A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

simpli.biz aer teh winnar!!!


*Erica stops running around the room long enough to type a blog*

Most of you know that I designed the Simpli website years ago (in 2002, to be precise.) It has since not really changed. While it desperately needs a facelift, I don’t have the time for it and I can’t really afford to hire a designer (even though we have some great ones hosting with us at Simpli!)

So when I saw a contest for web hosts where the prize was a free website redesign, I submitted Simpli.

The field was narrowed to 20 contestants last week and I was asked to submit answers to several questions about why we wanted a website redesign. Since I’m best with essays, I turned it into an essay… and even attached some pictures of our staff! Here is the first part of my essay:

Last month, I received a phone call from a potential customer. “We’ve used your service before and you guys were fantastic,” he said. “We’re interested in a dedicated server for a new project, and I was wondering if you could answer a few questions.”

“Sure!” I said.

“We looked at your website, but we can’t figure out what we need from it,” he said. “Honestly, we really love you guys, but if we would have stumbled on this website without having used your service, we would have not ordered from you.”

“Oh?” I asked. “Why is that?”

“It looks unprofessional and I can’t find the answers to my questions on it,” he replied. “That’s why I called you.”

This customer went on to place a $1,690.00 order with us for a year upfront of a dedicated server on October 21, 2005. That’s $1,690.00 that we undeniably would have lost due to our website design had he not worked with us previously and known our service and level of professionalism.

My conversation with that customer is what made me apply for ReInvention.

We are looking for a website that really showcases our commitment to our customers and our personal service. We want a completely unique website that we can be proud of. One thing that I really want to get rid of are those stock photos of “happy telemarketers” that are on so many websites. Our current website has some, too. I have attached two pictures that are the “real” Simpli — one is of one of our employees, Ben, building a server, and the other one is of me cheesin’ with some RAM and processors that we recently ordered for a customer. These are the kinds of things I want to put on our website. I really want to give off the vibe that we are REAL people who care about our customers, and that customers can always reach us when they have a problem or concern. That’s what has garnered us hundreds of satisfied customers so far, and our current website shows none of that. I also want to post some in-depth testimonials from current customers — we can furnish audio and customer pictures, which I think would be a unique way to do a testimonial.

The winner was announced today — and guess what…it was Simpli! ๐Ÿ˜€ Simpli has won a $5000 website redesign courtesy of Template Monster. With the redesign contest comes lots of free publicity, too, since this is like a reality TV show for the web where they go in-depth explaining every piece of the redesign and why they made the decisions they made.

I’ll keep posting with the results as we get them, but expect a complete facelift of www.simpli.biz in a few months. It certainly deserves it. I can’t wait to see what we come up with!

P.S. James of TemplateMonster explains why they chose Simpli.
Edit 8/15/2008: Since this link is now dead, I pulled James’s post from archive.org to save for posterity here:

I received 13 briefs we (David (CEO of Template Monster), Paul, and me) had to choose from.

Now we are ready to announce the winner of the contest. It is… www.simpli.biz!
Our congratulations to Erica Douglass!
We really like her brief and the company of course but not the website as it really needs some help on design.

I now quote Paul on the reasons why we have chosen simpli.biz:

1. She is the most open to changes and new direction when it comes to
her company image.

2. She can readily identify why her current site isn’t working, not just
whether she likes or dislikes it, but how her business is directly
impacted by the design and engineering of it.

3. Her needs are manageable. Her site is sizable, but not overwhelming
for a first-time Reinvention project.

4. She expresses herself better than any other candidate. She will be
easy to work with when it comes to keeping the project moving and
working with her content.

5. From a visual design perspective, she needs help about as badly as
anyone, worse than most ๐Ÿ™‚

We would like to thank all the applicants who took the time to send us their briefs.
Most of the sites submitted need some design help but we are limited with our resources and cannot help each applicant. We are really sorry about it. But we hope that you will stick to ReInvention so you could learn how to produce good design.

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After selling my online business at age 26 for over $1 million, I created this blog to help you grow your own business quickly.

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