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Xava Blog

Stages of Website Development

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Recently I have been thinking about working with businesses around Ireland helping them create a website worthy of carrying their business name in the top left corner and I have seen a lot of blogs and articles on what to do, how to do and even blogs on technical setups, technical pitfalls and design guidelines but I have not seen many blogs that tell you what to avoid and what traps not to fall into so I am working on this series of blogs – What not to do? The first topic in this series is What not to with WordPress? because I am a WordPress expert so it is an easy starting point!



As I mentioned in my previous blog about What not to do with WordPress?


Stages of website development

The stages of website development are different for different types of client and as a service provider you will encounter all different types of requests for website development. Some example are:

  • I dont know what I want but I really want to sell more of my artwork
  • I have a website already and I just want to tweak some sections of it to make it more effective
  • I need help with engaging more customers

There are many other requests but essentially they all boil down to helping your customer engage their end customer in some way shape of form.

Personally I think that the best way for us as a valued service provider to connect with our client is to meet with them and talk to them about their business and the business needs. A lot of people will want to communicate via email or phone and the transactional business is great but, especially for new clients, we should endeavour to meet with them. So don’t try to do business via impersonal means like email or phone!

You will truly create value for your customer by advising them of what they need to engage with their customers.

Don’t be a Maverick

During a conversation with a prospective client, they mentioned that they wished they could design and develop their website themselves because the last provider didn’t meet or talk with them but instead went ahead and completed a website for their business. When it comes to websites, one size doesn’t fit all so don’t be a maverick and provide something that your client doesn’t need or want at all.


Facebook marketing is all about relationship building

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Lately in my effort to grow Xava, I have come across a lot of people trading Likes on their business pages. While it is a good practice to support your fellow entrepreneurs in growing their fan base but have you ever thought what a like is worth? Or more importantly what YOUR Like is worth to the business page?

Let me put this very delicately because I know that your Liking of a business page was well intentioned – It is worth NOTHING!!

If you dont engage after Liking the page that is. Let me explain.

Relationship building is the Holy Grail

Yes even in the business world. If it wasn’t large business would not have account managers, relationship managers to look after large customers. They would not spend thousands on Facebook and Twitter campaigns that invoke a response from their audiences.

To understand this, we need to look at relationship building.

Relationship Building in Everyday Life

Imagine you are out and you see someone that you like, you try talking to them and get their phone number. And then you try and get a date with them and yearn to reach ‘First base‘ as is more commonly known. As time goes by you fall in love and then you want to get married and then have a family (well ok not everyone does but you get the idea). You are constantly looking to grow the relationship to the next level and marriage is the ultimate goal that we reach in a human relationship.

Alternatively, becoming someones best buddy is the ultimate goal in making friends because we all need that friend who can be relied upon no matter what the circumstances.

Getting married to the love of your life or finding that best friend makes you feel a sense of fulfilment, a sense of achievement and a sense of pride.

Relationship Building on Facebook

Using Facebook marketing to build an audience and brand ambassadors who will talk about your brand till the cows come home is the ultimate goal for your business being on Facebook. You try and get their Like which is like getting a phone number of the person you met. After that point it is up to you as a business owner to cultivate the relationship by constantly providing content that is going to invoke a response from your Likers. Think of it as having a conversation with your Likers. Why would you shy away from it? It is at this moment in your Facebook marketing, you need to resist the urge to sell or pitch your business, just talk.

Even on Facebook, hidden behind a computer or a mobile, there are people using their emotions to evaluate you so why not converse with them? It is the quality of our interactions with our friends and loved ones that determines how they see us and so it is in the business world. Your followers will evaluate you and your business based on the strength of your content so dont just try and sell to them. There is an interesting blog on Making money on Facebook by Kim Garst of Boom Social.

After you have a loyal audience, you need to reach the Holy Grail of being married to your likers – you want them to constantly talk about you and your business with their friends, family and colleagues because now your influence is multiplying not just adding up. It is going from strength to strength and once you have got people to talk about you, you dont have to wait long to see that engagement turn into revenue.

So you see the rules we have in our everyday lives of cultivating relationships also apply to our social marketing, here is a blog I wrote on what to do and what not to on Facebook


  1. Facebook marketing is all about moving away from looking for Likes, it is all about getting recommended for Likes.
  2. Even on Facebook, you are dealing with people so normal rules of relationship building apply
  3. Make friends for your business not number of Likes
  4. Work on turning those friends into brand ambassadors through strength of your content
  5. Make money and enjoy the fruits of your hard work.

Share your thoughts and leave me a comment!

Website Design Case Study –

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When the owner of first approached Xava, his direction was clear. He wanted to develop a brand that would become synonymous with the following:

  1. Simplify the tyre buying process.
  2. Simple and easy to navigate website
  3. No frills to convey the message that the value behind the brand was the attractive pricing
  4. Above all – simplify the process for all kinds of people buying tyres.

The concept was simple and the challenge was clear

Create a website for the customer that makes it simple for them to buy tyres for their vehicles which would be the direct driver for sales on the website.

Defining the Website Design

We defined the main drivers of the website deisgn as value and simplicity. In the owners mind tyre buying in Ireland is complicated. The people who are looking for tyres should read the size they require, visit his website, order and pay and then turn up at the appointed garage for tyre fitting etc. This is aimed at taking the confusion out of the process. The message was clear

Search → Buy → Fit

Website Design Process

With the constraints for the website design defined, we set about creating a design that conveyed the simplicity to the customer. The site is mainly structured around the multi-level search where people can look for the tyres they require by the tyre size.

The Homepage Homepage

Click image to enlrage

The homepage is simplicity personified. There is no clutter – visual or otherwise. The message of excellent value to the customer is delivered through the simplicity of the process.

We dont want you to have to go through lots of text or images to find what you need – Simply Search

The Search Results search results page

From the homepage, the customer searches for the tyres they require and are directed to the search results. The customer can directly purchase the required quantity of the tyre for their vehicle. The add to cart button actually takes the customer directly to the checkout page as tyres are an item that are bought as a single purchase. People buying tyres for multiple vehicles or in multiple different sizes is rare and therefore, the add to cart button redirects the customer to the checkout page.

The supporting pages include tyre information and a contact page. The premise of the website design for this Xava customer is built around the clear message

Simplify the tyre buying process for my customers

Contact Us Today To Simplify Your Website Design

Understanding Your Brand

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Understanding Your Brand – Understanding Yourself

A brand is developed over time because it includes the public perception but it starts from within you as an entrepreneur, as an individual. Each and every one of us is a walking, talking brand. As I mentioned in my previous blog, Brand – The Reason For Being, every one is a unique brand. Our personal brand affects how people interact with us.

As a business, your brand affects why people buy from you over your competitor. So your business brand is a cum total of all your assets including:

  • You
  • Your personality
  • Your reasons for being in business
  • Your way of dealing with situations

For a small business, you are the most important asset and you define the culture behind the brand, the work ethic and the ethos. And when you business expands and you hire employees, the brand, in turn, defines your corporate culture for your employees to understand and follow. If you don’t think it is important:

  • Do you buy the same soft drink?
  • Do you buy the same detergent for your clothes?

The answer to those is the brand behind the product for reasons such as

  • Quality of the product
  • Image of the brand – social or corporate
  • Emotional reasons – because your parents always bought that one

Branding is key to starting your business on a strong footing!

Brand Analysis – Mills Design & Tyrebroker

As a case study, take a look at

I would love to know your thoughts on what you think of the brand by just taking a look at the homepage of the website? This is an example of how branding affects your perception of a business by just taking a look at a small business asset such as the website. What are your initial thoughts on the 2 brands after taking a first look at the website?

[formidable id=6]

In a few weeks, I will collate all the responses and give my own thoughts on the brand.

Contact Us Today To Talk About Your Brand and Brand Development

Brand – The Reason For Being

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What is a Brand?

According to Wikipedia, a brand is “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers


A brand, according to us is why you do business. It is how you do business. It is how your customers see you. It is how you set the culture for the employees of your company.

A brand is who you are

A Quick Survey

Lets see what the word brand and some brand names make you think when you hear them.



Understanding the word Brand

The word brand has a popular perception in line with the definition as on Wikipedia but it is a concept that reaches a lot further than that. A brand in modern business is the business identity. It is how your customers perceive your company to be. It is how your employees react to the company. It is why a business exists – someone started the company for a reason. Whether it was to create a new product to fulfil a need or a new services to make life a little simpler for customers – a brand is the essence of your business.

A brand is a story that is always being told.

You have to be able to tell your story to your customers and employees. When your customers start telling your story to other customers, you have succeeded in creating brand value for your company.

What do you think of when you hear the word Brand?

If your response if Coke, McDonalds or Ariel, you would be in a majority of people that would answer this question with recognisable names. However, would you be astonished to hear that every business is a brand, that everyone of is a walking and talking brand?

When you were filling out the answers in the form above, you expected all of the names in there and your answers told a story of how you see those names in your mind. It is your perception of those companies. You probably did not expect to describe yourself as a brand and yet we do it all the time in day to day life.

Your Personal Brand

People interact with you based on your personal brand. Your friends like and love you because of certain personality traits and that, in essence, is your personal brand. If you simplify it , your personal brand is your personality. A business is no different in that every business has a personality. It may not be popularly recognisable at first but it is a brand none the less. It tells people about you and your aspirations for your business. Dont forget your business exists only because you want it to.

Business is no different, they build up a reputation and a brand and over time, they strive to live up to that image and evolve with the times.

Brands and Small Business

Just because you run a small business does not mean that you dont have a brand. You have a brand with no or little value and how you build up that value is down to how you interact with customers and employees. It is down to how you respond to complaints and interact with people on your social media channels.

If you have been business for a while and need to build brand value, you still need to understand yourself first. How can you market what you do not understand?

It is of paramount importance that, as a small business, you understand what your business stands for before doing anything with your brand.

In short it is down to you

My Top Five Branding Tips

  1. Know WHY you are in business
  2. Define the brand proposition
  3. Define the brand value that you think you stand for
  4. Create a consistent message for the people you interact with – this includes all your corporate stationery, website and marketing communications
  5. Create a marketing strategy in line with your brand values

And Finally

Remember that in todays internet age, buyers need more than USPs to buy from you – people have a need to understand why they should buy from you over your competitor. So know why you are doing what you are doing and then continue to deliver that message to the market.

Contact Us Today To About Your Brand Management

Website Design- Why Is It Key?

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“Web surfers are like the snitch in Quidditch, if you don’t catch them at first sight, you will find yourself flying through the cyberspace trying to capture them. But once you do, you can win the game!”

If you are not a Harry Potter fan like me, you may not know what Quidditch is or what the Snitch is. The snitch is the game winner in Quidditch and the team that captures the snitch wins the match.

Communicate your vision through your website design in 3 secondsFor your business website, the people who view your website are like the snitch. You have 3 seconds to capture their attention on your website – you don’t even have the 30 second elevator pitch anymore.

The strength of your customers’ experience is directly related to the strength of your website’s design. If you can not convey your vision to the people, you can not convert them to buying customers or brand ambassadors for your business.
Get a FREE Website Health Check on the 26th March

Planning your website is key!

A website becomes popular with people because it offers them something. Browsing websites on the internet is not a hobby or pastime, it is a necessity and we have become very good at naturally filtering out stuff that we don’t want to spend our time on anymore. The old adage, If you fail to plan, then plan to fail, comes to my mind right now. It is so true!

I see so many websites on a daily basis and more often than not, minor changes to the site would be sufficient to relay the key message to me. I believe that a lot of the times, people start businesses knowing what they are going to do and how they are going to succeed. The websites, in some cases, seem to be an add-on and not a necessary business tool. They see the website as an extension of themselves and design them as such.

Create a Website Design For Your Customers Not For Yourself

This is a common mistake because we believe in our business idea and believe that we know best. That is true but it is your prospective customers that consume your website not you. Your website is not about boosting your ego but about boosting your business. It is vital for your website to be liked by your customers.

Marks & Spencer may not like selling products by other brands but they do it because in the long run it brings them more business!

They made a business decision to start selling other brands to boost their own brands.

Your website design is for your customers!

If you feel that your website design falls in this category, contact me today and I will send you 10 practical tips on how you can improve the site performance.

Website Design is Separate From Website Development

A website is developed in 2 distinct phases

  • Website Design – This is the first phase of planning your website where an expert, like Xava,  helps you translate your business vision into a design that your consumers will look at, read and engage with. The expert will take your strength and use his/her own expertise and turn it into a beautiful design that speaks about your business in those vital 3 seconds. Take a look at Mills Design and make up your own mind about the website design.
  • Website Development – This is the technical phase of your website design. This is where all the scary buzzwords like HTML5, PHP, Javascript and CSS come in. This is the part that you shouldn’t have to worry about because your website development expert, like Xava, will take care of all the technical stuff for your business.

I don’t mean to suggest that you can not do all the work yourself. It is more to illustrate that it is important to think of the website work in stages and it is even more important for you to think as an outsider looking in on your business if you decide to do all the work yourself.

Get a FREE Website Health Check on the 26th March
Register for the Whats What Business Fair in the Red Cow Moran Hotel and come talk to us at Stand 39!