Who is the best interior designer in the world? blimey that’s a question and a half.
I’m writing this post in wordpress and I use this thing called Zemanta which suggests images and articles to do with the subject, with suggestions changing as I compose the article. So the first designer that appears will get put in the picture on the right and that will be the person you are looking at now!
I’ll probably not know the person that is suggested (we’ll see it still hasn’t appeared yet!)
Ooops there she is: Tanya Gyani.Congratulations Tanya.
Now of course there probably really is no ‘best interior designer in the world’ that we can all agree on. But the point of my post was to go one of two ways. I was either going to come from the angle of saying that YOU should be the best interior designer in terms of how you market yourself to your target nichesOR that whoever comes up and gets put in my picture isthe best interior designer in the sense that they are the best at getting their image shown against a generic search for “the best interior designer in the world”.
Maybe Tanya will now go on to global fame? Who knows? If she does I certainly hope she will start specifying some of our fabrics on her projects as she hasn’t done so yet! (as far as I know).
No; really YOU should be positioning yourself as the best interior designer at what you do. But rather than saying you are “the best at XYZ” it is probably more appealing and more humble for you to phrase it as “I am the only Interior Designer In XXX who does YYY”. Use that sort of angle A LOT in your client communications (written or verbal) and you give your potential clients A REASON TO CHOOSE YOU and a REASON FOR YOU TO JUSTIFY YOUR PRICING. Make sure it’s true of course. For uniqueness is priceless (well almost!!)
Remember of course that it should not all be about price. Your client wants a great job most of all. Cost might be a factor but so also is the risk of who the client chooses. Find a way of exuding confidence and competence to lower that perceived risk.
Good luck you and good luck Tanya (there she even gets a link to her website).
What do you mean “you have no back-links“. You must have back-links. Everyone should have back-links. Shouldn’t they?
Aren’t they really important?
Can my blog/website survive without them?
Let’s see shall we? Read on…
Some Interior Designers will use their blog or website as a means of lead generation and then of course that leads to REVENUE. To such people, where their website/blog appears in search results WILL affect how many leads they get. If you are one of those designers whose website is a branding statement or a follow-up to a business card or a place to get directions to your office, then maybe where your blog/website appears in Google searches is not so relevant. IE IF the target person for your company knows the name of your company then they are going to type in that name and, more often than not, you’ll pop up pretty soon…unless you are called BBC Interior Design or CNN Designers or something along those lines! You get the drift?
It is a fact that the more genuine links you have to your website the higher you will appear in Google searches than would otherwise be the case. Just go back and read that again and note the word GENUINE.
So what we do on this site periodically is link to the blogs and website of interior designers…new and old. Known and not known. We share our ‘likes’ indiscriminately. IF we do that we are doing you a favour! (So kind). Yet in the process of doing that we often add a post to our blog with your information in it. Oh and that boosts the frequency of change on our site…which Google also likes and so we benefit. (Not so kind…more of selfish perhaps?..not really we ALL gain). These kind of back-links are good. They are genuine. They might help subscribers to our blog find out new interesting stuff, perhaps even from their competitors. Google kind-of recognise this and credit us both for it. Cool.
But now let’s go a little deeper and get to the home truths. Why would I link to your web site? No really … why? What is so great about it? There are a LOT of interior designers website out there (I mean a real LOT) is yours really so different? Do you copy other’s images and comment on them? That’s OK you are adding your own original content to someone else’s original image. I’d prefer to see YOUR pictures of YOUR projects and YOUR comments, that would be better but I can live with reading your thoughts and views and opinions – they are often funny and interesting.
Do you just put on pretty pictures and sleek images and have a really nice looking site. That’s potentially great. I’ll link to it once. BUT I WILL NEVER COME BACK. EVER. There you go you got me…and then you let me go.
You’ve got to have compelling, original content that changes regularly. If you have that EVERYTHING works; I come back Google thinks you’re wonderful and so on.
It’s a bit hard to do though isn’t it. Finding the time to write perhaps 2 or 3 times a week. You can be original and maybe even funny for a few months but it gets harder after that. Sorry just stating a ‘fact’ there, no magic solutions. Be creative, perhaps? That’s your job right?
Anyway. You’ve come to the point where you are running out of stuff to say and you remember that those back-links are darned good things to have. So you go with a company who you pay a bit of cash to to create links to your site from hundreds of pseudo-fake sites that they have created. This used to kind-of work. But the people at Google are clever, they constantly try to stop you cheating. SO this works much less well than it used to.
Also again think what are these companies going to be linking back to? You have to have the content.
Let’s say you do not have a blog or perhaps one that you only wrote in for a month before giving up as no-one was reading it. So again you go down the purchased back-links route. Why? what is it going to link to? You have to have the content. & it has to change to get real people to come back.
Actually IMHO if you are a start up company with a pagerank of 1 or zero. Then I’m pretty sure that these back-links would very quickly improve your pagerank to a 2 or 3.
So what to do?
Talk and write about your creativity. Your competitors will be interested for sure. THAT won’t benefit you at all. HOWEVER there are not many interior designers doing that, so when a potential customer sees your site some of them will notice.
People in the design industry should comment and re-publicise all our work more often (that’s kind of how Houzz works in away if you think about it). When you share, you benefit, in the eWorld of Mr Google. You are opening up your secrets maybe, but those that share and participate in the online design community will gain the most from Mr Google. If you don’t share you may well keep your methods and clients secret but you may also never appear in Mr Google’s search results.
Thoughts welcomed. Creating false back-links could backfire and could cost you money. And we ALL know it is cheating but many of us still do it to beat the system.
For our American readers I will leave the explanation of another meaning of ‘a bit on the side’ to your furtive imaginations. This article looks at some of the ways you can make a bit of money (on the side) from your blog – that is ways other thanthat of attracting your target customers to your web site.
Be Warned: This may well distract you from your core business for minimal gains!
There are 2 ways that web sites and blogs can make additional revenue. If you are in the right market writing the right stuff you could make $1,000 a month…just like all those unsolicited emails say you can! Or you could be in the wrong market and invest the same amount of time as the person who makes $1,000 a month but yourself only get $50 a month. So be careful.
The 2 ways are shown here.
Put adverts on your site (google adsense – which is the reverse of Google adwords)
Host blog POSTS that are effectively adverts containing back-links to other sites by:
The advertiser or their agent writes the post and you just put it on your site.
Be Warned: This may impact negatively on the image of your blog or website.
To make money in either of these examples you need to have people going to your site. So if your site is currently ‘low-traffic’ then I would stop reading now and get back to your interior designing!
Google, with their adsense, program will be interested in adverts on ANY site, including yours. But *YOU* will only make money out of adsense if you firstly have lots of visitors for your great content AND SECONDLY they click on the adverts that Google put there.
If you have a good site with lots of visitors and a good ‘pagerank’ (>3) then advertising agencies will potentially be interested in your site, especially if your subject matter broadly matches that of their clients. If you also have lots of twitter/pinterest/facebook/linkedin followers then that might be a bonus for the agency/advertiser (but probably not, although it should be).
Simple adwords can go anywhere on your site – be it a web site or a blog. Paid posts could be a new page added to your website but more easily it can be accomplished with a blog which you hopefully already have.
So what do I need to do then?
A. Attract Agencies
To attract advertising agencies I would firstly check a bit more closely some of the unsolicited emails you have been deleting. Some of these may well have been from advertising agencies genuinely offering to pay you to put posts (and/or back links) on your site for a fee…honest! Workout a standard response to these emails including why your site is great and how much you charge, save it and use it. We have accepted some adverts from this route and, yes, it is true and genuine and you do get paid (or you remove the post). We worked on the assumption that it was virtually zero effort and the post would soon get buried in the history of our numerous posts – you could even put a one year time frame on the advert after which you would remove it.
Secondly I would be proactive and look for sites that let you register an interest to be a host for these paid-for-blog posts. Sites such as www.socialspark.com let you do this.
If you have a good pagerank (>3) and, say, more than 5000 unique visitors per moth then you should get at least US$/£100 for a single post containing one backlink to an advertier’s client’s site. You may or may not get a few of these a month. Compare this to the next paragraph, AdSense, where you should get a higher frequency of lower value income…
Many of you have your blogs on wordpress. If you let wordpress do all the hosting for your then you will not be able to incorporate ads on your site. This is because wordpress place adverts themselves and make money from your site themselves. You can’t see them doing this if you look at your site from your computer…but they do. Honest.
So you have to move or migrate your blog to somewhere that you control. The company who hosts your website will probably be able to let you install wordpress on your part of their machine and then you can use it and put ads onto your site. This could involve quite a complicated migration and software installation for you or your techy people. Again there will be a cost associated to this. You will then have to set up your blog so that parts of it are able to automatically show Google’s ads and credit your account if they are clicked.
NEVER click the ads yourself nor get friends to do it. Google are very clever.
If you are on a site that is controlled by wordpress (like this one) then look at your wordpress control panel for clicks on your site. You will probably see quite a few clicks to sites that you don’t know about. How did these links get on your site? Well they were the ones that google put there. If you add up your clicks you will get some idea of the number of clicks you might get going forwards by doing AdSense yourself. If you work on a revenue-per-click of 20p to 50p (20 cents to 50 cents) then you can do the maths of a best case scenario and a likely case scenario for an interior designer.
Be Warned: AdSense can theoretically show your direct competitor’s adverts on your site through their AdWords program.
Sites like socialspark.com allow advertisers to automatically put posts onto your site. Whilst I’m sure the content will be ethical I’m not so sure it will always tie in with the image you hope to portray on your site.
Think how your readers will feel. Will they want to be shown ads on your site and might a post from an advertiser, in a way, trick the loyal reader into reading an advert they were not expecting.
Moving to a site capable of hosting AdSense adverts might be tricky and/or time consuming – depending on your current setup.
That’s about it really. Fairly simple to understand but potentially tricky to implement for uncertain rewards.
As an interior designer you’ve probably been attracted to houzz.com to look at the many high quality interiors images there. And there are literally tens of thousands of high quality images. We’ll come back to those in a minute but first we’ll look at some other benefits for you being in that online space.
Houzz.com *IS* a popular web destination. It is used by your competitors and also possibly by future residential clients of yours. It’s always good to hang out with clients right? You keep telling me networking is important so I guess you are with me so far?
There are lots of discussions initiated by potential residential clients. If you buy into how social media works then you will already know that.
Talking to someone and helping them could possibly lead to a sale (or a waste of time).
Talking to someone digitally leaves a record. Someone in the future could come along with the same problem and decide to talk to you based on your response.
Someone could be doing a bit of research into you and your opinions before deciding to contact you.
Of course if you haven’t bought into social media then you’ll think it’s a load of nonsense and you probably should stop reading this now as I’m surely wasting your time!
You can create “idea books” on Houzz. So you can pull together some of your images and perhaps somebody else’s images. You can then use these as part of a presentation to your client, for example. Or you could get your client to pull together an idea book and review that after they’ve finished. The danger there of course is that the client has control of the ‘digital capital’ and may tout around his/her likes and dislikes to your competitors. One issue with doing this on Houzz is that sometimes images are incorrectly tagged and so sometimes you are presented with the wrong images and/or you can’t find the right ones. Another potential issue with Houzz, which I have not verified, is that some images on Houzz become copyrighted by Houzz (I’m not quite sure how they manage that legally but that’s another issue, just be aware).
Any idea books you create stay on houzz and may be seen and liked by other potential customers or copied by competitors or taken to competitors by less discerning clients.
If you put together a pretty coherent theme then that could be seen as giving away your creative work to other people or it could be seen as you being a confident and competent designer worthy of considering for a client’s next project. So it could get you the chance of winning some business.
There are ways to embed “idea books” back onto your website/blog. This is good in that someone else is managing the hosting and techy stuff behind the display of your images and ideas. HOWEVER, and this is importnat, such embedded bits of digital stuff will encourage people to click back to houzz. So you will inadvertently be encouraging a potential customer (or existing customer) back to houzz and potentially out of the eager creative grasp of your web site or blog.
So I’d think carefully about that.
You can of course use houzz as yet another online directory. It’s probably better than most because of the aesthetics and wealth of quality images.
Why not, go for it! See how it works out? It’s free after all.
On sites that you think MAY turn out to be useful I would always recommend using a special link to your web site on that site directory listing/profile of you. That way you will be able to track the number of hits your site receives from houzz. eg you will have index.htm so create an identical copy of that called index-houzz.htm or index1.htm something like that. I hope that makes sense without gettign too technical. Don’t bother doing this if you are sceptical of houzz.
What i like about houzz is that it draws the user into it. It makes the user (your potential customer) stay there and play around. This is an important thing to bear in mind as most potential cients that go to your site will say there between 10 and 60 seconds (if you are lucky). So anywhere that encourages people to stay is POTENTIALLY a good place for YOU to establish a profile.
If you are a designer who needs a bit of inspiration from time to time then you can get that on houzz. But again you’ll probably just be going there for product inspiration, right? As you would never want to (ahem) match/copy/change-a-bit someone else’s interior design ideas! Would you?
Houzz has the idea of region or metro area. That’s nothing amazing but it does help potential clients find a local designer.
I think the main draw is the huge volume of images with relatively straightforward ways of getting to that information and, importantly, an EASY way to then copy or “cut and paste” those ideas into an idea book. That’s what houzz fundamentally is built upon CONTENT and ORGANIZATION…photo-content, how they are indexed and displayed and how easily you can copy and create custom content.
I’ve just got my new iPAD 3…yeah! Whilst it has obvious limitations and is a tad expensive, it is also ‘obviously’ a great creativity productivity tool for interior designers. You can benefit a lot from all the stuff that’s already built in when you buy it but what about those pesky apps? You know, the ones that are a few pounds/dollars but are rubbish and the ones that are free and awesome…it’s a bit of a minefield sorting through them all to find a useful gem to help you with productivity and creativity at work.
Here’s a bit of help for you with my list of iPAD essential apps for interior designers. Some are specifically useful to designers other more generally useful to your business usage of an iPAD. Please feel free to suggest some more I certainly haven’t used them all.
Houzz: The “Wikipedia of interior and exterior design” by CNN, Houzz has the largest database of home design ideas on the net, with over 200,000 high resolution photos. Watch out tho it can show TRADE PRICES in many places..not great for your client to see. **Free**
AutoCAD WS: View, edit, and share your DWG™ files with anyone, anywhere. AutoCAD WS mobile app enables you to work with AutoCAD® drawings directly: Free
iHome HD: Many free interior pictures. Cost: Free but a more extensive version is available at an additional cost.
Dream home HD: integrate the latest interior design trends into your home. Explore the immense variety of decor solutions from professional designers for your entire home, browse through hundreds of real photos and navigate through the extensive menu of colors, styles and room types. From tiny efficient accents to the most sophisticated interiors, Dream Home HD contains a top class collection of ideas for the home of your dream. $4.99
Dropbox: A FREE MUST-HAVE app and the first that I installed. An iPAD is essentially a glorified phone rather than a simplified MAC/PC. One of the downsides is that you can’t always get files to and from the iPAD so easily. DROPBOX lets you do this and backs them up for free on the net. Similar in some ways to iCLOUD probably best to use if you have PCs as well. $Free
The interior design world moves on and so does the way your clients use the internet to find you. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not.
Just after we have spent ages (days! weeks! months!…years?!) trying to figure out what search terms our clients might type into Mr Google, and then incorporate that into our online presences(s), we find they are morphing how they search into something new and far more sinister.
Would you believe it? In the design world, a place based on aesthetics, those darned potential customers are using images to find us. How annoying is that? It seems like only yesterday when we ignored images because we knew that google can’t really ‘see’ them and we balanced that by putting all the right words everywhere. We even got the odd first page google listing for some odd convoluted phrase that one client a year might potentially type!!
So now it seems that we have to go back to what we naively thought was right all along. All we have to do is just put lots of pretty pictures onto our site and the whole world will come flocking to our door.
Well, maybe! I’ll backtrack a little and explain where I’m coming from before everyone gets a little too excited!
I’ll come from one simple factoid. One of my interior design industry based web sites has about 500 hits a day. Not bad, I suppose. I looked into some of the stats a bit more last week and found that by far the most number of hits came from google. Fine. About 85% of the hits in fact. Nothing new there then? No.
But; there’s always a “but”.
When I delved deeper I found that 19% of the google hits were coming from the GOOGLE IMAGES part of the google search site. IE the bit where you type in ‘mohair velvet fabric’ (or whatever) and then find you have loads of pages returned to you, so you click on the images bit on the left hand side and it only shows you (in theory) lots of pretty pictures of mohair velvet fabrics. (As well as lots of other junk of course, but on the whole it’s not too bad).
19%. that’s quite a lot.
So I looked at different time frames and, yes, that 19% was pretty consistent over at least the last 6 months. Maybe 17%, maybe 23%, it varied. That’s still enough of a trend for me to believe it and I’m sure it would hold true if I had bothered to look further back in time.
So what’s going on here then?
Well firstly it showed that I am doing some things right. I am putting images alongside my musings. It makes it easier to read, pretty pictures – some perhaps even relevant – just like a magazine. Also for the images to have been recognised by google then I must also have tagged them (the ALT tag if you want to be more precise in HTML terms). So yes I had images in my musing and they were correctly tagged images. That is, the images had a bit of text manually put on them by me. To make matters better I had also called the images the same thing (broadly) as the tags I intended to use.
3. The alt tags you give to the image; and peripherally at
4. The physical colour scale of the image (it can recognise it is mostly green, for example).
The first three of these are very important the 3rd much less so.
So you’ve just done a great design job for one of your better clients. You upload some pics of the rooms to your online portfolio and voila! 100s of people will beat their way to your internet door!…er no.
Let’s say you had this great picture of the main room. So you upload img_1325.jpg to your site and you cleverly ALT-TAG it as “main-room-31-randomstreet-localtown”.
Not good. Assuming it was not a tiny thumbnail image here is something along the lines of what you should have done:
1. Called it “contemporary-modern-home-belgravia.jpg” – or something similarly appropriate; and
2. Tagged it as “contemporary, modern, home, Belgravia” – or something similarly appropriate.
You get the idea? The keywords you have already discovered that work in the text of your writings now also need to be judiciously applied to your images. Get cracking!
Here are some of the posts I previously wrote or you can find them all in one go by <clicking here>
I talked to a friend a couple of weeks back and she bemoaned the fact that her Design Practice had spent quite a bit of time and money on creating and growing their web site but not much was coming from it in terms of genuine leads and sales in the very particular niche market that she was targeting much of her efforts towards.
So I quizzed her a bit more:
1. Was she creating engaging, frequently updated content for her target market? She said yes. I read her blog and had to agree.
2. Was she using the right keywords? She thought so. And although I’m not an expert in her particular target market I tended to agree.
3. Then she raised the point that Mr Google thought her PAGERANK was quite high. That was strange and surely not part of the problem?
4. We then looked through her Google AdWords campaign. And that too seemed broadly OK.
5. There were quite a few backlinks from other sites to hers, so that wasn’t the problem either.
So what’s the problem? Other than she wasn’t getting any money back from the investment? And, er, that’s pretty important!
To cut a long story and quite a bit of research short, here’s what we thought the problem was (if you want to know what pagerank is there are links at the end of the article).
Well, although her pagerank was OK it wasn’t actually that relevant.
One problem with pagerank is that it just BROADLY shows how often your site is visited/how important your site is/how trusted yoru site is. It does NOT show you how often YOUR target customers visit your site…and that is the stat you really want.
So what was happening was that quite a lot of people were visiting the site from all the good links and good search engine positioning that she had paid for. A few of them read some of the stuff on her blog BUT VERY FEW went on to the next steps for converting them into customers. And that was because they weren’t interested in her services because her services were not RELEVANT to them…they just WERE NOT POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS.
So you could have the most visited website with the best page impressions, page views, clicks and all the rest of it. BUT THAT IS NO GOOD IF THE WRONG PEOPLE ARE VISITING YOUR SITE ! They won’t buy.
Her market was such a small market and relatively technically unsophisticated so, perhaps, blogs and search engines were not the best way to get to them.
Similarly, and a bit simplistically, if she had a pagerank of 8/10 (which would be excellent) it would not mean that she was excellent at targeting her customers…just excellent and targeting the whole population.
And the problem was compounded because the 3rd party, who was commissioned to get clicks and a higher pagerank and higher search engine positioning and all the rest of it, did just as they were asked. They weren’t asked to get leads! And didn’t!
Now it was not a total waste of time of course. Because pagerank IS IMPORTANT for google to give your site weighting when google produces search results.
And really the picture was not as bleak as I painted as she did experience an increase in leads for other services she was offering. Although they were more mass market services with lower levels of profit.
So what did she do?
A: Cut back a bit on 3rd party SEO services, focussing the remainder of the budget on the markets that had been successfully reached. With the marketing budget that she saved, she is now looking again at how best divert funds to more traditionally target the profitable niche market she originally set out to make money from.
Interior Designers have been moving much of their sales and marketing into the digital world over the last few years. Maybe this was because of great looking Apple products or maybe just because as new, young designers come into larger business they bring in with them the gadget trends of youth. Or maybe because all this digital e-stuff actually can work and can work quite cost effectively if done right.
I’ve written a few articles on this general subject over the years (I’ll reference some of them at the end of this post. However things have moved on in the real world and some of what I’ve PREVIOUSLY written has been superceded or improved.
It’s still mostly true that you will use your web site as your show case for your business. Your blog will be a part of your website and, unless you sell products that require an up-to-date online catalogue, it is your blog that will contain the information that CAN AND SHOULD be regularly updated. (That will boost your google position). Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook come in as networks you are building. All good stuff.
The problem used to come in how you would simultaneously update all these networks without having to manually re-submit the information. That would obviously be time consuming as would installing and keeping working additional pieces of software that glued all the bits of your marketing together.
Well now it is relatively straightforward to have your wordpress blog update your twitter account, your LinkedIn presence and your facebook business page. Similarly twitter can also update your facebook page automatically. Lots of these automatic links now exist within the main software websites (wordpress, twitter, etc) so you only have to write new information (blog posts or tweets or on your wall) once and then the software you use automates the distribution of that information across lots of different web site and online communities. Sorted, no mystery any more.
This area used to be horrendously complicated and thankfully facebook have now simplified how to create a venity URL. What I mean by this is how do you create and use www.facebook.com/kothea …or of course you would have your business name at the end of that.
Essentially you can now just create a PAGE and give it a name (eg KOTHEA in our case) straight away. Gone are the ridiculous but well intentioned rules about having a certain number of fans.
3. Building networks with Facebook
You probably already know that once you have created you PAGE in facebook then you can use facebook as if YOU are the ‘page’. Rather than the person you really are. So rather than having your facebook activities in the name of ‘Joan Smith’ you make comments as if they are coming instead from your business ‘Smith Interior Design’.
google are also trying to “do a facebook”. This is their Google plus network. You can ignore that for the time being.When was the last time you or your kids used it?
Much better for your branding. Remember to be nice ad say sensible things and don’t get carried away!
Especially in the Interior Design and Architecture industry lots of people use Apple iphones and ipads. Of course your clients may well also use these devices but perhaps are also quite likely to use other ‘tablet’ devices and other smart phones like Blackberries.
Like you, your clients lead hectic lives. They are on the go and people are increasingly looking for information on the move. So all the electronic marketing you do needs also to work on these devices so your potential clients can read it and find it.
This is not so hard to achieve. Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn will automatically do it. WordPress blogs will do it if you check a box in one of the admin features. It might be harder for your web site to do it properly so have a word with your web page designers.
You can use something like http://marketing.grader.com/ to tell you for free some of the more technical things (like working with mobile/cell phones)
Here are some of the posts I previously wrote or you can find them all in one go by <clicking here>
Luxury Cashmere Throws are often used by many designers to add that special finishing touch. The good ones look great and feel fantastic. As well as being aesthetically pleasing a throw can also be functional – keeps you warm!Bearing in mind how often your client will interact with (touch/use) such an item over time it is very important to specify your cashmere throws properly.
Of course you can buy them from very many places. But how do you get a really good one? I mean really good, the best?
We have put together a series of designers’ worksheets. Here is a link to the main one <click here>. The worksheet goes through some of the things you should be looking for when coming to a decision on what to specify.
When looking at specific designs you might then want to look at this worksheet. <Click here>.
Interior Designers can spend hundreds or thousands of pounds/dollars on websites. That CAN be a good investment or it can be a total waste of money.
Not just interior designers, but people from many industries bemoan the fact that no-one is visiting their web site. Then the next (incorrect) step in thinking goes that “well maybe I need to pay someone to get links to my site”… or something along those lines. And so it goes on, more money is spent on technology, on social media, on the web, on the net, on web 2.0 – whatever you want to call it. I’m sure you recognise the picture, perhaps from other designers you know that have these awesome looking websites…with no visitors!
This all-too-typical situation raises a whole raft of questions, points and observations. I’ll try to cover a few of them here.