Category Archives: Kona Impact Products

Completed Project: Kraftsman Auto Body

Good story about this project and a very good example why it pays to do business locally.

We started a website project for Kraftsman Auto Body a few months ago. There is a lot of content on the website, so the project took some time to put together.

In the middle of the project I awoke to the sound a two cars colliding–mine and my wife’s! While backing out of the driveway my wife backed into my truck. It took about half a second to decide where we would take the car and truck for repairs–our current client Kraftsman Auto Body.

When I showed up at their shop in Kona’s Old Industrial area, they looked at me and said, “Did we have a meeting scheduled?” “No” I said, “I am going to switch things around and become your customer now.”

As expected, they did a great job fixing my wife’s car and my truck: fast, efficient, and top-quality work. We recommend them to anyone need car repairs in Kona.

So, the moral of the story is that when you do buy locally, what goes around really does come around. Those businesses that we know to buy locally, get our business. Those who think they are saving a lot by going off island, really aren’t.

Their website, which we finished last week, was designed to present a clean, professional image while keeping all the essential information available on every page. We wanted every page to have all the contact information and the home page to have a clear map of their location. Other nice features include employee profiles and an extensive FAQ page.

Same Day Printing Service and Delivery for Waikoloa?

We do a lot of printing and signage projects for conventions and expos on the Kohala Coast. For most businesses it is far more convenient to have us print the files and mount them on foam core or other material. Shipping is a hassle and the odd dimensions of signs make them unwieldy to carry through airports. We can do banners, posters, foam core, a-frames, cut vinyl, and much more.

Just last week we got a call from a large convention in Waikoloa with hundreds of attendees. The organizer had some special graphics that need to be printed, laminated and mounted on a PVC board. Fortunately, we try to keep plenty of our core supplies in stock, so we were able to complete the project and delivery the materials same day to Waikoloa.

Many providers of convention printing services charge a rush fee for such a project. We did not, and we also delivered the signage to the hotel at no additional cost. Whenever possible, we try to do business the way we like our suppliers to do business with us: fast, efficient and with attention to detail. We hate “gotcha pricing”, so we do not do that at Kona Impact.

We certainly encourage convention planners and organizers coming to Hawaii Island to plan ahead. At times, we may need to round up some extra supplies from Oahu or schedule some extra time to ensure a project can be done to our quality criteria. The more time we have, the better.

That said, if you are on the Kohala Coast for an event and need some same-day specialty printing, including banners, foam core displays, posters or other signage, give us a call at 808-329-6077 or send us an email and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Mobile Websites in Kona

At one time, the only platform for websites was computers, namely notebook and desktop computers. Since they used the same browsers to view websites, we were mainly concerned with browser compatibility and making sure all of our sites could be viewed with even the smallest monitors.

While we still have those issues, we now have to be concerned with mobile devices—web-enabled phones and tablet computers.

These devices do a decent job of rendering a standards-compliant website, but the result, especially for a mobile phone, is a website that is very hard to read without zooming in. Imagine taking a website designed for a 25” screen and then viewing it on a two inch screen.

Two recent projects at Kona Impact demonstrate some of the needs and issues. Jackie Rey’s, a popular local restaurant, and Hualalai Urgent Care, a local medical clinic, are two local businesses likely to have a lot of mobile viewers. We have made mobile website for both lately.

The Hualalai Urgent Care mobile site applies a framework that determines the viewers’ device and then serves up special content and formatting of that content tailored to that device. This was a retrofit of a website we made several years ago.

The Jackie Rey’s mobile site, was, in many ways easier, because we were able to develop the website from the ground up recently. That said, it’s not an easy or quick task.

If you are looking for a website and a mobile version of the website, give us a call at 329-6077. While we don’t recommend an optimized mobile site for all of our clients, if you envision a significant part of your site’s visitors view your site on your phone, it is probably worthwhile. We’re happy to talk about these issues—both pro and con—in an honest and direct way with you.

Time for a new sign in Kona?

Kona, Hawaii can be brutal on signs. We have heat, sun, salty air and wind to deal with. Our abundant sunshine is why many people are here, but it is also a major reason why signs fade, warp and deteriorate. It’s just a fact of life here; no sign lasts forever.

At Kona Impact, we do our best ensure the signs we do make will withstand the elements. We prefer to use solid PVC substrates (as opposed to wood) and our vinyl is outdoor quality, rated by the manufacturer to last over five years.

When your sign begins to look worn and tattered, give us a call (329-6077) for a free, no-obligation price quote.

Here is a sign we recently made for Ocean Seafood, which, by the way, has one of the best lunch buffets in town.

Project Completed: Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill

Kona Impact is all about helping local businesses grow. We love it when we can sit at a table with a business owner and develop a plan that will help the business become more visible and tell its story better.

One recent Kona Impact project was a website for Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill. If you live in Kona, you know Jackie Rey’s. If you’re a visitor, you should know Jackie Rey’s, as it is one of Kona’s best restaurants for fresh island fare, great service and a happy hour that can’t be beat.

The Jackie Rey’s project was fun because, based on the owner’s (Paul and Angela) input, the website kept evolving and getting better with each iteration. That is, the client took our initial proofs, picked one, and then kept improving the design at each stage. The website, most would agree, looks awesome.

Another important part of the website project was Paul and Angela’s willingness to hire a professional photographer–Bob Brown. As you can see, great, professional photography makes a huge difference. We find that, almost without exceptions, hiring a pro will be one of the best decisions you will make (other than hiring Kona Impact).

Jackie Rey's

I’ll Make Your Website #1 on Google!

i'll put you #1 on googleWe have received, as well as a few of our clients, a very interesting and clever cold call pitch for search engine marketing services. The caller (often from a blocked number) says that he can make our website #1 on Google.

With over 15 years of experience making websites and doing search engine marketing, I quickly realize that there is something very fishy here. After all, Google uses well over 200 criteria for its search engine results and if the all of these were known and could be manipulated by search engine marketers with exact precision, they would become meaningless as everyone would become #1 on Google.

The trick and I do admit it is a clever one, is that the cold caller will indeed put you at number one on Google, but only in the paid results. For example, if I pay enough, I can be number one for “Hawaii web design”, but I will be there only as long as I keep paying. The caller is not promising to make you #1 for the organic results, the place where every search engine marketer wants to be, because these results are likely to be there month after month, and there are no pay-per-click costs.

We can do the math for the “#1 on Google” plan. The cold caller figures out (it’s easy to do with access to the right databases) that the average cost per click for “kona scuba diving” is $1.50 and there are 300 searches a month for this. He knows that approximately 20% of those searches will click the top paid result, so to stay on the top of the Google paid results will cost somewhere around $90 (300 searches x 20% click rate X $1.50 a click) a month.

He then cold calls some dive charters in Kona and say, “I can make your business #1 on Google for “kona scuba diving” next month for only $150. Did you know that there are 300 searches for it? You will be #1 all month, I assure you. We guarantee it!”

The charter boat operator thinks this is a good deal. Is it?

Yes, if you’re the person setting up the ad and making $60 a month per key word. I can assure you that, if for some reason, the cost of running the ad approaches what is paid, you will not see  your ad anymore. The model only works if the amount charged to the business owner is quite a bit less than what is paid for the ads.

A better approach would be to set up your own ad using Google Adwords or have someone like Kona Impact do it for you—we charge a one-time fee. You’ll get more visitors and spend less money. An even better long-term approach would be to work with a company like Kona Impact to be found toward the top of the organic searches. This is a lot less expensive in the long term.

So, the next time, or the first time, someone cold calls you with an online marketing scheme that seems too good to be true, it is. Hang up. Call someone in your community. If that community is Hawaii Island, call us: 329-6077.

Low Cost Provider? Think Again!

\We received a call the other day from a business that was looking to have a new website made. Within a few seconds of answering the call, we found ourselves in a familiar script:

Caller: How much does a website cost?

Us: It depends. Much like a new car, there are models and features that can impact your costs.

Caller: Well, we got a quote from someone that was $500 for a five page website. He’s a college student who is learning web design.

Us: OK.  I see. Well, we are a professional web design team and we couldn’t come anywhere close to what the student quoted you.

Caller: Ok. Thanks for your time. Bye.

We hope it works out well for the caller. Maybe the student he found was particularly adept, focused and knowledgeable about web design. Maybe he’ll make a great website for the business. Our experience tells us, however, that seldom does the buyer’s expectations and needs meet the novice designer’s end product.

Here are a few critical problems with novice designers:

  1. The project is on-the-job training. We often find low price quotes are used as a way for a novice designer to get some money for a project they are woefully unqualified to complete at the onset. They don’t ask for a lot of money because they don’t have a lot of skills. They hope to learn as they go along and figure things out. Seldom is the final product (if it even gets to this stage) something that is useful. Timelines are seldom adhered to.
  2. They have no search engine optimization focus. There are many decisions a web design team makes that impacts the ability of a website to be found online. There are several things an experienced team will do to help the buyer produce good, web-ready content. Without an understanding of these issues, it is unlikely the website will do well on the search engines. It’s kind of like building nice restaurant without any roads leading to it.
  3. No design sense with great programming or no programming sense with nice design. Websites have a visual aspect that is supported by underlying website programming. Most people who work with websites have a definite skillset that is often in the “designer” or the “programmer” sphere. Seldom does one person have very strong skills in both areas. This is why you almost always will do better with a team working on your site instead of one individual.
Project Planning Dynamics

Projects are never simple.

There are, of course, times when the low cost provider can produce something that is well beyond the value of what is paid. Most of the time, however, the you really do get what you pay for.

If you’re looking for a professional web design experience and project in Hawaii, give us a call at 808-329-6077.

To A-Frame or Not to A-Frame?

We often have customers come to our office and ask us whether a particular sign is “legal”. Our response is always the same: We don’t know. We’re not lawyers. Check with the County.

The County of Hawaii sign Code (click to download) is 28 pages long, and, well, a bit detailed. In the end, the sign code seems to be something that, while written with good intentions, does not have much basis in the reality of owning property or running a business in Hawaii.

Though (again!) I don’t work for the county, I would realistically say that upwards of 90% of the signs in Kailua-Kona violate the sign code in some way. It is, in effect, a sign code that has not or can not be enforced.

For many businesses, this is due to practical considerations: they are located off the main streets and it would be impossible for them to run the business without putting an A-frame sign on their building’s property by the street. For other businesses, it’s simply a matter of financial resources. A banner might costs $100 and a large, back-illuminated sign would cost several thousand dollars. The choice is easy, especially in these hard times when many business owners are having a hard time even paying rent.

After we tell our clients that we do not have a definite answer, we do tell them what we see in practice. Note: this is not in law, but in practice–the two are very different. The law always trumps in practice when the inspector comes around.

If you put a banner on someone else’s property, don’t be surprised when it’s gone. The is the rule of Common Sense.

There are several places in town that have multiple banners. Some of these are on public property. If you’re advertising an upcoming event, you might be OK. But, then again, you might lose your banner.

If you put a banner on your building (or inside the window) you are probably safe…in practice.

Most signs affixed to a building do not seem to arouse controversy, as long as the landlord and building owner approve.

If you are one of the idiots who staple or tape flyers to telephone polls or street lights, stop. I seldom see these taken down after the concert or garage sale. When you find your lost dog or cat, have the courtesy to remove the flyers.

Putting up an A-frame in any place that people walk is more than likely to get you in trouble. Got enough liability insurance?

A-frames on private property and away from walking areas don’t seem to be a huge issue.

Finally, Saturdays and Sundays are days off for the people who enforce the sign code (to my knowledge).

We make a lot of signs at Kona Impact, and we will certainly tell you if, in practice, what you want is not a good idea. That said, we always put the final responsibility with the buyer. If you have any questions, give us a call at 329-6077

Eat Ham

See-Through Window Vinyl

There are few things more cost-effective for promoting a local business than than vehicle graphics, especially in a town, like Kailua-Kona, that is very vehicle-dependent. Whether it is a trip to Costco, a local restaurant or the gas station, our trucks and cars are how we get around. So, why not make your vehicle a “mobile marketing machine”?

There are many options that won’t break the bank:

1. vehicle magnets – About $100/set. These are nice if you are looking for something that is removable and re-positional.

2. semi-permanent vinyl – Great for a company car or van. Long-lasting and can have any graphics or logo you desire.

3. see-though window vinyl. These can be printing with any graphic or message and allow the driver to see clearly out the window. This material is expensive, but it’s an awesome way to have your vehicle provide visibility for your business.

At Kona Impact, we specialize in working with small and medium-size businesses in Kona, Hawaii. We seek to provide cost-effective solutions with attentive and responsive customer service. When you’re ready to grow your business give us a call at 808-329-6077.