Since 1999, I have learned HTML/CSS coding and designed web sites. Obviously, those first few sites were very, very primitive, with not much of interest other than animated GIFs and content limited to TyPiNg LiKe ThIs, but hey, I was young and following trends.
Now I’m a fair bit older and much, much wiser than the nerdy 11 year old kid I once was, but web design and development has stuck with me – one of very few things that has stuck around for this Aquarian personality – and I continue to design interesting, effective websites for clients and my own projects.
The major point that has been become apparent to me in the last 5-6 years is the importance of having a web presence. Everything is now online, and everything is accessed online. I cannot recall the last time I opened a phone book, or called Directory Assistance for a telephone number, or called a business for their opening hours. All of these things are indicative of a changing society, where accessibility and immediacy are not only available, but expected.
If you only have a small business, you’re probably thinking, “Why have a web presence? Is it worthwhile?” Here’s my top reasons why you should:
- It doesn’t have to be expensive.
If cost is your primary concern, don’t stress. The cost of a .com domain name is minimal if you hunt around (often hosting packages will provide a free domain name for the first year). There are also free options like Wix.com if you’re just starting out, but for established business I recommend a top-level domain with your own dedicated web space, and hire someone to design and build your site for you.
Having a website is actually really cost-effective – you might pay upwards of $60 a year for your hosting and domain name, and maybe around $1,000 for a decent website build, but for that start-up cost you have the world at your feet, not just your immediate community. Imagine – millions of people instead of a few thousand.
- 24/7 business
By having a web presence, your business is effectively open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – imagine that, your business working for you while you sleep! Anything that saves your customers time and effort is similarly worthwhile for you – information about your business at their fingertips means less hassle for your customer, and they’ll appreciate that they can find out what they need to know without getting in their car.
- It takes time to get to the top of search results
If you want your business to be the first result of a Google search, you need to get working now. Don’t wait around; like having a child, there is no perfect time. Hire a designer who knows Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and get your results to the top.
How much easier for your friends, family, colleagues, and customers would it be to promote your business if you have a website to which they can direct their contacts? Forget business cards being your primary networking tool: it’s all about the website.
- Save time
Find you are always getting the same questions time after time from customers, and you feel like a broken record on repeat? Answer those FAQs on your website! If you’ve been asked a question twice, you can guarantee it will be asked again.
If you sell a product or service, imagine if you could sell that nationally, or even internationally, with ease! An online shop might sound like a lot of work, but set up correctly it’s just a matter of uploading a picture, a bit of information and a price – once you know how, it only takes a couple of minutes, about as long as placing a product on a shelf and labelling it.
And this is the point I made earlier – your information is available to everyone! If someone wants to know your business hours, they’re right there on your website and they don’t have to guess what time you’ll be open to find out when they can come into your place of business. or what products/services you actually sell/provide, or your telephone number, or even where you’re located!
Suppose you sell mobile phone chargers and a family on holiday in a caravan comes to your town in need of a new charger to replace the one that was thrown out the window by the toddler – they can look up local electronics businesses and find you to purchase the new charger. That’s business you may have missed out on to a larger, well-known business.
I think it’s pretty apparent that I’m passionate about this. I don’t even expect people to come to me to get their web site sorted out – I couldn’t care less who you use, just get your business online. Large or small, if you want your business to thrive, you need to be on the web to be noticed.
So it turns out that me procrastinating about blogging and my “leave it till tomorrow”s have turned into three months since my last blog post. Shit. Terribly sorry about that.
Most of my usual readers will know, I’m still alive, just -insanely- busy. May was, generally, uneventful until the end of the month.
Firstly, we had Emmett’s 1st birthday on the 25th – we had a party on the 24th just here at home, with family and close friends. I didn’t go “all out” like I did for Lily, which I felt so fucking guilty about, but it was pleasant with lots of kids and everyone seemed to have had a good time so in the end I didn’t feel so bad. It just means I can save up the celebration for birthday #2, one he’s more likely to remember.
Earlier in the month, I applied for a job with a local law firm just to try and supplement our family income a bit, as we were struggling and needed something more to make ends meet. The position I applied for was exactly what I was doing before I had Lily two-and-a-half years ago as a conveyancing clerk, so I thought why not give it a crack, and I can continue my other job on a casual basis (equivalent of one day a week).
I received a call from the Office Manager on the 27th May, apologising for the late notice but asking could I come in for an interview that afternoon. I asked if I could call her back, as I didn’t have any child care in place that day – she said of course! – so I went and sorted someone to watch the ferals, called her back and said, “I’ll be there!”. Went in for the interview at 4pm, the directors seemed really awesome and I felt comfortable, confident, and surprised myself in how well I went because I usually -hate- being interviewed. Like, passionate fucking hate. I walked out feeling like I’d absolutely nailed it and I had this job in the bag.
Fast forward to the next day, Thursday, and at 9.30am I get a call from the Office Manager again, offering me the position if I would like to accept it. Of course, I said absolutely! She asked me when could I start, I said when do you need me to start, she said ASAP, I said is Monday soon enough?!
I accepted their written job offer and I started at the firm on the 1st June, exactly 6 years after starting my very first conveyancing clerk job (not even kidding; I started that job on the 1st June 2009 – synchronicities and awesome signs!).
Now, demonstrating that I’m really good at math, I’ve been there for two months and just love it! I work 3 days a week (my first month was fulltime which was insane in terms of child care but glad it was only a month), and the people I work with are AMAZEBALLS! I enjoy every day that I’m there, the workplace is so relaxed and flexible, particularly with kids, and I am just so super happy about my job 🙂 the fact I also get to continue my work with NOFASD Australia too is a great bonus because I have a real passion for the work that NOFASD does.
Since May, we have also celebrated Michael’s 30th birthday, which was awesome! We went out for lunch with friends and family, then went out for dinner and a few drinks in the evening (I had to pike early because CHILDREN).
He expressed interest in learning to play guitar for the few months leading up so on his birthday I took him to a music store and said he could pick out a guitar he wanted – talk about kid in a candy store! He chose a beautiful blue Sanchez acoustic and he’s been having a play with that for the past month, learning the chords and attempting songs. It’s great to see him branching into things he used to do when he was a kid but with which he’s since lost the connection.
In the time I’ve been MIA, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet THE Leonie Dawson in the flesh – twice! I’m honoured that I can actually call her a friend now. She moved to Tasmania in February, so I thought, “YES! I CAN FINALLY MEET THIS WOMAN!”
It was funny, the first time I went to see her present a talk about building a multi-million dollar company, I walked into the room and was greeted by Ari, the lady who had put it all together, then I got myself a glass of water and went to find a seat. Suddenly I hear this huge, “TERRI!!!”, and I look up, and it’s LEONIE FUCKING DAWSON CALLING ME OVER. I yelled out, “LEOOONNNIIEEEE!!!!” and went over to hug her and say “HI I FUCKING LOVE YOU BE MY BFF!” She remembered me from Instagram and we made an immediate soul connection which was just so amazing to feel. Leonie is inspiring, funny, crazy, and is just made from 110% AWESOME.
Then, very recently, Leonie announced she was moving back to Canberra with her hubby-love and baby-loves, so I made the trip down to Hobart last weekend for a breakfast meetup with her before she leaves next month. It was so lovely to connect with her in person again, and I’m sure our paths will cross again in the future. She just oozes genuity and true-self-ness. A freakin’ amazing human being. A beautiful soul.
So I think that brings me all up-to-date – I promise I won’t leave the next post till the end of October… Actually I’ll have plenty in the coming days/weeks to post about so YAY for that.
Until next time….