Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

The KODAK Zi6 Pocket Video Camera - a Toolkit Review

As website designers, we're always looking for new ways to engage with our customers. With TechCrunch reporting that Youtube is now the second biggest search engine after Google, it seemed only natural that we should get filming some videos for our clients and prospective clients.

You've probably seen our great company intro video by now. We'd love to have a film crew on hand to make all our videos like this , but it's just not feasible. So what it is a web design company to do?

Well, we got a KODAK Zi6 Pocket Video Camera. And we love it!

It lets us take HD quality video, but without all the fuss and extra features of a DV Camera. The navigation is simple and easy to use, and we can switch between play and record mode with one press of a button.

We also like the Zi6's built in USB jack that makes uploading the video to our computers a breeze. The great battery life and the pocket size mean Marcus can take it out and about with him too.

If you're looking to film some videos about your business for your company website, we can't recommend th KODAK Zi6 Pocket Video Camera enough!


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Debt Collection. How to make sure you get paid on time.

In these difficult financial times, cash flow is the lifeblood of small businesses. Slow paying clients are a pain in the neck. All business owners feel like chasing customers for payment will lead them to lose clients. But to be honest, you don't want the clients that you have to chase. They'll cost you more money, and cause more and more trouble as time wears on. You're better off without them.

If you do have some slow paying clients, how can you get them to pay up? You need to create a debt collection process for your business now, because the older a debt is, the harder it is to recover it.

1. Have a Plan.

The main thing is to have a clearly defined debt collection plan that is noted in your terms and conditions. This will allow you to act fast to ensure you get paid, and ensure your clients stay within your terms of trade.

Step 1 is to send an invoice.
Step 2 is to send a reminder invoice.
Step 3 can then be whatever steps you decide to take to recover your money.

You can choose to send a final invoice, or refer the customer to a debt collection agency after 2 invoices. The thing to note here is that your plan has to be strict. Don't deviate from it and don't make exceptions. By having a clear process in place, you make it much less stressful for yourself, because you can refer the customer to the terms and condition which they signed up to when they bought your products or services.

2. Be Punctual!

Get in touch with your slow paying client as soon as you can, and always keep them informed about what the next steps will be at each stage in the process:

For example:

"We will send you a final invoice in 7 days. next week. If we don't receive payment of that invoice within 3 days, we will pass the bill to our Debt Collection Agency. Once they have the account, they'll commence action. The bill will accrue interest, and if it still remains unpaid, it will move to legal action, where generally you'll incur legal costs..."

3. Ask for Deposits!

If you can ask for a deposit before you start work. It helps you establish how serious the customer is, and lets you see if they can pay their bills. It also means they're working to your terms from the start.

4. Take Payment However You Can.

Offer a range of payment methods. You can accept cheques, bank transfers, Paypal, credit and debit cards. The main thing is to get the cash you're owed. The more payment methods you offer debtors, the less excuses they have to neglect paying.

5. Increase the Pressure.
If you make sure the withdrawal of services or deliverables is included in the terms and conditions, you can increase the pressure the longer the invoice goers unpaid. If you offer an ongoing service, withdraw it if they don't pay up. Threaten legal action.

6. Offer a Payment Schedule.
If the client is having genuine trouble paying you, call them and work out a payment plan. We'd all rather have the full amount in our bank accounts, but it's still better than receiving none of it. Be sure to put the schedule in writing, and follow up on every payment to ensure the client sticks to the plan.

7. Debt Collection Agencies


Using Debt Collection Agencies are easy. You simply let them know the details of the debt, and they pursue it on your behalf. They only charge a fee if they recover a debt, and the fee is usually a percentage of the debt that is recovered.
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Is My Website Down?


Your business website is extremely important. Then shock horror, one day you get up, type in your website address and it doesn't load up. Your website is down. What do you do?

First of all, try going to another website to see if that loads such as bbc.co.uk. If it doesn't it may be that your internet connection isn't properly set up. Check out your connectivity settings to make sure you are actually online.

If you can get on other websites, but not your own, it may be a quirk with your website. There's a great website called
http://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/
which tells you if the website is down for everyone or just for you.
If it does turn out that the website is down for everyone, give Toolkit Websites a call on 02380 633 644 and we'll investigate for you.
You can get instant notification when your website is back up again by going to

http://dingitsup.com/
and entering your details. They'll let you know when everything is up and running again.
Our customers enjoy 99.99% uptime on our servers, so if you've got an existing business website and suffer from server downtime, give us a call on 02380 633 644.
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Gmail down!


Google's free email service Gmail is down as we type on 08/05/2009. Just imagine the trouble you would be having if you used Gmail for your business email?

In fact Gmail has had more than 6 outages in the last 6 months. That's just not good enough for you and your business! Here at Toolkit Websites, we offer our customers a business class email service.

We've had 100% service uptime in the last two years, meaning our customers are always able to accesse their emails.

What's more they get loads of other great features including Spam Filtering and Mobile Access. Read about them here.

Don't rely on unstable email services for your business email. Call Toolkit Websites today on 02380 633 644 to discuss how we can help.
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Make an Impact with Video

The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never been truer than on the online world. Great images on your website supported by keyword rich text are great for grabbing visitor attention.

However, a video on your website could be worth a million words. It makes your website look professional, and more importantly, encourages website visitors to spend more time on the site. It’s a whole new level of interacting with your website visitors. Why not give them a behind the scenes tour or your thoughts on some of the latest news from your industry?

It doesn’t have to be professionally produced. You can normally do a pretty good job with a digital camera yourself. Once you’ve got the files on your computer, you can use Windows Movie Maker or iMovie to add titles and edit out your bloopers.

Find out more about using Windows Movie Maker here:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/default.mspx

and iMovie Here:

http://www.apple.com/ilife/tutorials/imovie/tutoriallist.html#imovie


So now you’ve got a video you love, you need to get it on your website. As videos are large files it’s best to host them on a third party video hosting website that gives you the option of an embedded player to show them off on your site. The leading ones are YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler and Jumpcut.

Once you have uploaded your video to these websites, they will generate code that you can paste into the HTML view of your webpage in the Toolkit to add the player to your website.

Here’s our support site with advice on adding Youtube Videos to your website:
http://www.toolkitsupport.co.uk

Video can have hidden SEO benefits along with providing a more vibrant and dynamic content for your website vistitors. A lot of the video hosting websites allow you to tag your video under different keywords, and put some descriptive text about you video along side it. That means is someone searches the video website for plumbing, your plumbing video will come up and they might click on the link you’ve added as a description. All good inbound links to improve your SEO!
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