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  • #967739
    jmyron
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    Hi All,
    i’m just starting my new business with a franchising network (about a furniture shop) but I didn’t had any specific experience before.
    The aim is to create that network as soon as possible, with minimum costs: in our society, most in business, time and money are always enemy to fight.
    Today my business does not give me the chance to loose any time.
    Since I don’t need to improve my business “as usual” I’m looking for any new idea focusing on question that corporate identity and personal content managing have to go step by step: same identity, different contents.

    Any typical question:
    – How can I create 60 web site in the faster way?
    – How can I create 60 web site in the cheaper way?
    – How can a shop manager become a content manager for his domain service?
    – How can I give more appeal to my website communication without loosing the corporate identity?

    I suppose it’s a question of tools, but traditional CMS I’ve checked are too complex to use, to install and to understand…and I’m not sure CMS is the right way to have an answer.
    Any idea? Suggestion?

    thanks

    #1028426
    Guy. E
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    • Total posts: 45
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    Hi jmyron,

    The best way would be to find a web design & development firm who can assist you with your online presence. There are a number of a us out there! ;)

    If you’re wanting 60 websites designed & developed, I’m sure there are a number of businesses out there who would be able to give you a special discount rate because of its ongoing work.

    There is no ‘faster’ or ‘cheaper’ way to build a website unless you know how to do it yourself, which in today’s technology is quite easy to learn after you pick up a few tutorials or books and have a good read.

    Using a CMS would be the easiest and more straight forward approach to this if you don’t have any technical experience with coding. A lot of CMS’s out there using a text box to edit content much like MS Word, so it’s very easy to use.

    In terms of what CMS, well there are plenty out there – DotNetNuke, Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Mambo, Kentico etc. just depends on what you feel comfortable with and how much you want to pay!

    Any ‘good’ designer should be able to create your website to your specifications without losing your corporate branding + identity – that’s their job!

    Feel free to give me a buzz or shoot me through an email ([email protected]) if you wish to talk further :)

    Thanks,
    Guy

    #1028427
    jmyron
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    hi guy

    I know there are many assistant right here (both people and web applications)…too many…I’m confused about so many offers…I have intention of starting all over again thinking with my own head before.

    I also know at the end of my research I’ll find a “tool” but first I need to find a new way to approach the problem, a different method.

    I agree the cheaper and faster way is “do it by yourself” but maybe it’s not the best way to give the right structure…that’s not my job; moreover “any good designer” , as you said, is more interested in graphics and appeal that in contents management.

    My user “can be stupid” about web: it’s possible they don’t know anything about www but they are good sales manager for my shop…I can’t think I have to refuse them since they have the main skills interest me.
    So I need a really WYSIWYG editor, fast to install (minimum config needed), easy to use (user friendly) and cheap.

    Pay attention: I said chap not free! I know for my business I have to spend money! 

    The way I’m trying to follow is so well described in an extract about the last work of Jason Fried (founders of 37signal) called “ReWork”

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/37assets/svn/Rework-by-Jason-Fried-and-David-Heinemeier-Hansson-Excerpts.pdf

    maybe you already know it, but I please you to read chapt “underdo your competition”….that’s exactly what I mean for my business.

    #1028428
    JohnW
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    Hi jmyron,
    60 websites implies an awful lot of work and expense. Does 60 websites infer 60 franchisees? That’s a good size franchise.

    You are way beyond do-it-yourself mode when you talk these sorts of numbers and if your primary function is to get a franchise up and going, mucking around learning how to publish web pages is a total misuse of your priorities.

    Forget content management systems for the moment. Let’s come back to a whole bunch of basic questions to see if there is a better solution.

    Usually it is the role of the franchisor to provide marketing communications and that includes quality of marketing communications. Is that the situation here?

    Were you thinking of replicating mostly the same content across 60 different domain names? That raises another big bunch of online marketing issues.

    Will you be responsible for maintaining marketing communication uniformity, integrity and quality across all web communications?
    Why do you need 60 websites?
    What is the purpose of all these sites?
    How much content do you expect will be needed for each one?
    Who is going to write the content for each one?
    Who is going to publish the content for each one?
    Are you expecting franchisees to create pictures for web pages?
    How will you train franchisees in the web page publishing function?
    Who will be legally responsible for the web page content (franchisor or franchisee)?
    Will you need an approval process over what franchisees intend to publish before it goes up on one of 60 websites?

    If creating web-ready pictures is part of what you expect franchisees to do, then this one aspect of web page publishing could create you as many headaches as anything else.

    Self generated content is the biggest problem for most website owners. They don’t like writing it, they don’t have time to write it and most don’t have the skills to create professional copy.

    Writing copy for the web is a very specialised skill and a good offline copywriter does not necessarily make a good web copywriter.

    We won an industry prize for our first content management system back in 1996. I’ve been addressing these issues with clients ever since, so I’ve got a bit of experience to draw on in making these comments.

    Regs,

    John W

    #1028429
    Chris Bates
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    You’ll waste more time and money by doing it yourself, that I will guarantee.

    Why do you need 60 websites for your one franchise. Before you do anything, you should really talk to a professional.

    To me, you sound like you’re on cloud nine and are over thinking things. Slow down, step back, review your planning, and get advice.

    #1028430
    jmyron
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    Hi john,
    I like the way you approach the problem

    “Forget content management systems for the moment. Let’s come back to a whole bunch of basic questions to see if there is a better solution.”

    I need “other” point of view….not “the same” solution.

    Starting from your consideration I can say we can better speak about a “flagship store network” than a “franchising”: we produce modern furniture, we already have 42 business contract while the other are still pre-contract to close within next weeks.

    I’m one of the owner…i discuss everything as “mine”…I suppose to be a little bit different from a franchisor…maybe I have much more interests….and less experience.
    For sure I don’t have to do everything by myself: nowadays it’s the most diffused mistake!

    Here the lowest consideration I try to start from:

    Same corporate id = same graphics for every web site (also for shop’s interior design but does not interest us right now)
    Graphics template could be be unique! Since I find the right one (supported by professional assistant) i have only to multiply its use for 60….no other amount of time and overall costs needed…I suppose

    Then…

    Different store has different content (eg: pict of product on virtual window are different!!)
    Each store have to manage its activity independently, also in target and contents: and that’s mainly because of territorial differences.

    In general to support better each activity giving the greatest satisfaction to my manager I think I have to give them the greatest freedom of decision…

    …don’t you?

    #1028431
    Chris Bates
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    Talk about spreading yourself thin…

    Mate, managing 60 “unique” websites is going to be a logistical nightmare – let alone they probably are never going to convert.

    Step back, slow down, refocus.

    Do you OWN the franchise, or are you a franchisee?

    What are your goals for bringing your business online? Do you want to make sales from the web? Do you want to raise awareness of your brand? Do you want to list store locations? etc etc

    #1028432
    Trish FCA
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    Why would you have 60 websites for 60 different stores even though they have different content? If it’s furniture people aren’t going to want to purchase online, they would want personal shopping. All that can be achieved on one site listing all the various stores.

    Am I right in assuming you already have these 60 stores up and running because I’m a little confused over how your business is currently run let alone what you want for the future.

    Cheers,

    #1028433
    jmyron
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    I’ll try to explain the all situation

    We are in Italy.

    Our factory has a 30 years history of production and design

    We work since many years with more than 120 customers (front street store) all over the country

    All that stores are multi-brand stores

    Our business is really ok but standing; but i need to increase it in the best way for me and people I work with every day.

    I’ve started with a program more than 1 year ago: to reach at least the 50% of that customers to make them “flagship store”

    They still remain owner of their store

    Nowadays 40 of them accept our proposal…next months we’ll start…most things are ready to start

    That’s pre-history

    Now

    My aim is to support this project also with other instrument that are not typical of my experience but I consider usefull: one of them is web presence.

    I’m not intending to sell on line, just give support to my visibility and my business

    All of that customers that are following me in this adventure already have a website

    I want to give them a “service” as marketing support: restyling their own websites without coming in contact with “all that usual situation” concerning a “typical website management” (eg: agreement among web master, provider service, the owner of domain…graphics and contents matter)

    Situation have to be quick, easy and light first in management if we need they will be quick easy and light in execution.

    What I’m speaking about with “restyling”?
    I was planning to redo all websites based on a single template also with the same graphics identity; then I give to customers this graphic structure; then they insert their own store’s content and personalizing using a really WYSIWYG cms.

    And stop. So easy. No more complication. No maintenance costs. Full insert content autonomy

    It’s possible to manage the project in this way?

    I mean, does exist a CMS (or smth similar) can be used really really by everyone?

    I suppose this is the cheapest and fastest way to give max flexibility.

    How much can I pay? I try to fix a budget between 300& – 500$ for each store….but I need really a good product to pay this! does it exist only in my mind??

    You suppose this can be an affordable way?

    #1028434
    King
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    first up if you are in Italy why are you on an Australian forum?? The TOS of this forum states “for Australian business only”

    That said, your problem is easily solved

    a database backend that had all the contents that people could ever want, in terms of products and other variables.

    each store is a subdomain url

    The back end allows for one or two pages where they can enter unique content.

    Look up a ringtone company called mediaplazza – join their affiliate program and you will see they do just this. 1,000s of sites all controled by a central database.

    #1028435
    Guy. E
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    Look up a ringtone company called mediaplazza – join their affiliate program and you will see they do just this. 1,000s of sites all controled by a central database.

    King is right in saying this, setting up sub-domains with a central database for products + payment processing will be the easiest and most cost effective solution in this case – setting up a basic template to use, well that’s fairly easy too!

    Unless you’re willing to fork out close to $700-$1,500 per template + CMS, this will be the most cost-effective solution in my mind! :)

    Thanks,
    Guy

    #1028436
    King
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    just to expand, in their system I can customise meta data, and a limited amount of onscreen stuff. Can also choose colour schemes, upload my own logo etc.

    You could have it set up so there are a couple of forms that get filled in and these are written to the DB and then drawn on for their pages.

    Basically the one setup in the backend can do unlimited sites.

    #1028437
    JohnW
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    jmyron, post: 33959 wrote:
    I want to give them a “service” as marketing support…

    I was planning to redo all websites based on a single template also with the same graphics identity; then I give to customers this graphic structure; then they insert their own store’s content

    It’s possible to manage the project in this way?

    Hi Jmyron,
    I believe you will find it impossible to implement this. There may be a handfull of retailers who will publish pages but the majority won’t. I’ve had clients who wanted a website with a content management so they could publish lots of pages. Two years later they had only published their Home page.

    How about this as a solution?

    What I’m reading is that your web objective is to display/provide info about your furniture then to encourage site visitors to go to a retail outlet. Have I got that correct?

    If so, I don’t see a need for 60 websites to achieve this.

    This company seems to have similar objectives, http://www.spaworld.com.au/. I’ve had nothing to do with the production or marketing of this website, so I have no inside information.

    I believe this is a franchise arrangement. Most of the 170 pages on the site are about the products the company distributes. However a major objective is to push people into contacting/visiting the 20 retail outlets around Australia.

    You can tell this is their objective by the prominance on every page of the “Get a Quote” button which sends an email to a local retailer and the “Find a Store” button.

    I see that the occassional Spaworld retailer also has their own website but it does not look to me like the franchisor has had anything to do with their production.

    You want to provide promotional support to your retailers.

    Could you achieve this with an Adwords campaign based around search phrases that include each retailer’s city/town and publishing an Adword landing page for that retailer on your own website?

    Does this strategy satisfy your objectives and negate the need for 60 different websites?

    Regs,

    John W

    #1028438
    jmyron
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    Ok king…sorry if I’m Italian writing on an “Australian business forum”…but I was born in Sidney! 

    Then.…I don’t think all over Italy I can find any smart consideration about web…that’s not our typical business! I’m only looking for any contamination and other point of view!

    John it’s correct the web objective you intend, but it’s not exactly a “promotional support” as you said.

    I don’t “need” 60 different websites….but 60 websites “already exist”….each one different with its identity…i only want to give them something more that sounds like “coordination”

    …and thank you all for your consideration….

    #1028439
    JohnW
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    jmyron, post: 34093 wrote:
    60 websites “already exist”….each one different with its identity…
    Hi jmyron,
    Does that mean there will be 60 web designers resisting your attempts to do anything that takes control of the retailers’ websites away from them?

    If so, things could become very protracted and messy.

    Good luck & regards,

    John W

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