Marketing and advertising are not the same. Advertising is like throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks. Marketing is building relationships, and relationships sell services. People typically like to work with others that they know or trust. This is why only certain people make very good salesmen; that is, they have the personality that people just gravitate towards. Now if you’re like me, you may have a good personality but are a tad introverted. We are developers and computer geeks over here but we don’t naturally make good salesmen.
When I first started my IT business, I set a table in the back of my in-laws store in the evenings when I got off work from my day job. When I came in, I would pull out a table, put my signs up, and run my power cords. At the end of evening, I would put everything back up. I had this setup for roughly two years and it worked well. I learned a lot during those first two years but nothing more important than my customers.
I see this all the time, young WordPress professionals who are trying to learn the ropes ask what can they do to build their business. Almost every response I read to this question contains the words free or pro bono. “Build a portfolio by doing free sites.” That is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
When working with new businesses we as web developers and designers often have to register new domains for our clients. It’s kind of a key stage in the whole process. Typically, when creating domains, it’s either just a habit or oversight that the domain owner is set to the developer or designer. In fact, the registrar I use, gandi.net, you can’t actually change the domain owner until you’ve already paid and processed the domain. It’s an entirely separate process.
The problem with this though, is that you are now the “owner” of that domain. It’s yours just as your computer is yours, you have ownership. Do you see the issue here? If you registered the domain for your client, it should be their domain. It is their business after all. The right thing to do is put the domain in their name or their companies name for safe keeping.
Let’s look at a scenario that I ran into this week. Say that you just picked up a new client that wants a new website designed and maybe they want to move to hosted email with Google Apps or Office 365. Their current site was designed and implemented back in 2002 and the company that did it, has went out of business. After reviewing the WHOIS information, you see that the owner of the domain is actually a guy from their previous developer. After multiple attempts at contacting him, you finally get a hold of him in which he informs you that the domain is his but is willing to sell it for a price…
This could have all been avoided if we make it a standard to register the domains under our clients names.
Public speaking events are not my forte. I’m the type of guy who likes to be behind the scenes, that’s my nature. But someone once told me that if you want to push yourself to be a better person both in business and personally, you must stay outside of your comfort zone. Well, here it is, outside of my comfort zone and we’ll be talking about marketing. No, not SEO but marketing in the traditional sense and how to market your business to your community whether that community be online or your physical community. This will be an open talk, meaning that the audience will be able to participate in the discussion (I’m not a lecturer). If you’re planning on attending WordCamp Raleigh, please consider coming by for my talk!
One of my IT clients is a non-profit Christian ministry that has been around for some time. We took over their IT duties from a single guy, who actually seemed to know what he was doing (which is rare) due to some health issues. By the way, I’ve always said that the best ways for us to get new clients is if their current provider moves, royally screws up or dies.
In any case , when we took over one of the first priorities was to replace their aging, woefully specced Dell PowerEdge server running SBS 2003. When I say woefully specced, I mean it had 1GB of RAM. So, we started evaluating the functionality that this server provided and quickly determined that the only thing this behemoth did was to serve files and provide DNS and DHCP services. They no longer used Exchange, there was no Intranet site or any of the other features of an SBS server. Their line of business application was purely file based and resided on one file share.
We proposed the solution of replacing this foot stool with a small Synology NAS device which could serve all their needs and take much less power. Also, because this is an established organization with little to low expectation for staff expansion, we ended up going with a Synology DS212 with two 2TB hard drives. The NAS device also handles their DHCP and DNS services as well as gives them PLENTY of room for growth. After implementing this about six months ago, we’ve had no problems other than a few power outages but other than a UPS what can you do? Does a generator make sense for a single NAS? Probably not.
So the next time you’re looking at replacing a small SBS server, think about using a NAS device instead. So far, it has worked out well for us.
In whole, I’ve been fairly pleased with WPEngine. They’re service is based on Linode, which I’ve always liked, the only difference is that by using WPEngine, I have some sysadmin folk to take care of the servers. Coming from a sysadmin background myself, this is both a joy for me and a pain in the ass for me. [Read more…]
I was sitting on hold the other day with one of my clients, while I was on hold, I was listening to a local radio station playing. Then it struck me, there is already a market for “on-hold music” distributed via USB drives and other sources, why not a online radio station that is geared specifically for local businesses that plays ads for various businesses in the area. For just for say $50/month, they would get an ad and it would be put in the “virtual” playlist. And using open source software like Airtime from SourceFabric one could actually do this fairly in expensively. A couple of key thoughts to do this right though.
- Must be high quality ads. Using professionals would be a good way to go. Get some sound clips of these professionals and test it yourself.
- Bandwidth could be a potential issue, so make sure you have enough.
- Some research would need to be done to find a device that could translate the radio stream into a format that the onsite PBX could understand.
All in all, this could be fairly easy to implement.