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Archive for May, 2010

13 May
Posted by Kay

Does my site need a Frequently Asked Questions page?

The Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ page is a convention that has been around since the early days of the web. It is a page that lists common questions and their answers in an easily scannable format.

Although the FAQ page seems to have become a little less popular recently, there are some very good reasons why you should consider including one:

  • it provides helpful information, quickly
  • it can save you from answering the same queries over and over
  • it demonstrates your authority
  • it is great for search engine visibility

But no one has asked any questions!

A frequently asked questions page doesn’t need to be made up of real questions that your customers have actually asked. If you struggle with your FAQ, it might help to think of it as a way of highlighting lesser known features of your product or service. While looking for the answer to questions they do have, your customers might be happy to find answers to questions they hadn’t even thought of asking.

E-commerce sites are prime candidates for FAQ pages. Your FAQ is a great place to quickly and simply lay out all of your ordering, payment, shipping and returns information. But really, any kind of business that has customers could find an FAQ page useful.

Advantages of an FAQ page

Your Frequently Asked Questions page can be:

  • a place to direct customer enquiries
  • a way to establish yourself or your company as an authority in your field
  • a way of highlighting lesser-known facts about your product or service
  • a useful page of content to be indexed by search engines, especially when many searchers phrase their queries as questions
  • a resource for other sites to link to – again, fantastic for your search engine visibility

Keeping it real

While the questions in your FAQ don’t need to be real questions that you have been asked, if they don’t have a ‘ring of truth’ to them—like something a real consumer of your product or service would ask—they will seem fake and contrived.

For example:

Good: Does Product X support Feature Y?

Not so good: Is it true that Product X is absolutely the best solution available on the market for Problem Z?

Start collecting

You’ll need at least four or five questions to make a reasonable FAQ page. If you receive customer enquiries by email, or you have them recorded another way, start going through them to see if there’s anything that could be appropriate for inclusion.

Or, start thinking about your product or service and work out what cool or innovative aspects of them are under-represented in your website content. What do you wish your customers would ask you?

I bet that if you think about it, you’ll find a goldmine of great ideas for your Frequently Asked Questions page.

12 May
Posted by Kay

Lots more than just pottery!

Perth chain Half Price Pottery rebranded as Pots and More late last year, with design agency The Globe helping them make the transition. We took care of the web side of things, launching a whole new site as designed by The Globe in record time for their grand opening.

The new site is driven by WordPress, and hosted by Fasthit. Along with general information and contact details, the site has a store locator powered by Google Maps which allows customers to find their closest store, view it on a map, and get directions from any location they specify.

Although the site is live, it’s not yet finished. Stage 2 will include a product catalog highlighting products from the stores’ two main lines, pots and water features, and a virtual garden planner. Stay tuned!

Pots and More

11 May
Posted by Kay

Web site launched for Hilburn Constructions

This local construction company is very new, and like most businesses in their sector, Hilburn Constructions are crazy busy with building projects, making a web site quite low down in their priorities.

However, Hilburn needed an online presence, both to allow clients to easily find their contact details, and to showcase the great work that they’re doing. Starfish Levi took some photos of their office to use in the design, and we built them a site using WordPress to manage the content, and the Zen Photo gallery system to display photos of their recent building projects. Leticia Supple, our fabulous copywriting partner, massaged their text to make it sound good, and our good friends over at Fasthit take care of the hosting of the site.

Behind the scenes, we also built a simple system to allow authorised sub-contractors to download relevant documents, dispensing with the need for emailing around large files.

Given that they are so busy, the guys at Hilburn usually get us to take care of their updates – which we’re happy to do. For our clients that prefer not to take a hands-on approach, we typically turn around small updates with a day or so, and our pre-paid, discounted maintenance packages make this quite cost-effective.

Hilburn Constructions

10 May
Posted by Kay

Get your visitor statistics home delivered

We use Google Analytics on our sites and our client sites because it offers excellent statistics and customisation possibilities, integrates beautifully with Google AdWords, and it’s completely free.

If you’re anything like me, you’re so busy running your business that things like checking on your web site visitor statistics can slip through the cracks. Unfortunately this means that our web sites could be trying to tell us things about our business and the market, but we’re not listening!

Someone at Google was obviously thinking of us, because any report in Google Analytics can be added to an email that is sent to one or more email addresses on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis.

Personally, I opt for the weekly report. Because Google is based in the US and it systems works on that timezone, this means that every Tuesday morning I get an email with a PDF attached with the most important stats in it.

My report contains:

  • a visitor overview, which gives me the number of visitors, pageviews, time spent on site and bounce rate, as well as some information on which browsers my visitors are using
  • a Search Engine report, which tells me which keywords people are using to find our site
  • a Referring Sites report, which lists all the web sites that have sent us traffic in the last week
  • a Top Content report, which shows which pages on our site were visited the most

I find that these reports give me just the right amount of information – to see if any new sites are linking to us, or if a particular keyword or page on the site is generating a lot of interest – without drowning me in numbers. However, any report that you see in Google Analytics can be emailed, just by clicking on the Email button at the top of each page. If you’re running any Google AdWords campaigns, for example, you’ll definitely want to include reports relating to that.

Because I get it right in my inbox, it only takes me a few minutes to scan through my reports. And most importantly, because it arrives automatically every week, I don’t forget to go look!

7 May
Posted by Kay

New look for AACDS

Occasionally a site will go live and somehow slip through the cracks of our announcement system – and this is just one such site. It’s not because we’re not proud of the work we’ve done, we just get really busy sometimes!

We’ve been working with the Australasian Academy of Cosmetic Dermal Science for quite a while on their online lecture and exam system, so when they were looking to update the look of their public web site we were happy to help them out.

The AACDS site has detailed information about the academy, lecturers and courses offered for prospective students, including detailed course outlines and enrolment details. There’s also a login for existing students, linking into their online lectures and exams.

Australian Academy of Cosmetic Dermal Science

6 May
Posted by Kay

Open editions added to Spool Photography

We launched a new web site for landscape photographer Neil Pritchard back in late 2008, showcasing his stunning limited edition prints and with the innovative “in your home” feature, which shows any selected image against a lounge room wall setting.

The site is now expanded with Open Editions, a new range of photographic prints that are not individually numbered or limited to 60, like Neil’s Limited Editions. Because Open Editions are available in a wider range of sizes, the “in your home” feature of the site has been expanded to accommodate them. This means more gorgeous shots of landscapes you won’t believe are real places!

Spool Photography – Limited Edition Landscape Photography

5 May
Posted by Kay

Perth Theatre Company calls in The Removalists

2010 will be Perth Theatre Company’s last year at the Playhouse Theatre, as the Company moves to the brand new State Theatre Centre Of Western Australia, currently being built in Northbridge.

Their last ever production at the Playhouse will be The Removalists – a classic Australian drama by David Williamson, starring multi-Logie and AWIA award winner Jon English. The Removalists will have a Gala Performance on the 27th of August, then run until September 11. See the Perth Theatre web site for more information and ticket details.

Clever Starfish has been working with Perth Theatre Company since late 2007. It’s always fun working with such a dynamic team and also quite challenging realising their creative ideas!

4 May
Posted by Kay

Kelmscott Show highlights biodiversity in 2010

In 2008, we redesigned Kelmscott Annual Show’s web site and moved them to the FarCry content management system. This allows them to post news items, edit text, add sponsor information and logos and make entry forms, schedules and the like available for the public to download.

In 2009, we updated their header image to highlight their new theme – The Moon – and changed some of the heading colours to match. Just recently, we’ve made similar changes for 2010’s theme: Biodiversity. These small changes really refresh the look of the site without costing a lot of money.

In addition to the logo and colour changes, this year the show committee is also going to start using our email newsletter system, Starfish Send, with a custom branded email newsletter template that we’ve created for them, to keep interested members of the public up to date with what’s planned for the show. If you’re interested in finding out what’s going to be going on, you can sign up to the newsletter on their site.

We wish the planning committee all the best in making this year’s Kelmscott Show the biggest and best yet!

3 May
Posted by Kay

To the bone with Sean Kneebone

An existing client referred this WordPress problem to us, knowing that we do quite a bit of work with the blogging and content management platform. Sean Kneebone is an interesting character – an ex-Olympic athletic coach, fisherman, and nutritional expert who is making a documentary-style adventure travel show set in the Far North of Australia with his younger brother. The 2theBone web site has information about the show and video samples.

We were able to help Sean move his hosting and domain names, upgrade the WordPress install and fix a few issues with it to enable him to make changes to the site again. He’s a great bloke and we hope to see him on TV soon!