The new era of video-meetings, webinars and virtual gatherings has been met with some resistance by those who didn’t bother much with the digital world pre-COVID. To ensure the success and longevity of our businesses there is a mind-shift that has to happen. We have to adapt and familiarize ourselves with online meetings for job applications, strategy, training and brainstorming.
But how and where?
The first concept to accept is that everything about the meeting is the same expect that you are not in a formal physical office environment. To initiate it’s as simple as downloading virtual meeting software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Blue Jeans and a host of other options on the market now, then setting up your smartphone or laptop with a camera on a steady surface, starting your application and voila! You’re good to go. If you are invited online to attend a meeting then you should receive an invite via your email to join a meeting. This invite will contain a passcode and password. If you don’t have the software on the receiving end you can simply download it
Tips to prepare yourself and your ‘meeting space’
- The first concept is a no-brainer, prepare yourself as if you would actually go to the meeting physically. Yes, put on your office attire and make-up, select a well-lit spot in your home or even outside.
- Set up your device slightly above your eye-line to avoid ‘up-nose’ shots.
- Ensure you’re next to a window with lots of natural light, if it’s night time then set up an additional light source (besides the overhead ceiling light). A standing lamp or desk-lamp is a good idea to add additional flattering light.
- Ensure you have a fast internet connection – at least 2mbps up and download with a ping of 25 max for video with audio
- Test your set-up and system beforehand with a friend to ensure the video and audio is acceptable.
- Do research about the company or individual who you are about to have a discussion with.
Lastly – don’t think too much about video-meetings – it’s still just a meeting, the novelty of it being structured to take place in a virtual reality will soon disappear. It helps to ‘practise’ before hand with a friend or colleague and getting to know how the software works.
We offer custom websites aimed at the start-up, NPO* or small business of which you are the owner of after hand-over. This carries a once off design & build fee in addition to the essential domain registration and hosting fees and is registered in your name and is your property. Should you need the site to be updated or extended in future then we can render this service on a per-hour basis.
*NPO organisations qualify for NPO pricing.
We don’t offer monthly rented websites at all.
We aim to provide you with a solid structure that you can extend at a later stage as your business grows.
We offer monthly retainer maintenance but find it’s mostly necessary for websites offering online products / web-shops or blogs with lots of traffic / interaction.
Things that are non-negotiable and need to be renewed annually or monthly:
We do not offer hosting as part of our services but use local South African service providers. We only administrate your hosting profile for you.
Hosting (monthly or annual)
Things that are negotiable:
Website design & development (build)
Extra items we need to build your website:
Logos / Artwork
Website text content
Pictures to describe your product or service
Where and how customers can contact you.
Our pricing include hosting and domain registration.
Custom Holder / Landing page – R2500 once off + R1500 domain & hosting = R2700
Business name + your contact details
Our Basic Start-up package – R4500 (best value)
Domain registration, Hosting & Emails
A custom 1 page infinite scroll website displaying your business information, services, gallery, products and contact information.
Our Small Business start-up package – R6500
Domain registration, Hosting & Emails
A custom 2 page infinite scroll website displaying your business information, services, gallery, products (catalog style), and contact information & contact forms.
Online shop package – starting at R8000
Domain registration, Hosting and Emails
A custom 3 page website to display your business information, services, and contact information.
Additional shop-functionality (5 more pages) with a South African paygate, invoicing & stock levels notification system. The loading and set-up of the first 20 products are included. Additional products at R20 per product extra – if more than 100 please contact us.
Websites – they come in many forms and is something that you cannot simply leave un-attended. There are also plenty of options available out there. From DIY sites that is built using a website builder like Wix, Weebly, Shopify or Squarespace or it’s offered by the hosting company itself. Some of these are free to use and you might have to contend with a .wix or .weebly domain extension (not recommended for serious businesses). They also don’t have many options to choose from when it comes to your unique brand.
Then you get custom website content management services like custom WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Typo3, Magento sites etc that you will need a website designer for.
Most small businesses can benefit from a well designed CMS-type website like WordPress and which is our website system of choice. It’s easy to update and, with some training, self-manage. It can be set up to maintain itself most of the time. Annual check-ups will still be necessary to ensure it’s free of viruses and hacking.
A good website designer/developer will offer/recommend you the best option to suit your business needs and it’s usually a good idea to shop around a bit before you decide on someone to assist you.
Rented vs Owned
It’s very important to remember that websites can be owned or rented. Owned websites are what that name says, it’s yours, from the domain name to the content and photos on it. Rented systems will require you to pay a monthly fee over and above your monthly hosting and will in the end not belong to you or be registered in your name. It may be more economical as the monthly payments are usually very low.
At Hot Coffee Media we understand the importance of owning your brand and business, therefore we only offer the Owned website product which carries a once-off fee to design and build. Once the website is handed over we send you a copy of the website back-up files and PDF versions of the pages for your records. This can be a saving grace in the case of a website hack or if it disappears.
We do offer supporting services such as hosting profile management and website updates that may be necessary from time to time and charge only when we have done work on your instruction.
A domain email address usually comes packed with your domain registration and hosting package. It provides the professional touch you need to represent your business to your clients online and offline.
While Yahoo and Gmail email services are good enough for personal use we don’t recommend you use these for your business.
Here are 5 good reasons to invest in domain email addresses:
- It boosts your brand’s credibility and authority.
- Builds credibility and trust.
- Creates a bigger picture for your brand
- Promotes brand awareness
- It is in-expensive and easy to create and set up
When you make use of our website design and development services we usually set this up for your when we register your domain.
Web hosting is a service that allows organisations and individuals to post a website or web page with their business services and information onto the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. Websites and their domain related emails are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers.
When Internet users want to view your website, all they need to do is type your website address or domain/business name into their internet browser. Their computer will then connect to your server and your webpages will be delivered to them through the browser.
Most hosting companies require that you own your domain in order to host with them. If you do not have a domain, the we will help you purchase one. Simply contact us for more information.
When you start looking for a website you will be confronted with this option first. This will be representative of your business online and is usually the name of your business. Think of it as your physical business’ name-board. People who you do business with will automatically look for this name when they search for you online.
In South Africa businesses’ have to regsiter a .co.za, you can however opt for the international suffix .com. You will have to comply with international standards and registration regulations also.
If your business name is not available as a domain name because it’s already been registered with the .co.za suffix then you can opt for versions with a – (dash) in the name or an alternative suffix like .capetown, .com, .net, .co, .za etc. I simple directory search using the south african regsitry, co.za, will help you find out if your domain name is available.
If you plan for your business or business idea to be trademarked at a later stage it is a good idea to register all the possible variants of your business name. You can simply park the extra domains and ask your website administrator to point them to the domain name where your website will be visible.
For more information about domain names or if you need assistance then please contact us.
So you’ve got your business idea, done your research and you’ve made your list of things to do to get the ball rolling. From your research you would have seen that having an online presence is very important.
In a nutshell, you will need the following to get your business on the internet.
- A Registered domain name
- Hosting for your website
- Domain email addresses
- A Professionally designed website – less is more – find our pricing guide here
- Logo / Emblem for your business
- Content for your website (your business presentation will work)
- Images of your products or services
- Social Media profiles in support of your website
- All your digital files in an archive folder
In the following series we will discuss the above points in detail.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much more it’s worth when it’s converted into Rands or Dollars! In the ‘good old days’ before e-Commerce and online shopping we didn’t have to worry too much about putting our products out there in terms of advertising for our customers to buy.
Face-to-face interaction and the closer-knit communities meant you only had to make sure you have at least one satisfied and happy customer to get the word out.
Things have changed a lot and in our fast moving and modern times E-commerce is very dependent on pixel perfect photography.
Consumers cannot simply walk into your shop anymore and pick up, sit on, sit in or even taste the product they are interested in.
The only means many of us will shop in future is via an e-commerce website – and we need to make a buying decision based on only seeing photographs, videos and at most some testimonials.
For online retailers, product photography for e-commerce needs to supplement the 5 senses for the item that a shopper would normally rely on to make a purchase decision in-person, and then to increase the odds that they will actually click ‘add to basket.’ Quality product photography should be able to replace more than 50% of the customers five senses.
Every retailer should be aiming to showcase their products to their fullest to their potential clients. Something we often forget as online store-owners is that while you may know your product inside and out, your customer may not.
Today’s web-savy customers know how to seek out information that will inform and steer their buying decisions, such as online reviews, social shares, Pinterest boards and bloggers, to name but a few.
Therefore presenting products through quality photography enables an e-commerce retailer to cut through the ‘noise’ and add value and worthiness.
Good photography adds authority and thus generates the trust of the customer.
There is a lot of discussion about the ‘perceived value’ of a product, in the eyes of a customer. This is especially important when distinguishing between competitors. When a customer is faced with two identical products, with identical prices on separate websites, it is usually the quality of the photography used to showcase the product that will convert the sale. By nature, humans look and browse things that look good on eye. So it’s no surprise good photography can lure to sell more.
Pixel perfect photography for e-commerce have these things in common:
- Simplicity and viewing options – photos of the front, back, sides and a grouped shot is essential.
- Consistency – a clean background for pack-shots and a relevant bit of ‘clutter’ in lifestyle photos guides your potential client towards the selling points of your product. Think ingredients of skin-care products, like essential oils.
- Neatly edited transparent backgrounds of pack-shots when images are placed on your website’s coloured background will make the images pop and eye-catching.
- Use website optimised high-resolution photography on your website as much as possible. Not only does this showcase the product best, but it also allows for clearer images on retina screens (Apple devices) and the ability to add a detailed zoom feature to the website.
- Label and product colours are correct and true to the real item to avoid mis-representation. Labels are often part of the brand identity and need to confirm to the official brand colours.
Hot Coffee Media – The elements of professionally photographed products.
We recommend you invest in good photography as non-negotiable aspect of your e-commerce project.
We will be happy to assist you with top quality photo of your products – no matter how big or small they are. We can either come work in your space or shoot in ours.
Speak to Lynn today about Hot Coffee Media’s product photography packages.
So, you need photos to advertise your property for accommodation (see example) or to rent/sell(see example). If you’re not a professional photographer then we’d like to urge you to consider the following.
Professional photos of properties are very effective to ensure bookings, rentals or sales. Your property become a ‘product’ and need to be photographed to show off it’s best features.
Generally, people looking at photos of a home to buy or rent will be looking at it’s geographical location, number of rooms and overall condition. For accommodation the homes offering comfortable furniture with inviting & cozy interiors will attract the ideal person or family.
Accommodation in rural or remote areas with clear overview of the approach road(s) is essential to create the right expectations of the routes to travel. (Travel with the 4 x 4 as opposed to the Mercedes.)
As professional property photographers we will not only help you get ready for shooting day with our easy to follow property preparation tips but also make sure nothing is out of place on the day to avoid returns and re-shooting.
We have compiled simple overview to help you understand what to expect in terms of pricing, duration and number of images.
If you would like to book or have any questions then please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ve booked the photographer, your accommodation website or listing is in progress and the last touch if your photos…
Here are 10 things you can do to ensure your property looks its very best on the day of the photo-shoot.
- Ensure stylish and simple decor in harmonious colors.
- Spring clean – do the windows, ceilings, bathrooms or paint the property.
- White linen on the beds ensures the ‘light and airy’ feel.
- Make sure all lights work! The photographer will need them all to be on during the shoot. Yes, even in day-time.
- Start cleaning up and watering the garden a month before the time (unless it’s winter)
- Have fresh flower or fruit decorations handy. One set of each should be sufficient.
- Ensure books for any book-shelves.
- Clean the garage floor or don’t have the inside photographed.
- Pack away all cleaning detergents/tools/buckets/bins/bags.
- Clean the pool.
If you’re in any line of business, be it your own products/services or a franchise, you’ve probably heard the term ’personal branding’ quite a lot lately. Let’s have a look at exactly what this means, and why it is imperative to work on yours!
Personal branding refers to your entire image, this is who or what you will be seen as when growing your brand, so you need to keep this in mind when building your strategy.
When looking at your branding, it is important to remember that consistency is key, so if you’re going to be creating ads, content and marketing, it all needs to carry the same look and feel. If you want to be seen as a more playful brand or a more professional brand, carry that across in your design work as well. Take a look at the below example. Now, image 1 would be more suited to a creative and will not appeal much to a corporate audience, whereas image 2 would immediately be more appealing to corporates and less likely to catch the eye of your average online shopper.
Image 2 (Suited more for a corporate audience)
Types of branding, and where they belong
A common mistake that many business owners make, is failing to make use of all the different types of branding. In order to run a successful campaign, you need to make sure that you have launched a FULL campaign. This means your personal image (if you are going to be affiliated with the company directly), your social media image (This is very important as most consumers are now finding products on social media) and an online presence (This would be your website mostly, Google Ads and SEO).
An easy check-list to remember would be:
***Professional Services!!** When starting a branding campaign, your logo, product images and website NEED TO BE PROFESSIONAL. This means, no logo copied and typed out in Microsoft Paint, no quick-fix template websites that look like they come from the 70’s, and no blurry products images of that creased bag on your bed.
Facebook: Paid ads are not a MUST, but they are quite important at a certain stage of your marketing.
Twitter Short and sweet, but visually appealing is always a winner here.
Instagram: Your younger, more eager online audience would be here, so keep in mind that your images need to be of a certain standard.
Website: Your website will be the first stop when a prospective customer is deciding whether to use your service or not. Make sure that it is modern, user friendly and has enough information, yet not so much as to make it boring. See our article on What my website needs in 2019
Your personal branding needs to reflect who you are, what your product market is, how serious you are, and how far you intend to go. When a customer looks at your page or advert, they want to be able to immediately find more information. They want to be able to see that this is your product even before they scroll down to your name. They know that if you put in the hard work, THEY can trust you because YOU trust yourself!
- Make sure that you know what your product or service is, and that you know your market BEFORE you start your campaign.
- If you have already started marketing without a proper logo/page/website, make a big deal about your growth and launch of these branding tools. Something as simple as “Yay! ABC Company is so proud to show of our brand new logo AND website! After all of this hard work (Thanks to our amazing design team) our order sheet is so much easier! Have a look! *Insert link here*” already gets everyone interested in your excitement.
- Do your research, investigate trends, and keep an eye on your closest competitors. NEVER COPY strategies, but do take ideas and personalise them to work for you.
With that said, Hot Coffee Digital Media would love to hear your thoughts, and we would love to offer advice wherever we can. Please check out our most recent blog posts on our website https://hotcoffee-media.co.za , have a look at our Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/HotCoffeeDigitalMedia/ or pop us an email on email@example.com if you’d like to have a one-on-one, no obligation chat with us!
What your website needs in 2019
Are you thinking about getting a website for your business? Not getting enough attention on your existing website? Do you feel embarrassed when clients mention that they’ve been on your website?
Well, if you said yes to either of these, here’s what you need to know!
- It needs to be modern and professional
We can all tell when a website is old and/or not updated. Besides the general 70’s look and feel, we’ll stumble across broken links, products that haven’t been added or lack basic information, etc. We’ll struggle to navigate the complicated menu with WAY too much blah blah and probably just leave to find a provider that’s more in touch with the times.
Your website layout should be clean, as minimalistic as possible and be easy to navigate. If a client wants to find your red polkadot carry-cot, they want to be able to find it quickly without having to scroll through your entire uncategorised product list. Your client certainly does not want to send through an entire contact form just to find out about a single product!
Your logo and branding needs to be clear
Before you even start with your website, you should be thinking ahead to updates. Technology is changing every day and we need to keep up, so having a retainer contract with a website design agency or even just setting that time aside yourself is EXTREMELY important. Retainers are preferable, this will make sure that you are covered for updates, website uptime (what are you going to do if you get hacked? Have you set up proper security? What happens if a theme or plugin your website is using goes out of whack?), content updates (adding new products/changing prices, etc). You should also be doing a website revamp at least every year, to keep up with trends and also to keep up with Google standards (so that your website stays on the map!)
This is one of the most common mistakes in website design: not setting aside the time.
In order to get the ball rolling (and fast) you need to be ready to dedicate a certain amount of time to handing over content, approving and getting the final review meetings out of the way when needed. Your website designer sets aside a period for the initial building, configuring and final touches, so be available so that you are both happy and can move forward with a wonderful relationship.
Well, there really isn’t much more that’s needed for your website. As a summary, we would suggest that your website carries a clean layout, looks professional, has clear links to what your clients need to know, and that you’ve planned ahead for the future! Having a website is only one step of your business journey, so make this step count. Your small/large business website should project the pride that you have when speaking about your product or service, and in many cases it becomes the first line of contact with your prospective customers.
Feel free to pop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org for more detailed tips on how to maximize your website’s productivity, we’re always happy to chat about options!