Transactional email – we all know exactly what it is, right?
TL:DR: Find the Ugli price list here.
At Ugli, we continually strive to keep our prices competitive. But it can be hard to know exactly what that means – many web design companies are coy about publishing their fees or unwilling to give even ballpark figures, making comparisons difficult. So how much should you actually be paying a web design company, and what can you expect to receive in return?
The current business climate is one of uncertainty – many predictions are that the Covid-19 crisis will cause a worldwide recession affecting both new and established businesses in Hong Kong and across the globe. No one can be sure what the coming months and years will bring, but now is the time to prepare your business to survive the storm:
New businesses start up every day. Entrepreneurs take their dreams in one hand and the risks in the other and weigh up whether to take the plunge. But with the Covid-19 crisis sending billions of people in Hong Kong and across the globe into lockdown, governments scrambling to cope and massive changes to the world economy, surely if you’re planning to start a business right now, the most sensible idea would just be to … wait a bit? Well, not necessarily. There are some surprising upsides to starting a business in the current climate, as well increased risks.
Hong Kong was one of the first locations to report Covid-19 cases in the current global pandemic, and saw the advantages of early, decisive intervention. Its lockdown policies resulted in a successful fall in cases, with a total of just 110 reported by the start of March 2020.
In January 2020, the La Salle Primary School in Kowloon City became the ninth school in Hong Kong to fall victim to cyber attacks, with four of the affected schools reporting serious data breaches. It appears that the point of entry was the WebSAMS, (web-based school administrative and management system), a Government-developed system which allows electronic communication between institutions and the authorities. Currently, the WebSAMS system is employed by 988 schools in Hong Kong, each of which are individually responsible for maintaining their security protections.
Planning an upgrade or even a brand new website? Worried your site looks like it should still link to Friendster? Consider adding these five features – they’ll keep your website current for the year ahead:
I was thrilled when Mandy Queen agreed to an interview.
In Cred Communications she very rapidly created a very dynamic company able to take on larger agencies and beat them at their own game, which is a story I've always found highly inspiring - espeically as our companies were born in the same year. Mandy brings energy and humour to any interaction and is always a pleasure to speak to.
In all but the smallest organisations multiple individuals and departments want to be represented on the website's home-page.The organisation may offer multiple services or products, there may be upcoming events, or perhaps someone senior has decreed that their latest pensées must be feautred on the home-page.
For this reason, websites often use carousels to shoe-horn content from multiple sources into the prominent "above the fold" section of the homepage.
Never before has it been easier to have a world-changing idea in tech and see that idea through to a finished product. The internet has made the collectivisation of information possible for the first time in our history and mobile devices now mean we all have access to this information from wheresoever we find ourselves killing time. Low barriers to entry, cheap credit and widespread skills mean that almost anyone can wake up one day with an idea, borrow money, hire a small team or agency, and launch a finished product a few short months later.
So all you need is an original idea, and success will follow automatically from that. Right?
Well, not exactly. Three problems:
I realised early in my career that any client who can't answer that question – quickly – is not going to be much fun to work for. And it's amazing how many people can't.
There aren't that many reasons why you would need a website. Generally – and I'm assuming you're a small business based in Hong Kong – they boil down to variations of the following:
NOTE: There is an updated version of this entry.
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.)
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?
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.
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.
«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.
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.
First apologies for the click-baity headline, but in this instance it's true. Often prospective clients ask me "How much do you charge for SEO?" I've come to the conclusion that this is not a question which makes much sense.
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:
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.
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.
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.