Niniane Wang - Creating a Great Website on a Budget

 

Secrets from Silicon Valley

 

Lesson Info

Niniane Wang - Creating a Great Website on a Budget

Hello I'm in any way and I'm here today to talk about building a great website for every budget so I know that we have a very diverse audience today we have people who are one person businesses would do everything themselves. We have entrepreneurs who have raised millions of dollars in venture capital we have larger businesses that have been successful and have hired some employees and so for every one of those situations whether europe one person or have employees how do you great build a great website experience? All right, so today I will go over my background uh, well, I will go over the spectrum of options for building your website from when you have very little time and resource is to spend all the way to win you can actually hire engineers and build a long term uh, innovative product. We will go through a few case studies and where possible I will talk about things that I have actually used, like when they say nine out of ten dentists actually used this toothpaste I will tell yo...

u about the choices that I have actually made. We will talk about engineering and whether you do outsourcer in house how you manage your engineers and then for every website experience I will talk about the factors that lead to a great website experience so some of the things you see here such as usability analytics making sure that it's accessible from every type of computer and mobile, of course, so I spent five years leading engineering microsoft. I worked in the game's group, and then I spent five years at google, so I helped found desktop search and I led the gmail revenue team, and then I found it a project called lively, and I spent three years as ceo of minted, and I'll be very happy to talk about more about minted and tell you what minted mission is also devised. A few startups um, right now, advising my time jump cam talk if I and clear mob so minton's mission is to enable our community to provide the best design to shoppers. So we have a global community of artists and designers were very talented, but who do not want tio take on necessarily the business of promoting themselves. So we provide a platform where they can do what they're best at, which is create that art, and we will help them find the audience of shoppers, and they make a commission on every sale. So we have contests that they answer into and there's open voting. So if any of you go to dot com now, you can vote and then based on voting the top voted designs will then be sold in our sight for other people to customize and purchase. And this is for printed goods arranging from wedding invitations, holiday cards art that goes on your wall party decor, etcetera. So we'll show you some examples here you can see in the left hand side there's an examples of our die cut uh, invitations and all of these air customized that you can go into the browser and customize with your own text on your own photos and we use technology to support what the artists dreams up so if they dream up curvilinear text or text follows the path of a ribbon we make all of those advanced elements work in the browser in the middle you see that we have a art so all six of those pieces are minted art and we've shown in this example how it could look on your wall so we have artists from around the world creating this art and it gets the souls on minted when we actually announced our west. Now in partnership so immense it art will be sold in every west elm store in the country later this year on the upper right you see our party decor so again for everything's party you can have a customized bunting banner and you also have place cards and all the elements that go along with your party nowadays we see these beautiful pictures of perfectly created parties and we want to do it ourselves so if you go on minted, you can customize it and get your party decor in a box and then on the bottom you see two more examples of our invitations on dh of our birth announcements and holiday cards which again can be customized um, here's a screenshot of our home page you can see that we showcase our designers for every design you can see the name and location, the person who created it for people from who are living a little town of first another country. This could be life changing that they create art and suddenly they're artists exposed to a very large audience. We are covered in a lot of press. Last year were on the today show six or seven times were in various magazines a couple examples here, and one of the things that is most rewarding to us is that the people who are in our community learn from each other and they help each other and they improve their skills over time. So here's an example. Um this is one of our best selling designs and this was the first version of this design. So you can see that it's a out or theme with three jars with fireflies coming out and the feedback that the community gave to this design was it has so many good ideas that it's the good ideas are fighting a bit with each other so second version which this designer submitted to the same competition is this that you see here it's been cleaned up the back of the design has been made more clean some of the elements were taken out and it looks more eye catching to me s o the feedback for this design from the community was that it could it's because it's a outdoor theme it could be a more earthy color palette and it still has a little bit more design elements in it needs and this was a final design so you can see it's an earthy tone and it uh has the border removed and this so now one of the best selling designs that are skits commissions on every sale all right, so now I'm going to cover the spectrum of options for building your website. So this is a spectrum as you go to the right it's more customization and therefore more need for a custom engineering so the items on the left require fewer resource is less time less cost. So for example, if you are a one person company and you just want tio take something out of the box and have a web presence that you khun used to give to your customers so they have a way to find you online and to learn more about you than there already made options available for you that have templates that you can customize if you want a little bit more customization beyond what that offers you, maybe you have particular plug ins that you want to put in then wordpress will has a variety of different plug ins you can use to customize your site if you want to go beyond that don't just want to provide information and photos, but you actually want people tio shop on your site and too by your items and then have it mailed to them then you khun there are these sites that allow you to make a commerce experience with a shopping cart with ability to a sub credit card information moving one more to the right we start getting into very customized options that required engineering work, so if you want to build something that is very unique to your site and that nobody else in the world has done, then you would want to hire engineers for that you can either higher outsource engineers as contractors or you can build it in house engineering team and they're definitely people that start with outsourced and then move into in house engineering teams. So here two examples of outsourced engineering sites that you khun go teo and we'll cover and more detail what are the tips that I have for working successfully without source engineers and then option to the most to the right in house engineering if you'd like to build a long term engineering team that can help build up your product over time. Then you can work with recruiters and job boards to hire engineers to do so. If at any point you have questions, please feel free to raise your hand and I will call on you. All right? So we're going to go with a few case studies. I think the best way to see this in action is to see what real life people d'oh so here's an example of a site where you just want to provide information to the customer, and if they want to interact with you, they can call you or email you. But you are just mainly one way providing information to them. So my parents have a couple of apartments in beijing, and they wanted to create a site where they can put photos of their apartment and have people call them. So I helped them use weebly and they made this site beijing modern apartment. Thought weebly dot com has photos. It has some information about the apartment and it only took about twenty minutes to make this. And then it was live, and they could start giving out the euro all two people. So this is great for if you want to provide contact info maps, but it won't allow you to actually have a shopping cart or to let the user log in and store information. But if you want, if you only have a limited amount of time you want to get something up quickly and start being all the hand out your you earl tomorrow, then this is a great option for you so you can use. We've lied to purchase a domain so my parents could have tried to get beijing modern apartment dot com which might be taken, but they either for free you can get a weekly you out or you can purchase your own domain. Yeah, so here's this clean shot I took up there in our face and you can see it's just a editor where you can add in images at in video very user friendly. So this is a great first stepping stone if you want to just get something up running quickly there's another op shin called homestead, which is also in a similar product that allows you to create a website and that has temple it's based on your type of business. So it has one template for a flower shop, one template for a pet sitter, hundreds of temple it's based on the type of business that you are so that's another option in terms of the a lot of technical expertise you need to be able to use either weebly or homestead are we talking like drag and drop super if you khun manage your facebook account, you can probably create a website on either of these services or you need like a bit more uh that I would say that it's it doesn't require that much technical expertise, so basically it is dragon job it's editing as you saw, you don't have to write any kind of special code basically, if you're able to use an interface like that, then you can create your website sure and just start playing around, get started, drag and drop try it but I think this free trials both services yes, so it's perfect for the person who just want something in media, the instant gratification of having that web presence right away and of course, over time, if you find that you need to do more with it, you can always make it better later but this will get you up and running in a matter of hours. So this is this is perfect if you have that crazy idea in the middle of the night with you and your friends and just were like, hey, such and such whatever you're good fifteen minutes yes, exactly so it's great if you already have a physical business and people keep asking you for your your girl and you want something that you can give to them and you don't want to invest a lot of effort or if you don't consider yourself a technical aficionado then this is very user friendly and get started very quickly great easy way to just check that box for whatever business you are yes, I think for all businesses nowadays people expect that if you have some kind of web presence it gives them some reassurance so this way you have something that looks pretty good you can start handing out right away on your business card yeah, I think I used to work with google and adam with stats are but depending on what what industry you're in, what service you provide like sixty to eighty percent of purchase decisions start online with a search these days so potentially you're doing yourself a huge disservice if you don't have a simple web presence something might help even you know being able to include a link to your web site on yelp is just that extra step that a user can use to learn more about you contact you directly it adds credibility it's just it's really important that every business has a web site these days? Yes, I totally agree and I think that it does add that credibility and some people might feel intimidated about creating a website because there are so many other options that do you require some technical expertise but if you want something just very simple that uh it doesn't take a lot of time to dio then this is an easy way to get started right away you just taken all the fear right out of the process you can go, you can play it's simple it's easy if you have some photos, you're ready to go right and then that's the difference between not having a web site and having a website right? Checking that first boxes so critical we've heard from other instructors earlier today about taking that first step putting an idea out in the world starts to build momentum and carry you forward, so I'll stop interrupting and to the rest of it but it's great actually agree with these things, you can always get a rate. Once you have something up, you'll start getting feedback people will say, you know, I like the photos, but I wish there was a map. I thought that this page was the most useful page, and once you get that feedback, it'll actually help you come up with more ideas of what you could dio and maybe later you want to make a more advanced what pitch maybe do you want to add a shopping cart, but you don't have to immediately jump to that step? If you're uncomfortable with it, you can start with something simple and every week or every day you could add more to it over time. Okay, the second case study is a friend of mine elaine, who is a fashion stylist and she helps style various photo shoots she's done stalled from modern bride and she's styled for various weddings and she wanted to have a web presence for her stylist business. She wanted to have the flexibility of having a little bit more interaction with the user so she wanted to have a blogger people could leave comments she wanted the flexibility of later being with add other types of witches if she wanted to add social media which it's if she wanted to add other mechanisms for people to leave her messages. So we chose tio use wordpress and again it was not it was some more effort than if we had chosen one of the other options but it was just took a couple of days for us to find appropriate hosting and to set this up and have something that she could already give to other people. So again, this is great for if you do you want some amount of two way interaction with your users but there's again no shopping on it. So this is the intermediate step between the very easy we've earlier homestead experience and the next one that will cover here's a example of the interface of wordpress its most suited for just adding entries so you khun type in text you can have posts on a blogger very easily and there's a lot of different plug ins out there so it's very extensible if you decide a month from now as you're getting all the great feedback you want to add more widgets onto it you can do so so third case study is shopify this is where you actually want to start selling things online so you want to be able to take credit card info you want tio have people have a shopping cart you want tio happened get a receipt look at their orders you want to get information that helps you track how much you've sold in the last week or the last month. So shopify is one example of a great platform for allowing you to do this and here's this one example of any shopify store so here's to screen shots from the shopify interface you can edit the background color and and set your store to look you have the look and feel that you desire and then there's interface where you can see what people are doing, how much they purchased and have some, um analytics about your customers. So if you want to get beyond the shopping experience and you want to actually move to having very unique experiences, then you can start looking at hiring engineers and this is a case study of one of these start ups that I advise called my time on day will I can't allow you to look for open appointments and then book those appointments online so you can look for a massage you can look for getting your car oil changed can look for a pedicure federal and you can look see what the openings are and then book it online. So my time's started with a couple of outsource engineers very early prototype, and then they quickly moved it to be in house engineers, so with what my time means there's no platform that does that already completed their offering is this unique product and that's why you need engineers to build that but actually creative live started off as completely outsourced engineering as well are cofounders craig and chase are experts at video production and that's where they focus their efforts, and early on they outsourced all of the engineering and to a third party team wasn't necessarily through real answer oh, desk got the web site up and running focused on the video production used you stream to drop in the video feed, but very similarly like a little bit of customization just to move people through the process and then plug in commerce platform so even, you know, business, which like us, you know, we're now venture funded we've got eighty people working here started off just like, you know, the small guys that you're talking about right here so yeah, it's definitely an option for people my time is also a venture funded so it's quite common for people to start with the first prototype to have something that you can get quickly and then moved in house question you give me that sorry, and mike and, uh, pick it, stand up as well, not be awesome. Thank you. What would you say is usually you find kind of like the time when you would go from outsourcing, which everything has its pros and cons, and then you say, you know what, we're going to do it in the house because I'm sure that could be a very scary transition process eyes not easy decision to make, right? Okay, that's a good question, what are the factors that lead you to decide that you want to move from outsource to in house? Well, I think that the benefit of outsourcing it is also one of the drawbacks of the benefit is it's very flexible. If you decide that you're done with this project, you can easily and that contract on you it's lower commitment on both sides so you want to get a prototype up and running, and you want to find someone quickly and have them start quickly and also, if you have a lower budget to spend at that moment, then outsourcing is a great solution you can find somebody from potentially from another country who would expect a lower wage than someone in silicon valley might expect but at some point you want to actually have committed employees who are going to be with you for the long term and then that time at that time he may want to actually bring people in in house you also may have a larger budget by that point and so getting paying long term salaries might be something that is well within your grasp as opposed to the very beginning yes question and I actually have a couple follow up questions on that from the internet great so mile high guy says front who's from colorado gank sense if a newbie were to start a small with an easy with say weekly and then want to move up to something like shopify is it easy or hard to move the interface from one of those tow another do you know okay well mile high guy if you wanted to move from we bleed tio something like shopify a lot of the assets that you would use your photos your video your text you could copy but it is a different interface so you would want at that point to switch and learn a new interface however all the text you road and so forth you could copy and paste that over cool and one more about the outsourcing engineers from finance grad two thousand thirteen congratulations you are just graduated that when you say in house engineers, did you create a team who stayed on with the company and became the permanent engineers like we're talking about here with great alive? Or was it part of the original design team that just stepped into the rule? Could you clear up where their in house folks came from? Ok, that's a good question so minted we actually are now one hundred people and we have about twenty people in the engineering team that have been and we've had an in house engineering team basically from the start for someone for the start up that I mentioned they had outsourced engineers in another country, so for them it was more difficult to bring those people in house, eh? So sometimes it's not the same a person that you would hire, however, occasionally there will be the case where you have someone as a contractor and they do come on full time it's kind of a case by case basis, so I'll go over some of the venues and tips for working with both outsource and, uh and house engineers here, a couple of venues that people use where you confined, outsource engineers, a lance and, oh, desk so you would go on there right? A suspect and people would you would be contact you'd be connected with people who may want to take your bid on? Then when you find the right person, they would take on your contract and they would complete it and deliver it to you a few tips for managing engineers and the first to apply to all engineers so it's important to set objective success criteria that specific and has two days sometimes people will say, create a web page that is easy to use but how is easy to use defined when the internet delivers that they may think it's easy to use and you may not think it's easy to use or if you say something that I create a website that loads quickly quickly is not defined. So at the end, you may get into an argument about whether the project was actually completed or not, so it needs to be something objective. If you say easy to use, it needs to be the reata for focus group participants were able to complete the task that we gave them, and if it is lo is quickly, it needs to be on a computer of this specifications loaded within this many seconds that way any person can go and figure out if it was successful or not. You don't get into an argument. Next step is to write a specifications on provide sketches of what you want your project to look like. Often we have a very clear idea in our head and we described it in the other person ends up with a very clear idea of something completely different so if you actually provide drawings many times people have described things in vivid detail to me but when they actually gave me the trying is quite different from what I had started to envision in my head and I'll show you an example of that um and then for times when there's time zone difference try to overlap as much as possible because there are times when if you work with somebody who maybe is in a different time zone if you send in the message and then they don't understand they send you want back there can be a delay in that cycle so if you do have some overlap they can ask you questions and you can resolve it more quickly here's an example barthel mick is a tool that's quite popular and you can draw a sketch of what you want you can drop boxes uh you can have buttons and put in post it notes of how you want certain interactions to go so we use this sometimes at minted and a variety of other colleagues that I have have used it all right now I'm going to go over a different factors that keep in mind as you create your site so here's an overview of some of those factors usability, analytics accessibility several so usability usability just means are people actually able to do what they want with your site? If the point of your site was you created in two hours and you want people to be able to get your phone number and see the testimonials from your best customers? And were they able to find that phone number and find those testimonials? And did the testimonials showcase your product in the way that you wanted it to? If your purpose is to get people to shop, you know, were they able to actually figure how to add to their shopping cart? Did they figure out how to check out? Was that whole experience smooth? If your purpose is to get people to find appointments and book those appointments? Was that process smooth? One of the most eye opening expenses is to actually watch people try to use your site, and they're things that seems so straightforward to you that will be confusing because they don't look at your side day in and day out the way that you d'oh. So one way to do it is to bring people in or even ask your friends. I've asked many of my friends to look a certain page and ask them to do something and then watch them do it. You can also use user testing dot com, where you pay them a fee, and then they will find a subject. And the subject will complete the task, and you actually watch a video of them trying to complete your task, and they will have verbal commentary of issues that they encountered. I like these two books. Uh, one of them is called don't make me think, which is about how with your users you wanted to be really obvious what to do if you have a there should be one button or one link that they gravitate to you. And the other one is a play on rocket science and brain surgery put together so rocket surgery talking about how usability is like the combination of two but it's this book strive to make it easy. What one of the things about usability is that so much of the time when you're building the product, things that seem obvious to you will inform how you build it. And then yes, she put it in front of riel users it's a complete disconnect because you're so in the details, so we actually just went through a big usability study for creative life, and some of our pages are fairly simple it's here's, of course, that's upcoming here's the instructor is some information, and you can rcp tio, our enroll in an upcoming course, and we figured that we have this page pretty well figured out, so we interviewed fifteen people and it was like getting hit over the head with just how terrible we are at relating very simple information. I'm exaggerating, of course, but we learned so much about how to better convey our information on something that we thought we were doing pretty well after a couple of years of experience and it's so critical just actually talk to people and can they easily use your product and you find that they're bouncing all over the page and your information hierarchy is, you know, the title works, but then what? They really wanted to find out more about the instructor that's over here, so I can't stress this, having just gone through a process ourselves in the value that we saw, how important it is to actually talk to people and face to face if you if you can. Yeah, I completely agree, it's not one of those things where if you get really, really good at it, you won't have tio show to other people anymore. No matter how many years you've been doing it there's so much benefit from bringing people in and seeing their reactions to your site to use an analogy is sort of like if you have your kitchen laid out, and if you need to go get a spatula, you just go to the door and open it and get the spatula. But if someone else were to try to do it, they would first have to look through all the chores, figure out how it's organized and based on how it's organized it may take them a longer a shorter amount of time, so once you get very accustomed to it, you become he developed line spots it's hard for you to see it with very fresh eyes, so bringing someone in and watching how they react is very valuable. I think your analogy or direct example earlier of the how the invite evolved eyes really useful for the creative live audio we are a community of creative people, photographers, designers and we like tio think that whatever work we put out into the world is a precious finished object, and often it is, but a website is not that a web site grows and evolves and changes over time as you interact with people like our job. Your job with the website isn't to create a perfect piece of art is to create a usable information exchange, and you have to know what the other side of the exchanges thinking to make sure that you're delivering value properly so you've got it, you've got to change it multiple times and I think going back to your invite it's ok to change your art multiple times as you get feedback from from real customers and with the digital era you know it makes that process easier than it ever has been before that willingness to test and not necessarily fail but learn you know this's the secrets from silicon valley I think that's one of the big secrets of this place is that people are constantly learning and improving what they've previously done to get to get better at the at the next thing and there is no you know ego attached to it just getting better every day by talking and listening is such a huge critical factor of what makes this place successful yeah I think that's absolutely right it's actually better to get something that is that you would consider sort of barely acceptable out sooner and get people to look at it then it is a way for the most perfect polished product and then only show its people then if you look at some examples of what google looked like in nineteen ninety nine it's very different than what it looked like later or any of the most popular web sites that we use now so only by seeing how people react to it can you actually improve it over time so that's why I emphasize just get something up quickly and then you can always improve it over time analytics is very important and part of it is important to understand your user and that is one step to having great usability understand who your customers are where they're coming from what? Browser they're using even what geographic location they're coming from, and that is what we call analytics, so if you use one of the solutions, like shopify, wordpress or weebly, they have built in components to help you do the analytics. If you build your own website, you can use google analytics, which is free, and it will show you graphs of how many people visited your side each day now, which pages they visited most frequently, which pages caused them to leave the site? It will show you which countries they come from, and whether they're using a mac or using windows, whether they're coming from a their iphone, or whether they are coming from a desktop computer, and having that information will help you understand your customers more. If they're always using your site while they're on the go from their phone, then you can spend more effort on that experience if you learn that there's one page that people are always leaving, maybe there's something confusing about that patient can focus efforts on that, but, uh, part of being able to improve is actually seeing what people are doing. That's what analytics is far can give us an example of a business or a website that people are very likely to encounter while on the go enhance through a mobile browser, you know, I think there's a lot of products that people will use from their phones, like if they're looking for something local like yelp. Obviously, if they want to find a restaurant nearby so a local local restaurant like in the area to go to europe, they find it. They may want to click on the the website and if it's not optimized for mobile device it's going to not be a great experience, right? But no matter what the site is, more and more people are moving to use it from their phone and from their tablets. You yourselves may have found that over time you start to use your phone more and so that's something that everybody should consider every website should look at what they're breakdown is between geography, between browsers and consider that as they're designing their website, part of having usability is having a call to action. So when the user is using their site using your site, they should there should be something directing them to take an action that actually might be called this eight hundred number and schedule appointment with me for my service, the action might be signed up to my mailing list. The action could be register for an account or it could be purchased this item and put it into the shopping cart and then check out, but at each step there should be some kind of call to action so here's an example of a startup that advise called talk if I and it's a match making site so people can go on there, put in their information and matchmaker will set up dates for them. So there's a clear called action you put in your name, your email and phone number and you hit apply, and now you'll be called by a matchmaker when someone looks at this there's, not a lot of competing, uh, components for their attention is not unclear. Shy click this button or she look att fill out this form a shy press this button is not twelve different buttons. It's very clear what to do, and part of that clarity is what makes users comfortable. They're not confused or having to choose between different options. It's very clear what to dio accessibility is another point, so we talked about this earlier, but from the analytics you'll be able to see what devices people are using. Tio access your sight and you want to make sure that you, your site works well and those browsers on from those countries and whether they're if they're coming from tablets or phones. So for example, there's several countries overseas that like, minted quite a lot, and so we like to make sure that when people are visiting from those countries, they'll have a good experience too. Domain name earlier you asked a question about picking a domain name and this is one of the most fun parts as well as could be obsessive parts of your business so there are tools this is one that I like a lot it's called bust the name and you put in different word combinations and it will show you what is still available. So if it's available than you can purchase it for seven dollars on go daddy and I put in fashion she kept style and glam for somebody's into a fashion stylist he told me that glam hip dot com and hip glam dot com are both still available so if you want either those you can go right now and register them but you can put in words that relate to your business and it will show you what is still available and hasn't been purchased already and you can purchase you're your old directly via a hosting provider like go daddy or you can go to one of the products that we talked about before and they will purchase your domain for you in addition to helping you build what goes on to that, I always think that having two main aim that's easy to spell is good instead of something that you have to spell out each time for people s o that's part of why like bus the name helps you come up with combinations of actual words advertising so part of how you get shopping might just be when you interact with people face to face, you give them your business card, they go to your website, but you also might want to get new customers that you wouldn't interact with if it weren't for your website. So if you do want to buy ads, there's various ways that you can do this so we believe and shop, if I can help you purchase ads, you can also see what people are searching for. So, for example, even in choosing your domain name, or if you are deciding what to purchase, you can go to trends dot google dot com, so I just took one example of people searching for iphone versus people searching for enjoy and you can see over time from two thousand seven teo the current day, how many people are searching for those words? So, for example, if you are deciding, view, sell jewelry, and you're deciding whether to focus on hillary or focus on some other word like necklaces, you can go using these two web sites and look at what people are searching for, as well as how much ad traffic you would get. So the second link, you would put in the key words that you want to have ads on, and it would actually tell you how much traffic they think you could get so if it's very, very rare, then you might not get as much traffic as you want. And if it's award that's very common, then you might be competing with a lot of other players. But through this, you can see the relative distribution of what people are searching for a little bit about how to get traffic as a brand new website, because the way the search algorithms work, is it over time, they recognize what really high quality sites are, and it takes time to establish a brand new site so early on you, you're not just going to have people show up, so you're gonna have teo, you distribute airlinks manually, tio like minded sites. You may have to run some keyword campaigns toe bring new people to your site. And, you know, maybe you could talk a little bit about about that, you know, breaking in phase and some simple strategies. Yeah, I think that, as with physical businesses, you start by having a set of early adopters who are very interested in what you have to offer, and they might they might be frequenting blog's. And so if you get those blocks to link to you, that might be a good way to reach those people who might then tell other people. I think usually things start with a very passionate set of people who are most excited and can't wait for your product and then over time maybe you get more and more mainstream people so just like with a physical story first go for the enthusiasts and the people who are obsessed with that topic online you might first go to forums or blog's and get them tio link to you you might start with handing out your you earl to colleagues and to friends and family over time as you build up a reputation thie effects will start to snowball but getting actually ranked in google search results is something that does take time to eventually accumulate the more unique you are in that particular domain the easier it will be to build that reputation. So if you are the leading provider of some special type of and a buddhist painting than it might be easier than if you provide necklaces which other people also d'oh I've seen from the creative life community. So one of the students that I've encountered was a destination wedding photographer in a uh you know, run away like san diego area for example and initially they were just starting now transitioning from a different line of work into wedding photography and launched a site and you know there are a number of other establish twenty photographers in the area so we're getting really much search traffic started by getting listed on all the relevant local website travel websites, local wedding websites, other websites for venues and churches and this sort of thing and built out eh portfolio of of links that were started to bring in like a small amount of traffic just organically and that was free to dio just took a little bit of time to grow it to grow those relationships and get those links by just saying, hey, I'm here, aiken provide this service as well and then over time as the organic traffic started, they from these links there started to be the search traffic the natural google discovery started to understand that this is a local wedding photographer for the san diego area and maybe that's it's worth ranking that little higher in the search and they kept working on the website improving it and they grew up over time and then they started layering on the edwards campaigns when they were a little more established because google is recognizing they were a higher quality site so the cost to advertise was going to be a little bit lower and so, you know, really just starting off with with building relationships in the online world works just as well as in the offline world yeah, I completely agree with that I think that there is a mirroring where you would start with people who you they are interested in what you provide and they might link to you it's better to be the best out of more narrow thing in the beginning than to be maybe as good as twenty other people at a larger uh offering so for example if you were providing put its paintings it's better if you are the number one supplier of this special type of buddhist painting than if you were just as good as thirty other people are doing something that is more broad if you are a wedding photographer if you have some specialty than and you are the best at that doesn't mean it's costing wedding then it's better to be that than to be just as good as other people that something bigger that works for online as well people people want that special I don't they will link to you you'll start to rank higher in search results so it's better to be the best at something smaller alright custom engineering so if you do you want to create a custom website then here are some factors to consider and perhaps you will be hiring engineers outsourced our in house but one of the first things they will want to do is choose a software framework and you probably want you have some insights into how to make that decision because it is something that will last with you for some time so when you're choosing what framework to use you want to make sure that it will scale so one day when your big business and you do have millions of people coming to your site, you want to make sure that you don't have to stop in the middle and rewrite your whole site use something that is more scaleable with scale ability if you just pick a framework that other big sites have used typically that means that it will scale and you won't have tio painfully rewrite it in the middle if there are pre built components that other people have created that's better because then you don't have to reinvent everything yourself uh these and that corresponds to the size and the activity level of the developer community, so if you just do it, you can use the google trends that I showed you before and see how many engineers are using that framework if they're more than it means that you'll they'll be able to fix bugs with it faster and then if you want some special widget like you want the newest facebook widget on your site, chances are one of them will have built it already for that framework and you can just use it a couple of popular frameworks ruby on rails and django so you can reference the slide when talking to your engineers or when building your site that minted we use bottle which is very lightweight python framework yes, I keep hearing about ruby on rails and geno for us non techies, what are the important? Yeah, so those are two examples of frameworks when you're building a web application there's some parts of unique to your websites and there's some parts that every website needs to do like allow people to register for an account how to deal with people forgetting their password. Um, how tio store user information so these frameworks will handle the parts that every site means to dio so another example would be rendering your pages or when someone goes through you earl, deciding which page to show and the's frameworks will handle that for you, so you can focus on doing what's unique to your site. Generally, when you start using them very quickly, you can get a skeleton of a site up, then you can customize the part are unique to you. These are two examples of frameworks that people I feel are popular for being able to do the things I just said the common scaffolding that every application requires if you're working with in outsourced engineering team either from he'll answer, oh desk or another source, it's it's really more about understanding that what the different technology options imply as opposed to understanding the technology itself? Is that correct? I would say that you don't have to be able to use the technologies yourself, but you should consider some of these things like well this last for the next five years for me and my wildest hopes of success if my greatest dreams come true is this site going to be able to handle it or if I have only planned for this will work for two years and then in two years off to decide what to do at that point than two years in the future you might be not very happy with president yoo so some factors that you would think about are just will this serve me for the long term on dh other factors are well I have to build everything from scratch myself or will there be other people who have we're also building it and I can look at their code samples I could perhaps take some of their open source components that they've built and use it in my systems those are some of the factors to consider I think you can find out about that without having tio to know how to do it yourself and there are huge developer communities and forms for caribbean rails and django credible I'd actually is going through a similar process where we were built on primarily a droop a ll framework uh and for now that we're growing by leaps and bounds the scale ability it's awesome super quick start up and had a great e commerce futures but we're kind of outgrowing that and now we have to deal with things like you know tens of thousands of people showing up to the site at once so we're having to make that that switch kind of mid stream so we're running to exactly these these problems that you're talking about here another aspect is where you're actually going to be hosted so if you do have your own engineering solution you need to have servers of some kind and there are various again a spectrum of services that you can views on the right most is if you don't want to actually own your own servers so amazon provides amazon web services which are actually very good um and you can commission a server in a matter of ten minutes it will be some you can choose a range of from small to large and paper only for what you use so right away you can have a service that you can put your coat on too and you're you're all will be up and people can go to it this is only for custom engineering if you use a shop of fire we believe they have their own servers and they will be hosting your code on their servers so you don't have to worry about this at all. What do you go with the custom engineering and you need to have your code hosted somewhere than one of these options? So there are other cloud services besides amazon as well when you hear about coping in the cloud that's what they mean is that the server is somewhere that you don't have to worry about and if something goes wrong with the server of the hard drive fail someone else will deal with that you will never even know that something happened thie middle solution is if you actually want your own servers and this is if you need more reliability and you want tio you have actual demands upon perhaps the machine configuration or you just want to make sure you're not sharing the server with anyone else and you want complete control over that then you can go with some place like rackspace or with soft layer where they will get dedicated servers and often they will manage it for you so that hard drive fails you will know but they will go and fix it for you you don't have to go out there and fix it and then they're also solution when you buy your own servers and then you have them hosted in a data center on this gives you the most flexibility so you can buy whatever server you want you're not limited by anyone else's configuration choices um and then you have that hosted and a data center for you questions and if you are interested you can visit minted dot com slash jobs with a variety of different positions open anywhere from marketing engineering it so we'll go we'll just need to get you on mike over here yeah, what are your thoughts on a b testing while getting website up and running in terms of call to action optimization that type of things and are there any services you recommend? Yeah that's a great question so the question was about a b testing um I think eighty testing is great and but there are those like lightning okay great thank you may be testing is when you're not sure about a particular decision and so you have your website show one set of users choice a on one set of uses choice b and then the software that you use we'll show you how would be two cases performed against each other. So a common use cases you have a button and you're not sure if the button should say start or if it should say purchase or I should say more information so you use a b testing for a mark and you set up one third of the users will see start a third of your users will see the second thing I said thirty years we'll see more information and then it can actually show you charts usually of first this option a performing this way option b and then one will emerge as the winner usually you have some goal in mind such as they ended up making a purchase or they ended up signing up for your mailing list so it will show you option b was thirty percent more effective and option a getting people to complete the desired action. We use a b testing all the time that minted. I think that it's very useful. Oftentimes again, you don't know what people are going to do until you actually see them doing it. So the best guesswork of I think this one better than this often is trump's by what people actually dio we use optimized lee, which is hey, start up companies that provides a framework for you for you to be able to choose a set up, maybe experiment and see the results. But I definitely think that whatever method you choose doing ap tests is important. We have a number of questions coming in from the internet, and I want to start with mile high guy who's been very active today. Thank you. In colorado, what are few? What are the top u mistakes that brand new developers like him might make? And and also maybe on top of that, if you are, um, a solo preneurs entrepreneur, one of the biggest mistakes to look out for when you are hiring somebody. Okay, biggest mistake, said developer might make or mistakes when hiring someone. I think getting feedback early is very important. And sometimes people want tio they keep thinking it's not good enough it's not good enough and by the time they was shown it to someone they've invested so much effort now it takes more effort to change direction people always surprise us so when you show it to them you'll discover that they are fixated on something some part of the site that you did not realize would be the most popular part so it's important to get people looking at your product as quickly as possible if you're really embarrassed about showing it to the world, you can show it to your friends and family first so that some people might be more intimidating but it's very important to get feedback it's not like you create a perfect sculpture and then finally unveil it at some grand opening and it's done it's definitely something when you get a radio on it very often and I meant it we're making changes every day and every week and we don't expect to get something perfect right away we expect that things will improve over time so I think that mentality that we were talking about earlier of two starting early to show to people is very important and it's something that can ship up even experienced entrepreneurs where the more you care the more personal it is when someone criticize it and so the more you feel inclined to hold it close to your chest but actually need tio overcome that and to show it to people says the only way to improve we have to feel the fear and do it anyway absolutely I think that that statement rings true with so many of our audience members absolutely and I couldn't even see that smile on your face like you've been there. Well, I think I've often there when you care about something deeply that it's hard to show it to the world but you have to you have to on the second part of the question about hiring people I think that if you are hiring engineers it's important to actually assess their technical skills, you need that they need to do it yourself or find an engineer friend for you who you can take the dinner in exchange for interviewing the engineer I think sometimes people I feel shy about actually asking quoting questions and they end up assessing based on how confident the person seems or their resume or whether they can speak intelligently about their past experience or what they would do for you but it's actually important tio assess the technical skills of the person so he did yourself or find engineer friend that's a good tip finding an engineer friend to help you analyze the strength of the person that you're hiring which kind of goes along to k h o who asked how do you know what type of engineers you need for the product features you're looking to build like what programming language database person architect someone of experience with a content management system. Where do you where do you go other than talking to your engineer? Friends? Yeah, that's a good question. I think if you're not technical yourself than you know need to find someone who can actually help you make those decisions. You should go over the goals with them that you wanted to be scaleable, that you want there to be a actively developed developer community around that framework, but they will know engineer should be driving, helping you drive that decision. So instead of trying to make those decisions yourself, I would try to find somebody who can help you make those decisions and look for that in hiring. And it may be that you hire someone tio help you make some of these decisions, and then maybe they will bring someone else into teo the coding work. Or maybe they will be part time and helping you make these strategic decisions on, and someone who perhaps has a lower salary hourly rate can help do a lot of the coding work that's a that's, a really important concept that most that multiple experts have have talked about today and to continue to bullet what we think the secrets of silicon valley really are is the willingness to ask for help and the availability of help that exists here is incredibly high like no one tries to do it well not no one but people don't try to do everything by themselves they go and they try and find the most, uh, experienced and knowledgeable person in their network and start by engaging that person for advice and support and then and then moving it on from there like asking for help early in the process is one of the most effective ways to educate yourself and and skip a lot of the mistakes that early entrepreneurs makes up ask ask for help you know don't be afraid to task be willing to fail get feedback it's a lot of listening I know this is you know, I'm saying something that's very trade and very obvious but culturally putting that into practice is very different from a lot of how most of us grew up with like a protected like this is this is my thing and this is you know what I'm doing and I don't want, you know, help from other people it's it's I really that's one of the big secrets that I'm certainly taken away from this event yeah, I think that when people leave value when people will say if they don't know something or if they need help could send that way you can move forward and ultimately we just want your venture to be successful so it doesn't matter for a moment you were slightly embarrassed I don't think you need to be embarrassed but uh if even if you are for a moment in the end you just want your business to be most successful um I do think you probably in your own businesses have experienced customers who either are to trying to control the details that you're actually the expert on so they start to tell you I want this detail that detail in your things yourself I'm the expert and you are making decisions they're not optimal or they might be too hands off and they're very vague about the ultimate goal and then you come up with something and they say that's not what I wanted because they didn't specify what the goal should be so take that same mentality and apply it to the engineer's you're working with you specify clearly what the success criteria are draw a picture of what the page should look like and set objective measurements but then don't try to tell them how to do their job because hopefully you're hiring to be an expert ok so from harry p question is is there a base number that a start up company should budget for a website? I know it can range a lot and it's a hard question to answer but is there a middle of the road whether that's a dollar amount of percentage amount what would you be that's a good question but for a website from possibly harry potter so I think for some of the the choices that I said it does not cost any money necessarily if you go on to weekly you could do it today and have it running tomorrow um you may have to pay some small monthly fee to leave early but it would be less than twenty dollars a month um for the some of the other options with wordpress and shopify again you pay a monthly fee to the platform but it's not very much it's would be in the tens of dollars per month on until you're trapped it grows I should check that for shopify but that is the case for the other two options for hiring engineers if you hard outsource engineer if you hire someone from the lanzaro desk I've heard of people hiring him for them for saying twenty five thirty dollars per hour you could potentially get lower than that as well just depending on what your needs are uh if you hire in house engineers then you can look up standard silicon valley engineering salaries but it is quite competitive um so I think that based on what your website needs, you could go on tio you answer oh desk if you want to go the outsourced option and ask people to make a bid on dh then from that you can get more of a ballpark of what your specific needs would entail. Um, if you want to bring in house engineers and then I think you should budget salary. You can also ask an engineer friend to just spent an hour with you listening to what you want to build and tell you how many weeks or months they think it would take to build. And then you can compute with salaries would be in our vivat that number. Thank you. Okay, great it's been a pleasure to be here.

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