This week we are delighted to have a guest post written by Chartered Accountants Clemence Hoar Cummings. Read on to find out why businesses should be thinking about getting rid of their paper accounting systems and putting everything online...
Clemence Hoar Cummings will not accept liability for any actions or failure to act based on the information provided below. We consider that the advice contained below is generic and that there is no substitute for advice tailored to the needs and circumstances of the individuals or organisations to which the Making Tax Digital rules apply.
Making Tax Digital – The Essentials
- Includes Companies, LLPs, Partnerships, Sole Traders, Trusts, Non UK businesses
who are registered for UK VAT and charities
However, for Trusts, Not for Profit organisations that are not companies, VAT Divisions and Groups, Local Authorities, Traders based overseas, Annual Accounting Scheme users, the proposed start date is 1 October 2019
What is my Taxable Turnover?
Points to Consider on Requirement to Register
What do we need to do to comply?
Estate becomes vested in any other person as that person’s trustee under a trust deed
Can Spreadsheets be Used?
What is a Digital Link?
What is Functional Compatability?
Can I Adopt early?
- a partnership
- part of a VAT group
- based overseas
- Trust of NfP that is a company
- Submit monthly or annual returns
- Use flat rate scheme
- A new business
Digital Record Keeping Requirements
Data to be kept – Supplies Made
Data to be kept – Supplies Received
The VAT Accounts – Outputs
- amount owed on acquisitions from other EU member states
- Tax required to pay on behalf of suppliers under reverse charge procedure
- tax to be paid following a correction
The VAT Accounts – Inputs
Scale charge adjustments, partial exemption calculations, are not included in the list of
Reverse Charge transactions need care
Is that it for MTD?
The principles will be the same – requirement to maintain digital accounting records.
Who will that affect?
David Belbin is Managing Director of Clemence Hoar Cummings Chartered Accountants who have been providing accountancy advice and services to organisations and individuals in Havering since 1925. He can be contacted on 01708 333 300 or by email email@example.com
In online marketing, the conversion rate is the ratio of total visitors to visitors who perform desired actions. Companies will measure successful conversions based on the nature of their business and their goals. An online publisher might consider submitting a form on a subscription page a successful conversion; whereas an online retailer might measure their conversion rate by number of clicks to the "Add to Cart" button.
Higher conversion rates typically translates to a greater return on investment. Internet businesses in every industry will use many methods to improve conversion rates. Some of the strategies are listed below:
Testimonials reduce risk and provide social proof. Having satisfied customers express their positive experience will increase trust in your business. Every claim you make should be supported by evidence. It is thought that using customer testimonials can result in more than 60 per cent increase in revenue per customer. It’s the recommendation that helps encourage people to buy your product or invest in your service. Customer testimonials show that other people have tried it.
Use them on homepages, product landing pages as well as on your email opt-in landing page. You can ask for testimonials or spot them on social media and grateful email messages you get. It is appropriate to ask the sender if they wouldn’t mind letting you use some of those words on your website.
A call-to-action (CTA) is a button or link that you add to your website in order to guide your visitor and tell them what to do next. In inbound marketing, they usually lead to a landing page where the visitor can fill out a form and become a lead.
You want your CTA to grab the attention of your visitors and entice them to click.
Show your visitors an offer that is visually appealing and contains persuasive content as well.
In order to ensure your calls-to-action generate leads, you also need to remember the buyer’s journey.
If the call-to-action you’re adding to your site doesn’t fulfil the need of your visitor, they’re not likely to move forward.
Here are some tips to have in mind when creating calls-to-action that will generate leads:
Call to action examples:
Contact form: The contact form is typically the gateway to allow people to submit their information to a company. This is the gateway for the consumer to initiate a conversion with your company. You need to keep your contact form simple. Keeping it simple will allow for minimal perceived risk to the end user. If it takes a long time to fill out a form it could be a potential risk. Visitors could also be questioning whether they are going to get a phone call or email as well as wondering when they’ll get a response.
A good contact form will allow a user to feel that there is no risk in submitting their information. Have only the absolutely needed fields that are required. You can add a few more fields into your contact form to help quality or send certain requests to the correct person. But your contact form should never exceed the length of your browser. In other words, keep it above the fold.
Tell people when, how and what to expect once they fill out the contact form. Will they get a call, an email, a package in the mail? That also reduces the risk that a user may feel if they know how they’re going to be contacted and by when.
In conclusion, when you pair a simple contact form with a great call to action that is clear and defined, you’re well on your way to a higher converting landing page. Don’t forget to test your call to actions. Since some people react differently to certain phrases, always test to see which one works best for your users.
Another approach you can take to increase the conversion rate is to create a sense of urgency. For product-based businesses show how the number of stock items is reducing each time a purchase is made. For service-based businesses include time sensitive offers. This will motivate the visitors to grab the offer before it’s expired.
Website design should reflect the vision and purpose of the company. Everything used from colours to layout and images should represent your brand. Keep things simple and aesthetically pleasing. Avoid using complicated navigation menus. Make sure your message is clearly written and has an impact in the first few seconds.
If you would like help to make this happen for your business, get in touch with the Perfect Layout team today on 01708 578 015.
This year, has been a great year for showcasing businesses in our local area. Regular readers will know that we are big advocates of networking. We believe in the power of connecting with people and forming relationships in order to build up a directory of local people that we can connect to others.
We are also a bit nosey and love finding out about how other people work. Do they have any tips on what could be done better or advice on processes to avoid? It’s these nuggets of information that can help build the success of a business and make those all important profits grow quicker.
Below are just a few of the businesses that we’ve interviewed this year:
Local artist – Shema Ladva
Laser design business – Ashare Designs
Local photographer – Cyrus Metha
New Home Care company – Radfield Homecare, Havering and Brentwood
Weekend baby and toddler group – Baby Bears, Upminster
Do you own or work for a new or established business that would like to share their successes and lessons learned? If so, why not get in touch with the team at Perfect Layout on 01708 578 015. We’d love to hear from you!
These are true words stated by successful entrepreneur Dan Lok. Have you started planning for the long term success of your business yet?
This may be the last month of the year - but it’s not too late to take action and start laying sound foundations for the stepping stones to your success.
Need help with that? Get in touch with the Perfect Layout team on 01708 578 015 today!
Who doesn’t like to receive a Christmas card? Whilst I’ve been noticing more ‘merry text-masses’ being sent as opposed to physical cards, it’s a tradition that I love to indulge in.
The first commercial Christmas Card was created in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. He was responsible for thinking up the idea of sending written season’s greetings in a card and it’s a tradition that continues today and is observed by many across the globe. As a result, Christmas Card Day is celebrated every 9th December in his honour.
It’s amazing how simple ideas can flourish into long-lasting traditions. By 1880, Prang and Mayer were producing a massive five million cards a year. The ritual of sending Christmas Cards had become a well-established practice.
Whilst nowadays there is a huge range of images to choose from, back then, many cards depicted children or cartoon animals. In 2001, one of the world’s first Christmas cards sold at auction for a whopping £22,250!
So what are you waiting for? Remember to include a personalised greeting in your homemade masterpiece.
Whilst many reflect biblical verses and blessings, other popular messages written inside a Christmas Card are, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and Seasons Greetings.
No more excuses – do something different this year! Your clients, friends and family will appreciate the effort.
Seasons Greetings from the Perfect Layout Basenji - hasn't she grown!
Have you got a business idea but unsure about what to call your company? Once you have done that you also need to get all the marketing elements in place, such as a website and social media platforms. We can help you get started.
We are great at brainstorming ideas, fantastic at drawing out unique selling points and awesome at getting you to truly believe that your business will bring you success...we're also great at registering domains!
If you need help with deciding on the right name for your business, or would like help buying a domain for your company - get in touch today.
This is your official Black Friday reminder!
Aim to rise above your competitors by accessing our 20% discount today!
Hurry - complete the form on this page now. Offer ends this Sunday!
Once we receive your form - we'll get in touch.
All work secured in 2018 will have the 20% discount applied.
*Excludes hosting charges of £30 per month.
The offer includes:
- *Website build only? Normal cost £800 reduced to £640
- Website maintenance package for 2019 - normal cost £2,400 reduced to £1,920.
- Buy a 10-blog bundle and receive two free bonus blogs. Each 800-word blog is worth
The shopping frenzy that takes place on Black Friday is now a well-established date in the English calendar. Prices are slashed beyond recognition in online and high street shops, making many buyers wait for this time of the year to make their Christmas purchases. It’s a practice that originates from America and takes place the day after Thanksgiving and is regarded as the beginning of the Christmas season.
PERFECT LAYOUT - BLACK FRIDAY OFFER
So, we’ve joined the millions of businesses across the UK and we are offering a Black Friday deal to all company owners. For a limited period only, there will be 20% off the following services!
If you are a business owner looking for new leads and extra revenue, perhaps your digital marketing needs a boost? We offer website design services and digital marketing strategies. In need of a new website? We offer build-only and build and maintain packages. We help businesses with search engine optimisation, lead generation and blog writing.
*Website build only? Normal cost £800 reduced to £640.
Website maintenance package for 2019? Normal cost £2,400 reduced to £1,920.
Thinking about starting a blog page? Or do you need extra content for your flagging blog page? We can help create something special for your audience. Buy a 10-blog bundle and receive two free bonus blogs. Each 800-word blog is worth £100.
But hurry, as the 20% code is valid for a limited time only! Sign up now so that you don’t miss out.
How to get the 20% discount
- Complete the form below - only available until 25 November so fill it in now!
- We will follow up with a phone call or email.
- All work secured in 2018 will have the 20% discount applied.
- *Excludes current hosting charges of £30 per month.
Perfect Layout Digital Marketing visits local businesses regularly to talk about how they established their business and how they are getting on. The aim is to acquire knowledge and insights inspired by these business owners’ personal experiences.
Perfect Layout believes that sharing knowledge is a way of helping other business owners develop. We are passionate about promoting the fantastically, creative and varied companies that are all around us in Essex.
Read our interview with founder of Baby Bears Upminster – a weekend baby and toddler group.
Business name – Baby Bears Upminster
Owner – Hayley Worton
Location – Upminster, Essex
Tell us a bit about you?
When I went on maternity leave I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to teaching full time. I had done that for 15 years and felt that it was perhaps time to do something different. I thought about running a sensory group or something along those lines. At the end of the first year after my son was born, all the mummy friends that I had met returned to work. I realised that I didn’t see them anymore. They couldn’t take their children to classes either, as they were working. My son also suddenly stopped seeing his friends. My partner Jon and I had a chat about running a weekend baby and toddler group. We have started by running it once a month, so that it doesn’t eat too much into our own family time.
How long have you run Baby Bears? Can you explain what happens during a session?
We started it in August 2018. We were very lucky in that many of the items we use in the playgroup were donated from a local school and the community. I have a trailer to take things back and forth. My mum makes the cakes for us and does the refreshments. Each session has different toys for the children to play with, so that there is variety each time they come - we even have puppet shows. At the end of the session we have songs, bubbles, parachute etc and we sing happy birthday to anyone who has a birthday that month. They also get a birthday card too.
In the new year we are introducing messy play. We are also aiming to bring in other local businesses to showcase their products and services to the parents attending. Companies that we have invited include: Painted Peppermint, Logan’s Plate, The Little Letter Company. In December, all parents will have the chance to get a free neck and shoulder massage.
Where are your premises?
It’s at St Lawrence’s Church Hall in Upminster. There are two halls in the building. We started in the smaller hall but have recently moved to the bigger one. It is more practical for the refreshments as it has its own kitchen, as well as allowing us to hold more families in each session – 25 families vs 15 families.
How did you come up with your business name?
After my son, it’s his nickname.
Did you need any formal training?
Not specifically for this role, as I am a qualified EarlyYears Teacher I am transferring my skills from that to the playgroup.
A recent Facebook post shows that you are fully booked in November and many of your December places are filling up fast; so business is going well. Do people book in blocks in advance?
Yes, they book online, which secures their place. Payment is taken on the day. The price is £4.50, and it includes homemade cakes and refreshments.
It’s unusual to have weekend groups. Do you find that both parents attend? Or do you find that it’s a chance for the parent that is working during the week to do some one-to-one, baby bonding?
I get a lot of families coming altogether although there are some dads who come on their own with their children. Sometimes grandparents and aunties join in as well. I have had some parents comment that they are surprised when we say that the whole family is welcome as there are some groups that only allow one parent. We welcome everyone and we ensure that dads feel comfortable coming on their own.
I have also had a group of NCT parents come together too. It’s lovely so see the word spreading and new people attending.
Do you have anything special planned to celebrate the Christmas season?
We are having a Christmas Party with Father Christmas and have an elf dropping by. We are finding out how old the children are and what they are in to, so that we can buy an age-related present that the children will enjoy. The play session will be all Christmassy too.
“I really loved the session. My husband joined us and he didn't feel out of place as there were lots of other daddies there too. It was nice to play as a family and meet other families too!
Setting up a new business comes with its challenges. What would you do differently if you started over?
Storage has been the biggest issue. It would be nice to have a hall with storage. Unfortunately, the one that we are using now, doesn’t. We had to buy a trailer to take things back and forth. The trailer also needs to be stored. So, if we could do things differently it would be to get the logistics more aligned.
I also need to find a way to stop the repeat offenders who book and then don’t show up. I’ve noticed some people who book several slots in advance, but then don’t show up. It’s a shame as it means someone else could have used that space. We are not at the point of taking money in advance, as it’s such a small amount, but if we were bigger, it would be something I would investigate.
What are your hopes for the business?
Continue to be fully booked for every session. I’d like to secure the bigger hall for all of 2019. I want to arrange more themed sessions. As I have done already, I would like to bring other local businesses into each session to give them some publicity.
I want to add an educational slant to my sessions by adding numeracy and literacy activities. I have lots of ideas I just need to get them out of my head and action them.
Do you have a marketing strategy?
Not a structured and regular one, as such. I post regularly on the Baby Bears’ Facebook page and then I post out to other groups on Facebook. I am listed on Mums Guide to Romford. I also have a poster up in the Soft Play in Harold Hill. The business has grown from friends and word of mouth. A few mums have told me that they found me on Netmums.
I know I need to do more, but as we have strong numbers at this point, until we upscale, our marketing efforts are working.
Your business is doing well on social media, but have you thought about growing your business with a website?
Yes and no. I don’t think I have time to manage a website. Social media is more on the go. I don’t know how that will help me at this stage, with the business only running once per month, but when this grows there may be a need for it then.
If you would like to find out more about Baby Bears Upminster go to:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/babybearsupminster
You can also book places by visiting: https://bookwhen.com/
The end of another year is almost upon us and as a chapter closes, it’s always a good idea to reflect upon the events of the preceding months. At Perfect Layout we regularly work on the business in this manner. It’s a positive way of learning and growing the business – as well as learning and growing ourselves as successful people and business owners.
Once in a while we also think that it’s really important to blow ones’ own trumpet. To boast about the good things that are happening in the business and to give each other a cheesy high five! So, read on to find out about our most recent success stories…
Revamped website for Antino and Associates
One of our most recent clients came to us seeking help with his current site. It was old fashioned, clunky and outdated. Whilst the content was good, it was too technical, and it wasn't the right tone for their ideal clients.
Based in Chelmsford, this Chartered Surveyor wanted a website that highlighted his skills to do with: party walls, injunctions and being an expert witness. The owner works across the UK and wanted his website to reflect this, whilst giving focus to East London, Norfolk, Cambridge and Essex.
We worked with him to achieve a website that was attractive to all. It needed clear navigation, relevant images and monthly blogs. His site went live 30 August and all of the keywords we are monitoring are already ranking well. Happy days…
Make-over for RBSS Consulting
This client came to us as a result of a networking event. He felt that our services were just what he needed. He wanted to update his website and to be found by more local businesses. His website already had a good amount of content and used video to help draw in traffic from different avenues.
Based in Romford, this Business Consultant, was ready to invest in his business. He requested that we write new content that was keyword rich. Our aim was to maintain the language of his profession as well as describing his services in a way that would appeal to potential clients. We also repurposed the blogs that were on his original site.
For a site that was relaunched on 1 October, to date his website is doing remarkably well. All of the keywords and keyword phrases that we are monitoring have appeared on page 1 of Google search. We will continue to apply our digital marketing strategies to ensure that his website remains in those top spots. Another satisfied customer…
One year on for Arco
Last month, one of our clients reached their one-year anniversary. Arco, run a central heating and plumbing business in Collier Row and have clients across, Romford, Upminster, Gidea Park, Chelmsford, Shenfield, Billericay, Brentwood, Harold Wood and Dagenham.
They came to us wanting their site to be more visible. Their previous website had been built by a big, well known, website provider. The previous website did not rank highly and neither did it generate new business leads.
This company is now visible on page one for the following search terms: central heating Romford, central heating Dagenham and central heating Upminster. We are still working with them on implementing some basic digital marketing strategies.
But what’s holding them back, I hear you ask? Are there actions that we should have taken but failed to do? No. The truth is, that like many businesses, there has got to be time put aside to work on the business. If not, the results just won’t be as they should be.
We are passionate about what we do. We get excited when websites we’ve worked on show up on organic search in the number one spot or within the map pack. Our job is to ensure that this continues to happen and by working alongside our clients (however busy!) we know that this will become a reality. Watch this space…
We'd love the opportunity to do SEO for your website, our to discuss how we can bring more leads to your door with no upfront costs to you. Call us on 01708 578 015 today!
Recently, I have been motivated to have a clear out. Now, I’m not just talking about having a clear out of my sock draw. I’m talking about a full on, whole house, clear out of everything! Every room in the house has come under my scrutiny. Every area of storage. Every single pen and pencil are being reviewed for ink levels and colouring quality. If it’s not got a use, it’s being offered to family, friends, the local charity shop or being taken to the tip.
It was whilst undertaking this manhunt of rubbish that I came across the above inspirational words that I’ve made into this meme…yes, even the storage on my phone is being reorganised and deleted! Now whilst the Perfect Layout memes are usually insightful words of wisdom created by our team – this one was not.
They are words that I’d noted whilst reading. Unfortunately, I was careless and forgot to note the authors name. But when I came across these words they really struck a chord. Number one–the words were super relevant to my current state of spring clean and number two–they were super true!
As part of our continued professional development, we are subscribers to Audible by Amazon. We don’t have shares in the company (if only!) but I cannot recommend highly enough having access to this resource.
It allows you to listen to the minds of great, businessmen and women that have made their fortunes. Whether or not your entrepreneurial path is the same as theirs, their message of how you can change things within you to become a success is relevant to all.
From the 26 books that I listened to last year (impressive right 😉!), there were many over-lapping messages that came from the authors. One of these nuggets was about not letting non-essential thoughts get in the way of you becoming a master of your destiny. That by writing a list of all the niggles in your life and resolving each one, it would free up valuable head space to concentrate on what mattered.
Now whilst I believed in this principle, I never got around to fully doing this as life got in the way. That is until recently. I can now write about this belief and say that it works.
I have been amazed at how the deep cleansing process of my home has also given me a much needed mental cleanse.
I can actually feel and see a space in my head which was formally occupied by my mad mutterings of how much the garage made me sick. I could never find anything in there! But now, I feel the transformation is happening. I just wished I’d acted sooner!
Is it time for change in your business? Have you sat around thinking about what to do but are unsure about which path to take or too fearful about taking the plunge? We can help lighten your burden by offering a listening ear and giving practical advice. Don’t leave it like I did.
Act now and set your business transformation in motion today!
This evening, thousands of people across the UK will come out of their homes, go out into the dark and stand in the cold night to watch a fire burn. It’s a tradition that has been observed for hundreds of years following the failed attempt by a group of young men in 1605 to blow up Parliament and King James I.
Guy Fawkes is the man that was captured and who jumped to his death to avoid being hung drawn and quartered. Today his name and memory lives on as he sits on top of bonfires across the country, in the form of a stuffed doll. All rather twisted and macabre, but a night out that appeals to the young and old. Add to the night some fireworks, glow sticks, fast food and drinks and it’s a night where profits can be made.
Is your business following the family traditions that has been passed down for generations? Or are you offering services and products in a way that is safe, earning you some money, but not the wealth you expected when you started on this journey?
Whilst some things are best left well alone, it’s still important to regularly give your business the once over to make sure that it’s working to its maximum capacity. Times change, people evolve and for the clever few that are able to predict the next big thing – big money is waiting for them.
Who would have thought that Bonfire Night, for example, would turn into an extravaganza that appealed to schools, sports clubs and parks as a way of making money? They open up their doors and charge an entrance fee, charge local businesses for a pitch and after their costs – make a profit!
If you would a fresh pair of eyes to review your online business, get in touch. We are not just good a creating effective websites, we are also excellent at offering ideas on:
- how your business could work better
- how your business is working amongst your competitors and
- how you could expand your offerings to a wider market
So, don’t be like these forgotten companies that were slow to respond to change. Aim to be a business with an evolving brand that has real connections and understanding of what their customers want and how.
Blackberry - remember this phone provider? This business thought they would stay at the top without having to think about their future customers and competitors, like Apple and Google.
Blockbuster – this shop hired out videos and games to an audience that didn't have much choice at the time. The CEO, however, couldn't see how good he had it and was blind to the big future of digital. He turned down an offer from Netflix to sell for $50 million.
Kodak – everyone knew this high street brand that sold quality camera film rolls and other products in the shops. It was another firm that played it safe and failed to see the opportunities emerging with the digital times.
It's not just established businesses that can get it wrong. According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 start-up businesses fail within the first 18 months. Do not be one of them!
Regular readers will be aware of us advocating the power of networking. If you want to grow your customer base, build relationships with local businesses in your area and get your name and face recognised - regular networking should be on your list of things to do.
As a consequence of presenting at a recent networking event, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing was invited to give the same presentation at another networking group called the Hornchurch Professional & Business Association. It is open to all business and professional people in Hornchurch and surrounding areas and has been in existence for over 70 years.
We felt honoured by the invitation and made to feel immediately at home by the Chairman, Robert Copeland, and Secretary, Ian Gorsuch. We sat down for a delicious three course lunch and got to know the members. It was an informal occasion, with conversation that went from business talk to deep discussions about the current performance of West Ham football club.
Our presentation followed. We gave the guests four practical exercises to do on their mobile phone. The aim, to reveal whether their website was visible and working to bring in new leads to their business.
Here are the four tests. Check to see how visible your company is. In your browser…
1. Type in your business type and location, i.e. plumber Romford. Where is your business listed? If it is not on page one, you have an issue with the content on your site.
2. Type in your exact company name i.e. Perfect Layout Digital Marketing – is there a Google My Business listing for your company. If you haven’t got one, you are missing a digital marketing trick.
3. Looking at the organic results of this page. Is your business listed in external directories? If they are not, we recommend that you invest time in creating them, they are a valuable asset for your online visibility.
4. Does your company have a blog/news section? If you don’t, you are missing out in enriching your site with new, fresh and relevant content for your audience. These blogs are additional ways of reaching customers via your website.
There was mixed feedback following each of these exercises. Participants were:
- surprised to see how invisible their company was when searched for locally
- happy to view their google my business profile
- in the dark about their business being listed on local directories
- accepting that they were not posting regular content to their customers
If you have just done the same test and found that your business is missing out on some or all of these points, get in touch with the Perfect Layout team today to see how we can help.
Interested in joining this informal networking organisation? For £160 per year, you will have the opportunity of mixing with some friendly, local business owners. Membership is for one person, but if you are unable to attend, you are welcome to send someone in your place. In addition to a lavish lunch, once a month, there is the chance to mingle and discuss the outcome of that afternoon’s presentation.
For further information contact Ian Gorsuch: IGorsuch@hwca.com
Are you failing to get leads from your website? Does it feel like a ghoul has hijacked business leads? Are you scared about this ever-changing world of digital marketing? Well, Perfect Layout are here to rescue you from your nightmares as we explain how Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) works. If you put in place these strategies, you will see your ranking improve. Are you ready to handle more leads coming to your business?
If you’re serious about wanting people to find you through a Google search, Search engine Optimisation (SEO) must be at the top of your priority list. You won’t be able to generate leads for your business if nobody can find you.
So, what happens after someone makes a search? Here is the likelihood of someone clicking on a link, depending on their organic positioning.
Breakdown of Google Click-Through Rates in by position
Position 1 – 20.5%
Position 2 – 13.32%
Position 3 – 13.14%
Position 4 – 8.98%
Position 5 – 9.21%
Position 6 – 6.73%
Position 7 – 7.61%
Position 8 – 6.92%
Position 9 – 5.52%
Position 10 – 7.95%
That means if you’re not number one on the page, you just missed out on a fifth of potential traffic. Most people won’t even click on the second page of the search results. If you are wondering why other websites are ranking higher than you on Google. It is because they are making a concerted effort to work on their SEO.
The good news is that it's never too late to start...you just have some catching up to do. There are techniques and strategies that you can apply to get you going.
The following 17 tips will increase your chances of getting ranked higher on Google searches.
1. Optimise your site for mobile devices
Long has the tablet and smartphone been around. They have taken over as preferred devices to search on when compared with a laptop. If your website design is not mobile friendly, you are going to be penalised. Why? Because Google recognises whether your site is mobile-friendly and ranks sites accordingly. Your website must be optimised for mobile users. If this means investing in a new web design, it will be money well spent. Ignore this tip at your peril.
2. Make sure your site is readable
Is the language that you are using on your site, written with your customer in mind? If you want people to visit your site and spend time there, speak in a way that they will understand. Don’t try to sound too professional. Write your content in clear and simple terms. Use short sentences. If you are not sure if your content is readable, use the Hemmingway App. It highlights where your content isn't working as well as it could be.
3. Format your page
When designing your website, take time to think about the layout for each page. Make sure it is neat, logical and uncluttered. Consider things like your font size and typography. Use coloured text, bold font, and italics sparingly. Consider using bullet points and checklists to make it easy to scan through your content. A clean design and format will improve your organic ranking.
4. Encourage people to stay on your site
How much time do people spend on your website per visit? If your site has fresh information, it will keep visitors on your page longer and this can be achieved in various ways, as outlined below.
5. Produce high quality content
There is no substitute for great content. Quality content created for your audience will increase site traffic. How often do you update your website? To encourage visitors to return you need fresh content. The more traffic to your website the more you will increase its popularity. Your content needs to be high quality, recent, and relevant.
6. Start blogging
Blogging is great for your business. It’s an outstanding tool for lead generation and helps you engage with visitors that come to your website. If you can create a group of loyal readers, you can get lots of traffic to your site on a regular basis. Blogs that incorporate good SEO practice, such as links, increased readability, and keywords, all positively impact on your search engine ranking.
7. Use keywords
Keywords play a major role in ranking. Brainstorm your sector. How do you think people will find you? 'Plumber in Romford', vs 'Central Heating Company in Romford' or 'Emergency Plumber in Romford'. There are so many ways people may look for your company. Now you need to include these 'keywords' into the content of your site. But do it sparingly. Keyword stuffing is frowned upon by the search engines and you will be penalised.
Keywords should fit naturally into sentences:
· Include them in your header tags
· Include then in image captions
· Include the use of long-tail keywords, (three or four words that make phrase)
If your keywords match their search, your website will have a greater chance of getting ranked higher.
8. Break up your content with header tags
Headings are another way to help improve the user experience. They break up the content and make it easier to read. If your website is big block of text, people are going to click off your website. If you’re not using headers, try and incorporate them within your content now.
9. More than words
Your website shouldn’t be only written words. Break up the pages with relevant, high-quality pictures. Consider also adding videos, slideshows, or audio to your site. This improves the user experience, as not everyone enjoys just reading.
Also remember what we said about the time people spend on your site. Videos, for example, can extend significantly the amount of time spent on your website. If that happens, it will boost your search ranking.
10. Optimise your images
Pictures and other images are not only visually great for your website. But when they are optimized properly they can improve your SEO ranking. Make sure you do the following:
Resize your images. Huge images can slow your page loading time, which can hurt your ranking. Use your images to sneak in keywords by naming them accordingly. Add keywords in the title of your image as well as the caption or description.
11. Include internal links
Internal links direct visitors to other pages on your website. Not only are you encouraging the reader to find out more about what you do, you are keeping visitors on your site for longer and reducing your bounce rate.
12. Use outbound links
When you are writing a blog or have content that researches a topic, link to sites you have used for information or that go into further detail. Connect your facts to the data source with a hyperlink back to them. When you source something, try to ensure that it is the most recent information.
13. Create anchor text properly
If you ever type 'Click here for more information'. STOP. Start creating relevant links within the text. 'Click here means nothing to the search engine. “Central Heating Installations” is rich with keywords. It will improve your search engine rankings, as well as the ranking of the page you are linking to.
14. Provide appropriate contact information
Have you ever struggled to find the contact information of a business on a website? This should never happen. All your contact information should be easy to find. Make sure you have a footer on every page of your site that includes your Name, Address and Phone number, otherwise known as the NAP.
15. Sharing is caring
Every business and website need to be active on social media. Your SEO ranking will improve when people share links to your website on social media. If you encourage social sharing as a regular part of your SEO campaigns, you will see a difference. Include social sharing icons on all your content and share links on your social media pages.
16. Title Metadata
Title metadata is the page title displayed at the top of a browser window and as the headline within search engine results. It is the most important metadata on your page. Make sure your site has this section filled in.
17. Description Metadata
When you see the results in organic search there will be a title and a description. This description metadata is vital to encouraging visitors to click to your site.
Search engine optimisation isn’t going away. If anything, it is getting more sophisticated and complex and is an ongoing job that needs focus and attention. This blog contains a long list of actions but don’t be put off! Write these actions on your to-do-list and go through them week, by week. Every improvement you make will stand your website in good stead.
Monitor your results monthly. Checking your traffic and search ranking will help validate your SEO strategy. It will also highlight areas on your website that need more attention. Who knows, by working on these elements, you might claim that elusive number one spot! It's all about outsmarting your competition. That’s what we at Perfect Layout Digital Marketing are working on every day with our clients.
These are only a few of the many methods for improving your search engine ranking. If you want to learn more, we recommend that you visit: Improve your performance on Google Search or give us a call and speak to our friendly team. Call 01708 578 015.
In short, yes!
When it comes to branding and awareness of your company, you should try to be as visually consistent as you can. You want your customers to instantly recognise you. First you must start with your logo and then build out your brand from there.
Ensure brand consistency across all your channels
Brand consistency refers to your brand identity, brand voice and brand guidelines. Does everything you create follow these guidelines? Doing so is a major step towards letting consumers get to know you as an organisation.
When they know you, they will identify with you and your purpose. And when consumers feel like they know you and can trust you, they will be more likely to buy from you. They will also be more likely to recommend you to their peers.
The content on your website, social media channels, newsletters and any offline marketing should all have the same 'feel'. Making connections between the content you own is a great way to maximise your presence. This way you can ensure you get the largest number of eyes on your products and services.
When it comes to your website you should ensure that it is consistent with all your other marketing. You should also be mindful of how user-friendly your site is. Can customers navigate around your website easily?
Structure: how well structured is the content on your website? You need to aim for a minimum number of navigation layers. Customers want as few clicks as possible to get to what they want. The website section division must be clear, logical and predictable.
Minimalism: efficient web page navigation is always simple and user-friendly. Add only those elements to your menu design that are essential for the effective communication. The key to success is a menu bar consisting of a minimal number of sections that goes to what they need.
Design: when selecting a design focus on readability, integrity, and harmony. Too many icons, buttons and shortcuts will put visitors off your site. The simpler the web navigation, the likelier customers will stay on your website.
Remember that: navigation can affect traffic and how high you’ll rank and how much traffic you’ll get from search.
Navigation affects conversions: how easy the site is to use effects what percentage of visitors convert into leads and customers.
Social Media Integration
Do you want to grow your market and reach a broader audience? Then the key is to integrate your business into social media. Social media channels and your website should work together to promote your online brand. Opening accounts in these platforms is completely free. They are a very good tool to increase your popularity and online presence.
Add links to your social channels from your website to increase the chance that search engine users will find your website.
Being active on social media channels can help build (or retain) a solid audience. Post regularly and keep your audience updated on your products and services as well as what's new on the market.
Unless you are able to do it yourself, marketing requires a lot of time, effort and money. But when it is done correctly and consistently across the various channels, it can be extremely powerful and rewarding.
Getting your brand, marketing strategy, website and social media platforms to where you want them to be, takes time and a lot of effort. If you are a small company, it might be worth considering hiring external professionals to help you.
If you want to know more about this important topic read our blog How important is branding for my company?
You might also like: 50 meticulous style guides every startup should see before launching by Canva.
Nowadays it’s plain to see that a massive part of our marketing strategy is undertaken digitally. Consumers and businesses spend more time searching online than anywhere else, so that's exactly where your business needs to be in order to reach them.
Whether you have been in business for a while or your business is in its infancy, the ever-changing picture of digital marketing can quickly grow and feel overwhelming. As a self-employed business owner, you are already faced with a long daily to-do list. How are you supposed to create, and maintain, an effective digital marketing strategy too?
What is a digital marketing strategy?
Your digital marketing strategy encompasses a series of actions (that take place online) with the aim of marketing your business and attracting the right customers.
The term ‘strategy’ might seem frightening but simply means, ‘plan of action’. Creating an effective digital strategy doesn’t need to be scary and should be viewed as a necessary tool that's used for bringing more paying customers to your business.
How to build a comprehensive digital marketing strategy
You will gain a better insight into your sector by studying other business models and reviewing the approach taken by your competitors. The results can form part of your strategy.
The following is a list of other factors to consider when devising your strategy.
1) Identify and build your buyer personas
Buyer persona's shows your ideal customer and can be developed by researching, surveying, and interviewing the target audience of your business. It’s important to note that this information should be based upon real data. Making assumptions about your audience can cause your marketing strategy to fail.
To get a rounded picture of your persona, try and include information that relates to their demographics, motivations, behaviour patterns and goals. Include a mixture of customers and people outside your contacts database who align with your target audience.
2) Identify your goals and the digital marketing tools you’ll need
Your marketing goals should form a significant part of the objectives for your business. For example, if your business’s goal is to increase online revenue by 20 per cent, your goal as a marketer might be to generate 50 per cent more leads via the website than you did last year to contribute towards that success.
Whatever your dominating goal is, you need to know how to measure it. The success of a digital strategy will be measured differently for each business and will vary dependent upon the nature of your goal. Having the ability to measure the impact of a marketing strategy is essential as it will allow you to refine your approach accordingly.
3) Evaluate your existing digital marketing channels and assets. Which ones are you using? Should you be on others?
The digital landscape changes quite often, so it’s a good idea to do your homework and find out what is out there, who is using it, why are they using it and if it’s a method that will fit in with your business. Not all platforms or assets are right for every business.
The key is to build a plan of what you would like to do and how you are going to achieve this. Can it be executed with your current resources or do you need to invest in more staff or external help?
4) Audit and plan your owned media.
Your owned media (original content that you create yourself) is often placed at the heart of digital marketing – your website. Each element of content that your brand creates, such as your website pages, product descriptions, blog posts, e-books, infographics, all helps transform your website viewers into leads and customers. It can also boost your search/organic traffic.
Whatever your goal is, you’ll need owned content to form part of your digital marketing strategy. You can then use other platforms (e.g. social media) to broadcast your messages to other audiences.
5) Create a content strategy and develop your earned media
Earned media is external publicity that you haven’t paid for. This is media exposure that comes to your business via methods such as, customer reviews, or content that has been shared, reposted, or mentioned by other people on their social media channels.
A good content strategy creates earned media. In turn, this exposure gets picked up by search engines and works towards them favourably ranking you above your competitors. Review the digital marketing asset column above and consider which tools will help your business receive more engagements and improve the external publicity for your site.
6) Do you have a budget for paid media?
If you have a marketing budget, you may want to spend some of it on advertising. Branded content, pay per click advertising (PPC) or display ads in print/online newspapers/magazines are all varieties of paid media. Budgets can be spent easily, so choose wisely where you want to spend your money. For online businesses, this is an essential aspect of revenue growth and building brand awareness.
7) Bring it all together.
It’s never too late to start implementing a good digital marketing strategy for your online business. A combination of owned, earned and paid for media can often give you better results.
Remember to plan ahead (as much as is realistically possible) and schedule regular meetings to evaluate the impact and performance of what has gone out. What lessons have you learned? Going forward, does the marketing plan you have in place need to be tweaked?
Digital marketing checklist:
- Profile of your buyer persona
- One or more marketing-specific goals
- An inventory and audit of your existing owned, earned, and paid media
- An owned content strategy plan
- Social media marketing plan
- Ideas of how you can create earned content
- A budget and plan for paid for content (advertising)
Have you got everything covered? We’d love to hear how you plan and action your digital marketing strategy. Leave a comment below to get the discussion started.
On 1 October the Havering Chambers of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) held their annual showcase event at the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch. For the first time, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing were in attendance as exhibitors.
As we arrived to set up, many businesses had already organised their tables and there was a buzz of anticipation in the air. Exhibiting at this event was open to both members and non-members of the HCCI and Barry Hicks (Chairman of the HCCI) had meticulously overseen the planning and administration.
The evening was opened by the Mayor of Havering, Dilip Patel, who spoke about the value that local businesses added to the community. There was a raffle with prizes that had been donated by the exhibitors and a free buffet and wine, for everyone in attendance.
Being on the other side of the table presented the challenge of attracting business owners to the table to talk about how our services could help theirs. Whilst we understand that not everyone needs our services, it was our aim to highlight that having a website that ‘looked good’ was only one element of drawing regular leads to an online business.
We presented a PowerPoint questionnaire that asked attendees the following questions:
Does your website and digital marketing need some TLC?
We have some quick tips to help make your site work better for you.
Enter your business service plus location to find out where your business comes up, i.e. website designers Romford
It’s a well-known fact that when people search for a service, businesses beyond page two don’t get looked at
When searched for locally, where does your business appear?
Does it appear in the Map Pack?
Do you have a ‘Google My Business’ listing for your business?
When you type your name into Google, does your business appear in a box to the right and does a list show where your business appears in directories?
Claiming your GMB and optimising your profile can do wonders for increasing your online visibility
– and it’s free!
If you are struggling to be found, let us put the icing on your ‘website’ cake.
Do any of these questions touch a nerve or highlight aspects of digital marketing that your business is lacking? If so, get in touch, was we can definitely help!
We really enjoyed attending the HCCI showcase event. It enabled us to mingle with other businesses and sow a seed in their minds about what we do. It’s still early days to know whether or not we’ve acquired any new customers, but networking for us isn’t just about that. It’s about getting to know the faces and personalities behind the businesses in our area and passing details on to others that may need their help. For us, creating real connections in this way is what networking is all about.
I’m keen to have a website for my business, but money is tight. I’m thinking of creating one myself, any tips?
Whatever type of business you have, there is no getting away from the fact that people will expect you to have an online presence. Whilst some business owners are able to make a reasonable income via social media platforms (like Facebook and Instagram) or e-commerce platforms (like Etsy and Shopify) having your own website has many benefits.
If your budget limits you from hiring a website designer, or you are attracted to the idea of creating a website yourself, there are many website providers to choose from. They will advertise low-cost packages with guidance on how to do it yourself, but will the end result generate more customers coming to your site?
Five top tips to having a great website
Top tip 1 – ensure that the content on your site accurately reflects the services/products of your business. Your bounce rate will increase if your writing style includes over long sentences, has grammatical mistakes or has a dull/flat tone. Analyse your competitors and review what does and doesn’t work for them. Let your website reflect your personality and the type of business that you have so that you don’t come across as cold and boring.
Brainstorm the terms that your customers search for you. Googles keyword planner is a tool that can help you pinpoint relevant long and short tail keywords. Having relevant keywords allow search engines, like Bing and Google, to match the right business to the right customer.
We understand that creative writing is not everyone’s cup of tea, so if the thought of doing this doesn’t sit well with you, why not give us a call? We have an excellent copywriting service that can be accessed in isolation or as part of an ongoing package.
Top tip 2 – be sure to encourage your conversion rate by giving those perusing your site every opportunity to get in touch or make a purchase. Using Call to Actions (CTA’s) throughout your website are a great way of nudging customers to act. CTA’s can be contact forms, telephone or current special offers.
Top tip 3 – gone are the days when all websites were difficult to view on a mobile phone. Business owners on platforms that are not mobile friendly will be penalised by search engines, which could negatively affect your rankings.
When creating your site, make sure it has the ability to respond to the device (mobile phone, laptop or iPad) that is being used. Customers do not like websites that have poor navigation. Make it easy and obvious for people to find their way around your site as clumsy navigation that has not been thought through could lose you income.
Top tip 4 – take the time and get your business listed on external directories. This will help boost your online presence as search engines view you as a trustworthy business. Read our blog for more details about why your business needs to be listed on directories.
Top tip 5 – consider the layout of your website. Have a theme that limits the use of colours, fonts and gifs. You will want each page to look its best and engage with customers – not distract them. High engagement leads to a higher conversion rate. Pages that are cluttered will prohibit users from scanning text for key points.
The use of photographs can really bring a website to life. Avoid using stock images, wherever possible, as they can depersonalise your business. Having images of yourself, staff and business premises will assist customers build a picture of who you are and the service/product you offer.
This list will definitely put you on the right track to getting the most from your website. If you find that later down the line your rankings haven’t improved, why not get in touch? Our Perfect Layout web development team are ready to help!
Whether you’re a small start-up business or an established company looking to increase your visibility, it’s important to spread the word about what you do, the service you provide and the products you sell. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as online and print. However, you can't beat meeting people face-to-face.
Networking is a way of introducing your company to other business owners. You never know, what they do that might be of interest to you.
There are many different networking groups and each one has their own style. Perfect Layout are members of the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI). It's a friendly group and each month it has a breakfast meeting. Within each meeting there is a talk/presentation given by two members, as well as the opportunity to network with other members and guests.
HCCI also organises its annual business showcase. (In fact, this is where the start of our networking journey began!)
Come and join us. We will be exhibiting at the Havering Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase 2018. It takes place on Monday 1st October 6.30pm-9.00pm at the Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch.
The event includes:
It’s free to attend. All you have to do is register your place on Eventbrite.
Are you interested in exhibiting information? Contact Barry Hicks, Chairman, Havering Chamber: firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01708 560066
Interviewing local businesses is a bi-monthly ritual that the team at Perfect Layout really enjoy. It allows us to become more known in the community and learn from the experiences of other businesses. By undertaking an interview in this way, Perfect Layout believes that we are able to help our readers learn how to run their business better by taking on board the pros and cons of how a business has conducted themselves.
We hope that sharing the personal experiences of these companies will give them exposure to readers that may need their services as well as providing insights into what has worked for them and what they could do a little better…
This month, we interview Jennie Bardrick, Co-Owner and Co-Director of Radfield Home Care Havering & Brentwood.
Lisa and I went to the British Franchise Exhibition in London in January 2017 and we came across Radfield Home Care there. We had an instant connection, immediately aligning with their family values, and from there the business began.
Radfield Care Home is a franchise. What is it like running a business that is part of a franchise?
The support you get from Radfield’s franchise support team is amazing. Any problems that come up, we can call National Office for help. We also have a Franchise Support Manager that comes to visit us and goes through cash flow and other matters that are important to ensuring the business runs smoothly.
Ultimately, Radfield has been in the home care business for many years and, as a result, has developed the systems and franchise support to make sure we run a successful and profitable business.
Lisa and I both didn’t have any background in care to begin with (we now are fully trained carers!) so this advice has been fundamental to us, as well as having a fantastic Care Manager – Natalea Haydon, who has lots of experience and manages the home care operations on a day to day basis.
How much independence do you get to make this your business?
We get a lot of independence and ultimately, we are responsible for growing our business and making a difference in our local community. Our home care clients love the fact that we are local and our office on Butts Green Road is always open for people to pop in. As we are one of the first Radfield franchise partners, we have the opportunity to influence the growth of the network and collaborate in partnership with them.
I imagine you have a business plan. Is this something that came from National Office or something you have had to prepare prior to investing in the franchise?
Ultimately, we developed our own business plan, but National Office and the franchise support team supported us with guidance in terms of expectations for business growth and financial targets. We are very focused on setting targets with our Franchise Support Manager and working with our office team to ensure we deliver and grow the business in line with (or ahead of!) our targets. In addition to having this there was a lot of screening and profiling that took place before we were accepted into the franchise. A big thing for Radfield is family and they liked the fact that Lisa and I are cousins and hold those strong family values.
What has it been like breaking into the home care market in this area?
It’s been very rewarding! Havering has got the highest proportion of over 65’s out of all the London boroughs which means there is a huge amount of people that we could help and support to live independent, happy lives at home. The nicest thing that we can give to families is peace of mind that their loved ones are well looked after. We have families that live far away from their parents that need someone to look after their Mum, Dad or elderly relative and we are able to provide that service and give reassurance.
What do you provide as a service that’s different to your competitors?
Lisa and I are really passionate about our family values, and run the business in memory of our nan – ‘Nanny Fish’. Having solid family values is something that we look for in the members of our home care team, so that they treat our clients as if they were family themselves. Our care proposition is focused on delivering high quality care, where our carers aren’t rushed, but focus on providing companionship support to our clients throughout the visit and building good relationships with our clients.
We are also really proud of our cutting edge technology systems, where our carers use a mobile phone app to log in to their care visits and log their notes, which gives immediate feedback to the office and means we are a highly responsive service.
What have you found to be the biggest hurdle since starting this business?
I’d probably say dealing with the emotional side of the business, when a client you have built up a good relationship with passes away. It can be very sad for our care team as they see some clients every day, so to pass on this kind of news can be really tough.
Describe your typical day?
I’d say no two days are the same for sure! At the moment I’d say I get up around 6am and may have a couple of clients to visit. I’d then be in the office, working with the office team to ensure they are set up for success and clear on the priorities for the day. I use Trello to manage my to do list and this seems to work well as it allows me to focus on the strategic business priorities but also to get the smaller tactical things done on a day to day basis. The office shuts at 4pm which is nice and early compared to my previous corporate jobs, but as we are a care operation we are open 24/7 really. In the evenings I spend time with my dog, see friends and family and like to do yoga.
Since starting this service, have you found yourself exhibiting talents that you never knew you had?
I think that’s a great question. I think the biggest difference in having your own business is the amount you learn and the confidence it gives you, and for me I would say that’s around the financial management of the business. I would also say that you definitely end up doing jobs you never thought you would do, but ultimately the reward comes and it is so worth it!
I note that you have a website that is part of the franchise? How well does it work for you, or would having more control of your own website make it easier?
National Office control the website, but this works well for us, because the Radfield Home Care brand looks strong and we have consistency with all the other offices. We are responsible for providing content to ensure our microsite is up to date and fresh, and this means our site is relevant and has that local feel to it.
Would you like your business to be found by more customers online?
Definitely! We have seen a trend that more and more clients are doing their research beforehand, which is great as we are really proud to have a 10/10 score from our customers on Homecare.co.uk. I’d say at the moment we get most customers via word of mouth, but most of the time these people have Googled us and read a bit about the company beforehand.
Are you promoting your business in any other ways?
We advertise in the Romford Recorder newspaper and on their website too. As well as this we hold community events to support local charities such as Saint Francis Hospice, as well as national charities like the Alzheimer’s Society.
Congratulations on winning the New Business of the Year Award in 2018 at the Havering Business Awards and the Judges Award at the Thames Gateway Business Awards. You were also awarded the ‘Top 20’ Home Care providers in the whole of London at the annual Homecare.co.uk awards in 2018 too. Most recently you were awarded Business Woman of the Year and Franchisee of the Year at the National New Business of the Year Awards. These are phenomenal achievements.
What else is in store for you and your team?
Our current plan is to continue to grow the business in the Havering area and ensure we are supporting as many elderly people as we can to live independent, healthy and happy lives in their own homes. We have recently expanded our office team to support this growth and are excited to have our new Marketing Apprentice and Care Coordinator on board to support this.
Where do you see yourself and this business going in the next 5-10 years?
Longer term, we have big growth plans to expand beyond Havering and across Essex to help more people, and ultimately support Radfield Home Care to become a national brand with a network of passionate franchise partners.
You can find out more about Radfield Home Care by logging onto their website or by accessing them via: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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!
Search Engine Optimisation, also known as SEO, is the techy way of describing how to make the most of a website’s online visibility. Imagine you have purchased a house that was in desperate need of repair. How would you go about getting it to look it’s best?
There are various things that you could do. You could: replace the windows, build an extension, re-plaster the walls inside out and landscape the garden. After completing these jobs, the house would serve better as a home. It would also be more comfortable and functional. That’s what SEO is. It’s a way of making the purpose of a website work better and be found by people looking for it.
If you have a website, blog or online store, SEO can help your business grow and get your business found online. SEO techniques vary. It’s a good idea to make sure that you put in place the basic strategies and check them regularly. The process of optimisation is not a one-time process. It requires regular maintenance and fine tuning alongside continuous testing and monitoring.
SEO can increase the quality of a website by making it user friendly, faster and easier to navigate. In today’s competitive market, undertaking SEO is more important than ever. Search engines serve millions of users per day. They look for answers to questions and solutions to their problems. The job of a search engine is to come up with the best options for its users. When applied correctly, good SEO will bring in online traffic and grow your customer base.
The following is a list of some SEO techniques that you can apply to your site:
- Your competitors are doing it
If your competitors appear above you in organic search, it’s likely that they are applying SEO techniques. If it can work for them, it can work for you too. Invest time doing it yourself or employing someone to do it for you.
Backlinking is a key feature of Search Engine Optimisation. Also known as ‘incoming links’ and ‘inbound links’. This is when a link from an external website is directed towards yours. Websites that link to a variety of authoritative sites will rank higher in search engine results pages compared to those who have links to sites that are not as powerful. Getting it right is key.
If you have inbound links on your site that don't relate to the content on the page, they will be considered irrelevant. Your website could be penalised. The higher the relevancy of inbound links, the greater their quality.
- Internal linking
Linking to related articles, or pages, on your own website helps search engines better understand the importance and topical focus of each page. Creating links this way assists Google in determining the relevancy of your website. The more people like and share your content, the more visibility you’ll receive from these social media channels. As you develop quality backlinks, it will help to boost and sustain your rankings over the long term.
- Back end SEO
Complete the page title, page description and meta keywords for each page of your website. Search engine algorithms select websites with keywords that match the users search terms.
- Page titles
Keyword-based titles help establish page theme and direction for your keywords. Choose a title that reads naturally and effectively. Make sure it communicates the topic of the page’s content.
- Meta tags
Meta description tags can influence click-throughs but aren't used for rankings. Meta tags contain keywords or phrases alerting search engines of a website's content.
- Place strategic search phrases on pages
Integrate selected keywords into your website's content. Make sure the tone sounds natural. Doing this will help the search engines quickly determine what the page is about.
- Sign up your websites to online directories
Find directories where you can list your business for free. This method will get links to your website quickly and naturally. It also helps get your site indexed by the search engines. Start with directories such as yelp, Yellow Pages and Thomson Local.
It’s important to continually review the movement of your website. Where does it sit alongside your competitors? You will achieve good results if you consistently undertake these SEO principles. A common mistake is to focus on the quantity, rather than the quality, of backlinks. If you’ve ranked for a particular keyword, there is no need to build excessive backlinks to that page. Google can detect if a site is gaining links at an unreasonable pace. Building links too fast is like waving a red flag that can potentially get your website closed down. If you want to maintain your keyword ranking, try to expand your inbound links to the various pages on your site. This strategy will diversify your backlinking profile and increase your website authority.
If this sounds confusing, fear not. The team at Perfect Layout Digital Marketing, would love to help fix your website with some SEO TLC. Give us a call on 01708 578 015
This blog has been inspired following a friend’s recent experience with the medical system in the UK. Said friend went in for a routine operation about seven weeks ago. The procedure lasted only five minutes and the recovery was supposed to be a week.
To cut a long story short. She was nowhere near better by the end of that first week. In the past seven weeks she has been back and forth to GP’s, consultants and hospitals, being misdiagnosed. It took four days of waiting in a hospital bed and a lot of pain-relief drugs before they did any scans. As it turned out she needed another operation. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she is now on the path to a full recovery.
As this story unfolded, I despaired at the way things were being run. It seemed such an inefficient use of time, money, medication etc. It got me thinking. How can hospitals - or any business for that matter - afford to be inefficient? And so, I have identified some areas that you might want to look for in your business.
Check if you are running an efficient and profitable company.
Maybe the institution itself has such rigid and old ways of doing things. Just because ‘that’s the way we always do it’, doesn’t mean it is still fit for purpose. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
1. Bad financial management
Many businesses find themselves running out of money. Cash flow is key for all businesses. How this happens usually falls into one of these categories:
To avoid this, you have to know your figures inside and out. You need to keep an eye on them regularly, so that you can spot dips or downward trends. Make sure that your financial projections are on track. If you see things changing, then something elsewhere may need to change too. Try to stick within your budget. Cut any unnecessary expenses. Always invoice straight away and get paid on time. Where possible set up automatic billing that you can be in control of.
2. Bad Management
Every organisation needs someone at the helm, leading, taking charge. They have to ensure that no matter how big the company is, that the right processes and procedures are in place. The entire organisation should be seamless and efficient. This is true for both the staff and its customers.
For that to happen, there needs to be regular training, communication and policies. Everyone must be on the same page. No one person or department should be the ones doing it all. Every role should work as a cog to help the wheel roll smoothly. There also has to be a single point of authority. Larger companies often appoint department heads and team leaders to make decisions.
So, do you have the right staff in place? Do they do the job with pride, care and attention. Are you paying them what they deserve? Do you offer rewards and incentives? Your staff are your biggest asset, so you need to treat them well. Good management also recognises when they don’t have motivated staff. First you need to address it to see if you are able to change this, otherwise you face the tough task of letting them go. Dead weights can also hinder a company and have devastating consequences.
Can you honestly say that your company is working as efficient as it could be? Do you conduct regular days on the business with staff? Do you ask them how things are, what could be better, what needs to stop, what to introduce? The people on the ground can often find solutions. Do you spend time thinking about what the business might look like in 12 months’ time, or in five years? Be forward thinking, be proactive.
3. Bad customer service
It is surprising to see how many businesses have bad customer service. This could be because of what we have discussed about management and procedures. Yet, without any customers, you wouldn’t have any business. Giving good customer service should come easy. Ask yourself, how would you like to be treated and map that out. Use your common sense. Good customer service doesn’t need to be expensive. If you do get complaints, listen to your customers and put it right fast. Then tell your staff what you have learned from the experience. Explain how you want them to do things from now on, so that you ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Good interdepartmental communication will pay dividends. You don’t want to end up with a bad reputation. Some businesses never recover.
4. Staying up-to-date with technology
Technology covers a wide range of things. Computers, phones, broadband and IT servers. It can also include websites and social media platforms. Whatever it is, make sure that you invest in the best technology and support that you can afford. If all your computers are old and staff are struggling to complete simple tasks, invest in new ones. This downtime could start costing you thousands. Is your website current? Does it reflect your business as it stands today? Is it mobile optimised? If the answer is no to any of these, you need to plan to change this. If you are not active on the right social media channels, you could be missing on potential clients. I know that social media is a hungry beast that needs feeding all the time, but it’s essential to do it these day. Now more than ever you must have an efficient website, that it is mobile and SEO friendly. You need to be active on social media and posting every day (or more). If this is not part of your expertise, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a professional, like us at Perfect Layout Digital Marketing.
Running a business is about always being willing to learn. Things around us are changing all the time. We all will make mistakes. It’s those that carry on doing it, ‘because that’s the way we do it’ will find that they will get left behind. Acting fast and making necessary changes can determine the future of your business.
Regularly check that your business is in good health. If there are signs that things need a reboot, then do something about it before it takes over.