Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug was a great read when I first read it over ten years ago now and so I am delighted to find that he has written a follow up revised version since (2014). I’ll admit, a lot of what Steve talks about I think of as common sense – in fact the strapline for the book is “A common sense approach to web usability” but I am surprised at how many people, good web designers among them, don’t take a logical approach to a website layout.[Read more…] about Good website design doesn’t make me think
No, this is not checking the prices of the products that you are actually selling against competition so that you can add enough markup to ensure a good margin, but the boring old job of data entry into the database on your website. I’m currently wading through hundreds of product options correcting someone else’s erroneous data entry. Unfortunately, they have been doing this gradually over a couple of weeks, while other work has been going on on the same website, so there is no way to automatically roll-back the database to before they started.
The cost to the business
This is costing me time, and time costs money, but it would be far worse to publish the website with incorrect prices on it and have someone actually order a product (or two) at a loss.
eCommerce stores often have clever ways to import product information, however they should be used with caution. I’ll never forget the time I accidentally updated thousands of products by 15% because there was no check-back button to say ‘are you sure?’ This made me very unpopular with the person who had to fix it. Nothing beats a well organised product database with all the right product information, which can often be used over and over in other business areas, not only the website, provided it can be exported in a tidy format. A valuable asset.
A customer of mine learnt the hard way why cheap domains registration isn’t worth it and why disaster recovery plans are essential. The domain registrar who holds all of their domain names on their domain name servers went offline following a ddos attack, taking their website and email service with it.
Hundreds of other business owners who had also registered through the same service found themselves in a similar position.
Even if the service is resumed today, a certain amount of business will have been lost due to website unavailability or bounced email. But what if it isn’t resumed today, what if it takes days or weeks? What would your business do if this happened to you?
Disaster recovery action plan
Contact your registrar by phone. This may seem obvious but if they are under attack, their own systems may be down so emailing support@ will not work!
Ask them for a solution. They may be able to move you to an alternative server. Certainly, if this is the first time the service has failed, you don’t necessarily want to move your business away.
Find alternatives. Do your homework! Which registrars have a good solid reputation? (By the way, any size registrar can be hit with an attack, but the smart ones will have their own recovery plans in place). Choose another registrar and ask them for their IPS-tag.
Contact your existing provider and ask them to arrange a transfer out. They’ll need the IPS-tag for the new provider to do this.
Seek emergency help. If you are unable to reach or achieve a resolution with your current provider, call Nominet (the UK governing body for domain registration). Note, they can only help with UK ccTLDs (country code top level domains), e.g. .uk.
This will only help with domains. I trust you have a website files backup?
LOVE the article by Dan Scott for econsultancy about golden rules for responsive web design as he mentions content first for mobile (also because it talks about hierarchy of content, but that’s another post). So many times the website gets to content ready stage and the content doesn’t fit the design or no-one has thought about it, so the old site’s content gets ported across to the new site and “we’ll review it later” (which never happens).
What is the point in paying a lot of money for a web site redesign if you don’t put new content in it? How is the old content going to make the new website work for you any better than the last one?
I don’t believe this is the job of your web designer/ digital agency, unless you have paid them to draw up your digital strategy/ content strategy or to copywrite for you. If you’ve paid them to provide SEO services, this makes them semi-responsible to at least prompt you into a content plan so that they can review it for optimisation purposes. If you’ve not agreed any of the above, the onus is on you, the business owner, to organise the plan or pay someone with the knowledge to do it for you.
Which comes first, the chicken or the logo?
I can’t tell you how often I have come close to the end of a web project, or even published it only to be told “we’ve decided to change our logo”. At which point any halfway decent graphic designer will sigh heavily. Why?
Logos are a focal point for website design
There should be a cascade effect from the logo which should not only clearly show the company name, but also set the tone (through font, colour and shape) to attract your target audience. These elements will have been echoed throughout the design and you change them late in the day at risk of having a logo that looks like it doesn’t belong to a design or having to redesign from scratch (usually at a cost).
What do you need to brief your branding designer on?
See above (ideally before your website re-launch even begins). Who is your target audience, what do you want to say to them, how do you want your company to come across? What information will they look to find on your website and which pieces of information are most important (usps)?
What have these got to do with your logo?
Everything! A good graphic designer worth his salt will pitch the logo perfectly in terms of fonts, colours (the psychology of colour is fascinating), and idents to get that message across to your customer in the right voice and in the right format for a variety of purposes.