10 Online Writing and Editing Tools to Help You Produce Quality Content for Your Website

This is a guest post by Gloria Kopp.

In the not too distant past, websites were the exclusive domain of huge multinational enterprises, and not particularly necessary for small or medium sized businesses. However, those times have changed very quickly, and now businesses of all shapes and sizes maintain an online presence, whether they are making the most of social media, websites or a business blog. While it can be hard work to maintain an online presence, the following web-based tools make creating quality, polished content for your audience much more simple than ever before.

1. Ginger Software

Ginger is being used by students, professionals, and amateur bloggers alike as an efficient way to polish their written content. The real beauty of this software is that it can be used on multiple devices, so you can post amazing content even from a mobile device, when you’re on the go.

2. Paper Fellows

When you first start posting online on behalf of your business, it can be incredibly difficult to know where to begin, or if you’re doing anything right. Fortunately, there are some great courses and forums in the Paper Fellows free writing community that can help you gain both skills and confidence.

3. Readability Test Tool

Every business has an idea of the main demographic they target. Their audience will likely have similar interests or tastes, and so you know the appropriate style and tone when you address them. This is a great tool to assess if your writing is too complicated or simple, depending on the academic level of your target audience.

4. Assignment help

Both SEO and your audience are fuelled by perfect spelling and grammar – you look authoritative and competent. One of the best ways to ensure your writing is perfect is to engage the services of a qualified editor or proof reader from this website.

5. Keyword Density Checker

Stuffing your content with keywords will make your business look spammy, and may make your audience think you’re a scam. However, using too few keywords is also bad for SEO, and could make you hard to find. This tool helps you find the perfect balance for your keywords.

6. Pro Writing Aid

This is one of the most comprehensive editing tools available as it reviews your style, and offers you a multitude of suggestions on how to improve your phrasing. This tool ensures that your tone, style, and syntax are a perfect match for your content and audience.

7. Spell Check Plus

Sometimes, we need to post for our business from a mobile device or on the fly while we’re commuting. However, it’s still important to ensure your posts are of a quality standard, so having an online spelling and grammar checker to use before you post can be extremely helpful.

8.  Assignment writing service

When posting for a business, it’s often tempting to ask colleagues to review the content before you post. However, they might be too busy, provide too subjective an opinion or may be worried about offending you, at which point it can be much more effective to hire a professional proof reader or editor from this website to provide an objective opinion.

9. Easy Word Count

It’s now acknowledged across the web that your SEO benefits massively from content that is over 1000 words long and that engagement is optimised by posts that are 1500 words long. You can monitor this aspect of your content using this user friendly tool to count your words.

10. Language Tool

In this global economy, very few businesses now exist in a national vacuum, and almost every company has some kind of international element. If you need to post or write in another language occasionally, this editor is a great way to check over anything that’s not in your mother tongue, as it can accurately proof read over 20 languages.

Maintaining an online presence for your business can be a lot of work, however using the above tools, you can ensure that you are delivering content of a very high standard to your audience via your blog, website and social media.

Are there any writing or editing tools you use regularly?


Gloria Kopp is an digital marketer and an e-learning consultant from Manville City, USA. She graduated from the University of Wyoming and started a career of a web content writer and an educator, now she works as a content manager at Academized company. She is a regular contributor to such websites as Engadget, Boomessays, and Huffington Post.

Should I get Cyber Insurance for my Business?

We’ve had a few inquiries recently about whether it’s worth getting Cyber Insurance to keep businesses safe from cyber incidents. Insurance isn’t our area of expertise, so we’ve asked insurance expert Todd Ferguson from Allsafe to give us a run down of how Cyber Insurance can ensure peace of mind for business owners.

 

[divider style=”none”]

[/divider]

Technology in the 21st century has opened up many possibilities for streamlining greater efficiency, production and processes for businesses. However, as life starts to transition rapidly into the digital world, so does the risk of cyber breach. So let’s discuss the importance of cyber insurance and its advantages.

[space]

[/space]

In 2014, it was calculated that 1,131 cyber incidents were reported through the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) – an Australian Government Intelligence Agency tasked with ensuring our information security. This figure was a 20% increase from the previous year and these statistics prove that as the move into digital and cloud-based services starts to gain momentum, so does the increased risk of cyber-attacks.

 

Did you know that many major companies have in fact been hacked in the past?

 

Familiar names and brands such as Nike, the FBI and in one now infamous incident, Sony Pictures. During this episode involving Sony Pictures, it was believed that North Korea had hacked the multi-billion dollar company and stolen vital information from the controversial movie ‘The Interview’ – a fictional movie on the assassination of the North Korean supreme leader. More recently, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) was hacked, as was (very publicly) the Australian Census website, which had the nation questioning the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

Today, statistics show that 1 in 3 businesses are or have been hacked, with 40% of this figure representing small-medium (SME) sized businesses. Ultimately, this then means there are three different types of businesses; companies that have been hacked and are aware of it, companies that have been hacked but are unaware and companies yet to be hacked. If your business suffers a cyber-attack or breach, the following can be compromised:

[space]

[/space]

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

  • Sensitive or confidential data stolen or revealed.
  • Software can be disabled or held to ransom.
  • Personal data belonging to your customers can be stolen.
  • Share prices may decrease as stakeholders lose confidence within a company.
  • Lawsuits which may give rise to other liabilities.

[/list]

[space]

[/space]

You may be thinking, “It’s ok, I have the top of the line malware for my business, my IT provider said so”. Like fire insurance for your business and so many other unforeseen events, even if you have the best software protection money can buy, you still run the risk of being compromised. Human error alone (which we will discuss in our next post) accounts for nearly 30% of all Cyber Insurance claims see through our office in the last 12 months. Cyber insurance is the best way to protect your businesses online data and presence in the long run. Simply speaking, cyber insurance will cover your business for the situations which are listed above and many more, as opposed to having to foot the bill if you are relying solely on your existing software security.

Cyber insurance gives you the chance to know that your business, and the businesses you look after, are in safe hands when things go wrong. So whether you’re in business with aviation, agriculture, construction, marine, trades or property, Allsafe has a cyber-insurance specifically tailored for you and your business.

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[box style=”simple”]

If you’d like to know more about Cyber Insurance, you can contact Todd by visiting the All Safe website or ring All Safe directly on 1300 908 404.

[/box]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

5 Steps to an Awesome Workplace Culture

Organisational culture is just like everything else. It will constantly change over time.

So what does this mean for your business? How we can preserve things that are great about our business?

Grassroots IT has recently recruited the help of wattsnext HR to help make the our team great and we want to share these secrets with you!

[space]

[/space]

5 Steps to an Awesome Workplace Culture from Grassroots IT on Vimeo.

[space]

[/space]

[section background_repeat=”repeat” background_position=”center top” background_attachment=”static” background_scroll=”none”]

Step 1: Get your story straight

 

[one_sixth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

[/one_sixth]

[two_third valign=”top” animation=”none”]

vision (1)

[/two_third]

[one_sixth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

[/one_sixth_last]

[space]

[/space]

Vision

[one_half valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Where do you want to go? What do you want to be?

 

 

[/one_half]

[one_half_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Autumn (1)

[/one_half_last]

Mission

[one_half valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Why does this business exist?

[/one_half]

[one_half_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Autumn (2)

[/one_half_last]

Values

[one_half valign=”top” animation=”none”]

What are the guiding behaviours that will make it happen?

[/one_half]

[one_half_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Integrity: We get it done with no ego and no excuses

Courage: We work on the skinny branches

Honesty: We have confidence to tell it as it is

Innovation: We let our creative juices flow

Passion: We are always passionate and in tough times we fight

[/one_half_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

Step 2: Connect the dots

[space]

[/space]

How can we make sure that the story of your business becomes a day-to-day reality?

[space]

[/space]

[one_half valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Role Clarity

[/one_half]

[one_half_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

  • What are the three big rocls of each role?
  • What outcomes do we require?
  • What does this role look like when it is being done exceptionally?

[/list]

[/one_half_last]

[space]

[/space]

[one_half valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Structural Clarity

[/one_half]

[one_half_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

  • Is the structure funcational?
  • Has it been built in response to functions or people?

[/list]

[/one_half_last]

[space]

[/space]

[one_half valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Communication Lines

[/one_half]

[one_half_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

  • Are the same questions going to different people?

[/list]

[/one_half_last]

[space]

[/space]

[one_half valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Decision Making Parameters

[/one_half]

[one_half_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

  • Can we remove all the grey areas?
  • How can we empower people?

[/list]

[/one_half_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

Step 3: Alignment with your “humans”

[space]

[/space]

[one_half valign=”top” animation=”none”]

We’re dealing with actual, real-life people here!

Find the right humans – how are you going to source them?

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

  • Proper onboarding and reboarding.
  • Keep them informed and accountable.
  • Help them work together and make it enjoyable.
  • Development. Development. Development.

[/list]

[/one_half]

[one_half_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

sir richard branson

[/one_half_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

Step 4: Sell the benefits of leadership

[space]

[/space]

[one_half valign=”top” animation=”none”]

tom peters

[/one_half]

[one_half_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Leadership is a mindset and a skill set.

It is not a title on a business card.

People don’t want managers, they want leaders.

[/one_half_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

Step 5: Grab your crystal ball

[space]

[/space]

[one_half valign=”top” animation=”none”]

The future of work is here – embrace it!

Seriously, things are about to get really different.

There’s a healthy competitive advantage waiting for anyone who wants to move now.

Google “millennials”  don’t end up as someone who doesn’t get it.

[/one_half]

[one_half_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

future

[/one_half_last]

[space]

[/space]

About wattsnext

 

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

  • A provider on insourced HR
  • Operating nationwide and abroad working with SMEs
  • Performance/HR Management/Compliance/Recruitment Strategy
  • Don’t like “HR” very much!

[/list]

 

To learn more about workplace culture and the future of work, connect with wattsnext online:

Twitter

Facebook

Website

[/section]

winding back the clock

Winding back the clock

We all know that technology is a rapidly changing industry and we are constantly being told we need to keep up. Today, I want to do something different. I want to take the time to go through 10 of my favourite Grassroots IT blog posts. I’ve raided the library and chosen the ones I think are still relevant and useful to you. These are the ones you may have forgotten about, or may have never read, but they might just be coming to you at the right time.

So. Sit back. Relax. Grab that mid morning coffee and have a read. All below for your reading pleasure.

[space]

[/space]

[section background_repeat=”repeat” background_position=”center top” background_attachment=”static” background_scroll=”none”]

[one_fourth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

How to get the most out of your IT support team

[/one_fourth]

[three_fourth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

How to get the best from your IT Support Team

It’s fair to say that you’ve invested a lot in your IT support team. If you have an IT support team in house, then you’ve spent time and money recruiting them, training them, and developing them with the hard and soft skills necessary to perform at a high standard. You’ve spent money on computers, software, desks, all sorts of gadgets you may not understand, and of course plain old (but not plain cheap) floor space in your office.

Keep reading here!

[/three_fourth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[three_fourth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

The 3 things every business owner needs to know about their backups

 

Brisbane and large parts of Queensland were hit recently by Tropical Cyclone Marcia, with extensive damage and destruction left in its wake. Thankfully none of our clients across greater Queensland suffered any real damage, and by the time the weather reached Brisbane, although it brought with it a heap of rain, there was no real damage or destruction beyond some minor flooding.

Keep reading here!

[/three_fourth]

[one_fourth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Need to know about your backups

[/one_fourth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[one_fourth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

How to Identify Malicious Phishing

[/one_fourth]

[three_fourth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

How to identify a potentially malicious phishing email

There’s a lot of risk these days with emails arriving in your inbox, spam that’s essentially carrying some sort of a malicious payload. It’s dangerous in the sense that it will potentially risk installing some bad software or virus or malware … something like that on your computer.

Keep reading here!

[/three_fourth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[three_fourth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Announcing our free downloadable BYOD Policy Template

The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend is well and truly here to stay, with employees pretty much expecting these days to be able to bring their own personal choice of mobile device to work with them, and use it to access corporate data and systems, usually starting with email.

Keep reading here!

[/three_fourth]

[one_fourth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

BYOD Policy

[/one_fourth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[one_fourth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

How Hipchat can solve your internal communication problems

[/one_fourth]

[three_fourth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

How HipChat solved our internal communication problems

Our team cover various functions such as technical support, administration, finance and marketing, and just like more and more businesses don’t necessarily all work from the office, at least not at the same time. It’s normal for us to have at least one or two people working remotely at any one time, either from home, or from a client site.

Keep reading here!

[/three_fourth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[three_fourth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Going to ProBlogger? Here are our top travel tech tips.

The tickets are booked, clothes are in the suitcase and we’re humming the tune of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (actually we’ll be driving, but you know). But what about the gadgets, widgets, and other technology to make life a little easier whilst in transit? We asked some tech-savvy business travellers what their top travel tech tips.

Keep reading here!

[/three_fourth]

[one_fourth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

DB9DC8E9-E0DF-4FED-B603-925CADF0F9D1

[/one_fourth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[one_fourth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Top 3 tips to reducing your IT costs

[/one_fourth]

[three_fourth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Top 3 Tips to Reduce IT Costs

Years of IT consulting have taught me where and how people spend unnecessary money on IT and lose their competitive edge. My goal with Grassroots IT is to help small to medium businesses get the most value from their technology investment. Here are three simple tips that can help you reduce IT costs and take charge of your technology today.

Keep reading here!

[/three_fourth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[three_fourth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Is Your IT Health Check up to Date?

You see, while technology appears to be solving all of our problems, they still suffer from some of their own. With a little forethought and a little TLC, there are ways and means to minimise the impact when technology does fail. There are also ways to improve their function and monitor their health. Simple checks on servers and network systems can save you much time and money in the long run.

Keep reading here!

[/three_fourth]

[one_fourth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Is your IT health check up to date

[/one_fourth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[one_fourth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

how we collect client feedback

[/one_fourth]

[three_fourth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

How we collect Client Feedback

From the day we opened the doors at Grassroots IT over 10 years ago we have had a passionate focus on our clients, and how we can best help “keep the light green” for them, so they can focus on growing their business and not be held back by technology problems. We obviously need certain technical skills to help deliver on this, but just as importantly we need to effectively engage with the people involved. Thus our tagline – “IT Help for Humans”.

Keep reading here!

[/three_fourth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[three_fourth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

How to successfully deal with IT problems

Technology can be an amazingly powerful business enabler, pretty much everyone agrees on that point. But it can also be bloody frustrating at times. Its ok, I get it. Even though we’re the experts it happens to us too. In fact not only do we get to deal with our own frustrations with IT, we also get to deal with our clients annoying IT problems!

Keep reading here!

[/three_fourth]

[one_fourth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

How to successfully deal with IT problems

[/one_fourth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[/section]

Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy with Jon Hollenberg

A good web marketing strategy doesn’t have to be hard, in fact, it can be quite simple. You’ve just got to know where to start. Our good friend and digital expert, Jon Hollenberg from Five by Five, answered all our questions and gave us some really awesome and useful tips to get us crafting the perfect web marketing strategy.  You can watch the webinar below and to make sure you get all the notes, they’re all below for your reading pleasure.

Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy from Grassroots IT on Vimeo.

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

5 elements of a high performing website

 

[section background_repeat=”repeat” background_position=”center top” background_attachment=”static” background_scroll=”none”]

[two_fifth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy (5)

[/two_fifth]

[three_fifth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

When someone comes to your website, we want to give them the best possible chance of getting in touch. So what should your website look like at first glance?

From a design perspective, this is what you should be doing with your website:

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

  • Phone number top right hand corner of each page
  • Be really clear on what you do in the headline
  • Video on the homepage
  • Benefit ridden copy
  • Testimonials
  • Communicate proof and build trust through logos
  • Capture their details
  • Use guarantees
  • Team members photos & videos
  • Load time

[/list]

[/three_fifth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[two_fifth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy (1)

[/two_fifth]

[three_fifth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Mobiles are generating upwards of 60-70% of traffic, so you should be thinking of a mobile first approach. Ask yourself if your website has a mobile responsive design ? Test it.

Grab your phone and look it up. Is it easy to read? Are the web forms easy to fill out on your phone?

You can search “Google mobile friendly test” and use that as a guide to know exactly what your website needs to be mobile responsive.

[/three_fifth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[two_fifth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy (6)

[/two_fifth]

[three_fifth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Content is King.

Creating and sharing your own content can lead to online traction. Using good quality content can build your brand image and brings leads directly to your website.

Content ideas:

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

  • Blog posts
  • How to videos
  • FAQs
  • Product Reviews
  • Industry News
  • Lists

[/list]

[/three_fifth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[two_fifth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy (7)

[/two_fifth]

[three_fifth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

You want some level of interaction with your audience. You want contact details to continue the conversation and ideally in an automotive fashion bringing maximum leverage for you.

Here are some ideas:

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

  • Give away something valuable
  • Opt-in
  • Build a list
  • Build a quiz

[/list]

[/three_fifth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[two_fifth valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy (8)

[/two_fifth]

[three_fifth_last valign=”top” animation=”none”]

Everyone has a story to tell. Tell your audience why you get out of bed everyday and do what you do. There is a power to telling a story through your website because it builds an intimate, personal connection with your audience, before ever meeting them in person.

Examples of how you can tell your story:

[list type=”icon” style=”none” icon=”double-angle-right” icon_color=”#90a105″]

  • https://www.nqtc.com.au/
  • https://www.gallantplumbing.com.au/
  • https://www.missowealth.com/
  • https://www.tardisadvice.com.au/
  • https://www.justincoulson.com/

[/list]

[/three_fifth_last]

[space]

[/space]

[space]

[/space]

[/section]

[box style=”solid”]

Can’t get enough of Jon? Neither can we!

Listen to our podcast with Jon here.

Learn how to create a brilliant website with Jon here.

Visit Five by Five’s website and contact Jon here.

Get a copy of Jon’s book, Love at first site: How to build the website of your dreams, here.

[/box]

Jon Hollenberg Five By Five Grassroots IT

How to Create a Brilliant Website: Q&A with Jon Hollenberg

Jon Hollenberg Five By Five Grassroots IT

 

Choosing a web developer to work with can be an extremely challenging process for any business owner, complicated immensely by the vast range of price points available for sometimes seemingly identical products.

The cost of engaging a large agency could be enough to break many small businesses, while dealing with a $500 fixed price provider (in my experience) usually leads to disappointment. Jon and his group at Five by Five play in the important space between the two, providing high quality, effective websites at an appropriate price point.

I only met Jon in person quite recently, however I’ve been familiar with the calibre of his work for quite a while now. He’s a smart guy who knows his stuff, places the client front and centre, and delivers results. There’s so much down to earth, quality advice going on in that head of his that I could write a book on it (oh wait, he already did that…). Instead I threw him the top five questions on my mind about web design, which he has answered below. 

Hope you enjoy,

Ben

PS. I’m trying to get Jon to join me on the Podcast so we can get more of this great content from him, so stay tuned for that. 

With Facebook, LinkedIn, and all of the other social media platforms, why does my business even need a website anymore?

Your website should be home base. An asset you control and own.

As an example, say you spent all your time, effort and money on building up huge following on Facebook. All it takes is for Facebook to move the goal posts (i.e. not displaying your posts in their feed anymore) and all your efforts have been in vain.

Building a strong powerful website that have full control of is paramount.  Ensure all your content is housed on your site (ideally on your blog) rather than a social media platform.  The key is to use the social media platforms to drive traffic to your website.

Once a visitor is on your website, try to capture their details through a compelling opt-in or offer.  You can then build a direct 1:1 relationship which is not dependant on any other social media platform.

With so many easy DIY options now available like SquareSpace and Wix, why does everyone still recommend using WordPress to build my website on?

Sites like SquareSpace & Wix are a good option for a business owner that is starting out.  The reason being is:

  • For the average punter, it is very quick and easy to get started
  • They are easy to use
  • It is low cost
  • The templates & designs they offer look great
  • Dedicated support teams

Like most things in life, there is a trade off being:

  • You don’t control the hosting (this is done by SquareSpace & Wix)
  • You can’t modify and customise your site
  • You are limited in features and functionality

WordPress is an ‘open source’ content management system. It is used by millions of businesses around the world. It is free to download and use and can be housed by most hosting companies. You can bolt in ‘plugins’ to extend the features of your website. All its files are free to use, customise and enhance. It can be packaged up and moved around with little hassle. This gives flexibility if a relationship with a web designer ever deteriorates.

WordPress started life as a blogging platform but has evolved to a full featured, fully customisable CMS. It is very common, driving about 25% of all websites on the internet.  Everything from complex websites, simple blogs and online shops can be powered by WordPress.

There are hundreds of thousands of web designers who use it as their primary tool of choice. Finding a web designer and developer to help with the ongoing support for your website is very easy. If you are technically minded and like to get your hands dirty you can even do the majority of the setup and configuration yourself. Utilising templates allows the majority of the behind the scenes heavy lifting to be done for you, whilst still allowing exciting creative input from your design crew.

Why would I hire a web developer to build my website when I can just do it myself with a free WordPress template? Surely it’s not that hard to do.

There are so many different ways to get your website built. And sure, you can try to build it yourself. Depending on your skill level, you might be able to get it pieced together.  Full credit to you!

As WordPress is infinitely customisable, the challenge will come when you hit a roadblock or technical hurdle.  In addition, WordPress requires ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the content management system and associated plugins to ensure they remain secure.

The other option is to partner with an established web designer or digital agency.

In my opinion, small business owners are best suited working with an agency due to the different skill sets a team can bring to the table. By working with an agency with a team, you reap the benefits of each person focusing on their individual skills such as project management, design, development, copywriting, photography and video. This gives you the leverage of a team and no single ‘break-point’.

If something breaks, you have a fallback of team that can solve your problems.

I need my website to bring me more clients. What are the key things that I need to pay attention to for that to happen?

Content, content, content!

Gone are the times when it was as easy as knocking up a pretty five-page website, inserting a few pictures, stuffing it full of keywords and hoping that you end up on the first page of Google.

Google has evolved. It is much smarter and can’t be manipulated. You see, Google wants to provide the best quality results and experience to its users. And that means filtering out all the junk websites and only focusing on sites that provide great quality content.

Search engine optimisation (the process of making your website more visible in Google) is largely down to two factors how your website has been constructed (on-site optimisation) and the content contained within.

A website gives you a platform to create and distribute content at virtually no cost. Google only wants great quality content and rewards websites that take the time and effort to educate around their respective products and services. This pulls prospects towards you and positions you as an authority.

Build your site full of great content which actually solves your customers problems and clients will naturally come!

What are the current design trends for websites in 2015?

Great question. But why bother with design in the first place?

People form an opinion about a company based on the signals it conveys. On the web, the window of opportunity is limited, with visitors choosing whether to stay or move on in less than three seconds. Good design is good for business and, in a competitive online environment, you have to make an impact.

Staying abreast of current design trends is critical to be seen as a market leader.  Here is what we are seeing flowing through our sites:

Big & bold images

Large background images utilising high quality photography are being used extensively across sites. This typically exists in a large “banner” style image area above the fold. There is a vast array of great quality, affordable imagery available. Alternatively get a professional photo shoot done for your business. Invest the time and energy in good quality imagery. Stay away from cheesy stock photography!

 

Boats

Flat design

Bevelled edges, gradients and shadows are all out!

Flat design is more focused around a minimalist approach to colour & layout. The primary purpose is to focus on the functionality of the interface. What is the one thing you want the visitor to do on your website or interface?

The end result is very clean, crisp and simple website interfaces.

Orbit (soon to be launched)

Focus on mobile

Mobile is booming.  And your site better be mobile responsive.

Responsive design reformats your website ‘on the fly’ to give the best viewing experience. Common characteristics of a website built in this manner are large fonts, easy to use navigation and not having to pinch and zoom.

The website adapts or ‘responds’ to the type of device which is accessing it. This means you only build one website that looks great and adapts gracefully to every type of device. From a large desktop monitor, through to a medium tablet-sized screen and then down to a small smartphone screen.

Mobile

https://www.gt3cupchallenge.com.au                            https://www.inskyshopping.com

Video Backgrounds

There is no better way to tell your businesses story through video. Video is such a powerful way to build trust. Prospects can look down the lens and immediately form judgements on your business’ products and staff. They can see whether you are a person they would like to do business with. It is a great way to build rapport and leverage your sales staff many times over (without them having to give the same sales presentation over and over again). It allows for a more intimate connection and adds another touch point to the potential sale.

Shoot a documentary style two minute video about your business and have this front and centre on your homepage.

5x5

 

John Hollenberg

 

Jon Hollenberg owns Five by Five, an Australian web design business. He has delivered thousands of websites for clients such as Qantas, Jeep and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. He is passionate about working with business owners to realise their potential by using online tools as a massive leverage point in their business.

 

 

Get the latest Updates

360 Degrees Feedback Concept

The 360 Degree Journey

[box style=”simple”]

This is a guest post by Laura Kemp, HR Coordinator at wattsnext

[/box]

360 Degrees Feedback ConceptA lot of people have varied opinions about the 360 and depending on who you read, it gets good, bad, or ugly reviews. Generally, the feedback doesn’t address a performance issue or strategic need. Instead it’s being done because it’s the latest management trend or because a senior manager thinks it’s a good idea.

For those who haven’t heard of it, 360-degree feedback is a system or process covering a broad range of competencies in which a person receives anonymous feedback from the people who work around them. Most often, 360-degree feedback will include direct feedback from employees, peers and managers. It can also include feedback from external sources, such as clients and suppliers or other interested stakeholders. The person receiving the feedback also fills out a self-rating survey that includes the same questions.

There are too many 360 implementations that are a waste of time, resources and opportunity. You certainly want to make sure to address the pitfalls before embarking on a 360-degree journey.  Here are a few simple tips to consider:

  • Clear communication – Provide detailed information about the 360 to everyone involved to ensure trust is a top priority. You will fail to get your preferred outcome and positive involvement if you have not clearly explained the exercise and how the data will be used to assess development.
  • Keep it simple – select competencies that actually reflect the business’ desired leadership attitudes, behaviours and skills. Measuring several competencies will become overwhelming, lengthy and irrelevant. Performance should be measured against the goals and priorities that are most important to the business.
  • Keep the feedback anonymous – When the information is kept confidential, increased ratings and other non-productive feedback is reduced providing valuable, honest and useful information.
  • Have a plan – 360 data is only helpful to the extent that it gets acted upon and used. The majority of results simply give the feedback and then it gets quickly forgotten.
  • Don’t forget the strengths – Don’t disregard the strengths that get uncovered in the 360 process. Address the weaknesses but never stop relying on the strengths.

When 360s are done poorly, they can be a disaster; however, when they’re done well, they can be a major part of driving accelerated growth for a team and business.

Does your company use a 360 process to develop leaders?

[box style=”simple”]

Laura Kemp wattsnext HeadshotLaura Kemp

HR Coordinator. wattsnext

Laura has a genuine passion for people and performance that is unquestionable, always searching for HR solutions that benefit all parties. Her warm, kind, pleasantly addictive nature means clients welcome her into their business like an old friend. Laura embeds herself as a trusted and essential advisor to her clients.

You can connect with Laura on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[/box]

 

Get the latest Updates

What you need to know about the small business deduction

What you need to know about the federal budget’s proposed $20,000 small business deduction

[box style=”solid”]

This is a guest post by Scott Grady, partner at CNS Partners. Scott’s main areas of expertise are strategic tax planning, business structuring and general taxation consultation.

[/box]

financial growth

The government is going to give me $20,000 to put towards buying assets for my business? Too good to be true?? That is because it is just that…. not true. Let me explain.

The Government has proposed to expand accelerated depreciation by allowing small businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $2 million to immediately deduct each asset that cost less than $20,000 (excluding GST). The measure will apply to assets acquired from 7.30pm, 12 May 2015 until 30 June 2017. In simple terms – buy an asset that cost less than $20,000 and you will receive a full deduction for the amount spent in the financial year that the cost was incurred.

This will replace the previous instant asset write-off threshold of $1,000.

Assets that cost $20,000 or more (which can’t be immediately deducted under other provisions) can be deducted over time using a small business pool. Under the pooling mechanism a deduction for 15 per cent of the cost is allowed in the first income year with a 30 per cent deduction allowed for each income year thereafter.

The $20,000 immediate deduction is therefore a timing difference in that you can get the full deduction over one year instead of over the assets effective life.

Here are some examples:

Example 1

Oscar runs a small business and buys a new car for his business for $19,000. This is an outright tax deduction in the year of purchase and is deducted off the businesses taxable income.

Example 2

Zac runs a small business and buys a new car for his business for $35,000. The $35,000 asset will be depreciated at 15% in the year of purchase ($5,250 deduction) and 30% each year after that until the $35,000 cost is fully depreciated.

You can see from the above that overall both business owners get a full tax deduction for the asset purchased but in example 2 it is over a few years instead of one.

The bottom line for me as an adviser is this – if you need new assets to help generate larger profits for your business then buy them and take advantage of the $20,000 accelerated depreciation. If you are purchasing just to save tax, you are wasting your money.

Lastly, it is important to remember that the above is a budget proposal and, as yet, is not legislation. Only time will tell as to whether it makes it through parliament. My personal opinion is that this will become legislation but if it does not then unfortunately there will be no accelerated deduction available. This makes my point in the previous paragraph even more important – that is, don’t purchase for the tax deduction – purchase if the asset will add value to your business operations.

This post also appears on the CNS Partners Blog.

[box style=”simple”]

Scott Grady CNS PartnersScott Grady

Scott became a partner at CNS Partners in January 2010 after gaining management experience in large Brisbane accounting firms. His previous positions enabled him to appreciate the diverse roles that can be fulfilled by an accountant, from a large corporate environment to the more intimate service required from a suburban adviser.  Time spent working for a large Government entity in London enhanced Scott’s perspective of business conduct and prepared him well for relating to clients with a broad spectrum of personalities and requirements.  Scott has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Queensland, a Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting (CA), is a registered tax agent and holds a public practice certificate.  His main areas of expertise are strategic tax planning, business structuring and general taxation consultation.

[/box]

 

 

Get the latest Updates

Lifestyle – What is it Really?

With
the hectic pace of life today, we discover now, more than ever, the importance
of having a balanced lifestyle.

So… what is a balanced lifestyle and how do we get it?

We know that many “X-Generation” Australians are now rejecting the
trends of the 1980s and 1990s where life was all about having latest gadgets,
the big house, latest model car and highest paying profession.  This generation has turned “outsourcing” into
an art-form; they are now willing to trade money for time instead of the latest
offerings from the Milan
catwalks.

 

The Baby Boomers,
have now made their fortune and are seeking Sea or Tree changes.  This band of urbanites has decided to quit
the city for the quiet rolling hills or the peaceful seaside life.

This means at least
two generations of Australians are now are making conscious choices directly
relating to their lifestyle and ultimately their happiness.  As we wade through all the marketing hype
promoting the latest “Lifestyle Butcher” or “Luxury Lifestyle Apartments”, it
can be difficult to remain focused on what we truly value.   For most people these days it is having the
TIME to spend with loved ones and TIME to spend on ourselves.

We may be encouraged
to believe that the best possible lifestyle is by the ocean or in the
hinterlands, but ultimately lifestyle is an individual choice that creates a
satisfying balance between your career, family, health and leisure activities,
regardless of the physical location.

So how can we create
this lifestyle?

  • Believe it is possible to be paid to do what
    you love, Kahil Gibran says “Work is love made visible”.
  • Learn to appreciate our families regardless
    of what they do and who they are; if you have chosen to live together, it is
    important to support each other.
  • Take care of your physical and mental health.
  • Make time for a hobby, a sport or leisure
    activity. How many times have you heard
    of people making their hobby their source of income? Unless you create leisure time to explore
    possible hobbies this won’t happen.

Andrew Matthew
quotes “Your life will only work when you take full responsibility for your
choices”.  By choosing to make positive
choices rather than doing nothing, we have the capacity to regain control of
our lifestyles.  We will become empowered
in the knowledge that we now have the ability to create our individual ideal
lifestyles.

It was once
said:  “One’s destiny is not determined
by luck but by his own choice. (Anon)”, true words indeed.  In our democratic and tolerant society, we
all have the gift of choice; it is only limited by your imagination and
passion.

Adele Blair is the Director of Blair Lifestyle Management. For more information on investing in your lifestyle, contact Adele on 07 3848 8884 or go to www.blairlifestyle.com.au

What is your strategy? Do you really have one?

“Our strategy is to provide a superior service and charge more than the competition does.”
“Our strategy is cost based…we can service the client cheaper than our competitors can.”
“We use the shotgun strategy. It works well for us.”
“Our strategy is to not grow too fast.”

We have all heard these strategy statements or ones like them. There are many more where they come from and a significant similarity between them is that none are a strategy on its own.

 

The point here is that each statement may address a key business
function or decision but if it is pursued in isolation or is over
emphasised it may lead to gaps or weaknesses in other areas of the
business plan. Business strategists (owners, managers and
entrepreneurs) must have an integrated, overarching concept of how the
business will achieve its objectives – a strategy. It may seem
as though strategy is something for the ‘big corporates’ to worry
about, but strategy is just as important for small and medium
enterprises – to channel the passion and drive that most small business owners have into positive results.

It is interesting that the word ‘strategy’ is derived from the Greek ‘strategos, or the art of the general’. An important link here is that the general(s) referred to, similar to business leaders, had to orchestrate multiple battles on multiple fronts over extended time frames. They had to resource their army then ensure that all components of their forces were where they had to be, when they had to be, doing what they had to do and complementing each other. Hannibal’s decision to use elephants to cross the alps was not his whole strategy…it was a small part of it.

So where to for help? A search for ‘business strategy’ books on Amazon.com this week resulted in 13,246 listings. Needless to say there is no shortage of reading material available on the subject. Getting straight to the point, an excellent article on the subject is by respected authors Hambrick & Frederickson (2001) who argue that a comprehensive business strategy addresses five elements.

1.    ARENAS: Where will we compete?
Which geographic locations?
Which market segments?
Which products or services?

2.    VEHICLES: How will we get there?
Organic growth?
Joint ventures?
Franchising?
Acquisitions?

3.    DIFFERENTIATIORS: How will we win?
Price?
Customisation / differentiation?
Product reliability?
Image?

4.    STAGING: What will our speed and sequence be?
In what sequence should our initiatives be undertaken?
How fast should we grow?

5.    ECONOMIC LOGIC: How should we obtain our returns?
Lowest cost through scale advantage?
Premium price due to unmatchable service?
Premium price due to patents or proprietary product features?
To illustrate their model Hambrick & Frederickson map out the strategy of an international furniture retailer. Can you guess who it is?

ARENAS: Where will we compete?
Inexpensive contemporary furniture.
Young, white-collar customers.
Worldwide.

VEHICLES: How will we get there?
Organic expansion.
Wholly owned stores.

DIFFERENTIATIORS: How will we win?
Very reliable quality.
Low price.
Fun, non-threatening shopping experience.
Instant fulfilment.

STAGING: What will our speed and sequence be?
Rapid international expansion, by region.
Early footholds in each country; fill in later.

ECONOMIC LOGIC: How should we obtain our returns?
Economies of scale (global, regional and individual-store scale).
Efficiencies from replication.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to know that it will take more that answering questions off the top of your head to develop a good strategy. A robust strategy will require the investment of considerable time and effort in analysing your competitors, industry, market trends and customer needs as well as your own capabilities and capacity.

For those of you who would like to test the quality of their strategy Hambrick & Frederickson offer six evaluation criteria.

1.    Does your strategy fit in with what’s going on in the environment?
Is there a healthy profit potential where you are headed? Does your strategy align the key success factors of your chosen environment?
2.    Does your strategy exploit your key resources?
With your particular mix of resources, does this strategy give you a good head start on competitors? Can you pursue this strategy more economically than competitors?
3.    Will your envisioned differentiation be sustainable?
Will your competitors have difficulty matching you? If not does you strategy specifically include a ceaseless regime of innovation and opportunity creation?
4.    Are the elements of your strategy internally consistant?
Have you made choices of areans, vehicles, differentiators, staging and economic logic? Do they all fit and mutually reinforce each other?
5.    Do you have enough resources to pursue the strategy?
Do you have the money, managerial time and talent, and other capabilities to do all that you envision? Are you sure you are not spreading you resources too thinly, only to be left with a collection of feeble positions?
6.    Is your strategy implement able?
Will your key constituencies allow you to pursue this strategy? Can your organisation make it though the transition? Are you and your management team able and willing to lead the required changes?

Whether you develop your strategy formally or informally, there is no doubt that it will be better for considering each of the five elements.

Good luck.
Reference:
Hambrick, D.C. & Frederickson. J. W., 2001, ‘Are you sure you have a strategy?’, Academy of Management Executive, 1 October, pp. 48-59.

David Mitchell is the Director of Pareto Business Advisors. For more information, contact David on 07 3360 0850 or via email at dmitchell@paretoba.com.au.