P: 1300 853 868 / 07 3056 0665
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

iPad and iPhone Development ... Protect Your Ideas!

We get numerous inquiries from people all over Australia with their idea for the "next big thing" to hit the iPad or iPhone (and other platforms, of course) .... and for the most part they all have the same one question before we can even start talking:

"How can I protect my idea from being stolen by a development company ?"

Easy! We have Non-Disclosure Agreements (an NDA - a simple 4-page legal document) that, when signed by both parties (you and us), means that anything we discuss can be confidential and cannot be divulged to anyone else.

Our NDA's, in fact, are bi-directional ... meaning that we are also protected so we can openly throw ideas out there based on our extensive experience and know that those ideas are safe too.

All of our employees are also covered by Confidentiality Agreements with us - and this protection extends via the NDA to you.

Unlike some of the "top" iPad/iPhone Developers in Australia (Yeah - you know who you are!), we don't outsource overseas, so we have much tighter legal control over Intellectual Property (IP) that comes through our hands.

If your development company doesn't immediately offer an NDA, BEWARE! We have all heard stories of ideas suddenly turning up elsewhere after seemingly innocent discussions.

Don't let that happen to your next big idea.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Google Caffeine update - Geeeez it's FAST!!!

People talk a lot about how fast the Google Caffeine indexing system is.

Here's proof.

We just posted this blog entry on the Google Caffeine ramifications on Adwords ...

Within 15 SECONDS(!), our blog entry was the first organic result found via Google when typing in "Google Caffeine Brisbane".

Interestingly, and as we have noted on many occasions, that result will start to drop over the coming days - but it does prove one thing ... blogging and the Google Caffeine search can work very well indeed and can have almost instant cut-through.

Creative Intersection can help you understand Google, SEO, Adwords advertising, and Website Design. Give us a call today on 1300 853 868.

Interesting Google "Caffeine" Observation

Just noticed a rather interesting "feature" of the Google Caffeine system ....

Google Caffeine is the name given by Google for its new "instant results" search. You may have noticed that (at least in some browsers) as you type something in to the Google search box, you will see the page underneath change automatically and update as you type to show you increasingly tighter results.

Start typing "website design ashgrove" and by the time you get to the last part of "ashgrove" you'll start seeing very finely tuned results (the same results you would have seen after hitting "search" when you finished with the entire phrase).

The next feature of Google Caffeine is then that the page will allow you to use your arrow keys (again, on some browsers) to choose the result that you actually want to follow instead of having to place your mouse cursor over that link.

You'll see this indicated by a small arrow in the left-hand-margin next to each result. Pressing "return" on your keyboard will then follow that link.

Here's the interesting thing ...

The Adwords results (ads that come at the top and right-hand-side of the page) are the first thing selected by Caffeine for keyboard shortcuts. That means that Google is deciding what is the most relevant result FOR you ... AND ... it counts its own advertising stream in that mix.

What does that mean to you as a potential advertiser in Google ?

  1. Paying to be at the top of the Adwords results becomes more important when dealing with certain customers.
  2. Having more relevant ads showing in the top position becomes paramount ... if your ad is not relevant to a user they may still "accidentally" follow the link, which costs you money, only to have them leave immediately thereafter.
  3. Google is strengthening their revenue streams AND further blurring the borders between organic and paid results - so paid becomes more important since users will eventually tend follow suit (remember: consumers will generally keep doing whatever they get used to doing).
There is potential in everything ... and this is no different.

Call us for a helping hand on setting up and/or maintaining your Google Adwords campaign.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Advertise via Google Adwords and receive $125 voucher

Just a quick post this time as we know how little time you have ...

We have a fresh batch of $125 Google Vouchers to give away to any business that signs up with Creative Intersection to set up a Google Adwords account for Search Engine Marketing (SEM) a.k.a. Google Adwords advertising (yes, other search engines allow advertising, but who are we kidding?).

Our SEM packages start at just $528 (inc GST), for which we set up your Google Adwords account, analyse your needs, set up your campaign, and get it rolling with the free $125 voucher.

Something for nothing ? Well ... almost ... but you take free stuff where you can get it, right?!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Carbon Neutral Website Hosting and the 2010 Federal Election

A couple of weeks before the 2010 Australian Federal Election was called, we decided to promote our Queensland-based Carbon Neutral hosting services (GreenServe.com.au) to some of our more vocal Queensland sitting Members and candidates - as well as a couple of non-Queensland MP's who purport themselves to have vested interests in the Environment (let's say, a certain "Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts and Minister for Climate Change Energy Efficiency and Water" - among others).

Our logic was that a Federal election was about to be announced, and we assumed that most - if not all - candidates would be campaigning on a platform of local business/jobs and the environment.

After having researched each of our targets by determining the location of their chosen hosting solutions - the majority of which were located in the U.S., we sent an email (or completed online forms where we could not locate the candidate's personal email address) along with a press release for GreenServe.com.au. They read something like this:

Dear [name of candidate],

I have just come across your website in educating myself about the upcoming election.

Whilst I doubt I am alone in suspecting that you will be campaigning on both local and environment issues, your website appears to be hosted neither in Queensland (Texas, USA, in fact) nor on a carbon neutral web server.

I would like to offer you the ability to host on a carbon neutral web server - located in Brisbane Technology Park - and provided by a hard-working Queensland small business.

Being a customer of our carbon neutral hosting solution also gives you the right to display an icon on your website, which promotes your website's carbon neutral status and confirms you as being on the cutting edge of the next generation of "green IT" solutions.

If you would like to consider moving your website to our Brisbane-based (servers located at Brisbane Technology Park), carbon neutral (fully offset) hosting solution, please check out http://GreenServe.com.au - or contact me directly.

If you require assistance in migrating or making changes to your website, we can help with that too.


Ian Exaudi
Managing Director
Creative Intersection Pty Ltd

Phone: 07 3366 9935
Fax: 07 3366 9965
Mobile: 0402 844 804

Product Support:

USA: (617) 297 2327
UK: 020 8123 2780
EU: +44 20 8123 2780
AU: 1300 853 868 / (02) 8011 4575

479 Waterworks Road
Ashgrove West QLD 4060

PO Box 69
Red Hill QLD 4059

So - interested in the response from your local member or candidate ?

Of the 19 emails we sent out, we received absolutely no response from 16 recipients ... indicating - we assume - that they either did not receive the email (fail on communicating with your constituents), or that they either do not care for the opinions or services offered by local businesses or for the environment.

A bit disappointing, really.

How does that break down for each party ?

Given the utter lack of responses, there's not much to break down really, but here goes:

Labor: 1 response - committed to current supplier but would consider in May 2011 when the hosting falls due (BTW: Fair enough. Pity that local member has just been kicked out of their electorate).

Coalition: 1 response - being invoiced by a Queensland company (which obviously uses an overseas hosting facility) - and that they would ask that supplier to "carbon neutralise" their hosting (whatever that means).

Independent: No response whatsoever. No surprise there from Mr Krazy-power-mad-North-Queensland-guy-currently-enjoying-his-15-minutes-of-fame-and-relevance (oops - couldn't help myself there).

Greens: Here's the weird one ... we received an email 2 days after sending out our emails from the Queensland Greens Federal Election campaign. This email did not mention our GreenServe hosting solution, but rather asked if any of our designer might "like to donate a little of their time and web design know-how to help out with our upcoming campaign". Hmmmm .... let me see (you can probably guess the volume of laughter in our office) ....

Family First/Democrats/other: Well, actually we couldn't really find any who had bothered creating websites and/or were visible enough for us to locate in the first place - so didn't send to any of them.

What does all this mean then ?

Not really anything - we just thought you might like to know.

... and of course if YOU care a little about the environment and would like your website visitors to know, then feel free to contact us about getting a Carbon Neutral website hosting solution happening for your website.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Update - Website Design for Medical Practices (AAPM) Presentation

Website Design and Content Management Systems Presentation - Update - The AAPM e-Health Professional Development Day, held at the Mercure Hotel, Melbourne was a great success with attendees learning all about many different aspects of e-Health for medical and allied health practices in Victoria - including website design.

Creative Intersection exhibited at this event, and presented on the topic of Website Design for Medical Practices.

We received some great feedback and were extremely encouraged that so many medical practices are increasing their understanding of the many benefits of well-designed, cost-effective, and owner-managed websites.

An Interesting Fact: Did you know that one of the biggest problems many medical practices have is attracting new staff, particularly doctors ? ... and the first thing a doctor usually does when considering applying for a position in a private practice is to check out their website to see if it presents itself as a professional business with a bright future.

That reason alone, we are told, is enough for many practices to get their website updated straight away.

If you are an AAPM member, feel free to contact us for details of the special rates we have negotiated with this organisation.

If you're not an AAPM member, give us a call anyway and we'll see what we can do to help you out.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Creative Intersection presenting at AAPM e-Health Professional Development Day

Through our partnership with the Australian Association of Practice Managers (AAPM), we have been invited to present at the e-Health Professional Development Day on 19th June, 2010 in Melbourne.

Creative Intersection's Managing Director, Ian Exaudi, will be presenting on the topic of "Website Design for your Healthcare Practice".

As with just about every industry, there are some golden rules that can help make a success of launching a website - including content management systems, general marketing efforts, Search Engine Optimisation, and just "good old" web design.

If you are a practice manager or an administration professional in the any of the medical fields, contact AAPM to sign up for the Professional Development day via the link above.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

iPad and iPhone Application Development Services

An endless world of possibilities presents itself when "game changing" devices like the Apple iPad are released to the public.

There are many thousands of commercial (and free) applications available through the iPad and iPhone App Store ... from GPS navigation and business presentation applications to fishing games and a virtual box of chocolates.

Endless opportunities exist for the right idea to be brought into life and on to an iPad or iPhone screen.

... and ... businesses can create their own limited-release applications for internal use without having to go through the effort of seeking approval through the App Store.

Just imagine - your property inspectors, sales force, or consultants can work while they are in the field and push the results of their work directly into a live database for storage, sharing, and processing.

At Creative Intersection, database-driven, online-enabled websites and applications have been our bread-and-butter for nearly 10 years now - and the iPad and iPhone are exciting new platforms to deliver exactly this sort of "Web 2.0" functionality.

We have recently purchased two iPad WiFi + 3G devices to use as test and demonstration machines for our iPad development work, and have already started working on cutting-edge ideas under our ongoing AusIndustry-approved Research & Development program.

Call us to arrange a meeting to discuss how our team of designers and developers can build your next iPad and iPhone application.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

How do I advertise my business in Google ?

Online advertising can be simple, effective, and inexpensive.

Advertising your business in the "Sponsored Links" part of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is surprisingly simple - and can be relatively inexpensive ... and give great return on your investment compared to many other forms of advertising.

The practice is called "Search Engine Marketing" (or SEM for short). In a nutshell, it involves a business choosing keywords or phrases which they consider relevant to their business, and then having their advertisements (ads) shown on the result page when a user types them into a search engine.

Some Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) companies pretend that their "Guaranteed First Page in Google" service isn't SEM-related. The fact of the matter is that the only real way to guarantee a first-page ranking for any keyword is to advertise (and to out-bid your competitors in doing so).

For example, typing in "web design Ashgrove" into Google.com.au will give you a bunch of results that fit the search term (including yours truly - Creative Intersection and KISSites) ... and will also show ads for businesses that believe some or all of those words (web, design, and Ashgrove) are a worthwhile thing to attach to their business advertising.

The advertising service offered by Google for this is called "Google Adwords", and other search engines have similar services (Bing and Yahoo! have their own systems). To keep this blog simple, we will just talk about Adwords - although most of the other services are very similar in their approach.

Anyone can set up an Adwords account and start advertising almost immediately.

You simple create the account, hand over a credit card for payments, and set up your campaigns, Ad groups, keywords, and ads.

How does Adwords work ?

How it works, then, is that you decide how much you are willing to bid for a successful click on your ad for each keyword or phrase.

The instant a user types in a search query that matches your keywords or phrases into Google, your bid is compared to those of your competitors and a ranking is decided based on the highest bids. If your bid is not high enough, you won't be on the first page.

You don't pay for the "placement" or "impression" of your ads. You pay when a user clicks on the ad and goes to your website (or wherever you send them).

Google also does some further analysis to ensure "fairness" and helps your ad get a little higher if it has struggled unfairly for some time. At the end of the day, though, you have to bid enough to be competitive.

Google also considers the "Quality Score" of your ads so that if your ads - and the service/product you provide - are more relevant to a user than your competitors' ads, you get away with paying less for higher rankings in the "Sponsored Links" area.

You can set other limits, such as a daily budget and a regional relevance (i.e. only users who are located within 40km of your business at the time they search will see your ad).

How much do I have to bid per click ?

The Cost per Click (CPC) that you need to bid depends primarily on the competition surrounding that ad.

For instance, some sources say that in 2009 the most highly priced search terms in the U.S. were (in USD):
  • "mesothelioma treatment options" - $69.10
  • "mesothelioma risk" - $66.46
  • "personal injury lawyer michigan" - $65.86
  • "student loans consolidation" - $62.59
  • "car accident attorney los angeles" - $61.44
Thankfully, mesothelioma treatments, personal injury/car accident lawyers, and student loans are not the fields that most of us are in ... and so our bids can be a lot less.

Whilst it is against the Google Adwords policy for us to disclose the amount Creative Intersection pays per click for advertising, generally-speaking most advertisers in Australia tend to bid less than $10 per click. Whilst this sounds like a lot, remember that a well-written ad with a good website behind it might bring in business at a 10-20% success rate (or higher if you're in the right field and your website does its job too). If each sale is worth $500, then you're easily making back your investment (at 10% success rate, your advertising would return $500 per $100 spent - a 500% ROI). That's probably a lot better than your local newspaper advertising is giving you right now ... and it's measurable!

So why would I need help with SEM ?

Some of the expert Search Engine Marketing help that Creative Intersection, and other SEM professionals in our field, offer has to do with:
  1. Tracking the performance of your ads to ensure that clicks result in actual orders or enquiries - ensuring Return on Investment (ROI)
  2. Reducing the number of "dead" visitors by providing ads that entice real customers and ignore those that are not really looking for what you are selling
  3. Improving the Quality Score of ads by taking into account the many factors that make up the Quality Score
  4. Advising on new opportunities (in keywords and places to advertise) that can help improve the ROI of your online advertising

Other places your Adwords ads can appear

As you can see on our blog, we carry Adwords advertising as a publisher. This is called Adsense, and will be covered in a later blog. Basically it shows ads just like on Google and then pays us a small commission when a user clicks on that ad.

Adsense can be a significant revenue stream if you have enough visitors coming to your site (like on a blog or other regular publication).

As an Adwords advertiser, you can choose to be shown on "content networks" (such as Adsense) and "search partner networks" such as Youtube.

This carries both great reward and great risk since the relevance of ads shown outside of the Google SERPs may not be as accurate as within Google SERPs.

Drop us a line if you would like to talk about how you can set up a Search Engine Marketing account for under $1,000 per month - including $500 actual advertising spend as well as monthly analysis, reporting, and optimising to improve ROI.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Environmentally-Friendly Website Hosting

Having a website is a necessity for just about every small business.

It needs to be engaging, well-designed, succinct, and always-available for potential customers to visit.

The availability of a website (the "uptime") is related to the quality of the hosting provider ... you know ... those weird little guys who sit in dark grey rooms with lots of large monitors looking at the flow of data among computers, routers, and servers around the world.

It's a cool picture, for sure, but in the real world web hosting is provided by companies - both big and small - who own "servers" and other infrastructure, and who on-sell this capacity to customers who do not want to own the infrastructure. It doesn't have to be "flash", but it does have to be robust and reliable.

Creative Intersection has been a website hosting provider for many years now, and have recently begun offering a special type of hosting solution that is "Carbon Neutral" in the form of our GreenServe.com.au Eco-friendly hosting product.

Have a look at this recent case study published on the "Dynamic Small Business Network" website.


If your business needs high-quality, reliable website hosting (with or without being carbon neutral), contact Creative Intersection web design and hosting services by clicking the link or pick up the phone and call 1300 853 868.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Top 10 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Tips

Second only to having a quality website in the first place, being found in the major search engines can be vital to the success of your online presence.

As you can imagine, with many hundreds of millions of searches performed through search engines every day and billions of web pages to choose from, having your site appear in the top few results in any search engine can be a hard ask.

Search engines, these days, work on the principle of "relevance". In other words: How relevant is a web page to a person looking for a certain thing ?

Despite the outrageous claims made by some SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) "experts" (sales guys, mostly), there really is no way to absolutely guarantee an organic top ranking in any search engine (appearing at the top of a search result page without paying for advertising placement).

There are many things that SEO professionals like ourselves do to analyse the deficiencies of a website and actions we can take to achieve fast, positive results. But, there are also a few things you can do yourself to get the ball rolling.

Here are our Top 10 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Tips

  1. Content is King .... Make sure that the contents of your website is concisely written and relevant to someone who visits your site.

  2. Update your content regularly to keep increasing your relevance.

  3. Include regularly updated non-sales content such as Tips, Helpful Information, and General News.

  4. Be aware of your customers' requirements ... if you know what a searcher is likely to type into a search engine, make sure you have plenty of relevant content that covers that subject.

  5. Meta data (keywords and descriptions etc, hidden from the viewing public) is rarely used by search engines these days, but it certainly can't hurt to have ... make sure you describe the content and purpose of each page accurately and succinctly.

  6. Inbound links (links to your site from other sites) are seen by search engines as a recommendation of your site and hence your site's relevance to a user can increase. DO NOT arrange links from irrelevant sites or "link farms" as many search engines will now penalise you for irrelevant links.

  7. Don't use Flash for your entire website ... As fun and exciting as Flash can be, most search engines cannot view content within a Flash file, so using Flash for significant content (or even the navigation) of your website is a sure-fire way to never be found.

  8. Structure your website in a logical, clear way (this also makes it easier for a user to find their way around).

  9. Submit your business and website to local listings, including Google Local Business Centre. This will help search engines to know where your business is located relative to a searcher's location.

  10. Consider Search Engine Marketing (SEM). This is paid advertising using, for example, Google Adwords to be placed on search results pages within the advertising space (i.e. not part of the organic results).

The number one thing to remember is that, just as Rome wasn't built in a day, your search engine rankings won't increase dramatically overnight without some professional SEO intervention. It can take weeks for search engines to re-visit and consolidate your content, comparing your site to the millions of others they visit each day.

Of course, if you would like to talk about how we can help to fast-track massive improvements in your search engine rankings, we would be delighted to sit down with you to chat about our Search Engine Optimisation service and what it can do for your business.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Easy Way To Accept Credit Cards on Your Website

Accepting Credit Cards on your website can make life easier for your existing customers, and may even bring you more customers you didn't already have ...

One of the simplest ways of converting potential customers to ACTUAL customers can be to offer several methods of payment for your products and services.

For instance, some customers may prefer to pay by cash or cheque on receipt of an invoice whilst others (especially small businesses) may prefer to smooth out their cashflow by paying for your product or service with their corporate or personal credit card.

If your venture is based online or if you usually accept credit cards payments in your shop using an EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale) system (the Australian term for a card-swipe machine connected to your bank), then you may prefer establishing an Online Credit Card Merchant account with your bank in conjunction with a Payment Gateway (which is either provided by your bank or a third-party supplier). Costs can be quite reasonable even for small volume sales (usually $100-$500 per month PLUS a percentage and/or flag-fall charge per transaction).

If you are a more "traditional" business, like ourselves, who usually invoice for your services and just want to add an extra method of payment for those customers who are looking to smooth out their cashflow by paying for invoices with their credit card, you can opt for a simple solution that involves no monthly costs at all.

Paypal, for example, can be set up to accept a credit card payment without the need to set up a merchant facility with a bank. The only charges for you, as the merchant, is a per-transaction fee (around $0.30 AUD) and a small percentage of the overall transaction amount (1.1% to 2.4%, dependent on your monthly sales). Note that these charges may vary as they are set by Paypal.

Other options include accepting credit card details via email or stored in a database (from an online form the customer fills in), and then processing the payment using your credit card terminal in your shop. It should be noted, however that this method is fraught with danger and only the most foolhardy web developer will offer you such a solution (please note that we won't build such a system for you, even if you ask us nicely!).

Whichever way you choose to go with accepting credit card payments online, remember that there are some quite strict rules involved with transmitting and storing credit card details (see PCI DSS) - so choosing a professions, secure option is always preferable. Massive fines and bans may apply for transmitting and storing credit card details in ways that are not secure.

Of course, you can also add a shopping cart or other functionality to your payment system to create a full online sales opportunity. Click here for a little more information.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Can I Use Twitter in My Business ?

So, you have a business (and hopefully even a website for that business). You have heard about the social networking Wunderkind called "Twitter", and that it's reaching hundreds of millions of people every day - currently sending out more than 50 million tweets per day.

But, how can you use Twitter to help your business ?

As with most things, the meteoric rise and media coverage that Twitter has received in the last couple of years does not automatically mean that putting your message out via Twitter ("Tweeting" it) will make you a huge success.
On the contrary, the immense number of messages rolling through Twitter - like the Internet itself in many ways - can mean that your message gets lost among the noise of all the other chatter.

One way, however, that Twitter can help a local business such as yours in a very real way is by helping you create stronger relationships with your potential and existing customers. You may not always be able to find new cus
tomers via Twitter and other social networking media (it's possible, just not "automatic") ... but consider this:

You run a retail clothing shop, let's call it "MyShop Rocks!", which attracts regular foot traffic and a loyal following of (probably younger) customers who would jump at the chance to grab a bargain. You can encourage those customers to "follow" you on Twitter on your "MyShop Rocks! Specials" feed (Feeds can look a little like this).

Every few days or weeks you can post specials to your Twitter feed. Your most loyal followers (customers) may get notified where
ver they are (via their mobile, browser, or whichever device they use) that you have a special offer available THIS AFTERNOON ONLY.

The secret, as it is with most marketing, is to create a call-to-action that compels your customer to act immediately. Making your special available THIS AFTERNOON ONLY is a great way to do that.

The other secret, as you probably guessed from earlier, is that you can't rely on Twitter to bring customers to you. It can, but it's
much more likely that you will have to bring your own loyal following along for the ride.

And, of course, one way to do that is to promote your website and Twitter feed in-store (and on your business cards, flyers, etc). You might also consider having your Twitter feed displayed prominently on your website to prompt users to "follow" you.

As an example, we have our own Twitter feed on our Creative Intersection homepage.

Creative Intersection provides consultancy and other services to help design and build your website and other online "bits" as well as branding (logos etc), marketing materials design, and even video production. ... and we would love the opportunity to work with you!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Google Maps Becoming More Important to Businesses

This story shows quite a trend in the importance of your local business being listed in directories and on the Google Maps Business Listings ... and it also shows you that integrity in business is important both online and offline.

A New Zealand (ex-) florist has hijacked her competitors' Google Maps listings in an effort to bring more business to her own door. No-one seems able or willing to quantify her success or otherwise - but she got caught so didn't work very well for her in the long run.

Read the full story here.