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The ‘Website’ CHECKLIST : Domains, Hosting, Web Design

webite checklistWebsite ChecklistThis article is meant for all who already have a website, or who propose to buy one. Website – the term is comprised of three things : Domain, Hosting (Web space) & Web Design

There are numerous companies offering these services. I am here to discuss a few points with regards to top, and essential things you need to thoroughly check when you get a WEBSITE through one of these companies.

 

Now to the article,

Every day, I get a few phone calls of this sort :

  • Sir, My domain expires in next few days, but the company which registered it is out of business, Please RENEW it”
  • Sir, I want to transfer the domain to your server, but I don’t have the domain control panel”
  • Dear Support Team, The domain is registered thru ‘X’ and his name is listed as REGISTRANT and Admin Contact, help me”
  • I have a website since 1998, but I am not getting any enquiries through it. So what’s the point in having it renewed ? “
  • My website is down most of the time, can you do anything about it? “

If you look at the above, you could observe the common problem. Thus, a checklist is required for any WEBSITE. Lets see one by one :

domain name checklistDomain Name Registration ChecklistDomain NAME Registration : CHECKLIST

Once your domain is registered, check these things :

  • Is the DOMAIN NAME Registered with an ICANN Accredited Registrar ? (Visit : www.icann.org )
  • Does the REGISTRANT NAME and ADMINSTRATIVE CONTACT show your name/email ?
  • Did the Domain Registration Service Provider give you the Domain CONTROL PANEL with username / password to manage/modify name servers & contact details in real-time ?
  • Do you have the OPTION to get REMINDERS at the time of RENEWAL, well in advance ?

Web hosting checklistWeb Hosting ChecklistWeb Hosting (Web space) : CHECKLIST

  • Support, Support, Support – is the KEY issue when it comes to Hosting. Check the response time of the Service Provider before making an option.
  • How skilled are the technical persons ? Just put in a few queries and see how they respond ?
  • Get a quick look at the Service Provider Website and make sure its professional looking, with user friendly navigation and layout.
  • Check if they have listed TESTIMONIALS, a list of sites hosted with them, discount options for bulk purchase, payment modes. Also make sure there are NO Hidden charges. The key part to look at is : the BANDWIDTH offered for each hosting plan.
  • Multiple Domains in single hosting space. This is an added advantage and saves you money. You can ask for this option if not provided.
  • Make a deep study on the Hosting Plan you choose. Check all the essential features that are provided. To name a few, POP3 mails, SMTP support, FTP Account, Control Panel, Web mail, Spam Controller, Antivirus, Web Statistics.

website design checklistWeb Design ChecklistWebsite Design : CHECKLIST

  • Does the website designer provide you with free minor updates or for a nominal fee on a yearly contract basis ?
  • Is the website professional looking and appealing to the global audience ?
  • It has been 3 months since your launch and there are NO fruitful enquiries and you are UPSET. Wait…..go to : www.google.com and put your website name and click search. Does it show up anywhere in the results ?
  • Does the website designer provide you with monitoring service ?
  • Does the website take a lot of time to load? Make sure it loads faster, even on slow connections. Too much of Flashy animations, bigger size jpegs are NOT an option for your site. CONTENT is King. Make sure your website ‘delivers’.

Give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements or send him an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ' to request a free quotation.

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Why The Heck Is Your Website Not Selling More?

hitting brick wallHitting a Brick WallIf you’re anything like most online marketers, or website owners, you’ve probably tried every tweak, trick and technique you can think of to get your website to sell more.

Maybe you’ve even had a few successes, and actually improved your conversion rates a bit.

Yet, deep down inside, you’re positive that your site is capable of so much more. You just know that with the right changes and improvements you could be converting a ton more visitors into buyers.

But the problem is... You’ve hit a brick wall and just can’t figure out what to change or tweak.

Perhaps it’s time you tried a new pair of eyes!

Think about it... You’ve probably looked at your website a thousand times. You simply have too much knowledge about your products, your company, what you do and what you offer, to effectively see your website through a first time visitors eyes.

That is where an impartial and independent evaluation of your website can give you a valuable, fresh perspective.

In many professions, getting an outside, second opinion is a common practice.

So how can you get an outside opinion about your website?

new pair of eyesNew Pair of EyesYou have several options for finding that “new pair of eyes”.

You can ask your friends and family to take a look at your website. They may notice a few details you’ve missed, like typos or other simple errors. The main problem with family or friends is that they are often reluctant to tell you what they really think, simply because they don’t want to offend you, or hurt your feelings.

You can post a message to an online forum or discussion group, asking for feedback on your website. There are even categories in some popular forums specifically designed to request feedback for your site.

This is often a better option than family or friends, because you tend to get a broader cross-section of opinions, and the forum members are less likely to sugar coat the feedback they give you.

But, there is one major draw-back to either method of requesting feedback... The input you get about your website from family, friends and even forum posters will simply be based on opinions or “feelings”, not on expert, tested and proven techniques, or advanced sales psychology.

talk to family and friendsTalk to Family and FriendsBasically... They may not know what the heck they are talking about!

Another method for getting outside feedback, is to conduct a survey of your existing website traffic. This is often one of the best options to get constructive feedback on how to improve your website.

I frequently help my coaching and consulting clients conduct surveys of their website visitors as part of their conversion rate improvement programs.

Your final option is to find a company or consultant offering professional website evaluations, or critique services. The benefit here is that, in most cases, a professional will give you a much more comprehensive evaluation of your website than you will get from friends, family or your website visitors.

However, the main problem with the “professional” route is that almost all of the companies offering this type of service are web design companies. So the “evaluation” you get is usually just a disguised sales pitch for a full website redesign.

(Not to mention the fact that most web design firms don’t have the first clue on how to convert website traffic into buying customers...)

But if you screen website evaluation providers carefully, you can find a few that will give you some outstanding recommendations.

Here are a few questions to ask anyone you hire to evaluate your site.

website testingWebsite TestingWhat is your background? (You want them to say they are marketers, not graphic or web designers, they need to understand sales psychology.)

Are your recommendations based on actual split test results? (Often the recommendations you will receive are based on theory or “one size fits all” best practices. Not on the results of actual testing, on actual websites.)

What kind of results have you produced for previous clients? (You want them to show you case studies or testimonials from clients who have achieved measurable results.)

How much time and money will it take to implement the recommendations? Is this just a sales pitch for some ten thousand dollar website redesign? (You want to make sure that the recommendations are going to be easy, and affordable for you to implement.)

Done properly, an outside, independent evaluation by a professional website evaluator, or conversion rate improvement expert, can significantly boost your websites sales. (As long as you take the time to make sure you’ve found a good one.)

So if you’re out of ideas for improving your site... Go out and get a fresh pair of eyes!

Give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements or send him an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ' to request a free quotation.

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Happy New Year 2021

newyearstormbizOne of the greatest joys of this season is the opportunity to say thank you and to wish you the very best for the New Year 2021.

Thank you so much for supporting our business in 2020. We are looking forward to serving you again in 2021!

This coming year is the perfect opportunity to get your business back on it's feet after the disastrous year behind us.

You need to get your business out there in these trying times, so that people can get to know you, and know what you are offering.

Whether you need a website, website re-designed, good marketing, or any problems you encounter with your business website, or marketing, please make the decision today to get the help you need, and which we offer.

Make the decision today, and watch your business grow.

Give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements or send him an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ' to request a free quotation.

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Christmas Greetings 2020

StormBIz

From the entire team at StormBiz, have a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year and thanks for all your support throughout the year.

The entire team at StormBiz would like to take this opportunity to wish all our Clients, Family & Friends A Happy and Very Blessed Christmas Season.

We wish you have a peaceful and very happy time, and rest to prepare you for the coming New Year 2021.

Now is the time to contemplate and plan what is needed to build your business as you desire, and one sure way to do that is with a professional website and professional marketing, especially after this disastrous 2020 year

Give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements or send him an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ' to request a free quotation.

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Banner Advertising - What you need to know

colorful waves bannersColourful Waves BannersBanner advertising is one of the oldest marketing techniques, and closely related to conventional marketing. It can, in most regards be compared to billboard advertising, and in some cases, it can even be compared to television advertising, when flash banners are used together with sound.

But how difficult is banner advertising, and is it an easy marketing strategy that almost anybody can use? In a sense, banner advertising is relatively easy if you follow some basic principles.

THE SHORT HISTORY OF ONLINE ADVERTISING

According to our research, the first banner advertising was introduced in October 1994 on HotWired, today they are part of Lycos, and are now called Wired News. The size of these banners was 468 x 60 pixels, and is still a popular size banner in use even today. According to Double click’s “The Decade of online advertising: 1994 - 2004” the US market spends $9,6 billion on Internet ads. Online advertising also provides one of the largest spend of all advertising methods, and is still growing.

During the past 2 – 3 years, a huge change has taken place in the online marketing industry. Online advertising was affected by this as well, and it became clear that there still is a larger demand by consumers than can be met by advertisers. This in effect means that there is a transition process taking place. In the South African market, the same growth and transition are experienced. According to World stats we have more than 3,6 million internet users, and recent stats from World Wide Worx also states that there are more than 5 million computer owners in South Africa. That makes South Africa the 2nd largest in Africa, leaving large possibilities for new online entrepreneurs.

It is a well known fact in the online industry, that banner advertising is a most remarkable marketing strategy, and many companies have performed well and returned great results, many that didn’t make use of it have not performed as well. However, if you have the budget, it is worthwhile to make use of this strategy, especially now to get your business out there and known.

TRACKING THE RESULTS

One of the greatest benefits of online advertising is the opportunity to track results. By using dynamic website to track source and conversion ratios makes it easy to track success and optimize your strategies. Even keeping track of the banner types is easier. Experimenting can also deliver surprising results and can be tracked easily.

Over the years it has become clear that in the online marketing industry, they mostly focus on the amount of clicks they received from the advertising campaigns, to measure their success. Recently it has become more and more complex as it became evident that there are more factors involved than just clicks.

BrandingBrandingBRANDING

One of the greatest benefits of banner advertising is branding. Becoming a well-known brand in the online community can result in traffic that does not click through from banners. Depending on your industry, it can also result in sales lifts in the offline environment. Associating your brand with leading websites clearly cause a trusted association, which in itself has its benefits.

PAY PER ACQUISITION

With the use of tracking software a new payment method has seen the light for advertisers. CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) is one of the most effective ways to place banner ads. Due to the fact that it influences the profit of the site on which it is being advertised, and the profit generated by the advertiser there is much better cooperation for providing good results, than in the old fashioned Pay Per Click methods (PPC).

UNIQUE DELIVERIES

One of the key factors when tracking success of banner advertising is to keep track of the amount of unique deliveries of ads. The same visitor can receive the same banner being served during a single session on the same website at regular intervals. This can assist you in making design changes for your banner, in order to improve click through rates, but it can also guide you to ensuring the website you are advertising on is worthwhile advertising on.

DISPLAY FREQUENCY TO CLICK THROUGH

Absolutely one of the key indicators to ensure your advertising campaign is running smoothly, is keeping track of the frequency at which ads are displayed, compared to the amount of clicks received on the applicable campaign. The following can be reasons for an ad campaign to have a bad frequency to click through rate.

  • Bad banner design, or lack of key features in the design, compared to the site the ad is being displayed on.
  • Bad call to action. A call to action is one of the key motivators for a visitor to click on a banner. “Click here” is not a call to action, but rather a prize or guidance on what to expect when clicking on the banner.
  • Large file size of image. It can happen that due to the large file size of a banner, the visitor to the site didn’t even see the banner, because it was still loading.
  • Information overflows. A banner should never contain too much information, but rather single words that entice the visitor to find out more.
  • The ads don’t stand out, and becomes part of the website.
  • Bad display position.
  • Theme of the site advertised on.
CLICK THROUGH FREQUENCY CONVERSION

This is the key to a successful online advertising campaign. In order to have a solid ROI you need to have a good frequency of Clicks to conversions. A conversion is a visitor that registered with your site, bought something, or at least spent some time on your site. If you notice that the visitors tend to leave the site very quickly after entering, then there is clearly something wrong. Here is a guideline of possible issues effecting conversions...

  • Bad banner design and wording. The user expected something totally different when he clicked on the banner.
  • Use of landing pages. Never use landing or splash pages to point traffic to from a banner ad campaign, unless the splash page is with the structure of the original web site. Many so called experts will disagree with me, but I will explain this under its own topic next.
  • Bad website design or usability. This goes hand in hand with the use of landing pages. If your website is badly structured, and the user has an effort finding what he is looking for, you will lose conversions.
  • Bombarding visitors. Many websites bomb visitors with entry pops and advertising. This is not recommended at all, because the visitor will leave your site immediately.
Landing Page HTML TemplateLanding PageUSE OF SPLASH PAGES

I once attended a workshop where the marketing manager of a large online business told everyone that he introduced splash pages to use with their promotions and that it improved conversions considerably. I was amazed at this remark and had a look at their website. Suddenly it all made sense. The website was clearly badly designed, and the information supplied was purely one way, what they wanted the user to see. The entire website bombed the visitor with the closing techniques, but didn’t supply the user with the reasons they initially visited in order to be closed.

If you have to make use of separately designed splash or landing pages, you probably have bigger problems with your website than you think. If the banner displayed is related to a specific promotion, then that promotion page which is being linked to, should be located within the normal website structure that contains the relevant information, but still allows the user to navigate through to other information that they might require, before they convert into a customer.

General banners that purely advertise your brand, should always point to your homepage, however it is important to know that it is much more effective to advertise a specific product or service, in which case the banner should link to the applicable page on your website. If the homepage proves to be ineffective, then you probably need to evaluate the design and layout of the homepage. Ensure that the page that the user lands on supplies the information that the user will be interested in viewing, based on the banner they clicked on, not the information that you want the user to see.

RICH MEDIA

This is a term you have to get used to. Over the past few years rich media has proven to be extremely effective and the click through rates is amongst the highest in the online advertising industry. Rich media is usually designed in flash and because of the powerful features that Flash has, it can combine quality graphics with sound and fantastic animation. This allows the advertiser to really get attention focused on the user. On click or mouse over actions also allows for more functionality, and all of these can ensure good click through ratios. Java, JavaScript and DHTML can also be used for rich media, but we recommend the use of Macromedia Flash.

USING VIRAL MARKETING
Viral marketing’s strongest feature is the amount of well-targeted referrals that it obtains. By combining a good viral campaign with banner advertising, you ensure that you have continuous publicity and ROI basically multiplies with every conversion. The most powerful effect of a solid viral campaign is the duration of supply. If properly planned, it can supply constant traffic for years after the ad campaign has finished. Viral campaigns normally focus on entertainment value, for example, a funny video or enjoyable game, that gives the visitor the option to refer it to friends.

SOME NEW TECHNIQUES THAT WORK

A fairly new technique that is being used, is to make the banner look like link text that forms part of the design of the site the banner ad is located on. The power lies in the possibilities of providing more information for the user in the form of informative link text to cause a click through. Although it is an image, the user is attracted to the link text. The greatest benefit is most probably the fact that traffic provided by a factual banner, is normally much targeted, which means good quality click through, and higher conversion ratios.

Adding a human element also seems to work well. It makes it more personal for the visitor and attractive to click on.

banner sizesBanner SizesBANNER SIZE & TYPES

By default the most sites use similar banner sizes. Following are basic information and examples to assist you in making a choice with banner advertising.

Skyscrapers

Again there are many different sizes being used but the most common size being used is 120 x 600 pixels. These ads are normally located on the right hand side of the website. These ads have proven very effective but it is important to keep in mind that they are also more expensive.

Small rectangles

This is a very common size and can normally be located at any position of the page. The normal size for these banners is 120 x 60 pixels. The location is very important, and once again, because the banner is so small, you need to ensure that the text being displayed is carefully selected.

Square banners

This is a very good sized banner that allows for cost effective banner advertising, and the chance to provide enough information to invite click through’s. The size for the square banner is 125 x 125 pixels.

Large squares

These banners are 250 x 250 pixels wide, and are normally located just under the header of the page, or amongst the content of the page.

Anchor banners

These banners are normally located at the top of the page, and is most probably ideally located if that is the case. The size of 468 x 60 pixels also allows for the display of good quality graphics and information.

Leader board

This is one of the largest banners that can be used, and is normally located above the header of the page, almost the entire width of the page. Because of it’s size of 728 x 90 pixels. This banner can not be missed, and allows for a lot of freedom in it’s design.

EMAIL BANNERS

Email banners has proven very effective, but there are a few very important points to keep in mind when you want to opt-in for these type of campaigns. Ensure that you are provided the correct information, as far as the amount of people that the email will reach. Many companies do not distinguish between recipients that view HTML mail, and those that receive text mailers. This can have a drastic implication on your costing, if the majority only read text mails. Remember that only viewers that receive their mail in HTML format will be able to view your banners.

Banners designed for email campaigns must load instantly. Therefore file sizes must be kept to a minimum.

advertising partnersAdvertising PartnersCHOOSING AN ADVERTISING PARTNER

The largest challenge involved when choosing a site to advertise on, is distinguishing between the truth, and sales talk. Many sites will provide you with the hits their site receives, as if it is unique visitors. It is important that you ensure they give you the amount of unique visitors they receive. Hits are the highest possible amount that the log stats will display. It is the figure of all the files and images loaded for every page opened, and can be at least 10 times more than the unique visitors the site actually receive.

Making use of Alexa is also dangerous, as it primarily indicates the amount of visitors with the Alexa toolbar installed, visiting the website. In my experience the more webmasters visiting the site, the better the chance that the stats might be skewed, as many of them have the Alexa toolbar installed in their browser. Another important thing to remember, is that there are free tools available to improve your Alexa ranking, without providing real traffic.

Besides obtaining traffic stats for the site you want to advertise on, you will also need to profile your prospective customer (demographics), in order to ensure that you advertise on a site that mainly attracts visitors that you target. Therefore you need to find out about the following.

  • Geographic location
  • Income group
  • Age groups
  • Interests and hobbies
There are many other factors that can be supplied by the site that you wish to advertise on. Make sure you profile your customer properly, in order to know who you need to attract, and where you should advertise.
 
Give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements or send him an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ' to request a free quotation.
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