Ever wondered why website maintenance is important?

In short:  Website Maintenance is the act of constantly reviewing your website for problems and errors, as well as keeping it updated and relevant. This should be done regularly so that your site remains healthy, that there is steady traffic to your site, and that your SEO and Google rankings remain strong.

What’s Included in Website Maintenance?

Annually

Update Testing

At least once a year, and after any updates, test your entire website. Check that all features work, that no links are broken, and that no information is outdated or incorrect. Bring in someone who is not affiliated with your company to evaluate the usability of your website.

Browser Testing

Test whether your website works correctly in several versions of mainstream browsers at least once a year.

Half Yearly

Test your Website’s Forms and Checkout Process

Make sure all your forms and checkout processes are working properly at least once every six months.

Clean Up the Website

Clean up your website at least once every six months from spam comments, unused plugins, unpublished pages, and posts, and images.

Monthly

Backup

If something goes wrong with your website, backing it up can help you avoid losing a lot of time and money. If you have an automatic backup feature, test it once a month to make sure it is working. Complete a manual backup at least once a month if you do not have automatic backups.

Software Updates

Check your hosting providers, security providers, and other third-party software (e.g., WordPress) updates monthly. These updates ensure that your website’s functionality and security are up to date. If possible, apply patches as soon as they are available. If this seems like a daunting task, get a company to do this for you.

Google Analytics

Review your website’s performance at least once a month using tools like Google Analytics. Examine your key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure that your website is assisting you in achieving your objectives. Make the necessary changes and review your main metrics to improve your site’s results.

Website Speed

Test your website speed at least once a month, you can use the free platform such as Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix and debug the issues.

Website Maintenance Improves Security

Security is the key reason for the importance of website maintenance. If your company uses a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, you will want to make sure it is up to date on software fixes and security updates. If you do not do so, hackers will have access to your website’s data.

Website Maintenance Boosts Site Traffic

Search engines like Google boost the rankings of websites that are updated frequently to offer the highest quality content to users. A higher ranking boosts your website’s popularity, increasing the chances that your content will show up as your target audience searches for relevant keywords. Adding useful content to your website, repairing broken links, removing redundant pages, and keeping your content up to date can help you attract new and returning visitors.

Website Maintenance Optimizes the Visitor Experience

Adding sharable content to your website on a regular basis, such as upcoming activities, image galleries, and blogs, gives your audience an idea of who you are and what you do. Include actionable things like a newsletter signup form and social media icons that connect to your organization’s profile to engage your audience. A well-maintained website aids in the promotion of your company’s image, job, and mission.

Let's Connect & Get Your Website Evaluated. Get In Touch Today!

Future Branding provides dependable and cost-effective website maintenance services with no long-term commitments. SEO, hosting, protection and updates, backups, assistance, and peace of mind are all services we provide. Consider contacting us if you are unsure if you are maintaining the health of your website.

A gift shows your appreciation for your clients in such a powerful way.

Here are the top 7 benefits of giving your clients gifts this holiday season.

Like every other business out there, your goal is to create solid, long-term relationships with your clients that keep them returning to your business, year in, year out. As a small business owner your company thrives on customer relations, so keeping your customers happy is an absolute priority.

Giving gifts to your clients during the holiday season is one of the easiest ways to show them that you care about them and value them – beyond the money they pay you for your goods or services.

A thoughtful gift with an accompanying card shows your appreciation for your clients in the most powerful way imaginable. With that in mind, here are the top 7 benefits of giving your clients gifts this holiday season…

  1. Shows your clients how grateful you are for their business

At this time of year, gifting your clients is the ideal way to show them how much you appreciate them as an individual as opposed to simply a means to an end.

  1. Sends a personal message

Putting some thought into a meaningful gift highlight just how much you value them and the relationship that you have generated, whilst also showing your desire for this to remain a long-term relationship.

  1. A form of self-promotion

Sending gifts to clients is a fantastic way to self-promote your business, as the recipient of the gift will be much more likely to think of you for their next project. Even if the gift doesn’t have a corporate theme to it (i.e., isn’t promotional or branded), your clients will still remember the thought that went into the gift you gave them.

  1. Shows your creative side

Giving gifts is also a fun opportunity to show off your creative skills, particularly if you choose to design your own Christmas cards, labels or even wrapping paper! Your clients will be impressed by the extra effort you’ve put into their gift and will be talking about it for months to come, well beyond the holidays!

  1. Rewards your customers

Building strong relationships with your customers is a major advantage of gift giving. Your most valuable clients deserve to be thanked for the business they bring to your company, especially at this time of year. If you’ve got some particularly important customers who’ve brought in a lot of business, it’s essential to put a lot of thought into their gift so that it’s personalised, memorable and meaningful.

  1. Strengthens relationships

Letting your clients know that you value them for their business is a traditional benefit of holiday gifting. These gifts are ideal for strengthening relationships with important customers. Generally, the most appreciated gifts are those that are not perceived as promotional but don’t be afraid to incorporate your company’s name or logo in a tasteful way.

  1. A form of advertising

Finally, if you choose to go down the corporate gifting route (in the form of branded and promotional corporate gifts), this is an excellent way to remain at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Distributing promotional corporate gifts is essential to the growth of your business. When a client receives a gift with your company’s name and contact details on it, they will remember your business every time they use that item.

Need our help?

Are you seeking out a creative digital and marketing agency to do the challenging work for you? Then you’ve come to the right place. Future Branding is your leading branding and web design agency with a special focus on creative, contemporary services guaranteed to get your business noticed by an even wider audience.

Contact us today to discover how we can create a unique branding package especially for your business.

  1. Supply helpful tips 👓

Sharing helpful advice on social media is an excellent way to build relationships with current and potential patients, as well as prove your ability as an optometrist.

People will appreciate the useful information you supply and begin to view you as an expert in your field. Then, when they need to go to the eye doctor or need new glasses, they’ll be more likely to think of you first.

Try sharing information about how to take care of your eyes, choose a pair of glasses, and other helpful tips relevant to optometry.

👉🏻Our suggestion is to put together 6 months’ worth of tips e.g., 6-10 tips and share this as you go along, it will save you time and once it’s done, it’s done

  1. Supply visual content 👓

Visual content tends to perform well on social media. Visuals help get a user’s attention and increase engagement. On Facebook, for instance, posts with images get two times more engagement than those without.

 

Some visual social media ideas for optometrists include:

 

Pictures of happy patients wearing their new glasses

 

Pictures of your employees with some information about them to help patients get to know them

 

Photos of new frames you have available

 

👉🏻 Here we suggest doing a couple of photos every month, let’s say on a Friday, with relaxed clients and telling them you want to use it for social media. The nicer the client/patient, the easier this is, 4 happy client photos per month is more than enough (with names of course and caption e.g., Marissa Fourie with her brand-new glasses from our practice!)

 

  1. Post updates about your available frames/lenses and services/specials 👓

When you get new frames in, consider posting pictures of them to let your patients know.

 

You can also try posting a frame of the week to give your followers an idea of the kinds of options you have available.

 

This kind of content may encourage them to come in for an appointment and get a new pair of glasses. It’s also visual and engaging.

 

👉🏻We suggest once a month – featuring 1 or 2 items

 

  1. Share success stories 👓

Another useful tactic for social media for optometrists is to share patient success stories.

 

👉🏻Here are a few ideas:

We suggest you talk about how your practice helped a patient or solved a particularly challenging problem

Share patient reviews or testimonials

Share a photo of a patient with their new glasses on

We suggest 2 posts like this per month.

 

  1. Info from your other service providers 👓

Graphics or stats or facts from your suppliers that serves as mailers/advertisements

 

👉🏻Any news updates as you get it from your suppliers. They usually have all sort of nice designs and ideas that were done, these shouldn’t be wasted.

 

Just make sure you get a patient’s permission before posting about them or using their photos on your social media.

 

💡 Don’t let the competition gain your potential patients by having a stronger presence. Future Branding is on the fore front of strategic social marketing, promoting your office and optical services through the power of social media and positive exposure.

 

Postcards are dated and emails are easily overlooked. Today, social media is the most cost effective and productive way to promote one practice, and Future Branding specializes in organic and efficient strategies that have helped our clients generate income and revenue.

 

Contact us TODAY!

Facebook Marketing for your business, and how to do this yourself.

Facebook advertising is an important way to connect with your audience on the world’s largest social network. How large? 2.80 billion monthly active users large, to be precise.

Sure, that’s an impressive number. But Facebook ads are all about getting your message in front of exactly the right segment of those people. The people who are most likely to want your products or services.

If you want to get the best results, it’s important to understand how Facebook works before you decide to dive in.

In this Facebook ads guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know, from planning your first ad to developing advanced campaign strategies.

🥕Whether you’re creating your first or 100th Facebook Ad campaign, use these 10 best practices to make sure it’s a success:

But let's start with something fun... did you know the most popular color to use on Facebook is yellow? 🟡 Yes, you read that right, try to incorporate as much yellow as you can, without overkilling your ad of course!!🟨

👉🏻 Set Clear Business Goals – Here are some questions to consider:

💎 What is your overarching business goals?

💎 What do you hope to accomplish with this specific campaign?

💎 Do you want to drive traffic to your online store?

💎 Do you want to promote your store locally?

💎 Are you notifying your customers about a sale or promotion?

💎 How does this campaign fit with your overall marketing strategy?

👉🏻 Check out the Competition - This Facebook feature means presenting your business and products to people who are not immediately seeking to make a purchase.

To create successful ads on this platform, first look at your competitors. Learn which type of ads work and which don't. Look out for content that catches your eye and makes you click.

Get a feel for the tone of voice that businesses use. Take note of which ones inspire engagement by looking at their likes and comments.

Create a list of ads that generate high levels of engagement. Write down what makes these ads stand out. Use these ideas when you build your own campaign.

👉🏻 Plan Your Budget - Determine how much money you’ll invest in your campaign. Then, plan your campaign run time. If you are outsourcing your Facebook marketing, you’ll have a fixed amount that you can budget every month.

👉🏻 Target Your Ideal Audience - The key to creating a successful ad campaign is showing it to the right people.

Facebook charges you per impression and per click, so you must be strategic about finding your audience. Make sure the people seeing your ads are the ones most likely to purchase your products.

If you create your ad on Facebook Ads Manager, start by imagining your ideal customer. Are they male or female? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they do? What are their interests? If you can, try to define them as much as possible. This will narrow down the group you target.

👉🏻 Perfect Your Photos - Facebook is largely a visual medium. When it comes to attracting attention and creating buyer confidence, high-quality photos are a must. Learn how to take perfect product photos and use them to your advantage.

👉🏻 Use Good Lighting: Quality lighting ensures the item, and its details are clearly visible. Try to avoid harsh shadows. Wait for a cloudy day to achieve a softer look or use a reflector or diffuser.

👉🏻 Stand out from Your Background: The item you want your viewer to focus on should clearly contrast with its background. Consider using solid colour backdrops. Try not to get too creative. Let the product be the main subject of the photo.

👉🏻 Make It Match Your Brand: Use photographs that fit with your store’s brand. Add a logo watermark to your photos but keep it subtle. Don’t let it distract from your product.

👉🏻 Avoid Common Photography Mistakes: Take professional photos. Make sure they aren’t grainy, blurry, or cropped awkwardly. Check that your photos fit Facebook’s image requirements.

👉🏻 Make It Pop: Don’t be scared to use bright or bold colours. Your images need to grab the attention of shoppers and make them want to buy.

👉🏻 Avoid Using Too Much Text: Facebook doesn’t allow photos that include text covering more than 20% of the image. Edit down your text. Put any extra information in your ad description.

Preview your Facebook ad to make sure the images look great on all platforms before you publish.

👉🏻 Create Great Copy - The quality of your text can make or break your ad campaign.

Carefully crafted captions make your store look professional and can convince people to pay attention to your ad.

When writing your ad description, here are a few things to keep in mind:

💡 Write a clear call to action. Your customers need to know exactly what you want them to do next. Use a call to action that creates urgency. Encourage people to make that purchase now, not later. Reassure them that buying from you is the best option and that you can offer something your competitors can’t.

💡 Clearly explain what you offer. Text is there to provide your customer with more information. If your text isn’t complimenting your image, revise it. Look at your ad from the perspective of someone who has never heard of your business. Do they understand what you sell? Can they tell what makes you unique? Is your product’s value clear?

💡 Avoid typos. A misspelled word or even an ill-placed comma can distract from your message and make your business seem unprofessional. Before publishing, have someone else look over your text.

💡 Attract attention. Your text needs to entice casual shoppers. So, think about your customers' state of mind and how they feel. Then, tap into this emotion with simple and clear language that drives them to act. Convince them that it will be worth their while to look at what you’re selling.

💡 Speak your customers’ language. Try to use language that is unique to your target shoppers. Emojis can make your ad feel friendlier, but make sure they work with your brand.

👉🏻 Integrate Instagram - Have beautiful product images? Don't forget about Instagram. Instagram users are 58 times more likely to engage with branded content than Facebook users.

Instagram ads are also ideal for targeting younger audiences. In fact, more than half of Instagram users are under 34. So, if you’re targeting this age group, this could be the platform for you.

🎁 To start, make sure to connect your Facebook and Instagram accounts. You can do this by tapping the settings icon on Instagram. Then choose Accounts and tap Linked Accounts. Select Facebook and log in.

👉🏻 Make It Timely - Make the most of holidays by running campaigns during peak seasons. Use ad campaigns that match the time of year.

Add a sense of urgency to your copy by referring to the upcoming holiday.

Update your images, product pages and logo with seasonal elements. Make your ads stand out from the competition during the holiday season.

Review your top-selling products from the previous year. Advertise them during this peak shopping time.

Use lesser-known holidays to add a fun element to your campaign, like National Inventors' Day or National Selfie Day. Creating a campaign around these offbeat holidays can attract new customers and boost engagement on social media.

🛍 So, it’s official, you NEED TO BE ON FACEBOOK! And whether you want to try this out yourself (free - with our advice), have this service outsourced (packages available from R550 per month), or even want to invest in doing a short course for your staff to take care of this in-house (from R2500 via Zoom), we are here to assist you!

Do Promotional Products Work?

🎁 Who doesn’t love a gift? 🎁

Promotional products are useful tangible items imprinted with an advertiser's name, logo or message designed to increase brand awareness among consumers. Promotional products are an incredibly powerful marketing tool since they allow a brand to connect with consumers by engaging their senses.

🎁 As one of the only forms of advertising that allows consumers to interact with a brand on a physical level, promotional products often create a more memorable brand experience.

💰 Do Promotional Products Work?

👉🏻 88% of promotional product recipients remember the name of the advertiser on the products.

👉🏻 85% of the recipients do business with the advertiser on the product. 83% of people like receiving them.

🔥So, to summarize... Promotional Products Work and they can make your campaign SUPER SUCSESFUL!

Contact one of our friendly and knowledgeable team members to assist you in your promo product journey!

www.futurebranding.co.za

 

Promotional products are ideal for creating awareness.

People keep promotional products – that’s for sure!

82% say they own one. While 47% say they have kept them for over a year.

📢Choose the right promotional products for the right audience. Explore the options. Talk to someone who knows.

🔴 CUSTOMIZE ANY PRODUCT FOR YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE - From lip balm to a wireless mouse to paper airplanes, promotional products come in all shapes, sizes, and colours.  In many cases, it’s even possible to obtain custom items that aren’t usually found in promotional product catalogues. If you can see it and touch it, it’s most likely available as a promotional product. This allows you to customize a marketing campaign so that it’s more relevant to a specific demographic you want to target.

Creating brand experiences that last.

🟡 BE MEMORABLE & STAY CONNECTED - Every day you hear about a new endurance race, a new music festival or a new community event. Today’s consumers expect brands to reach them on a personal level. What better way to connect with consumers at these events than with promotional products?

Our Promotional consultants go beyond just selling products.

Our team of professional and experienced promotional consultants will help answer your questions—even those you might not think of or didn’t know you needed to ask.

He or she will be able to help you design a program to get results and save you time and money in the process.

🏆 Ready to design a winning campaign? Contact us!

🌐There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to running your business. Stressing about keeping your website up to date shouldn’t be one of them.

Your website plays a crucial role in the success of your business. It generates leads, customers, and revenue.

It’s how customers find and connect with you. But, just like any software, websites require maintenance to keep them working properly.

Website problems come in all shapes and sizes, but they usually fall into one of three categories: user experience (UX) issues, content issues, and problems with the design or build itself.

Let’s talk about common signs of a bad website – and how to fix these web design mistakes.

UX Issues:

👉🏻Too many menus or options

👉🏻Unclear path to important info

👉🏻Rabbit hole navigation

👉🏻404 Page is a dead end

👉🏻Links leave your site behind

👉🏻Too many callouts or intrusions

👉🏻Unclear words on buttons and menus

Content Issues:

❌Unclear purpose

❌Off-brand messaging

❌Poor visual content

❌No audience segmentation

❌Trying for two primary audiences

❌Not about the customer

❌Incorrect and ignored optimization

Design/Build Issues:

⚠️Not mobile friendly

⚠️Too slow

⚠️Not secure

⚠️Information overload

⚠️Overly minimalist

⚠️Overly creative

If you can say yes to three or more of the points on this list, there’s a good chance you’ve got a bad website.

But truth be told hitting even one of these points can be enough to drive a potential customer away.

Contact us for all your web design and maintenance requirements.

🥺 Here’s a sad scenario.

Someone sends a prospective client your way. They’re a warm, maybe even a hot lead.

Before contacting you, they do what everyone else does — they visit your website to check you out.

Then nothing. They don’t call for an appointment. No email inquiry. Nothing. Just crickets.

What happened?

Your poorly designed website scared them away.

Instead of giving them confidence and establishing trust, your site did just the opposite. It created doubt, uncertainty, and a general feeling of uneasiness about you and your company.

They click the “back button” on their browser and go somewhere else — probably to one of your competitors with inferior services to yours, but with a better website.

👍🏻 But What Makes a Good Website?

✅ Prominently display your address and phone number + make it easy for people to contact you via email or contact form.

✅ Have your website professionally designed. It shouldn’t look like it was built by a 6th grader.

✅ Provide a good user experience when they visit your site. Make sure your content is organized and easy to navigate. Get rid of superfluous content and other distractions that don’t contribute to your overall message.

✅ Display testimonials from actual customers, with their pictures if available.

✅ Keep your site’s content up to date. Visitors also want to see content that is current and relevant

✅ Profile the people behind your company. People do business with other people. Prospective clients want to know who they’ll be dealing with. Tell your story. Let people get to know you.

✅ Make sure your content is free of typos and errors. Nothing screams amateur like misspelled words and grammatical errors.

👍🏻 Did you know that:

👉🏻75% of consumers admit that they judge a business’ credibility based on their website design.

👉🏻 Poor website loading speed can be extremely harmful to businesses. Most consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. 79% of shoppers reported that they would not return to purchase from a slow loading website.

👉🏻 Websites must be mobile-friendly and optimized to adapt to various interfaces. According to comScore, the number of users accessing content online through their mobile devices has surpassed those who use a desktop.

👉🏻 Website clutter is a huge deterrent. Ex: Too many Flash animations, ad prompts, auto-play videos, background music, etc.

👉🏻 Once again, site navigation is a factor that hurts conversion. Confused, frustrated prospects don’t buy.

👉🏻 A missing or confusing call-to-action. You must let your visitor know what you want them to do next. Don’t assume they’ll know. Be direct and specific. Gently nudge them where you want them to go.

👍🏻 Our Advice:

💎Quickly explain what’s in it for them. Avoid droning on about endless features, benefits or all your accolades. Prospective clients are interested in one thing, “Can you help me?”

💎Make sure to use credibility elements such as customer testimonials, BBB, and other well-known accreditations. Otherwise, your visitors have only your marketing propaganda to go by.

💎Your site must be mobile-friendly. As mentioned above, more people today access the Internet from mobile devices than from desktop computers.

💎Creating user-friendly website navigation is far more complex and nuanced than meets the eye. Good navigation is intuitive and simple and makes it easy for visitors to quickly find what they need.

💎Eliminate fluff and weak language. “We’re the best,” “we’re the cheapest,” “we’re the most innovative,” tells your reader nothing. Provide details about why your company is different or what they can expect when they do business with you.

💎Stay away from cringeworthy, cheesy stock photos that everyone uses. These make you look phony and amateurish. When possible, use your own custom images. It’s ok to use custom stock imagery if it’s professional and high-quality but be prepared to dig a little bit to find the good stuff.

💎As mentioned above, your site needs to be mobile-friendly. Mostly to provide a good user experience to your visitor, but also for search engine rankings. In April 2015, Google publicly stated that it’ll give preference in the search listings to web pages that are mobile-friendly vs. those that are not.

👍🏻 Our website maintenance plans offer more than just quick fixes; they also keep your website optimised and running at its best. It’s important to think about your website’s maintenance and it’s imperative to have maintenance done on it at least every 6 months.

Ask yourself:

❓Is your website software up to date?

❓Do you have a regular schedule for website maintenance?

❓Do you have support when something goes wrong?

❓Do you know how your website is performing each month?

❓When did you last backup your website?

❓Are you wasting time trying to maintain your website yourself?

❓Is the information on your website up to date?

❓Is your website host causing you to lose potential clients?

Give us a call when you need to have your website issues revisited!

We are here to help!

Did you know that most shoppers are going to turn to your website and do a bit of research before they purchase your products or services? That means that your website is now responsible for your first impression most of the time.

Will your website make a good first impression?

Unfortunately, a lot of business owners don’t realize when their website is becoming outdated–or that having an outdated website could be so detrimental to their overall performance and sales.

As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate already. Trying to learn everything there is to know about web design and function is a tall order–and that’s where we come in.

Read on to learn the top ten signs that you have an outdated website and what you can do about it.

  1. Poor or dated visual design

Nothing makes a customer say “no thanks” as quickly as a gruesome home page. It could be horrendous colour choices or a naff logo. Or it could just be that things have aged badly. We sympathise a lot with businesses here because quality websites cost money; but things move quickly in the digital era. Sites that looked slicker than a brand-new Ferrari a few years ago now look like a third-hand Volvo.

The simple answer is to refresh or start again. Yes, it costs money, but how much income might you be losing due to a duff website?

  1. Slow upload speed

There is little more annoying than waiting forever for something to load.  Worse, Google will penalise you in the rankings for this! Large image files are the most common cause, and the remedy can be simple: cut your file sizes down! File-crunching aids like tinyjpeg.com are extremely handy here. Or invest in a CMS system that automatically resizes images.

  1. Lack of quality images

While huge files are bad news, the same could also be said for poor pictures. Seeing as that opening image is the first impression the viewer will get, why settle for mediocre? Again, rather than thinking “how much will it cost to get quality pictures?” ask yourself “how much will it cost me if I don’t have quality pictures?” A good photographer is worth every penny.

  1. Clutter

This is a common trap for so many businesses. You might have started with a simple main message and a couple of tidy banners; three years later you have a dozen different windows all wrestling for space and attention. This can be a headache for the user and could easily detract from your main message.

The solution here is to sort your priorities. Your home page needn’t try and squeeze in everything you do. Smart, simple, logic always wins the day. Unless you are the infamous Ling’s Cars, whose chaotic site has not only become the stuff of legend, but a key sales tool! To get away with this sort of chaos though, it goes without saying that you need excellent customer service and a great reputation.

  1. Poor or confusing user journey

Talking of clutter and confusion, another common issue with websites is a lack of clear signposting. Ask yourself a simple question: how easy is it for someone to get where you want them to go? If it takes more than two clicks for the customer to be able to buy or book, your conversion rate could well be suffering.

How can you solve this? Well, the obvious way is to get others to test it. At Future Branding we do this meticulously, taking every detail into account, testing different strategies and monitoring bounce rates and other factors. A bit OTT? Not at all- there is a definite science to making more sales conversions online!

  1. Low standard of written content

We may live in an age where the image is king, but poor text can let even the sexiest looking website down. It still amazes me how many companies’ websites are littered with mistakes. At best this gives the impression that you are careless.

As with photography, penny-pinchers dislike investing in the necessary skills when it comes to engaging, high quality copy. The choice is yours, but the true cost to your business could be considerable

  1. Poor standard of SEO

Most companies have some idea of how important search engine optimisation (SEO) is these days. When it comes to being found by your customers, it is an information war out there. If you are poorly armed in terms of incorporating key terms and technical knowhow, your business is at a significant disadvantage. The answer is simple: get an experienced staff member or company to advise you or, better still, identify and keep track of the SEO terms that matter to your business.

  1. Hidden details or no obvious point of contact

Permit me to ask a really bleeding obvious question: How easy or otherwise is it for someone to find a contact number, email address or another form of support on your website? For most businesses, it should be there from the word go, right on your home page, correct?

In reality, some of the biggest companies are the worst offenders in this respect. Huge internet monoliths like Amazon, Microsoft and others are notoriously poor at providing any obvious route to human support. Why on earth do they bury things like the company phone contact number behind page after page of generic Q&A style guff? For the same reason they use “creative accounting”: it saves them money and staff. For smaller businesses, however, such poor practise could be losing you leads and bookings without you even knowing it!

Apart from the obvious remedy of making contact details obvious and easy to get to, many of the hospitality businesses we work with now use a live chat option. This can be a great way to convert enquiries into bookings, provided you have staff on call at any given moment.

  1. Security issues and certification problems

Security is one of the most overlooked aspects of any business website; until you get a major security scare! Hackers and cyber criminals can give any company a headache, but sadly many organisations only realise the true value of security following a difficult or costly episode.

 

Keeping your website’s safety features up to date is a must for starters. For example, WordPress users should always upgrade to the latest versions of their plugins at regular intervals. But a lesser known but valuable step is obtaining an SSL certificate. In a nutshell, this is a way of keeping your customers safe during transactions. Not only a sensible move, but one that will give you preferential ranking with the likes of Google! Thankfully, it is relatively easy to set up, and you could always contact us to arrange this.

  1. Badly integrated

Does your business promote itself over various platforms? All but the real stick-in-the-mud companies tend to have Facebook at a minimum these days, along with others such as Twitter and Instagram. A blog is also an excellent idea to improve traffic and engagement too.

Do you connect the dots though? Can the user find glowing reviews, recent Facebook posts or a gallery of beautiful images straight from your home page? If there is any significant disconnect, you could be losing a lot of opportunities!

For this exact reason, we would advise a joined-up-thinking system for just about any business (in fact we even launched our own simple platform “Social Brilliance” to pull together useful content!).

Don’t forget to feature your customers heavily in this too; so often they are your best ambassadors and the ones who will spread the word most effectively about the good things you do.

🤩 Google my Business is an epic platform you can use to generate leads and getting more customers

However, there is a right way... and there's a wrong way

💼 Are you set up yet?

✔️ YES - Well done! … but when last have you checked it? Is it up to date though?

❌ If you answered "NO" - What's stopping you? Know how? Time?

Let us assist! Even if you don't do Google Ad Words you can still benefit from Google by using Google my Business!

🌍 Google My Business is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears across Google Search and Maps.

This is also a great tool for letting potential customers know the physical location of your business, a Google My Business listing will increase your visibility online.

When customers search for your business on Google, information shows in a box that appears in their search results, known as a Knowledge Graph. This includes your business name, location, business hours and customer reviews.

Why your business needs a Google My Business account

🔎 You Appear on Google Search and help customers find your business location much easier

When prospective customers are looking for local businesses like yours on Google, they are generally ready to make a purchase. This means that it is imperative your business appears in their search results with an accurate location and other info. According to Hubspot, 50% of people who conduct a local search, for example ‘seafood restaurant near me’, make a visit to a business that day. Google also revealed that ‘near me’ searches increased by 150% in 2018.

📈 Google My Business improves your SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of boosting your website’s position in search engine results pages with organic web traffic and other ranking factors. Having a Google My Business listing is one of the main drivers of local SEO success, helping customers not only to find your physical location but discover your website too. Put simply, Google My Business will help your website’s visibility.

📋 You can update useful information

Your Google My Business listing is a place where potential customers can find out important information about your business. This includes contact details, opening hours and your web address. It is important to keep all this data up to date through your Google My Business dashboard.

📸 You can post photos and videos that represent your business

Your listing includes the option to post photos of your business, and even video.
According to Google, businesses with photos see 35% more clicks to their website than those without. You can upload a profile picture, a cover photo, and various other shots of your business to make your listing as engaging as possible. Short videos can also increase engagement and make your profile stand out.

🏆 Users can post reviews (the stuff you need)

Google My Business can help you manage your reputation by letting you invite and respond to reviews. Unbiased reviews by the public can give potential new customers a valuable insight into your business. Responding to each review you receive is crucial as this will encourage others to post reviews as well as demonstrating your commitment to good service.

⚡️ Booking functionality

You can add a booking service to your Knowledge Graph – this useful action button allows you to take bookings, appointments, or reservations. Working with Google’s partners, you can now have your product booked directly from the Knowledge Graph.
So, let us know if we can assist!

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