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Brand “Concept Testing” try Pretotyping in a Pop-up

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Fruit of the Loom is ‘Pretotyping in a Pop-up’ to Concept Test Premium Brand

Shoreditch, London – home of hip.  That’s where t-shirt brand Fruit of the Loom is concept testing (or ‘pretotyping*’ to use the jargon) a new premium brand – ‘Seek No Further‘.

Pretotyping: Testing the initial appeal and actual usage of a potential new product by simulating its core experience with the smallest possible investment of time and money.

Pretotyping In a Pop-up = Awesome Concept Testing

Renting an unused retail space just for four months, Fruit of the Loom is testing for consumer appeal with a very limited run of garments. There’s one in Shoreditch, and one in Berlin – and a pop-up website.

This is concept testing done right – there’s a world of difference between seeing words on a page and experiencing the product – so could pop-up + pretotyping be the future of concept testing?

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Author / Paul Marsden
Source / brandgenetics.com


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Brand Marketing Strategy | Put Your Money Where the Growth Is

people-group

Many political conversations today focus on the rapid, immense multicultural population growth in America. However, what about the business implications? How much does an increasingly diverse America effect direct marketers? Quite a bit, actually, according to a recent report from Geoscape.

Geoscape, a business information and services company, found that 88% of America’s population growth is composed of African American, Asian, and Hispanic consumers; particularly Hispanics, who comprise about 18% of the total U.S. population.  Hispanics are the fastest growing segment, having grown 11% since the 2010 census to more than 56 million. Multicultural groups now account for 35% of the American population.

“Some companies just aren’t bringing this growth into focus,” says Geoscape CEO César Melgoza. “Companies that aren’t prioritizing this growth are essentially investing is flat or shrinking markets. That’s probably not acceptable to their constituents,” he says. This leaves marketers with an interesting challenge, or rather, opportunity; one that has little to do with political correctness and everything to do with furthering business growth.

Many businesses struggle with prioritizing or realizing a multicultural marketing strategy. Here, Melgoza offers seven tips that will help keep marketers and their organizations remain relevant to the ever-changing face of their target consumers.

1.       Understand the level of urgency

“Understand that business is about growth and growth is multicultural. If you invest heavily in general markets, then that may not be the best use of budget.”

2.       Measure everything

“Start with a benchmark. Identify your penetration into a segment now, monitor that penetration, and use that data to improve it.

3.       Build a robust business case

“Link this growth with what the company is doing now to differentiate itself and use it to plan how the company will continue to differentiate itself in the future.”

4.       Develop a sound strategy

“Walmart is an example of a company that absolutely cannot ignore multicultural marketing. They know their growth is coming from these segments and they’ve positioned their company and products around this.”

5.       Address all touchpoints in the operation.

“It’s not just about marketing communication, or having cool ads. Develop all channels. How is the call center experience and does it direct consumers to where they need to go? Does the in-store experience match what’s been advertised? Does the product itself match what’s been advertised?”

6.       Scale these efforts according to the opportunity

“Sure, your multicultural efforts are great in Austin, but what about everywhere else? Businesses like Kroger are scaling multicultural marketing across their retail network because they’ve seen how successful it is.”

7.       Evangelize the organization

“A lot of the people resistant to this type of change are middle management. The executives get it. The stockholders get it. Some people may think this is a political or ‘do-good’ issue. They may not understand that their growth hangs on this. You need to grow, and growth is multicultural.”

Author / Perry Simpson
Source / dmnews.com


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How to improve your current advertising strategy

Advertising is a complex process; the idea is to build a creative that connects with potential buyers. It must be creative while staying grounded in the real world. It is expensive, so it has to produce measurable results. It must be conventional, yet imaginative. Companies are increasingly under financial strain and the result is the advertising business is in trouble worldwide. Agencies are becoming heavily dependent on their campaigns being led by metric this is zapping the creativity from today’s campaigns and fewer ads produce the desired result. Thus, new ideas are needed.

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photo credit: josemanuelerre via photopin cc

Be simple

Your Ads must work in an increasingly noisy world. Too much new information is being exchanged. The key to standing out is being simple – this is not easy nor as instantly admired as being complex. Yet, a good ad must be simple, though not stupid – and it must be subjective enough to be credible.

Be Consistent

Consistency builds brand equity or loyalty among all audiences. Nurture customers by keeping them interested in your brand’s activities and development. To maintain your message consistency, the same team that helps build the brand should approve the ads.

Be ‘Salesy’

Advertising has many functions, including selling. But what exactly should be sold? Often ads place too much emphasis on building products, not brands. The result is that too many products have similar brand values. This produces confusion. To break this cycle, ask: What does the advertising want to achieve? Who should be targeted? How can the goal be achieved?

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photo credit: COMΛS via photopin cc

Be Emotional

Research shows that people make decisions based on emotions, political beliefs, spiritual leanings and, least of all, rational factors. However, most ads mistakenly are very rational and only stress product benefits, not the emotional aspects of buying. To build the idea of the brand, sell the emotions around it. This makes for stronger campaigns. The challenge is to find the right emotion.

Be Experienced

The most powerful advertising creativity stems from actual experience and culture. Sometimes one culture’s perspective resonates with a client and a product, and that eventually creates ripple effects worldwide.

Be Relevant

To get noticed, ads must be more interesting than their surroundings. Great ads must make an impact, but they also must be accountable for the emotions they create. Strong ads should be likeable, meaningful and relevant.  The dominant theme in developing good relevant ads is to focus on the human truths associated with using the product or service.

Be Humorous

Humor is powerful; it can help make people actually like a product. Most ads are rational and present a product’s benefits. But logic is not as powerful as laughter. Humor, which should be based on truth, comes from actually observing ordinary people. Being contradictory is one way to create humorous situations.

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photo credit: Arturo de Albornoz via photopin cc

Be Disruptive

Big idea stems from a dramatic change in conditions, a vision, a revolution in approach or thought that creates something new. To produce a creative disruption, follow a three-step process. First, identify the company’s conventional thinking and the basic assumptions behind its operations. Next examine the components of the brand. Then comes the challenge: find the right disruption, the one that can actually benefit the company’s position. This disruption can serve as the platform for a new vision or challenge a brand category or market.

Be Nice

The culture of a creative organization provides the framework for its output. A sick organization will not produce great work. Confident agencies generate good work, since they nurture creativity even in a viciously competitive and subjective industry. Those characteristics do not normally foster support and co-operation, so avoid them. Seek inspiration from talented people and support their efforts. Be a team player.

Original post by: Patrick Murphy
source: siliconcloud.com


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Brand Marketing – SodaStream And Scarlett Johansson Make A Splash

How can a small company compete against industry giants?  The best way is to make a lot of noise. This year, one of the smallest advertisers on the Super Bowl is attracting lots of attention as it strives to break through against Coke and Pepsi.

SodaStream (NASDAQ: SODA) has had a bumpy ride over the past year.  The $562mm (FY2013 preliminary revenues) Israeli company makes in-home carbonators that allow consumers to transform tap water into sparkling water or soft drinks.   Sodastream has already made significant inroads in Europe (the company estimates that it has 19% household penetration in Finland, 9% in the Czech Republic and 6% in France), and has a small-but-dedicated following in the U.S.

Last year’s Super Bowl helped SodaStream achieve a threshold level of awareness, particularly when its aggressive Super Bowl spot was rejected by CBS (an edited version ultimately aired during the big game).

This year’s spot is tamer, but it has attracted even more attention.  Not only was it again banned from the big game, but the choice of Scarlett Johansson has attracted both positive and negative attention.  For the moment, though, it’s helping tiny SodaStream gain enough attention to make a big investment pay off.

And it can’t come a moment too soon …

Challenging 2013 Results

SodaStream’s revenue growth for 2013 was around 30%, which sounds great until you consider the 50% growth the company experienced in 2012.  The preliminary 2013 earnings report undercut analyst estimates by $5mm and sent shares tumbling by 20% in mid-January.

“We failed to deliver our profit targets and are disappointed in our fourth quarter performance,” CEO Daniel Birnbaum wrote in the earnings release. “These preliminary results reflect a challenging holiday selling season in the U.S. and several factors, mostly from the second half of the quarter that negatively impacted our gross margin.”

Translating this into marketing language, Birnbaum is suggesting that the company many have discounted heavily to increase market penetration and that the results were not what the company had hoped.

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Using Rejection To Gain Acceptance

And yet, from a brand standpoint, SodaStream has made some smart moves in the past few years.

Around four years ago, the company created an art installation that dramatized the empty soda bottle waste created by a single family.  Thirty of these installations travelled around the world until 2012, when a South African installation attracted the attention of the local Coca-Cola bottler, which issued a cease-and-desist letter to SodaStream.  Instead of desisting, SodaStream fought back, and got lots of mainstream media attention with an environmental version of the David & Goliath story.

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Also in 2012, the brand forged a partnership with legendary adman Alex Bogusky, who had collaborated with the Center for Science in the Public Interest to launch a spot attacking soft drinks called “Real Bears”.

Bogusky created a hard-hitting, environmentally themed spot for SodaStream which was banned in the UK and then rejected from the Super Bowl last year.

That rejection helped the SodaStream get noticed during the Super Bowl last year.

An Unexpected Sponsorship

SodaStream planned to pursue a more conventional path for its second Super Bowl appearance this year.  A chance encounter changed the strategy.  SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum described it to me this way:

I’m sitting in my office in Tel Aviv and we get a phone call that there’s an American in Paris looking to find a gas replacement for her soda maker.  I contacted my Paris office and I asked them to get the replacement to this consumer.  A week later I get a handwritten thank-you note from S.J.  It turns out S.J. was Scarlett Johannsen.  She drinks only sparkling water from SodaStream and travels with it wherever she goes, etc. She just loves the brand.  We were on a path to do a different commercial for the Super Bowl, but when this happened we changed directions.

Birnbaum previously worked on celebrity sponsorships for Nike, so he had a very clear idea of the potential risks and rewards of engaging a celebrity for SodaStream.  Unlike the typical paid endorser, however, Johansson was already a brand enthusiast.  She travels with a SodaStream and has bought them for her friends and relatives. The Johansson partnership quickly propelled SodaStream into the limelight of the SuperBowl, getting breathless coverage from celebrity media outlets.

SodaStream also managed to engineer another mini-scandal that helped goose the coverage: rejection of its proposed Super Bowl ad from Fox.  Here’s the spot they submitted, which has just been released online today:

Three words caused the rejection: “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.”  So the SodaStream spot that actually runs on the Super Bowl won’t call out the competition.  But the rejection has created news.

Unexpected Problems

The Johansson partnership also created an unexpected controversy, because of Johansson’s status as an Oxfam ambassador since 2005.  Oxfam supports the BDS movement, which boycotts businesses in the Israeli settlements/occupied territories.  SodaStream has a manufacturing facility in the settlement of Maale Adumim with 1300 employees.  The boycott supporters used Johansson’s partnership with SodaStream to push Oxfam to drop her – and to make headlines.

BDS calls SodaStream “part and parcel of this system of oppression“.  Birnbaum counters: “we are part of the Palestinian economy and we’re employing 500 Palestinians who support families and we pay them Israeli wages and give them health insurance.  There can be no peace without jobs.”

Oxfam for its part says this:

Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.We have been engaged in dialogue with Scarlett Johansson and she has now expressed her position in a statement, including stressing her pride in her past work with Oxfam. Oxfam is now considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.

Meanwhile, Ms. Johansson issued a statement over the weekend, affirming her commitment to SodaStream:

I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine … SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.

The question of what will actually create peace in the Mideast is thankfully beyond the scope of this column, but it’s clear that this controversy holds some danger for SodaStream.  Until the Johansson partnership raised the profile of this issue, it was not headline news for SodaStream. Now it has generated headlines in mainstream news and disapproving commentary from some of the New York media.

SodaStream has most often been cast as the spunky upstart in media stories of the past few years, so this is the first time the company has found itself on the wrong end of a media narrative. It’s too early to tell whether this story will fizzle away or take hold and cause real problems for the Israeli soda maker.  But it is already a concern in the U.S. because the very small community where this story is gaining traction overlaps with the strongest supporters of the brand.

If the story fades, SodaStream can move on unhindered.  If it gains momentum however, SodaStream may need to decide whether it feels more passionately about its environmental mission or its approach to the Israeli/Palestinian question.

Can SodaStream Break Through?

Looking past the controversy, can the Johansson partnership and a second Super Bowl spot can help SodaStream break through?  On one hand, the company has gotten lucky again: they’ve kept themselves in the news throughout the coverage of Super Bowl advertising building up to the game itself.  They’ve already generated millions of impressions that will lead to new users. It’s still a short spot during a long game, and the creative itself probably won’t break through.  So we’ll have to wait until Sunday to see whether the viral effect propels SodaStream through the uprights.

The brand needs to ensure that the issues being raised by Oxfam and BDI don’t take hold in the US. SodaStream has one clear mission as a brand: to present an environmentally friendly, less expensive alternative to Coca-Cola and Pepsi.  Its single-minded goal should be to force Coke and Pepsi to make their branded drinks available on its machines.  Anything that distracts from this mission dilutes SodaStream’s strength.

Author: David Vinjamuri
source: forbes.com/sites/davidvinjamuri/2014/01/27/sodastream-and-scarlett-johansson-make-a-splash


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The Future Of Branding Is Creating Real Connections Between Consumers And Products

It’s not about selling, it’s about giving control to the people.

Written By Rita J. King

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The future of branding belongs to storytellers who understand the hero’s journey in the context of modern, mobile life. The hero’s journey is a storytelling structure pervasive across cultures. It starts with a call to adventure, requires that the hero be connected to others, including a mentor. The hero will face extremely difficult challenges along the way. The hero ultimately wins and returns home, armed with new knowledge about herself, other people and the world.

Does your brand inspire people to respond to the call for adventure, whether through providing information, tools or a catalyst? Does it help them overcome the obstacles they will face on the path, either by making sure they have nourishment, transportation, tools, information or access to other people? Does it provide guidance, support, or a framework in which the story of the process, with all its ups and downs, can be documented and shared in real time? If your brand doesn’t serve any of the segments in the hero’s journey, you’re right to be concerned about the future.

Cecelia Wogan-Silva, the director of creative agency development at Google is tasked with growing brand advertising through Google’s platform. She accomplishes this, in large part, by inspiring thoughtful collaboration with intriguing insights and co-ideating with creative agencies at the beginning of the process instead of jumping in when distribution is the last bit of conversation left.

“We’d rather work on a cool idea together,” she said. “We try not to be product focused. Instead, we’re problem-focused. Working up a solution that’s only inclusive of what we do at Google is like dropping feta cheese off at the door of someone who doesn’t know they’re sitting on an entire Greek salad. We help them manifest the big idea that brings the salad together. We are in the business of sales but we don’t start with a pitch. we start with a conversation. We try to develop story engines. We ask: What story are you trying to tell? We want to launch a thousand ships together.”

The perceived need to master emerging technologies and engineer a viral video dominates much of the conversation in the world of branding. Clients want measurable proof of eyeballs on the screen, and creatives struggle with the expectation that they’ll be able to engineer a hit. But what is a hit? The trend toward the mean-spirited shock video filled with actors faking real-time reactions to disgusting pranks is the result of the mistaken belief that eyeballs equal success. This mentality is largely a relic of the measurement of success in television advertising, which isn’t surprising. The history of the advertising industry, Wogan-Silva said, is a string of attempts to reincarnate what came before in a new medium.

“The poster in the window got smaller as a print ad,” she said. “But it was just like the poster in the window. Then print ads got read on the radio. Then the concept transported itself to TV in the beginning with still pictures added to what were essentially radio spots. In each instance, advertisers didn’t take advantage to the fullest of the new medium. Our habit is to stick to legacy. Radio was a new technology. So was TV. The exponential release of new technology doesn’t change the need for percolation in the creative process.”

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“There’s this automatic inclination to believe that new technology is creativity’s silver bullet. But invention of technology is different than innovative use of existing things. Great TV wasn’t born from the new platform from the get go. But the stories got better, the use of bookends in commercial buying was a new variation that came from careful, deeper consideration for what could be done with this amazing medium.

“The same is true for using digital platforms. Brand marketers waiting for the latest product to be the first to use it might miss the chance to do something extraordinary with what we already have before us. Something extraordinary is usually something that touches consumers and tells a story, it’s not just technology alone that builds a brand.”

Wogan-Silva believes that the concept of being a slave to the latest technology fad or ad unit will become a thing of the past.

“Instead, there’s value exchange brought to you by a brand,” she said. “What does that look like? Uber.” Google is an investor in Uber, an “app that connects you with a driver at the touch of a button.” Transportation is a natural part of your life experience, Wogan-Silva said. Brands that are focused on getting us places and connecting us to others, essentially offering sustenance, transportation and intelligence, are the brands of the future. Uber is welcomed, rather than invasive. “My sense of what a brand can do for me doesn’t come in the form of what it promises, but what it delivers to me. Uber sits on my body, on my mobile phone. Location speaks the language of intimacy.”

sense of a brand

Intimacy will come in many forms in the future. Not only will objects be connected to each other, but they will be connected to you. Businesses will know more about you, your habits, the bits of data that together compose the very shape and texture of your life. All of this will be connected through objects on us and even in us, as well as in the cloud, that nebulous concept that is becoming more tangible all the time.

Drew Ormrod, Ogilvy’s Worldwide Account Director for IBM Midmarket, which serves small and mid-sized companies. Science House, where I’m the EVP for Business Development, is collaborating with IBM on a project that Ormrod manages from the Ogilvy side. In recent years, he has seen the evolution of consumer values head toward a greater need for trust and transparency.

Customers want to buy what they need and not a bit more,” Ormrod said. “Also, they want to understand what they’re buying. As consumers develop a taste for the new from freshly-hatched web companies without excess baggage, established brands are turning toward a new model for innovation, often called Labs. Smaller, more agile and often beyond the usual rules of a company, Labs are expected to drive innovation to market from within a traditional company to allow them to compete with new brands. The new consumer is better connected, forms opinions faster and has a better understanding of how systems work.” This new knowledge can come paired with distrust toward traditional brands in favor of those born on the web.

intelligent connections

“It’s a matter of putting the customer in control,” Ormrod said. “The future is built on more intelligent connections. Mobile is going to play a huge role. It adds value by connecting our virtual experience to our real experience.”

What does that mean, exactly? It means that brands like Zappos and Seamless, Airbnb, Kickstarter, and others are enabling the digital, mobile realm to serve as a portal into increased real-life access to goods, services, and new experiences. It also means that data is enabling companies to tailor those experiences to customers in real time, right where they are in the physical world.

The brand isn’t the hero, it is an enabler of the journey the customer is on. That requires a lot of listening, in order to understand the challenges each customer faces, and customization, in order to meet those needs. Ultimately, it requires the delivery of simplicity in an increasingly complex world. When the hero does get home after battling the forces of nature and humanity, she might want Uber to get her there and Seamless to deliver tacos right away. Adventure is hard work.


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iPhone 6 Concept Design By Nikola Cirkuvic

After iPhone 5s, the next obvious version of the line of iPhone is iPhone 6. What is not so clear is what it will look like. So far the iPhone had stayed true to its design, at best ‘growing’ taller and slimmer. But you haven’t seen the iPhone like this.

This is an iPhone 6 concept design created by Nikola Cirkuvic, a mechanical engineering student from Serbia. Aside from a “thin-ness” of 5.3 mm, no other dimensions were released by the creator. In the design, he has removed the bezel from both sides, giving the iPhone a much larger screen but not succumbing to the curve smartphone designs LG and Samsung are adopting.

By

iphone 6

This concept design only depicted the iPhone 6 in silver and space gray with a not-as-prominent Touch ID sensor but from some angles, you can see similarities of this design with the iPad mini and the newly released iPad Air. The lack of icons also made the design timeless, allowing you to focus on the hardware and not let the software lock it into a timeline. Do you like it or hate it? Sound off in the comments.

Recommended Reading: 30 Stunning Apple Concept Designs

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WordPress Advantages and Disadvantages for Small Businesses

WordPress celebrated its tenth birthday this year. Since its conception in 2003, it has exploded across the web, becoming the most popular CMS and blogging platform available.

You may be tempted to use WordPress when setting up your company website – it’s undeniably a popular platform. However, there are some important things to consider before choosing it over another option. Here are a list of advantages and disadvantages to help you decide whether WordPress is right for your business.

Posted on skyje.com

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Advantages

  • Not everyone knows how to code, and the thought of creating a website can be incredibly daunting. However, with WordPress, you don’t need to know how to program to have a professional-looking website, and most hosting packages include a one-click install option. WordPress has a series of ready-made themes which are essentially design templates, and with recent WordPress updates the style can tweaked and previewed from within the dashboard. Themes provide a layout for your site, and you simply add in your written information.
  • You can also install plugins, tools which expand what your website can do without the need to code yourself. Plugins can do virtually anything – from automatically sending a thank-you email to people who comment on your site, to providing an updated weather forecast.
  • WordPress is an open source service – anyone can play around with the software, making their own changes and improvements. This means that there are countlessthemes and plugins freely available for users on the web. As WordPress is such a popular platform, lots of people develop content for it, so it’s relatively easy to find an original, professional-looking theme for your site which can easily be customised to your own business.
  • WordPress itself is completely free to use. It’s one of the cheapest ways to create a website, and this has contributed massively to its popularity. If you want your site to succeed, you’ll inevitably incur a few costs – such as a domain name and hosting – but on the whole it’s a low-cost solution for small businesses which need a professional-looking website.
  • It’s easy to make changes to content. The chances are with a regular HTML site you would have to contact your web developer every time you want to update the site – which means you probably won’t do it very often. With WordPress, it’s simple to add new content yourself, meaning you’ll probably update more often – which is ideal for keeping the site up to date.

Disadvantages

  • A common problem with Content Management Systems such as WordPress is the creation of duplicate content. This is an unwanted consequence of using tags and categories, and can affect your search engine ranking. If you use WordPress, be sure to install an SEO plugin, which can remove the duplicate content for you if you do not want it.
  • Another issue with WordPress is security. It may be the most popular blogging service on the web – but this means it’s also the most popular blogging service with hackers. As the software is open source, it’s relatively easy for people to search for, find, and exploit vulnerabilities. Plugins can also be risky, as they can be developed by anyone on the web – including people with bad intentions. When installing plugins, make sure that they’ve come from a reputable source, and have been designed with security in mind.
  • Looking after a WordPress site can be surprisingly time-consuming, especially if you use lots of plugins. Both WordPress itself and plugin developers regularly release updates, which need to be installed. It’s important to keep on top of these updates, as they often address security issues – remaining with an older version of software leaves your site vulnerable and open to attack. However, many WordPress sites have a large number of plugins, and it’s all too easy to neglect them.
  • As mentioned above, WordPress itself is a free service, and it can be a cheap way to run your own website. However, there are plenty of opportunities to incur large costs, which users need to be wary of. Some companies might want to have a highly customised theme and functionality for their site, rather than choosing the pre-existing options found online. However, hiring a designer to do this can be very expensive. It’s also tempting to hire someone to manage your site for you – particularly if you don’t feel you have the time to keep up with security changes. However, this can rapidly become eye-wateringly expensive.

On the whole, WordPress is an ideal platform for small businesses looking to create their own website. It’s easy to create a professional-looking site, and the core software itself is very secure. However, it’s important to do your research before getting stuck in. Make sure you understand how to optimise your site for SEO – or install a plugin which can do it for you. Check the source of any plugins before adding them to your site, and set aside some time each day to check for and install updates.

Shawn Hunt is the Director at Broadband Wherever a company that specializes in the installation of high speed satellite internet solutions.