Having a proper business email address is a vital part of looking like a professional and serious company. If you are a local company, having a business email rather than a personal account can make you stand out from the competition. Looking for a service and seeing that the main email address is at a yahoo, gmail or other general provider doesn’t set off the right tone.
If you’re a one-man company, it might be tempting to either use your existing address or set up a new one like ‘email@example.com’. This may be a convenient way forward, but it’s important to take the time to build the foundations of your business properly. This reassures potential clients that the business itself is a distinct entity and that you are operating professionally.
Setting up a business email account is quick and inexpensive, so there is no reason why every start-up/local or small business can’t have a matching URL/domain name and email addresses.
Setting up your business email address: what you need to know
You can create mailboxes by going to your domain provider and purchasing a mailbox. (If you are building a website from scratch, when you buy your domain you can also add on a mailbox). For a small annual fee you can create this mailbox to deal with all your business enquiries. All mailboxes can be easily configured so that you can access them on all your devices. Your provider should have a ‘how-to’ on their website that guides you through it step-by-step. If you are a technophobe, you can ask your provider to help you with the set up.
Having multiple mailboxes means you can assign an address to everyone in your company or departments within your business using the same domain coupled with a prefix. For example, you might have sales@, info@ or customerservices@ generic mailboxes and then firstname.surname@ for indiviuals to have their own accounts.
If in doubt, call your web provider and talk through your business needs with them and they will be able to advise you on the best route for your company.
Perfect Layout can advise their clients, who are building a website for the first time, on how to do this. Give is a call on 01708 578 015.
No two websites are the same and no two clients have the same requirements or work in the same way.
Perfect Layout offers a content creation service for customers who don’t like writing or simple don't have the time. If you require this service on top of us building your website, your product will take longer for us to complete.
In the consultation stage we will decide on a site map for your website – determining the pages and subpages most appropriate for your site. We will also determine how visual your site will be and how many images you may need for each page.
If you have a collection of your own photos we may be able to use those, alternatively, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing can source high-quality stock images for you.
So once the foundation is in place and all content and images have been approved – the turnaround time for showing you the first draft of your website can be as short as two weeks.
Call or email Perfect Layout Digital Marketing to find out how we can help you:
01708 578 015 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I am thinking about buy I have getting a new website and the current website address I have is great. I'd really like to keep it - is that possible or do I need to buy a new one when I have a new website built? Also, what will happen to the Search Engine Optimisation efforts from my current site?
The quick answer is yes! If you have a website address (domain) that you want to keep, then you can - that's not a problem. Websites can be built on other platforms. All you need to do is re-point the settings to the new platform's servers.
In order to do this, you will need to have access to the domain account, rather than your current web provider. If your website was created and set up by your current provider and they have access to your account, ask them to transfer it over to you.
So how does it work?
Think of it a bit like moving home. When you move house, the shell of the property changes (this is your website platform) and when you want mail to come to you, you give everyone your new address (this is repointing the DNS settings on your account).
Then, hey presto, the move is complete and people can find you in your new home.
What else might you want to consider when creating or updating a website?
If you are going to the effort of redesigning your website or creating a website from scratch, now might be the time to check that your company name and your domain are still a good fit for your business. Read one of our previous blogs on domain name registration–3 tips to getting it right, which is about how to choose your company name correctly.
The world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be hot topic, with opposing views on what the right approach is for your website to climb to the top of search engines. Google is continuously evolving its algorithms, so what might be the right approach today may be different tomorrow.
While there certainly are benefits of having targeted words in your domain, they are not as important as they once were for SEO. However, spend some time thinking over the following points to help you decide on an appropriate domain for your business.
Things to consider are:
These days there are many new domain endings available, but where possible, we recommend our clients to buy a .com or .co.uk extension (where relevant for their business).
Is your domain memorable?
If you over complicate it or have unusual spelling of your company name, it will make it harder for clients to remember you so keep it simple!
Keep it short
Websites with long or confusing names can impede you. It is recommended to use one or two words in your domain. Try not to abbreviate words as only YOU will remember this.
Should you choose keywords or build a brand name?
What business are you in? Consider whether the inclusion of location and business keywords related to your business is better than trying to establish a brand name. Will your brand name resonate with your business, or will it get lost and forgotten?
Does it sound professional and authoritative?
Are you attracting your ideal clients with your name? A name that doesn't fit in with your business could prove costly. Think about what your customer will be attracted to.
Will I lose my existing SEO when I change platforms?
If done properly you shouldn’t see any impact of changing your website to a new platform.
These are some key points, as recommended by Digital Marketing Pro:
Talk to your web designers about any concerns that you may have and ensure that they are following all the recommended steps to ensure that everything transitions smoothly.
Now you can see that changing platform, but keeping your existing domain and SEO, is a straightforward process.
Every other month, Perfect Layout goes out into the community to talk to local businesses. The aim is share with our readers the personal experiences of these companies. What has worked for them and what they could do a little better…
Perfect Layout believe that sharing knowledge and experiences is a great way to help other businesses wherever they may be situated. Attracting customers to the local area is paramount if independent companies are to thrive.
As a result, and being fairly new on the block ourselves, we are keen to promote the awesome, creative and varied companies that exist right here on our Essex doorstep.
Read on for our very first inspirational interview…
Business name - It’s Mine Cakes
Owner – Amanda Easy
Location – 3 Grange Road, Harold Hill, Essex, RM3 7DU
What was life like before making cakes?
Life before cakes saw me working full time as a trainer in my other business called ‘Easy Management of Aggression’ otherwise known as EMA. This business delivers mandatory training and secure patient transport within the mental health sector.
Making cakes is quite far removed from your role within your other business. What inspired you to start making cakes?
My sister asked me to make her a birthday cake, for herself, as she couldn’t find what she wanted in the shops. When I made the cake, it came out so nice that my other sister wanted one and then other family members began asking me to make cakes for them too.
After making three or four cakes, I saw other cakes that were on sale in a new business and comparing my cakes with theirs, I decided that mine were a lot better! I thought to myself, if they can do it, I can do it. I made an Instagram page of the cakes that I’d already made and within a week I had someone email me with an order.
I then started making cakes from my kitchen and had so many cake orders that my husband had to go out and buy me a wallpaper paste table to put all the cakes on. I had them all lined up on this table and my kids began complaining that they were taking up too much space.
Making cakes from my kitchen went on for about 4 months. I couldn’t cope with the amount. For the cakes that I was unable to make, I had to get another cake firm to make them for me. After that, for consistency, I had to work from a bigger base. It was at that point that I realised that in order to grow the business I had to get premises for all the cakes and taking on staff. Plus, my house was getting destroyed!
I started looking at information on how you get premises, and what would be needed to get a shop.
It was then that I realised that the outlay would be too much and I had to get a business loan. I used the Government funded scheme for start-up businesses. I had to write a business plan with forecasts etc and talk to various people about the business. I spoke with them twice and got approval for plans within days. Two days later the money was in my account. Part of my plan submission included the details of the shop, which I think made my proposal look more attractive and got quicker approval.
The rest is history!
How did you come up with your business name?
I first of all thought about using my own name with cakes in the title. But I thought that if my name was in the title I would become the brand and I didn’t want that. Eventually, I want to really grow the company. The idea for my name came when watching how everyone reacts to having a cake. They would react by saying, “it’s mine”. I thought it was catchy so went with it. It makes me laugh as people still have that reaction when I deliver their cake.
Have you had any formal training?
No! I am completely self-taught.
How long have you had your shop in Grange Road?
Three years this November.
How many employees do you have?
I currently have one part-time member of staff. I have tried working with a young apprentice from a baking school but the person didn’t fit and it worked out that the role wasn’t right for her. I do believe in hiring staff in this way and will revisit doing this in the future.
What advice would you give to other cake makers and decorators that would like to make money from their creations?
Don’t under price because you think people won’t pay it. Take a deposit to cover your costs before you start working on your cake and have a good set of terms and conditions.
How’s business going since you first started out?
It’s going well! I’ve increased my product range to include, glow in the dark cakes, wedding cakes, cupcakes, push cakes, cake pops, biscuits, chocolate covered strawberries and oreos. I also make my own creations using the current trends like, ‘whole in the cake or look through the cake’ or ‘abandoned theatre’ style. My twist on this is to create a circus tent inside a cake.
Next year I’d also like to introduce taster open days for wedding cakes. This would be done on a group basis of 4 to 5 couples. On offer to taste would be sponges (vanilla, chocolate, red velvet and lemon flavours) butter creams (chocolate, vanilla, cream cheese and lemon flavours) and fruit fillings (raspberry, lemon and cherry flavours).
Where do you see It's Mine Cakes in 5 years time?
Becoming a preferred provider for wedding venues and with a team of 5 full time members of staff.
Do you have a digital marketing strategy?
I use Instagram and Facebook to promote my products, word of mouth and loyalty scheme. My loyalty scheme is that for every spend over £50 they get a stamp. Acquiring 3 stamps, will get the customer 6 free cup-cakes, for 6 stamps, they get 12 cup cakes and for 9 stamps they will get a 6-inch cake.
What types of businesses do you think would benefit from using Instagram?
Any business that can promote their business with a photograph.
I note that you are very active on social media. Have you thought about growing your business with the benefit of having a website?
Yes! I think that having a website will help me reach more people and give me a more professional image. It will also allow me to write more information about my products and offer people the chance to make payments online.
If you could start It's Mine Cakes all over again, what would you do differently?
I would try to work on the business rather than in the business. I would have concentrated more on establishing the processes and marketing rather than making the cakes.
Do you watch the Great British Bake-off on Channel Four?
No. It’s a show about baking and I run a business focussed on decorating cakes.
So for all things cake – check out Amanda’s varied delicious selections via:
Facebook - itsminecake
Instagram - itsminecakes
Email – email@example.com
If you have a business that you would like to feature in this regular slot, why not get in touch? We’d love to hear from you!
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.
Why not start the new year with a bang and give your online business the promotion it deserves!
You'll have no excuses as Perfect Layout have the perfect post-Christmas gift that you could buy for your business.
For the entire month of January we are reducing all website build-only purchases by 50% AND offering those who really want to invest in their business 3 free months on their support package.
That equates to a saving of £250 on website only builds and a whooping saving of £450
on the 12 month support package.*
So get in touch now as this level of discount won't be seen again this year!
*Read more about our packages and costs here.