Can you run a web design business with just an iPad Pro?

I was debating for weeks whether to get a new MacBook Pro or an iPad Pro, because when we were holidaying in the north Pennines, work didn’t stop. It’s not because I didn’t want to turn off from writing, social media and web design, more that I’ve crafted a reputation for getting things done quickly and to ignore clients for a week felt wrong.

Bits of work did materialise and it was a struggle to manage tasks on my iPhone 8 Plus, which prompted a visit to Stormfront in Durham and an internal debate about whether a MacBook Pro or new cellular iPad Pro (12.9) would be a better portable investment.

Now I’m usually impetuously impulsive but I delayed until return, completing tasks on the iPhone.

The decision was made on return as I realised I could get an iPad Pro with generous data on upgrade and sell my older one.

Apple Pencil purchased, returned and repurchased. Don’t ask.

Dock bought and YouTube videos watched and I’ve now concluded that I prefer the versatility and portability of the massive iPad to my ageing 2011 MacBook Pro and indeed the new 15 inch ones I tried in Durham.

I’m not sure I could design a WordPress website entirely on an iPad but for editing, publishing new posts and operating social media, I think it’s a better choice.

I’ve just created this post on the iPad and though not as fast as a physical keyboard (next purchase?) the buttery smooth OS, processor and screen real estate makes running a business, a web design business, a distinct possibility from this iPad alone.

Tomorrow, I will buy a 99p domain, install WordPress, themes and add it to my hosting c panel all from this device and tell you definitively whether it’s possible or a pain.

Check back later this week.

Estate agents – revitalise your USPs with this property writer

What marks you out as different as an estate agent?

Is it the fact your staff don’t drive Minis?

Is it because your fee structure is openly displayed on your website?

Is it because your social media is engaging and active?

Or does your office look lovely to those who walk or drive by?

Have you built a tribe of followers, who’d endorse you wholeheartedly by word of mouth, putting their reputations on the line for you, do people trust and like you?

Do you offer something different from Agent A, B, C and D in your small patch?

The problem now is that people aren’t moving as often.

I remember being told by someone who’d been in the industry for over 25 years that the average timespan spent in a home was 7 years, only 6 years ago, and on new estates, just 4 years.

I read recently it now stands at 16 years and the supply chain of first time buyers has dried up with investors clogging the bottom end of local housing markets, with landlords holding on to property for 25 years and more.

So what do you do?

You should do something different.

Put it this way: we will probably move in 2019 and relocate. I already know who will sell our home: it’s a company that does things differently. 

Your job as estate agents is not only to source vendors who will pick you from the other two shiny suits who rock up in Minis but to help them sell so they leave reviews and tell others, but you may also want to consider something different.

I know estate agents are cash-strapped: the portals, office and staff costs absorb most profit.

But I have a service that I didn’t invent, that I can’t claim originality with or pretend I found estate agent clients, good ones, who buy into this as one of their USPs.

Property stories.

Vendor narratives.

Call them what you will – but it’s a service that me as a copywriter, property writer, turned web designer, offers on an increasingly frequent basis.

It costs you as an estate agent around £25 and here’s how it works.

Your staff email me draft particulars or a set of photos via Dropbox, Google Drive or We Transfer, with a contact name and no preamble. I look at the photos, maybe the floorplan and sometimes Street View, and then ring the vendor for a 10 – 15 minute natter.

The estate agent has already promoted my services at valuation and when they’ve committed to listing, I get the photos and vendor number.

I like doing it.

A lot.

The home seller gives me a potted history of their home, their plans, favourite aspects, I listen, prompt when they’re drying up and make notes. I don’t look for the radiators in halls rubbish – though I did in the one below!

Estate agents often bandy superlatives around – stunning, delightful, immaculate – so much so, that they can become clichéd and almost self-parodies, but we’re quite confident to add those three epithets to this property.

And some more.

You can see why when you look at the photos and floorplan and step foot in this stunning, delightful, immaculate property.

The current owners bought this Victorian villa in 2014 and were smitten by the smorgasbord of original features – the stained glass windows, the balcony, the cornicing, the original fireplaces adorning reception rooms. We know you will fall in love too – and perhaps declare love from that balcony?

Known locally as the chocolate box house in ———-, the house delights.

From parking up to three cars, to venturing into the hall, we think the entrance will impress. Original tiled floor from the Victorian heyday. A beautiful radiator – yes beautiful and radiator, two words that don’t often rub shoulders in a sentence, but they do in this hall.

A magnificent kitchen, complete with range cooker, original terracotta tiles, plus living room with real fire and orangery complete the downstairs, with more delights waiting upstairs on the first and second floors.

Why spoil your anticipation though by showing and telling all?

You need to view this property for yourself.

In terms of practicality, ________ station is under 2 miles away – a brisk walk or short drive – and you can be at ________ in 38 minutes.

But why would you want to leave this stunning, delightful, immaculate home?

The beauty of this arrangement is that estate agents don’t have to waste time creating a decent property story as you’ve outsourced it to me, a graduate of English and professional copywriter.

You don’t have to wait days for John or Joanne to finish the description.

You shouldn’t have to spell check – but I am human and sometimes commit typos which I inevitably spot just as I hit SEND on emails. I made two yesterday which were spotted but the estate agent was cool with it, as they were obviously typing errors and one was an autocorrect to deepening, bizarrely.

You must though have a vendor who’s up for it. I give up after a few tries if I’m getting nowhere.

I turn them round quickly as I know getting a property live is paramount.

Vendors love it, estate agents love them and now I’m writing for eight of these Mini driving property suits in various parts of England.

If you want to gain vendors, add a USP and not be ripped off by a property writer, get in touch with me. Each story costs £25 – unless you’re already one of my clients.

Mobile is best via iMessage or What’s App on 07462923476.

Or email stuart@getprocopy.com

As long as you pay me quickly for my quick writing service, I’m happy to take on more stories. 

 

 

It’s 2018, not 2008, so sort your website out.

%name apple

10 years is a massive length of time in technology – remember 2008 was when everyone craved a BlackBerry for BBM and that QWERTY keyboard, before Apple killed it with the iPhone 3GS in 2009. Boris Johnson became Mayor of London and David Davis resigned in 2008 – so some things don’t change.

The internet has.

Smartphone use has exploded.

All about the smartphone

Once they began to morph into decent cameras and MP3 players, digital camera sales nosedived and now the iPod Classic and Touch are veritable museum pieces.

The way we shop and search has changed. High speed broadband is available for all, universal 4G (soon to become 5G) has changed the way we act and interact. Social media now dominates the marketing and communication sphere.

Voice controlled speakers, from Google, Amazon and Apple, mesh WiFi, like Google WiFi, have all developed.

The problem is though that many businesses have failed to keep up with these 2018 times.

Responsive website design

So many websites are still not responsive – meaning they don’t resize and render for tablets and smartphones, where 83% of internet browsing takes place. Some websites not only look and perform poorly on mobile devices, but they have no channels for communication through digital social spaces like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Criminal really.

It’s a missed opportunity.

Adapt or die

If you want to survive and thrive, you have to adapt, you have to move with the times. You can’t ignore your poor website or even grow without one. Social media may not be your favoured pastime but with Facebook alone having 2.23 billion active monthly users, you can’t sit with your hands over your eyes and pretend it will go away. Social media is growing and for businesses it’s probably the most cost-effective form of advertising.  Measurable too. Which printed material isn’t.

If you want to grow your business, increase sales of products and services, you need compelling content on a responsive website with active and engaging social media platforms.

Rest in Peace

18th December 2008 – Woolworths announced all its stores would close.

That shop was anachronistic.

Like BHS, Maplins, Toys R Us since, it didn’t adapt.

Now I’m no business guru, just a manic consumer, but the company doing best in 2018 is heads and shoulders above the rest:

Apple.

Trillion pound profits.

A website to die for, in terms of simplicity and user friendliness.

One built on WordPress, I was once reliably informed.

Stores that feel uniform and cultish but are nonetheless (for me at least) a pleasure to visit.

I don’t think we’ll ever read of Apple closing down, but I’m sure that there will be big business, retail and restaurant casualties in the next decade – from those who failed to adapt.

Grow your business

Do you want to grow your business? Do you want to adapt? It costs less than you’d think – if you do want to thrive, contact me today.

At last, three new estate agency websites land and a cafe!

I’ve always been madly fixated with property. I bought my first house at 23 in Oldham and have made money from buying, selling, moving ever since. House prices may be unreachable for so many, but for me, investing £18,000 when on a salary of £8000 pa in 1988, it’s been a nice little earner, that equity.

A few years ago, now, I worked in estate agency, to take that mild obsession to a new level and when I set up this business, it quickly morphed into writing for the property industry.

Branching into web design though, in May 2018, after a year of website partnership, I was longing for a new property website to slake my housing thirst and not 1, but 3, have landed.

Nest Negotiators

I was asked by Nick Cheshire of Nest in Essex to design a new landing page for his buying service in Rayleigh, Essex, and to say I was pleased to be commissioned, is something of an understatement. I thoroughly enjoyed creating it with Nick.

Next up was:

Rickner Charles

Bizarrely, perhaps, another one from Essex, this time for Ronnie Rickner. Unlike Nest Negotiators, Ronnie intended listing properties on the new website and when I accepted, it was with anticipation and doubt. When I was in the property selling industry, I commissioned a web designer for mine, but now a challenge had been set for me. I did it. Loved it. Ronnie even thanked me in a video testimonial, which was nice.

Like buses, though, a third came along; from Nick again and Nest in Essex who wanted his website to have an overhaul.

Could I do it?

Course.

I’m a veritable expert I reckoned until the timeline reared its head.

Have a look at the home page below and the rather snazzy timeline that eventually developed nicely but kept me awake at night initially – for real.

Nest in Essex

See what I mean? We’re both chuffed with it though after launch. Live properties too.

Last week, a LinkedIn contact asked me if I’d take on a project – a cafe in Chiswick.

Clearly, my Essex days are over now I’m heading into Landan?

Here’s the website. The brief was to integrate colours from the supplied logo, explain opening times, include menus, and have a Call Now button for mobile phones.

The Odd Spot Café

I like this one. Ok there’s no property but it’s https, mobile responsive and hosted free for a year – as all my websites are.

Now what will come next?

Who knows?

I’m up for any web design challenge thrown at me!

Contact me in whichever way you like and I’ll respond instantly.