In recent months we’ve become big fans of Fotolia stock library…
One of the biggest problems as a web designer can be finding suitable photographs to fit with our clients websites. Having waded through many an on-line stock library in the past I always seem to end up back at Fotolia which must have one of the biggest collections of them all – approaching 7 million photographs.
Prices for images suitable sizes for use on the web start from 2 or 3 Euro.
What is surprising is that a quick search on Lanzarote will throw up over 1.100 images – which makes it particularly useful for businesses on the island. And most are of very good quality due to a human based acceptance system – you won’t find many holiday snaps on this site!
So – no need to steal any of my photographs from our sites, or from other popular sites on the island as happens all to often.
It only costs a couple of Euro to avoid breaching copyright laws! 😉
We hadn’t used Moneybookers before, having always preferred PayPal. Until one of our recent clients who had used them in the past – and really liked the system – asked us to incorporate on-line payments into the site we built for him. The client offers airport transfers in Lanzarote, and he was keen to find a low cost and reliable merchant account option through which he could accept credit cards.
Moneybookers has in the end turned out to be an excellent choice – as always opening the merchant account took a bit of time, they wanted to see the working site, and of course – lots of bits of paper related to the business – as anyone company working within the law is bound to do. It took a bit of time to get going but the way the system work it doesn’t stop working on the site as you can add your buttons which apply to the standard account and the credit card options are added when the merchant account is approved.
Opening the merchant account was FREE (always a good thing), and Moneybookers commission rates are low at only a 1.9% compared to PayPal‘s 3.4% (plus a €0.35 transaction fee) that saving alone was enough to persuade us to open an account!
On the downside – As web designers we didn’t find their site either particularly user friendly, there’s a learning curve when you are used to using PayPal – and support wasn’t particularly quick when needed. However, the advantage outweighs these minor gripes, the reduced fees are enough for us to suggest that anyone give them a try….
Every now and then we outsource some of the specialist skills needed in our work. We do this either when we might have a learning curve involved – one instance of this was when we used Maxim Support to install Ffmpeg on a server we were working on. It saved us a heap of time, and in turn our client money. To say their service was excellent is selling them short. The service was perfect – fast, and cost-effective.
Maxim Support’s services include
If you need assistance with your dedicated Linux Server why not drop Maxim Support an email. You won’t be disappointed
As web designers, and marketing professionals we don’t rest on our laurels. It’s important to us to prove to our clients that we can deliver the kind of results they are looking for. How better to do this than to establish some decent web properties of our own. Since moving to Lanzarote we have established a couple of hugely successful sites. Without divulging our statistics it is safe to say that both sites generate a lot of hits.
Canary Nightlife (launched in February 06) – is a site promoting bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants in the Canary Islands. It’s a very busy site (hits are measured in the many hundreds of thousands every month) which we have proven delivers business to our clients at a very reasonable cost. It also includes a busy forum.
Lanzarote Relocation (launched September 07) – is our guide to moving to Lanzarote. It’s simply a blog of our own experiences of emigrating, our musings about life on the on the island and other general Lanzarote information, including guest articles. As far as we know this is the only independent site of its type. Again this is a very busy website and features well in Google searches.
As we have written about elsewhere both sites have been imitated – more than once – as is so often the case with many businesses on Lanzarote. But, we’re confident in our ability to stay ahead of the game – after all this is what we do for a living, we’re not doing this as a hobby or as an after thought! 🙂
Cue more insults from our friend “Bob in Cyprus”!
We currently have a number of other projects in the making – watch this space!
We find it amusing when we read guides on what to look for in a web designer, as we have on our home page, when we see the phrase “make sure your web designer can ‘hand code’. It’s quite an absurd notion really, when you take a moment to think about it…
Web design programs and the other tools at the disposal of a professional web designer are just that, tools… The phrase should read something more like “make sure your web designer understands code”. A web designer should be able to read code in much the same way as a musician might read music. However, would you expect the musician to write all his own sheet music by hand – or perhaps an author to use a pen and paper rather than a word-processor?
Here’s a challenge for you. Next time you take your car in for repair, ask your mechanic to make sure he fixes it without the use of spanners and screwdrivers… And wait for the reaction! :). Maybe he can do it, but the extra time is surely ‘going to cost you’.
The World’s Worst Website has long been a personal favourite, and we often revisit it when we need a laugh. We’ve been reminded of it recently by a site of a ‘competitor‘ (the term competitor is used very loosely) that frankly breaks just about every rule in the book!
We’ve written previously about what you should look for in a web designer so hopefully if you’ve followed our advice you’ll have managed to avoid them. The site is, without exaggeration, hilarious – if you find it you´ll know which one we are talking about. For rather obvious reasons we haven’t included a link to it… (but ask us nicely and we might email you the address)
To remind you of what we stressed on our home page, should you choose not to use Gandy-Draper for any reason, we would rather point you at our more reputable competitors…
Why should you bring your website up to date?
When you buy a car, you don’t necessarily buy exactly the same model, age, and colour, that you did last time would you? Why? Because technologies, tastes, and features have moved on. What your old car used to do for you was fine at the time… but now the demands are different. Continue reading
The easy and simple answer is “Yes – without a doubt!” But why? Here are just three reasons why a website is a must for any serious business.
You know what it’s like. You’ve been at work all day, or you’ve been taxi-ing the kids around to and from school, footie lessons, friends’ houses etc – and before you know it, you’re back at home and it’s far too late to visit a shop, or talk to a call centre (if you even wanted to). So you click on the computer, and start surfing to see what you can find. A website ensures that your business is available to prospective customers at all times – even if you personally are not. In a short time, your prospective customers can have found out all about you, your services, how to get more information, dropped you an enquiry, or even bought your products – all while you snooze in front of the telly… or are sipping wine with friends on the terrace.
Customers will speak to YOU!
How many times have you searched through an online directory, looking for something specific, and then are faced with rows of telephone numbers. Then a supplier with a website is in the list – human nature dictates that you will click on that because straight away you can find out more information without having to pick up a phone, or drive to their premises. Well, you’re not alone… Don’t you think your customers would do the same?
Increase your customer base
No matter whether you are doing business on a local level, or gaining clients internationally, a website can help you reach out to more people. It would be lovely if we had enough money to advertise in every publication in the world, flypost every flat surface in every country, or have your logo emblazoned on every vehicle ever driven, have our image blasting on every television channel ever broadcasting – but life just isn’t like that. And hey, if you had enough money to do that, you’d be retiring to yout luxury yacht and supping margheritas. What a website can do for you is the next best thing. With the internet, there are no national borders, no geographical limitaions – you’re are simply in the place caled “online”. Perhaps you have a new offer coming up – get it on your website, and you are automatically advertising worldwide. Planning a new range? Then your website can display that for you across all the compass points.
Of course there are many many more reasons to have a website – but even with just these… can you afford not to?