Web Design & Local SEO for Small Businesses

Small business

4 Things We Can Learn From A Four Year Old.

4 Things We Can Learn From A Four Year Old.

I’m playing Peter Pan. Do you want to be Jane like me?

Ok for those of you not clued into Disney, Jane is Wendy Darling’s daughter in Return to Never Land.
This was how my four year old daughter greeted her friend this very cold morning, while we waited for the teachers to open the doors and the school day to begin. This was the start of her day, how did you start yours?
The school run this morning got me thinking. They say a childs’ play is their work and sitting there watching my four year old playing with her friends, made me think about what I could learn from her and how it could that be used in business.

1) My daughter seems to make friends wherever she goes. She will confidently talk to others in the playground and ask if they want to play or if she can join in with them.

Lesson: Everyone is a potential friend, business partner or customer. Always have your business card or contact details with you, after all you never know when an opportunity will present itself. Ok not everyone you speak to is going to buy from you, but maybe they have a friend looking for your product or service. However don’t bore people with the details if they’re interested in what you do then great, if not as long they are aware they can spread the word.

Action: Carry business cards on you, tell your friends what you do, and link to your business page from your personal account. Make it easy for people to find out what you do, if they want to.

2) Rather than telling her friend to be someone else in the game she asked if she wanted the same character, giving them both a chance to be in the lime light. There’s always room for someone doing the same thing as you. It’s what you do, that makes the difference.

Lesson: There is likely to be competition in whatever field you are in. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It means that that the quality of your work, the service you give needs to be better. You need to work out your person USP (Unique Selling point). Use your USP to give yourself the edge.

Action:If you don’t already know what your USP is then, spend time today working it out. Make sure you tell others about it, is it on your website, your facebook page, if your proud of your USP let others know about it.

3) So I was told on the way to school that Peter Pan was with us, my daughter knew she was going to play with him whatever, even though “he’s just pretend and not really there” .

Lesson: Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean you can’t play or work with it. Think about your blog or facebook page, you chat to people on there, most of which you’ll never meet, or speak to in person. When you are considering how to sell your product, service or goods you need to think who needs it. Working up a profile of your customer will help you create picture in your mind of who they are, I use this picture when I write to set the level of who I am writing to.

Action: Create your own customer profile, how old, where do they live, where do they hang out? The more info you can add the more ideas about places to advertise, services to offer etc you can get to provide your customers with what they want, where they want it.

4) When your 4 you can fly, swim, be a princess and a mermaid all before school. I don’t know about you but I think we could all do with a little magic in our lives.

Lesson: day to day life can have its highs and lows, imagine how much better your day and your customers day would be if you shared a little bit of magic. Do you do something that others don’t want to, or can’t do for themselves? Then just by doing what you do best, you will be helping others think of this a magic. I create websites, people tell me I just wouldn’t know how. Ok so I learnt how but to others it’s still magic. See the magic and make your day a little brighter.
Action: find your magic, spend time with your children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, or even just spend a few mins acting the kid yourself, enjoy and have fun. Bring that feeling into your work. As Mary Poppins says, “find the fun and snap the jobs a game”.
So these were my thoughts, now to put them into action. Next time you’re watching a child playing, spend a few minutes thinking, what can they teach me?

What Do I Do With My New Website?

What should I do with my new website?

What should I do with my new website?

You have a new site, it’s listed in Google but it’s not drawing in as much business as you’d hoped. Well this is where Search Engine Optimisation comes into play. When I designed / created your site, I tried to optimise your site as much as possible for your most relevant keywords, so Google and the other search engine know what your site is about. I also added a few links to your site enough to get you listed in Google, but to improve you place in the search results you need more links. Google sees a link to a site as a vote. However not all votes are equal.

Good Links / votes

One way (no reciprocal link back to them on your site)
Dofollow (if the link is set as a nofollow site then the link doesn’t allow the search engines to follow the link or share the page rank.
Page rank (google ranks pages 0-10) depending on the number links, hits and other things. This is only updated a few times a year, the higher the page rank of the page your link is on the more sway it has with Google

Google keeps it’s formula very secret so NO-ONE knows for certain how to get to the number 1# slot every time, however there are a lot of companies out there that will tell you they can.

There are white hat techniques and black hat techniques (frowned on upon by Google), each company will have different approach depending on what they have found that works and the resources that they can throw at it.

SEO is something that anyone can do, but does take a little time to read about and learn different skills. If you have time to do it yourself then great, but if you would like some help then allow me to offer my services.

Have You Got The X-Factor

Have you got the xfactor

Have you been following stories about Cheryl Cole being sacked from the US X factor. Well to be honest I don’t know all the ins and outs but having read some of the articles on themirror.co.uk and there are several reasons being bandied around as to why she was sacked,

1) The Americans couldn’t understand her accent – (how ridiculous, the range of accents in America, and they can’t cope with her Geordie accent)

2) She wasn’t pushing herself forward enough, letting the other judges dominate the discussion.

Whatever happens I’m sure Cheryl will bounce back, and go on to many more exciting new projects.

So why am I writing about this? How does it relate to you?, your business? and more importantly your website?.

Firstly the WHY?

I’m trying to be topical. Relating things you do to recent events can help to drive traffic to your blog / site / business. You can be inspired from pretty much anywhere but some good sources check out Twitter trends see what people are searching for the most on there, news sites, as well as other blog posts might spark an idea.

So how does this relate?

Does your business / site / blog have the X-factor do you stand out from the crowd? Do you make a noise or let everyone else talk over you.

Don’t let your accent or the way you write, put people off. Although we’re working online, we still have an accent, not an audible one, but our writing style.

When you write you might want to avoid using local words like Scran=food, dual-track = dual carriageway. Keep your writing clear and simple, look at your target audience and write for them. If your target is officer worker in the city, talking about the sheep being dipped on the farms will mean very little to them . However if you are writing for a local community, then use some local language, will give your writing some character, just be aware that not everyone may understand or appreciate it.

Don’t sit back in the shadows, voice your opinion.

You are (or should be) an expert in your field, you have your OWN personal experience on which to draw. When you network either in person or online, or write for a site or blog, don’t be afraid to say your piece. You opinion is just as valuable as anyone else’s. Join forums in your niche area and offer help with issues or your opinion. Join in discussions, listen to others ideas you might just learn something but they can also learn form you. You’ll get a lot more out of these activities if you participate than if you’re a lurker.

By participating on forums blogs etc. you can get links to your site or blog, always useful to the search engines, but by drawing attention to yourself people will be interested in finding out more (so make sure your profile and signatures includes web addresses where possible).

Conclusion:

So it’s decision time, do you have the X-factor, or should you be sacked? Are you after the limelight or happy to let others take the glory while you lurk.

Go tell someone new about your business. But don’t forget to leave a comment on here and tell us how it went.

Pippas Web design websites for start up companies and small business, check us out.

Save

Things to Consider When Choosing a Hosting Package

What is a hosting company?

Put simply in order for your website to be seen on the Internet  the files need to be stored somewhere.  It is possible for you to host a simple website on your own computer, but this would mean the computer would need to be on 24/7, have security installed and I’m guessing you’re not interested in doing that.  So the better option is to find a hosting company.  They’ll keep your website files on their servers and they can deal with the maintenance of them, allowing you to concentrate on your business.

How to choose ?
So for your small or new business, you’ve chosen a domain name and chosen the ending you want, but now it’s time to pick your hosting.
Your hosting options vary depending on how you’re going to create your web page.

  1. Using an online programme like moonfruit or wix, these programs create flash based sites with a html (Hyper text Markup Language – that websites care coded in) version embedded so which overcomes the issue that flash is traditionally SEO unfriendly. These websites are usually hosted on the site they’re created.
  2. Using software like Dreamweaver, coffeecup or FrontPage or even wordpress that allows you to create the pages offline with varying amount of skills and knowledge from some are visual based some you need to know html and possibly CSS to code the pages. The pages and any software will need to be transferred / uploaded usually called FTP (File Transfer Protocol). If you’ve got a snazzy new site made in .php you’ll need to find a host that allows php. If you want to upload wordpress or any other blog system you’ll need to check their hosting requirements before you pick it.

Other things you need to consider when choosing your hosting company

Email : Does the host give you the ability to set up email if so how many and is it enough for what you need, can you add more?

Storage Space: How much space do you need? most hosting options offer more than enough for setting up a simple starter site. But if you are adding photo galleries, shopping systems, blog etc you need to think can I upgrade and get more space if I need it?

Bandwidth: bandwidth, this refers to a mix of the number of people accessing your site, and how big you page files sizes are and the amount of data that is sent to your browser. Some hosts limit that amount of broadband and if you only have a small site with mainly text and a few images that it likely to be fine, but consider using a host with unlimited or unmetered bandwidth, then you’ll never need to worry.

Help: What support is offered? if you’ve never done anything like this before you may want to ensure the support levels and that it’s included in your package.

So How Do You Chose?

Firstly I suggest you check Google, get a selection of hosting company’s and pricing that suits your requirements and budget. Then check the company on Google for customer reviews. Remember however that everyone’s experience can be different. I personally host my main site through Streamline.net. searching through reviews sites there are a number of people who have problem with them. I however have never had a problem with them.

A lot of hosting companies offer a domain name when you sign up to their deal. So as you’ve already picked you domain you’re now ready to sign up.

To see how Pippasweb could help your business, check us out.

3 ways to pick your domain name.

How to pick your domain name
You’ve made that decision that your company wants a web site. So your next task is what to call it. It needs a domain name or url.
1) Use your company name. The simplest idea is to buy a domain name using your company name. This is great if you’re an existing established company. After all how will people know to look for your company, if they don’t already know it’s name? Of course that’s where SEO would come in, you’d arrange your site so it could be found using the keywords

 

2)What do you do? Describe a service that your site offers, using a keyword you would expect people to use to find you in Google for example. Window cleaning and select a domain name using the term somewhere within. This will give a bit of extra juice for search engine ranking for that term.
3)Place names, if you serve a specific area, a town, city, county, then it may be in your interest to chose a domain name with it in the name.
Of course, you’re not just limited to one domain name either. If you are entering into a field with a lot of competition you may want to approach it from several different ways.
You could buy as many domains as you need on for services, one for name, one for location and then use a domain re-direction point them to your site. However think about this before you do it, the more you buy the more links you’ll need to build for each name. Also do you want to be in competition with yourself? If you do buy extra domain names, then you will need to create 301 redirection to direct them to you site so that only one version of your site is visible to search engines, or you’ll end up with duplicate content which is another SEO NO-No.
So if this has given you some inspiration then check your short list of suggestions on www.123-reg.co.uk/domain-names and make sure that no-one else has your combination.
In the next post I want to look at the domain name endings and does it make a difference.
So how did you select your domain name? Leave me a comment and share.
To see how Pippasweb could help your business, check us out.

New Year Resolutions 2011

I have been promising to do more work on this blog and now seems as good a time to get going on it.
My New Year Resolution is to post at least two posts a week, on Monday and Friday.

My plan is to try start at the beginning and give info for small businesses, the first post has already been posted today about 5 things to consider when naming your business.

The posts will include:

  • tips for small businesses and how to set one up.
  • Web design information and tips
  • SEO things you can do to help your own site.

This blog is here to empower you, so whether you use it to develop your own website, or just to give yourself an understanding before employing someone, (after all you have your own business to run too).

I will also post onto the blog in between if I can with, but I have to be realistic with my time.  My kids come first, clients sites second and then my own site and blog.

So don’t miss out, subscribe to the blog using the options on the right and receive the posts directly to your inbox, or blog reader.

What are your business New Year Resolutions?  Why not share them here.

To see how Pippasweb could help your business, check us out.

5 thing to consider when naming your new business

It’s January a New Year, New Year, maybe a New company?
So you’ve decided to launch a new company. A company name is likely to be the first thing a potential clients knows about you and what you offer, so picking just the right name is important, here are a few things to consider when choosing the name.

1) Make it memorable, you want you potential clients to remember your business name, for example the name Cuts for a hairdresser is pretty common but it”s you’d remember it quickly. However be careful with unusual or difficult spelling. If the client goes to find you in the phone book, or even Google your name, would they be able to still find you or would the spelling of your company make you too difficult to find.

2) A positive response when a client reads / hears the name of your company they’ll automatically try visualize something about the company, a company name that allows this for example pampered pets, would be more memorable than for example shizam. You need to find a name that gives the potential client a positive impression or feeling rather than a negative one. For example cosy toes gives a more positive impression than cold feet.

chose a name the conjures up a positive impression of your business
Make your business name something visual and positive.

3) Future Expansion, if you make earrings and call your self Red earrings, what happens in the future if you want to expand to other items of jewelry.

4) Domain name, Do a search on Google, check for other companies with the same or similar name? From an SEO point of view consider using a keyword that you will want your company to be found using Google, for example if you’re going to sell books, then you’ll want it somewhere in the company and domain name. Check if the domain name you would want is still available.

5) Sound it out and write it down some times when words are said or written down next to each other they create new words or sounds that will for Example Low hypnotherapy when written as a domain name lowhypnotherapy with the new word of why?

Ask the opinion of friends, and family. At the end of the day go with your gut feeling, if you like / don’t like it see where it takes you.

So what was your thinking when you chose the name of your business, why not leave me a comment and share? All the best with your new venture.

To see how Pippasweb could help your business, check us out.

The Advantages of Professional Web Design vs Doing it Yourself

OK so you’ve decided that your business needs a website.  Congratulations!
You’ve probably got ideas running through your head about what you want to go on YOUR site, but the next choice is, who will create your site?
The two options
1) Hire someone to create your site.
2) Do it yourself.

OK firstly lets look at the idea of you creating your site.

There are many sites out there, that can help you to build without the need for learning any code, for example, http://www.doyourownsite.co.uk/ or http://www.webs.com/ or http://www.moonfruit.com/ .
Building your own site will Save you Money, and it will give you a great sense of achievement watching your site appear before you. However, depending on how you decide to create your site, you will need to learn about how to design a site, and then how to promote it afterwards, in order to make it work for you.  A big positive is You can use your own ideas. You don’t have to try and explain to a web designer, how you want your site to look like.

Choosing a designer has its advantages.

You may have your ideas about what you want on the site and how you want it to look, but the designer has more experience about what does and doesn’t work.  It sounds strange but just choosing a different site colour and logo could stop someone from leaving your site immediately, a designer can help with this.
Getting professional help may include SEO (search engine optimisation) preparing your site ready for Google and the other search engines to help get a better ranking.  You can do this yourself, and my facebook page and this blog will offer ideas of you can, however it can be very time consuming so do you have the time?

OK so a designer will cost you money, and that amount may vary depending on who you get to do it.  As with anything else I suggest you get some quotes.  If you’re a new start up company or a sole trader then you budget is likely to be tight, (This is where Pippas Web comes in).  So the cheaper option of doing it yourself may appeal, but weigh this up against the time it will take you, to learn to do and to promote your site. This is all time that may we be better spent  doing what you know best, running your business, and let the designers do what they do.

 

Testimonials

Thank you so much Pippas Web – you saved my life! Pippas Web helped me with SEO – AND tweaked my website into something I can now be proud of.

Yvonne Grayson Pink Personal Training