Archive for 'web'
Having a digital presence nowadays is crucial to getting the most out of marketing your business. However, being online puts you at risk of being a target for cybercrime, which means that you and your customers are at risk of being scammed, hacked, harassed or stalked. Business owners have legal responsibilities to ensure that their business and customer information is safe. For this reason, it is vital that you take precautions when putting anything online.
While social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have policies in place to prevent people being victim to cybercrime, it is still possible for hackers to dodge these measures and attack your business. It is therefore important that you implement your own safety measures to reduce the risk of being targeted.
Many cybercriminals target business’ social media accounts to get access to a large following of people they can trick or manipulate. It is crucial that your business account has a strong password consisting of at least 8 characters, with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Ensure that only authorised users have access to the business’ social media accounts.
Create a social media use policy for your staff to ensure that they are aware of the consequences and risks of sharing account information and being careless with social media handling to reduce the risk of misuse and security breaches. It is also useful to provide a cybersecurity incident response management plan to help your business prepare for security breaches and know how to respond to them quickly and effectively to prevent them from escalating.
When planning a social media campaign, think about ways you can prevent your campaign from being hijacked by hackers to keep you and your followers safe. For example, if your campaign is a competition that involves participation from your followers such as them uploading a photo, think about ways to keep them safe from hackers. Perhaps you can provide guidelines for entering the social media competition, such as discouraging them from geotagging their location and ensuring they don’t have their house or any other personal details evident in the picture.
The right social media strategy can boost customer interaction and improve customer relationships. A social media strategy will help plan out the type of content that needs to be made, when it needs to be posted, and which platforms are best suitable for your business.
- What are your social media goals: What do you wish to achieve from your social media presence? Goals should be specific and measurable i.e. if your goal is to grow brand awareness, you can measure this by the amount of followers gained per week.
- Who is your target audience: Identify the age group that you are marketing your brand towards. This will be helpful to select the social media channel you focus on and you can create content which that group will interact with the most i.e. if your target audience is young adults, you might choose Instagram as your main channel, and create content that references different trends in social media.
- Which metric is most important to you: The number of likes for a post might not be relevant to your business, because this does not reflect the number of people who are utilising your business. Your metric might be the number of people that visit your website through social media, so you customise your social media promotions to show your website first.
- What is your social media timeline: Establishing a firm timeline for social media posts beforehand is extremely important. It allows you to create awareness and excitement about a new product or service before release. Ensure that your content is ready to go in advance so that you can stick to timelines.
All of these factors will determine your brand’s online presence, the visual content and how you interact with customers online. Make sure you think about these factors beforehand.
Every business owner is looking to get their business noticed on the search engine results page (SERP). There are various SEO tactics that can be used to get a higher ranking for your brand on Google. However, some strategies – called ‘Black Hat’ strategies – manipulate SEO rules which can be considered unethical, and even cause your brand to lose its traffic.
It is important to stay aware of the types of black hat strategies that are used, to ensure that your business can actively avoid being punished by Google.
Some websites have repeated keywords within their content to hack the search engine into thinking that its content is relevant. The actual content itself has little meaning and loads the website with relevant keywords. This can create a poor user experience from the poor quality of content, and cause Google to drop your website’s ranking.
Hidden text and links
Alternative ways to stuff keywords into website content also include changing the colour of the font to be the same as the background, adding text behind images, intentionally positioning text off-screen, setting the font size to be zero or hiding links by adding them to a small character – such as a hyphen or a full stop – so that website viewers cannot see the text and links, but search engine bots can still read it.
Buying or selling websites that rank high on Google’s algorithm already, using excessive link exchanges or using automated programs that create links to your website are all black hat methods intended to manipulate site rankings and make your website look more popular. Good link building strategies should focus on deliberate, selective growth that is planned and carried out with care, as opposed to churning out a large volume of links solely for quantity purposes. Ensure that the links have meaning, and are placed there to add value to your content.
Intentionally providing different content to search engines and website users is called cloaking. While the cloaked website may appear in a search about one topic, the actual content of the website may be about something else entirely. The purpose of the deception is usually to drive traffic and generate advertising revenue from this increased traffic.
Black hat SEO methods should be avoided to prevent your website from being banned from Google and other search engine websites. These measures can be extremely damaging to your rankings and website traffic. Instead, consider focusing on improving content quality, accessibility and relevance which can bring up your website’s rankings organically without risk of permanent bans by Google.
The key goal for all business websites is to attract as many visitors as possible. However, not many business owners remember to cater their website to those with special needs and disabilities. To make sure your website is accessible for everyone on the internet, here are a few tips to consider.
Be mindful of your colour choices
Colour is often viewed as a major contributor to making a website visually appealing. However, not all people have the privilege to distinguish between colours, or may find it difficult to read texts over certain colours. It is therefore important to be mindful of the colours you choose to use on your website as well as the contrast levels between your text and background colours. For example, red-green colour deficiency is most common among individuals experiencing colour blindness so it is best to avoid using such colours on your website altogether. Using visual cues such as asterisks and question marks can also be helpful in separating content otherwise divided by colour.
Ensure your website is keyboard and mobile-friendly
Not all of your website’s visitors are going to be on a computer, so it is important to make sure your website is both keyboard and mobile friendly. Keyboard-only navigation means that all of the content, links and pages on your website can be accessed without a mouse, often using the ‘tab’ key. It is also important to accommodate mobile users and make sure your website can shrink down to the vertical, zooming and pinching format while also retaining its functionality.
Include alternative text for images
Visitors may prefer to read text over viewing images on your website due to a number of reasons, such as slow internet connection, image-blocking browsers or users who are sight-impaired. To satisfy such audiences, consider providing descriptive alternative texts in place of images to convey the same message to those who cannot see them. Alternative text is especially important in cases where your image acts as a page link or is integral to the content on your website.
Make sure your content is structured
A clean and uniform structure is integral to making your website accessible and this can be achieved by using headings to correctly organise your content. Headings can be used to help visitors easily navigate between your content, but it is also important to make sure your headings are visually uniform to prevent confusion between different content pages on your website.
Every business owner’s dream is a marketing strategy that is highly efficient while still being cost effective. Email marketing is one such strategy that has seen a huge return on investment for businesses. Consider implementing the following strategies to get the most value from your email marketing campaigns.
What is an email list?
An email list is a set of names and email addresses of those who have given you permission to keep them informed about any promotions your business has to offer. This is a customer registering their interest in your brand, and are therefore more likely to be converted into loyal customers.
How can you build an email list?
Offering your customers incentives to join your mailing list is considered one of the most effective ways to grow your email marketing audience. Consider giving your customers discounts off their first orders if they subscribe to your mailing list. This can actually boost your email list while also giving you additional sales. Free shipping, exclusive and early-access deals are all incentives to motivate your customers to subscribe to your mailing list.
Segmenting your emailing list based on some set of demographics can make optimisation easier when you send out content.
Categorisation relies on the type of content you want to deliver through your email marketing strategy.
If you are promoting store-specific information or targeting audiences within a particular area, segmenting customers based on geographic locations might be more useful. Consider demographic-based segmentation if your content is based on age, gender and other similar factors.
Using emails to convert customers
Most emails are opened through mobile devices, so consider optimising your website and your email content for mobile phones. Provide easy, direct ways to access your website through the emails. An important aspect of email marketing is frequency. While overly frequent emails can be annoying to customers, too few can make your email marketing less effective. Consider allowing your customers to select their preferred frequency.
Email marketing performs best when it comes with engaging, personalised content. Frequent emails dominated by promotions and sales can prompt customers to unsubscribe. Consider adding in people-focused content showing new hires and behind the scenes content, or product information like video guides on using your services. It may be more helpful to prioritise valuable content over promotional content, to keep customers engaged and interacting with your brand.
Due to COVID-19, organisations are coming to the realisation that web technology is essential to today’s business-running. Out of the more common types of web technologies, cloud computing has emerged as the most important addition due to its ability to keep businesses running solely online. Cloud computing is a safe and efficient way to store all business resources on the internet and comes with several benefits.
Your company data can be better protected using cloud computing cyber security, as such platforms make use of artificial intelligence technologies to keep your information safe. Using cloud computing services such as strong password protection, service network policies and firewalls will protect your business’ private information and resources more effectively than harddrive-installed protection software. Cloud computing cyber security services are also cost-effective, as rather than paying for spyware protection software for all of your business’ laptops, computers and other devices, one blanketing protection service for your online data is more than enough.
Keeping your business’ information and resources on the cloud will provide employees with the ability to work remotely and away from the traditional in-office style. Especially in the context of the current pandemic, improving your employees’ options to work flexibly and from home will keep employees productive and working despite social distancing restrictions. Providing employees with more work options can also improve employee morale and employee longevity, as working for your business will be convenient and safe for them.
Using digital online platforms such as cloud computing will allow businesses to grow easily and at their own pace. Improving your digital presence to reach a wider audience is easier than physically opening new business locations and expanding physically. Firms which use such technologies can take advantage of the flexibility of online servers and grow or downsize whenever they see fit. In addition, industries such as e-Commerce are becoming more popular so online marketing and operations are sure to be the future of business-running.
Email marketing is becoming an increasingly popular way for businesses to reach their customers. However, this means it’s likely that customers are also getting marketing emails from a range of other companies – it’s therefore crucial that your emails are designed to stand out.
Promise value in the subject line
The subject line of your email is often what determines whether a customer will click on the email or ignore it. Don’t just summarise the content of the email, but focus on an aspect that will be valuable or attention-grabbing for the customer. This could mean that the subject line offers a benefit to the reader, offers to solve a problem, or provides relevant information. Promising the reader that the email content contains something of value will increase the chances of them opening it, and delivering the promise of value in the email contents will motivate them to also open your next emails.
Focus on design
Aside from looking pretty, having a well-designed email can also make your content easier to read, get your message across, and encourage actionability. Modern email designs are generally simple with easy to read fonts. Having a consistent colour scheme that reflects the branding of your business can create a cohesive and neat design while promoting brand recognition. It’s also important to make it easy for the reader to contact you or visit your website.
Using images as links to your website allows the reader to easily access your products or services without compromising the design of your email with visible link addresses.
Ensure mobile accessibility
Most emails are designed on a desktop, but this doesn’t mean that they should only be designed for a desktop. Studies have shown that the majority of emails are now viewed on a mobile device, so it is essential that your emails are able to adapt to a mobile user interface. Having overflowing text on a mobile device can discourage the customer from reading all your content, and can make your email look unprofessional.
Many email marketing platforms allow you to use the recipients’ first name in the subject line. This personalisation can increase the chances of drawing the customer’s attention to your email as they naturally gravitate towards the familiarity of their name.
A simple yet often overlooked method of improving your business is to build an engaging website. Many business websites act as a product information dump rather than an avenue to attract clients and reinforce business goals. To ensure you fully utilise your website, here are a few website-building tips you can implement.
Get the basics down
First note that a business website needs to:
- Provide basic information about your business, products and services,
- Answer typical questions and concerns,
- Motivate people to buy or use your products.
To make sure your website is able to fulfil its fundamental duties, there are several must-haves to include:
- Name of company, personalised website domain, tagline hours of operation. Display your business name and website address prominently and on every page you have to ensure potential clients can find through search engines
- What you sell or do. Make it very clear what your business does and provide an accurate description on your products or services.
- Photos and graphics. Graphics are a must-have to make sure your website is visually appealing. Examples of graphics include your logo, photos of your products or place of business, a photo of yourself or key employees. In the case that you’re struggling to obtain original images, consider adding stock images that are for free and public use.
- About Us. Your website needs at least one page with background information on your business and the key people who run your company. This is important to include so that your clients are able to gain a better understanding of your business purposes and goals before supporting you.
- Contact Us. Provide your potential customers with an email address and phone number and link your social media accounts to your website. Also, provide a physical address so customers can visit if necessary.
Recommended features to add
Three features that are also helpful to add to your website include:
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Save yourself some time by answering common inquiries. Also, many people are reluctant to call or email with questions so an FAQ may help clear up some concerns and motivate them to do business with you.
- Testimonials. Do your current customers love you and tell you so? Testimonials and reviews are powerful selling tools and improve your credibility.
- Press and awards. Positive reviews from the media and awards similarly add credibility to your brand and reinforce consumer confidence.
Additional industry tips
eCommerce websites making sales directly from their website can include information about:
- Product details. You’ll need in-depth information about the products you sell online, including photos wherever possible.
- Security practices. Let your customers know that you are keeping their information secure
- Shipping. Indicate how quickly you’ll fill orders, shipping prices and options. Keep your clients updated with delivery information.
- Return policies/guarantees. Make these very clear.
- Customer service hours.
For businesses with a physical location where customers come to you, include:
- Hours you are open.
- Location and directions. You can add a map from an online map service and provide helpful directions for your customers.
- Photo of your place of business or interior.
Improving your SEO ranking is an important step to developing your business’ digital presence and increasing web traffic onto your website and social media pages.
SEO refers to search engine optimisation and improving it allows your business to top search results as the first link to come up, thereby ensuring credibility and attracting more relevant clients. To reliably improve your SEO ranking, here are a few key steps.
Optimise for mobile
Nowadays, clients are browsing the web from their phones so it is important to make sure all your web content is mobile friendly. Mobile optimisation also encourages search engines to link your websites first. To make mobile-friendly web content, consider:
- Minimising loading time for mobile users (usually with slower connection than desktop) – search engines as big as Google are planning on using page speed as a mobile search ranking.
- Organising your website objectives and planning the ideal mobile experience for page visitors.
Increasing your page speed (the rate at which your web pages open from search engines and within your website) improves user experience for potential clients. By making sure your website is up to speed with both mobile and desktop modes, clients will gladly sift through your website and information as it can be done conveniently. To optimise your page speed, you should:
- Be wary of your image file sizes – use a compression tool to reduce file sizes.
- Enable browser caching – so that clients do not have to load web resources again.
- Minify your scripts – get rid of any extra augmentations that are slowing down your website.
Make sure your content is up to par
There is no use in a good SEO ranking if the content on your websites is not high-quality nor attractive enough to retain clients. Not only should your content be conversation-worthy, you should also be regularly releasing new content (such as blogs) and perform regular technical SEO audits to keep up to date with your position in the search rankings. Testing what kind of content bumps you up on search engines will also help you in improving your SEO ranking in the long term.
eCommerce is becoming an effective alternative to traditional face-to-face business operations and may be the change you need to make for your business’ long term growth.
eCommerce refers to the buying and selling of products and services online, either with business to business transactions or business to consumer transactions, and is a tool for small businesses to stay competitive amidst online shopping trends. If you have the ability to catalogue your products and services online and ship them to businesses and consumers, making the switch to eCommerce may be a good investment for the business’ direction in the long term.
To successfully incorporate eCommerce into your business, you must first research the different types of eCommerce to determine which one suits your business best. There are three major classifications to consider:
- Business to Business (B2B): providing products from one business to another (e.g. software, furniture and supply).
- Business to Consumer (B2c): exclusively online retailers.
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C): consumers trade, buy and sell from each other in exchange for a small commission paid to your business.
After choosing which eCommerce model you’d like your business to adopt, you need to validate your products by performing market research. Establishing your niche and identifying who you are targeting will assist you in building your online marketing presence.
The next important step to incorporating eCommerce into your business is to finalise your eCommerce financial plan. As with any business venture, figure out your break-even point in unit sales and duration in both short term and long term. Decide how you want to invest your money into your transition into eCommerce (e.g. website design, software development, marketing) and project these expenses as well as your revenue. Having a budget to stick to will also help you maintain perspective and keep you grounded if things go wrong.
The last step is to execute your plans with a website. Build a website which is not only functional in selling your products, but also visually representative of your business. In the world of eCommerce, digital presentation is everything as you can no longer approach clients to face to face. Thus, make sure your brand is effectively reflected in your website design and interacts with your clients to reinforce online engagement.