Categories
Business Strategy

Why Stay Small

This little side business of mine, building simple websites for small businesses, will probably always be small.

We get so easily caught in the success and growth trap, thinking it will bring more satisfaction in life. However, I believe there is a good reason for small businesses to stay small.

By staying small and focusing on a very specific niche, all of my energy goes into serving the client that is currently paying me. I only take on one project at a time and by doing so, I serve that client well.

Small businesses are flexible and can make adjustments on the fly. The only concern I have is to ensure my client’s needs are being met. I am not concerned about staff, bills, or meeting a quota. Because this is a side hustle for me, I do not have the pressure of a bottom line. I do this because I am good at it and it is satisfying.

If you are starting up a small business, particularly if you are doing it from home, I want to work with you. I want to see you succeed, and the best way I can help you do that is to build you a website that is affordable and will work well.

Give me a call at 403-426-0155 or send an email to william@wonderstudio.ca to get started!

Categories
Education

Wix vs. Squarespace vs. WordPress

WordPress was one of the first popular platforms that made it easier for developers to build a website using a database to deliver the content to the browser, to put it simply. It has become the most popular tool in the world for building websites. (https://trends.builtwith.com/cms)

At the beginning, you still needed to have some understanding of how to set up a website in order to use WordPress. Then came wordpress.com, which is quite easy to use for just about anyone, however it is not as powerful or customizable as using the original WordPress system.

As web technology became increasingly advanced, platforms such as Wix and Squarespace came along and gave control of website construction to just about everyone willing to spend a bit of time learning their systems. The question is, how do these three compare to one another?

From an ease-of-use standpoint, they are all quite similar. Wix is probably the fastest way to get online, but you are very limited in terms of design choices. Squarespace is more customizable but will require you to spend more time on building your site. And, wordpress.com is generally used by bloggers or if you want to publish regular content.

Regardless of the platform you choose, you will need to spend time building it. This is one of the biggest hurdles for most small business owners. If you find it overwhelming to tackle your own website, let’s talk about how to ease that burden!

Categories
Business Strategy

Why Are My Prices So Low?

Over the years that I’ve been building websites (since 2005), I have discovered two main reasons for bringing up cost and causing projects to take so much time to complete: overcomplicating design and lack of communication.

I will ask you the right questions even before you’ve signed a contract, so that we can hit the ground running. I will coach you through the process of developing the content for the website.

As for the low cost? My websites are built on a free, open-source platform called WordPress, therefore my costs are really low. I also don’t have any staff to pay or a building that I lease. I work at my dining room table, or in the local cafe, with easy access to plenty of coffee and goodies!

Categories
Business Strategy

Number 1 Business Growth Strategy

There was a time when the primary way to get sales leads was cold calling. Open up that phone book and start dialing. It was a math game. Call 100 people, get ten leads, and probably one sale. Or, whatever formula appropriate for your industry.

These days are over. Not only are people increasingly irritated by cold calls, most people want to make transactions online, on their own schedule.

This is why it is so critical to embrace online commerce. Regardless of your industry, there is very likely a way to incorporate online transactions.

Think about Uber. There was a time when it would have been inconceivable to order a cab using the internet. This brave company opened the doors to a world of possibilities.

If you want your business to grow, start thinking about how you can take advantage of online transactions. I can help you get started.

Categories
Education

The Reality of Online Communication

There is no doubt that communication has changed dramatically, and exponentially, the last 25 years.

In 1994, communication and marketing primarily happened through telephone, printed material, radio, and television. I remember distinctly when TV ads started displaying website addresses in addition to phone numbers and mailing addresses. I was about 11 or 12 years old.

I have never known life without computers, and only lived a very short portion of my life without the internet. But, I have observed the changes in how we communicate, as the internet has evolved over the years.

The reality of online communication is that you cannot expect people to absorb your content in one instance. Your audience needs to hear the same message from you in many different ways, in many different places. Video, audio, written word, tweets, direct messages, photos, and the list goes on. Each social media platform is unique, and each person is unique in how they use them.

Over-communication is no longer an issue. You cannot communicate enough, and it is vital to the future success of your business to have an online presence that is constantly fresh, but also consistent.

It starts with an effective website. Let’s work on that together, and then I can help you take the next steps.

Contact me to get started.

Categories
Personal Blog

Our Recent Move to Cochrane, Alberta

For the last year, my family and I have been living in Winkler, Manitoba. This is our home-town, where Lynn and I grew up. We moved back there while I was in between jobs. Now, we are heading back to Alberta, where we had been living from 2010-2017.

Cochrane is temporary for us. We own a house near Sundre, Alberta, in the beautiful little community of Bergen, which is just up highway 22 from Cochrane, about 45 minutes. We plan to move back into our house in May 2019, once the lease is over for our current tenants.

While we are in Cochrane, I am interested in getting to know the business community. We are only here for 4 months, so I don’t have a lot of time. But, I will be commuting regularly to Calgary for work, which means I’ll be passing through Cochrane each time I drive in. I hope the relationships I build over the next several months will continue on for a long time to come.

The reason we are moving back to Alberta is for my work. I accepted a permanent position as the national Director of Communications for the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada (EMCC), which has its head office in Calgary. For the last several months I have been working as the Interim Director, and have just fell in love with the job.

This website, and my freelance work as a web developer, is a way for me to stay sharp in this industry, and brings in a little extra money for my family. I am not available full-time to build websites, so sometimes I may turn down some work. However, if you would like to work with me, I hope we can make it happen!

Categories
Personal Blog

Why Not Full-Time?

The business of website development is a bit tricky. I have been in it full-time before, and I don’t believe I will ever go back.

There is a threshold for website development, between the really simple sites which I currently build, and the more robust and complex sites that I used to build. Crossing the threshold simply requires more resources. There are skills required to solve larger problems that I do not have. In the past I have hired others to help me in these areas, and this of course is always still a possibility. However, I have found greater success in completing the projects from start to finish myself.

My skills are limited to what would be referred to as “front-end” development. The languages I am most confident in are HTML, CSS and a bit of PHP and Javascript. I am comfortable working with WordPress, which uses these languages primarily.

Going full-time as a web developer would require me to dig deeper into more complex offerings, demanding that I spend all of my time in this world of the Web. Keeping it as a side-hustle feels more like a hobby, and I quite enjoy getting up on a Saturday morning to tinker on my latest project.

Most importantly, I love my day job. Even if I had plenty of small website projects, and could afford to quit my day job, I wouldn’t.

Categories
Education

What is the Purpose of a Web Site?

In the early stages of the World Wide Web, Tim Burners-Lee envisioned a connected world, in which knowledge could be shared instantaneously. A place for shared knowledge, information, and exploration has always been the driving force of the Web. Although much has changed over the course of the last 25 years of the Web’s existence, sharing information is still the primary reason it exists.

This is why I believe that content is king when it comes to building a website. If you are publishing a website for the purpose of advertising your business, the visitors will need to be presented with the most pertinent information as quickly as possible. Draw them in with value up-front: What do you have to offer? What problem of theirs are you able to solve? How will their lives be better by visiting your website?

Give, and give some more, then ask. Offer free advice, and keep your website updated with the latest news and information about your industry and what you can offer that gives you the edge over your competitors. Your visitors need to feel like they are already receiving something from you before they have even entered into business with you. Believe it or not, a website can be the place a relationship begins, before you are even aware.

The purpose of a website, from a business perspective, is to bridge the gap between you and your potential customers. You cannot be constantly available, but that doesn’t mean you can’t introduce yourself and offer something valuable in the mean time.

Categories
Business Strategy

Do You Really Want To Build Your Own Website?

If you want to publish something online today, there is virtually nothing stopping you. If you can write an email, or update your Facebook status, you can start to advertise your business online for little or no cost.

I’m not going to try and convince you not to build your own website, or use the free options out there. In fact, just the opposite. Maybe you are the sort of person who loves to learn new skills, and this would be a fun challenge for you. That’s great! In that case, definitely give it a shot.

Most small business owners, or those who are self-employed, need to get themselves out there as affordably as possible. I recommend you start with social media. Set up a Facebook Page, an Instagram account, and a LinkedIn profile, at the very least. These are free ways for your information to be available online. If you need help, let’s talk and I’d be happy to give you some pointers on how to set these up and develop a content strategy.

Once you have established some presence on social media, think about setting up your own website, which will give potential customers a little more confidence in your business. Keep it simple and clean. Squarespace and Wix are great options. If you don’t know where to start, that’s where someone like myself comes in handy.

It is possible that finances are a barrier for you at the moment. I want to help you get to the point where this is not the case. I can provide free consulting for short time, to get you headed in the right direction. If you can afford to hire me to build a website, we can talk about it at that point. However, don’t feel obligated to hire me just because I helped you out for free.

There is no catch and no hidden fine-print. All I want is for you to take that next step toward successful communication, and open up the possibilities that come along with having an online presence.

If you would like to set up an appointment, please use this form.