Blogging has definitely become a more popular way of engaging with customers since it first appeared in the late 1990’s. The purpose behind blogging has also changed. When it first appeared, its purpose was mostly to relay a person’s thoughts or opinions about whatever took their fancy. These days, the concept adds value to the business world and, as a result, many online businesses have taken to writing blogs about their industry, service or product in order to take advantage of the benefits.
So how does it work?
Today, content is a huge factor in what drives the internet. It’s what search engines love to find and use to rank a website as an authoritative and trustworthy site - hence content being at the top of the pecking order when it comes having a great website.
You may have heard the term ‘content is King’? Well, the importance behind that term still stands and writing blogs is a way of creating the content that will boost your rankings. You can read more about the importance of content from one of our earlier blogs.
What are the benefits?
Having a blog for your company can:
· Get more customers/traffic looking at your website via inbound links
· Demonstrate that you're an expert in your industry, whilst reinforcing your brand and credibility
· Improve the performance of your website and SEO (search engine optimisation)
As you can see the benefits of starting a blog and sticking with it can really benefit your business. Why not create social media pages too (like GooglePlus, Facebook and LinkedIn) as other platforms that will help you reach more interested parties. You can post links to your blogs on your social media pages that will help maintain and generate interest.
Three statistics that will make you want to start writing a blog today!
The downside to writing a blog…
…time. Yes, I’m afraid there had to be something! Making the time to invest in planning, preparing and writing great articles is what can put a lot of people off. If you’re currently finding it impossible to put aside the time to do this; or if the thought of getting creative and writing a blog chills you to the bone - then why not let us to do it for you?
We have a team of great copywriters that are experienced at writing about all types of subject matters in a natural and free flowing way. So increase the online traffic to your website and start your blog today!
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force in May 2018. It is a new legislation proposed by the European Commission that aims to strengthen and unify data protection for individuals within the European Union (EU), whilst also addressing the use and dissemination of personal data outside the EU.
If you have not heard of GDPR, or are unsure about what this means for your company, start with reading 12 ways to get ready for GDPR, prepared by the Information Commissioner’s Office.
The two main objectives of GDPR are to:
1) give individuals back control of their personal data
2) simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU
Whilst GDPR is intended for every business that collects and stores data, GDPR recognises that smaller businesses need to be treated differently to large or public enterprises. Article 30 of the regulation declares that organisations with fewer than 250 employees will be given some leeway - although the regulation is not explicit in describing what the leeway exactly is.
The key changes of GDPR from the Data Protection Act 1998 fall under the following areas:
To understand the details behind each of these points, take a look at the EU GDPR website.
These new regulations should be taken seriously by all businesses, large and small; as the penalties for not being compliant are high. In addition, individuals will be able to seek compensation from businesses that abuse their data.
How will this change when Brexit comes into force?
Although the UK has voted to leave the EU, UK business will still have to comply with new regulations if the data they handle is about EU citizens, or has the potential to identify individuals within the EU. GDPR will replace the UK 1988 Data Protection Act (DPA), even post Brexit.
Perfect Layout hopes that this article has helped you to understand some basics about GDPR and has signposted you to some useful resources.
We aim to help all future clients understand the importance of GDPR, especially when it comes to collecting data via their websites. If you have any question, give us a call on 01708 578 015.
Google My Business (GMB) is a directory listing platform connected to the search engine Google. Because Google is one of the most popular search engines used by internet users, it’s worthwhile entering your details onto this directory so that your business can be found.
We’ve written about the importance of entering your business onto local directories before, but to recap, here are some of the benefits you can reap if you take the time to list your business:
• You don’t have to pay - many directories (including GMB) offer free listings
• Your business will begin to be more visible and as a result found more easily by search engines
• Once search engines see your various listings, they will view you as being trustworthy and more credible than someone who isn’t listed
• Your rankings when searched for will improve over those who aren’t listed
Listing your business on GMB is relatively quick and easy to do. It’s free and can be completed even if your business doesn’t have an address. You have the option of adding a brief description of your services/products (750 characters) as well uploading images relating to your business.
Unlike some directory facilities, GMB now allows you to let people have more up to the minute details of what your business is doing by posting your latest news. If your current website doesn’t have a blog – why not use this facility to offer insights into your business instead?
Reviews are also a prominent feature and this aspect is presented when your GMB shows. Don’t overlook the importance of following up with customers that have used your services and/or products and asking them for a testimonial. Nowadays it’s the norm for people to research companies they are thinking about using and reading reviews forms a big part of this decision making process. Satisfied customers and high star ratings will bring new customers your way and GMB offers you the opportunity to respond to comments that are great as well as those that could be better.
Other information that can be uploaded onto GMB includes:
Once live, a link to your business is automatically created on Google Maps and Google Search which provides two other platforms where your business can be searched for.
GMB also logs the traffic visiting your listing and provides data on:
If you like the sound of what you’ve read, but haven’t got the time to list your business, give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call. Our services include listing businesses onto all different types of directories.
I like the content of the homepage but feel it is too long. Will people really want to read so much and can it be shortened?
If you’re new to the idea of having a website made for your business, or you’re thinking about having your current site revamped, it’s important that you take a long hard look at your content. Your homepage is particularly important, as it’s the page that represents the ‘shop front’ of your site. You want people to look through the window, open the door and peruse further by looking at other pages, and ultimately engage with you and buy either a service or a product.
Enticing someone to make a purchase takes work and that’s when many businesses overlook the need to write about all that they do on the homepage. Thought should also be given to the words (keywords) that someone might enter into a search engine when looking for your service or business.
These methods go towards optimising a page – basically packing in what you can (in a natural, free flowing way) to hold the attention and inform the visitor, as well as being found by search engines. In order for you to be found in this way you should include an overview of the following:
• Who’s behind the business, the ethos
• What services the business offers
• What products the business offers
It should reflect a bite-sized version of what you have on your about page, services page and products page. Try and make the content throughout your site unique and on the homepage, you should aim to write at least 800 words, preferably more.
But what if you have a business that is based on producing visual goods or services – like a cake shop or a photographer? People just want to see the end result right, not read about how it was made?
Whilst many people do skip to the gallery and review the end result before committing to buy, many users these days want to make an educated decision prior to that happening and who can blame them. Today, more than ever, people have a greater choice about which service provider to use.
With so much choice, this means that businesses have got to be more transparent about what they do and how they do it in order to look unique amongst the competition. It would be hard to appear exclusive in a couple of paragraphs (unless you’ve got some serious marketing money behind you) compared to doing so in 800 or so words. Read more about the importance of writing great content from one of our previous blogs.
If the thought of writing creative, relevant and interesting content overwhelms you, why not let us help?
My business is currently listed on independent directories does it matter if the details are slightly inconsistent?
Part of ensuring that your website gets good organic search results is ensuring that you also list your business on independent directories, such as, Yell, 192.com, netmums and other sector relevant directories where your customers might look for your services.
However, it is vital that all your contact information is exactly the same on each listing. If your contact details (name, address and phone number) are inconsistent this could penalise your results in organic search.
Whilst search engine algorithms are sophisticated, they can invariably get confused as to whether two similar listings are the same or not. Given that businesses can have comparable names or that businesses may share an address, it is essential that you do not put your rankings at risk by being sloppy.
So, if your address contains the word ‘Road’, decide whether you will choose to spell it as ‘Road’ or ‘Rd’, and stick to the way you will always write your address. If you have a limited company, do you want to have Ltd at the end of the company name? Decide and be consistent.
A personal bug bear of one of the founders of Perfect Layout Digital Marketing is the way in which telephone numbers are listed. For example, in London, telephone numbers should be listed as 020 8XXX XXXX or 020 7XXX XXXX and not 0208 XXX XXXX or 0207 XXX XXXX. Make sure that your telephone number is listed in the same way each and every time.
What happens if my details change?
This is not a problem. But make sure that you keep a record of all your listings with usernames and passwords, so that should you need to alter any information, you can dedicate a period of time to update these in one go. This means that by the time the spiders trawl the internet for updated information, all your details across all the directories that you are listed on are updated at more or less the same time.
The only thing that must be different on each and every directory listing is your description. Search engines penalise plagiarism, so even if they are your own words, copying and pasting the same content numerous times is seriously frowned upon and could hurt your rankings too.
To sum up – Contact details (name, address and phone number) must always be in the same format; description of services and products should be unique to each directory listing.
If you need any help with creating or editing your directory listings, Perfect Layout can do this for you. Drop us an email at email@example.com or call us on 01708 578 015.