’t your own and earn money via commission.

So as you can see then, there are plenty of different business models you can use to start earning money either as your primary source of income or to generate a little on the side. Even if you don’t know the first thing about programming or about web design, there’s something here for you. Even if it’s just a matter of finding clients and introducing them to service providers!

The Best and Most Popular Free Google Fonts

Choosing the right font for your website can instantly transform the way it looks and feels to elevate the design. The right font makes your content easier to read, it pulls together the design and it ultimately reduces bounce rates and holds attention longer.

And the great news is that there are a ton of free fonts available from Google. Google’s fonts are easily accessible through WordPress too, so if you have a WordPress website, you’ll have these choices at your fingertips.

But as Spider-Man would say: with great power comes great responsibility! When picking from such a large list of fonts, the most important thing to be is restrained. In other words, fonts are definitely a scenario where ‘less is more’. Fill your site with gothic text or over-stylized typefaces and your site will look like it was built by a teenager back in the days of Geocities.

Here then are a list of the very best Fonts combinations. And following that is a little text explaining each one and when to use it.

Open Sans

Open Sans is a ‘sans serif’ typeface. That means that it has none of the little ‘feet’ at the ends of each of the letters. The result is a very crisp and plain text that makes for easy reading. It also has a consistent width stroke and open forms. In short, it’s a bold, plain and ‘neutral’ font that is well suited for responsive website development.

Lato

Lato is a similar sans serif font that uses a slightly heavier stroke and which is slightly more compact. The font was designed by Lukasz, whose goal was to create a typeface that would appear non-descript almost in body text but that would offer some more unique traits when used in larger sizes.

With a very rounded feeling, Google describes this font as ‘warm’ while at the same time the strength of the text lends it a seriousness fitting for business use.

Roboto

Roboto is another sans serif font. It is a little less rounded than Lato or Open Sans however and a little narrower. That said, it is not nearly as rigid or square as the name might suggest, retaining a somewhat humanist aspect. The result is a font that is suitable for a wide range of uses but that would feel right at home on a site with a technical niche.

Oswald

Oswald is a redesigned version of the popular Alternate Gothic sans serif typeface. Varying stroke widths give this heavy-set font a somewhat more stylistic and weighty appearance while the sans serif nature ensures it stills looks great on mobile devices. In bold, the font is perfect for use in headlines and titles.

Slabo

Slabo is a serif font that is particularly well suited for advertising or for journalism. Serif fonts are often well suited for journalism and news sites owing to their ‘typed’ appearance. With a narrow and consistent stroke throughout each letter, this text looks particularly as though it came from a typewriter. In small and narrower sizes however, it can be a little tough to read in large paragraphs, which is why it is still perhaps best suited to advertising uses.

Lora

Lora is a serif font with different strokes and elements of calligraphy. While it is not over-stylized, it nevertheless features several slightly curved lines and embellishments that make it well-suited for art and design. It is modern, while retaining a little whimsy; also a good pick for storytelling.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a typeface developed as part of the Free Software community and Ubuntu project. It is a minimal sans serif font with no superfluous lines. It has a very modern feel and is common in menus and dialogue boxes – particularly on mobile friendly sites.

PT Sans

PT sans is a sans serif font based loosely on Russian sans serif types from the 20th century, while also featuring aspects of contemporary humanistic design. The result is something that feels somewhat regal while still being very modern and clean to read. Well suited for titles and headings.

Lobster

Lobster is a script font, meaning that it looks somewhat hand written, with some letters being joined in cursive style. At the same time, it features a heavy stroke and an italic leaning that gives it an eye-catching impact.

Lobster is very popular in typographic art and for modern kitsch and chic design. Perfect for the heading of a menu, contrasting with a bolder secondary font.

Bitter

Bitter is a rounded serif font. It was designed largely for use in e-books and offers an officious typeface that is nevertheless well suited to reading on screen. A somewhat heavy stroke with slight variation, the font looks great in large blocks of text and has the feel of a newspaper or newsletter.

How to Work With Website Outsourcing Agencies

Top Tips for Tip Top Teamwork

If you want to create a website as quickly and easily as possible that will bring you the maximum amount of traffic and the best chance for success for your business, then the best route to take is to outsource it.

Why?

Because when you outsource the process of developing your website, you’ll be using a company that specializes in web design and creation. In other words, you’ll be using a company that builds websites 24/7 and that is fully immersed in the process of designing and creating them. They’ll thus be able to provide you with the very best and most professional end result, while you’ll be able to focus on what you do best and what you bring to the company.

But even once you’ve decided to outsource your website development, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee a perfect outcome. Instead, you need to know how to go about outsourcing your web design and how to ensure that you work seamlessly with the outsourcing company to build something that takes advantage of their skills and experience while at the same time adhering to the vision that you had in mind for your website.

Here are some tips that will help you to do that…

Tip #1 Give Yourself Lots of Time

If you contact the website and tell them that you want your responsive website development complete in a couple of weeks, then you’re not going to be able to get the very best from them. Instead, leave time for the project to breathe so that you can have some back-and-forth discussion that will result in the best end result. To paraphrase a famous games developer: ‘a delayed project will eventually be good, a rushed project will be bad forever’.

Tip #2 Have a Clear Goal and Do Your Research

If you want your website development to look perfect, then you need to ensure that you know what you want it to look like going in. The best way to ensure this is to do some research by looking at similar websites that you like the looks of and creating a scrap book that you can show.

Tip #3 But Listen as Well!

Remember, when you hire a website development company you aren’t just hiring them to handle the code and the physical process of building your site – just as important is the experience and the knowledge they’re bringing to the project. In other words, it’s smart to actually listen to their suggestions and to take their advice to heart. They’ve been in the business long enough to know what looks good and what doesn’t work. Take advantage of that!

Tip #4 Communicate

The key to effective collaboration is communication. This is what will make any project work and it’s particularly important with something so intricate as web design. Make sure to outline everything you want and need from your website right at the beginning as that way you will save time backtracking and you’ll be more likely to get what you want at the end. Don’t leave anything open ended if you have a particular requirement. Likewise, try to find a best web development company that is quick to respond to messages and that takes the time to talk you through every step of the process.

Tip #5 Use the Right Tools

A few tools can help you greatly with your website design. Some sort of cloud sharing program for instance is very helpful for sharing files back and forth and for this you can use Dropbox, GoogleDrive, OneDrive etc.

Another crucial tool for collaborative website development is Skype. This is where you can discuss ideas and answer questions. While discussing small matters by e-mail is faster and more efficient for everyone involved, the larger discussions you’ll find go much more quickly if you’re able to respond quickly in a live conversation making Skype very useful indeed.

You’ll also probably want PayPal for transferring payment to your team. Often web developers will ask for half upfront and half once you’re happy with the look of the site – this is for you to work out though.

Tip #6 See the Work in Progress

Make sure you ask to see the work in progress. This way you can see that they are indeed working on your site and not just spinning their wheels but moreover you’ll be able to get a sense of the direction your site is heading before it’s too late to change course.

Tip #7 Do a Little Reading

A good idea when outsourcing any kind of project is to do some background reading and to learn how the process works. For instance, it wouldn’t hurt to have a good idea of what WordPress is and how it’s beneficial versus building a site from scratch. This sort of information will allow you to then understand the suggestions and questions that come from your web designers. You can find a ton of information on everything from content management systems to fonts right here on ColorWhistle, so take a look around!

The Benefits of Outsourcing Website and Application Development to Startups

Looking to set up a new online presence with a website that can represent your brand across the web?

Need a new web application developed to help streamline your workflow, or to monetize as a business venture?

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be a genius coder or an expert designer to do either of those things. In fact, you don’t even need to open PhotoShop or Dreamweaver…

All you need to do is to outsource the process to the right startup company and you will end up with a far better end product that you could have had any other way.

But why outsource to a startup for the best responsive web design or web application development? Let’s take a look at some of the significant advantages…

The Full Attention of a Passionate and Dedicated Team

Unless you also run a web design company, there’s no way that you can compete with the passion or the expertise of a dedicated service that handles web design every single day. These teams are constantly immersed in the world of web design, have built countless sites for companies of all shapes and sizes and have the passion and drive to want to work in the industry on a daily basis. If you’re just picking up a bit of HTML and web design now, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do! Even if you’ve built 20 sites, that’s still nowhere near the experience of someone who has helped create hundreds.

These teams are usually led by the top experts in the industry and are filled with the brightest and most talented individuals they can find. They will have professionals who specialize in SEO, in responsive layouts, in user experience, in coding – you name it. Even if you set up your own department and spent thousands on it, you wouldn’t be able to find the same kind of skill or dedication.

Startups VS Big Companies

But why startups? Why choose a startup over a design company that’s well established and that has been around for years?

For starters (no pun intended), startups tend to have more enthusiasm. If you’ve ever read anything about ‘flow states’, you’ll know that startups provide one of the most conducive environments for that kind of focus and passion. People who create new companies are seeing their dreams come to fruition and they’re finding new and exciting ways to do things – they aren’t yet jaded or overblown and they don’t have to run every creative decision past a board of directors and investors.

What’s more, startups tend to charge much less. This is obviously due to their lower overheads in part but it’s also because they’re still building their list of clients and their portfolio. When they build your site, it will help them as well as you because it will give them experience and something to show future customers. The result is that they end up working much harder and you get a much better price. For the most cutting edge, modern and exciting designs at the best value for money, there really is no alternative.

Startups VS Freelancers

Of course there are those who are even smaller than startups at the other end of the spectrum – the freelancers. These are the individuals working for cash and trying to make a living one client at a time. The problem is, it takes hours to find the best workers on sites like UpWork and Elance and they often charge more because they don’t have the economy of scale on their side. They’ll be slower because there’s just one of them and they’ll be forced to rush through aspects of the work to try and improve their turnover.

Startups Need Your Support!

As you can see then, startups offer the perfect ‘sweet spot’ when it comes to outsourcing your web design and have considerable advantages over the other options. This is definitely the best way to get an amazing website design at a reasonable price and the enthusiasm and passion will also translate to incredible customer service.

But there’s one other big reason to choose startups: they need it!

Most new businesses fail as you no doubt know and this is a tragedy when you think that each of those companies represent someone’s hopes and dreams – not to mention their financial investment! When you choose startups for your web design, you help to make those dreams a reality. At the same time, you help to put more money back into an economy that needs it and to encourage more growth and more job creation.

So really there’s no good reason not to choose startups for your web design needs. And if you do want a startup for your WordPress web development or anything else, why not give ColorWhistle a try?

Brand, Identity and Logo Design Explained

When it comes to crafting your online image, it is crucial to ensure that you have a strong brand identity to help your visitors seek you out in the future.

But just what precisely is a ‘brand’ anyway? How is it different from a logo? Are they the same thing? And what’s a trademark?

We’ll break it down, look at the various aspects that help to create recognition and hype for a product or service.

What is a logo design?

We’ll start with your logo because it’s perhaps the easiest to understand and explain…

A logo is an image that you use to represent your company. In the vast majority of cases this image will contain the company name itself as text and in some other cases the image might be something more abstract or an item that links directly to your niche statement.

So what are some examples of great logos?

One obvious example is the Nike ‘tick’ which has become synonymous with the brand and countless millions of school kids have drawn onto their schoolbooks at some time.

Another example would be Apple’s ‘Apple’ which is very straightforward.

Then you have the logo for Virgin America which is essentially just the word ‘Virgin’ written in white on a red background, looking a little like spray paint.

What is a company name?

This is the name that your company is registered under. Example, ‘IBM’ or ‘SEGA’.

This is where things get a little complicated, your company name and your ‘trading name’ can be a little different. If you are a sole trader then there’s a good chance that legally, your company name is simply your own personal name, example ‘Jeff Blogs.’ However that doesn’t mean that you can’t use another name in your marketing or on your invoices – which is known as your ‘trading name.’

What is a trademark?

Trademark is an aspect of intellectual property law. This is the type of IP protection used for protecting brands in particular and this can mean both the trading name and the logo.

If you are serious about investing time and money into your business and growing it, then it’s a good idea to get this kind of protection to prevent other companies from using your name and diluting your brand.

At the same time though, it’s also important to check that the name and logo you’re thinking of using are not already taken!

What is a brand?

Your company brand is the corporate image as a whole. In other words, it is everything that links all of your projects, marketing, values and more under one banner. Moreover, it is generally thought of as evoking an emotional response – ideally of familiarity and trust. It is by managing the other aspects (your logo, company name) etc. that you can build this kind of trust.

A brand doesn’t have to apply to your business. You can actually have brands for your products too, for instance Microsoft has brands like Windows and Xbox, each with their own logos and expectations.

What is brand identity?

Brand identity focus on the emotional resonance of your company, the identity has much more to do with the look and feel. Your brand identity is partly comprised of your company name and logo but it’s also to do with the colors on your website, the shape of your products and the look of your stores.

For instance, Apple’s ‘identity’ is largely defined through its products and is made up of things like white earphones, beautifully made laptops and the white space in their stores and website.

Having both a brand and an identity is important as it will help you to cement the way your customers and the general public see you. It will let you build on that trust and perception over time.

What is a mission statement?

Mission statement  is basically a short phrase that you use to sum up your organization and what you hope to achieve. Normally the easiest way to come up with a mission statement is to answer the simple question ‘what do you do?’. Note that this is different from answering the question ‘what do you sell?’.

You want to focus not only on the short term nuts and bolts of your business but also on the ambition of your organization in the long term. So your mission statement isn’t to ‘Sell hats’, it’s to ‘Keep heads warm and stylish for affordable prices’.

You don’t need a mission statement necessarily but having one will help you to better explain to the general public what your company is about.

Why is this so important? Because beyond your identity and your logo, it’s the mission statement, the values and the commitment that will help your company to stand out and build fans. It’s not about what you do; it’s about how you do it.