Points Cobra. Web Design That Strikes Everywhere You're Online.
After 12 years in the Radio Industry, Kevin Bottaro decided on a career change. Having already spent time working on social media and blogging in his previous job, Kevin chose to found his web design business, Points Cobra. He has lots of experience working with artists and businesses from the creative industry, but he's also keen to point out that these aren't his only clients. Points Cobra offer a full gamut of web design services from design to copy writing. Kevin has experience in freelance writing, and it shows in his copy. It's easy to read, informative and gets the point across very effectively.
What we particularly like about Kevin and Points Cobra is that he's got a sensible down-to-earth outlook on the world. We think that this attitude, coupled with his very reasonable rates, mean that Kevin will be very succesful with his new venture.
Can you describe Points Cobra in a single sentence?
Strike everywhere you're online. (That's the slogan, which means no matter what you're already doing or want/should be doing — official website, copywriting for said site or something else, social media — make it count.)
Can you tell us about the founding of Points Cobra?
I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and when I decided to move on from the radio business I figured it was very likely I would try something on my own. After I went back to school to expand on my knowledge of web design, I looked at my life situation and the overall job market and thought "Well, that indeed might just be my best bet". It finally launched in July after much planning.
Points Cobra is a one-man army, too: I didn't want to work under just my name (although I'd save money on registration if I did!), because that's kind of boring. Have a brand, it's more fun.
What challenges have you faced in growing Points Cobra? How have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was starting totally from scratch. I had done Points Cobra's services for previous employers, but never on my own for other people. I also had no clients ready to go at first, which made the battle even more uphill. Just getting the name out there is the hardest thing, but that takes time. Things like this interview help!
Thankfully, as said on the website, the Internet has made the world a much smaller place. That eases the fact that I live in a smaller market that's hours from a major, which shrinks the local client base. But, my wife is from this region and has a great job so it's home for the foreseeable future. I'm happy to have Internet friends like Growth Rocket, and no matter where I live I would accept clients from anywhere too so it's all good!
Otherwise, I keep Points Cobra very within my means so it's not too bad. This isn't some giant agency and I don't pretend it is. I have and offer what I can, and would rather under-promise and over-deliver than the reverse.
You design websites using WordPress, can you tell us about the benefits of using a CMS?
CMS' are better for clients because a CMS allows them to make smaller changes/updates without knowing code. They're user-friendly, and have brought the basics of web design to anyone really.
Can you take us through the steps of designing a great website? Where do you start?
Consider the brand first and foremost, and give consideration to trends, best practices and desired audience.
One thing I have going for me that I think helps is my approach. I don't have a tech background and don't even consider myself a techie, so I'm not going to make a website that has useless bells and whistles that 1) simply stroke the designer's ego and 2) may not even work on certain devices, not to mention the potential load-time issue. I'm just a regular dude with know-how who aims to make something that benefits the client, and can relate to non-tech types.
We've been enjoying your blog posts and your copy is very readable. Have you got any tips for writing content?
Thanks! If you're writing for the web, keep paragraphs shorter and give some thought to keywords (just not too much or Google will ding you).
Consider what slang/spelling/etc. your target audience and/or client uses as well. As a Canadian I usually use Commonwealth-style English, but if I were writing for someone who uses American-style English I would remove the U from certain words, for example. Little things like that are key.
Web design is a hugely competitive market. Can you tell us how you stand out in such a crowded industry?
See question five, paragraph two...haha. Beyond that, I have a goal to primarily work with those in the creative arts. Having a niche helps, and this particular one is priced out by so many companies. (I don't mean all independent creatives are poor, but their budget versus like a big retail chain is typically quite different, you know?) It's not only a specialty in knowledge, but in pricing. I hope Points Cobra can be seen as a supportive voice for creatives, because as someone who worked in radio and blogged about music, I get them.
We're nearing the end of our first complete month running analytics on our website. We've noticed that the majority of our traffic is referral based, which is probably similar for a lot of new websites. What steps can we take to increase our organic traffic?
Having good in-site SEO and a sitemap, and other steps like a Google My Business profile. Updating the site a lot helps too.
Otherwise, simply time. It can take a while to get a higher ranking on search engines, but referral traffic is certainly good.
If Points Cobra could work for anyone in the world, who would it be?
Man that's a great question. Maybe if a really cool record label hired Points Cobra to handle everything for its roster. There'd be fun work, and lots of it!
What does the future hold for Points Cobra? Where will it be in five years?
Hopefully still active! Honestly I have no idea, I've learned that you never really know what will happen. Make all the plans you want, but the path taken might end up being different from what you envisioned — and that's not necessarily a bad thing! I do have thoughts about other services to offer (with my radio background I have considered podcast production, for instance), but we'll see how things go.
The reality is, the majority of businesses fail. Sounds bleak, but if Points Cobra doesn't ultimately survive I won't be (too) upset. I'll know that I took and chance and gave it 100%, and that's all I could have done; better that than regretting not trying at all.
Is there someone who helps to inspire you to work on growing Points Cobra?
Other entrepreneurs are my biggest inspiration. They're doing their own thing, and — even if it's still fledgling — that's an awesome and ballsy move. It's cool to see people taking their career into their own hands, and that's going to continue considering today's job climate. I don't need Points Cobra to become the world's biggest digital marketing outlet; I just work hard, constantly learn and try to get my slice of the pie.
I should also mention my wife, who is very supportive and listens to me when I feel like walking into the sea. Thanks honey.
Finally, can you give us a run down of a typical day at Points Cobra HQ?
Nothing too crazy: I take care of my clients' needs, keep an eye out for potential new clients via cold emailing and other sources, browse and post on social media, yada yada. I try to blog a decent amount because that expands on not only what Points Cobra does, but other topical things. I just love writing too.
There is no set day hours-wise, so it can vary. It's also great when I'm trying to go to bed and I start thinking about some random social post I should make or website thing to change. Very fun to intensely think when trying to sleep!