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So Newport is back in lockdown, and Cardiff and Bristol may soon follow. Whatever happens, with everyone now online, this autumn’s mar­keting season will be more com­pet­itive than ever, and there’s no time to waste in getting started. So this seems a good time to mention that I offer a FREE social media dash­board to save tons of time with your social media mar­keting.

Social media mar­keting doesn’t get any easier. This dash­board helps you to create, schedule and re-use posts across the main social media channels, with a simple cal­endar interface. Just create a few days’ worth of posts whenever you have time, and set them for when your audience are online.… Read the rest

Top 5 SEO Myths Hurting Small Businesses

Even after over 20 years of search engine optim­isation, several SEO myths seem par­tic­u­larly per­sistent. With so much mis­in­form­ation flying around, it’s no wonder small business owners treat SEO with caution.

It’s one thing to see these myths sur­facing in small business net­working groups. It’s quite another when flaky “SEO spe­cialists” promote them in sales emails.

Yes, I get those emails too. So this is prompted by yet another dodgy “SEO spe­cialist” site review listing fake SEO problems they’d “found”. Whilst real SEO reviews can help, spammers just send out cookie-cutter lists and hope you’ll bite. These can be hard to spot unless you keep up with current SEO best prac­tices.

Asking non-expert friends and col­leagues may feel reas­suring, but unin­formed advice just increases risk.… Read the rest

Why Cheap Web Designers Often Disappear

Cheap web designer disappearingSo here’s some­thing I left out of my “Why Website Prices Vary” post because it can be a touchy subject. So first, let me say that most web designers I know are superb, tal­ented people who only want to help. That said, the exper­i­enced ones are rarely cheap web designers.

Still, I have just spoken to yet another dis­tressed small business owner. His cheap web designer had left him in the lurch with a broken website and no access to fix it.

Other business owners had told him this was “typical” of “flaky” designers. They all just assumed the worst of our entire industry. Even web designers rarely discuss it, just pointing out that you get what you pay for. Still, it is pre­dictable and avoidable.… Read the rest

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