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Interview on Radio Thailand with Carl Heaton

Author: WC.Bear
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This was a live conversation between Carl and Bruce from Radio Thailand, it was broadcast on Sunday the 24th of February 2013 at 7:30pm, which was aired across the country. Carl was invited to talk about the Importance of websites for companies success.


Listen to the Live Interview

Bruce: So how important is a websites for a company?


I think it’s the forefront of a company these days and a lot of people the first they would do when they hear about a company, they would ‘Google’ it, so they would look on the internet to find out what their website is, the quality of it and the information on there. So it’s the forefront of your company, so it’s very very important.


Bruce: Can you give us some examples of some very successful websites?, and also perhaps some un-successful websites?


Sure, I mean one of the most successful one that we have seen recently is of-course ‘Facebook’, one of the reason it has been successful was the amount of people who can get on to it, very successful people wanted to become part of it. Obviously you have things like ‘Google’ one of the reason they were successful was because of the simplicity of their websites, and you have got people who have got there first, like ‘Amazon’ and they were just doing e-commerce thing before anybody else. So it pays to have a single idea with a websites and go for that first and then you could expand. Some of the most unsuccessful ones that I’ve seen are probably that do too much, a couple of Thai websites I have seen tend to do too many thing all at once and it makes it sort of confusing for the user and then they end up not making any choice at all!


Bruce: OK, so like ‘Google’ and ‘Yahoo!’, where with ‘Google’ they have nothing on the page right?


Yes! it’s just very very simple, and they were the forefront of that, Yahoo! was more of directory when it first started and I mean I started web designing about 18 years ago now and things were very very different then and Yahoo! was a new search engine and it was more of directory, where as Google was more something very simple and became something very very powerful!


Question: And you mentioned ‘Facebook’, so how do you think how important is social media now-a-days?


Social Media is one of the three key area that allows you to become popular in search engine and the other two being ‘Content’ and ‘Link’. Social is extremely important because it allows businesses large and small to directly contact to their potential customers, it also enables people to network as well. We have used Facebook very very effectively ‘Web Courses Bangkok’ and now we have 1,000’s of people around Bangkok knowing our name because of what we do on Facebook, so any business that wants to be online needs to be on social media.


Bruce: So there are alot of different choices for social media for example, you have ‘Google+’


Ya, there is something that we teach at Web Courses Bangkok, that we say if you are going to do anything online, try one idea for 30 days over two networks and then just try one idea so for example- you might want to do things like Facebook and Foursquare, so if you are like a shop or even a restaurant you can use ‘Geolocation’ to attract people to come in, check-in when they come in or maybe even offer them discount by doing so. So there is a lot of ways of social media coming into real life and that’s definitely one of them.


Bruce: So some big firms have someone who is responsible only for social media, so they will be updating their Facebook accounts numerous times per day, what about smaller firm who don’t have the budget to really focus on social media full time like that?


Well, I think the people behind the smaller firms are on Facebook or on social media anyway and so again what I would advice people to do is try the ’90-10% rule – 90% is about your life, whether you are taking your dog out for a walk or whether you are having a cup of coffee and then the 10% of that can be about your business. So even if you are a small SME or even a sole trader just by being on social media day to day you can still promote your business, as long as you don’t sell on social media because people don’t go on social media to buy, they go there to have fun or break or rest, catch up with friends, so they need to do that, what you want to do is mark it within that, rather specifically to people.

Bruce: So besides using social media what other tips would you suggest to companies in term of their websites in particular?


One thing is that they need to own it (websites) themselves, if they are taking onboard a web designer or web design firm they need to make sure they own their ‘Domain-name’ and ‘hosting’. Something that we get a lot at Web Courses is that a lot of web design have let businesses down, and then they come to us to really help them and one of the first thing we say is “Who owns your domain name and your hosting?” and because it’s essentially like giving the deeds away to your house!, And you should always own that! When you are doing a websites make sure you check it on your user, so always come up with an idea and test it on people that would be using it, not you, not the designer, but your potential customers.


Bruce: And your school Web Courses Bangkok specialized in teaching people how to make their own websites, can you tell us more about your school, how did you get started?


Yeah, with pleasure, when I first came here about six years ago I started off as an English teacher and when the firm saw my CV they quickly made me into an ‘IT’ teacher. From there I became a project manager for a small firm and that’s where the idea started because I was trying to hire web designer to the standard that I wanted and I couldn’t find them and I found very very hard to find an international standard here and so what I did is I founded Web Courses and since then we have taught 1,000’s of people from all over the world from Bhutan to Nepal To South Africa, France everywhere and our idea is that we teach either something that allows you to finish a project or what we teach is we allow people to learn and become a carrier. So it’s not like academic, it’s truly practical so like REAL ADVICE FROM REAL COURSES.


Bruce: So you are saying people fly from all over the world to come and study with you?


Yeah, we have the best of, full of amazing languages one of them is ‘Zonka’ which is from Bhutan, we get a lot of people from Bhutanese Government coming over to take courses with us. I currently have a student from Pakistan he has come over just for the courses, just to ‘Web Courses’.


Bruce: So how did you manage to grow your business so fast over period of only six years?


Actually it’s quite simple Bruce, it’s ‘Customers Service’, just simple good customers service, by answering e-mail quickly and by having multiple way of contacting us. If anybody is a big business owner listening to this I highly recommend having a ‘Live Chat’ on your websites, it’s extremely great marketing tool and really helps us grow, but the main thing that we did was have a great service that people recommend, if it’s not for the lovely people recommending Web Courses Bangkok, we wouldn’t be here today.


Bruce: So you have actually made different courses on offer besides just designing the web course and you also have courses on using a particular platform in order to make websites is that correct?


Yeah, we are big fan of ‘WordPress’ and because it’s very easy for people to pick up and easy for people to manage themselves and you could get some amazing design through it. So for our Beginner and Intermediate Courses we use WordPress and the more advance we take to the content management system to another level and they can really go into different themes and make their own websites very particular to what they want. Mostly WordPress does just about everything that people need to do.


Bruce: And do you have any tips on having multiple languages on a websites will that make it more complicated?


It depends on your system really, if you are using WordPress it’s very easy and there’s a lot of ‘WPML’ sites using code and it all depends on what you are doing. If you’re using the content management system it tends to be easier than to if you are using standard sort of ‘Dreamweaver’ or standard HTML websites. But I do advise it, if you are, say for example in Thailand and you’re going into international market as well as local then you need to attract the ‘Keyword’ from content so the content needs to contain those important words in both languages.


Question: You have mentioned the ‘Live Chat’ on your websites do you have a specific time or is it 24 hours or what do you recommend for smaller businesses who do not have the capacity?


I would recommend just doing business hours because if you try to do 24 hours and, then they asked you for some call to action, for example- ‘Send me an invoice’ or ‘send me a quote now’ and you can’t do that until morning. It shows, you know it’s not so good, so I would do just between working hours that reaffirm when you are open and when you are able to reply to customers.


Bruce: So how has it been your experince running a business in Thailand have you encountered any hindrance for example?


Yes! one of the big hindrance we have is with the bank, to be very honest for example when payment comes in its hard to track them properly and that has been quite difficult, also being a foreigner par owner of a company it’s a lot of paperwork for me to fill out, I think I have signed so many sheets of paper I have got no idea what their are! But it’s all part of the process. One of the success is of being a good businessman in Thailand is I think having a really really good team behind you, the Thai staff are so important and I love my Thai staff so much they really really help us and they really helps our customers as well. So if people are thinking of starting a business in Thailand they need to make sure their foundation, you know their main shareholder, the managers they have to be absolutely driven for a company and admin is so important so important yes.


Question: So could you, you know we mentioned about the platform and the different courses could you mention the other courses you offer?


Yeah one of our most popular one is actually logo and graphic design so for the business owner and people who wants to get into graphic design maybe for making business card, maybe a logo or a brochure our courses is everyone really really enjoys it and Pete is a fantastic guy, he has been in the industry for twenty five years and people get to learn how to prepare it for printing. So for examples you have logo for your Radio station and you want to make a business card and you want it to print it perfectly then you need to have the right setting for the printer when you send it to them and that something that we teach and that’s why we teach real life skills, so when you are in the industry for graphic design or web design, online marketing then you can actually apply it and we also teach photography, which is in the course and we just started to do as well a good fun.


Question: And how long are these courses are they week or are they months?


They tend to be four lessons.

Question: Four Lessons


Good courses are four lessons over two weeks.

Question: Two weeks OK


And yeah our private one are the most popular, they are three lessons totalling nine hours, that’s where you sit besides the instructor like myself, you come to them saying “I need a website Carl” and then we build it together.


Bruce: So if someone is interested in taking courses with you, how can they contact you? What’s your web address?


www.webcoursesbangkok.com but the easiest thing to do because we are on top of Google, just Google ‘Web Courses Bangkok’ or even key ‘Courses Bangkok’ we will probably be there.


Bruce: OK Thank you very much and…


You are very welcome.

Bruce: And we wish you continue succsess


Thank you very much bye bye.

Bruce: Thank you bye and that was Carl Heaton the managing director and instructor at the Web Courses Bangkok.

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