Spec Work, Spec

Should You Spec?

By | Blog, Business advice

Spec Work, Spec

What is Spec Work?

Speculative (spec) work is the concept of providing free services to a prospective client. For larger companies, spec work might be worth the time and effort, as bigger clients are typically worth the investment and have a nice ROI. However, for smaller businesses like us, the high risk of spec work is not worth the reward.

Why?

Imagine you run a small cafe and your patrons ask you for a “spec” coffee, just so they can see if they like your product. If they do, they promise to be a regular customer at your shop. If not, they enjoy a free coffee on you and will never visit your business again. Does this sound like a fair deal?

The answer is NO!

Why should you hand out free goods and services to someone who is not willing to trust in your business? If a prospective client wants to do business with you, not only will they contact you to understand your level of professionalism and integrity, but they will do their own due diligence as well. Client testimonials, a business’ reputation within its community, a professional portfolio, and a proposal should be enough for you to decide whether or not you will trust a business to provide quality work for you.

Our Advice to You

It boils down to this. If you believe that doing spec work is the right move for your business and you can afford the loss, go for it. However, we believe that upholding the integrity of your work and what your business stands for is worth far more than a spec.

What is your opinion of spec work? Let us know in the comments!

And as always, please contact us with any questions you have!

FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions

Web Design FAQs | Frequent Friday

By | Blog, Online marketing, SEO, UX

FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome back to our fourth week of Frequent Friday! Today we are covering some basic web design questions, from HTML to eCommerce.

Let’s dive in!

  1. Why do I need a responsive website?

With so much junk on the Internet already, it’s important that your website stands out from the rest. A responsive website is the best way to do just that.

Through screen size, platform, and orientation, the design and development of your responsive website adapts and responds to the user’s behavior and environment. From desktop monitors to mobile phones, your responsive website allows users to easily read your content and navigate your site.

  1. What is the difference between a mobile site and a responsive website?

A mobile site is made specifically to format content for smaller screens (tablets, smartphones, etc.) and optimizes navigation for touching instead of clicking.

A responsive website allows your users to experience your site on any device without the need of a separate mobile page. Whether you are using your smartphone or tablet, the responsive website will automatically adapt to your device.

  1. What is HTML?

Many know HTML as “coding,” but Hypertext Markup Language allows you to customize your web pages through tagging text files to get the font, color, graphic, and hyperlink effects of your choosing. Users will not see your HTML tags, but they will see how the content is displayed on your website!

  1. How many web pages are too many?

There is no specific number for how many web pages one should have, but you should be aware of the purpose of your website. Each business is different, and will therefore have a different website.

Keep your audience in mind in the designing process. Too few pages may not give your audience enough information about your services or products, but too many can be difficult to navigate and confusing for your users. Finding a good balance that will cater to your audience is key!

  1. What is WooCommerce?

If you are in the eCommerce industry, WooCommerce is a great tool for you. This free – yes we said free- plugin for WordPress allows you to sell both physical and digital goods, provide instant downloads to shoppers, and gives both store owners and developers complete control.

From customer accounts to store finances to site quality, WooCommerce will help your online business thrive. Just ask the 30% of all online store owners who use it!

 

As always, contact us if you have any questions or comments! We are glad to help!

Twitter, heart

Twitter Says Goodbye to Favorites, Hello to Likes

By | Uncategorized

Twitter, heart

Have you noticed anything different about Twitter lately? If you are an avid user like us, you’ve probably noticed that a certain little star has transformed into a heart.

That’s right. Twitter’s “Favorite” button is now a “Like” button. Since Facebook trademarked the famous “thumbs up” symbol, Twitter took to the familiar “heart” that Instagram and Pinterest fanatics know quite well.

A lot of people are upset about this change. Many believe that the “Favorite” button was Twitter’s iconic way to acknowledge a post that differed from Facebook’s “thumbs-up” and Instagram’s “heart.”

So, what is Twitter’s reasoning behind this change? After a discussion on blab with Social Media Examiner’s Michael Stelzner and friends, several theories came to light.

Theory One:

It doesn’t take much to admit you like something, but to say that something is your favorite is a much more personal statement. In our blab discussion, we talked about how a “like” is more universal than a “favorite.” A like can make your tweet acknowledgement less confusing and possibly more sentimental.

Theory Two:

For long time Twitter users, the Favorite button holds more meaning. However, for new Twitter users, it could be more difficult for them to understand. The heart symbol is more recognizable from other social platforms than a star (i.e. Instagram and Pinterest). Ultimately, there will be less confusion for new users when they are navigating Twitter.

Concerns:

For some, the “Favorite” button was a way to let someone know that you like their tweet, but not enough to share it on your own feed. For others, it was a way to bookmark a tweet so you could read it again later.

Either way, a “Favorite” was pretty gender neutral. Some are concerned that because of the heart symbol, male users will be less likely to acknowledge another male’s post. Even though the meaning behind the symbol is only a “like,” a heart represents love nonetheless.

After Thoughts:

It’s possible that any of these reasons are behind the big change. What we do know for sure is that this change will revamp sentiment analysis on Twitter.

How do you feel about the change? Let us know!

FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions

Netwirks FAQs | Frequent Friday

By | Blog, Online marketing, Uncategorized

FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome back to our third edition of Frequent Friday!

Today we are answering your frequently asked questions about us, Netwirks!

  1. What does the “I” stand for in “Netwirks?”

A question we are commonly asked is why we chose to spell Netwirks with an “I.” The “I” in Netwirks stands for internet because we have your internet marketing solutions.

  1. What problem does Netwirks solve?

We help businesses expand their customer awareness and satisfaction online. We provide your business with internet marketing solutions, from web design to SEO to social media and content that your business won’t be able to find anywhere else.

  1. What makes your business stand out from your competitors?

Here at Netwirks, we believe in communication and collaboration. We use an efficient and easy-to-use program called Teamwork, where we are constantly communicating back and forth with our clients, posting questions and comments, and sharing content.

Not only do we work hard, we work smart. Through efficient and clear communication with our clients, we are able to produce high quality work and results for your business, the first time. Don’t believe us? Check out our testimonials.

  1. What specific elements of online marketing do you specialize in?

At Netwirks, we have discovered and tested online tools that you need to help your business with:

  • Reporting
  • Project management
  • Ecommerce
  • Email marketing
  • Call tracking
  • Live chat and scheduling    
  • Lead Management
  • Local listings 
  • Review generation
  • Social media
  • Promotions
  1. How do you stay informed about each client’s needs?

With our emphasis on clear and constant communication, we know what our clients need to achieve their daily, weekly, and monthly online marketing goals. Our staff stays up-to-date on social media and marketing trends to help your business evolve along with your customers.

We understand and acknowledge that 80 percent of consumers perform research online before purchasing a product or service. In order to meet your customers demand for information, we help you become both online and mobile-friendly so you don’t lose potential customers to your competition.

As always, please contact us with any questions or comments you have!  

See you next week for another addition of Frequent Friday!

FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions

Blog FAQs | Frequent Friday

By | Blog

FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome back to our second week of Frequent Fridays, where we answer your FAQ’s about all things Netwirks!

Today we are going to be answering 5 FAQs about blogging. Although these may only skim the surface, it is a good place to start if you are considering running a blog for your business.

  1. What is a blog?

Blogs (weblogs) originally started as online journals or diaries. Blogs usually contain personal insights and links to other sites or blogs. They are recommended to be around 300 words so it’s easier for visitors to read.

  1. What kinds of blogs are there?

There is no limit to what you can blog about! Some of the most common uses for blogs are personal diaries, news feeds, informational updates about certain topics, and reviews and product updates. The list goes on.

  1. What blog tools are out there?

There are several different blog tools you can use, but our favorite is WordPress. It is easy to learn, easy to use, and best of all, it’s free! We use WordPress and we absolutely love it!

  1. How are blogs beneficial for your business?

Blogs generate great traffic for your website as long as they are filled with meaningful content that your customers will benefit from. (Make sure to tune in next week when we go over Content Creation FAQs)

Blogs also allow your customers to interact with you! They can comment on your posts and give you feedback about certain products that you offer, what services they like, ask questions they have, etc.

  1. What is a niche?

The topic you choose to blog about is called your niche. Having a niche helps you and your audience understand and define your blog’s purpose. Popular niches can be anything from food and recipes to parenting to photography.

 

Have any more questions? Please contact us and we would be happy to help you!

See you next week for another addition of Frequent Friday!

 

Mobile friendly

Everything is Mobile

By | Blog, Business advice, Online marketing

Mobile friendly
Technology is constantly evolving. What once took hours to find a particular item or place now takes only moments from the touch of a smartphone or tablet.

From gaming to e-mailing to shopping and reviewing, we see many uses for mobile technology in our day-to-day life. You may even be reading this post on your mobile device right now!

We organize our lives with our devices and entrust that our handheld mobile assistant, chalked with calendars, reminders, apps and more, will help keep us on track and up-to-date.

So why is it important to make your business’ website mobile-friendly?

Let me paint you a picture.

Let’s say your customer is trying to research your company’s products or services on her phone, but your website is not mobile-friendly. Will she remember to research you later on a computer? Probably not.

Instead, she will research your competition’s mobile-friendly website and potentially gain their business instead of yours.

Our society’s on-the-go mentality has proven that businesses need to evolve with technology in order to be successful.

It is crucial that your business’ web presence is organized, original, and mobile-friendly!

Be everywhere your searcher is seeking. Be reachable. Be convenient.

Be mobile!

 

FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions

SEO FAQs | Frequent Friday

By | Blog, Online marketing, SEO

FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the first Frequent Friday at Netwirks! Every Friday, we will be answering FAQs from a wide variety of topics. From SEO to content development to social media marketing, we want to give you a better understanding of what we do and why we do it!

Today we will be answering some basic questions regarding SEO. Feel free to send us any comments or questions you have! Read More

Social Media

6 Ways Social Media Can Destroy Your Business

By | Blog


Social Media

It is safe to say that the presence of social media in online marketing has become a permanent one. In order for your business to thrive, you need to have a social media presence to engage with your community and audience. However, if you aren’t using social media properly, you could potentially be doing more damage to your business than you think. Here are six ways social media could be destroying your business.

  1. Boring Social Personality
    Having a personality in your social presence is important; otherwise, your followers will get bored with you – fast. It’s okay to have fun with your social channels, but be mindful of your audience. If you focus too much on entertainment and not enough on your niche, your followers won’t take you seriously. This could also potentially damage your brand as well, which you don’t want to happen.
  2. Bad Timing
    You could have informative, entertaining, well-written content, but if you post it at the wrong time, you will completely miss your audience. Depending on your social media following, you need to establish the best times to post a blog, status, tweet, or picture in order to optimize your social media platforms. You don’t want to work hard on a post and have it be for nothing, right?
  3. Hashtag Clutter
    Nobody likes looking at a sea of hashtags. If you want to reach your audience without overwhelming them, stick with 1-2 hashtags per post. However, don’t cut out hashtags all together! Tweets with hashtags receive two times more engagement than those without hashtags! #crazy!
  4. Don’t be a Robot – Automated Posts
    There is nothing wrong with scheduling posts to your social media accounts ahead of time, as long as they are thoughtfully constructed posts. Automated posts often publish content that have not been reviewed and are irrelevant to your business or your message. You don’t want your social presence to simulate a robot posting random content, so make sure you know the difference between scheduling posts versus automated posts.
  5. Inconsistency
    If your social media accounts have different profile pictures or names, you need to change that immediately. Your followers need consistency in order to differentiate your business’ social presence. Online consumers aren’t going to know that Becky G.’s Youtube account is actually for her small business if her Youtube name is Becky G. instead of Becky’s Bakery. Make sure all of your social media accounts are linked together and easily accessible as well, but be mindful that each social platform has its own voice!
  6. No Strategy
    If you don’t have a strategy for how you will create your online presence, you will fail. Too often businesses approach their social media accounts the same way one would handle his or her personal accounts. You cannot rely on your local social circle to build you a powerful online presence. In order to effectively reach your target audience, build your following, and produce meaningful content, a strategy must come first.
The Review Code

The Review Code

By | Blog

The Review Code

Do You Review?

Have you ever left a review for a business about your experience, good or bad? Maybe you had a bad experience, and left a nasty voicemail or took to the masses on Yelp or Facebook? What about a good experience? Did you contact the business directly to leave a nice voicemail, or orchestrate one of your finest written pieces since your college dissertation reviewing the business or post on your wall to promote the business based on your extraordinary experience? Chances are you’ve boasted about the negative experiences more often than you have promoted the “rare” positive occurrences.

I Get It!

You want to be a voice in the crowd that calls out a company for their “how could they still be in business?” service, that needed “storm warning”. Odds are (I say odds because there are those companies that absolutely can not progress and your voice needs to have an avenue to warn others), but again, odds are it was just that one particular experience, a bad luck of the draw. I am not advocating having your opinion or experience silenced. I am merely trying to save the good businesses- that just so happened to not have it all together during your experience, from a bad review because lets face it, we all have bad or off days sometimes.

Give The Business A Chance.

Remember, that they’re in business to stay in business. To earn their good reputation they need to have customers coming back or expressing their gratitude by telling others about this great experience. Chances are if your experience was less than par, and you told them directly you will be happy you spoke up, told them you felt it could be better and give them another try. The saying is: “forgive, but never forget”. I promise you that the business will be thankful you chose to speak up to a more mild-mannered platform like a simple e-mail to the manager or a phone call. Now you may say to yourself: “Why would I give them another ounce of my energy?” Well, it should be safe to say that the same amount of energy you spend penning a not so positive review is probably more draining of your energy due to the emotions and time wasted on something you have already given up on. You will feel better by getting it off your chest to the business, letting them know about it and showing them how they can rectify it. There’s nothing like a company finding out about a problem from a review site rather than directly from their customer. Damages are swift and heavy and it may be too late to salvage any business lost in people that trust your review.

People Are People, But Small Businesses Are People Too.

People should understand businesses can’t always be perfect. In fact no person or business learns or develops from operating in perfect form. People and business alike, should be learning from the mistakes they make on the way to providing the best version of the vision they have for themselves as the end goal. Think of your feedback as a companies public facing research and development department. They have a commodity, a food, a product, or a service they provide you because you need or want it. Maybe suggest to them how your experience could be better the next time, and give the business another chance to earn your trust. You’re human, so are the people behind the company’s title.

Big Picture View:

Look at what the business stands for in the community and the local economy. This company may be providing jobs for local residents and buying from other local companies. Ask yourself these questions prior to posting your next Pulitzer Prize winning review:

What other reviews are out there- does my review seem to echo what others have said or do my comments seem out of character based on others feedback fro the business?

Have I reached out and contacted the business directly with my questions, concerns or suggestions yet?

Am I angry with this company or just a specific event that took place?

Do I really want to have that big of an impact on positively or negatively promoting this business?

How will my review have an impact on this business and its future?

Review Responsibly.

There are many review sites out there for you to choose from, and remember they are a business too. They want you to post because you become a user of their platform, which lets them sell their monthly traffic and total users to businesses for position. Whether or not you know it, your voice is heard. Your voice impacts and influences buying decisions amid a very wide audience in most cases. Consumers are becoming more aware every day of reviews that are available, and in turn making purchasing decisions that affect businesses. Please keep the above in mind next time you have an excellent or even a not so satisfactory experience and want to spread the word.

Which Browser is for me?

Which Web Browser Is For Me?

By | Blog, Software, UX

Which Browser is for me?

It can be hard to keep up with the constant advances of the day’s best computer platforms and software programs. This is certainly true when it comes to the variety of web browsers available. In many ways, web browsers offer the same or similar features as each other so the below information is to help you decipher on which to choose.

“I just click on the compass for the internet…” First thing’s first – what is a Web Browser? Web Browser, or Browser, is a software application used to locate, retrieve and display content on the World Wide Web, including Web pages, images, video and other files. This makes it possible for us to experience more than a MS DOS, text only type of viewing the Internet. They can even make your Internet experience simpler by synchronizing your mobile phone, tablets and/or computer by saving all your settings, bookmarks, and (web) browsing history for easy transitioning.

Web Browsers are now built into particular devices, but that doesn’t mean you are stuck with it. For example: All Apple and Macintosh products come with the Apple Safari browser built in. You can ignore this application if you prefer to use a different browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Mozilla Firefox is a popular browser that is often combined with the Mozilla Thunderbird email platform. Internet Explorer is paired with Microsoft Windows products. Google Chrome integrates with a number of devices and applications available from Google. Here some of the top browsers being compared directly and some notes on each of them.

Web Browsers are not to be confused with search engines. Search Engines like Bing, Google, Ask, and Yahoo search for websites and anything related to the specific keywords typed in. Search Engines index information and all have a different (algorithm) way of determining which order the requested information is displayed.

Browsers and search engines are traditionally a ‘free’ application. We know, we know… Nothing is free right? Use these programs all you want, but in exchange, you provide websites and browsers with valuable data such as your location, your ip address or even your recent searches. These bits of information are used to better identify which advertisements to show you when you wait for that new YouTube video to load. You can become more familiar with your browsers’ settings for things like privacy and security by finding the settings and help menu for that specific browser.

It can be difficult to choose but it boils down to a personal preference with what you utilize them for most and how you prefer to browse. Browsers can be simple to install and uninstall so no need to feel stuck. But you may want to save your bookmarks somewhere first!