What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

To understand the question, you first need to understand what web presence actually means. This isn’t the time to go consulting Wikipedia because, for some absurd reason, they have the definition of web presence backwards on the site.

Web presence, also called online presence or Internet presence, simply means your online penetration. This is the simplest definition anyone can give you. But for the sake of folk that might beg to differ, here is a list of interpretations we can go with:

  • Online penetration. I’ve already mentioned that.
  • Your online visibility.
  • Your digital footprint, which is a summation of all online files, destinations, and touch points you own or that refers to you.

So can we safely say that web presence is all about your online penetration, about establishing your presence or that of your brand online, about making yourself or your brand known on the Internet?

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to what makes up a successful web presence.

When people hear web presence, the first thing that comes to mind is a website. But then our interpretations above clearly suggest that web presence is more complex than that — in fact, as complex as a person’s public image, which basically entails where they are from, what they do, and who they associate with.

With web presence, you are basically trying to put forward content that promotes your brand’s public image and in so doing help you sell your products or services. Take a look at the table below.

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Looking at the table above, you can easily identify the core elements you need to focus on to build a successful web presence around your brand. And thus we have:

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Blogging
  • Email marketing

Let’s look at them one after the other

Website

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

As I mentioned before, this is your base of operation. It’s where your brand’s web presence begins and ends. Every other aspect of your web presence should direct people back to your website. Hence, you need to put a lot of thought into making your business website as focused, informative, coherent, and on-brand as possible. Learn more about setting up a website for your business.

Social Media

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Now that your business website is set up, you need to draw people to it so they can learn about your business and products and possibly go on talking about them afterwards. For starters, take your business to where consumers gather. Think social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Think forums like Quora and Reddit. You could try to connect and engage consumers organically or you could run paid marketing campaigns on these channels. A combination of both is a better strategy, and your efforts here have to be perpetually ongoing and consistent for you to constantly achieve tangible results.

If running multiple social accounts is daunting for you, then you might want to check out Social Republic, which offers a central dashboard for managing all your social accounts.

Blogging

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

You don’t just create a website for your business and then forget it. To achieve the goal of building a web presence, you need continuous participation. This is where blogging comes in. Sadly, many companies online don’t have a blog integrated into their websites. Even many of those that have rarely update theirs. Online presence is all about penetration and visibility, which you can then leverage to drive conversation and sales. For better penetration, more visibility, and more traffic, you need to continuously inject more relevant content into your digital footprint. Regular blogging can do that for you, just as ongoing participation on social platforms also can.

Email Marketing

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Say, your website and blog are booming and you have people flowing in from social media and search engines. How do you keep them coming back? Surely, if the content of your blog is valuable, many of your readers would want to come back. The question is: will they remember to come back?

This is why you need to be very proactive when it comes to retaining leads. These days, email marketing is the way to go. Simply sign up for a service like MailChimp, Aweber, and Mailgun. Then integrate an email subscription form into your blog and website and configure it to actively encourage your site visitors to join your mailing list. Getting them to sign up means you no longer have to wait for them to come to you. Instead, you can take your content, marketing offers and promotions to them.

Of course, there are many other elements of a successful web presence, but these four are the basics you need to cover before anything else. Do let me know what you think in the comment area.

This article also appeared in Macaulay Gidado Medium blog.

Employee Retention: Happy Employees Are Good for Business

Employee Retention: Happy Employees Are Good for Business - Macaulay Gidado

People are the engine that powers businesses. Of course, this isn’t breaking news. The problem is that we all talk about it more often than we show it. Anyway, “people”, in this case, can be your employees or customers.

Today, I’m going to talk about your employees and what it means to foster a healthy relationship with them, to create a conducive work environment for them, and ultimately to retain them.

Employee retention… I probably should have put that last bit first, seeing as every other thing mentioned revolves around it. If you are a CEO or HR, I imagine trying to figure out how to retain your top gun makes you want to bang your head on concrete every morning. I know, it’s tough. Millennials are nasty, discontented sons of *******, hopping here and there as if the world belongs to them.

That’s the wrong thinking though.

What if I told you that your top guns are leaving because you aren’t doing enough to keep them? If you are anything like a long-time client of mine, you would probably laugh, “What’s this maniac talking about?”

Okay, calm down. Let’s back up a bit and think about this. Ask yourself these two pertinent questions:
  • Do I want more of my staff to stay?
  • Is that in my interest?

If your answer to those questions is “no”, then you should probably sell your business (if it’s worth anything), pack up, and go find a more astute CEO to work for. Should be an enlightening period of your life.

So why is “more of your employees staying” in your best interest? It’s simple: cutting down on turnover cost. In other words, it’s cost-effective.

Each time you have to replace an employee, you are looking at:

  • Direct exit costs like unused sick time, payouts for accrued vacation time, contributions to healthcare coverage, and so on.
  • Recruitment, onboarding, and training costs of new hires.
  • Cost of learning and development
  • Side effects like decreased productivity, loss of expertise, lowered moral in the workplace, and more.
  • Cost of time with unfilled role

Now, let’s get down to numbers

Employee Retention: Happy Employees Are Good for Business - Macaulay Gidado

According to a study by SHRM, it can take 50% to 60% of an employee’s annual salary to find a direct replacement. When you now factor in other costs and effects associated with turnover, you’d be looking at 90% to 200% of an employee’s annual salary.

So now that I have convinced you that retaining more of your employees is in your best interest, let’s dive into more pertinent questions.

  • Are my staff happy?
  • Will my top guns stay?
  • What more can I do to keep them?

These are the questions smart CEOs and HRs ask themselves everyday. If your answers to these questions are favorable, chances are that your turnover rate is very low. I wish I can say the same for the other guy.

But let’s not point fingers now. I think we all can learn a thing or two from other people’s experiences. So whether you are that guy or the other guy, below are a handful of suggestions for maximizing employee retention that I share with my clients.

Offer Competitive Salary and Benefits

Employee Retention: Happy Employees Are Good for Business - Macaulay Gidado

According to a recent Glassdoor survey, 45% of employees that quit mentioned salary as the top reason. Then another survey on employee retention saw 56% of employees saying that what keeps them in their job is healthcare and insurance concerns. Clearly, money matters, and if as a CEO you don’t offer your employees something comparable to other companies in your industry, you risk losing them.

Still money isn’t everything. There are a host of other ways to maximize employee retention.

Employ the Right Person

Employee Retention: Happy Employees Are Good for Business - Macaulay Gidado

The survey by Glassdoor also discovered that about 35% of companies who hire new staff do so because they anticipate that a fraction of their current staff will quit in the coming year. It’s unfortunate, but this is a dilemma many CEOs face everyday.

So why not revamp your hiring process and hire the right people from the onset? Be as transparent as possible when hiring. Let applicants know what to expect from the onset. That way, they can genuinely decide on time if the job is for them or not. An ill-informed hire will most likely leave when they discover the job isn’t what they expected.

Life and Work Must Balance

Employee Retention: Happy Employees Are Good for Business - Macaulay Gidado

A happy employee is one with a healthy balance between work and their personal life. Anything outside that leads to pain, frustration, and ultimately the gnawing impulse to quit.

As an employer, you must refrain from expecting your employees to function like robots. This can easily wear them out, thus translating to frustration, decreased productivity, and the said impulse to quit.

Instead, try your best to create a conducive work environment and also encourage a balance between their work and personal life.

How can you do this?

The answer is simple. By talking to your employees to find out what their pain points are. You can do this through a survey or direct feedback. You could also pay attention to industry trends to discover the top reasons employees become frustrated.

Then once you have done that, you take steps to alleviate any pain points you have discovered. This could mean a salary increment, offering better benefits, making sure your employees get a certain amount of weeks off each year. When your employee knows you have their best interest at heart, they will be happier on the job, they will give more, and they will be much less likely to quit.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Employee Retention: Happy Employees Are Good for Business - Macaulay Gidado

Be someone your employees respect, not someone they fear. This doesn’t mean you should become best buddies with your staff. No. It means you should be a figure they can look up to. Bosses focus on numbers, leaders understand that their employees are their most important assets.

Keep Your Managers In Check

Employee Retention: Happy Employees Are Good for Business - Macaulay Gidado

A bad manager is like a negative influence in any work environment. When your workers aren’t happy about your manager or feel your manager treats them unfairly, a good fraction of them is going to leave. This is why it’s important to always look beyond the technical aspects of the managerial position when hiring.

A good manager needs to have great people skills. They should be able to motivate different types of people. They should be skilled in conflict, stress, and crisis management. And they should be able to deal well with various personality traits.

Employee Engagement Goes a Long Way

Employee Retention: Happy Employees Are Good for Business - Macaulay Gidado

Engagement is everything. When an employee is not actively engaged with the job, boredom and distraction set in and productivity falls. Soon, the impulse to quit follows. In fact, a poll by Gallup discovered that 73% of actively disengaged employees actively look for a new job while still on the old one.

This is every employer’s nightmare.

So what do you do? There’s no point in blaming your employee for being distracted on the job. Instead, you should remember that distraction is a product of lack of motivation. Then start working on ways to motivate your employees so they can be fully engaged with the job.

Make Your Employees Proud of Your Brand

Employee Retention: Happy Employees Are Good for Business - Macaulay Gidado

Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand for doing this. You just need to do the age old hard work.

Everybody wants to be part of something grand and life changing. To retain your employees, why not turn your business into something grand and life changing, into something they can be proud of, something they wouldn’t want to abandon. You could start by offering quality products and services, creating a conducive work environment, and giving back to the community.

Tell me, what other strategies do you adopt to retain your employees? Please leave a note in the comment area. Thanks.

This post also appeared in Macaulay Gidado Medium Publication.

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees - Macaulay Gidado

Surfing through Fiverr the other day looking for logo design gigs, a $5 blog writing gig caught my attention. I couldn’t believe it. As I curiously opened the gig, the one thought zipping around in my head was, “Is that like a 50-word blog post?” Surprisingly, it turned out to be a 500-word blog writing gig.

That doesn’t make sense, I thought. How does one make a living charging $5 per 500-word post? I poked around a little more and discovered there are tons of similar writing gigs. My annoyance with the whole thing was what prompted me to write this post.

First, I have to say this, “Writers, please stop underselling yourselves. When you do so, you’re not just making life miserable for you but are also ruining things for the rest of us who actually want to get super rich doing this.” Yes, my optimism might border on insanity but it’s attainable.

So what should you charge clients for your writing?

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees - Macaulay Gidado

Make no mistake. I’m talking about copywriting. Not fiction writing. You can ask J. K. Rowling about the latter. Copywriting entails writing web pages, business blogs, brochures, sales letters, proposals, product descriptions, profile text, and so on.

For starters, decide how you charge

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees - Macaulay Gidado
  • Per hour?
  • Per word?
  • Per page?
  • A flat fee per content?

Each one of these pricing models come with their advantages and disadvantages. You just have to figure out what works for you. Generally, the way to go is to mix up the options depending on the project types you undertake.

Here is what the hourly vs per word pricing model would look like, depending on your level of expertise.

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees - Macaulay Gidado

If you noticed, even an entry level copywriter would make at least $15 per hour. The above, in my opinion, is within acceptable rates. But I have certainly charged much more for a project.

When is hourly ideal and why?

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees - Macaulay Gidado

When there’s a moderate air of uncertainty surrounding a project.

  • For instance, you are uncertain about how long it will take you to complete the project.
  • The brief and goal of the project aren’t clear.
  • The concept is vague.
  • You suspect the client will make drastic changes as the project progresses.

Charging hourly under these circumstances basically protects your best interest. The last thing you want is charging per word or per page, only to realise in the end that you have spent five hours working on the project.

It doesn’t end with charging hourly. You need to specify the minimum number of hours per project.

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees - Macaulay Gidado

Simply billing in small time increments will only work against you. Because you spent an hour and a half writing a piece doesn’t mean you should charge that. Certainly, you want to factor in time spent on phone calls, contract, filing, and so on. So what do you do?

  • You charge an hourly rate. Say, $50 per hour.
  • Set a project minimum for hourly billing. Then put the minimum number of hours per project to, say, 2, 3, or even 4 hours, depending on your level of expertise. That way, even if a project takes you an hour to complete, you still get a 2, 3, or even 4 hour rate.

For instance, I charge $50 per hour and the minimum number of hours I undertake is two hours. Which means, the minimum I charge for any project is $100.

Don’t go below $50 per hour

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees - Macaulay Gidado

This is for the pros. Not for entry-level writers. However, it doesn’t mean that the latter can’t charge $50. It means that if you are a pro, are very confident in your skills, and have a stellar portfolio to back them up, never go below $50. Otherwise, you aren’t going to make a living doing this.

Just think about it. Factor in dry times, expenses, the time you spent promoting yourself, and so on and you begin to see that $50 is even poor. A writer working full time at $50 would only make $25k a year.

I’ve certainly charged clients much more. I’ve done $200 an hour for a project in the medical niche. I hope to top that before the year runs out.

When to use project price

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees - Macaulay Gidado

I imagine you must be asking, “Why use project price when I can charge hourly and make more money?” The truth is that you grow as you write. You become faster and more efficient. This means that projects that took you three hours to complete last year would probably take you two hours or less today. Charging hourly for such a project would translate to a depreciation in your income. So what do you do?

Now that you have worked out the kinks and hoops of certain project types, you have become better equipped to stick specific price tags on them without losing money in the process.

Be careful with using flat rates for projects. The last thing you want is realizing halfway through the project that you undercharged the client. Still, should you find yourself in this dilemma, don’t go trying to modify the fee. A project fee is a flat, fixed price per piece. It can’t be changed once quoted. Learn from the mistake and amend your rates for the next client. The only grounds for altering a project fee is when the client significantly alters the project.

Set. Rinse. Repeat

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees - Macaulay Gidado

Never stop testing. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new prices. Certainly, you want your income to appreciate gradually with time. You don’t have to be aggressive about it. Just throw in reasonable higher prices once in a while. For instance, if you usually charge $1,200 per ebook, you could ask a new client for $1,500 or more. The client will obviously want to negotiate. So factor that in as you set your new price so that you will still be above your previous rate after negotiation.

Act like a pro, get paid like a pro

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees - Macaulay Gidado

The impression you give your clients matters. Any slightest display of incompetence will undermine your value. Hence, you want to make sure you have a foolproof means of onboarding clients.

  • For instance, have a contract ready and always get your clients to sign it before starting the project. Not only does this show that you know what you are doing; it also protects you interest.
  • Be firm about money matters. Mention your rates from the onset. Put it in the contract. Also detail down terms for payment in the contract.
  • Always ask for a 50% retainer upfront. Or perhaps for first-time clients. This will help you get rid of dubious clients who might want to pull a fast one on you.

Improve the value of your copywriting rates

A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Copywriting Fees - Macaulay Gidado

Many times, simply delivering finished copy doesn’t justify your pricing to clients. In fact, a typical client would underestimate the amount of work you’ve put into the project if the finished copy is all you deliver.

Get the client involved every step of the way. Spell out everything, including the research done, meetings, writing, outline, proofing, interviews, editing, and so on. That way, the will get to see the value in your price.

Alright, that’s it. No two copywriters are the same. Everyone has what works or doesn’t work for them. Please comment below with your pricing strategy. Would be glad to hear about your experience.

This post also appeared in Macaulay Gidado Medium Publication.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

Slack ranks among the hottest next-generation communication and collaboration tools out there. You can most certainly say that the mission of the people behind the app is to change the way people communicate at work. It doesn’t matter what industry or niche you work in. Slack is virtually all-encompassing in application. If there’s a limit to what you can do with the app, it resides in how creative you want to get with its rich features.

We have been using the app for a year now at Macaulay Gidado, and so far, it hasn’t disappointed. Not writing this to promote Slack in any way. I’m basically just excited about what we have been able to achieve using the app. Here are the top seven benefits that came with moving our team communication to the app.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

All Team in One Place

At Macaulay Gidado, we tried a lot of tools out there. Think Basecamp, Trello, even Whatsapp… While these other tools have their unique benefits, Slack was the only one that delivered the result we needed, especially because team communication and collaboration become extra seamless when you can intelligibly fit everything you need for a project into one place. The app makes it possible with features like mentions, file sharing, integrations, and much more.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

Slack Has an Efficient Search Tool

If you have ever used Whatsapp for team communication then you probably have a hint of how frustrating locating messages from prior days or weeks is. The search feature is there, but it’s annoying. At Macaulay Gidado, we experienced this problem first-hand. Whatsapp buries chats. Short and simple.

Then we found Slack. While chats are still buried within threads on Slack, finding them is a lot easier. I dare say easier than using the Gmail search tool. On Slack, it’s super fast, user-friendly, and best of all filterable — meaning you can input a search term and other variables like date, channel to search, name of the sender of the message you are looking for.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

Streamline File Sharing

Tired of always having to set file sharing rules on Google Drive or Dropbox? Tired of receiving annoying access requests to files from team members? We have been there. Trust me, it’s not pretty.

The one thing we can tell you is that Slack is your friend. First, do a one-time integration between your Slack and cloud storage. Once that is done, sharing a file and granting permissions to access request is as easy as clicking a button on Slack.

For instance, to share a file with team members, all you need to do is copy the url and paste into the Slack thread. Slack will immediately detect that your team members don’t have access to the file and will present you with options, prompting you to grant access with just a click. Also, when a team member requests access to a file, a notification will pop up on, say, the Google Drive Slack channel, asking you to grant access with a click.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

One-on-On and Group Exchanges

Slack also comes with features people naturally expect from any communication tool. There are private channels and group channels. While transparency is great when it comes to team communication, there are times when you just need to chat privately with a team member or a select group of team members. Slack makes this possible.

  • You can create a group channel for a project all members of the team are collaborating on and invite everyone.
  • Also, you can create a group channel and invite a few select team members for a side task or project.
  • You can chat with each team member alone on their private channel.
  • And you can remove team members from a channel you no longer want them to access.
Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

Integrate with Services You Already Use

Basecamp. Trello. GitHub. Google Drive. DropBox. RemoteLock. Gmail. These are just a few of the services you can integrate into your Slack.

  • You want to know when changes have been made to a task on Trello and by who? Slack-Trello integration takes care of that.
  • You want to easily share and grant access to Google Drive files? Slack-Google Drive integration takes care of that too.

These are just some of the many services we have integrated into our Slack.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

On the Go Access

Like many other cloud powered tools, you can use Slack anywhere. You can easily access work chats, collaborations, notifications, and much more from anywhere and on any device that is compatible with the app. The tool is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and IOS. So far as you have an Internet connection and a compatible device, you can keep up with your team from anywhere through Slack.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

No More Pesky Internal Emails

Slack is the ideal tool to use if you want to abandon internal email and improve communications within your team. Instead of sending internal messages and announcements via email, you can just post them on Slack and everybody will see them.

Also, Slack-email integration means that you can route incoming emails with certain labels to post on a specific channel on the app. That way, without compromising access to the company mailbox, you can keep your team in the know about specific projects, task, or inbound communications.

For instance, we once worked with a client who uses RemoteLock to manage access to their vacation rental property. Typically, the client issues his guests temporary access codes and RemoteLock notifies him via email whenever someone unlocks or locks the door.

The client needed to give his team access to the email notifications without compromising access to his mailbox. So we helped him set up a Slack-Gmail integration so that the notifications are automatically broadcast on the team’s Slack channel. It worked like magic. And just like that, every team member now knows whenever a guest accesses the client’s property.

It doesn’t end here. Slack has a ton of other juicy features. It all depends on your industry and how creative you want to get with integrations.

Next, I will talk about how we use Trello, Basecamp, and a host of other apps at Macaulay Gidado.

This article also appeared in Macaulay Gidado’s Medium publication.

Mistakes Businesses Make When Setting Up a Website

Mistakes Businesses Make When Setting Up a Website - Macaulay Gidado

Okay, I’m not going to drone about the usual stuff you are likely to find online when you Google this topic. You know, points like “failing to customize your theme”, “forgetting to make your business site responsive”, “not implementing a good SEO strategy”, “poor navigation”, “using too many pop-ups”, blah, blah, blah…

I’m not trying to demean the validity of these points. It’s just that the Internet is riddled with them, and I have no intentions of adding to the clutter. So instead, I will take you on a journey through the various mistakes many of our clients (typically small and medium businesses) make prior to approaching Macaulay Gidado to build their web presence.

In fact, when you mind the mistakes I’m going to elaborate on below, you automatically avoid many generic pitfalls like the ones mentioned above.

No business is an island

No Business is an Island

Yes, a bit of a cliche. A bad one at that. But some of our clients, like many other businesses out there, started out thinking they can go it alone. Trust me, even if you were a genius entrepreneur highly skilled in copywriting, web design, and web development, going it alone is still a bad idea.

Why? Because you need objectivity. Subjectivity would only produce a website that appeals to you mostly. You need input from people less emotionally attached to your business. People that can give you the hard truth.

You’ve got to ask yourself. Why does my business need a website? It goes without saying, but you most certainly are trying to reach a certain demographic. Should your business website then be built to appeal to you or that demographic?

Let me know your answer to that in the comment area.

Shop for value, not trinkets

Shop for Value Not Trinkets

Many of our clients were comfortably knee deep in this pitfall. One would think that coming to us meant they had figured out why their cheap-looking websites weren’t delivering the desired results. But no, most of them came with the same pathetic budget that funded the mess they were in. It was like doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a better result each time.

God, I want to scream. These things drive me crazy.

Okay, let’s face it. When you see a cheap website versus one built with value in mind, you just know it. There’s no debating that. Not saying you should throw all your money at copywriters, designers, and developers—um, hello 🙋, please throw your money at me. It all depends on what you want to achieve with your business website and whether your resources can accommodate that goal. In other words, go for cost-effective.

Yes, there’s a big difference between “cheap” and “cost-effective”. The latter has value written all over it. And that’s my recommendation. That and the saying, “When you want to do something, do it well.”

Vision & strategy need each other

Vision Strategy Need Each Other

When building a website for your business, vision and strategy should be at the core of everything. They address the questions: “What do I want to achieve with this business website?” and “How is this website going to help me achieve those goals?”

These two questions, if addressed properly, will determine what goes into the copy, design, and development of your business website. Unfortunately, a good fraction of our clients came with half-baked goals. Well, fortunately for them, we like to be thorough at Macaulay Gidado. So we typically start by getting them to ruminate on their visions. Then we work with them to develop a working strategy.

I have to say, there’s a great satisfaction that accompanies knowing we have helped a client solve a dire problem. Here are more stuff to consider when setting up your website.

Being responsive goes a long way

Being Responsive Goes a Long Way

Not referring to making your business website responsive, but that’s also highly important. So what the hell? What a turn of phrase.

Anyway, I’m talking about being responsive as a client. Imagine how frustrating viewing a mobile unresponsive website on your smartphone can be. That’s how working with an unresponsive client feels. Makes me want to pull hair out. It basically cripples the progress of the project. If this passage inspires you to become a responsive client going for a responsive website, then good job to me. Now, time to go congratulate myself with a cup of Malagasy coffee.

Still here 🙋. Will get the coffee when I finally visit Madagascar.

So my fellow businesspeople. When you hire a professional—me, of course—to build your company website, remember that talking about your business is a good thing for the project. Every business is unique. While there are similar businesses online from where the professional can source info and inspiration, the last thing you want is for your website to turn out just generic or worse, a replica. Certainly you want the content, design, and other features to zero in on pertinent aspects of your business you want to convey to your audience.

The bottom line is: you want to hire me to build your website? You must be ready to make out time to discuss, really discuss, your business.

Don’t leave your assets behind

Dont Leave Your Assets Behind

At Macaulay Gidado, we have what we call a handover document. Basically, this is a comprehensive documentation of all tasks completed under a particular project, all login details, and a linked DropBox folder containing all files and data generated throughout the project development process. As soon as the client has approved the completed project, we close the contract by passing the handover document to them.

The unfortunate truth is that the majority of clients we have worked with in the past didn’t ask, much less expect, a handover document. They typically imagined that all they needed was the finished product–that is, the link to their website, thus forgetting that:

  • They would need to take control of their hosting, domain, and other accounts, change the login details, and update their payment details so that their subscriptions can renew automatically.
  • By leaving their assets behind, they are leaving themselves open to extortion. This is how some developers hold people’s websites hostage.
  • They need access to the raw assets that make up their branding identity.

The list goes on and on, and it’s pathetic. Please, if you are a business, never leave your assets behind, no matter what the project might be.

Phew! I think I’m done emptying myself. Now let’s hope that someone listened. Please do let me know what you think in the comment area. Would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Thanks a lot.

This article also appeared on Macaulay Gidado Medium publication.

Domain Name 101 for Business Men and Women

Domain-Name-101-for-Business-Men-and-Women - Macaulay GidadoDomain-Name-101-for-Business-Men-and-Women - Macaulay Gidado

Are you thinking of setting up a website or landing page for your business? Among the first set of things you need to do is register a domain name for your business. The problem is that when you are not IT savvy, understanding how the Domain Name System works alongside the terminology associated with it can seem challenging. This guide was designed to simplify everything for you.

First of All, Do You Know What an IP Address Is?

Domain Name 101 for Business Men and Women - Macaulay Gidado

An IP address simply means an internet protocol address. It’s consists of four numbers separated by a dot, and each number has one to three digits. An example of an IP address is 78.123.0.218.

Every computer or server has a unique IP address. Computers on the internet use IP addresses to locate and share information with one another. For a clearer picture, think of a computer or server as a house. Then think of an IP address as the mailing address of that house.

Relationship Between Websites and IP Addresses

Every website has one or more IP addresses. Which means that a website can be hosted on one or more servers. To simplify this, a computer is like a house, an IP addresses is the address of the house, and a website is the occupant of the house.

What Is a Domain?

Domain Name 101 for Business Men and Women - Macaulay Gidado

Typically, if you want to visit a website online, you are supposed to type in the IP address of the computer hosting the website. Now, looking at the IP address 78.123.0.218, you can see it’s not easy to memorise, especially if you are not good with numbers. When you now consider that you need to visit many websites from time to time, you begin to see how memorising a lot of IP addresses (a bunch of numbers) can be a huge problem for the human mind.

This is where domain names come me. They are a way to identify IP addresses. For instance, www.amazon.com is a domain name identifying some of Amazon’s IP addresses. So instead of memorising Amazon’s IP addresses or typing them to visit their website, you just need to memorise or type their domain instead. Makes everything easier, doesn’t it?

In URLs, domain names can also identify web pages–as in the example www.cnn.com/contact, which will point you to the contact page on CNN’s website.

Domain Name System (DNS)

Domain Name 101 for Business Men and Women - Macaulay Gidado

You have probably heard of the term several times but don’t know what it means. The DNS is an electronic address system (an internet service) that translates domain names into the corresponding IP addresses they identify. So when you input and send the domain name www.example.com, the DNS finds the IP address it identifies and then locates the computer associated with that address, so that you can view the website hosted on that computer.

The DNS consists of three levels:

  1. The Top-Level Domain (TLD)
  2. The Second-Level Domain (SLD)
  3. The Third-Level Domain or subdomain.

Top-Level Domain (TLD)

This is the DNS root zone. It’s the highest level of domain names you can find online. All domain names end with a TLD, and there are over 800 top-level domains. Another name for Top-Level Domains is ‘domain extensions’. They come in three categories:

  • Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs): These are domain extensions like .com, .net, and .org.
  • Country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs): Any domain extension associated with a particular country is categorized under ccTLDs. There are more than 200 domain in this category. Examples are .es for Spain, .nz for New Zealand, .us for the United States, .ng for Nigeria, and so on.
  • New Top-Level Domains (nTLDs): These are the same as gTLDs above, except that they were introduced recently, from 2013 to 2016. They are associated with generic words and are very easy to remember. Examples: .agent, .tokyo, and .blog.

To register a domain name for your business, you get to choose from over 800 TLDs.

Second-Level Domain (SLD)

In the DNS hierarchy, right below the top-level domains are the second-level domains. Take a complete domain name like www.example.com; the second-level domain is the name immediately left of the TLD. ‘Example’ is the SLD.

To register a domain name for your business, you have the freedom to make up your SLD. It can be a random word, your business name, and it can include numbers and even hyphens.

Third-Level Domains

These are called subdomains. They are written immediately to the left of SLDs. In www.example.com, the third-level domain is ‘www’. In mail.example.com, it is ‘mail’. And in ftp.example.com, it is ‘ftp’.

Third-level domains refer to the designation of servers: ‘www’ refers to web servers, mail.example.com refer to a mail server, while ftp.example.com refers to a file transfer protocol server. Third-level domains simply offer structure to a website.

How Do I Get a Domain Name?

Domain Name 101 for Business Men and Women - Macaulay Gidado

By now, you already know that your domain name should have three levels as depicted in www.example.com. To get yours, all you need to do is visit the website of a domain registrar. A domain registrar is any institution that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has given license to sell domain services to people.

An example of a registrar is NameCheap, which we use for our company website at Macaulay Gidado and for our clients’ websites. When you are looking to register a domain cheaply and also get renewal charges and add-on services that are very cheap, NameCheap is the registrar to go with.

Be aware that registering a domain for a year means you own that domain for one year. Should you fail to renew it at the end of your one-year registration, the domain will become available for other people and businesses to register.

Find out more about how to choose a domain name for your business.

This article also appeared in Macaulay Gidado Medium Publication.

Are You Cut Out to Be an Entrepreneur?

Are-You-Cut-Out-to-Be-an-Entrepreneur - Macaulay Gidado

More than 50% of young people want to become an entrepreneur. That’s according a 2015 survey by EY. Many other researches by various other bodies like UPS also support this data. Young people want to be their own boss, and chances are that you too want that.

The big question is: Are you cut out for it?

Okay. Let’s get one thing straight. No one can tell you what you can or cannot do. Anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it.

Wait a minute. If that’s the case, why then are businesses failing left and right? I mean, according to Forbes, 90% of startups fail. The thing is that some people fail to assess themselves and their options before leaping into building a business. Hence, they end up setting themselves up for failure.

Therefore, before you leap, please evaluate yourself using the tips below.

You Can’t Stand Pressure

Weigh yourself before jumping into starting a business. Ask yourself. Can you stand pressure? Does being uncomfortable make you panic? If it does, then perhaps you are not cut out for self-employment. Or maybe you need help running your business. Why? Because business is about trying new things and daring to grow by stepping out of your comfort zone.

You Are Looking for Quick Cash

Quick cash in business is a fairy tale. If you want quick cash, then try gambling. Profit in business takes time to come. In the beginning, it’s all about spending–investing. Profit only comes when you business becomes successful. And for a business to become successful, it need to solve a problem, to add value to people’s lives. Focus on that first and profit will flow in later.

You Are Impatient

Business takes time to grow, to start pulling in money. In the beginning, it’s usually tough, but then there are times it will get tougher and you would be tempted to quit. Your success will depend heavily on your ability to stay the course and push through those tough times. If you are impatient, chances are that entrepreneurship isn’t for you.

You Are Afraid of Attention

Being an entrepreneur can be like becoming a celebrity. From an employee who often complain about their boss, you become an employer who has to put up with both the complaints of his or her employees and clients. You also become a spokesperson for your business. You become the front man. If you can’t handle attention (whether positive or native), you might want to think twice about becoming an entrepreneur.

You Hate Bumpy Roads

Okay, granted. Everybody hates bumpy roads. The big question is how resilient are you? If a bumpy road is the only way to reaching your destination, would you follow it or turn back? If your answer is the latter, then becoming your own boss is probably not for you. Why? Because there’s never are no flat surfaces when it comes to doing business. It’s a bumpy ride all the way. The key to transcending the bumps resides in being prepared.

You Love Complexity

Complexity can ruin your business if you let it. If you understand complex stuff and your business is built around complexity, then you have set yourself up for failure. Remember that a business is supposed to solve a problem, not create one. Something complex is a problem. A solution means breaking down that problem into simple pieces that people can understand. To thrive, your business needs to be easy to communicate to both your employees and customers. No one says yes to something they don’t understand.

You Think Marketing Doesn’t Work

Well, think again. Without proper marketing, your product or service will languish in oblivion. Okay, maybe not. I believe the correct way to put this is that you (and your workers) will be the only one(s) that know(s) about it. Why? Because when you create something new, no one will know of its existence until you tell people about it. When you tell a friend or family member about your product, that’s marketing. Now imagine this: by investing some money marketing, you can tell thousands, if not millions, of other people. Isn’t that great for business? Of course, it is.

You Can’t Explain Your Business Idea

If you can’t explain your business idea to other people, then chances are that you don’t even understand the idea. Entrepreneurs work with partners, employees, vendors, and customers. At one point or another, you are going to have to delegate tasks, outsource task, direct others on what to do, present your business plan to your partners or investors, and so on. How can you do those things effectively if you can’t explain or don’t understand your own business idea? Remember, understand makes for proper strategy and implementation. If you have having trouble explaining your idea, then entrepreneurship might not be for you.

You Don’t Like Solving Problems

I have news for you: business is all about solving problems. In the beginning, you probably have a problem you believe your business solves. But after launching your first product, you will realise that some customers are not satisfied with it. This creates further problems. To thrive you need to be the type of person that don’t run from their problems. You need to be the sort of person that loves solving problems.

Now that you have evaluated yourself, what do you think? Are you cut out for doing business? Whether your answer is yes or no, I have good news for you. You can build a successful business. You just need to be wise by working with the right people. If you are deficient in an area, it’s possible to get help in that area.

That’s what successful business-people do. They bring people together in order to achieve their goals.

Eight Things To Consider Before Building Your Website

Eight-Things-To-Consider-Before-Building-Your-Website - Macaulay Gidado

In this digital age, there are a lot of individuals and businesses on the Internet offering services for building your website. For someone new to the idea of setting up a website, the sheer number of available options can be confusing. It’s no wonder many people end up finding little to no satisfaction in running their own website.

You bring out your hard-earned cash and pay for a web development package, but then what you get in the end is a website that makes you frown.

Whose fault is it? Yours or that of the people you paid to do the job?

A wise man once said that knowledge is power. When you have the right information, you avoid pitfalls, you make the right decisions, and your chances of success increase. Therefore, why not equip yourself with the right information before jumping into building your website?

First, ask yourself the following questions:

What’s the Purpose of My Website

This should be the first question you ask yourself. If you can’t answer the question, then you probably don’t need a website.

Do you need the website:

  • For your business? Perhaps you want to open an online store or set up a page where people can make inquiries about your bakery.
  • For your career? Maybe you want to publish your CV and professional profile for employers from all around the world to see.
  • For blogging about a topic you are very conversant with? Or perhaps you want to set up a forum where like minds can discuss various topics?
  • Or something else?

Once you have determined the purpose of your website, then you are ready to go.

Is There a Market for What I Want to Do on My Website

That business you want to showcase with your website. Those skills on your CV. The topic you want to blog about. Is there a market for it?

How do you know whether or not there’s a market for something? You do a market research. If your website and the business/career/idea behind it don’t solve a major problem or add value to the lives of a good number of people, then maybe you don’t need a website.

Do I Know My Target Audience

What’s that saying? Jack of all trades, master of none. No site can meet all needs, just as no business can solve all problems. It’s just not feasible. Thinking your website is for everyone simply translates to setting yourself up for failure. It’s like shooting an arrow blindly and expecting to hit the mark. First, you need to discover who needs what you are selling the most and then target them.

What Will Make My Website Stand Out

It’s highly likely that someone already has a site similar to the one you plan to build. Therefore, before you start, you need to first find out who and who is already doing what you want to do. Once you have done that, then it’s time to brainstorm and give your own idea extra value, a unique selling point. This will give you a competitive edge.

How Far Are You Willing to Go for Your Idea?

People get great ideas every day, but very few ideas become successful. The question is: how dedicated are you to your idea? How far are you willing to go to see it through? This is where passion comes in. When your website idea is something you are passionate about, chances are that you will go the extra mile to keep it alive.

Who Will Manufacture the Content of My Website

A lot of work goes into a website. For starters, you need a copywriter who will discuss with you and help you produce compelling written content for your site. Then you need a competent web designer and developer who will help translate your idea into a visual design that will appeal to your audience. Our honest recommendation is that if you can’t do the work, outsource it to experts that can.

Who Will Run My Website

Websites don’t run themselves. You don’t just publish them and that’s it. Nope. Someone has to log in every day or week to run software updates and add to or change the content. If you don’t have the skill or time to do this yourself, then you will need to pay someone else to do it for you.

Expect Ongoing Expenses

Running a site is an ongoing commitment. After the expenses that come with the initial setup, you still have to pay for yearly web hosting subscription. Websites don’t sit in the air. They live in servers, and since you don’t own a server, you rent one from a web hosting company for your site. There are other ongoing costs like yearly domain and site backup subscriptions, depending on the features of your web hosting package. If hire someone or a company to manage your website, then the ongoing expenses will go into the yearly amount they charge you for management and maintenance.

There you go. Equip yourself with ample information pertaining to the above-mentioned points and you are ready to begin work on your site. Of course, if you need any help setting up your website or if you want to make the process seamless, then talk to one of our staff at Macaulay Gidado and we will get you started.

Online Ads Success: Eight Unobstructive Ways to Get Them Noticed

MACAULAY GIDADO makes it easier for entrepreneurs to do what they love.

The way we do business is rapidly shifting from physical to online presence. So it can be tempting to launch a website with the intention to make money overshadowing the need for quality content or services. Very often than not, we all bump into sites whose idea of making money via online ads borders on ferocity.

Banners in the middle of posts. Several monetized pictures inside a post. Misleading links. They all rank among the top reasons visitors click away as soon as they land on a site. You, of course, want those visitors to stay long enough to see your online ads and click on them.

Here are eight simple, non-technical tips that will ensure your online ads get a firm amount of attention.

Always Put Content First; Not Your Online Ads

There’s nothing more satisfying than great content. When your content is of stellar quality and serves your audience’s need, you gain reliability. And when your visitors find you trustworthy, they want to linger and check out more of what you have to offer. By spending more time on your website, they are bound to notice those unobtrusive strategically-placed online ads on your sidebars and footers, and they will click on them because you have already made them believe that everything on your website serves their needs.

Don’t Start Out Desperate for Income Through Online Ads

This is one of the biggest mistakes new website owners make. They launch a site and a day later, they have plastered every part of it with online ads. This can be very damaging to the reputation of a website, because it doesn’t serve the site’s audience. If you have ever stumbled upon one of those websites whose daily posts are monetized lists of products from Amazon, you begin to understand how frustrating a site riddled with adverts can be.

First build your content. Let your audience flow in. Gain their trust. Then start out with a few online ads placed in the right corners of your website.

The Reputation of Your Hosting Company Matters

Before choosing a web hosting service, it’s essential to make sure the uptime percentage of your favorite hosting company is as close to 100% as possible. A low uptime percentage means a host is likely to develop issues more frequently than ones with higher percentages. And whenever the issues arise, the websites hosted under them will become unavailable to visitors. This can be very detrimental to the reputation of a website, as readers are unlikely to return. This in turn translates to fewer eyes to notice your online ads.

So be wise in choosing a host.

A Good Design Can Go a Long Way

If your website is a product or service, then its design is the packaging. And in today’s world, packaging has become as important as content. Purchase a professional theme, one that suites the concept of your website. Hire a good designer—maybe an illustrator also.

It, however, isn’t all about how beautiful you make your website. It’s rather about whether the beauty complements the purpose. A tech site with lots of flowers and pink in its design can be a huge turn off for visitors, especially male ones—you have to consider that the tech world is dominated by men. If your design turns your visitors off, then be sure those visitors aren’t going to bother noticing your online ads. They, however, will surely turn away.

There’s also the issue of navigation. It’s paramount for visitors to easily find what they are looking for in your website. Any confusion brought by poor structure can most certainly scare them away. Thus your online ads become meaningless.

Update Your Site Regularly

Regular fresh content is what pulls visitors back to your site. No-one wants to read or watch the same thing over and over again. Post new tips every week, or better still twice a week. Make them relevant and interesting. Is your site an online store? Then update the images of your products and services with more creative images. Make your audience salivate with the promise of new, tasty content.

The more people that return to your website, the more likely your online ads are going to get noticed.

Don’t Stick Online Ads Everywhere

This is very simple. Don’t place online ads on every part of your site. Not in the middle of a post—this is very bad when it comes to image ads. Also not on pages like the ‘Contact’ and ‘About’ pages. And certainly not as a pop-up—this one can be especially annoying. Some very successful sites today know to limit their online ads to the sidebars and sometimes to the bottom of posts. You should learn from them.

Focus each content on one topic

By focusing each post on one topic, you help google Adsense easily learn which ads are relevant to your content and which ones are not. That way, you avoid the mistake of letting your readers, who visit your site to, perhaps, get your pig farming tips, see ads about first-class airline tickets.

Don’t Slow Your Pages Down with Ads

Too many ads, especially image ads, on a single page can slow the page down, and reader don’t have the patience to wait for a page to finish loading. If you make them wait, they might turn away to a faster website, and this defeats the purpose of you putting up all those ads in the first place.

So why not limit the number of ads on your pages. Make it reasonable. Two ads that get a hundred clicks per day are more profitable than ten ads that slow down everything to the extent that nothing gets clicked.

There are, of course, many other tips that can help you guarantee your ads get noticed. With these ones, however, you are on your way to safely making money with your adverts without annoying your precious audience.

Four Ways to Keep Your Content Marketing Blog Up-to-Date

4 ways to keep your content marketing blog up-to-date

Every serious content marketer knows this truth. It’s getting harder to conceptualize original ideas pertaining to content marketing. This makes regular blog updates a Herculean Task.

The truth is: there are still a lot of untapped compelling ideas. It’s not just about using your imagination and putting more creativity into your posts. No. It’s also about your passion for content marketing and the reason behind your content marketing strategies.

Here are four ways you can maintain frequent updates of your content marketing blog without succumbing to despair.

Rediscover Your Passion for Content Marketing

Lack of passion. That’s where the problem lies.

They say content marketing generates leads and drives sales, but this isn’t true for most people in the business. Many are struggling unavailingly to come up with new ideas to talk about on their blogs.

A question you should ask yourself is: if you lack the passion to write a compelling post, how do you expect you audience to find the passion to read and enjoy it?

How do you find your passion?

The phrase, content marketing, alone suggests we are all in it for the money. That’s true. But there has to be a supporting reason, one that pulls you through the bad times when the money isn’t coming. It could be your need to get heard. It could also be your desire to help people.

Rediscover that reason. Perhaps it can help you restart your passion for content marketing.

Help People

If your passion is to help people, then leverage it. If not, learn to care about more than what you get out of content marketing. Why? Because focusing on just your gains can quickly turn into despair when your content marketing efforts aren’t yielding your expected results—this can hamper your zeal.

Content marketing concerns helping people. You help them acquaint themselves with certain subjects in the hope that the knowledge you pass on spurs them to make a decision about your product or service.

If you have knowledge or experience about a certain subject, share them. Use them as post ideas. If your expertise is beneficial, people will always show their appreciation, perhaps, by purchasing what you are selling.

Also, helping people comes with fulfillment, which can serve as inspiration for conceptualizing more post ideas.

Outsource Your Content

A lot of content marketers outsource their content. It’s just reasonable. Sometimes you may be overwhelmed or too busy with work to write. Forcing it can lead to further stress and frustration, and even when you manage to produce some content in that condition, the quality may be in question and would only jeopardise your readership.

This is why it is ideal to have another content writer on speed dial for emergencies.

Also, by hiring another content writer, you take advantage of other people’s expertise and introduce a new voice to your blog.

However, be sure to properly vet whoever you hire to ascertain they are passionate about your niche and are professional enough to follow your guidelines.

Do you need help with your content marketing, Macaulay Gidado is here for you.

Welcome Guest Posts

Publishing guest posts from other bloggers in your niche is another way of keeping your blog up to date even when you feel uninspired to write.

In addition, welcoming guest posts will not only help you introduce your readers to new voices and views. It will improve your site’s authority through link building too, since the guest writers will obviously link from their blogs to their guest posts on yours. This in turn channels more traffic to your website.

Still, you ought to have a ‘submission guideline’ page detailing the requirements you want guest posts on your blog to fulfil. That way you maintain a certain level of control over what appears on your blog and ensure they don’t go against your niche as well as your blogs goals and objectives.

Whatever you do, never fall below standards. Always aim to offer value, for it’s mostly with content that is valuable to your readers that your content marketing can yield the desired result.