Archive for March, 2010
One of the first things most Web site developers ask for is a high quality version of the company’s logo. Many people wonder: why is this?
A logo is the first building block to a brand’s identity. It can tell you if you are trendy, fun, hi-tech, or corporate. A Web site developer will want to know this because they will want to carry through that image across the entire Web site. For example, if your logo was Wal-mart‘s, you wouldn’t want a Web site that looks like Flikr. Likewise, if your brand was young and hip, the AARP logo wouldn’t be for you.
Another good reason is a logo uses certain colors, and most Web sites should use colors that match your logo. A good example of this is Dollar Tree which uses complementary colors throughout the site that match the logo. Could you imagine what this would look like if the logo was green, but the Web site was yellow or purple? Dollar Tree also carries the logo’s theme to the background which is a nice touch.
A great logo helps make a great Web site. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?
Last week’s post talked about why its necessary to find a separate investors and Web site developers. It talked about why the best Web site developers don’t take projects in exchange for “equity” and why it is a bad thing for Business owners too. Today we address how to find an investor.
Finding an investor for any business is hard. You have two jobs to do. First, convince a potential investor that you have a great idea that can be successful. Then, convince them that you are the right person to shepherd this great idea and make it successful.
It is helpful to put yourself in the shoes of a potential investor — would you help fund this project? Keep in mind that at least 1/2 of all businesses fail within 4 years. A popular outcome would be losing 100% of the investment. Would you like this to happen to you? What attributes would you look for in funding an enterprise?
One easy way to make your job much easier is to start your search for an investor with friends and family. No one likes to do this, but it is the easiest way to raise money for a project. It is much easier because you don’t have to convince your Aunt, father or friend that you are the right person to shepherd the idea. All you need to do is to convince them that the idea is good. Half of your job is done! Even though your investors are friends or family, you still need to document the loan or investment and treat them fairly.
Contrast this with Angel investors and Venture Capital companies which are the other directions you can go — convincing one of those to invest money with your firm will be much harder and they will ask for more say in how your business runs.
What ways have you received investment in your business?
In an effort to become better as a business owner and Web site developer, I’ve taken to reading other blogs. Here are some posts that have caught my eye recently:
You Rock — Seth Godin’s blog is popular and a great inspiration. His post about how we all rock for 5 minutes a day is inspiring me to blog more.
It is Make a Referral Week — Duct Tape Marketing is running a week long theme where they talk about referring business to others.
Interesting Web Books – About.com Web design blog has a lot of useful information about my field, including this post on some new books that are helpful.
Most people graduate high school and/or college wondering when they will ever use all of the knowledge they have accumulate during school days. After all, the War of 1812 doesn’t come up much in everyday conversation. But every so often, there’s a nugget of something obscure from school that helps in an everyday problem. This week, I had one of those experiences.
We’re working on a project that called for laying out a bunch of names in the correct or a Pie Chart. For example, the pie chart might have 6 wedges and we need to put name #1 in wedge #2, and name #2 in wedge #3. Of course, that’s easy — but it is much harder to place lots of names in the right part of the pie chart in an automated manner. We needed an easy, mathematical way to put the names in the right places.
I’ll spare the average reader the details, but the solution involved those trigonometric functions cosine and sine. Using these functions, we were able to come up with a way to plot the names in the right locations (for those interested: cosine of the angle on the circle yields the x coordinate, sine of the angle on the circle yields the y coordinate). We added another fun math function modulus and some random numbers and we found a solution that works for our project.
I admit it. I didn’t like 11th Grade Math much. Our teacher’s “Happy Parabolas” and “Sad Parabolas” only brought me sadness. But today, Pre-Calculus class was very useful in solving a Web site development problem.
I’ve had a number of conversations with potential clients about Web hosting recently. There are thousands of Web hosting companies, how do you choose the one that is for you? Here are 5 questions to ask your Web host:
- What is your Technical Support like? Even though you are paying a fee for a service called Web hosting, the majority of the fee you pay goes towards technical support. That’s why the same amount of space with similar features can have a wide cost difference between companies. Good companies have knowledgeable support staff and have short hold times. Less expensive companies have technical support staff that are in foreign countries, are only accessible via email and/or less experienced staff. Try contacting support before you purchase and see what it is like.
- Is my server shared with others? Sites with high availability needs need to be on a server not shared with others. Other sites may be on a shared server to save on costs. It is important to know which one you are buying and which one you need. Also, dedicated servers often have service level guarantees. Do you have one?
- What sort of disaster planning does you firm do? Disaster planning is a very important part of offering Web hosting. We’re dealing with a Web hosting company this week that has had multiple servers down for 10 days because of a fire suppression system test that went horribly wrong. Their help desk system doesn’t work, their staff is overwhelmed and it appears they lost at least some data. It isn’t that having a plan can prevent a disaster, it is just a way of preventing a disaster from spinning out of control.
- How much space, bandwidth and mailboxes are included? This is the question everyone always asks, but it is the least important question of the ones on this list. Almost all plans have enough space for a typical Web site.
What questions do you ask before choosing a Web hosting company?
Disclosure: my firm provides Web hosting services to our Web site development clients.