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The Hidden Costs of DIY Web Design

DIY web design has hidden costsYou may not expect a pro­fes­sional web designer to say this, but DIY web design does have its place. However, when building business web­sites, the hidden costs of DIY web design are far higher than most people think.

As a small business owner, it can be tempting to ignore these costs. They will still affect you, though — and can easily cost you more than engaging a pro­fes­sional web designer. So con­sider them care­fully before falling for the hype about DIY web design systems.

When To Consider DIY Web Design

If you don’t aim to make money from your website, any money spent on it is pure cost. So then it’s wise to min­imise that cost, and doing so has little impact.

However, the situ­ation for any kind of com­mercial site is com­pletely dif­ferent.… Read the rest 

Top 5 Website Project Risks (& how to avoid them)

Building a website can be a great investment for almost any business — and vital for most. Yet nothing is as simple as it seems. Every website project can be put at risk by common mistakes.

Knowing these basic web design project pit­falls helps you avoid them. Still, they’re common because they aren’t always obvious. So I thought I’d list the main ones here.

1. Delayed Decisions

It’s easy to put off big decisions, telling ourselves we need to think them over. However, we then rarely get around to doing so.

We forget 70% of new inform­ation within a day. So the secret to success is getting started before that happens. Successful people make decisions when the inform­ation is fresh in their minds.… Read the rest 

7 Ways Social Media Helps Small Businesses Grow

Social media apps are with us everywhere!Social media is a vital mar­keting tool for small busi­nesses because entry fees are low, and the potential reach is high. Many art­icles focus on how social media helps small busi­nesses grow by increasing brand awareness.

That’s all very well, but how can social media drive sales?

Well, social ads are an obvious answer — but thank­fully, not the only answer.

Popular Social Media Sales Strategies

In fact, a recent review of key social media mar­keting stats noted seven popular ways that com­panies use social media to drive sales:

  • 48% of firms said being responsive encourages cus­tomers to buy
  • 46% find that offering pro­mo­tions helps to drive sales
  • 42% drive sales by providing edu­ca­tional content (aka “content marketing”)
  • 35% use exclusive content to encourage purchases
  • 28% reported using inter­esting visuals increased sales
  • 27% said it helped to provide “behind the scenes” content
  • 26% find being funny can improve sales

All of these tactics also improve cus­tomer engagement with your brand and long-term loyalty.… Read the rest 

Mastering Local SEO

Local SEO Review ManagementLocal SEO helps your site to rank for local keywords, like “dentist Cardiff” or “vet Bristol”. Good local SEO can get you fea­tured in both the organic (unpaid) search results and the “map pack” that appears above them. That’s obvi­ously good for sales. So how can you master local SEO?

Well, it differs from non-local (aka “national”) SEO, because for local searches, search engines need to be con­fident of your firm’s loc­ation. Your online repu­tation matters a lot more, too. So whilst good on-site SEO and back­links are still as vital as for normal SEO, cita­tions and reviews are the keys to good local search positioning.

Unfortunately, both cita­tions and reviews have common pit­falls that can easily undermine your rankings.

Citation Consistency for Local SEO

Citations are places that mention your company, even if they don’t provide a link.… Read the rest 

Can A VPN Improve Small Business Cybersecurity?

Can a VPN improve small business cybersecurityAll busi­nesses today should recognise the importance of having an effective cyber­se­curity policy in place. Data breaches seem to be con­stantly in the news. Whilst those tend to be high-profile cases like TalkTalk and British Airways, small busi­nesses fre­quently suffer data breaches too. In recent years, Virtual Private Networks (“VPNs”) have become quite common for home use — so can a VPN improve small business cybersecurity?

Well, yes — but let’s cover the basics before examining the business benefits of a VPN.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a private network (within the public internet) that enhances your online privacy by:

  • Giving you a tem­porary IP address when you go online
  • Encrypting data transfers between your com­puter and other online resources
  • Wrapping that data inside other data to keep it even more private (called “tun­neling” or “encap­su­lation”)

An IP address is the numeric address of your com­puter on the internet.… Read the rest 

Why Your Business Needs Video Marketing In 2019 [Infographic]

Video mar­keting has become very popular in recent years. Yet there’s no denying that it’s a bit more complex than text or image ads. So if you’re won­dering whether it’s worth the effort, the infographic below explains why your business needs video mar­keting in 2019. Click on the image for a full-size version.

…and if you still assume video mar­keting must be complex and costly, scroll down to see how I can make it easier than you think!

Why your business needs video marketing in 2019

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Video Marketing for Small Businesses

Getting started with video mar­keting in 2019 doesn’t have to be complex. There are many ways you can benefit from it without even getting a video camera out.

Read the rest 

Interactive Video Marketing for SMEs

Customers love video, but do you know what they love even more? Being in control. So today I’m proud to launch another new service — inter­active video mar­keting for small busi­nesses!

Ask your audience what they want to see. Then offer it to them and let them respond — all in one video.

Check out the example on this page. Then read on to see how you can be one of the first to use this amazing new tech­nology in your digital marketing.

N.B. As this is only a demo, it won’t save your email address or send you a coupon — but your video could!

How can Interactive Video Marketing help you?

Videos are incredibly popular and engaging, even without inter­active ele­ments. Inviting the user to choose their path through a series of related clips linked together by mul­­tiple-choice ques­tions makes them even more compelling.

Read the rest 

7 Top Marketing Myths

Marketing myths and mistakesMarketing moves fast, but mar­keting myths die hard. It’s common to copy “tra­di­tional mar­keting wisdom” without real­ising that risks copying tra­di­tional mar­keting mistakes.

The web gives digital mar­keters masses of imme­diate audience feedback to learn from — far more than tra­di­tional mar­keters have ever had.

So whatever you’ve learned may well be out­dated already. Times change, com­pet­itors learn and update their strategies, and mar­keting evolves. What worked a few years ago may not work now. Or perhaps it never worked, but was based on false, yet popular, assump­tions. Yet many people still spread these myths as if they’re in the know.

Many useful lessons in mar­keting have been twisted by mis­quotes and false assump­tions over the years, too. Here are seven of the top mar­keting myths that I still see today and why you should think twice before falling for them.… Read the rest 

5 Top Tips for Designing a Small Business Website

Small business website - start small, think bigPlanning to launch a new website for your business? There’s a lot to con­sider when designing a small business website. Have you thought about how its design may affect vis­ib­ility on Google or how people per­ceive your business?

Gone are the days where a free Geocities or WordPress tem­plate could do the job for you.

The com­pet­ition is tighter now, with 71% of small busi­nesses already oper­ating a website of their own. Your site has to stand out amidst the sea of com­pet­itors. Get started the right way with these 5 top tips to create a good small business website:

1 .On-Site SEO is a Must

First and foremost, make Search Engine Optimization a pri­ority for everything you do on your site. Whether it’s designing how the site looks to the content you post on the pages and blog, SEO should be a part of the design philo­sophy.… Read the rest 

5 Top Marketing Trends for 2019

Marketing trends 2019Now that it’s 2019, the question on every small business’s mind is “How can I better prepare for the new year?” Taking advantage of the latest trends is an effective way to grow your business and reach a wider audience. So here are a few of the top mar­keting trends that you need to consider.

1. Content is still king

The growth of ad blockers has made tra­di­tional advert­ising tougher for small busi­nesses. Paid ads simply aren’t as effective any more. It’s also a slow and passive form of mar­keting that you have little control over.

In any case, cus­tomers gen­erally prefer to buy from people they know, like and trust. So even without an ad blocker, most people are pretty good at ignoring any­thing that looks like a tra­di­tional paid ad.… Read the rest