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How to Build a Brand for a Small Business on a Budget

Building a brand for a new business on a small budget can be hard. With so much competition, so much noise, it can be difficult to stand out and get noticed.

That said, there are some simple, essential foundations that even the bigger companies require, which in addition to having a website, you'll need to focus on. Here's arguably the 5 main points to cover when trying to establish and build your brand on a small budget:

1. Logo

One of the most important and recognisable things about your company/brand is your logo. This should appear consistently in branding on your website, letterheads, business cards and more.

2. Content

Your printed material and website content needs to be unique, well written and engaging. Don't just list a range of services you provide or products you sell. Be enthusiastic! Explain why you do what you do, and give people a reason to connect with you.

3. Social Media

There's no escaping social media these days. It is a great way to connect with your customers on a personal level and break down the old style business of faceless companies. People like getting to know the person or team behind a brand. You can also use social media to run competitions, provide online support and request feedback.

4. Networking

This old-school approach of face-to-face networking still has value despite the increasingly online world of business. This is a great way of making new connections and gaining referrals through word of mouth. Just make sure you don't forget to take some business cards with you!

5. Customer Experience

Okay so you have your fantastic logo, website and unique content, but what about your reputation? You need to inject personality and a positive attitude into your service. Ask customers to share their experiences with friends (over social media, word of mouth) and leave reviews on local listings and directories. Go that extra mile, making your excellent service one of your unique selling points. Don't just say it, do it!

Need help?

We can assist you with almost any part of your business, such as:

  • Website Design
  • Logo Design, Business Cards and Letterheads
  • Company Blog
  • Social Media Graphics, Setup and Training

To discuss your business, brand or next big project, get in touch with us today!

We have often found that many people try sending large file attachments via e-mail. The main problem with this is that e-mails often struggle with receiving files larger than roughly 5 or 6MB, which leads to high bandwidth usage that could potentially cause your website to exceed it's limit and go offline.

Why does exceeding bandwidth cause my website to go offline?
Each website on a server is assigned a limit of disk space and bandwidth. In order to maintain a high level of up-time service to all our clients, sites which exceed their limits are automatically put on hold in order to protect the other websites going down with it. Each site is given ample disk space and allowances, but if your website requires more on a regular basis, we can offer upgrades.

How do other companies offer unlimited hosting?
There are many low cost web hosting companies who claim to have "unlimited" web space and bandwidth. However, they often do have limits which are kept discreet under "fair usage" policies and other disclaimers. Their business model usually works by overselling space they have, assuming that their clients won't all be using the resources at the same time (similar to a Gym membership). The main disadvantage of this business model is that with the web, there often can be a huge influx of traffic (such as when a company chooses to run a promotion). This causes instability and often results in all of the websites going offline on a server, instead of one.

So how can I share large files with my customers online?
There are a few online services that specialise in online storage and sharing large files. Many of which offer free services with a limit of 500MB-2GB. We highly recommend using a service called DropBox. Their free service allows you to store and share files up to 2GB in total. Another service, called YouSendIt, allows you to upload files and send a link for your customers to visit and download.

If you have any questions, please post a comment below. Alternatively, if you would like to know more about our reliable web hosting services, please get in touch.

With many of our web design customers now using our CMS and e-commerce systems, I thought I'd post some quick tips on how to batch re-size your images. This is ideal for those who wish to optimise their content, making it faster to download and use less storage space on your hosting package.

To start, create a folder on your computer and copy all of the images you wish to re-size in there. This is just to help prevent the chance of accidentally resizing your original images. After you have done that, create another folder for where you wish your re-sized images to appear after the batch process.

How to batch re-size images in Photoshop

There are many versions of Photoshop, but in this example we are using CS4.

Start Photoshop and click on File -> Scripts -> Image Processor

The wizard is laid out with easy steps:

  1. Select your input folder – the images that you want to process
  2. Select your output folder – these will be your re-sized images
  3. Select the file type – for example; select a JPEG quality of around 80, select "size to fit" and put in max height and width – if you select 450px width and 450 px height,  this will ensure that the largest dimension of the new image is never more than 450 pixels.
  4. Click on run – Photoshop will open, scale and resave the images into your target folder

 

How to batch re-size images in Fireworks

Start Fireworks and click on File -> Batch Process

Select your target folder and select the images from within it – you can select images individually or add all.  Once you have selected the images click "next".

On the batch options screen you select how you would like to manipulate the image.

  • Export allows you to select the export format and quality.
  • Scale has a number of options on how you would like to scale the image.
  • Use the "add button" to add any of the options and "edit" from the drop down to change the settings.
  • Click "next", select your output folder
  • Click "batch" to begin the process

 

Free software for batch re-sizing images

If you do not have Photoshop or Fireworks, there is a free option available.  We recommend that you download pixresizer from Bluefive - http://bluefive.pair.com/pixresizer.htm.

Click on the multiple images tab and add your source and destination folders.  There are other options such as default percentage decrease on size, images type, conversion etc.

One thing to note here which is not entirely obvious - in section 3 "Select file format" you check the box for the image format that you want to output – if you click on the descriptive text to the right (e.g. "Joint Photographic Experts Group") you can change the quality settings or other images settings for the output.

Just select your folders as before, the image size and format and begin batch re-sizing your images.

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