Patty Barnes, owner of Log Cabin Labradoodles in Shirley Mills, Maine, says 98 percent of her sales come from her Web site, so "it must equal the quality of the animals I breed." With the help of the Web-maintenance service Edit.com, it does.
Barnes noted that keeping her site content fresh is important for her customers that live too far away to come see the dogs. "I update the site daily. A lot of my business is international, and most of my domestic customers can't make the trip so they rely on the Web site to get a sense of the dogs."
The results are hard to argue with. Online sales have increased four-fold over a five-month period. "I've got orders into 2007, and I've bought two new breeding dogs," says Barnes. "I can barely keep up with the business."
While there's no disputing that brisk sales are partly due to the cute canines, Barnes says her success is also because she can keep the site current without the hassle or cost of hiring outside help. "I had a nice young man design my site, but if I needed to make changes or add to my new arrivals section, it would take a few days to get him, and he charged me $50 because that's not really his specialty. With Edit.com I can just go in there and do what I need to do.
Do It Yourself
To update their sites, customers sign in at Edit.com and then browse their site and type updates directly into their Web pages -- all from within their Web browser. Edit.com works with any existing Web site and lets owners like Barnes quickly and easily change text, links, images, PayPal features and even add new pages or attach .PDF files.
The service doesn't require any software or Web design configuration know-how as it automatically customizes to the site's styles, fonts and layout. It then shows the changes exactly as they will display live on the Internet.
By making only certain parts of each page editable, Edit.com protects the site design and functionality from damage. You'll find a demo movie of the editing service at www.edit.com/demo. Best of all, the service is affordable; plans range from unlimited editing for $25 a month to $180 for a full year of unlimited editing. You can also buy custom work by expert developers for $75 per hour.
Ready for My Edit, CB
Andrew Jones, a film director, uses Edit.com for his two sites picturepalacefilms.com and andrewpjones.net, and says the service also saves him time and money. "It is simple to use, and I can make updates instantly without the headache of going through a Web designer who may or may not be able to work on my schedule and then bills me for hours of time. Instead, I make the changes myself in a matter of minutes."
According to Steve Grushcow, co-founder and CEO of Edit.com, an expert is always just a phone call away. "We're like a service station for Web sites, he says. We provide an online do-it-yourself service for customers to make site changes themselves and experts for when they need someone to take a look under the hood."
For more complex tasks, say creating a newsletter sign-up form, a calculator or a password-protected area for specific clients, Edit.com will provide a free quote, do the work online and then bill your credit card. The company also cleans up code and fixes bugs, says Grushcow. Each quote includes a fixed price, timeline and a straightforward explanation of what the project involved.
Barnes says another benefit to having a professional, creative and current site is that it can serve as a primary advertising source, saving money in marketing. Grushcow says this is especially true for companies without significant ad budgets. "Every customer we have employs less than 20 people, so they're all small businesses. Being able to add an in the press area where they can keep updated lists of articles or create a testimonial page can boost business."
Barnes couldn't agree more. "Here's my motto," she says, "For the cash to flow, old info must go."
When Michelle Megna began covering technology for computer magazines, the CD-ROM and AOL didn't yet exist. Since then, she's been on the byte beat for FamilyPC, Time Inc. and the New York Daily News. She's still waiting to see a pair of 3-D goggles that actually work.
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