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How Can Small Businesses Use SEO Without Breaking The Bank?

Published on January 8, 2014
Tags: SEO

Large companies can afford to hire SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) specialists in order to get their business website to the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), but this can be costly. It’s a lot of work, and it requires a lot of hours every week in order to keep on top of the latest SEO techniques, as well as being aware of the most recent (and upcoming) updates to Google’s (and other search engines’) algorithms. So what do you do if you’re only a small business? You may have just as much ambition as a large company, but time and money are often tight. However, you still do need to work on your online presence if you want to expand your brand over the internet. Here are just a few tips that won’t empty your wallet too much.

Learn The Basics
SEO is a complicated subject that can take years to get your head around, but there are hundreds of resources online that will let you know about the basics. A quick run down would include the fact that Google likes original, well-written content that isn’t a duplicate from another site, so a business blog that is regularly updated will do the trick (this will also establish you as a trusted expert in your field – if your posts are good enough). You also need to know about link building (but not link farming), and keyword usage (but not keyword stuffing). Get to know the basic techniques, as well as the ‘black hat’ techniques that you need to avoid; this will stop your site from getting penalised by the search engines.

Spend Time On Building Your Social Media Presence
It is vital that – as well as optimising your official business site – you pay special attention to social SEO. This doesn’t mean signing up for as many social networking profiles as possible, but it does mean spending some time optimising your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social profile as you would your normal website. Include your business name in your profile or page name, and create meaningful descriptions for your company and any photos you post, including your keywords and phrases that you use in your website and for any adverts or PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns. Encourage discussions, and above all, create interesting content (photos, videos, blog posts, tweets) that users will want to share. The more shares, the better your social SEO.

Make Use Of Google Services
Last but not least, it’s not surprising that Google likes pages that make use of Google services, so ensure that you’re signed up to (and use regularly) Google +, as well as having your business details listed on Google + Local (previously Google Places). Link back to your website and include your usual keywords and phrases to get ahead.

Even if you don’t want to hire a full time SEO employee, you can still get expert help by asking for advice from digital marketing specialists – just look online for a company who deals with digital promotion on a daily basis.

By Chelsey Evans

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Online Marketing For Your Offline Business

Published on January 8, 2014
Tags: Web Development London

Do you own an offline business? Do you have a suitable online presence to go with it? If the answer is no, you need to rethink your marketing strategy. Some brick and mortar businesses – especially small companies with a limited number of staff – simply don’t think they need an online presence; they assume that their shop already does enough to attract local customers. And while this may be true, if you’re not online, you’re cutting yourself off from a large number of shoppers.

Why Does Online Marketing Sometimes Get Ignored?
This happens particularly with businesses who don’t actually sell any of their products or services online; they think that there’s no point in spending a lot of time and money on a website, when the only way to purchase an item is to come into the physical shop. People may not be able to buy online with you, but they may want to see what stock you carry – and what prices you’re charging – in order to compare you with your competitors. If you’re not even listed online (let alone have no official website), they’ll be completely unaware of your existence.

Another reason is the cost; small businesses may not have enough in their budget to embark on a huge online advertising campaign or a web development company, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth to market yourself on the web. Start small: list your business on the online version of Yellow Pages, and ensure you’re visible in the Google Places for Business results. If you’re really strapped for cash, make your own free website using an online template, and sign up for business and social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn. These are all free, and they’re great ways of reaching out to your target customers.

Why You Should Be Embracing Online Marketing
The way consumers search for products and services is changing. These days, people simply don’t have the time to spend hours on the High Street, hunting down the best prices and trying to track down that perfect gift; they’d much rather spend a few minutes on the internet first, so they know exactly which shops to visit when they do go out. 

It’s worth noting that, because of their busy lifestyles, consumers are now often searching for products using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones (rather than being tied to their desks and their desktops). You therefore need to be aware of responsive web design development if you want to reach as many customers as possible; this just means that your site will be user-friendly and quick to load no matter what device (or size of screen) your potential client is using to access it.

Coming Up With A Digital Marketing Strategy
If you want to create an online presence for your business but don’t quite know where to start, there are hundreds of digital marketing specialists & web development companies out there who can help you. They’ll be able to give you advice and support on what’s best for your business, and will also be able to create a bespoke website or blog to help you attract those all-important customers.

By Chelsey Evans

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Going Mobile: Things To Consider When Creating a Mobile Campaign

Published on January 8, 2014
Tags: Mobile Application Development

Smartphones and tablets are increasing in popularity seemingly every day. The world has gone mobile; people no longer wait until they’re in the office to check their emails or start that big report – they can do it on their phone or tablet on the commute, or in a café over their breakfast. Business is no longer confined to one or two places – it can be carried out anywhere, at any time. It therefore makes sense to incorporate a mobile campaign into your digital marketing strategy. But how do you know where to start?

Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly
Tablets and smartphones are great ways of accessing the internet quickly and easily – as long as it actually is quick and easy. You need to make sure that your official business website is not only easy to find, but that it is also quick to load and simple to navigate. By using a responsive web layout, your site will be optimised to fit the screen dimensions of any tablet or phone, no matter what size. Make sure you don’t clutter your site with unnecessary images or videos that will slow down the load time, and include all of your main contact details in an easy-to-see place.

Create a Mobile App
When it comes to mobile marketing, it isn’t just your website you should be thinking about. By creating an app, you’ll be reaching out to many more people than your website possibly ever could. Include exclusive content or the opportunity to receive offers in the app, and you’ll soon get numerous downloads. A web development company can help you to create your mobile application.

Incorporate an SMS Campaign
Mobile marketing doesn’t just have to be internet-based. If you collect your customers’ mobile numbers, text them with special offers they might be interested in. Include your email address, website, and phone number in the text (the phone number is particularly useful as people with smartphones can then just click-to-call). Just make sure you don’t bombard them with messages – no one likes to be hassled, and if you do it too often, you could lose their custom altogether.

Think Outside The Box
QR codes are great at generating interest with potential clients. Add your code to your business cards and any other print media to integrate your offline marketing with your online marketing. People with smartphones can then take a photo of the QR code and be taken to a landing page, making it easy to analyse the traffic generated by the code.

Whether you like it or not, it looks like mobiles and tablets are the future in terms of connecting to the internet and conducting business while on the go. If you don’t embrace it and come up with a well-planned mobile marketing strategy now, you could lose out to your competitors in the future. Don’t get left behind – start marketing on mobile devices today!

By Chelsey Evans

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Amazon Apps Go Global: Distribution Expanded Internationally

Published on January 8, 2014
Tags: Mobile Application Development

It's been announced that Amazon will be expanding their Appstore to include app distribution in several new countries. The Amazon Appstore for Android launches have previously included the UK, Japan, France, Spain, Italy and Germany and, while already a huge market, almost 200 more countries will be added to the distribution list, meaning that developers will be able to submit their apps more or less globally, reaching a whole new group of international customers.

Which Countries Are Being Included And When?
Just under 200 countries are being included in the upgrade, with the most notable being Canada, Australia, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and South Korea. Even Vatican City is being included. While not available yet, these countries will benefit from Amazon apps when the new Appstore for Android launch is introduced internationally in the upcoming months. It will be an opportunity for web developers to embrace the monetizing potential of apps and games on Android devices and Kindle Fire on a bigger scale than ever before. Registered web developers can log on to the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal as normal, and unless they ‘opt out’ of the system, their apps will be automatically available for download in the aforementioned countries.

Why Use Amazon?
As a global company, Amazon already has the ability to reach a huge user base, and with this new expansion, even more international customers will be included in their Appstore. Even without taking that into consideration, Amazon offers several features which actively encourage users to buy their products and use their services. Their 1-Click purchasing and recommendation system have both revolutionised the way people buy online, their Kindle Fire GameCircle is becoming more and more popular (even when compared to rivals such as Google Play), and other features such as

A/B Testing and APIs for In-App Purchasing (IAP) are keeping Amazon one step ahead of their competitors.

How Can This Help My Business?
If you already have an app related to your business – or if you are thinking of teaming up with a web development team to get one produced – these announced changes can help you in a number of ways. The first – and most obvious – point is that you will be able to reach a much higher number of users/potential customers. If you are already a global business dealing with international clients, you could start to see a higher conversion rate once your app is available in the newly-added countries.

With smartphones and tablets currently more popular than ever before, businesses of all shapes and sizes are starting to offer games and apps as part of their online marketing strategies. If you don’t already offer an app to your clients, it’s worth talking to a professional web development company to see how they could help your business, whether it’s with a game, a shopping app, or another application making use of gamification principles to attract new customers. With Amazon’s upcoming expansion, now is the time to find out about the advantages of having an app.

By Chelsey Evans

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Responding to Responsive Web Design: When Do You Need It?

Published on January 8, 2014
Tags: Web Development London

In the past year or so, responsive web layouts have been hailed as the ‘future of web design’, and while this could be correct, it is still very much in its infancy. How do you know if a responsive website is something you should be investing in? Here are a few tips to help you.

What Is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design has become popular due to the increase in demand for smartphones and tablets. With more and more people moving away from their laptops and desktop computers, it has become imperative for websites of all shapes and sizes – and business sites in particular – to accommodate the different dimensions of all the various screens out there. It’s a front-end development approach with the aim of providing easy navigation and reading on a range of devices, no matter what type of screen it has, resizing the page elements and changing the menus accordingly.

What Are The Advantages?
The main advantage is that with a responsive layout, you won’t need to develop completely different sites for each type of computer or device; it’s a sort of one-size-fits-all approach to web design & development. This means that when you need to update or change your site, you only need to do it once – a big time and money saver. Responsive designs are also useful in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): for example, you won’t get penalised by Google for having duplicate content (something which can happen when you have several versions of the same site).

What Are The Disadvantages?
Some people see the cost of having a responsive web design developed as a disadvantage, but this isn’t necessarily so. As has been mentioned, once you have the site, any updates you need making only need to be done once, saving not only money, but time as well. There can be issues with advertising: as responsive layouts move around depending on the device used, a placed advert won’t always appear in the same position – something which some advertisers may not want to pay for. Loading times can also be a problem on some mobile devices, but a good responsive design should take this into account – for example, by using fewer images and videos.

How Do I Know If It’s Right For Me?
One way of deciding if you should invest in a responsive web layout now is to look at who visits your website. The Google Analytics Mobile Overview feature will tell you how many of the users who visit your site are on mobile devices. If it’s more than a few percent, it would be a wise move to start looking at responsive design options.

Whatever you think of the above points, it is clear that there is a definite future for responsive web designs. As the industry moves forwards, we’ll see even more of an increase in smartphone and tablet sales, and if you’re not moving forward with it, you could start to lose out.

 

By Chelsey Evans

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