Ramblings of an IT Consultant

Posts Tagged ‘Business’

Do single page websites work?

In blocked drain, Customer Service, ebay, Google, monocle, SEO on November 28, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I have recently been commissioned to build quite a few single page websites.  My clients believe that a single page selling them or  their only product is all that is required.

I am from the school of thought where a website should have lots of pages to attract search engines.  I have a number of sites where this works well,  however other sites only 1 or 2 pages rank well in the likes of Google or Yahoo.

Recently I have been wondering if a well written single page website can fight against its content rich competitors.  My findings were quite interesting.  The first site I tried it on was a site offering a Drain unblocking service –www.mmdrainsunblocked.co.uk.

Basically this site offers plumbing services across the south-east of england.  However a site like this needs to make a fast impact.  If someone has a blocked drain or a leaking pipe, do they need to trawl through several pages to find out which number they need to call, or if the service they require is available?   Saying all of this I was a bit sceptical about the single webpage approach, but the customer gets what the customer wants.

So I set about creating the webpage.  I got in touch with my designer who did a fantastic job of making the site look professional.  My thinking was that we needed to say a lot in an instant to make an impact.  His design was bright and simple.  Now it was over to me.  I then built a content management system allowing the user to modify each section of the new page.  Again if google and the user only have one page to view then content is king,  so it would need to be updated regularly.  We made sure that the key towns were listed with their telephone numbers at the bottom of the page.

Quite quickly we found that the single page approach was successful.  Within 3 weeks the new website was on the first page of google for quite a few search terms.  We still agree there is a long drawn out battle still to be won with this website; as you can imagine there is a lot of competition in this sector.  We will have to review the number of jobs that come in via this approach but the initial findings are promising.

The next single webpage site was developed to help my dad.  My dad sells monocles online using eBay.  He decided he wanted a website so sell his monocles, but there was a challenge.  How can you describe a monocle and make it sound interesting?  I went over and over his eBay advert and just could not find a way to make a monocle sales pitch.  I toyed with the idea of having a history of monocle page, but again I could not come up with a reasonable explanation as to why this website needed one.  After all if you arrive on his site you know what a monocle is anyway.

So this weekend we launched another single page website selling gold monocles.   The website allows you to buy a prescription monocle and checkout with either PayPal or Google Checkout.   The website www.themonocleshop.com has only been around a few days so it’s too early to tell if it is a success.  If it works as well as his eBay page then I am sure it will be!

Have you ever created a single page website or are contemplating it?  Who knows maybe single page well written websites are the future.

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Online Shopping: Does the website name matter?

In Customer Service, Online Shopping on November 18, 2010 at 8:34 pm

One of my main roles as a developer is to create online shopping carts for my clients.  The thing is I know some of their concepts are sound.  I also know they have researched the market and their prices are competitive.  We can also get lots of visitors to their sites by using Google AdWords.  So why do these shops never take off?

Quality Meat Online – www.qualitymeatonline.co.uk is a case in question!

This website was created from another website called Foodshack which did not do particularly well either.  Basically the shop is an outlet for a butcher to sell their products online.  This website is currently getting 100 visits a day, with the help of AdWords.  However we have only had 2 orders since the site was launched back in August.  We know there is a market for their products and the price is reasonable.  The website is well designed and comparable to other online stores.   Take www.donaldrussell.com for example,  we know that they turn over millions of pounds a year on their website alone.  Donald Russell are a well-known household name but surely there is a place for sites like quality meat online?

The other thing we can also gauge that because Donald Russell are doing so well they have a massive marketing budget.  They can afford adverts that a small site like Quality Meat Online can only dream about.  But surely the lack of orders cannot be contributed to one or two sites like theses giants.   The market must be large enough for small start-ups?  It’s not like you can have unique meat products, so everyone is selling the same stuff!

Quality Meat Online has a sister site called www.halal-meat-online.co.uk.  This website does reasonably well and take around £200 of orders a day.  Maybe its the niche that makes this website a little more successful than its brother!

It will be interesting to see how these two websites fare over the coming weeks.  They are both about to have adverts placed in the London Metro newspaper and a food magazine called Christmas Feast.  Hopefully that will pull the clients in.  If not I feel my fears might be correct and Quality Meat Online falls flat on its face.  I fear it may be reborn again.  This time with a slightly better name.  Who knows we might get it right sometime!

Have you had any website name failures?

Customer satisfaction: Is it easy to obtain?

In Customer Service on November 3, 2010 at 10:36 pm

If you work for a company or are self-employed, customer satisfaction is a must, especially in the current economic climate. But on the flip side it’s also difficult to achieve with people wanting more for less.

I am self-employed, I really do not have anyone else to blame if a customer is not happy with a service or a product I have sold them. But how can I gauge if a customer is really happy?

For my business it is even more difficult, the main problem for me is that unless the service I give them is monthly, I may never know if they are satisfied. If I build a system, get it through testing and then finally take it live, my first inclination that they may be happy is when they pay my bill!

However unless anything goes wrong or they find a bug in a system, I may not hear from them until they need a change to their system or service. So instead of just waiting I send an email or give them a call every couple of months just making sure everything is going ok. I also make sure that I don’t try to sell them anything during this call. What I have noticed by doing this is that the customer then feels like I care. Which if I am honest I do. My ethos is that if the customer is spending £100 or £10,000 per year they still get the same service.

I have been running my business now for over 8 years and have never needed to advertise. All of my work has been from recommendation and then repeat business. This will not stop me from giving 100% at all times.

The reason for this post was quite a simple comment from one of my regular customers. I have had my share of highs and lows with them in the past, but working for them provided me with a wonderful opportunity to meet my lovely wife. Today they managed to put a smile on my face once again, with a compliment I am not even sure they meant to give. The comment was “I have seen lots of websites that look really professional and I have thought ‘I want one of those’, and now we have one!

So today I am sure that at least one of my customers is satisfied. isn’t it amazing how simple things make your day?