That title reads like written for a news agency doesn’t it? It’s the truth though, I believe the jury came back in and that IS the verdict. If you recall, I said that the jury was out on whether Trini businesses would hold off on websites or invest in them to survive the recession. Recession or not, Trini businesses accept the now universal truth of websites.
As we approach the tail of the first quarter 2016, here are some of my observations thus far. Normally for a new year I won’t have observed this many observations but you know, there is a first time for everything. And at my age now, I’ve stopped raising my eyebrows at anything☺.
MY OBSERVATIONS FOR 2016
I’ve seen no change in website inquires at all; they’ve generally remained the same, not even a blip to give me pause. If anyone were to ask if the recession has impacted my website business the truthful answer would be no. People are searching for local web designers though, the majority of calls I’ve got came from a Google search and my robust portfolio and website itself played the pivotal role as are their purpose.
To me, it appears that it’s business as usual when it comes to websites because Trini companies are long past that turning point. The necessity of it is more evident in service oriented industries where companies have to tender for jobs as most of the time a website for reference is a requirement.
It’s not only new sites; many companies have sites languishing from back in the day when websites were a fad and you only had to have one. Competition and recession combine now to revisit and redesign and position for inbound marketing, which is my competitive advantage (I do that better than any other web designer in T&T). Apart from that, business owners/managers have continuously admitted that they go online first to look for anything and that’s their reminder to look after their own.
I’m not going to be complacent; I’m also going to ‘ramp up’ my website so look out for some improvements real soon.
A client calling on me to update their website after it’s completed and launched is very rare. I’ve had only a few instances in my recorded history. For the year so far I’ve had eight clients asking for updates and ramping up their sites. That’s an increase, and let me do the ‘mats’, a eight-fold increase from the corresponding period last year.
To tell you how the fire’s been lit under their ya-yan, the very first requests for face to face meetings in January have been from these clients. Pressure on my eyebrows…
At the end of 2015 I had unacceptable number of unfinished sites that almost sent me to the poor house. I thought I would have to coerce, even threaten, clients to pick up the pace in the new year but I was relieved to have them call me first. I do believe the recession played a big part. By middle of February I’ve knocked off eight from this list with about six more imminent as I write this. Pressure on my pocket…
If you’re thinking about hiring me for your new site, I’ve already started writing an article to help you organize your content which is the main reason why sites take long to finish.
My articles on PayPal have been referenced on quite a number of email and comment inquiries about the process. None of these are for new business but just requests for help on issues the readers were facing. I’ve been happy to help and it’s perhaps my cue to write a new article on the topic as those on my site a pretty old.
These have mostly been individuals, and it appears to me that some are trying to go the do-it-yourself route to set up online stores using third party hosted shopping carts. I don’t blame them as it’s very expensive to set up and maintain a hardcore platform like Magento which I only recommend for larger companies.
I’m going to also take that as a cue to look for a more affordable e-commerce option platform-wise, perhaps revisiting WordPress. The local TT Dollar payment gateway is still out of reach for smaller businesses as most may not qualify for merchant accounts and PayPal is too much of a headache, but I will figure something out.
People are asking about classified ads, used car and directory type websites obviously using the ‘fill an need’ concept to generate income. I have no problem with that but what I have a problem with is that no one seems to know what it will really take for such sites to work, especially when they reference established sites that dominate the local marketplace thinking they can compete.
I’m the first to say that I don’t care who’s first because it’s who’s better, but you have to ‘come real good’ to top entrenched popular sites. Though they may be old in style, they function well and comfortable for Trinis like old shoes and you’ll need more money for promotion than the actual website.
I have two such personal projects (the TT Online Store Directory being one of them), and even though no similar sites exist, the only reason why none are off the ground is because I can’t put a hundred percent behind them. Same warning goes to you.
I’ve had many phone calls and emails asking if I was the Cyber Crime Unit (CCU) because my website ranks first for the keyword. Even though the Cyber Crime Unit is a special branch of the TTPS, it doesn’t help that the TTPS website has no information whatsoever so is useless. It goes without saying that as it’s a government operation so no surprise.
To affected persons, the only way is to make an official report to to TTPS and have them forward to the CCU. Unfortunately I have no faith in the police service nor public service as people are literally getting away with murder in this country so ‘virtual’ crimes will have to get behind the already crowded back seat, even as far back as the trunk I imagine.
Recession or not, we Trinis still have to press on and do our thing, working with the situation at hand and ‘going with the flow’ as we do. The good thing is that we don’t take things too seriously, still find the time to relax and go to the beach, enjoy the long weekends and endless holidays in our true Trini way and still take care of business. Bear in mind that it’s gauva season now, so ‘mine your business’ a little more!