1) What inspired you to start your own business?
I have always been driven to set up my own company, there is nothing quite like being the master of your own destiny. Working with a great team of experienced professionals, enjoying what we do as well as the long term relationships we develop with partners and clients is extremely satisfying.
For me, there is no greater enjoyment in business than clearly seeing your potential position in a marketplace and achieving that, constantly researching and developing new products and services. We work in a fast paced environment and the continual challenge of change and growth is something I find incredibly rewarding.
2) In your view what are the five most critical elements of a website?
The five most critical elements of a website in my view are:
- Understanding target users
- Relevant, quality content (text & images) and the way this is presented through interface design and information architecture
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Calls to Action
- Measurement / Review – Metrics
3) What would you say is your biggest challenge in designing a great website for a client?
The biggest challenge in designing a great website for a client is developing a thorough understanding of: client objectives, success criteria, target audience, key messages, and positioning with regards to competitor sites.
4) What are your goals for Zine in 2012?
In 2012 our goals for Zine are threefold:
- To increase our UK coverage from 26 to 45 Zine Digital Media offices nationwide, we have developed a proven growth model now. Interest in the Zine Digital Media Franchise opportunity is vibrant with over 100 enquiries a month from prospective new franchisees.
- To expand our reach into international territories – we are already working with potential partners in Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Malaysia.
- To continue to develop our social media services for clients, build on our sterling search engine optimisation campaign results with a new guaranteed keyword service we have developed offering 100% guaranteed Google Page One results or your money back, and launching our new mobile web service.
5) What kind of clients do you work with?
We work predominantly with small and medium sized businesses; these companies though small form the backbone of the British economy and account for 79% of the UK’s businesses.
Our portfolio is diverse and ranges from country hotels www.themorritt.co.uk to renewable energy www.newdayenergyservices.com, Antiques Auctions www.addisons-auctioneers.co.uk to Classic Car Restoration www.carrosserie.co.uk
6) Apart from web design, what other services do you provide?
We also deliver search engine optimisation that delivers measurable results, social media branded interactive landing pages, training in how to use social media for business, and graphic design for print.
7) When it comes to having the content written for websites, do you use a copywriter?
Usually our clients generate copy themselves as they are small businesses working with limited budgets, however, when required and budgets permit we do encourage clients to use a professional copywriter.
8) What would you say are the disadvantages of having web design, SEO and copywriting done by three separate companies at different stages?
If communication is lacking along with a poor understanding of the brief, this can lead to inconsistency in message, time-wasting ergo budget-wasting, lack of focus and coherence.
Effective SEO can easily be undertaken as a completely stand alone exercise to website development. To understand, research and deliver successful SEO campaigns no longer requires website and SEO to be delivered as an integrated service and can be separated.
9) What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business online?
Research, research, research – make no assumptions and make sure you can see the whites of your competitors’ eyes and the colour of your target audience’s eyes. Be realistic about total cost of ownership of an online business, notably including your ongoing marketing budget.
Just because online provides a more cost effective and flexible business model than a bricks and mortar business, business processes and promotion are equally important. Choose your digital media partner with great care; find someone you will enjoy working with who is responsive, open and able to be with you for the journey. Make sure you can control, change and amend your website yourself without additional costs, that their support is built in and you check references and speak to others they do business with.
Zine is a national web design company with local reach. They operate throughout the UK and Northern Ireland. Their locally based Zine web design agencies help small to medium sized businesses make the most of the internet. They also offer a web design franchise for those looking to take their place in the UK’s blossoming digital economy.