Every other month, Perfect layout goes out into the community to talk to local businesses. The aim is share with our readers the personal experiences of these companies. What has worked for them and what they could do a little better…
Perfect Layout believe that sharing knowledge and experiences is a great way to help other local businesses. Attracting customers to the Essex area is paramount if independent companies are to thrive.
As a result, we are keen to promote the awesome, creative and varied companies that exist right here on our Essex doorstep.
Read on to find out more about a talented artist that works just around the corner…
How long have you been an artist for?
I would say about 17 years since I graduated, I’ve been doing it from day one.
Did you always want to be an artist?
Absolutely! From the age of 9 I knew. During an art class at school I drew a still life of a pot plant and my teacher said that mine was the best.
Is this your full-time job?
What type of artwork do you produce?
Currently, I am doing large illustrations with pen and ink. Six years ago, I stopped painting and I am enjoying illustrations so much that I might not paint again for a good few years.
What inspires your creativity?
I draw a lot of inspiration from my surroundings. I like drawing communities and people in the communities. I also enjoy drawing landscapes and cityscapes as well as poultry, which sounds a little odd, but I love it!
What type of mediums do you work with?
Currently I am working with pen and ink. Although I’ve previously worked with paints, print making, animation but drawing seems to come up as my favourite.
Who buys your artwork?
People who visit my exhibitions, primarily. I currently have a gallery that help me to sell my work to a third party.
How can your customers find you?
Social media. I have Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and a personal website.
Do you sell any of your work through your website?
Do you think that your website is a good medium through which to sell your artwork?
Have you thought about growing your business more through your website, i.e. create an e-commerce website that would allow people to peruse your work more as though they were in a shop?
What other digital marketing do you do to sell your artwork?
I’m on a couple of on-line galleries but they’re not really selling anything.
What advice would you give to other artists trying to successfully sell their artwork?
I would say that sometimes you’ve got to wear the business hat, which I lack. You’ve got to get yourself out there and be happy about promoting what you do, which I think I need to work on.
What plans do you have for 2018? Will we be able to visit your new creations anywhere?
I am working towards a show that will be at The Havering Museum in October. During the year more, exhibitions will start to pop up and I’ll see whether or not my work is suitable to submit.
Where do you see your artwork business going in the next five years?
Hopefully, I’ll be more comfortable wearing the business hat and be happier with promoting my work. I want to be climbing that ladder of success and I want to head to the top.
So, if you’re looking for some artwork that will add life to a bare wall, how about you check out some of Shema’s amazing creations via:
Facebook – Shema Ladva
Twitter - Shema Ladva
Instagram - shemaladvaarts
Email - email@example.com
If you have a business that you would like to feature in this regular slot, why not get in touch? We’d love to hear from you!
If you’re thinking about having a website built from scratch it may be wise to shop around. Prices can vary as well as the details of the packages that some companies offer.
Here at Perfect Layout we are upfront about the cost of all our services to ensure that you are kept clearly in the picture, right from the word go. The relationship that we develop with you is important to us as our aim is to always to give you an honest and professional service.
Building a website from scratch can be paid for under two package systems. The first we call a website build only with hosting. The cost? £500 for a 10-page site. This is based upon you providing us with all content and images. The cost for hosting in year one is included in this price and there is a separate cost for hosting thereafter.
Regardless of which package you opt for, our consultation process remains the same, which is us trying to understand you and your business inside and out. Your success means our success and we are in this profession to help grow your client base as well as your profits!
Our second package is for those who understand the impact of having a fully optimised website and the revenue it could bring to the company. For £150 per month (for 12 months) we will build you a: 10-page website; identify and monitor keywords for your sector; provide monthly analytics of these keywords and where they rank when searched for as well as other important techy stuff that will help your website rank well.
Our ongoing support package also includes undertaking changes to ensure that keywords consistently rank when searched for. We also include listing you on up to ten online directories. The website build and hosting cost is included as part of this cost.
Because digital marketing is a constantly evolving entity, our package provides the reassurance that your website will be tweaked to reflect any emerging changes. New online businesses are being formed daily and to keep ahead of the competition, a website should be regularly reviewed so that it doesn’t look dated and keeps in touch with the tastes and needs of its clientele.
Need another service in addition to a website build? Take a look at our other services.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Having a website is just one stepping stone on the path towards mastering digital marketing and achieving online success for your business.
Another vital component is not looking like a lone wolf, meaning that it is vital to connect with other online features, such as online directories. Why? Because being connected and building a network helps your business expand.
There are many online directories where you can list your business for free. If you choose to go down this road you may find that many of these companies will be in touch with you soon after offering you the opportunity to enhance your listing, i.e. pay for an upgrade. Dependent upon your budget, paying for an upgrade is not needed at this point unless you’re happy to do so.
Being listed across the internet on different online directories adds weight and authority to your business. It also indicates that your business is live and active.
Here are some points to remember:
NAP (Name, Address and Phone number)
You must be consistent across all listings with exactly the same layout. Any discrepancies can confuse the search engine algorithms and make it think that your one business is in fact, two, three or even four separate businesses. You can see how this can be perplexing and it may affect your organic search positioning.
Description within the listings
While it’s extremely tempting to create an introduction to your business and copy and paste this across your all of your other listings - this could penalise you. Search algorithms can detect text that is exactly written the same way elsewhere. When this happens, you compromise your organic search positioning.
Add personality through images and photos
Let your potential customers get a feel for what your business offers. If you have photos that are of your business’ services, use them to give your customers a sense of who you are.
Build out as much as you can
Each directory will enable you to add a varying degree of content. While this can be a time-consuming task initially - getting it right and enhancing your listing to the max will pay off over time. So do it well and do it once.
If you are busy with your business and would like help, Perfect Layout can do this for you for a small fee. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule this work in with our team.
I’m not good with technology and don’t know where to start with buying a website address, is this easy?
Yes, buying a website name otherwise known as a domain name is fairly simple. You can go to any of the domain providers, such as 123-reg, GoDaddy and see if the domain is available. Simply type in your business name and they will tell you which extensions are available. The most popular ones are .com and .co.uk, so they may already be taken.
How to choose a name for your business?
The hard part is finding the right name for your business. Think about what your company offers and what might be appropriate. Do you want something unrelated to your business service, like Amazon and Apple did? As a start-up company, are you planning on building a brand?
If you have a local business that provides a service in a particular location, you might want to think about a domain using ‘city + service type’, such as www.romfordplumbers.com
Does the length of my company name matter?
Yes it might do. We recommend that you try not to make the business name too long, otherwise your domains and email extensions will be long too. It not only becomes a pain to let your customers know your web address or email, but it could limit you on social media handles too.
If the domain is already taken, what do I do now?
If your preferred domain name www.businessname.com is taken, is there another extension that you are happy with, such as .co.uk or .org. If they are all taken, it is not a case of throwing the towel in, but thinking perhaps of variations to your name. However, we don’t recommend spelling the name your own way, such as www.bykeshop.com instead of www.bikeshop.com, as this will not be easy for people to remember.
Once you have your name, and it is available, you then need to decide how long you want to purchase is for (in multiples of years) – you can renew year-on-year or you can buy in for say 2 years or more. Do what you think is best for your company. At this point you can also purchase mailboxes, also recommended, so that your domain and email addresses are consistent.
Having the same email and website address makes your business look professional.
If you are reading this, still feeling lost, Perfect Layout can help you with purchasing your domain. Look at the full range of services we offer.
Perfect Layout attended a Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) business showcasing event last year, which you may have read about. It was a well-attended event where we got to network, not only for potential clients, but also to gain a feel for other local services and what they had to offer.
Whilst there, we found out that HCCI also offers monthly breakfast meetings, where non-members are welcome to join for a small fee. The aim of the Breakfast Club is to have guest speakers, workshops, specialist advice, business showcases, networking and more. What was there not to like?
At the beginning of January, Perfect Layout went along and found the group to be extremely welcoming. Isn’t it always a little daunting heading to these things when you don’t know anybody…? I think we all feel the same way. But with the HCCI there was no need to be, everyone mingled and I met a number of interesting people and businesses. Some of them may help improve our business and others, we hope, will use our services at some point in the future. Time will tell, but these are the little seeds that will grow into wonderful oak trees.
If you are the owner of a local business, I recommend you look for your own networking groups in your area. Go along and learn what’s going on in your neighbourhood; there may be an chance for you and your business to grow connections in the local business community.
Later in the month Havering Women in Business were hosting a networking evening in Hornchurch. The theme of the evening was how to increase profit with training. This provided us with insight into hiring apprentices and offering work experience, as a way for smaller businesses to expand their team with staff wanting to learn on the job whilst at the same time studying for a qualification. This was a smaller gathering, but it was rich in information, contacts and prospective opportunities.
Off the back of that meeting we were invited by one of the ladies to attend a Women in Business Network lunch, which was another opportunity to meet other local business owners, exchange business cards, have a chance to tell the group what you do, as well as network independently. From that meeting we made more interesting contacts that could potentially turn into new business.
If you haven’t yet dipped your toe into networking events - be bold, be brave and go forth. It can open you up to a whole new world that you were previously closed off too. As I always say, it not just the people you meet, but it is who they know that might benefit you too.