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Website Design Online Trading Voucher Leitrim
Feb 10th, 2017 by Leon

The Online Trading Voucher scheme has been around for a few years now but I’ve been getting tons of emails about it and doing some jobs under it a lot recently for some reason. Here’s the layman’s guide to how it works if you’re not sure.

As the name suggests you need to actually trade online to avail of this grant and in terms of website design that means you need to sell something off your website so either a full online shop selling products or a payment/booking page for your services etc.. You can add a payment system to an old site or build a new one with it and still qualify. You will be repaid 50% of the cost of the work after it’s competition and after you have paid for it in full and shown receipts etc.. The maximum amount paid out is €2,500 so this will allow you to have €5,000 max worth of work done depending on your own budget.

Your local enterprise board administers the scheme so they should be your first point of contact but a web designer should be able to advise too. They will give you details of when the scheme windows are open and provide application forms and advice etc..

Here is a simple list of requirements you need to meet to qualify:

  • Trade online
  • Have 10 employees or less
  • Less than €2 million turnover
  • In business for at least 12 months
  • Attend a FREE trading voucher workshop

Here’s some more information and contact point for Leitrim based businesses – https://www.localenterprise.ie/Leitrim

Are Web Designers in Leitrim not good enough!?
Dec 18th, 2015 by Leon

I’ve spotted a few high profile website designs and re-builds for well known Leitrim businesses the last month or two which were built by web design agencies outside of Leitrim. Some of them I was actually asked to quote for and then overlooked for reasons that didn’t really stack up in my opinion. One particular new E-commerce website used the whole “Shop local to support your local economy” angle to market their new site to people but they themselves used the services of a non local company to build their site!?

Now before I get accused of bitterness at not getting the work, I should say the point of this post is to ask the open question to business in Leitrim, is there any particular reason you chose to go outside the county? Did you not realise there were a ton of web design companies located here? Could you not get a competitive quote locally? Did you feel perhaps there isn’t enough expertise locally? Or maybe you were just connected to a company outside Leitrim in some way and felt obliged to use them? I’m just interested to know.

I know any business anywhere is entitled to tender for any job in any part of the country but for somewhere local like Leitrim, design businesses would normally rely on local support for the majority of their business and would probably find it hard, as I do myself, to break into the bigger markets in the bigger cities. Also, those bigger cities are probably saturated with design companies. Using a local company if you are in Leitrim makes it easier to meet, communicate and get ongoing support etc..

There were very few people at web design in Leitrim or Roscommon when I started here first around 2003 but these days there’s a ton of companies offering all levels of expertise and all kinds of prices ranges. Also, there are companies here far better and more capable than me who can do anything you need and probably due it far cheaper than a company in Dublin for example due to less overheads etc so always look local first before you go “outside”!?

Leon

The need for Website Yearly Fees?
Dec 16th, 2015 by Leon

Every now and then a client expresses some surprise a year after I build their site when they get an invoice from me for Domain & Hosting renewal. If I don’t mention the yearly fees in person or over the phone when building the site then at least the initial quotation and invoice as well as terms & conditions that everyone receives will clearly mention the “per year” prices. As a result of this unexpected or forgotten bill there can be a perception among some clients that a web designer is trying to pull a fast one by continually requesting money even though the site is already built and complete. I’ve also had other web designers question the price I charge for my own domain and hosting services. I will attempt to justify both here.

First things first. No matter who you go with to build your professional website, unless it’s some crappy free web building service, you will require both a web address (Domain name) and Website Hosting which is basically storage space for everything that will display on the site including text, images, databases etc.. Hosting also includes professional Email services, ie YourName@YourWebAddress.ie. Both of these things are rented as opposed to purchased one off. That’s just the way the industry works. There’s no option anywhere to buy those things for a once off fee. But at least once you are renting them or they are in your name. no one else can have them.

So baring that in mind, there are two choices for you as a business when you are having your site built:

  1. Purchase both the domain and hosting yourself which will enable you to shop around for the best prices etc. Then forward the details to your designer who will setup and work with the system you’ve bought, or
  2. Let the designer take the hassle and complexity out of the process of purchasing domains and hosting by organising it all for you.

In my own personal experience whenever I used to suggest that the client organise their own domain and hosting I was usually met with the response “I wouldn’t have a clue how to set that up. Will you do it for me?”. In which case I say yes no problem but there will be a yearly fee because I will have to pay for both a domain and hosting on your behalf. Most clients are happy to accept this. There’s also the issue of you buying hosting that isn’t suitable for your website or one that the designer is not familiar with and can’t work with so it’s really best to let them use a system they are familiar with.

However, one thing I’ve realised recently talking to other web designers is that they don’t all want the hassle of managing hosting and domains for clients and many would actually prefer if the client done that themselves so that if any issues arise with hosting being down, limits exceeded, domains expiring etc the designer is not obliged to help out and the client will have to contact the hosting company they used themselves. I think this is poor service and laziness from the designers especially considering that most clients wont be technically savvy enough to explain the issues at hand or even remember who to contact about it.

With regard to my pricing. I would guess that my domain and particularly hosting prices are somewhere between low to mid-range compared to others. That is to say they are definitely not the cheapest but not overly expensive either. For €79 per year (early 2016 prices) you get modern, professional hosting with email and also local support from someone who knows the right channels to go down when something goes wrong. Also, because I buy hosting in bulk form a third party, I can sell it on at a price that’s cheaper for the client then if they went to the same company directly. Hardly expensive in my opinion?

Leon

Mobile Friendly, Responsive Web Design Leitrim
Mar 25th, 2015 by Leon

Google are about to change their search algorithm next month which will result in mobile friendly websites ranking higher than non mobile friendly ones. Or to put it in other more alarming words, you might lose a few places or more in Google results if you don’t have a mobile version of your site.  Here’s the full Google announcement:

Googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ie/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html

Obviously, people worldwide are accessing online content more and more via phones, tablets etc but some websites might get more mobile traffic than others. For those that get a ton of mobile traffic and don’t have a mobile friendly website, you could lose out big time in Google results and possibly financially too if you rely heavily on organic searches for business leads.

My best advice would be to have a look at your Google Analytics (or other) stats to see how many people access your site via a mobile device and if it’s not a lot then just wait and see how the change on April 21st affects you.

If you seem affected then I’d suggest at least installing a mobile plugin if your site is powered by WordPress or similar CMS and ideally rebuild with a modern responsive design which will adapt to any mobile device screen it’s shown on. That’s what Google seem to be looking for ideally in their test here – Google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Leon

New Ditigal & IT Network in Leitrim
Dec 2nd, 2014 by Leon

Tonight marks the first meeting of a new networking group for people working in the Digital/IT sector in Leitrim. The meeting takes place in the Hive in Carrick-on-Shannon on the first Tuesday of the month and is free to join.

It is hoped that attendees of the network can share resources, expertise and experiences with a view to growing the digital sector in Leitrim.

Refreshments served.

For more info and to register a place go here – The-hive.ie/digital_leitrim

Online Versus Print Marketing – Dynamics
Jun 3rd, 2014 by Leon

Ok, my title is a bit misleading..it’s not a competition and you can, and possibly should still market both online and off and in any other way you see fit depending on who, where and what your potential customers are. But I wanted to convey an important point I heard at a creative workshop I attended recently. I’ve talked about the virtues of online versus print marketing before but never included this particular angle. Print marketing is still relevant especially here in Leitrim where there are still plenty of people without internet access or even computers and where the local newspaper still has a decent circulation and where everyone seems to know everyone else however, there’s one important other thing print ads can’t do that online can.

No matter what kind of print ad you see whether it’s a glossy flier, banner stand or 2 lines in the yellow pages, the ad is static and paid for with no referral or organic value, ie – no one to say this is the company you need, they are the best. In a list of ads for companies offering the same service  in the yellow pages for example, no one ad stands out above another unless the advertiser pays a premium for a fancier add or bold title. Organic Google ads for example on the other hand will put the best and most relevant results first based on your search term. Google will usually place at the top of the search results list the companies with the best website presence, ie – the one with the best traffic, most links in, best social media presence, etc.. It may be safe to assume in most cases that a website with all of the above has got to number one because of conscientious business owners and it should be a company you can trust to do a good job.

It’s this online dynamism versus the static nature of print ads that is perhaps the single most important benefit online has over offline marketing especially now that more and more people are turning to online reviews and referrals to help them choose the right company.

Leon