What Business can learn from Ants

My son was told to eat all is food so he would grow up big and strong. So he adds like a ant. I did have a chuckle at that but if you think about it ants are super strong.

Here are a few other points that business can get from ants.

  • Ants work together. They know what needs to be done and they do it. There is no ant that does not want to be there. When they find some food on the kitchen floor soon enough you will have a swarm of ants on the floor all helping to collect that food.
  • Ants are determined. I have tried to cut ants off from getting to the dirty plates on the sink. They just keep at it and find a way to get to it. I even kill some and they just try again when I am not looking.
  • Ants are taking over the world, they are not pretending.

If you apply some of these ideas to your business you will be just like a ant. Focused and taking over the world.

post a link on Facebook the link displays the example.com thumbnail and info

I have had 2 websites where I was pulling my hair out as they kept displaying the incorrect meta data when I shared a link in facebook. It wold display the example.com thumbnail and meta info. I did heaps of googling and it took me a while to understand what was going on.

This helped me a lot http://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug as I could see what the hell was going on. I would fiddle with the .htaccess file but that was not a full solution. In the end I found an open graph extension and that solved my problem.

So I would suggest researching open graph if you are having an example.com domain issue on your website

Choose the right domain and get more traffic by default

Here is something interesting. Your domain that you choose for your company is a keyword. If you think about it for a second when you search on Google for something, what are the sites that come up top? Generally it is the site domain that matches your keyword or key phrase that you put in the search box.

Here is an example because I love fishingski fishing. If you google “fishingski” have a look at what sites are at the top. You will see www.fishingski.co.za and www.fishingski.com then on the second page you will find a page a did on squidoo www.squidoo.com/fishingski (I have not updated this in a while)

So with this thinking in mind don’t just think of your company name as a domain name. Look at what your company does and see if that can be a domain name and you will get traffic just because people are searching for that keyword. You will need to do a bit of keyword research to check what people are looking for before you make the choice. Should you want to know more have a chat with Sandra from Intelligent Domains she will help you get the right domain.

Just a note. You cannot just buy the domain. It will have no value unless you have it with a relevant website.

Great photos will make a site design Pop

Picture courtesy of Marius Kemp from umthunzi-images

It is amazing what great photos can do for a site. I have a nice camera and it takes top class photos. But I keep the settings mostly on auto because I don’t know what the other stuff does. I think I take some great photos but when I see photos from the pros I can see I have no idea. It takes so much more then just point and shoot. I have had to use photos where the guy thinks he is a great photographer but the pool cleaning stuff was in the background of the shot. This was for a top class lodge. It takes effort and planning to capture a moment in time.

Sites like instagram make our photos look great, but you need to start off with a great picture. I love it, it makes me feel like a pro :)

I do understand that getting a top photographer feels expensive but the value it will provide will be worth it. I am busy with a site at the moment where the client has used professional photos and man it make the process to design a pleasure. All I need to do is frame the pictures and I let the pictures tell the story.

So when you are considering building a website, think of photos, videos and copy-writing (I am still looking for some copy-writers). They are all great ways to tell a story and the website is just the place to get the message out there.

Why I use gmail for email

I signed up and got my gmail account on 13 October 2005 afromedia@gmail.com that is 7 years ago this year 2012. Wow that is amazing to me.

I love gmail and have grown and evolved with it. One of the best features is that it is free. The other is that it has huge amounts of space. In all the time using gmail I have never lost a contact or email and now with recent developments I have all my contacts synced with my phone. When I moved from my blackberry to my Android I was back up and running in less then 10 min with all my contacts.

The syncing of gmail with my phone is the best. If I meet somebody and I get their details on my phone within a few minutes their details are backed up on gmail. It works the other way also. I cringe when somebody says they have lost there phone or it has been stolen. I know I would be very lots without all my numbers.

Gmail is web based. So as long as there is internet connection I am able to get my email.

Here is another trick that I use with my gmail. I have my own domain www.afromedia.co.za and I have an email lantz@afromedia.co.za setup with that account. All I do is forward that email to my gmail. So if you send a mail to lantz@afromedia.co.za it ends up in my gmail. That means I don’t have lots and lots of emails accounts I have to manage. I have also setup my gmail to send email as lantz@afromedia.co.za, so if I write an email to people they have no idea it is from my gmail account.

So even if you start another business and register a new domain just get the emails pointed to your gmail. For example I have a fishing blog that I write www.fishingencounters.co.za I also have a email for that blog because I sell the hunterski kayak lantz@fishingencounters.co.za and as you can guess by now, it ends up in my afromedia@gmail.com account.

I have one more trick with my gmail account. I also forward emails to 2 accounts. For example if you send an email to info@afromedia.co.za it will end up in my wife’s inbox and  it will also end up in my inbox. No setting up of POP and SMTP and general IT stuff. Life should be simple not complex.

So do yourself a favour get a gmail address and just forward your domain emails to it and never loose a email again in your life.

QR Codes where offline meets online

I have seen QR codes around for a while. First on my blackberry to invite contacts to BBM and then some code on a facebook group where you can join the BBM group. Very cool and easy. It was not until I got a real phone that I explored this QR code a bit more and I must say it did give me some great ideas. Get hold of me if you want to see how we can work together to make these ideas happen, or if you have ideas and need some help with implementation.

The biggest thing that stands out for me is that you can now extend the off-line place with online information, how cool is that. For a long time there has been a bit of a big gap. You can even add tracking codes to the QR-Code so you can see how many people wanted to know more and scanned your code. What this means is you can check if people actually wanted to know more from your  off-line brochure.  There is still a gap and I see 2 stumbling blocks at the point. Not many people using this technology and people have very bad websites that are not mobile ready or just not ready.

For this kind of thing to work you will need to drive people to the correct place or part on your website. It is a bit like the ad-words model, you drive people to landing pages. So for example you are at a show and you have a specific product brochure, you make sure the qr code’s link goes to that page on your website and not the generic home page of your website. The other thing is to make sure you can read your site on a mobile phone. This is what clinches the deal! Don’t just repeat what you have on the brochure, rather add value. Lots of value!

Good luck and I am sure we are going to see more of these qrcodes out there.

Please let me know of any places where you have seen this in action and you where impressed. I am always on the look out for good ideas.

Stop trying to understand. just listen.

Nola is very wise and unassuming. The wisdom inside her is amazing and I wish I listened to her a long time ago. This post is further of what she told me.

What happens is I do a lot of training after and during the setup of a clients website. This is to empowers them to do the updates to the site themselves. Some people also just want to know how to do this. So the challenge I have is getting people to understand that you need to listen and not understand. The problem with trying to understand is that it makes a lot of noise in your brain and you end up not hearing the instructions. Having a a-ha moment is not when you are busy in your brain you have an a-ha moment when you don’t expect it. The big word in all this is “trying” I have hated it when I tell Nola that I am trying and she says to me so you are “not doing” what you said. If you look at it real hard trying is actually not doing and that is just it. No matter how hard you jump up and down or loud you scream about trying, it is still not doing.

So stop trying to understand and just listen to the instructions. The understanding will come when you least expect it.


Website design basic understanding of costs and what you are paying for

Web is made up of a few costs and processes.

  • Domain name. this is just the name of your website for example http://www.queenstownforklift.co.za/ this generally costs around R100 a year. Could be more, could be less.
  • Hosting. This is where you store your html file, images and other files. You could have a database for the more advanced stuff. This so so people can come and see your website. This cost ranges from R9 pm to R400 plus per month. I charge R600 per year which is R50 per month.
  • Website development. This is getting a web designer person to build you html website and this cost varies depending on what you want. Generally this is a once off fee, some developers charge a licence fee and then you don’t own the software (html or some other programming language) you just rent it.
    • Maintenance. This depends on each person and what you expect them to do. I personally prefer to empower people but I do have a few clients on maintenance contracts. Some people just want to get on with it.
    • SEO is Search Engine Optimization. This is a process of making sure your website gets found in the search results and it is rinse and repeat. The fee depends.
    • Online Marketing. Getting the word out there via the social media channels, press, newsletters etc.

There is more but that is enough for this basic breakdown.

Domain Ownership

Now this situation is a bit of a pickle and there is a lesson in here for me. I was recently email to ask if I could make a site. I found it strange because the person already had a site and was wondering why he wanted a new one. It turned out the he has been unable to get hold of his web master for a few months.The mails just bounce and he does not answer his calls. So I had a quick look on coza.net to se who owns the domain and where it is hosted. I saw it was hosted at hetzner and who had registered it. I went and tried to get to his website to see if I could find some other contact details. His domain is suspended! So straight away I knew that he would be not getting any emails. So next call was to get hold of hetzner to see what we could do. The do have a department that you can request to change the domain and hosting to another person. So I got Simon to send them a mail requesting to change the details. A week later we get a mail back from hetzner. They say they can’t get hold of the webmaster so there is nothing they can do, hetzner suggest we get hold of coza. I have done that so we wait some more.

The lesson for me and something that I am going to implement right away. I am going to update all my clients domains and add them as the owners of their domain and me as a webmaster. This is just in case something happens to me and they need to get to their domains.

Prepping and Uploading pictures to your joomla site

1) Start inside picasa that is the software that you can see all your pictures you want. You choose the pictures you want to upload to the site inside picasa.

2) Click the export button.Here it is important to note!

    1. keep the export location in mind, you are going to need this when you upload the smaller images to your site.
    2. Image Size: Resize the images to 800px
    3. You can add a watermark if you want

3) Click Export and let it do its magic.

4) Click the firefox icon (make sure it is firefox, that way you can do bulk uploads) and surf over to your website administration http://www.sheermagic.co.za/newsite/administrator/index.php

5) Add your username and password and login (this was sent to you by the system) and login

6) When you are logged in click the “add a new article” button

7) Add your Title “African Deco” for example
8) Pick a Category “Showcase” for now

9) ignore the rest and scroll down until you see the “Article Text” window.

10) There is a lot of little icons, on the 4th row down and 14th across you will see and icon that looks like a little picture

11) Hover over it and it will say “Insert/Edit image”  Click it.

12) It will open a pop up window, scroll down until you see file browser.

13) Just below the word “file browser” you will see “Root”. Note it is always important to start in root. Below that you will see a list of all your folders.

14) To the right of “Root” you will see 3 icons, if you over over them it will tell you what they do. 1st one “New Folder”, 2nd one “Upload” and 3rd on is “Help”

15) Click on “New Folder” type in the name of the folder you want. Note: No spaces between words and keep it all lower case.

16) Click Ok, you will be taken back to the list of your folders.

17) In the middle column click on the folder you just made. Now you will be in that folder and can upload your pictures.

18) Click on the “Upload” icon. A pop-up will open and it will say “Drop files here”.

19) This is where you need to remember where you exported your images to.

20) Open your finder window and find all the pictures you exported in the beginning. Select them all and drop them onto the “Drop files here” pop-up.

21) You will then see a list of all the files you are going to upload. Click “Upload”

22) Once the upload is complete the popup window will close and you will see all your images inside the middle column.

23) Scroll down and click cancel. This will close the image pop-up window.

24)In the “Article Text” box write the following {gallery}foldername{/gallery} replace the foldername with the name of the folder where you uploaded your images.

25) Scroll to the top and click “Save & Close”

26) Thats it, you are done!

Just a note, this process is just for all your showcase gallery pictures. There is another system for each stock item and I suppose another manual :)

Have a look at your handy work by going to your website http://www.sheermagic.co.za/newsite/ and clicking on “Showcase”

To add more pictures repeat the process.