eSites Network Website Design


Does Your Website Have Liftoff?

The secret to successfully building a good website is similar to how the Wright brothers invented the first airplane.
Before the Wright brothers came along the common belief was that the way that you’d be able to get an airplane to fly was to create a large enough and strong enough engine that would be able to propel the plane to fly. And so most adventures focused most of the energy on building more powerful and stronger engines for the plane to get the plate actually take off. But with the Wright brothers did instead was they tried to come up with an airplane design that was as late as possible that was a sensually as close to a glider as they could make it so that all they would need was a very small and light engine and because the glider design was so efficient I would only require a small engine to propellant and posit to fly which as it turns out was the correct way to go about it and that was the reason that they were the first people to effect the airplane.

In many ways that’s the same story as to how many people try to generate traffic to their website.

One of the problems I see quite often is companies and businesses that spend money on Google Adwords, Facebook advertising, Yelp, SEO and other traffic generating mechanisms. They spent all of this money and time and effort getting traffic to their website and then they get upset or confused when they don’t generate that much business from their efforts.

What they might not realize is that the relationship between traffic and the design of the website is very similar to how the wright brothers invented the first airplane.

While many people focus on how do to get people to come to their site, they fail to realize is that the most important thing is having a website that converts. In this analogy your website is the airplane design and the engine is the traffic to your site.

If you do not have a well-designed, well-developed, clearly thought out website then all of that traffic is the same as having a really giant engine strapped to a skateboard.

So the first to successfully generating traffic to your business is creating a website that is well-designed, has a strong call to action that is proven to successfully convert traffic into leads and leads into customers.

Then once you’ve worked out the conversions on your site you can go ahead and pay for Google Adwords, Facebooks Ads, etc…

So the question to ask is, does your current website have liftoff? And if not, why not? It’s the single best thing you can do for your business’ success.

How to Write a Website Development RFP

What is Website Design RFP?

A web design RFP is a request for proposal where you send a document to several website design firms for the purpose of them all competing and bidding for the chance to work with you. An RFP can range from being just a few pages to as many as 20 to even 100 pages, which depends on the scope and complexity of the project.

Who needs a Website Design RFP?

Not everybody needs to put together a website design RFP. Here is who a web design RFP is right for. If your project is in the $10,000 or above range and or you are looking to work with a large agency, then your best bet might be to use an RFP. RFPs are a more formal instrument and because of this they are more suited for corporate or government type websites.

Who doesn’t need a Website Design RFP?

If on the other hand you have a budget under $10,000, or your company culture is more relaxed and easy-going, you may not actually need an RFP to choose the right design firm to work with. For most small to medium-size businesses, simply filling out the contact form on the website design company’s page and initiating a telephone call is all you need to do to get the ball rolling. During this phone call, the design firm can typically get a sense of your needs and then send you a proposal based on the needs and goals determined in your phone call.

What experience are you going for?

When it comes to submitting an RFP, the question you want to ask yourself is what is the experience I want to go for? Designing a new website is ultimately a creative process that involves discovery, intuition and outside the box thinking. Some RFPs can be so daunting and intimidating that they are more likely to be completed by more business oriented design firms rather than truly creative companies who might be put-off by the laborious effort of filling out a 10 page RFP.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that most people do not need to put together a formal RFP when initially contacting a web design firm. A one-page e-mail detailing your specific needs for the project is often the perfect amount of content to get the ball rolling. Also, one last thought: the best indicator for the quality of work that a firm does is in their portfolio. Beware of a great proposal from the firm that has a mediocre portfolio. At the end of the day, you’re looking to get any website and if the websites delivered previously by this firm aren’t great, the chances are that yours won’t be either

Major Topics to cover in your RFP

“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.”

- Rudyard Kipling
With all of that being said, if you decide to move forward with your RFP below is a list of topics you might want to cover. Again, don’t go overboard, but be specific with exactly what it is you’re looking for in a new site, and exactly who you’re looking for in a firm.
  • Who
    • Who are you?
      • What does your company do?
      • Where are you located?
      • How many people work at your company?
    • Who are you looking for?
      • A large agency?
      • A local design firm?
      • A single man shop?
    • In the RFP, you may ask the firm to describe themselves and include the following:
      • Company history
      • Number of employees
      • Employee bios
      • List of references you can contact
  • What
    • What kind of site are you looking for?
    • What is your budget for the project? (larger design firms typically don’t take you seriously if you don’t have a budget in place)
    • What type of design?
      • Show examples of other sites with the design you have in mind
    • What functional requirements do you have?
      • CMS – Do you need a Content Management System?
      • Will the site require a backend database?
      • Will the site require payment processing?
      • Are there other features you need? Reference other websites to describe the function you have in mind
    • What features do you want to include?
      • Responsive Design
      • Search Engine Optimization
      • Home Slideshow
      • Contact Form
      • FAQs
      • Email Signup
      • Gallery
      • Video Integration
      • Custom Map Integration
      • Blog
      • Social Media Integration
      • Payment Processing
  • When
    • When will you need to receive questions from designer by?
    • When will you need the proposal submitted?
    • When will the project commence?
    • When is your anticipated launch date?
  • How
    • How many pages will the site be? (very important for the designer to be able to clearly define the scope of the project)
    • How many page templates will the site have? (a page template is a group of pages with the same design and layout, but with different content)
    • How many people from your organization will be involved?
    • How many rounds of revision will you need for the project?
  • Why
    • Why are you having the site designed or redesigned now?


If you’re wondering what format you should use for the RFP, a simple Microsoft Word doc will suffice. Some people use Google Docs or a PDF, which are both fine too.


So there you have it, everything you need to put together a web design RFP. I’ve attached some sample RFPs that you might find helpful, just click just click the link below to view.

Branding in Web Designing

A lot of businesses provide very similar products and services. How do you identify one provider from another? The answer is branding. Branding of products and services is what differentiates a business or even its website from those of its competitors. This may sound elementary but often companies neglect to understand the importance of branding and identity. A brand is the representation of products or services, their characteristics including customer experiences and the values associated with them. When people use a product or service, they remember their experiences whether it be good or bad and these experiences are what get associated with that product or service. This association is what is helped by way of branding.

For this product or service representation as branding to work, it is imperative that websites feature how companies see themselves, what their end customers think about their company, and how companies want future clients to perceive them.

Branding is not Just About Having a Good Looking Logo

A company logo or a product logo is just the tip of the iceberg in branding and identity. Other facets of a well-designed brand experience and brand website include quality imagery, relevant and up to date content, ease of use, consistent colors, relatable emotion and character, consistency, and a memorable user experience.

Quality Imagery – The majority of website visitors are extremely visually focused and nothing can catch their attention better than a well-placed and relevant image of the product or service offered by a website. Quality, relevant and fresh imagery is what helps people associate emotions with brands.

Relevant and Up-to-date Content – Website viewers initially look to find out what a website is all about and if it can answer any of their wants or needs. By providing clear, relevant, and updated content, the proverbial phrase: “beating around the bush” can be avoided.

Ease of Use – It is very irritating to get lost inside a website and not know where to go or what to do next. Clear, familiar, and intuitive navigation makes it easier to promote a product or service or to hopefully close a sale.

Consistent Colors – Color is not just aesthetics, it also serves to trigger subconscious associations and emotions. Blue for example symbolizes trust; green for health, nature or environment; and red for energy and enthusiasm among others.

Relatable Emotion and Character – A website’s character and personality have to be in line with what the company stands for. If a company is all about trust and security then site viewers must be able to relate to this when going through the company’s website.

Consistency –  Setting a consistent look and feel throughout a website and its pages in terms of typography, colors, visuals, and layout not only helps to make a brand memorable but also makes web pages load faster

Memorable User Experience – Website viewers now use a bevy of platforms and devices to browse websites. Mobile compatible websites leave a positive impression on site visitors.


Branding in web design is so much more than a company’s logo and tag line on a website. Branding is a well thought out strategy to help people associate a product or service with a value – to increase brand equity through a well-designed website. Brand equity adds value to a company’s product or service and thereby allows them to charge more compared to competitors; gain higher market shares; get higher positions on browser search results; or become a leader in their specific niches.

Basics of Branding Today

A Brand is MORE than a Name or a Logo 

A Brand is EVERYTHING, and everything is a Brand.

A Brand is your STRATEGY for EXPERIENCE.

So what to do? 

Brand is no longer what the ad agency says about your product or service but what customers say, share and experience about your company. That means how your retail staff interact with customers or how your marketing team creates conversations at your events is more important than what's said in an advertising campaign. This is the reality of the sharing economy today. Experience is only real when shared and if customers aren't sharing your brand, you might as well be invisible. 

Here is a branding manifesto for today's sharing economy:
  1. Engage your Audience through Visuals
    65% of online audience are visual learners.
  2. Keep your Tone Friendly
    73% of customers stick with a brand because of friendly customer service.
  3. Colours Bring Life
    Colours increase Brand Recognition by upto 80%.
  4. Flaunt the Typeface
    For the past 50 years, Helvetica has dominated design.
  5. Whitespace Sells
    Whitespace increases the perception of information by 20%.
  6. Establish your Brand's Voice
    45% of a brands image can be attributed to Who Says It and How It Says It.
  7. Invite Trust
    54% of people don't trust brands.
  8. Be the Market Leader
    Top brands outperform the stock market by 120%.
  9. Focus on Content Strategy
    49% of brands do not have a documented content strategy.
  10. Personalisation is the Key
    74% of online consumers expect a brand's web content to be personalised.

Okay but what do customers what out of a brand? 

Eighty percent of companies think their brands have superior experiences. Unfortunately, only eight percent of their customers agree. It’s time for brands to tackle the experience gap – the gap between how consumers want to experience brands, and what brands are actually doing.  It’s not just a marketing imperative; it’s a business imperative. 

Here are the best brand experience principles:
  1. Invite participation.
    Great brand experiences are design-driven: simple, accessible, easy and inviting to the participant.
  2. Build around users.
    Brand experience learned it from the web: people want their experiences to be relevant and feel customized to their needs. Even delivered at scale, experiences should “fit” the user.
  3. Make it shareable.
    Experience sparks recommendation; experiences should be designed to tap into technology as well as our primal human desire to share.
  4. Create community.
    Beyond fueling recommendations and referrals, experiences should be designed to connect people around brands—to leverage the few to inspire the many.
  5. Make it useful.
    It should go without saying: any experience should add value to people’s lives.
And here are the top trends that people term as "great brand experiences":
  1. Honesty and transparency are valued
    “The sales staff were knowledgeable and helpful [in] understanding my needs and aspirations. They were also prepared to provide better prices and throw in extras. A great and pleasant experience.”
  2. “[The] benefits of the product are exaggerated 
  3. during purchase, but claim settlement is complicated 
  4. and slow… We [had a] very bad experience and 
  5. will hardly choose this company again.”
  6. Individual treatment and respect are expected
    “One dealer in particular inquired more about my personal needs to help look for what I really needed. He showed me the features and benefits of each car. Asked if overall price or monthly payment was more important. Took me for a test drive and also told me I could return it no questions asked in 30 days”
    “When they put your name and number into a computer system and you have a different person calling you back every day for weeks, it’s rude and completely impersonal” 
  7. “Above and beyond” experiences are remembered (so are their opposites)
    “She sent me a thank you card mentioning something I had said while I was there. She actually listened.”
    “I was in the showroom looking at the vehicles and no one would approach me. So as I walked past a desk I took down the phone number. Then I called the number to get [the salesperson’s] attention... You should have seen his face when I waved to him.”
Finally, here are steps to better the brand experience:
  1. Map the overall brand experience.
    Assess all the touchpoints that add up to brand experience to understand gaps, white spaces and areas for improvement. From a customer journey perspective, this is an invaluable step toward “plugging the holes” at which people defect or get distracted.
  2. Improve existing experiences.
    Do the work of elevating existing experiences, with particular attention on drivers with the highest levels of impact, like customer-facing staff, partners and other people that represent the brand.
  3. Invent and innovate.
    With so few truly differentiated experiences, brands have a huge opportunity to stand out and be special. Look at the tremendously low current performance scores for the extra, discretionary experiences brands create—and take advantage of that white space.

Branding is Dead. Long Live Brand Experience.

Wait... What???

Welcome to the sharing economy...
…a world where everything 
 gets shared
all the time… 

 every conversation 
…every moment
…every story
…creates an experience
…which becomes your brand

So what works Today? Branding? Brand Experience?

Branding is…
…Tell ‘em you’re cool
…Tell ‘em in a BIG way
…Keep telling ‘em
…but Branding doesn’t work 
 like it did 30 years ago
Branding is dead…
Long live… Brand Experience

Brand Experience is…
…customer storytelling
…stuff worth talking about
…creating value
…creating events
…creating memories
…joining the dots
…reconnecting communities
…asking “what’s broken”?
…fixing pain points
…taking risks
…creating touchpoints online
…and touchpoints offline

Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
which means… 
your brand is what people say about you and…
you can’t always be in the room…
they will soon forget what your brand said but they’ll always remember how you made them FEEL

Traditional marketing was a Branding based approach: positioning, awareness, campaigns. 
In the 21st century, marketers need to focus on Brand Experience 

Branding use to start outside the company: agencies celebrities, campaigns. 
Today however, Brand Experience starts inside with the intersection of your people, culture and metrics.

Welcome to TODAY!

How To Craft Excellent Content

Content is king.
It’s the king of SEO, and it’s the king of every great website, blog, infographic, Twitter account, and Facebook page out there. Excellent content drives traffic to your site. It’s as simple as that. No image, blog post, video, or anything else that has ever gone viral has contained content that is anything less than excellent – be it excellently funny, excellently informative, excellently shocking, excellently entertaining, or excellently silly, they have all had one thing in common: excellence.

So, what makes excellent content?
Well, it depends on the medium, but in this post I am going to be focussing on written content and blog posts in particular. I like to think that I know a thing or two about how to craft together some excellent content for my worldwide audience. I didn’t learn the best practices of the craft overnight, but through years and years of hard work and writing literally hundreds and hundreds of blogs on all manner of subjects.

And so now you can take advantage of my experience as I detail for you some of the very best tips for crafting excellent content that I have picked up along the way, which will hopefully help to make your journey towards excellence a lot shorter than mine was – if only someone had been so kind when I started out.

1. Make It Positive

Positive content is infinitely more shareable than negative content. This may actually seem counter-intuitive – if you read the news, then you may think that negativity was a necessity. But marketing content doesn't work like that. People like to read and to share positive posts from businesses’ websites. Indeed, finding the perfect tone for your content is essential for it to be enjoyed by your following, and for them to feel that other people in their networks might enjoy it too.

So, what is the right tone for your blog?
Well, it’s all about finding the right balance between formality and informality. You, of course, want your content to be useful and informative for your readers, but ideally it should also be entertaining to a certain degree as well. In a sense, the perfect tone for your blog will probably reflect the tone and the style of your favourite teachers at school. Do you remember them? They somehow made what might otherwise have been some very dry information come alive, didn’t they. You may well even remember some of the things that they taught you even now. They did this by inserting a sense of fun and enjoyment into their content, and that’s exactly what you should be doing, too, no matter how serious or informative your post may be. Which brings me onto my next point.

2. Make It Practical

Aside from being positive, excellent content is almost invariably practical for the user to some degree. This of course makes sense when you think about it, and perhaps goes some way to distinguishing why the news we read seem to make its success out of being negative, whilst blogging is all about positivity. The news are simply there to spread the word of current events and affairs, whereas a blog post should have real, useable value for the reader.

Quite often you will find that posts will take the form of this one, where some practical and actionable tips are being offered for those that discover them. Indeed, this clean and clear simple style can be a great place for you to start out when getting to grips with crafting some excellent content for your blog. Think about your audience in relation to your product or service – what sort of thing do you think that they all have in common? Can you come up with a list of some great tips that might be useful to them all?

What’s so great about this is that your readers will have something of genuine worth that they can take away with them after they’ve finished reading your post. They can apply it in their work or lives, will see some great results in return, and will remember you and your blog for it.

3. Evoke Emotions

If you can hit on an emotion in the reader then you’re onto a serious winner, and the chances of your content going viral significantly increase. High arousal emotions are the best ones to target, and in fact sometimes the odd negative emotion can actually be of benefit here if used well. So, what are the high arousal emotions and how do you tailor your content to target them?
  • Awe: If you can inspire awe in your readership, then they won’t be able to resist hitting that share button or leaving a comment or reply. Awe can be inspired by of a story, a real event, or even from an impressive list of tips or links.
  • Surprise/Shock: Try and find something to write about that goes against people’s expectations in a manner that surprises or even shocks them, and they’ll just have to read on. Find new ways of doing things, new ways of thinking about things, challenge assumptions in your writing and prove those notions wrong – indeed this last point leads me onto to a negative emotion that inspires engagement…
  • Anger: If you manage to mount a serious challenge against some common assumptions, then you’re almost certain to tick a few people off, and what you’ll find is that they’ll start tweeting about you, sharing your post on Facebook, leaving lots of comments and perhaps even a few blog posts will be written in reply. This of course is great for generating traffic to your website, but you must of course be careful with it. Don’t just be contrary for the sake of it. Remember, you must still be writing positively even if you are inspiring a negative emotion, and you of course must still be practical. So, inspiring anger works, and there’s nothing wrong with igniting a healthy debate about something, but don’t make yourself unpopular, and always check your facts before challenging established conventions.

Some Final Thoughts and Tips

Creating excellent content is a matter of practice and experience, but hopefully the tips I have provided for you above should save you some time when trying to find the right path that will work for you. Experiment a little, find what sort of posts arouse the most engagement from your following, take note, and recreate those sorts of posts again.

When it comes to formatting your posts, it also pays to follow a few conventions of style. Firstly, give your post a very ‘clickable’ title, something short that shows the reader instantly that what you’ve written has value for them. And then, once you’ve done that, do the same with your subheadings. You want to format your posts so that the content is easily scannable for readers, so lots of subheadings, lots of paragraph breaks, and a few bullet points are always good as well.

Finally, when you sign off on your post, make sure that the last thing that you do is ask for your readers to take some sort of action.

Getting Great Testimonials

Ever seen a sales page for a major marketing training course? Did you notice the dozens of testimonials? There’s a reason the guru used up all that valuable space on their sales page: Testimonials are a marketer’s secret weapon.  There’s a mountain of marketing studies to back this up, but I’ll stick to just three of the choicest examples.

Example #1 from the B2B market
The B2B Content Marketing Report’s 2013 Survey, found customer testimonials to have the highest effectiveness of ANY other content marketing tactic. And that’s not according to just a few members – 89% of those polled said testimonials were effective. Even podcasts, considered to be THE sleeper content marketing tactic, got a mere 23% of marketers saying they were effective.

Example #2 from the B2C market
Nielsen’s Global AdView Pulse report found the rate of trust among consumers also puts testimonials at the top of trusted information, second only to “Recommendations from people I know”.
Example #3 Testimonials are a very close second to a personal recommendation
Search Engine Land found 72% of the consumers they surveyed said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 52% said positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.

With stats like that, I know you’re eager to find out how to get some testimonials for yourself. But before we delve into how to get testimonials, here are few tips for what separates great testimonials from so-so ones.

10 essential elements of a great testimonial

  1. It’s from a real person. 99.9% of you don’t need to be told this, but just in case one of you was tempted to write a fake testimonial, because you heard on some forum it was okay, let me remind you: It’s not okay.
  2. It’s not perfect. The person giving the testimonial doesn’t have to sound like an advertisement or look like a model. They don’t have to say things that perfectly align with your marketing strategy. Your production values don’t have to be Hollywood material. Keep it real to keep it believable.
  3. It’s specific. A 200% improvement sounds like it could be marketing hype. A 187% improvement has clearly been measured.
  4. It’s authentic. Don’t force people to give testimonials. Don’t make them read a script, or do anything they wouldn’t naturally do.
  5. It’s comparative. While you shouldn’t force people to say things, you can give them some helpful guidelines. Asking them to describe what their experience of something was like before and after using your product is a good way to frame a testimonial. For example, “Before I used Sparkle Car Wash, I had to wash my car once a week during bug season. Now, I only have to wash my car about every six weeks.”
  6. It hasn’t been edited. This leans on the point about not sounding like an advertisement, and not forcing people to say things they wouldn’t naturally say.
  7. It’s been given with permission. What’s the single best way to take a customer who used to love your brand and turn them into someone who will never trust it again? It would be to use their words without their permission.
  8. It describes benefits, not features. It’s nice for someone to say “I loved the 500 horsepower engine.” It’s better when they say, “Now I can pass whomever I want on big hills.” To honor the rule of not putting words in people’s mouths, you might have to give them another “framing question” for their testimonial, like “what’s your favorite thing about the Mustang GT Fastback?”
  9. Get video testimonials when you can. A study of how to use testimonials to boost conversion rates had four segments – page A with no testimonials, page B with a text (written) testimonial, then page C with no testimonial and page D with a video testimonial. Adding a testimonial lifted response in both cases, but the videos blew the text away… by nearly ten-fold.
  10. Place the testimonial near a part of the checkout process where people tend to bail. Even the best testimonials won’t help you much if they’re hidden away for no one to see. So don’t do that – put your testimonials out on all the places where people need them most. For ecommerce sites, this is the order form, or possibly the product pages. For B2B sites, it might be on the contact page or on a form for a project brief. For both types of companies, it couldn’t hurt to sprinkle a few testimonials on your home page, or in the navigation column of your blog.

How to get great testimonials

Now that you know what you’re aiming for, here’s how to get it:
  1. Get the timing right. This applies to any testimonial, but with video testimonials, when you ask is especially important.

    I saw one marketing expert get video testimonials from people immediately after they had seen a presentation by her. Many of the people coming out of the talk were energized, excited and just basically blow away by what they had learned. More than half the people that were asked to give a testimonial did. They just stepped away from the flood of traffic, got under a decent light and a stable background, and were recorded for 5-20 seconds while they described their impression of the marketer.

    The timing was key – the marketer would not have gotten anywhere near the enthusiasm or willingness to give those testimonials if she had asked the next day, or even a few hours later.

    Key takeaway: When asking for video testimonials, ask at the right moment. If you can get the moment right, less-than-perfect production value won’t matter.
  2. Use the Reviews tab in Facebook
    You’ll need a Facebook page set up as a local business to apply this tip, but if you are set up that way, this a great way to add a reviews feature to your Facebook presence in a snap. Facebook’s instructions for how to do this are easy to follow.

  3. Have a plan in place for when you get the glowing email from a client or customer
    Just as the best time to ask for a video testimonial is when your client or customer is thrilled, the best time to ask permission to use someone’s words is when they’ve just sent them. The next time you get a glowing email from someone, have a reply ready that asks if you can use their words on your website (or elsewhere).

    Something like this might work:
    Thanks so much for those kind words! Would you be open to letting us quote you on our website? I could identify you as the AOK Marketing Manager, or just identify you as Claire S. from Somerset New Jersey.”

    Giving people a choice in how they are identified often makes them more likely to say yes. If they seem even a little uncomfortable, and they have a website, offer to link to their website. Often the incentive of a link is enough “pay” to get people on board.

    If that first script doesn’t work, try this: “I would really like to share your success with my other clients. Would that be okay?”
  4. Make the most of LinkedIn LinkedIn offers an endorsements feature for people you’re connected to. If you’ve gotten any endorsements on your profile or your company page, you could potentially use those endorsements on your website or other materials. Again, it’s always nice to ask permission first, so get an email out to people who’ve endorsed you… before they see themselves quoted on your business card.
  5. Make it easy Contact forms are ready-made tools to collect testimonials with. You can add a separate page for people to submit testimonials to, of course, but so long as your contact form has a field that’s long enough for 3-4 sentences of type, it can serve double duty. Perhaps a call to action added to your navigation column might increase testimonials, too. It never hurts to ask.
  6. Hold a Facebook contest These can be for video testimonials, essays, or just quotes. The benefits of contests are that you can easily frame how you want your testimonials to be delivered.

    The drawback is that you are, in a sense, paying people to leave a testimonial. There is a little bit of inauthenticity to contest testimonials. However, I’m including the technique here because it is widely used for getting testimonials, and it certainly does work.

    What do you think? Is holding a contest a bad way to get testimonials? Are there other way to get testimonials that I missed?