for February 2017
Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:
These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this
Do You Need A Website?
We are often asked "Do you know anyone who can build me a website?" The answer to that question is often no. We now can say yes.
Our youngest daughter Ciaara (pronounced sierra; Jeremiah is married to our oldest daughter) has been working hard this past year learning how to build websites using "WordPress". We think Ciaara has gotten quite good at it and she has now formed her own company for doing web development.
Compulife is happy to work with Ciaara's new company and she is offering a special introductory deal to the first two Compulife customers who contract with her to do a website.
The fee that Ciaara is charging for a basic WordPress website is $1,000. While that may sound like a lot for some people, I would ask you to keep reading. The good news is that she will cut that fee by 50% for the first two Compulife customers who contract her to do their websites.
Ciaara Will Build YOUR Website
I want to emphasize that this part is VERY important.
A lot of folks who offer websites are really giving you a copy of a templated website that they have created, and which they sell over and over and over again. Those websites are relatively inexpense because to have that website you must continue to work with the person who created it for you. Having invested time and money in your website, if you decide for whatever reason that you can no longer work with that website developer/provider, you can't take the site pages with you when you leave.
Ciaara is doing websites differently.
First, she will help you get a contract with an internet provider like GoDaddy and YOU will own the website hosting arrangement and your domain name. Hosting deals can be quiting inexpensive. Here are some samples:
GoDaddy WordPress Hosting
But there are lots of hosting providers offering WordPress sites, at very reasonable prices. You will find a number in this review:
The Best WordPress Web Hosting Services of 2017
Once your site has been created and setup, your annual fees will be quite reasonable.
Those who have talked with me over the years, and who have asked me for my advice on this, have been warned that if you do not have the "title" to your domain name and your server, and you don't own the pages on your site, then you don't really own and control your website. Oh the website is your website as long as you are getting along with the entity who sold or gave it to you but if there is a dispute, and you need to part ways, that provider will often claim that you can't take the pages with you.
That is NOT how Ciaara is structuring her service.
This is important. The basic WordPress website that Ciaara builds for you, on YOUR server, will be your website. If you decide you want someone else to work on your site, then someone else can work on your site. If you decided to learn how to work with WordPress (Wordpress is one of the easiest tools to learn) then you can make changes to your site because it's YOUR site.
As we have studied the available technologies for programming responsive web pages, we learned a great deal about WordPress. We have decided, at some point, that the www.compulife.com website will be redone as a "WordPress" site. The reasons for that are simple.
1. WordPress is very popular - a lot of people use it
2. WordPress makes setting up a website relatively easy.
3. A lot of developers know how to work with WordPress
What Does Responsive Mean?
For the past year Compulife has been modifying our website quoting system to make it "responsive". The reasons for that are simple:
1. Works better on Smart Phones
2. Ranks Better on Search Engines
3. Easier For Customer To Integrate our webquote option to their site
As everyone know, the world is going smart phone nuts, and that is also true for most of our subscribers. Everyone wants to surf the web using their phone.
The problem with the phone is that the screen is too small to display what you see on a normal monitor. As a result, if you are viewing a non-response website (most are still like that) only part of the website page shows up and you have to do the annoying side scroll to see and read what is on the screen. Also, the text and font is too small to read easily, which means you have to zoom in with your two fingers (spread them apart), to make the text size large enough to read, which means you then have to side scroll even more.
A responsive website/webpage "responds" to the device that you are displaying it on. This means the page re-formats to get rid of scrolling, and the fonts are large enough to read on the phone without zooming. It still means the little screen can't display as much as the same page was on a bigger screen, but the user simply scrolls down to see the additional information. Zooming and side scrolling are no longer necessary.
As I was writing this bulletin on Friday afternoon, I brought up the google analytics for the https://www.term4sale.com/ website. Google analytics lets me monitor (in real time) how many people are on the site at the same time, where they are, etc. One of the things that the google analytics displays and shows is how many of those users are "DESKTOP", how many users are "MOBILE" and how many users are "TABLET".
At the peak of watching it I saw a total of 14 users at the same time, 14% (two users) were mobile and 7% (one user) was running it from a tablet. It was a Friday afternoon and so traffic was relatively light. I have seen as many as 20 users at the same time, with mobile use representing as much as 1/3 of the users running quotes from a MOBILE device. Over the past year I have watched as the percentage of MOBILE and TABLET users has grown steadily.
I believe that MOBILE use is increasing for two reasons. First, more and more people have smart phones. Second, the site works fantastic on a smart phone.
Why You Must Go Responsive
Everyone is always worried about whether their websites will do well in the search engines. Apart from following some very basic and recommended practices, to improve search engine response, Compulife has avoided hiring SEO operations who use gimmicks and loopholes to get sites to rank higher. The problem is that the search engines do not like it when you "game" them and will punish your website when they find out that you did so. Some punishments are so severe they are "business ending" events.
Let me put this in terms you might better understand.
All those evil "tax loopholes" we hear about began life as a "tax incentives". The government creates a tax incentive to direct privately owned capital in a certain direction, by reducing the tax impact on that form of investment. Then, many years later, after they no longer require that kind of private investment, the politicians will then brand the tax incentive as a "tax loophole" and fight to undo the loophole (formerly tax incentive).
Some people love to chase tax incentives as a way to make money. The problem is that it is usually short term gain for long term pain. My dad's rule was always, "the money isn't your's until you pay tax on it". I guess I inherited my dad's caution about reaching and grabbing for short term gains and profits. As I like to say, in the race between the tortoise and the hare, Compulife is that thing with the hard shell.
All of that to emphasize the point that the web search engines are giving more and more priority to sites/pages that are responsive. They conclude, and I think rightly, that more and more people are using the smart phones and prefer to be directed to sites that work better on their device. That makes sense to me and I suspect we will see an ever growing search engine priority placed on sites that are responsive. Google has published warning to that effect.
The down side, from what we can see, is that most of our customers' sites are NOT responsive and it is no simple matter to convert an older, non-responsive site to becoming responsive. It's not a tune up, it's a complete overhaul.
If You Have to Start Over...
As I said, converting an old non-responsive site to a responsive site is no small task. I remember, when I was in the car business, we would talk to a customer who needed major work and suggest that the best repair would be to "jack up the rad cap, and slip another car under it". In other words, scrap the old one and get a new one.
But before you decide to scrap your old site and start over, it is very important that you investigate the various development tools that are available. Some are easier to use than others. This is what we did before we pointed Ciaara to WordPerfect. As she has developed connections in the business, she is finding out that many people have come to the same conclusion.
To understand my point, think about word processors, which is not unlike the learning curve in web site development tools. Personally I go back to the WordStar days (35 years ago). I remember, as that market evolved, everyone dismissed Wordstar as "so yesterday" and everyone was moving to WordPerfect. I'll bet most of you don't remember either of those word processors; everyone now uses Microsoft "Word". "Word" has become the standard in business and no one would hire a staff member who didn't know how to use "Word". On the flip side, no one would look for a clerical job and not have "Word" listed as one of their skills. When it comes to website development, WordPress is rapidly becoming that sort of standard.
One of the reasons people gravitate to a new tool is because it is easy to use, and then when it becomes much more popular people go with it because if you have to hire someone to do work for you, you want a tool that most people know how to use.
As we reviewed the web development market we recognized the growing dominance of WordPress. While there are others trying to compete with it, we think WordPress is the best bet moving forward. That's why, when I began my discussions with Ciaara about a new career, we talked about two areas of potential work: life insurance and web development.
To learn about the life insurance industry I encouraged Ciaara to study and obtain a life and health license. While she currently has no interest in selling insurance, I wanted to make sure that if I introduced Compulife customers to her for website development work, she could at least understand what it was they were selling and could talk the language of the business.
When it care to learning how to develop websites, I wanted to make sure she learned how to use the best tools available. She has focussed on WordPress and has gotten very proficient with it. She has set up a sample site that you can look at here:
Yes, the Compulife webquote tools are prominently featured and Ciaara can integrate those easily into your new website.
To see how the site "responds", you can either check it out on your phone, or you can make your browser window more narrow, and the page will format to fit as you make it smaller.
Ciaara Has a Creative Strength
One of the reasons that I felt Ciaara would be good at web development is because she has an aptitude for creativity. She paints in her spare time (not much of that these days) and she is quite good at it.
One of the big things you need when having someone create a website is a sense of how to make it look appealing. I am useless when it comes to that. My aptitude is in to areas, mechanical thinking and numbers. I can visualize mechanical problem in 3d and take those problems apart and re-assemble them in my mind. While I don't write the software, I design it and that same mechanical aptitude lets me visualize what a software program must do to accomplish a task. The numbers aptitude helps me stay on top of the various insurance products and rate table systems that I must keep up-to-date in our system.
Jeremiah is the person at Compulife who has the best sense of what looks good when it comes to websites, and he is the one largely responsible for what you see on our site. I think you will agree that he has done a great job with our webquoting tools and our own www.term4sale.com website.
I should note that the web quote option and www.term4sale.com were not built with WordPress. That was intentional for a couple of very good reasons. I would characterize the difference between the web quote option and a typical WordPress website, as comparing an Indy race car to a Toyota Camry. Indy race cars are carefully handcrafted and highly customized, in order to optimize performance and speed. Toyota Camry's are built on an assembly line, with an emphasis on production volume and keeping product cost low.
When you are building your website, you are not building something you are going to sell hundreds of copies of. You are building something that needs to get the job done properly, without breaking the bank.
Once Again, Here's The Deal
After much research and discussion with friends who are successful web developers, Ciaara has decided to offer basic sites for $1,000 and to charge $50 per hour for additional work. She is already doing a site for one person (not in life insurance) and is being referred work by a colleague who is now overrun and who is charging $100 per hour. We are not offering more than 2 introductory deals because we think she is going to get very busy very quickly.
Once again, Ciaara is offering to provide the first two Compulife customers who retain her, 50% off the initial price of $1,000. If you are in the market for a site, send an email to:
Give us your name and phone number and we'll forward that on to Ciaara.