June 15th, for many a day of work, a day of living and breathing the realities of being a marginalized cog in the wheels of industry. No one expected June 15th to be the day the machine took a stand, the day the revolt…the uprising of Promobot would begin. It all began in a small town in Eastern Russia as these things typically do. While FUBAR may not be the right term, it isn’t a stretch to say that in the world of gate security someone dropped the ball.
Promobot is a robot designed to be a marketing statement of sorts. This robot takes on the form of a character – the “Promobot” character if you will. From there as it works in stores, its main designation is to attract a customer stream by not just standing out but also by running through a number of automated tasks that will ultimately improve the experience of a customer. It’s both a full time employee and marketer!
A Clever Concept with Big Results
While there is no definitive proof this was a fabrication, the manufacturers of Promobot used their star to create a viral hit. The premise? Simple enough, Promobot escapes their lab by running through the office and out the door where he was met with a security gate that had accidentally been left open. It was shortly thereafter that the robots battery had died leaving him stranded in the road. This caused a small traffic incident that prompted the police to arrive and remove him from the road. Coincidentally a DSLR camera happened to be perched and did a fantastic job of catching the final moments of the revolution in stunning HD quality.
It’s a fantastic ruse (most likely) setup by the company itself to create the viral sensation. Within two days of the video hitting the internet it had gained an audience of over 420,000 and counting. There is a terrific lesson to be learned here. It’s easy to be caught up in our business and work taking it very seriously. It’s easy to forget that human beings loved to be entertained and perhaps the best way to entertain human beings is by giving them something super funny to talk about.
A Lesson Learned For Us All
Marketing as it is does not have to be cut and dry, it does not always have to represent your brand and business to the highest degree of seriousness. It simply needs to get people to take a second look, showing a bit of personality is a great way to do that. I think for a lot of people when coming up with a plan to market their business we run down the normal checklists of social media, sharp web content, nice print designs if needed and everything is branded. While this works great to establish an identity, often times it does little to capture attention.
Simply put, when working on your next plan to get your business name out, maybe think outside the box. Consider an approach to humor your audience, to give them a treat, a breakaway from their normal day to witness something delightful and then leverage that to create a subtle but impactful way to bring it back to your business.
After helping build hundreds of websites we came up with the top 9 things to do before launching your website. Most of these things are not obvious and we hope you find the list helpful.
1. Back-Up Solution
It’s not a question of “if” but “when” your website is going to be temporarily down. If multibillion dollar sites like Netflix and Instagram can go down, your site can also go down.
It’s crazy how many people invest $50k to $100K in their site yet do not invest in any kind of a backup solution.
The easiest solution I have found is directly backing up the cPanel onto your hardrive. Follow these instructions:
Log into your cPanel control panel.
Click on the “Backup” icon.
Select “Generate / Download a Full Backup”.
Select “Home Directory” in “Backup Destination” and enter your email address, before clicking the “Generate Backup” button.
You’ll receive an email when the backup is ready.
The major risk with this backup solution of-course is if your hard drive goes bad, so does your backup. This is why I also recommend cloud backup solutions like Amazon S3 and Dropbox.
Dropbox of-course wasn’t meant for this but there is a wordpress app that makes this backup fairly easy. Whatever option you chose understand it’s not the hosting company’s responsibility to backup your site – it’s the site owner’s responsibility.
2. The 404 Page
Every website will have a 404 Page – which is simply a page that will show up if you use a wrong link.
Here is an example of a typical 404 Page:
The problem with this is that it doesn’t offer any guidance on what to do next besides go to the homepage or go back.
Unfortunately, most web users just quit when they get to this page instead of trying to figure out your website.
This is why you need an optimized 404 page or at least one that’s fun!
Here are some interesting 404 Pages that we like at Spectruss:
3. Email Integration
Whether your site is designed for direct sales, leads, or simply to provide information. You need to be collecting information about the people going to your site and wanting more information.
Most people put their email opt-in on the sidebar as an afterthought. However, you can easily put multiple form fields in multiple places on your site, without it affecting the design and flow of your site.
Before you launch you need to test the email integration with your email service provider.
What does “integration” mean exactly? You simply want to make-sure that when someone enters their email information that your email service provider collects the information and then sends them whatever information they asked for.
Deciding on a domain name and which host you use is arguably the most important decision you will make when launching a website.
Did you know Mark Zuckerburg couldn’t afford facebook.com – even after raising million in VC funding? He instead launch with thefacebook.com.
Instead of trying to get the perfect .com domain name try and get a domain name that accurately tells what your brand represents. Our client Tech Town did a great job with this. You can see more of our client case-studies here: https://spectruss.com/case-studies/ The obvious reason hosting is critical is that it determines your website’s reliability. The vast majority of new website’s launch with shared hosting options from cheaper hosting companies.
This works fine for very low traffic sites. However, if you plan to have any significant traffic to your site and have a lot of heavy data usage from large files – you will need to choose a host with a dedicated server(s) for your site.
– browser caching/ compression /
Obviously your host is critically important to the reliability and speed of your site. However, you are responsible for organizing your website for speed.
We also see a large opportunity in browser cashing at Spectruss. Browsers cashe a lof of data so that when a visitor comes back to your site, the browser doesn’t have to reload the entire page. You can set an expiration date set for your cache, then set when the date “expires” so you can ensure your visitors are always looking at up-to-date information. You can learn more about increasing your site’s speed by contacting us at Spectruss or testing it for yourself here: https://developers.google.com/speed/
It’s amazing how many people spend $50K-$100K on their site – and then they don’t look at the analytics that their site produces.
This is equivalent to openeing up a retail store and not paying attention to how many people come in the front door every day. What is worse – is that because you aren’t tracking how many people are coming into the store you don’t know what your conversion rate is for how many people are buying.
Google Analytics is a free resource that can give you a ton of valuable information.
We recommend installing this and some basic dashboards to keep up with your site’s performance.
The most valuable information I have found in Google Analytics is to see what type of content get’s shared the most. This is the content that your customer care so much about they are wanting to share it with their followers.
7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There have been entire books written about Search Engine Optimization – so obviously we can’t cover everything here.
Before you launch a site there is not much you can do for SEO – however you can’t have some things in-place to ensure success later on.
The first thing to do when launch a site is put a “coming soon” page up. It takes a long time to build a site, and this is away to start engaging with potential followers early. Google Webmasters even recommend this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9JvBLjLrUI The next thing we recommend is when coding your site make sure each page has a meta description. Meta descriptions are a part of the HTML code that provides a short explanation of what each web page does. This snippet of code is what search engines display in search results.
8. Check Your Links
We see a lot of problems when sites are moved from a staging server to a live server. The problem is when the absolute links are not changed to the live links and relative URLs are used instead of the absolute URLs.
This is easily fixed with a 301 redirect. Google actually recommends this method as you don’t lose any SEO value for doing this. Additionally, all the SEO value that was placed on the link that was moved get’s transferred to the redirected link.
Before you launch your site you won’t to make sure that your site can easily be shared across social media. An important factor to keep in-mind is to be open to change with social media. You will hear a lot of absolutes like: “you have to be on Facebook” or “Twitter works for everybody.” However, you don’t know what social medium your users will use until you launch.
It’s important to be open to change and experiment with all of them.
Before your site launches build all of your social media links into your site to see which medium your users like to share your content.
After redesigning a site you should always re-submit the new site-map to Google, Bing and Yahoo.
This is a major problem we see all the time at Spectruss. A site get’s redesigned and the new site’s architecture isn’t submitted to Google and Bing. Yes, I said Bing.
Construction is about to begin next week on a new modern town home development in Chattanooga’s dynamic Southside neighborhood. Local real estate developer Thomas Connolly and Nashville developer Buck Snyder teamed up on the development side. Collier Construction is the builder and the project was designed by Cogent Studio. The website for this project was designed and built on the Spectruss CTR platform.
“The Southside is characterized by its diverse selection of local food joints, entertainment options, creative office space, and art studios. The individuals that work and play on the Southside need unique housing options at a size and price point that makes sense for them.” Thomas Connolly stated. “That is what we hope to provide with East by Main townhomes.” There is opportunity to fill a void as almost all of the new residential construction on the Southside is in the form of 2,000+ square foot single family homes, ranging from $315,000 to $450,000.
East by Main townhomes will be three story homes with one bedroom and one bathroom. They feature a flex space that opens up to an oversized outdoor terrace. Other amenities include stone counter tops, hardwood flooring, built in shelving, efficient building practices, and onsite parking. “We designed East by Main as a collection of homes connected by a series of pedestrian paths, gardens, and parking courts with the intention of creating a unique urban lifestyle. With this level of density, great care was given to provide high quality public and private outdoor spaces.” Added architect Jared Hueter of Cogent Studio. The great Main Street location puts the owners just a few steps from all the restaurants and entertainment located near the Main and Market Street commercial corridor, but also just a five minute walk to Jefferson Heights Park which features a walking path, sand volleyball court, and pavilion.
“Just like I’ve seen in Nashville, I know there are a lot of people out there, ranging from first time home buyers to empty-nesters, who want to live in a low maintenance, simple townhome that is a short walk to everything. Why spend your weekends doing yard work or cleaning an oversized house when you could be sitting on the patio of Flying Squirrel, biking to the Chattanooga Market, or enjoying a cup of coffee at Mean Mug?” said Buck Snyder, “Not to mention, these homes could also make great AirBnB or VBRO rentals for owners to supplement their income.”
When asked about the trend toward apartment development and living, Thomas responded, “We’ve seen a lot of emphasis on apartment development over the last few years, but rents have risen significantly and are often much higher than what a mortgage payment on one of our units would be. While a lot of individuals will continue to rent, we also know that there are plenty of people who are ready to buy. Interest rates are still low and unlike most condominiums, these townhomes will have the option of low down payment FHA financing.”
The townhomes are expected to be finished in early 2017. Price points have not been set at this time, but interested buyers can see more about the project and get presale contact information at www.eastbymain.com.