WEBSITE DESIGN & ONLINE MARKETING

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Make the most of your budget

Written by Emily Wilson on April 11th, 2012.      0 comments

Explore ways to operate more efficiently whether you’ve had a bumper 2012 or struggled through the year, it will help to improve your 2013 bottom line.

With the close of the 2012 tax year, you should now be armed with useful figures to benchmark and assess your business performance. You can therefore use this data to implement strategies to improve your results for the 2013 tax year.

It is never too early, or too late, to start planning ahead. The reality is that to make the most of your budget, you need to lock in some strategic plans now and prepare for the Christmas rush. Use the time now to reflect on business operations and find ways to work smarter.

One way Zeald can help you work smarter is with Website Results Consulting, which is designed to assist you in achieving maximum results from your business website.  A Website Results Consultant will look at the ‘big picture' objectives of your business and make recommendations about how to optimise your website to maximise your online results.

You want to build on your positive trends. Look out for areas where you are doing well, see if you can do even better and make the most of your competitive advantage or market conditions. Look for ways you can maximise sales and revenue during peaks.

If your gross profit margin has improved year-on-year, can you continue the trend in 2013 with a small increase in prices, or by buying in bulk, sourcing new suppliers or trying other products to reduce your cost of sales?

Try to minimise or (if possible) negate negative trends. If you see a pattern in your sales cycle eg post-Christmas sales slump, looks for ways to increase turnover, such as appealing to a different market segment by offering package deals, off-peak specials or add value by offering something for free with purchase like a lesson. You could even look at adding a new product, which is especially helpful for seasonal slumps.

The new financial year is a good time to look back over the year that was and look to the year ahead. Review your progress relative to your business plan – or to write up a business plan, if you don’t have one. It’s relatively easy to get side-tracked by a new idea or opportunity, so you’ll want to assess if you’re on track to achieve your business goals and ensure you’re not diversifying when your goal is to specialise in a niche market, for example.

This is also an opportunity to assess whether your goals and plans are still valid. Have market conditions or trends changed? Did you uncover a new opportunity that you would like to explore? Schedule some time to review your plans and work strategically for the 2013 tax year.

A common goal for businesses in 2012 is to focus on customer satisfaction and growth in new markets. To retain customers, business owners should structure their businesses to be more service focused and be proactive to keep existing customers from jumping ship. New Zealand is quickly becoming more competitive as an economy.

To gain new customers, you will have to increase activities in new markets. This increasing trend of diversifying into new markets shows Kiwi business owners are looking at opportunities beyond the current, constrained performance of the local economy. Again, this trend towards a broader mix of products and new markets will position the whole country well for the future.

New Zealanders are also recognising the importance of the digital economy and finding ways to use the internet to engage both local and international markets. According to a recent MYOB Business Monitor survey 25% of business owners hope to increase online sales and 41% of all businesses say they are likely to use their website to drive offline sales.

If you are thinking of broadening your market then you may want to consider a multi-currency add-on from Zeald. Multi-currency is a facility where the visitor can choose a currency from a drop down box of available currencies and then have all the prices on the website display in the selected currency. This improves results by making it easy for users to understand pricing, it makes it obvious to international audience that you cater to them, that you deliver to them. This means you sell to customers by expanding to international markets without the expense of opening international offices.

It also gives you the ability to tailor your pricing to international markets. For instance, if you want to charge a higher price to a UK or US customer, you can. For more information about this add-on you can visit the online store.
 
 

We want to help...Make the Most of your Budget with Zeald

If you want to make the most of your budget, use your website to drive offline sales and improve your online sales then we have an experienced team  waiting to help you! Let us help you generate more sales and enquiries with your website. Talk to one of our friendly team members today.
Topics: Budget
 

How to improve your SEO using other peoples websites!

Written by Casey Hartigan on April 11th, 2012.      0 comments

Did you know that what other websites say about you is just as important to search engines as the content on your own website? Search engines consider websites that lots of other websites are linking to to be better quality, and will therefore show them further up the page. You can easily find out who is linking to you by using the free and easy tool, Open Site Explorer.

By plugging your URL into Open Site Explorer you will be able to see a few stats about your links. The real valuable information is under "Inbound Links". Here you can see exactly what websites are linking to you. For bonus points try plugging in one of your competitors URLs and see who's linking to them. Chances are they have links from a directory or blog that you could also get a link from! There's nothing wrong with a little bit of sneaky online espionage!

Improve your SEO using Other Peoples Websites With Zeald
 

Online threats – is your website at risk?

Written by Emily Wilson on April 10th, 2012.      0 comments

The internet is a marvellous thing. It has made the world a smaller place, changed the way we communicate information and indeed the way in which we live. However, without the right precautions, the internet has made us more vulnerable to scammers and hackers.

Con-men are by no means a new thing. They pre-date the internet by millennia; however now those con-men take the form of hackers, they have discovered ways via the internet to gain access to your information, including your financials, if you are not careful.

To protect yourself from hackers, con-men, viruses, malware, spyware and the like there are a few things you can do. Firstly make sure you choose a reputable website design company to build and more importantly maintain your website. When choosing a company to design your website you should look out for some of the more obvious attributes such as experience, qualifications and track records, and the not so obvious such as where the company might be in five years’ time. If the company is forced to shut-up-shop at the very least you are in for some major disturbances.

You’ll also want to run some security software to keep any major virus threats at bay. However there are far more subtle dangers out there that require a bit of common sense.
  1. Scammers and Con-men. We all know the kind of emails that, thankfully, mostly end up in our spam folders these days. They’re the ones that sound too good to be true, play on your emotions or ask you to help them transfer money; these often standout as obvious scams but still do catch out people every day, costing them a lot of money. However scammers have gotten smarter and more technically savvy. Some can seem so legitimate, using reputable logos, email addresses etc., which when in a hurry can seem like just another invoice – so always be on the lookout.
  2. Fraudulent orders. If your e-commerce business is selling “highly resalable” items, such as jewellery or electronics, you need to be especially aware of people making orders with stolen credit cards. You can avoid this most of the time by working with your bank and using a proper payment gateway. Using a reputable third-party payment gateway such as DPS, means that credit cards are entered on their website, where they should have more resources to deem the card reliable and it also protects your customers as you never have their card details. To protect yourself from credit card fraud you should take some care before shipping orders overseas and possibly even call customers when they have made a large order.
  3. Out of date software. Most people won’t be aware that some software when it is out of date provides another source of entry to hackers. “Bots” scan the internet continuously looking for software that is out of date and has known weak-spots, or major security flaws. These weak points are exploited and your website is taken over, which is then used to distribute spam or a virus. This is another reason it pays to have someone continuously updating your site.
Most threats to your website are going to be more of a nuisance than a disaster. For example if you publish your email address on your site you will receive more spam email. Your website might run slower because a “bot” is trying to, unsuccessfully or not, break your website.

To reassure your customers that your website is a reliable and safe place to shop the best thing you can do is prove you are a real person/company. It is a good idea to have a detailed policy for refunds, returns and privacy published on your checkout page. Publish true testimonials with the person’s name attached to them. Provide information about your contact details, including your physical address, especially if you are targeting the New Zealand market; make it clear that you are a kiwi company that they can contact directly. SSL certificate logos can add to your creditability (SSL “encrypts” information that is transferred between websites and users) but as anyone (even the baddies) can get a verification badge; it is no substitute for proving you are a real person who stands by their products.
Topics: Online Security
 

Free Image & Photo Editing Software

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2012.      0 comments

Picozu  Photo Retouching and Image Drawing with Zeald picozu

is an image drawing and photo retouching application built on Javascript, HTML 5 and CSS3. Make sure you use a modern browser (Firefox 5, Safari 5, Chrome, Opera 10, Internet Explorer 9) if you want to play with it.
Aviary Web Based Multi Media Applications

Aviary

Aviary is a suite of  web-based multi-media applications primarily for image editing and graphic design. The individual tool names are bird-themed, hence the suite name.

Aviary have 2 plans: a free plan and a Pro plan. Only Aviary Pro members can test current alpha releases ahead of time. Pro Members also have the ability to remove the Aviary Watermark, create groups, and view Premium Tutorials as well as unlimited storage.
The great thing about Aviary is that they provide the option to store your images online and host them for you. This is handy for centralising your images and saves cluttering your hard drive.

PhotoPlus

For a long time, Serif has given away previous versions of their software to entice users to purchase the current version. Currently you can download a completely free, fully-functional version of PhotoPlus.

PhotoPlus 6 is an Offline image editing software that enables you to create, manipulate and enhance photographs or bitmap graphics. You'll find all you need to produce professional looking images for print and the web.
Topics: Web Design Tips
 
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About Zeald

Zeald was formed in 2001 by three young guys from the small New Zealand town of Mangawhai Heads. Now, Zeald is the largest website design and digital marketing agency in New Zealand and has recently made moves into Australia. This is the Zeald story …

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