If your business is anything like Macaulay Gidado, then it relies on remote staff for more or less everything. Certainly you want to make sure that you aren’t paying more than you are getting from your remote workers. And you also want to make sure that your company is not spending too much time on a client’s project. Hubstaff and Trello are the time-tracking combo you need.
I mean, they work for us at Macaulay Gidado. My hope is that after this guide, you will be able to get them to work for your business too.
Of course, this all depends on what you want to achieve with the integration. I will start with the basics.
Track your employees: this entails what tasks they are working on and how much time they spend on each task.
Track your clients: that is, the collective time your organization spends on a client or the client’s project
These are the two main factors that determine how you prepare you Trello setup for Trello-Hubstaff integration.
Is your Trello set up properly for Hubstaff?
Hubstaff allows you to add projects. A project on Hubstaff equals a Trello board.
The table below shows how to set up your Trello, depending on whether you want to track your staff and clients’ projects or just your staff.
Of course, you want to seamlessly track both staff and clients. So below is what your Hubstaff and Trello setup should look like.
While you can also assign Trello boards to departments and recreate the departments as projects on Hubstaff, that setup will make tracking how much time your organization spends on a client extremely difficult.
Now that you have created Trello boards and Hubstaff projects using the configuration above, it’s time to connect the two. Or if you haven’t created any projects on Hubstaff, that’s no problem. Hubstaff will automatically create them for you at the end of the integration explained below.
On the tracker, they should be able to see projects they have been added to. These projects equal the Trello boards they are also a member of.
For effective time tracking, they shouldn’t track projects. They should rather press play on tasks under each project.
Tasks on Hubstaff = cards on Trello.
Hubstaff automatically imports Trello cards as tasks and file them under the projects linked with their respective boards
If a team member can’t find their assigned task under a project on Hubstaff, it means they are not added to the respective card on Trello. So they need to add themselves to the card and refresh their Hubstaff time tracker so the task can appear.
I hope this helps. Let me know what you think below.
This article also appeared on the Technopreneur. At Macaulay Gidado, we are all about helping entrepreneurs find success doing what they love. We evaluate your business and tell you what technologies can improve your processes. Visit our homepage to find out more.
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.
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:
Let’s look at them one after the other
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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?
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 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.
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?
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An email alias is basically an alternative email address (whether already assigned to a mailbox or not) that you can use to send out or reply to emails via your mail mailbox. Last time, I talked about how to configure catch-all routing on G Suite. Today, I will talk about setting up an email alias on your G Suite email so that you can send out, or reply to routed, emails as the address they were sent to.
For instance, if catch-all routing allows you to receive emails sent to unassigned addresses on your domain, an email alias allows you to reply to the received emails using the same email address they were sent to, in spite of the fact that the email address doesn’t actually exist.
HERE IS HOW TO CONFIGURE AN EMAIL ALIAS ON G SUITE EMAIL
Go to mail.google.com and login
On the top right corner, click the gear icon and then “settings”.
On the next page, click “Accounts”. Scroll down a bit and Click “add an email address”
On the window that pops up, fill out the name you want to use for that email address. Could be your name. It could be “Support”. Could also be “Customer Care”. It’s up to you. Type in the email address you want to create. This could be [email protected]
Make sure that the box for “Treat as an alias” is checked. Then click the “Next Step” button under.
Google will send a verification code to the email address you added above.
If this doesn’t happen automatically, click “send verification” on the window that appears.
This is where it gets tricky. If the email address you added above is an existing one, then check the mailbox for that email address to find the verification code. If the email address doesn’t exist, then make sure you have set up catch-all routing on your G Suite account so that the verification email can be routed to your catch-all mailbox. Otherwise, you will not receive the verification code.
Next, Log into your mailbox on another window or tab.
Open the email by Google and retrieve the code. Or just click the verification link in the email.
If you prefer to verify using the confirmation code, then go back to the previous window, paste the code, and click “verify”.
You will be returned to settings.
Then look for where it says “When replying to a message”. Under it, check the box for “Reply from the same address the message was sent to”
That’s it. Time to test everything to make sure it works.
Have someone send an email to your alias. If you have catch-all routing on, you will get the email.
Now reply to that email and check with the receiver to make sure that they are seeing your alias and not your main email address as the sender.
You can repeat this whole process again and again, depending on the number of email addresses you want to add as a alias. I think there’s a limit though — 30 aliases to be precise.
Well, I will show you how. First, let’s talk about what catch-all routing is and why you need it.
A catch-all, also called a wild-card email address, refers to your chosen G Suite mailbox for catching all emails sent to any nonexistent email address on your domain, and it doesn’t matter if that nonexistent address is [email protected] or [email protected]. It doesn’t matter the combination the sender uses. So far as the email address is associated with your domain, you will receive the email in your catch-all mailbox.
At Macaulay Gidado, we configured catch-all routing to avoid losing emails when customers misspell any of our email addresses. So if you are a business, I recommend you set yours up.
Catch-all routing also came in handy when we were starting out as a business.
First, it allowed us to set up email aliases (on our domain) that don’t just send emails but also receive them. The only downside to this is that all emails go into one email box, unless you set up filters and forwarding. Anyway, this is something that can also be fixed with Slack-Gmail integration if you work with a team. Using Gmail filters and labels can also help you makes sense of everything in your inbox.
Like any other business, we had departments. It only made sense to use [email protected] for sending and receiving support emails, and [email protected] for managing inquiries. It made us look professional. Naturally, we would have needed to register a G Suite user for “support”, and then another for “inquiries”, and so on. Initially, we went with combining catch-all routing and aliases. It was fun while it lasted. But it’s not scalable if you work with a team.
I think this second benefit is more suited for a one-man business. It’s not going to save you much. But the savings can buy you coffee on a boring day.
Without any further ado, here’s how to configure catch-all routing on your G Suite
Scroll to the bottom of the next page and click Advanced Settings
Once on the following page, press “Ctrl + F” on your keyboard and then type in “Catch-all” to find the catch-all section.
Find where “Routing Locally applied” is written and click “add a new routing”. This is usually not visible until you hover over it. In the screenshot below, I have highlighted where you need to hover so that “add a new routing” can appear.
On the pop-up window, check the boxes for “Inbound”, “Internal — sending”, and “Internal -receiving”.
Scroll down to “Envelope recipient” and check the box for “Change Envelope Recipient”. Under it, check the box for “Replace recipient” Then next to “Replace recipient”, type in the email address whose mailbox you want to use as your catch-all mailbox. This should naturally be your G Suite email address.
Scroll down more to “Encryption (onward delivery only)”. Check the box for “Require secure transport (TLS)”
Below it, click “Show Options”
More options will appear. Under “Account types to affect”, check the box for “Unrecognized/Catch-all” and click “Add Setting”. This will take you back to the page right under the pop up.
To save everything, click “save”.
That’s it. You are done. Now emails sent to any unassigned email address on your domain will be routed to the mailbox you chose as your catch-all mailbox.
Next, I will show you how to set up email alias so you can send out or reply to emails as up to 30 unassigned email addresses on your domain.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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?
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 126.96.36.199.
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?
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 188.8.131.52, 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?
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:
The Top-Level Domain (TLD)
The Second-Level Domain (SLD)
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.
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?
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.
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.