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Why Do Website Prices Vary So Much?

Small busi­nesses often want simple, affordable web design packages. That’s fine, we can do that — but then some call pro­fes­sional web design “expensive” and “over­com­plicated”. So why do website prices vary so much?

Because web design can mean several very dif­ferent things.

Business web­sites serve a wide range of pur­poses. Some of those pur­poses are common, others less so. So there are at least three levels of web design to consider.

Affordable Web Design Packages

Common require­ments can some­times be stand­ardised, and pro­cesses stream­lined, to keep costs down. However, flex­ib­ility creates com­plexity, so in practice, “stream­lining pro­cesses” always means “restricting choices”.

For some people, and some pur­poses, that makes little dif­ference — and cash flow is often a bigger concern for small busi­nesses.… Read the rest 

Ten Common Website Design Mistakes

Web design is like cooking — it may look easy, but it’s easy to get wrong. No microwave can make you a chef. Similarly, DIY website builders let you make costly mis­takes. So Base22 kindly provided this infographic of ten common website design mis­takes, and I’ve added a few more points below.

Ten Common Website Design Mistakes

Whilst DIY web design often makes these mis­takes, so do inex­per­i­enced web designers. That’s why exper­i­enced pro­fes­sional web design is a better business investment, even in affordable web design packages.

Poor User Experience

Whilst user exper­ience is also affected by most of the points below, visual design plays a big part too. It’s not just a matter of making things look pretty, either.… Read the rest 

5 Top Tips For Working From Home

Working from home during coronavirus lockdownThe coronavirus out­break means many people are sud­denly remote working for the first time, and quite a few are already strug­gling psy­cho­lo­gically. I’ve been doing it for over fifteen years. So here are my five top tips for working from home:

  • Routines help. Make sure you change them on the weekend, though. Otherwise you’ll soon stop noticing that weekends exist. Build in some flex­ib­ility too, if pos­sible. Work with the needs of your household, not against them.
  • Stop telling yourself, “It’s only for three weeks” (or whatever the expected dur­ation is in your region). It may be, but it may be longer. This is your new normal. Accept that, or however long it ends up being, it will seem a lot longer. Also, if it turns out to be longer, you’ll be more stressed about that.
Read the rest 

Small Business SEO Mistakes

Small business SEO is now more vital than ever. Why? Because with more people working from home, offline advert­ising will struggle to compete with online searches.

Your com­pet­itors know this. That’s why Google Trends shows that searches for SEO in the UK recently (March 2020) peaked higher than at any time in the past five years.

Still, small busi­nesses face special problems when it comes to investing in SEO. This leads to three common mistakes.

Mistake #1: DIY SEO

Small budgets make DIY seem tempting. Yet whilst the basics of SEO can seem simple to learn, they take years to master — and they keep changing.

Besides, the simple parts won’t get you far.… Read the rest 

Top 3 Tips for Small Business Website Growth

data-driven website growthSo you’ve launched your new website? Congratulations! Or maybe you’ve had one for a while — and are now won­dering if it’s really working? Well, building your site was just the beginning. Now you need to focus on website growth.

Not sure where to start with that? Don’t worry, that’s quite common. So here are three vital things that many small busi­nesses overlook.

1. Use Your Website Stats

Any usable business website gen­erates a lot of stats on its vis­itors. If yours doesn’t, you’re flying blind. It usually takes weeks to collect enough data to start seeing mean­ingful trends though. So you need to fix this imme­di­ately.

Thankfully, most sites are easy to link to Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.… Read the rest 

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