Accelerate Your Business Using Web Technology Allan Chao Startup V8 allan@StartupV8.com San Francisco SBA 2011
Introductions Who you are What you do What you would like to learn about
The Agenda Ways to Build a Website Ways to build a website yourself How to Hire a Freelancer Website building process and companies Mobile and Smartphone Technology iPhone vs Android vs Blackberry vs Windows Mobile Native apps vs web apps Customer Relations Management (CRM) Your memory Excel SalesForcevsHighRisevs Others Cloud based apps What is the Cloud? Google Apps IP telephony (Skype, Grasshopper) Cloud storage (Dropbox) E-Contracts, Digital Signatures (Docusign) Digital Invoicing (Freshbooks)
Websites… before we start Think about your target budget first!!! $0 = Ask a friend to do it for free… (more on this later) $10-$100 = Do-It-Yourself website building tools $500-2500 = Individual freelancer $1500-7500 = Full service company $20,000+ = Hire someone full time in-house Also think about your target timeline 2-6 weeks = Full service company 2-3 months = freelancer 3-6 months = a friend doing it for free You get what you put into it (money, time, effort)
DIY Website Building Advantages: FREE! (or very low cost) Total ownership Change content at your will Easy? (if tech-savvy) Disadvantages: Lots to learn Most time consuming Always template-based, not customizable Must be moderately tech-savvy
DIY Website Building Tools Best and the worst Best Wordpress.com SquareSpace.com MoonFruit.com Worst Web.com Vistaprint Instant Website GoDaddy Website Tonight
Let’s Build a Basic Website Are we going to learn HTML? NO!!! For this example, we’ll use Wordpress.com Any ideas for the topic? http://www.randomwebsite.com/ Choose a template design Write some basic content, add a picture or two Add a contact form We’re done!
Hiring a Freelancer Finding a Freelancer Craigslist Online web browsing ($$$) Online freelancer sites: (high risk for the non-technical) RentaCoder Odesk Elance In-person Networking and Referrals Most Common Mistake: Having someone you know do it for free (or for almost nothing) Never finishes Low quality Eventually end up re-doing it completely
Questions to ask a Freelancer What area do you specialize in, and who does the rest? Graphic Design = the look and feel Programming = the code Marketing = the search engine placement Copywriting = the content on the site What CMS platform do you recommend (if any)? Wordpress – popular, but not a silver bullet Joomla / Drupal / dotnet None Project cost and timeline? Most importantly, ask yourself: Do you trust them?
Common Freelancer Pitfalls Strength in a single skill, weak in others Great designers don’t program! Great programmers don’t design! Neither group does marketing! Jack of all trades, master of none Mutually exclusive skill sets… E.g. auto mechanic vs paint job Poor project planning Goes over budget in both time and money Constantly feel “out of the loop”
Why use a Company? Aspects of Website Creation Architecture and platform User interface design Graphic design Programming Copywriting Marketing SEO (organic) SEM (keyword bidding) Ad Networks (display ads, banner ads) More expensive in the beginning, but better results Better as a long term investment
SEO = Search Engine Optimization aka “organic” listings “I want to be on the top of Google!” For small businesses, target “long-tail” keywords. E.g. “San Francisco flood repair”, not “flood repair” Very complex algorithms, constant changes Can be very challenging, depending on market saturation “Guaranteed rankings” are “blackhat”! Google will ban the site! Trust is very important, fraud/cheating is pervasive
SEM = Search Engine Marketing aka Keyword advertising Google Adwords, Bing, Yahoo Pay per click, $0.50-$20, depending on keywords Much more stable source leads Must be set up correctly, or else could be wasting money Many factors still at play, such as quality score
What about Social Media? What is Social Media? Blogs (Wordpress, Blogger) Social Networks (Facebook, LinkedIn) Microblogs (Twitter) Location-based (Foursquare) Events (meetup.com, Eventbrite) News and Bookmarking (Digg, Delicious) Much, much more Free or very cheap, but massive time investment with questionable payoff Useful for branding as a “modern” company in touch with community Technically easy - Mostly unrelated to your main website Additional services could be offered by a company or freelancer
Other notes about websites Technology platforms PHP vs .NET, WordpressvsJoomla, etc. Very difficult to change platforms after much use Must be strategic about technology platform choice Ecommerce and payment processing Ecommerce sites have much more complex requirements Paypal, Google Checkout, Authorize.NET High tech web startup idea? “I have an idea!” (next Groupon) Software development teams (internal or external) Management and Product Development can be very complex Unlimited cost potential… $$$$$+ (e.g. Google is a website…)
Mobile and Smartphones Huge growth… very analogous to .com boom in 1990s iPhone and Android Blackberry and Windows Mobile Tablets (iPad) Mobile Payments (Square) Location-based social media (Foursquare) Location-based advertising for B&M stores
Mobile App vs Mobile Website What’s the difference? Interested in building a mobile app? What’s the purpose? Generate income? App sales? In-app sales? Marketing? Branding? Customer service? http://mashable.com/2011/02/24/mobile-app-dev-cost/
iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Win7 Market share? All platforms are very different, apps are not transferrable between platforms
Native app vs Web app HTML5 Huge cost of development difference 5 Common Reasons for Native Apps Performance Offline Mode Findability Device Attributes Monetization Native-app only Geolocation API Camera Address Book Accelerometer
Customer Relations Management The “database” Used for B2B sales and account management Leads Prospects Accounts Notes Non-web solutions Memory Address book Excel
Web-based CRM SalesForce is popular for enterprise Very full-featured Lots of integration (e.g. mobile phones) Lots of reports (e.g. outstanding accounts) Lots of management (e.g. user roles) HighRise is popular for startups Much simpler Cheaper Fewer features Many other options
What is the “Cloud”? Web-based, as opposed to installed on desktop Advantages Accessible anywhere More reliable (practically 24x7, backups handled automatically) No upgrades Pricing Cheaper, recurring payments instead of one-time purchase Usually freemium = free trial, or free basic version Can be faster (doesn’t depend on your computer) Disadvantages Question of data ownership Question of reliability Trust in the cloud service provider
Examples of Cloud Services Personal Cloud Services Email (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail) Photo sharing (Flickr) Video sharing (Youtube) Business Cloud Services Google Apps IP telephony (Skype, Grasshopper) Cloud storage (Dropbox) E-Contracts, Digital Signatures (Docusign) Digital Invoicing (Freshbooks)
Thank you! Please fill out the evaluation form Ask me if you have any specific questions Allan Chao Startup V8 allan@StartupV8.com Startup V8 helps entrepreneurs turn their vision into reality. We handle the entire engineering and product development for new web and mobile startups. Contact us to learn more.