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Why A Good Web Site Matters To Your Business

Why A Good Web Site Matters To Your Business

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    For most businesses, a web site is one of the most important investments you can make. Entrepreneurs are either overspending or underspending on their web sites, and many have no idea what they’re doing or why. So today I’m going to talk about why a good, solid web site really matters to your business, and in the next two weeks, I’ll follow up with articles on the core components your web site needs to work well for you, and how to hire a solid web firm to build your site affordably.

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    1. Your web site reflects you as a business owner and professional.

    If your web site looks professional, your potential clients will think you’re a professional who has enough clients and enough income to have a site built for you. If potential clients visit your web site and it looks half-assed and home-built that’s how they’ll perceive you.

    If you’re a web developer, by all means, build your own site, as that will reflect your capabilities. Everyone else, hire a solid company that can do a good job, not just in building your web site, but in getting it seen and in building it wisely to maximize the traffic you’ll get.

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    2. Your web site can mean extra local business.

    Even if you’re primarily brick and mortar, having a solid web site can mean extra business. Local clientele often perform seaches online and find your web site, encouraging them to walk into your store. If they find your competitors and they look more reputable or solid than you (or if they have a web site and you don’t), you’ll lose business, just because of your web site. And, when you’re mentioned in the media or on review sites like Angie’s List, you’ll need a web site to help people find you.

    3. Your web site can mean global business.

    Did you ever think about getting orders from Australia or Malaysia? Launching a fantastic web site means you’ll instantly become a global business, allowing you to expand your clientele to a much larger audience. Your web site is visible in almost every country around the globe, and that means you expand your potential client base by millions. You’ll still want to keep your target market in mind, but an international audience may still find you appealing.

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    4. Your web site can generate media interest.

    If a journalist is looking for an expert in your field to quote for an article, s/he is more likely to choose the business owner whose web site looks professional and clean than someone who looks like they don’t really know what they’re doing. And as most of you know, a mention in the media can be powerful for your business!

    Don’t do your business a disservice by putting up a shoddy web site. Take care and invest wisely in your business web site by hiring someone who knows what they’re doing. Next week I’ll talk about what components you need in your web, and in two weeks, I’ll cover how to hire a web company.

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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