At Perfect Layout Digital Marketing we are always surprised by how many small businesses still don't have a website in this deep-rooted digital world.
Just because you are a small business, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think and act BIG. The only things stopping you from growing are your own limitations – believing that you don’t need a website until you are bigger or more established is not the right way to look at it.
How many times do you pick up your phone to look something up on the internet? How do you find what you are looking for? After a few searches you find a website that matches your needs. So ask yourself now, by not investing in a website, how many customers could you be missing out on because people who are looking for your services are going to your competitors? Are you mentally kicking yourself? Did you know that a year ago it was found that mobile devices accounted for 51 percent of organic search engine visits?
This is how most businesses communicate news with their customers, most popular to least popular. Which do you do?
Advertising on TV and radio requires a lot more money, so it’s understandable that not all businesses can support that additional spend. However, there is no excuse that the rest aren’t on your marketing radar.
If you are making excuses in your head against doing any of these, you are limiting the potential of expanding your business.
I get all of my business from word-of-mouth.
This is great and well done for building up trust and confidence from your existing client-base. But if you have quiet periods throughout the year, wouldn’t you rather have those down times busy? And if you are flat-out busy and have a small team, imagine what could be possible by getting a new website and having more customers. You could expand your team and concentrate on the tasks you like doing and employ someone to do those other tasks. How nice would that feel?
If nothing else, create a simple website that can act as a business card or CV. This can be an easy way to get started.
It’s OK, I’m on social media
Social media is a wonderful platform to use, but like anything these days, it doesn’t maximise your potential alone. Social media enables people to connect with what they are familiar with and like. But what if your business is a one-off purchase, or something that they are not passionate about? Unless you are spending a lot on social media advertising, you are unlikely to reach those people who are looking for your service, but don’t know that you exist.
I’m a technophobe
Perhaps you don’t know where to start and all this technology is a little bit scary. That’s perfectly OK. No one is capable of doing it all, and frankly there aren’t enough hours of the day to fit everything in. So concentrate on what you do best and find the people who understand this type of thing inside and out (like Perfect Layout Digital Marketing!).
Building a website is something I cannot afford?
Try not to think about what you can or cannot afford. With this mindset you are thinking of it as an expense instead of looking at it in terms of what value it could bring to your business. A website is an investment, so what is that investment worth? What would it take to recoup those costs?
If for example if you were a cake maker and each cake is worth between £60-£100 , if your website costs were £150 per month, then getting two more orders per month would cover this investment. How easy do you think you could generate two more cake leads? What if the website brought you in 10 new orders per month? That would be an extra £600-£1,000 per month of revenue, thanks to the website.
Does that now look attractive?
Also consider that if your cakes are beautiful and tasty, how much repeat business might you get from these clients who found you because of your online presence? Map out these trends now from your current clients and how much repeat business you get from them and then do a quick scaling up of the potential. I’m sure that £150 per month in investing in a website doesn’t seem such an outlay now and maybe you have butterflies in your tummy as you see the potential of what your business might be able to achieve.
If you are going to dip your toe in the water with a website, now is the time to also think about your social media presence, if you don’t have one already. Social media is equally important and can easily help support the website’s rankings. As of 2017, daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day, up from 126 daily minutes in the previous year. (Statista)
You don’t have to be on all of them, find out what each one does and how you might engage with customers. You will soon realise that some platforms are perhaps not a great fit for your business. Here is a useful article outlining Ten ways small businesses can use social media to generate leads.
So to answer the question above, regardless of the size of your business, or even if you are just starting a business from scratch. In today’s world, it is vital for your business to have an online presence, and that includes a website, social media and more. Want some advice on how to take the next step, give Perfect Layout a call on 01708 578 015.
As the saying goes, ‘you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure’…In our business, quite often we are told by clients that their friend or a family member was building/has built their website but:
…they have spent months (even years) working on it and it’s still not finished
...it doesn’t look the way they thought it was going to
...it's not working the way that they want it to
Usually, when they are a friend or family member (and not a web designer), they invariably take an off-the-shelf package thinking 'how hard can it be?’. It’s true that building a website from one of these off-the shelf-packages isn't necessarily hard, but do they really know what they are doing? Do they really understand how to make a website perform well and not just look good?
There are thousands of cook books out there and it's easy to follow a recipe, but that doesn't mean the results will always be the same, or that what you make will even taste nice. There is a knack to good cooking and the same principle applies when building a website.
Often it's the things that look simple that can be complex underneath.
Building a website in itself isn't rocket science, but there is a method to making a website great. A website with all the right elements in place will add value to your business. A nice looking website, may simply be aesthetically pleasing but does nothing for the growth of your business. The fundamental components you need include:
By that it needs to be clear, well-written, grammatically correct and keyword rich. Content IS King. Being found in search results is determined by the search engines algorithms matching the users’ keywords with the content on the site. If your content is sparse, poorly written, not properly thought through (using a range of keywords) it is likely that you will feature low down in the rankings.
Search Engine Optimised headings
Headings carry more weight than body text, so ensure that your headings are relevant to what your audience is searching for. Using keyword-rich content in header tags will improve the search engine visibility for your target keyword. Mashable also recommends not having the same article title as you would for your page title, and advises how to write a good meta description.
Easy to use navigation
If your user experience is cumbersome and clunky, it's likely to put customers off. Make sure that you think carefully about how your users might navigate through your web site. Keep it clean and simple. Before you ‘go live’, test your website out as if you were visiting it for the first time. Can customers navigate your website easily? Is it clear and easy to understand? Could any steps be simplified?
High quality images, but not high resolution
There are so many stock photo agencies these days, that having low quality images is not an excuse any more. Your photos need to be clear and crisp, but they must also be saved as smaller files. Large image files will make loading your page slow, which may put people off staying on your website.
Calls to Action
A Call to Action (CTA) on a website is a prompt to get the user to take some specified action. It could be a button asking you to ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Subscribe’. Visually it can be a button or hyperlink. When designing your website consider how your customer might want to get in touch with your business. Are you making it easy for them to do so? Are you giving them choice; email, online forms, telephone numbers? Find out more about why Calls to Actions are important.
When Perfect Layout Digital Marketing works with customers, these are the core principles which we adhere to as the starting point for building their website. These fundamental steps are the foundations to having the building blocks for great online presence. Though don’t be mistaken with thinking that the work starts and ends with a website alone. Consider the website edging of the puzzle - there are still other pieces to put together before the picture is complete. Perfect Layout Digital Marketing can talk you through what other digital strategies would work best for your business.
Before starting a new web project you might want to read website trends for 2017. This article was published by Forbes magazine at the beginning of the year, and it might be useful for you to think about how you would like your website to look and any features that you might like to see.
Perfect Layout can, of course, simply do a website build. However, we prefer not to do that. Instead, we encourage our customers to take up a support package, where month-by-month we will monitor your website against the competition, check where it is ranking in organic search, and if needed, suggest tweaks.
We also apply other digital strategies to ensure that your visibility online is not just limited to your website. Are you active on the right social media channels? Is your business listed correctly in external directories?
If you are unsure of what your next step should be, give us a call and let’s have a chat today.
Looking back at 2016, I can’t help feeling what a remarkable year it was. The month of September was the most memorable as Perfect Layout Digital Marketing was born. Like many small business owners venturing into the world of self-employment, feelings were mixed; excitement, anticipation, enthusiasm, fear, trepidation, worry…the list goes on. I’m delighted to report that the negative emotions have dissipated somewhat, due to the early success of our business.
We’ve worked hard to understand our sector, the needs of our customers and diligently apply our style of website design and SEO to meet their needs. We have passion for what we do and hope that this comes across when you meet us. Our aim is to understand you, as well as your business, to ensure that our website creations represent your services and products in the best possible light. We also want you to start being found for relevant keyword searches on organic search. Let’s be honest, who goes beyond page 2, when looking for a product or service?
When we meet a client for the first time and talk through their needs, we always make sure to tell them that it will take a while for their websites to begin ranking. Whilst we can’t guarantee that your business will be found on page 1 within 6 months – what we can guarantee is that we’ll try our hardest to make it happen. We are realistic as well as eternally optimistic about the services we provide.
One year ago today...
On 1 December 2016, our very first website: Carly's Ice Cream Vans went live. We were excited and nervous at serving the needs of our very first customer. Recently, she was kind enough to undertake an interview with us outlining her journey so far…
I know the clue is in the title, but could you explain what services and products Carly’s Ice Cream Vans sell?
We sell soft and hard ice cream locally and attend school fetes, weddings, christenings, birthday parties, corporate events, festivals and football tournaments etc. Our ice creams range from the traditional 99’s, different flavoured hard ice-creams and various lollies. Bubblegum flavour is really popular at the moment.
How long have you been in the ice cream business?
I’ve been in the ice cream business for over 20 years now. My partner, Peri, has been around ice cream for even longer - over 30 years! Together, we know about ice cream, inside and out!
Before you had a website how did you promote your vans/get business?
Purely by word of mouth. We also supply our ice creams to people in local shopping centres.
What made you diversify and invest in having a website?
Whilst getting work via word of mouth is okay, a website is seen by everyone and offers me the chance to get around to different areas and attend different events. It also means that I’m making more money.
Why did you choose Perfect Layout as your website providers?
You were very nice and approachable. During our consultation, things were explained to me really well and I was able to understand exactly how my website would be laid out. I was also impressed with the amount of communication and quick response rate that I had from you whilst the site was being built. I was also pleased that I knew exactly what my website would look like before it went live.
How has the site made a difference to your business?
Local people are hearing about us, which means more jobs. This wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have the website.
What kind of interest have you received since your website went live?
We’ve had loads of leads via the forms and direct calls.
Are you surprised at the number of leads the site has generated?
Yes, I’ve been surprised at the amount of extra work the website has generated - and very pleased!
What would you say to business owners who have not yet committed to having a website for their business?
Definitely get one! It’s made a real difference to our income and weighed against the cost of the site, it paid for itself quickly.
How do you see the future of the business evolving in the next 5 years?
I hope to be doing more of the same. To continue getting leads from the website and responding to the needs of those that fancy an ice cream!
The proof is in the pudding, or should I say ice cream!
To give the sceptics out there something to munch on, below is a snap shot of statistics showing how well her site did in a very short space of time. The information relates to just a couple of the keyword search terms we track as part of our ongoing SEO. Please note that not all months have been detailed.
Go live date - 1 December 2016
7 December 2016
Ice cream vans Romford – page 2, position 12
Ice cream vans Essex – page 5, position 47
Ice cream vans Romford - page 1, position 2,
Ice cream vans Essex - page 1, position 4
Ice cream vans Romford - page 1, position 3, Google My Business (GMB) listing showed
Ice cream vans Essex - page 1, position 8, position 2 on Map Pack
Ice cream vans Romford – page 1, GMB showed, plus 4 mentions on the organic page
Ice cream vans Essex - page 1, position 3 on Map pack and position 5
Ice cream vans Romford - page 1, position 1 on Map pack and positions 3, 4 6 and 8
Ice cream vans Essex – page 1, position 2
This demonstrates that the various digital strategies that Perfect Layout Digital Marketing implemented are making a difference. You’ve got to admit that these are pretty impressive results! Carly is happy and so are we.
If you would like your business to have results on page one of organic search, give us a call and let’s see how we can help your business be more visible online.
Location, location, location - does your business need to be found outside of your registered address?
If you’re a business with offices in Emerson Park, how do you get seen online in other Essex areas like Romford, Hornchurch, Upminster and Chadwell Heath, or further afield like Brentwood, Chelmsford and Loughton? Read on as branching out may not be as difficult as you first thought.
Will I get more business if my website name reflects the area I’m working in?
Yes and no. For businesses that are looking to service one area only, putting the location in the domain name may help get you more customers. For example, Website Designers Essex is okay if Essex is the only location to be serviced. However, if your long-term plan is to seek clients in London, Kent and other home counties, making your business name broader (i.e. Perfect Layout Digital Marketing) would be more beneficial.
If I have more than one website to represent other areas I work in will this bring in more customers?
There are many companies that use this method and whilst some yield results, it isn’t the most productive use of resources. The more sites a business has the more marketing input into each site it will have to make. Duplicating content is hugely frowned upon so each site would again need individual attention to ensure that it’s unique. If your business is cited on business directories it’s important that the name, address and phone number (NAP) being listed appears on only one site. If not, search engines like Google and Yahoo, will become confused and their confusion may negatively affect your rankings.
How can one website be designed to incorporate all the areas where I want my business to be seen?
A website designer that can’t create for you a site that reflects multiple business areas is not doing their job! Along with the usual page headings there should be an areas we cover page that lists the services offered in an original format, including naturally interweaved keywords to get each page found.
What this goes back to is having a plan. Having a strategy helps your business focus and maximise what you already have. Well designed, optimised city pages may be the breakthrough you’ve been looking for to beat your competition.
So how far does your business go geographically? Are you missing out on being visible in these areas?
Looking for a local Essex web design company? Perfect Layout Digital Marketing can offer you web design services that will make a difference to your online business.
What's your website status?
If you’re a business that’s just starting out, jotting down ideas, creating a strategy, it’s never too early to start thinking about the type of website design you might have. Perfect Layout is a company that gets excited about helping new and established clients obtain a website that’s designed just right for their business. Every project is met with enthusiasm and we are happy to offer our advice about how your ideas can be translated and understood by your customers when in website format.
Identifying your target audience is key to ensuring that your future plan takes into account the ebbs and flow of the ever-moving online traffic. Your website design should include photographs that are personal and reflective of the service you provide. Content should be interesting and applicable to your product and written in a language that draws people in.
During your free consultation, Perfect Layout can help you focus and offer ideas that you may not have thought about. As an online business, it’s paramount that you get this right or otherwise you’ll end up stuck, going nowhere fast.
Be inspired – have a well thought out strategy
Travelling home on the motorway recently (from a wonderful week in Cornwall!) the strangeness of people’s behaviour whilst driving really struck a chord. All lanes had traffic, but it didn’t stop many drivers constantly swapping lanes. The effect? The traffic slowed down even more rather than speeding up. And there I was thinking that us British were always patient whilst queueing!
If you’re a business that is constantly changing its strategy, trying to get ahead of your competitors but getting nowhere fast, it may be time for you to take a new approach. If you’re a new start up business or your website hasn’t been looked at for a while or you’re a business working without a website – now is the time to make that change and get in the right lane to making your business work.
We’re not like some motorway drivers that can’t help but change lanes when they come up to a bit of traffic. We think long term and avoid reactionary behaviour. A constant 55 mph is way better than bombing it at 70mph for a quarter of the journey then travelling at 30mph for the remainder.
Are you a local business in Essex? Are you looking to get your business generating new leads from your website?
Start-up businesses; let us build your website
If you are a start-up business looking for a web design company, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing is based in Romford, Essex and can provide consultancy and support to get your new website designed and generating leads to your business.
Does your current website leave you feeling deflated?
Many local businesses have a website built, but then find that the leads that they were expecting simply don’t materialise. This is because a website on its own cannot do it all; there are other techniques that need to be implemented to make everything work harmoniously. Imagine making a cake with only flour, it wouldn’t work; you need butter and eggs as well to make a basic sponge. In digital marketing there are other ingredients that we add into the mix, to get the sweetest results.
Many businesses requiring web services prefer a local-based company for ease of communication and being able to meet up face-to-face, if needed. So if your business is situated in Hornchurch, Ilford, Upminster, Elm Park, Rainham, Rush Green, Chadwell Heath, Dagenham and Barking, or other areas of Essex and London, the Perfect Layout team can easily pop over to have a chat as part of our free consultation.
We provide a friendly and professional service, combined with affordable monthly packages, to help reduce your expenses.
Choose Perfect Layout Digital Marketing! Call us today on 01708 578 015.
To ensure that your website delivers more business to you, we will follow these essential steps:
Mobile Friendly Design
In April 2015, Google announced that it would favour websites that are “mobile-friendly”. Companies that are not investing in new websites, could see a decline in their business leads as their websites fall down the rankings.
A responsive web design ensures that no matter what device someone uses (i.e. tablet, laptop, mobile phone) your website is displayed on the screen in the most effective way. No longer should mobile phone visitors see a website that is used for standard desktops, like a laptop, which can make viewing content, navigating menus and clicking on links difficult and awkward to use.
Your site will be built to be suitable on all devices.
High-Quality Content and Excellent Customer Experience
The content, or written word, on a website must be of good quality. Without it you can’t tell your story, attract new and repeat customers, or explain the services that you have to offer.
All content on your website should be informative, engaging and useful. It should be easy to read, and delivered in short paragraphs that match the interest of your customers. High-quality content demonstrates authority and will naturally lead visitors towards purchasing whatever your company has to offer.
Whatever the customer is searching for, it must be easily accessible. From company contact information, product specifications or prices, browsing should be a pleasure, not a burden. At its highest level, the function of your website should be about giving your customer what they want before they even know that they need it!
We will write content that encourages your visitors to purchase your services or products, whilst at the same time having a great online user experience.
Visitors will be more inclined to navigate your entire website if it looks good. It should appear clean, logical and informative, with the correct amount of visual content balanced alongside the written word.
The impact on a customer’s emotional response to your website should not be underestimated. Visual design has a huge part to play in how customers consciously and subconsciously perceive your company. If your website design has a below average visual appearance, the customer will believe that this is a reflection of your services/product. Nobody wants to give a sub-standard performance, so set yourself apart from the competition and invest in a website that is better than the rest.
We will work hard to ensure that all aspects, of your website are attractive to the visitor, encouraging them to stay on your site and find out more about you.
The platform upon which your website’s design is built will have a huge impact on its usability as well as how efficiently you are able to update content and interact with visitors. We can’t overstate how important this structure is to the performance of your website. This is particularly important for e-commerce websites (sites that sell goods).
To build your website on a platform that:
The Perfect Introduction
Having the perfect introduction to your site is really important. When meeting someone face-to-face for the first time, people form an impression within the first 60 seconds. It is no different for visitors browsing a new website and studies show that they spend less than a minute on most of the websites that they visit.
This means that you only have a few precious moments to convey who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and why they should keep reading your site. So make sure you nail your pitch on your homepage, but also bear in mind the importance of content on your other pages as customers do not always start looking for what they want on your home page.
We will spend time with you perfecting your core marketing message and ensure that your logo design, tagline (catchphrase or slogan) and the initial paragraph of your website copy is clear. We will show that your business has credibility as well as describing what you offer upfront. There’s a lot to communicate in just one paragraph!
Clear Call to Actions (CTA)
A clear call to action is an instruction (to the audience) that should provoke an immediate response. Such as, ‘call now’, ‘find out more’, or ‘buy now’. The best website designs will include value-led CTAs that will subtly encourage visitors to take the next step and engage with the customer, guiding them to making a purchase. Visitors to your website need specific information before committing to make a purchase or inquiry. By using CTAs effectively, they can preempt the customer’s next step and gently lead them through your website in the way that you want them to experience your website, all the while delivering the information they are seeking.
All of our websites will have your phone number at the top of every page of your site and your contact information on the footer of every page along with quick links to your most valuable content. This is even more important for mobile websites where prospects are often just looking for a quick phone number, hours of business or address.
Track Your Conversions
Conversion tracking is a free tool that shows you what happens after a customer clicks on your ad. It is a powerful insight into your customers’ habits and can often be overlooked as a useful tool by some web designers. Yet for every business, it is vital to know how many inquiries and sales are received through your website. For example, have those website customers purchased a product, signed up for your newsletter, called your business or downloaded your app? Conversion tracking allows you to accurately measure your marketing spend, evaluate the success of any improvements or modifications in your website design or online marketing, and ultimately measure the underlying success of your website and business.
We will help you with tracking your conversions and understand how your website is working for you.
Engaging ‘About Us’ Page
Your company exists for your customers. So by logical extension, your About Us page (even though it is about you) is also about your customers.
They want to be informed about the engaging profiles of the personalities behind your organisation because it gives them insight into who they will be working with.
They also want to know how you and your company are going to provide them with solutions. Your About Us page, like the rest of your website, should present all information in the context of how it will benefit your customers.
We will plan the best way to present your About Us page specific to your business – for your customer!
Marketing beyond the website build
An online presence alone isn’t enough to generate leads. You need a strategy to work out how best to broadcast your content, attract search traffic and convert browsing customers into buying customers. Options available to you include pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimisation (SEO), email marketing and social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.). Depending on your business and industry some strategies will work better than others. The key is to find what best works for your business by experimenting with all of the available channels. Ultimately, it’s a process of trial and error while you discover what is most effective for your potential customers.
If you would like to use our marketing expertise to help drive more traffic to your business, we will create a package that is just right for you.
Carly runs an established ice cream van business that has been in the family for almost 20 years. Her desire to promote her customer base and hire out her services to the Essex public led her to us. We immediately knew that with our help she would be able to have an online presence that would bring in new and repeat customers to use her services.
We started from scratch. During the consultation, we gained valuable insight into who she was and what her business had to offer. Her busy schedule and lack of website design experience meant that she was happy for us to write her content, source her images and effectively design, build and maintain for her a fabulous website.
Whilst this is a niche sector, there is significant competition. Through implementing a number of tools and techniques we were able to get this website up on page 1, organic search for the following keyword searches: ‘ice cream vans Romford’, ‘ice cream van hire Romford’, ‘wedding ice cream vans Romford’, just to name a few.
Carly’s Ice Cream Vans is a website that is hosted by Perfect Layout Digital Marketing and has been search engine optimised and is mobile responsive. Call us now so that we can help you get more leads and grow your business.