What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s an easy way to stay up to date with the posts from your favourite blogs and websites.  The information is a news feed that is fed directly to you via a reader so you don’t miss a thing.

You will see that many blogs have a distinctive orange icon like this one somewhere on their pages:

Alternatively they might use an icon like this one.  XML refers to the file format that the feed is sent in:

Both icons show that the site has a RSS feed that you can subscribe to.  Some browsers will also show a tiny orange RSS icon in the URL bar, too.

The feed is then sent to your reader which converts it from XML into something you can read.  You might use Feedburner, Google Reader , My Yahoo or one of many other readers available for free.  Most readers give you the option of having the posts sent straight to your inbox or smartphone, too, which might be even more convenient.

The good thing about RSS feeds is that you don’t have to remember to go to your favourite websites anymore because they come to you.   If you need to pay attention to news reports for fire or emergency warnings, or closely watch information related to your business, RSS feeds save you a lot of work.  It sends you the information as it is released.

As a business owner you should make it clear that you offer the RSS feed from your site and make it easy to subscribe to.   People don’t always come to your site intentionally.  When people find you because they are looking for the product or service you offer, you don’t want to lose them when they move on.  In fact, they probably don’t want to lose you either.  The RSS option will help them remember you.

An RSS feed will keep you in touch with the information that is important to you and it makes content easily shareable.  That’s the whole point of syndication, isn’t it?  Make it work for you.

Cheap does not always mean better

One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is focusing on price and not on value.  They do it when working out how much to charge for the goods or services they provide, but also when they are sourcing support for their businesses.

Why is it a mistake? 

Price does not always equate with value and cheap does not mean better.

How often have you heard of people buying articles from overseas only to have to rewrite them, or pay to have someone else do it?  What about the business owners who bought backlinks to their websites so they could boost their page rank, only to be slapped in the recent changes to Google’s algorithms?  They all lost money but more importantly, they lost time and took their businesses’ backwards.

Just because something is cheap it does not mean it’s good for you or that it will do the job you want done.

I have learnt that the only way to grow your business is to invest time, money and energy into it, and take the organic and authentic path forward.

If you are investing in a service or business support, look past the price. 

  • What experience does the supplier have?
  • What other businesses has he or she worked with?
  • What do you get for your money?
  • What time frames can he or she offer?

Recently my client sacked her Personal Assistant and hired me even though my price was higher.  On the surface it looks like a bad business decision but what she found was that I completed the work in less time than it took the PA and I achieved better results.  My client ended up by paying no more than she had paid her PA but had a significantly better outcome which made her money.

Price does not always equate with value.  Look at the results you need to get and find the person who can deliver.  That’s value for you.

Got a contact form on your website? Monitor it!

Do you have a contact form on your website?

On several occasions lately I’ve sent an enquiry via an online contact form and received no response. I would say about 80-90% of my enquiries have gone unanswered! This is a real problem, not only are these businesses missing out on leads, they’re also appearing unreliable and unorganised, and therefore affecting their reputation.

As I work with websites on a daily basis, I understand that this probably isn’t the business ignoring me, but more so a lack of communication when contact form was installed. Most problems occur due to a lack of communication between the website designer and the customer. Did the web developer ask where form enquiries should be sent? Did the client supply the correct information? Were details entered incorrectly?Is there an error with the site?

I guess we’ll never know – but the lesson here is to make sure you have a website developer who knows their stuff, and if there’s something you’re unsure of – ASK! It is very important and will help you avoid these issues.

Got a question about your website and the way it works? Feel free to email me at info@leadinglogic.com.au and I’d be happy to assist!

5 Important Questions You Should Ask Your Website Designer

Working with a web designer is a little like working in the fog.  Neither of you can see what the other sees. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about web design and most of them trace back to either miscommunication or misunderstanding about the job.

There are many questions you will need to ask your website designer including those about hosting, costs, payment structures, image ownership and more, but there are five questions that you should ask before you sign that contract.

1.  What other sites have you done?

This is an important question because it will reveal a lot about the style the designer uses.  Even though they are designing for a client, you will be able to see what the designer does well.  Sometimes as you look through a portfolio you will notice that the designer does a lot of work in a particular niche – for example, baby products.  If your site is about heavy machinery, you need to ask yourself if this is the right designer for you.

2.  What do you know about my brand?

Most small businesses rely on their website to communicate their message to the market but putting the message into words can be very difficult.  Without a clear idea of who you are, what you do and why you do it, your website designer is not likely to give you the site you want.  What is your point of difference and how do they intend to show that in the design?  If you aren’t clear on your brand personality, don’t make a move until you work it out.

3. How many revisions can you make?

The website design won’t immediately be perfect.  There will be some tweaks to make before you are totally happy with the site so find out how many revisions are included in the price.  Any changes you make after that will be at extra cost.

4. What system will the site be built in?

There are a few different CMS systems your designer might choose from.   Which will your site use?  Is it user friendly?  If you’ve had experience with other systems and disliked them, make certain you aren’t going to end up with those again.

5.  What parts will you be able to manage yourself and what will you need help with?

Not all CMS systems are as easy to use as WordPress.  Some will require professional help if you want to make changes to the look or layout or possibly even the text.  That means there will be an ongoing cost to you.  Work out what you want to be able to manage for yourself and ask for a system to meet your needs.

Finding the answers to these questions will help clear the fog so you and your designer can head towards creating the site you hope for.

Is your WordPress site kept up to date?

Wordpress WebsitesRecently one of my clients asked me if it was necessary to bother with each WordPress update that comes through. If your website is built with WordPress you will have noticed that updates can sometimes arrive quickly, one after the other. Is it important that your site is kept up to date?

In a word, yes, it is vital that your site is running the latest version of WordPress and any plugins that you have installed. Your site’s security depends on it.

Dre Armeda, co-founder of Sucuri, an Internet security software system said “One of the biggest contributors to malware attacks is running outdated software. In fact, it accounts for more than 70% of all the cases we see at Sucuri.”

As with any other software or online system, old versions of WordPress and plugins can have security flaws. How would you feel if your site was hacked or compromised? More importantly, how would your clients feel?

WordPress is a highly efficient system. Each new version brings improvements in security and functionality which make it safer as well as easier to work with. To get the best out of your site, all of your plugins must be updated every time a new version is released, too. They work hand in hand. An out-dated plugin can still introduce security weaknesses even if you are using the latest version of WordPress.

As an added security measure make sure that your hosting provider is running the most up to date systems, especially PHP and mySQL. These systems allow you and your clients to interact with your website. Each release brings improvements in security as well as to the way it supports your website processes.

I encourage you to back up your website regularly. Don’t rely on your web host to do this for you. A backup lets you create a copy of your site and your important data in case something goes wrong. If you have a copy of your site, you don’t have to worry if the server crashes or your web host disappears. You won’t lose the site or any of your content.

Most people remember to update their site content but many leave the “behind the scenes” updates to be done when they “can find the time.” Keeping your WordPress installation backed up and secure is vital and should not be overlooked.

We have a range of packages available to ensure your site is backed up and secure. If time is a problem for you, contact us for more information about what we can do to keep your site safe.