After putting hundreds of websites live for our clients throughout New Zealand and the Pacific, we've seen a few comments regularly come up when we put our first design draft together. One of the things we often hear is "make our logo bigger" - an understandable request, but one which is not necessarily best practice when it comes to design in general.
It's not about the logo - it's about the brand
One of the first things to understand before looking at logo sizes and placement is that your logo by itself is not your 'brand'. A good logo might become synonymous with a brand (the golden arches for example for McDonalds), but there is alot more that goes into creating a brand than just the logo.
If you think of one of New Zealand's big brands - "The Warehouse" for example - you'll start to get an understanding of why a logo only makes up a very small part of branding. The Warehouse and their 'big red sheds' bring up certain thoughts straight away - affordable, probably the lowest price you'll find for an item in New Zealand stores, and a money back guarantee. To be honest, I struggle to even visualise the Warehouse logo now as it has changed over time, but I suspect The Warehouse marketing team wouldn't be too upset by that. If a customer can name all those important aspects about the store, but not visualise the logo, then the brand is still a whopping success.
So how big should the logo be?
With the above in mind, whenever we are creating a website or any marketing collateral's, we will always think about the broader brand and messaging that we should be conveying. If a logo takes up half the screen, that's a missed opportunity to explain your products, or values, or convey a message to the customer. There is no strict rule on logo size, but it needs to balance against the rest of the page and messaging. If you take a look at some established companies logos, you'll quickly notice that they are often only 20-30px in height and don't take up much space on the page at all. That seems counter intuitive to alot of small businesses (and as a small business owner, you will probably want to go a little bit bigger than that), but the reality is that the smaller your logo, the more space available to display your product, services and messages.
You'll also need to consider the style of your logo and style of your site/marketing materials. Taking 543's logo on this website for example, we use a square logo in a sidebar menu. That sidebar menu takes up a bit more space than a conventional navigation menu would, but it also gave us the look that we were hoping for (and an easily navigable site). Because we have a square icon, we needed to have it a little bit larger than we would usually recommend - but that is balanced out by the navigation menu - and if you head to the homepage, you'll see that our messaging dominates the first drop.
Every site is different, and often logos are a different sizes and shapes, so there is no firm rule on how big you should have your logo - but as a general rule...think smaller rather than bigger.
In a (small) nutshell...
Don't forget to contact us if you have any questions at all about getting your brand, logo and website up and running.
As a website design business we are in a lucky position where we sometimes start to see big industry shifts early in the piece. One area that is currently seeing rapid change and advance is how we as businesses receive our money. Traditionally, any e-commerce store has needed some sort of third party payment gateway to accept payments. The likes of Payment Express and the big banks have dominated that space for many years, but recently the likes of PayPal, Square and Stripe have all started to take more of an interest in New Zealand and the options for kiwis are set to grow rapidly. More options means more competition, and that has to be a good thing, particularly as the new players to the market bring different pricing methods with them.
Most recently, we have seen that some of these online payment gateways are looking to expand their services to also offer ‘Point of Sale’ services (the POS in Eftpos - the ability for stores to take payments in person). The big mover in this space originally was Square. The basic premise of Square was to change the payment industry – bringing credit card processing to physical stores at a lower price point than the current terminal setups, letting you integrate payment methods with something as simple as your iPad. They extend that service to online payment gateways and their software basically becomes an all in one sales package for stores – with features that include inventory management. The big downside for us kiwis at the moment is that while we can use some of Square’s features (by coupling it up with Xero), they aren’t offering credit card processing in our little corner of the world just yet. That said, Australia is offered that service, so in our opinion, it won’t be long until Square does make it to our shores – and a bigger shake up to the industry takes place.
Running alongside Square in the online payment gateway space is Stripe (a company we have profiled before when we compared Stripe and PayPal). Stripe entered the fold as an alternative to online payment gateway providers – sitting somewhere in between Payment Express and PayPal in how it worked. They aimed to have the simplicity of PayPal in setup, but operate more like the conventional payment gateways in that they focus on online store payments (as opposed to peer to peer payments). As of yesterday, Stripe has announced that they are now moving into the Point of Sale space as well. Like everything they have done, Stripe’s offering is more targeted at developers, so you should expect to see it rolled out and packaged up with ‘3rd parties’, but either way it is very exciting news for businesses and consumers. Stripe is already in New Zealand with it’s online credit card processing, and while the POS system is only being launched in America at this stage, this is another big ‘watch this space moment’.
The final area to keep an eye on in NZ will definitely be the ‘after pay’ space. Australia in particular has seen that style of payment gateway explode, and from where we are sitting, each part of the world is starting to jump on that bandwagon to a lesser or greater extent. As it becomes adopted globally, expect to see these types of systems being offered more readily in platforms such as Weebly, Wix and SquareSpace – the consumer focused website and e-commerce options.
However the next few months pan out, it’s certainly going to be an interesting time for New Zealand business owners as more payment gateway and POS options land on our shores. We will certainly be keeping an eye on Square, Stripe and PayPal in particular – as we are increasingly eager to see easy to access, lower cost and integrated payment solutions made available.
In the topsy turvy world of search engine optimisation, there is one constant – Google will update their algorithm. Over the last couple of months in particular, there have been a constant stream of updates to Google’s search brain, giving SEO specialists plenty to ponder as they update their client’s sites and make sure they keep hitting the top of the search results. Below is a brief summary of some of those changes, and what they might mean for your website.
Way back in March of this year Google announced that after over a year of testing they were ready to start migrating sites over to the ‘mobile first’ search ranking. Initially they started with a smaller number of sites – those that followed the mobile first best practices well, but over the last month or so we have seen all our clients sites be pulled into that mobile first indexing. If you have a Google Search Console account for your site, you should have received a notification saying your site was now being looked at on ‘mobile first’ when it comes to search results, and if you haven’t got that Search Console account, it’s probably fair to assume that your site is now included.
What that means for everyone with a live website is that having a well optimised mobile site is increasingly important now. While your desktop site will still be adding to your site’s ‘search juice’, your mobile site is now a big priority. So – if you haven’t got a responsive or mobile site yet – get one now. In fact – contact us and we’ll help you build one!
In July, Google announced another update that shows the importance of having a well optimised mobile site. The July change focusses on a site’s speed – so the quicker you can get your site going the better. Initially, the change is only going to affect the mobile search rankings of the slowest sites on the web, but beware that this update is going to expand out to all sites.
The ‘Medic’ Core Update
The final big change which has come in the last few months was a broad core update to Google in August. As always, Google never tells us exactly what an update like this changes, so there is a little bit of educated guess work that goes on in the search engine community. From the data that has been shared, it looks like the update has mainly affected “Your Money, Your Life” sites – basically those sites that give medicinal and financial advice. That said, a few e-commerce, educational and automotive sites also took a bit of a hit. The big focus seems to have been on trustworthiness – with the new update pushing those sites it deems more trustworthy up the rankings.
Practically, the biggest thing to be done here is just to monitor what has happened to your site. If you’ve stayed reasonably steady in the results, then the update probably hasn’t affected you. However, if you have taken a hit and are in one of those industries we mentioned above, you need to sit down and give your site a solid appraisal. Think about best search engine practices, but also have a think about why Google may not find your site trustworthy.
All in all it’s been a big few months for search engine changes and updates. These updates serve as a good reminder of the benefit of at the very least monitoring your search results, but more importantly optimising your site and being responsive to any changes.
Remember to get in touch with us if you have any questions about search engine optimisation.
The European Sim Card & European Wifi verdict
As they say, The proof is in the pudding, and following on from our last blog on travelling and working, it seems pretty important to do a follow up to update what has and hasn’t worked in terms of staying ‘connected’ on the move. We’ve been through the UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands so far and below is a brief summary that should help you decide on how you’ll best stay connected for work in Europe.
The SIM Cards
As mentioned in our previous article, we purchased a couple of different SIM card options to let us transition from country to country in Europe. All the SIM cards we purchased have been a rip roaring success – with pretty solid coverage wherever we have gone and a relatively easy set up. In a month we have used between 3GB and 5GB of data each (with our accommodation wifi being used wherever we can). We haven’t really used the phone or text capabilities of the SIM cards, so can’t comment on them, but it is nice to know they are there if we need them.
Prepaidzero – the SIM card we got from Prepaidzero was 5GB, which was pretty perfect to us as our main device. Despite saying on the site you aren’t able to tether from your phone with the data pack we grabbed, we didn’t have any problems using the phone as a mobile hot spot. The SIM card arrived in New Zealand reasonably promptly and had straight forward instructions to setup. However, it did feel a little bit less professional in it’s packaging and website than the WorldSim options, and the ability to login online and check the usage/add data is a bit dated. That said, when we did top up – it worked perfectly, with no need to call support for any help.
World Sim – we grabbed 2 x 4GB SIM cards and a mifi dongle from World Sim. The coverage has been pretty solid and the delivery to NZ was prompt. Despite a few issues in getting the SIM card up and running, the support team were fantastic and have now helped us top up twice. The packaging it comes in is professional, and the site has a great login area. Again, we didn’t have any problems tethering off this SIM card despite the site saying otherwise. The mifi dongle has been pretty handy as a backup, but we have barely used it.
*Note on both: check exactly where you are going and if the sim card has coverage there. Monaco for example was a complete dead spot.*
Overall – the Prepaidzero sim has been far more reliable and we haven’t had to use their support at all. It’s essentially been seamless. It also came with a bigger data package. Unfortunately we were only able to top up in 3GB increments – and the packages only last a month – but despite WorldSIM looking more professional, Prepaidzero was definitely our winner.
Internet and working on trains
Honestly – from our experience don’t plan on having anything that resembles decent internet on European trains. While they all promise a wifi connection, we’re yet to come across one that works consistently enough to work online. You’ll get a spurt of connection here and there which is fine for picking up emails, but as a general rule you’ll be without an internet connection. That said, I’m drafting this blog offline on a train, so if you plan to have work that doesn’t need an internet connection you’ll be able to use that transit time well.
Happily, we’re yet to stay in accommodation that hasn’t offered free wifi. That was obviously a criteria of ours when booking our stay, and it’s been a godsend. We’ve had our mifi bundle as a backup, but when you are staying below cliffs in somewhere like the Amalfi coast and don’t have a cell signal, then having wifi at your accommodation is an absolute must. The quality of that wifi connection has varied significantly – for the most part it has been quick enough for us to do our work, but not quick enough to stream videos. That has meant some of the online elements of web design has taken a bit longer than usual – but on the whole it’s been pretty good.
In a nutshell
From day one of our travels we’ve been hugely thankful for our SIM cards. For things like checking train schedules and browsing restaurant choices, through to replying to emails and being able to call back to NZ on Skype, the SIM cards have been invaluable. That little bit of forward planning in ordering a European wide sim card has been really beneficial, and the same goes with making sure a hotel has wifi (and air conditioning!). A tiny bit of pre trip planning that is definitely making working and travelling a much more viable and enjoyable experience. Our advice – get a Prepaidzero sim before leaving New Zealand.
It's almost time to take off, so we're ready to pack our little working office into a backpack and get going. After weeks of research we are really happy with the setup we have for travelling and working in Europe. Above you can see how compact it all is, and below are what we think are the tools that will make your work and travel life a whole lot easier.
A LIGHTWEIGHT LAPTOP
OUR PICK: Acer Travelmate X
Having a nimble computer that doesn't weigh a whole lot is crucial for your travel adventures. You want it to be slim, robust and preferably speedy - particularly if you need to be doing a bit of design work on it. We've gone for the Acer Travelmate X for a few reasons. First up, it's got an aluminium shell - that means it's going to be able to take a bit of wear and tear on the road. It's really slim and lightweight, but it also has a screen that is big enough for us to work on. It's not got the grunt to run games...but in terms of power, it suits us just fine. We should note we aren't huge fans of Apple products - but I'm sure there will be someone reading this right now screaming at the screen that there is a better Apple option out there. That's a personal preference (and budget) thing, so for all of these items, have a research around and find what best suits you. A shout out to our friends at Laptops R Us for tracking the Acer Travelmate down for us.
A BRILLIANT TABLET
OUR PICK: Sony Xperia
For some people this won't be an absolute must, but for our type of work it's AMAZING to be able to have multiple monitors running. We've installed an app called "SpaceDesk" onto our Xperia tablet and Acer laptop, and that let's us use the tablet as an additional monitor to the laptop (great for when we want to compare designs on the fly). It was super easy to install/use, and is a nifty way to make you feel like you have a full office setup while you are travelling.
A FLATPACK MOUSE
OUR PICK: Microsoft Surface Arc
We picked this little bad boy up from Noel Leeming and it is just incredible for stashing away in your laptop case or backpack. The whole mouse flattens down to the size of a cellphone and clicks back into the arced mouse shape when needed. It's not as functional as the full size mouse we use at our office, but in terms of transportability, it beats the pants off the mini travel mouses you see floating around.
A SIMPLE LAPDESK WITH A MOUSE PAD EXTENSION
OUR PICK: Aidata Lapdesk
This was surprisingly difficult to find! We were looking for something with a bit more sturdiness than the Aidata option, but the retractable mousepad was absolutely crucial in our mind. In the end the Aidata doesn't look the prettiest, but it's functionality is fantastic. It's light, slim and let's you sit that laptop and mouse on your thighs wherever you are working. Perfect for those quick airport lounge stopovers.
A DURABLE CELLPHONE AND CASE
OUR PICK: Sony Xperia XZ1 in a tough cover
This phone isn't particularly special for travel (it doesn't have dual sim cards), but it's our current work phone and is really durable in it's case. Adding gorilla glass helps, but in reality, any modern, unlocked, cellphone would fit the bill.
ALL OF EUROPE SIM CARDS
OUR PICK: We aren't sure yet - PrePaidZero or WorldSim
We absolutely need data while we are travelling - not just for the actual work and email side of things, but also for a cost effective way to receive and make phone calls back to New Zealand. Roaming with an NZ company was out of the question and we change countries so rapidly that getting a local sim card wasn't an option either. In the end we've grabbed sim cards from both PrePaidZero and WorldSim and will see which works best/is the most reliable in the various countries we are in (watch this space). We'll be setting our call forwarding to go through to Skype - so our NZ numbers will still be active and we can pick the call up using data (without spending a bucket load).
A MIFI DONGLE
OUR PICK: Huaweii E5573
Unfortunately, the above sim cards won't allow for tethering from our phones, so as a backup option for our laptops when we are away from wifi we've picked up a little mifi dongle (portable wifi). It fits in our pocket, so we can take it anywhere and stay connected.
A LAPTOP BACKPACK
OUR PICK: Everki Flight Laptop Backpack
This was a fantastic buy from Mighty Ape. With a fleece lined pouch for both your laptop and tablet, as well as pockets for all your pens, mouse, water bottle and cables, it's perfect for a regular work traveller. It's simple design is professional, and it has plenty of space for extra items. Highly recommended.
A TRUSTY PAD AND PEN
Nothing beats having a pad and pen on you for those moments of inspiration, or in our case...for jotting down checklists...
THE NEXT STEP
The next step for us is going to be finding someplace to do a little bit of work in Auckland Airport as we head for our first stopover in Hong Kong on the way to Europe. We'll be putting these items through their paces even more as the trip continues, so keep an eye on the blog for any updates for big winners, or big losers along the way!
In a week or so myself (Jamie Twigg - founder of 543 Design) and my partner are hopping on an Air New Zealand flight to Hong Kong before Cathay Pacific whisks us off to Europe for a two month working adventure. Over the next couple of months I'll try to give an idea of how we manage to balance the working travel life, and in this blog we look at how you can make it happen for yourself.
How do you get the time off?
Most people reading this will be employees wondering how travel for a couple of months without leaving their full time job. The first thought that springs to mind is 'my boss would never give me that much time off'. All we would say is there is no harm in asking - and in asking the right way. It can be a real benefit to a company keeping you on the job in a small way while you are away. Would your work rather lose you completely for 4 weeks, or have a few hours work coming in from you every day for 8 weeks? It's a win win - you get a trip, come back happy and refreshed, and the workflow continues to flow uninterrupted. So figure out how much leave you have, how long you want to travel, then split the difference into part time work over the whole trip.
The other option of course is figuring out how you can work for yourself. Whether you start your own company and manage others from afar, or contract/freelance in your chosen field, the end result means a great deal more flexibility in travel. There is plenty of risk in going out by yourself, but also plenty of upside. Most desk jobs can be done remotely these days - you just have to find the niche/aspect of your industry that isn't geographically tied, and base your work around that. If you decide working remotely while you travel is an absolute must and can't figure out how you could make it work in your industry...then there's always a change of career!
Where can you go?
You've got your time off...now it's time to pick where to go. If you're going to continue working, the golden rule is find an internet connection when you need it. You are going to be fairly useless halfway up Mt Everest, so make sure to plan your work around any internet dead spots on your travels. We're heading to Europe this year, so it shouldn't be an issue, but we still look very closely for that little wifi symbol whenever we are booking accommodation. In that regard, booking.com has been an absolute godsend.
Also just have a little think about time-zones for when you are working while travelling. Being on the other side of the world can actually be fantastic - all the communication comes to you overnight, which means you can get up in the morning, respond, push out a couple of quality hours of work, and then in the evening be available for New Zealand as they come online. So long as you communicate well about when you'll be in touch - everyone is very understanding.
How does it work day to day?
In reality when you are travelling you want to get out and experience the world. You want to spend your days sight seeing and chatting to locals. You want to try new food and experience new things. You definitely don't want to end up locking yourself in a hotel room all day to work. It's crucial to find a balance:
But OMG...the cost!
Travel isn't cheap. Unless a fantastic airline swoops in and upgrades you to Business Class (*wink* *wink* Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific social media teams who are so on the ball they've read this far...) - you're going to end up forking out a fair amount of coin as you travel. It sounds incredibly dull, but planning really is the key here. We've known our trip has been coming for months now, so booked most of our accommodation and travel early, and have spent those months paying for it. That means that when we take off, food and entertainment are all that's left to cough up for. Ultimately, having regular pay cheques continuing to come in while we travel is going to be one of the best things about the work/travel experience...but if there is one thing that I've learnt in past trips that I've worked on...a little hard work and planning before the trip goes a LONG way.
The tools we are using...
Technology is always changing and one of the tech giants of the world absolutely loves to stay at the forefront of that with it’s search engine algorithms. Recently there seem to have been little tweaks to the Google search result engine monthly, weekly or even daily, so we thought we’d just take a quick look back at April and May, have a look at what changed, and put a bit of context around why having a reliable company keeping an eye on your website and SEO is so important.
The big one came in April, with Google confirming it released a ‘broad core algorithm’ update – something they do reasonably regularly throughout the year. So what did that update do exactly? Google claimed that ‘pages that were previously under rewarded’ would see a benefit in the search results. Google has posted on Twitter that it released a “broad core algorithm update” this past Monday. In reality, that saw things like tabloid newspapers lose places, while digital first publishers pop up the rankings. What we can draw from that is that Google is rewarding great, original, online content – so get your blog and article writing into top gear and your site should benefit.
May saw Google confirm a smaller, but no less influential update. Five months ago, the company confirmed that they were going to show longer search result snippets (the little paragraph blurb shown under each search result). In May, they reversed that, pushing the average length of a search snippet back towards the 160 characters it used to be. What Google have indicated is that the search engine dynamically generates snippets based on what it considers to be the most relevant information. That may mean it cherry picks from your longer meta description – so there is no big rush to go back and shorten those descriptions.
That’s just a quick peak into the Google search result looking glass, and shows how often search engine results change. We run monthly SEO campaigns at a low cost for some of our 543 Design clients to stay on top of these changes and keep pushing their sites up the rankings. Get in touch if you think you might benefit.
If you haven’t been bombarded with emails about the GDPR recently – you’ve obviously been out of cellphone reception. If you haven’t had the time to read through some of those articles, here’s our quick overview of the GDPR, what it is, and how it relates to both New Zealand and 543 Design’s Weebly built sites.
What Is it?
The General Data Protection regulation is Europe’s answer to protecting their citizen’s data. Basically if you provide a service or product to anyone from Europe – you’re going to need to comply. It kicked in on 25 May 2018.
The key takeaways:
So what do you have to do as an NZ business?
The first question to ask is whether you trade in Europe at all, or get European visitors to your site. If so, then it’ll be worth delving a bit deeper into the GDPR here:
In most cases, the Content Management System and plugins for your site will be managed by global companies who will likely have updated their systems to comply with the GDPR. Think about your website provider, any booking apps you run and your email software, then just double check to see if they have contacted you recently. They should have guidelines on what they have done and what you may need to do.
What about 543 Design Clients?
For 543 Design clients, our Content Management Provider is Weebly. They have been steadily implementing comprehensive GDPR updates over the last couple of weeks. All 543 and Weebly sites now automatically show EU visitors a cookie notification and disable cookie functionality until that notification is accepted. If you’d like this text customised, please contact us. You are also able to add an ‘opt in’ element to your contact forms.
If you regularly send out e-newsletters that make it to the EU, it may be worth sending an email update giving users the ability to opt out of future e-newsletters (and have their data removed).
In a nutshell.
This is a big move for Europe that the rest of the world is now scurrying to comply with, but as a small NZ business, running a 543 Design website, it’s likely there aren’t many steps you’ll need to take right now. If you do think your site has a large European viewership though, please contact us to see if there are any further steps you'll need to take.
Disclaimer: this is just a brief and informal summary and definitely not legal advice!
If you've been dabbling in building your own Weebly website recently you may have got to the point of wanting a truly custom look for your site - a step up from the standard themes that Weebly offer. If that's the case, you've got a couple of options - hire a brilliant Weebly designer like 543 Designs (!), or purchase a custom Weebly theme that you can upload to your site yourself. There are a few companies out there who build those custom templates, but if you're looking for somewhere to start, try our Weebly themes site. Once you have your theme chosen and downloaded though, you're going to need to know how to upload it.
Step 1: Download The Theme
When you purchase a custom 3rd party theme for Weebly, you'll be asked to download a .zip folder or something similar. Depending on who you buy the theme from, this will either be the actual file/folder you will need to upload to your site, or it may need to be extracted to get to the .zip folder to upload. To figure out what type of file you have, click into the zip folder and see what the contents are. If the contents looks something like the picture below and have a whole lot of html files, then that folder is the one you'll be wanting to upload to your site. If the folder contains another zip folder, then you'll need to extract it and upload that final .zip folder. If in doubt though, just try uploading the folder to Weebly - if it works and you are offered a new theme to choose from, you've got it right, if it doesn't, then you may need to extract your .zip folder to get to the contents/.zip folder within it! Lot's of zipping around...!
Step 2: Upload The Theme
Step 3: Get To Know Your Theme
Once you've uploaded your custom theme you'll realise that it will likely operate a bit differently to the standard Weebly themes you've come across. The first thing you'll want to do is make sure you have chosen the correct page setup you are wanting. Custom themes tend to come with alot more page variations than standard Weebly themes, so if you've seen a demo site that you want to imitate, you'll want to make sure you have figured out what 'page type' that demo site uses and choose it in the Pages menu.
From here, you'll find each Weebly custom theme has it's own peculiarities. Some one page themes need you to change your Page type to setup the navigation menu, some will have a set structure where you'll need to upload images or content in certain boxes, and alot these days have 'Theme Options' (see the screenshot below), which let you change individual elements of your theme (button colour etc). The first thing we would recommend doing is just familiarising yourself with all these options and page types. A little bit of effort in learning the theme at the start will stand you in great stead in further down the line.
You've got your theme
Hopefully once you've done all those things you'll have a good handle on your new theme and will be able to implement it on your site. Most theme providers also have pretty good support facilities, so if something really doesn't seem to be working, drop them a line and they should fix it up for you. Like everything new, your first Weebly theme may seem a bit daunting at first, but the more you use them and understand how they work, the more you'll love having a custom and flashy theme on your site.
Making Minimum Viable Product work for you
If you're just launching a business or have an idea you want to turn into reality, you might hear the letters "MVP" thrown around quite alot. Off the sports field and in the tech world, MVP isn't the most valuable player in the office, it's a bit of a catch cry for doing the least you can to have your idea out in the world - the Minimum Viable Product. That's all well and good - but what is Minimum Viable Product? And why is it so important to a budding entrepreneur or business person?
What is Minimum Viable Product?
In a nutshell, your minimum viable product constitutes the lowest effort and spend you can put in to have a functioning business live. From our end, this is easiest to explain in terms of a website, but in reality the concept expands to the whole business. As a practical example - let's say you run a delivery business and ideally you want custom parcels with your logos on to send your products in. The MVP for that delivery business may be sending the parcels in a more generic package initially - until you have enough sales and proof of business to invest in a custom parcel design. From a website perspective, we can probably explain this in a bit more detail looking at a company that wants to take online bookings.
The website example - online booking
So, let's say you have a hair salon and you want a new website - but don't have a huge amount of money to invest in it. Ultimately, you want to take online bookings in a custom system where clients can specify a whole lot of detail. A good web designer will quickly let you know that a custom booking system is extremely expensive, that the next step down would be using a booking plugin which may have a monthly fee, but the MVP (minimum viable product) version of that site would just use a simple contact form to take the bookings. Eventually you could grow to have that custom booking system, but while your costs are restricted, you'd still be able to test the theory of having online bookings by having a simple contact form that you then use to manually make bookings at your end. It's not perfect - but it does provide proof of concept, without a huge outlay.
Why is MVP so important?
The MVP stage of a budding business provides a huge opportunity to test your idea without over extending your finances early on. You may think that your idea is the greatest in the world, but an idea isn't a business until it has sales - and spending vast sums on your first version of a concept could lead to alot of losses. Chances are your idea is phenomenal, but why not get it out to market and tested in some way first? Sit down, think about what your ideal business/platform looks like, then work backwards to a point where you are satisfied you have enough to go to market, but not so much it will drain your budget on day one. In the above example that thought process would have gone "I definitely want a website and I definitely want to be able to take bookings online. I don't NEED for that system to be automated, customised, or have online payments just yet, so I'll test it in a more basic form on day one and grow."
Now, next time you are standing around a tech hub and someone throws the letters MVP at you, you'll know they aren't about to award a little trophy for the best team player, and you'll be able to verbalise your skin and bones plan to get your idea out to the world!
Our Tech Blog
The founder of 543 Design & Online gives his thoughts on everything web and branding.
We're always happy to have a chat about anything you read on here - just get in touch!