Greg Tomkins profile image

Greg Tomkins
Top 10% Web Design

Director | Web Architect at

Member Since July 2013

Southport, QLD, 4215

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55 FOLLOWERS

Top Left Designs was created in 2008 with the purpose of bring real business solutions to the web that reflected how businesses really wanted to work and could make the most effective use of the internet in all its forms. Since then the business has grown and evolved meeting the demands of its clients and the changes in web technologies and digital marketing.

Qualified skills

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Social Media
Web Design
Web Development
Web Hosting
Internet Web Services

Greg Tomkins answered this question

Ananda Raj Pandey
Ananda Raj Pandey, Developer at SavvySME

Home Based Business

Do I need a registered business name to start a home business?

If this is a full time business or even permanent part-time then yes you should register a business name but think one step ahead. Bear in mind what yu are wanting to ultimately build and if it is to create a company then carefully consider what will be involved when you change over to a company structure. The decision to move to a company is quite complex and it is not always to your advantage. Your personal circumstances will play into this decision as well as the IP that your business may own as a starting point. Company structures offer certain advantages for setting up your future that may be worth considering.I would however suggest that you map out your plans for the next 12 months, 2 years and 5 years and then sit down with your accountant and talk to them about these plans and what would be the most effective structure to put in place. If you talk to a solicitor they may offer a slightly different perspective as your accountant will generally view it from a tax minimisation perspective while a lawyer views it from an asset protection perspective and the 2 don't necessarily coincide.The nature of your business, the products you intend to sell or the services you intend to offer and who your market is will all influence the decisions you have to make as well.The best place to start is by being involved in some business networks and talk to those members - be outright in stating what you are wanting to do and that you are looking for advice. Most people are helpful and well meaning - sometimes though you need to verify some of the advice given so be careful.

Greg Tomkins answered this question

Wilson Lui
Wilson Lui, Business Owner at Sonley Stonegrill & Bar

Sales and Marketing

How do you promote a restaurant located away from the main road?

Hi Wilson - the first thing you have to understand is that sticking photos and comments on social media yourself will not get you far as you need people to follow, like and share what you post. Secondly, take a close look at who your market is and work out where they might be using social media and focus on those particular channels. Of course there is also the obvious and that is to get yourself a great website that will create a sense of wanting in visitors.
Before you do any of the above though, confirm what your marketing strategy is and develop a marketing plan. You really want to look closely at a few things in developing these:
There are 100's of restaurants within easy driving distance of your own so you need to identify and communicate what it is that makes your restaurant unique, of exceptional value and would induce people to go to your restaurant Confirm who your target market really is - I would suggest that it will be local and I would imagine that 80% customers come from within say 10Kms (or possibly less) so keep this very much in mind when developing your marketing strategy and plans Build a brand around what your restaurant is all about and avoid the temptation to say "best value", "great service", "family dining" etc... these sorts of value propositions are too broad and very soft. Be specific and find something that sets your business apart. Check out references on defining yor value proposition Be sure to interact with anyone who posts on any of the social media or business directory platforms that you are listed with and I would also suggest you do a scan of the leading directories that do have you listed and claim your listing - many of these insert a listing they have scrapped from Yellow Pages that you are probably unaware of so get these active but be sure to select the right ones. Don't overlook other marketing channels particularly in the local area - get out and network, look at other options that can be worked into your digital marketing. Consider any promotional campaigns that can be easily generated and I would suggest be very careful with the use of coupons such as Groupon etc as these can invariably cost you money and soemtimes lots of it. Check out what your competition does and rather than trying to beat them at what they are good at, find the gaps in their business where you can come in and stake your claim
Some quick observations I made:
Your principal website is not in place - fix this or if it is under construction then get a landing page at least in place You advise anyone visiting your other website Sonley Cafe to go to your new website - my suggestion is have a 301 redirect set up on your domain pointing directly at your new domain and on your new site refer to the fact that the business has changed but still offers the same or better menu/service that was to be found at Sonley Cafe. Get your Google My Business listing up to date and include reviews and photographs - this will be a must for attracting local dinersYou need more followers on your Facebook page - remember that Facebook posts you make will generally only get to about 2% of your followers - the only way to get this higher is to engage heavily with your followers and of course have them engage with you. Other social media channels such as Yelp might prove to be more beneficialI hope these few tips give you something to think about and are of assistance

Greg Tomkins answered this question

What are the first steps to starting an online store?


This is not a simple question Yee as there are so many aspects to be addressed and the answers will also depend on what sort of products you are selling, the size of your product range, your target market to name just a few.
All that aside however, you need to consider a number of things and I am assuming that you are wanting to set your store up on your own website rather than through a portal such as eBay. The following checklist is not exhaustive but can serve as a good starting point.Establish your Marketing and Branding strategy and plans - if you don't get this right up front then you will be wasting your time
Understand very clearly how much effort and money you are prepared to invest in your new online store and what other resources you may need to pull it all together.
Establish the business model for selling your product - pricing and discount structure, warranties/refund policies, what will be your distribution model, how you will effect delivery, online payment mechanisms, managing inventory
If your online store augments a brick and mortar business, determine what level of integration you will require between your online sales and the other business sales systems
Identify what sort of website you want and what information the site is going to share with your market
Work out the sort of functionality you want to include in your website
Work out the specific functionality you want in your online shop - size and number of product images, product sizing and colour attributes on products, variable pricing based on order quantities, related products for upsell, etc.
Will you want to run special promotions of any kind and how would these be structured
Do you have access to quality product images and copyright material about your products ready for inclusion in your website
Identify other websites that exhibit the style and features you might like to see in your own website
Identify the most appropriate platform for delivering your website - this will depend on the nature and scope of your online shop requirements but generally, for anything other than very small businesses, talk to a web developer or two and look to using one of these to build your site, implement it and incorporate your marketing initiatives.
I would not really suggest that any serious business look to building their own website. The demands of creating a professional website that will address all aspects of such a job are quite complex now and really beyond novices quickly jumping into some of these free or cheap web site builder products. Whilst some of these can do some very impressive things and easily create what appears to be a great website there are some serious downfalls for those looking to address requirements of a real business.
For further information you might wish to consider a series of articles I publish in one of our blogs Building a Better Online Business

Greg Tomkins answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Entrepreneurship

How many Brisbane based businesses are there on SavvySME?

Hi John... my Brisbane / Gold Coast business is Top Left Designs and we provide online marketing solutions to SME businesses developing everything digital from Strategy to Implementation of web sites, email marketing, social media and SEO. We build business solutions rather than just websites, we advise, educate and bring together all the essential aspects of an effective digital presence be it to promote your business or sell products online.

We are Adobe Business Catalyst Premium partners and cover off a wide range of business types and industries with our web solutions.
 

Greg Tomkins answered this question

How does one transition to an online store?

I don't think that paying $10K for the website is necessarily the problem as this is a fair rate subject to what was done and without seeing the site or knowing what that Web agency did for that I would not be able to make any judgment. Putting an eCommerce solution together can be very involved and is not about slapping together a few pages and uploading a collection of images and descriptions of your products.

As has ben suggested you can't expect results overnight and particularly if you don't have a point of distinction in a very competitive market. Toy stores have been a losing business sector for over 10 years and I would suggest that yur friend needs to examine the viability of the business as a whole before doing anything - is there really a market for what he has or has his competition got it tied up so well you just don't have a chance. I would suggest he closely examines his business plans and validates the assumptions within those plans first. If the plan seems to stack up I would then do some indepth marketing research and analysis and work confirm your business assumptions even further and subsequently establish a marketing strategy and plan.

At this point if everything still presents a strong enough case to proceed with the business put it all in action. The website will only be one part of what needs to be done and it may need to be revisited from the perspective of market positioning, content copy and marketing.

It sounds to me, and this is a big assumption on my part, that your friend may not have done too much of this and that he needs to go back to square one. If the business model and plan don't stack up then he needs to consider what to do with the stock he has. I so often see people persist in a business tat they are passionate about but really it needs more than this. I had an old friend from 20+ years ago who owned a large toy store in a good area that used to do well but in the end he realised that there was no future for independent toy stores - and that was 25 yrs ago so today I could imagine that it is so much harder.
 

Web Design

What Is Responsive Website Design – Simply Explained

There is no doubt that responsive design websites has been firmly established as the best way to deliver mobile compatible websites. But what is this really mean that the non-technically inclined people who want these sites? We offer this simple explanation which will help you understand what it means. So what is a responsive layout? Quite simply, responsive layouts are the means by which we tak...

Greg Tomkins answered this question

Who knows how much do copywriters charge to write a web page?

I agree with you on the points you make but let's put ourselves in the shoes of the SME business owner. Is there a realistic, practical and affordable solution that can be put to this market?

I fully appreciate that if you can't afford it don't buy it or entertain buying it. I have the exact same issue with clients looking for a website. However there has to be a solution that can be packaged up for the SME business owner?

What I think many readers here are looking for is what sorts or ranges of packages can a SME business owner expect and what should they expect for that?

I have found that in setting realistic expectation up front on not just price but what you get for that price helps tremendously in dealing with new clients. Being told that a website will cost from $500 to $5500 is just ridiculous as fa as the client is concerned so we tell them our price range and what you get at say 3 different levels and then refer to the additional custom services they can also look at including.

I have in my own experience found it hard to get a similar response from copywriters. Sadly copywriters face the same issue we do as web developers - anyone can hang a shingle outside their door declaring themselves a copywriter or web developer. Do they have the credentials to really deliver - no always and the really sad thing is that the market is unable to distinguish between the good, the bad and the damn right ugly options they are seeing.

Greg Tomkins answered this question

Who knows how much do copywriters charge to write a web page?

This is a bit like asking how much does a web site cost and being told from $500 to $4500... not that we can honestly do a website for $500...

When I answer the above I qualify what can be expected for $500 and what you most likey will get for $4500 and I can do this with a sense of confidence.

Would anyone care to really explain how we can go from $25 to $2,500 for a page of content...? Maybe you can elaborate on what the difference is by way of real deliverables at the different break points because this variance is just so wide the answer offers no insight at all to people interested in a real answer.

I know the prices can vary widely but what I have found that the prices vary because we are actually taking about completely different products - not just producing 1 page of web content copy - a typical web page will have between 400 and 700 words.

Anyone prepared to offer a real answer to this very valid question?
 

Website

Wordpress popularity doesn't assure you of a strong CMS platform

Irrespective of whether you are a small or large business owner using Wordpress as your web CMS platform or even if you are a web developer using Wordpress for delivering web solutions, you should all pay close attention to the serious flaws in this platform (see our infographic). Sure no platform is perfect and we will always find someone who will scream loud enough that their solution is the bes...

Web Design

What Is Responsive Website Design – Simply Explained

There is no doubt that responsive design websites has been firmly established as the best way to deliver mobile compatible websites. But what is this really mean that the non-technically inclined people who want these sites? We offer this simple explanation which will help you understand what it means. So what is a responsive layout? Quite simply, responsive layouts are the means by which we tak...

Website

Wordpress popularity doesn't assure you of a strong CMS platform

Irrespective of whether you are a small or large business owner using Wordpress as your web CMS platform or even if you are a web developer using Wordpress for delivering web solutions, you should all pay close attention to the serious flaws in this platform (see our infographic). Sure no platform is perfect and we will always find someone who will scream loud enough that their solution is the bes...

Greg Tomkins answered this question

Ananda Raj Pandey
Ananda Raj Pandey, Developer at SavvySME

Home Based Business

Do I need a registered business name to start a home business?

If this is a full time business or even permanent part-time then yes you should register a business name but think one step ahead. Bear in mind what yu are wanting to ultimately build and if it is to create a company then carefully consider what will be involved when you change over to a company structure. The decision to move to a company is quite complex and it is not always to your advantage. Your personal circumstances will play into this decision as well as the IP that your business may own as a starting point. Company structures offer certain advantages for setting up your future that may be worth considering.I would however suggest that you map out your plans for the next 12 months, 2 years and 5 years and then sit down with your accountant and talk to them about these plans and what would be the most effective structure to put in place. If you talk to a solicitor they may offer a slightly different perspective as your accountant will generally view it from a tax minimisation perspective while a lawyer views it from an asset protection perspective and the 2 don't necessarily coincide.The nature of your business, the products you intend to sell or the services you intend to offer and who your market is will all influence the decisions you have to make as well.The best place to start is by being involved in some business networks and talk to those members - be outright in stating what you are wanting to do and that you are looking for advice. Most people are helpful and well meaning - sometimes though you need to verify some of the advice given so be careful.

Greg Tomkins answered this question

Wilson Lui
Wilson Lui, Business Owner at Sonley Stonegrill & Bar

Sales and Marketing

How do you promote a restaurant located away from the main road?

Hi Wilson - the first thing you have to understand is that sticking photos and comments on social media yourself will not get you far as you need people to follow, like and share what you post. Secondly, take a close look at who your market is and work out where they might be using social media and focus on those particular channels. Of course there is also the obvious and that is to get yourself a great website that will create a sense of wanting in visitors.
Before you do any of the above though, confirm what your marketing strategy is and develop a marketing plan. You really want to look closely at a few things in developing these:
There are 100's of restaurants within easy driving distance of your own so you need to identify and communicate what it is that makes your restaurant unique, of exceptional value and would induce people to go to your restaurant Confirm who your target market really is - I would suggest that it will be local and I would imagine that 80% customers come from within say 10Kms (or possibly less) so keep this very much in mind when developing your marketing strategy and plans Build a brand around what your restaurant is all about and avoid the temptation to say "best value", "great service", "family dining" etc... these sorts of value propositions are too broad and very soft. Be specific and find something that sets your business apart. Check out references on defining yor value proposition Be sure to interact with anyone who posts on any of the social media or business directory platforms that you are listed with and I would also suggest you do a scan of the leading directories that do have you listed and claim your listing - many of these insert a listing they have scrapped from Yellow Pages that you are probably unaware of so get these active but be sure to select the right ones. Don't overlook other marketing channels particularly in the local area - get out and network, look at other options that can be worked into your digital marketing. Consider any promotional campaigns that can be easily generated and I would suggest be very careful with the use of coupons such as Groupon etc as these can invariably cost you money and soemtimes lots of it. Check out what your competition does and rather than trying to beat them at what they are good at, find the gaps in their business where you can come in and stake your claim
Some quick observations I made:
Your principal website is not in place - fix this or if it is under construction then get a landing page at least in place You advise anyone visiting your other website Sonley Cafe to go to your new website - my suggestion is have a 301 redirect set up on your domain pointing directly at your new domain and on your new site refer to the fact that the business has changed but still offers the same or better menu/service that was to be found at Sonley Cafe. Get your Google My Business listing up to date and include reviews and photographs - this will be a must for attracting local dinersYou need more followers on your Facebook page - remember that Facebook posts you make will generally only get to about 2% of your followers - the only way to get this higher is to engage heavily with your followers and of course have them engage with you. Other social media channels such as Yelp might prove to be more beneficialI hope these few tips give you something to think about and are of assistance

Greg Tomkins answered this question

What are the first steps to starting an online store?


This is not a simple question Yee as there are so many aspects to be addressed and the answers will also depend on what sort of products you are selling, the size of your product range, your target market to name just a few.
All that aside however, you need to consider a number of things and I am assuming that you are wanting to set your store up on your own website rather than through a portal such as eBay. The following checklist is not exhaustive but can serve as a good starting point.Establish your Marketing and Branding strategy and plans - if you don't get this right up front then you will be wasting your time
Understand very clearly how much effort and money you are prepared to invest in your new online store and what other resources you may need to pull it all together.
Establish the business model for selling your product - pricing and discount structure, warranties/refund policies, what will be your distribution model, how you will effect delivery, online payment mechanisms, managing inventory
If your online store augments a brick and mortar business, determine what level of integration you will require between your online sales and the other business sales systems
Identify what sort of website you want and what information the site is going to share with your market
Work out the sort of functionality you want to include in your website
Work out the specific functionality you want in your online shop - size and number of product images, product sizing and colour attributes on products, variable pricing based on order quantities, related products for upsell, etc.
Will you want to run special promotions of any kind and how would these be structured
Do you have access to quality product images and copyright material about your products ready for inclusion in your website
Identify other websites that exhibit the style and features you might like to see in your own website
Identify the most appropriate platform for delivering your website - this will depend on the nature and scope of your online shop requirements but generally, for anything other than very small businesses, talk to a web developer or two and look to using one of these to build your site, implement it and incorporate your marketing initiatives.
I would not really suggest that any serious business look to building their own website. The demands of creating a professional website that will address all aspects of such a job are quite complex now and really beyond novices quickly jumping into some of these free or cheap web site builder products. Whilst some of these can do some very impressive things and easily create what appears to be a great website there are some serious downfalls for those looking to address requirements of a real business.
For further information you might wish to consider a series of articles I publish in one of our blogs Building a Better Online Business

Greg Tomkins answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Entrepreneurship

How many Brisbane based businesses are there on SavvySME?

Hi John... my Brisbane / Gold Coast business is Top Left Designs and we provide online marketing solutions to SME businesses developing everything digital from Strategy to Implementation of web sites, email marketing, social media and SEO. We build business solutions rather than just websites, we advise, educate and bring together all the essential aspects of an effective digital presence be it to promote your business or sell products online.

We are Adobe Business Catalyst Premium partners and cover off a wide range of business types and industries with our web solutions.
 

Greg Tomkins answered this question

How does one transition to an online store?

I don't think that paying $10K for the website is necessarily the problem as this is a fair rate subject to what was done and without seeing the site or knowing what that Web agency did for that I would not be able to make any judgment. Putting an eCommerce solution together can be very involved and is not about slapping together a few pages and uploading a collection of images and descriptions of your products.

As has ben suggested you can't expect results overnight and particularly if you don't have a point of distinction in a very competitive market. Toy stores have been a losing business sector for over 10 years and I would suggest that yur friend needs to examine the viability of the business as a whole before doing anything - is there really a market for what he has or has his competition got it tied up so well you just don't have a chance. I would suggest he closely examines his business plans and validates the assumptions within those plans first. If the plan seems to stack up I would then do some indepth marketing research and analysis and work confirm your business assumptions even further and subsequently establish a marketing strategy and plan.

At this point if everything still presents a strong enough case to proceed with the business put it all in action. The website will only be one part of what needs to be done and it may need to be revisited from the perspective of market positioning, content copy and marketing.

It sounds to me, and this is a big assumption on my part, that your friend may not have done too much of this and that he needs to go back to square one. If the business model and plan don't stack up then he needs to consider what to do with the stock he has. I so often see people persist in a business tat they are passionate about but really it needs more than this. I had an old friend from 20+ years ago who owned a large toy store in a good area that used to do well but in the end he realised that there was no future for independent toy stores - and that was 25 yrs ago so today I could imagine that it is so much harder.
 

Greg Tomkins answered this question

Who knows how much do copywriters charge to write a web page?

I agree with you on the points you make but let's put ourselves in the shoes of the SME business owner. Is there a realistic, practical and affordable solution that can be put to this market?

I fully appreciate that if you can't afford it don't buy it or entertain buying it. I have the exact same issue with clients looking for a website. However there has to be a solution that can be packaged up for the SME business owner?

What I think many readers here are looking for is what sorts or ranges of packages can a SME business owner expect and what should they expect for that?

I have found that in setting realistic expectation up front on not just price but what you get for that price helps tremendously in dealing with new clients. Being told that a website will cost from $500 to $5500 is just ridiculous as fa as the client is concerned so we tell them our price range and what you get at say 3 different levels and then refer to the additional custom services they can also look at including.

I have in my own experience found it hard to get a similar response from copywriters. Sadly copywriters face the same issue we do as web developers - anyone can hang a shingle outside their door declaring themselves a copywriter or web developer. Do they have the credentials to really deliver - no always and the really sad thing is that the market is unable to distinguish between the good, the bad and the damn right ugly options they are seeing.

Greg Tomkins answered this question

Who knows how much do copywriters charge to write a web page?

This is a bit like asking how much does a web site cost and being told from $500 to $4500... not that we can honestly do a website for $500...

When I answer the above I qualify what can be expected for $500 and what you most likey will get for $4500 and I can do this with a sense of confidence.

Would anyone care to really explain how we can go from $25 to $2,500 for a page of content...? Maybe you can elaborate on what the difference is by way of real deliverables at the different break points because this variance is just so wide the answer offers no insight at all to people interested in a real answer.

I know the prices can vary widely but what I have found that the prices vary because we are actually taking about completely different products - not just producing 1 page of web content copy - a typical web page will have between 400 and 700 words.

Anyone prepared to offer a real answer to this very valid question?
 

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