Selling The Web Design Business Kit from SitePoint on eBay

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 06:54 AM with 1 comments

It has served me well, and now it’s time for it to be in the hands of a start-up Web design and development business. I am talking about The Web Design Business Kit from SitePoint, which I have just posted for sale by auction on eBay. Below is a photo of the 2 binders and CD-ROM which make up the Kit.

The Web Design Business Kit from SitePoint on eBay

The Kit consists of processes and procedures for owning and operating a Web design and development business. It is a step-by-step process that takes you through the business process of building a Web site and is supported by documentation and files in Excel and Word you can use right away in your business. Note the files are in Australian MS format but can easily adapted to US format. I purchased the Kit brand new a few years ago and learned quite a bit from it. The version 2.0 of this sells for almost $250.00. The content in the Kit is timeless.

The auction closes next Monday night, February 1, 2010, and bidding starts at a penny for this great buy.


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Think Of Your Logo In Other Formats

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, January 22, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

likemind.chi logoAs businesses start-up today, they often think of a logo to aid in their branding. Most companies in 2010 are not publishing paper-based materials, thus they usually only think of their logo to be used on their Web site, or secondarily on a business card. And that’s it. However, even though you may only initially intend on using it in certain ways, taking into consideration all possible uses for a logo up-front can save time and hassle in the future should other needs arise.

Here’s a few logo uses you should consider.

Black and White - As most people don’t choose a bland and white logo, it most likely be will be represented in some form in black and white. From photo copies to simply saving money on color ink to print in black and white, take into consideration shades of gray when your logo is designed.

Fax - When you fax a document, shades of gray disappear. Having your logo designed to look good on a faxed piece of paper. Test it if you're not completely certain.

Embroidered - When a logo is embroidered onto clothing or other fabric items, sometimes compromises must be made. The intricate details of some logos may not be able to be stitched in the same detail. Also, there may be additional charges for each color of thread that may make your golf shirt prices much higher than expected.

Full-Color Printing - In this world of digital everything, offset printing is still alive and well. Where printing in full-color should be easily be able to accurately represent your logo, it may cost you more for additional colors or colors which require special colors outside of the normal color palate.

Icon - If you want to use your logo as an icon, there are various formats to consider. The favicon which appears in a browser’s address bar is only 16 by 16 pixels. The icon on a mobile device like the iPhone is larger, but still small in comparison to how large it may be on your Web site. As well for mobile apps, you want to ensure the icon itself is compelling so uses will identify with it and use it.

Where you may not be able to anticipate every use of your logo, by knowing ahead of time the most common ones, you should be in good shape to leverage it across all formats.


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When Navigation Is Not Necessary

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 2 comments

The term navigation relates to getting from one place to another. With roots in sailing, it has been applied in other means of travel – like in driving – as well as other means of finding something – like in Web sites. The navigation of a Web site or computer application can mean both the links that guide a user to get to different areas of a Web site or the process of using such navigation.

Over time, navigation has gotten more and more complicated as features and functionality is added. Sometimes we feel like we should be donning a ship captain’s uniform to find what we want to do! There are ways around this. Providing a search function can allow a user to bypass traditional Web or application navigation to get directly to the content. Placing the most commonly used functions up-front is another way to get people quickly to what they want. By knowing your users and what they want most often, you can make such improvements to get people in and out of your computers quickly.

Then there is the option of removing navigation altogether of a user wants to use a key function. A great example of this is what I now use quite often with Chase Bank ATMs. As you can see from the picture of the PIN entry screen of the ATM, you can choose to login and go to the main menu, or bypass it altogether and withdraw a preset amount of case from the ATM. Where the process of a “fast cash” option is nothing new (I recall using it at BayBank back in the 80’s), here a second button allows you to login, get the amount you set previously (and is conveniently displayed for you) and get out. All this, without seeing any menus.

Chase ATM login screen

More than likely Chase looked at how people use their ATMs and made this determination. In Web sites or application, look at the usage analytics and determine the most-used features. If you’re not tracking analytics, do it now! Your applications can tell you more about what people want to know about you or buy from you, they can tell you about the people who are doing so.


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My Takeaways From The Book BAM!: Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

Bring up the concept of “customer service” and you will certainly cause someone’s blood to curdle. As much as just about every company provides service and support to its customers for its products and services, so many do it so poorly to the extent many times it’s easy to swallow the loss and buy from someone else. Well, at least I have done it that way a few times.

But why is it that way? This question and more around customer service are answered extremely well in the book BAM!: Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World, by Barry Moltz and Mary Jane Grinstead. Within the pages of this must-read for anyone who is in business, they share many personal customer services stories – both good and bad – as well as demystifying the entire process of customer service. The term “BAM” is for “bust a myth” and it dispels various customer service myths throughout the book. I was graciously given a copy of the book by Barry, with whom I have worked with in the past. After reading it, I was reassured as to why I worked with him!

There’s a lot to take away from BAM! and here are a few of my major takeaways.

Customer service must be baked into your business - Issues with customer service being removed from the core of a company are rampant. Sometimes, they are removed so far away it is outsourced to a third-world country! Not only should customer service be within the core of your company, it should be designed into the products and services you develop. Why create a product that you can’t support? Short-term gains will only last so long.

You must want to be able to deliver good customer service as it won't just happen - The road to good fortune is paved with good intentions. If you don’t have a plan in place to offer good customer service, it just won’t happen. If you only have 1 or 2 people to handle support and you need more like 50, good luck.

Have a customer service manifesto - Want to offer good customer service? Write it down, and tell everyone.

BAM! is a great read for a round-trip flight. It is also a book you’ll want to pass along to colleagues, especially those who have responsibility for customer service in a company. It also has lists of the various myths and examples that are real and ready to use. I highly recommend BAM! to anyone in business or those thinking about starting a business, so that they are ready to offer good service to their clients and customers.


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Where You See Yourself in 5 Years

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

It’s the cliche job interview question of all time – where do you see yourself in 5 years? I am willing to bet that most of those reading this have been asked this question. As you may have guessed, I have been asked it several times over the 20+ years of my professional career. Where some people may be asking it to expect an answer that you will be working for their particular company then, others are asking to gain insight into your long-term thought process, the latter approach not being all that bad or evil.

After a year like 2009, I am doing much more thinking and planning about the future than I ever had before. I am not limiting it to business as I am also thinking of my growing family, and our needs and wants into the future. Where many things do purely happen, and you may never know what opportunities may come about, purely leaving everything to chance is not the way to go. Even if your plans don’t materialize how you originally planned, you now have a marker to compare and measure against.

When you get down to it, thinking about the future is really about your vision. Where do you see things going and happening, and how will you be a part of it? You may not be able to see things 5 years in advance, but you sure as heck should be able to have a fairly good idea as to how the rest of the year will go!

The video below is from mobile device giant Nokia, and is a projection of where they see the markets they play in, as well as themselves, in 2015. If you don’t see the video below, watch it here at YouTube.

If you watched it, you will see that you don’t have to be an uber genius to make projections of your own, as Nokia’s predictions seem respectable with where the world is now with mobile technology. As this video is from Nokia, I am required to say that I have a continuous professional relation with them.

Perhaps the question should just be where do you see yourself? I welcome your thoughts on how you think of the future.


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