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Stop wasting your PPC budget on permissive keyword matches

12th of July 2018 ~ tagged ppc, marketing, adwords

A common mistake for newcomers to PPC is to select very permissive keyword match types in an attempt to get the most traffic to their site. The whole point of doing PPC, they reason, is to generate traffic. So the more traffic I'm getting, the better my PPC is working, right?

Wrong.

Don't forget that you are not aiming for maximum traffic (per dollar of budget), you're aiming for maximum conversions (per dollar of budget). If you simply wanted to max out the traffic to your site you could run ads for some super-obscure (and non-competitive) keyword, and thousand of (confused) people would flood into your website before bouncing right out again.

How much does it cost to build a website in Hong Kong

7th of July 2018 ~ tagged pricing, web design

As a web designer, it's actually very hard to know how much the competition is charging. 

I've never been prepared to mislead my peers – many of whom I know personally – by submitting phoney enquiries to root out their fees. I do always ask clients where their other quotes came in but generally they have the integrity not to tell me. This leaves hearsay, anecdote and the occasional glimpse behind the curtain at a competitive proposal. Over the many years that I've been doing this, however, this adds up to a fairly accurate picture, so although the quality of the data on which the following is based is far from perfect, I'm confident that it is still more or less correct. (The plural of anecdote is not data, but over a long enough timeline it does get closer.)

Ignore distracting headlines with this one weird trick...

4th of July 2018 ~ tagged books, productivity

Picture the scene. You're at your desk. The morning is almost over, as is your second cup of coffee. You feel busy, under pressure even, but the first item on today's to-do list has hardly been read, let alone completed. Your computer screen is a mess of browser tabs competing for your attention: a half-read news article, a spat on Facebook about some topic you hardly care about, some Amazon product you don't need, the weather, a half-composed Tweet. New messages flow into your email inbox faster than you can attend to them. You irritably close everything and glance again at your list, trying to balance its urgency with that of your inbox, only to hear your phone bleep. With great effort you resolve to ignore it but then a co-worker strolls by suggesting lunch. Feeling frustration mixing with a rising anxiety you give up on the entire morning, vowing instead to do better in the afternoon, but knowing your day will probably continue in the same manner. They all do.

Avoid this major obstacle to launching your product on time (or ever)

29th of June 2018 ~ tagged project management

 «On s'engage et puis… on voit» ~ Napoleon Bonaparte.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is one of those concepts which everyone says they think is a good idea at the beginning of the project, but when push comes to shove, they find it very easy to forget. And nothing could be more natural, you want your product, your precious idea, your baby, to be perfect before anyone gets to look at it and to judge it. 

City Super is doing everything it can to discourage customers from shopping online

28th of June 2018 ~ tagged e-commerce, site review

That a company with the brand-recognition, prestige, and (presumably) budget of Hong Kong's esteemed posh supermarket, City Super, should have opted to use DIY-online-store-building platform, Shopify for their e-commerce website, surprised me - I'll be honest.

I have nothing against Shopify. Awon Golding's beautiful millinery website uses Shopify. Plenty of perfectly nice-looking e-commerce websites use Shopify. But Shopify tends to be what you use when you're testing out a new product (or a new market). It allows you to get your products up for sale fairly rapidly, and with minimal set-up costs. In return for this you pay some punchy ongoing and transaction costs, and your wings are somewhat clipped in terms of the features your website can include.

Trello and the beauty of simplicity

26th of June 2018 ~ tagged project management

Trello has changed the way I work.

Inspiring in its simplicity, it is extremely powerful when you get to know it. Its list-based interface lends itself cleanly to multi-stage processes such as sales lead tracking and bug management. Drop incoming sales leads in at one end, and then shunt them into successive lists as things progress, the lists I use on my Sales board are as follows:

  • Active conversations

  • Proposal sent

  • Deposit paid

  • etc. 

The board gives me at-a-glance a summary of that whole potentially-complicated area of the business. So perfect for the job that it could have been created to be a sales lead tracker – but it wasn't.

Is social media about to destroy Civilisation?

25th of June 2018 ~ tagged social media, books, productivity

I had definitely heard of Jaron Lanier, and I knew he was an Interesting Person (turns out he more or less invented Virtual Reality and was part of the team which scaled the early Internet. Heavy stuff). From occasional glimpses on YouTube I'd had him pegged as something like the comic book guy character from the Simpsons (or perhaps as a brainy Ignatius J Reilly – I mean this nicely, of course). Clearly very clever, faintly rambling, right-on, with a TED talk (or two) under his belt.

When I saw a reference to his new book, Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, I downloaded it with interest. The reference was in a book about productivity (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport) so I was expecting his ten arguments to be related to the (very real) fact that constant checking of social media trashes your attention span and ruins your ability to read whole paragraphs – as a grumpy forty-year-old this stuff is now very much my turf.

Some guidelines for choosing an e-commerce supplier

22nd of June 2018 ~ tagged e-commerce

E-Commerce presents a fantastic opportunity for selling your products to a very large market, but comes with a number of challenges and potential pitfalls to the uninitiated. 

There are various off-the-shelf systems which can enable you to get started pretty quickly and cheaply; however, many of our customers report finding these systems restrictive, and, over a long period, not as cost-effective as they seem at first. These products can be useful for exploring an idea, a new product or testing an unexplored market.