IIA Waterford – Website Design for Success.
I just wanted to write up a few words about how the day went.
We kicked off on time with Irene from the IIA welcoming us all to Dooley’s Hotel on the quays in Waterford, She then asked Ciaran Cullen, the assistant CEO from Waterford City Enterprise board to say a few word and he started by introducing the services of the City Enterprise Board in Waterford and what people could expect in terms of grants and mentoring.
Then Irene introduced myself. I has a simply bullet point presentation that I expanded upon for each point. I was asked to talk about Website Design for Success, a straight forward topic for someone with 10 years experiencing, however with 25% of the attending people there being web development companies it brought new challenges as what to talk about. My objective was to educate the room about good website design even it was a bit boring for the web companies there, however as my 40 minute rant rolled from topic to topic of my real life experiences in web development over the years in dealing with start up businesses to advanced web development.
Nodding heads around the room.
It’s good to see nodding heads around the room ( and that was from the web developers) as the others were taking notes about the nuggets of inforamtion that I was giving them. When I was finished it was time for questions and as usual many of the questions from the audience were from developers. How long to design a eCommerce etc. General questions that other developers often and the ones the real clients never do. I’ve attended a few of these presentations and knew to hang back after the event to answer the questions from people looking to set up a website.
Driving traffic to your website.
Denis Hegarty from WSI then took the podium and went through the various methods of driving traffic to your website but he started out by pointing out the obvious that I had neglected to mention and that was that you have to do some research and make sure there is a target your your products! It sounds too obvious to mention but it’s so true.
Researching Keyword by various online tools were suggested to enable you to use Google Adwords better. He then went on to say that 80% of traffic comes from search engines and that in Ireland the majority of people use Google as apposed to the UK where Yahoo and Ask are very popular still.
He mentioned about how you can choose to search from the web in general or you can choose to search from Ireland specifically. He then went into detail on how you can target your keywords to areas and regions and to times etc.
Converting your Visitors to Leads. . .
- Give them what they search for.
- An Incentive
- A guarantee/ testimonials
- Something of value
Great key points that are often overlook in the website content and understanding your visitors. He also suggested other newer methods of driving traffic to your site such a Blog, YouTube, Twitter, FaceBook and other social networking websites
Well done Denis
How to get the money in?
Next up we had a youthful Keith McCabe who showed us all that he knew his onions when it came to the use of Laser and Credit Card facilities online and in fact off line too as he let us know that we could use the net to take laser and credit card details over the phone and in put them into an on-line application.
He did get into details on how the system works but i wont get into them here. I felt and chatting to Keith afterwards that it might have been a bit much for the audience but then again it does show them that this is a serious aspect to ebusiness and they have to know this kind of stuff.
Another good point was that online ecommerce could be either hosted yourself on your own website using a secure cirtificate or it could be hosted by the supplier ie Realex could do all the data storage and to allow the responsibility to rest on their shoulders and not on you as the owner of the website and the business.
He then went into more techy details as how the security and online vailidation is processed by the system, a bit too much for some, byt again we all need to understand this as this is one of the most important parts of running a eCommerce business.
Well Done Keith
Case Study by SelfCatering.ie
Mary Power, the woman behind this success story is a force of nature to be wreckoned with. She told us how the business had started back in the last 90’s when a Government Tax incentive had meant that thousands of holiday homes had been built all over Ireland. She saw the market open to starting a company to sell these as holiday home and the net was where to start off.
There first website had about 2,000 visitors in the first year! (back in those days that wasnt too bad at all, now-a-days im sure it a lot more)
1% of their business went through the Web, where as now it’s nearly 90%
They now have expanded their portfolio to villas from all over the world and the company is growing at a fantastic rate of around 400% each year. Now we are all thinking back to Denis telling us that our website had to “have a market for your products” and it looks like Mary has indeed.
She then went on to say that they had always kept the user in mind and their needs. Know what your user wants when they come on holidays has made them adapt the site to now offering more services such as baby sitting and also swimming pool alarm devices for parents with children. Now that’s what I call looking after your online audience.
I feel that Marys success has as much to do with her as it has with technology, Mary strives for success and pushes her standards for everything. She demands more. She expects more, and this is so evident as her website gives you more. It’s 100% aimed at it’s audience and in my mind is the ideal travel website. If you have a question about a holiday or destination they will have covered it somewhere on the site.
Another good thing to hear was that the site had actually gone under several revamps over the past 10 years and the company had invested extensively in technology as a way of moving the company forward.
Well Done Mary.