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How CloudFlare increases speed and security of your site

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Promoting your business on the Internet

As you may well know; the internet is more important than ever before when it comes to the promotion of a business. In fact; if you aren’t promoting yourself online then you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Now; there are hundreds of different methods that you can use to get your name out there online. On this page I want to take a little look at a few of the more popular methods for promoting your business on the internet. For the purposes of this article I am going to assume that you already have your own website (the most important thing you can do when it comes to promoting your business on the internet)

  • Search Engine Optimization: The majority of the people who land on your website are going to find you through the search engines. You therefore want to make sure that you rank as highly as possible for your selected keywords. The higher you rank, and the more competitive the keywords are, the more money you will end up generating. It is worth noting that whilst search engine optimization is something that you could theoretically carry out on your own, it is always worth investing in a specialist to do it for you. This is in part down to the fact that good SEO saps up a lot of time. This is not only down to the fact that you need to implement the SEO techniques but you also need to keep up with the ever-changing world of Search Engine Optimization.
  • Pay per Click Advertising: SEO is going to take a fairly decent amount of time to actually ‘get going’. In fact; I would not be surprised if you did not see any results for at least a few months. You still want to appear in the searches though. This is where Pay per Click Advertising comes into place. Basically you will be using a service such as Google AdWords and purchasing advertising for your particular keyword. You will only ever pay when somebody clicks your link. Many people use pay per click advertising as a way of ranking quickly for the most competitive of keywords (i.e. the ones which get tons of searches). Do however bear in mind that the more competitive the keyword is, the more likely you are to pay a ton of cash for each click.
  • Email Marketing: You should start to put together an email marketing list at the earliest possible stage when you are running your website. You can put a link on your site to do this. The main reason as to why you want to be carrying out email marketing is down to the fact that everybody who subscribes to your mailing list will have shown at least some interest in the products or services that you offer. This means that they are pre-qualified customers and thus they are going to be incredibly easy to sell to. I suggest you carry out a bit of research online with regards to how you can put together the perfect email marketing campaign.
  • Social Media: You need to be on social media if you are looking to promote your business online. You should be on Facebook and Twitter at the very minimum. Sharing posts through social media will score you tons of hits on your website (and you will even notice a climb in the search engine rankings). In addition to this it is likely that you will be able to find a few new customers who are interested in the products or services that you have on offer.

Tricks for making small businesses look bigger

When it comes to the world of business, perception is absolutely everything. After all; when a customer is choosing which company to deal with they know that they want to be dealing with a company that has a decent reputation. This is why the majority of people will gravitate towards the larger companies as opposed to the smaller ones which quite often offer far better prices. On this page I want to talk you through a few tricks which will make your small business seem bigger than it actually is. These are very minor tricks, but you will be surprised at just how much of an impact they can have on customer perception of your company.

  • Perhaps one of the best ways in which to make your company seem larger than it is will be to opt for a website overhaul. You will be surprised at how much of a difference a professional looking website packed to the brim with tons of useful content will have on the perception of your company. I don’t know about you; but I am more likely to trust a modern site than one that looks as though it has been pulled out of the late 90s.
  • Change your email addresses up a little. I find that [email protected] is far better than simply [email protected] All of the big companies do it. You might as well do so too, right? After all; if you ever hit the big time you are going to need to use that format anyway so that you do not run out of potential email addresses for your employees!
  • Spend a lot of time on the development of social media for your business. The more followers and likes you have, the more reputable your company will be in the eyes of people. In fact; I know a fair few people out there who will only purchase from companies based upon how popular they are on social media. This is in part down to the fact that only the best companies have tons and tons of followers.
  • Change up the name of your company (if possible). I heard an interesting story once. It involved a freelance designer who was struggling to get work. His solution was to ditch trying to sell under his freelance name. He instead opted to form a company and make sales under that. He was still the only employee but sales shot up almost instantly. You could potentially try this if your company name currently makes you look like some sort of ‘small operation’
  • Purchase business cards (don’t opt for the free ones that tend to have advertising on the back of them). If you hand out business cards then you are instantly going to be conveying the idea that you are a reputable company. Honestly; almost all people who are serious about the world of business should have a couple of business cards handy at all times. You never know when you are going to get the opportunity to hand them out.

What is web hosting?

If you want to put a website online then you are going to need to get a web host. Your web designer will tell you that right from the off. The problem is that many people are actually confused as to what a webhost actually is, and perhaps more importantly why they are important. On this page we are going to take a little peek at what a webhost is able to do for you.

When you start up a website you want it to be found at all hours of the day, right? Well; this is where web hosting comes into play. Your web host (which is the company that provides your web hosting services), will be formed of a collection of computers known as ‘web servers’. On each web server you will have your own ‘allocated space’ (if you have a large website then you may have a server all to yourself. This is known as owning a dedicated server). Your allocated space is where you will upload all files related to your computer. Tied to your allocated space will be your domain name. Whenever somebody types that domain name into their web browser they will instantly land on your website.

I am not going to lie to you here; it is theoretically possible to turn your own computer into a web server. It is not recommended though. This is down to the fact that you need a pretty beefy computer to handle the amount of stress that tons of traffic coming into it can cause. In addition to this you need a decent internet connection (with an incredibly high upload speed) which can handle hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of unique users at once. The majority of people will not have a connection like this. To cap it all off you would also need to have your computer on 24/7 if you want to guarantee that people are able to access it at all times of the time. You will also require a very good technical knowledge of server applications and running them and keep up to date withsecurity releases. By the time you bear all of this in mind you may as well just pay a web host to do all of the dirty work for you (you will be surprised at how cheap web hosting is nowadays partially down to the fact that the industry is more competitive than ever)

One point to note here; there are a lot of companies out there who provide web hosting services nowadays. It is absolutely vital that you take the time to choose the right one. I do suggest that you steer clear of the newcomers to the market and those which are too cheap (in the world of web hosting you really do get what you pay for!). You should always read through as many reviews as possible so that you can make sure that you are making the right choice. If you are stuck in terms of finding a web host then do not hesitate to ask your web designer as they will most likely be able to recommend one for you.

Increase your e-commerce conversion rates

In my opinion; ecommerce is without a doubt one of the best ways in which you can make money online. If you do things properly then you should be able to generate a rather decent amount of income. It is going to take a lot of work but the process of getting an ecommerce site up and running, particularly if you love the niche you are working in, is tons of fun. On this page I want to take a little peek at a few ways in which you can up the conversion rates on your ecommerce site. This should in turn lead to a greater amount of cash in your pocket.

About two years ago I read an article on the BBC News website (although sadly I have not stumbled across it since). This article was written by a guy who ran his own ecommerce store. He carried out an experiment to see how much of an impact a single spelling mistake would have on the conversion rate of his site. He was not expecting much. A couple of sales lost here and there but nothing dramatic (it was a very simple typo). What he discovered however was startling. The page that had a simple spelling mistake had a 50% lower conversion rate than the page which done everything absolutely perfectly. This is likely down to the fact that when people saw the spelling mistake (whether they consciously noticed it or not), something ‘triggered’ in their mind which made them believe the site was not all that reputable. Your lesson; make sure you proofread each and every page you put on your site. A single spelling mistake will cost you money.

Try to be as descriptive as you can with your descriptions. For me, there is nothing worse that stumbling across a website which uses generic manufacturer description which barely covers a couple of lines. Customers want as much information as possible when they are considering whether to purchase a product or not. Do not let them go to another website seeking out that information. You want them to find everything that they need to know on your site. This should push conversion rates through the roof.

You have to realize that the majority of people who land on your site are not going to purchase right away. This is especially true if you have a selection of rather expensive products. You do not want them to leave the site though without giving you their information so you can get in touch again. This means having some sort of email capture list on your site. You can let people sign up to your mailing list, perhaps in exchange for a discount coupon, and you can send them regular special offers. You can build up a decent amount of customer loyalty like this and it is this very thing which will put tons of cash in your pocket.

This is of course just a small snippet of tips which will help boost your ecommerce conversion rates. There are still many other things to think about. My suggestion to you is to ensure that you are constantly evolving your site. You need to get a feel for what works and what does not. Your site should never be static for too long. There is no such thing as a perfect website (even if, for some inexplicable reason you managed to hit a conversion rate of 100%). There is always something that you can do to squeeze a little bit more cash out of your site visitors.

Effective ways promote your company social networks

If your company is not engaging in social media marketing then it is basically throwing away one of the most effective online marketing techniques. You see; social media is incredibly powerful. People underestimate just how much sway sites such as Facebook and Twitter have over a person’s buying habits. Being listed, and ultimately active, on social media websites will help you build up your company’s reputation. It will also allow you to engage with your customers and get a feel for what they want from your brand, and even get to hear a few complaints which will help you improve. Before you get to all of those benefits there is one important thing you need to do; promote the fact that you have a social media profile. Thankfully this is very easy.

Firstly; if you are printing marketing literature (leaflets, brochures, posters etc.) then you need to make sure that it mentions that you have a social media profile. You do not need to do anything too fancy here. You should just copy the larger brands. This normally involves having the logo of the social media site followed by the name of your page. If you are feeling really fancy, and you feel that those with technology are your real target audience, then you may want to look into the idea of using QR codes to take people directly to your page upon scanning the QR code. Do bear in mind however that QR codes do not work for every business. Nowadays people simply can’t be bothered scanning codes.

You are also going to want to mention the fact that you have a social media profile on your own website. It should be a rather prominent location. I tend to find that one of the side bars works well for this. You are able to download ‘code’ directly from the top social media sites which you can just paste into your site. This will allow people to like or follow your page with just one click. In fact; in most cases they will not even have to leave your website (providing they are currently signed into the social media website at least!). If you have a blog, and it is something that you really should have in this day and age, then you should also include tools which allow people to share your content on social media. This will not lead them directly to your social media profile, but it will at least show that your company is social media conscious.

This is just a small smattering of things that you are able to do if you wish to promote your social media pages to the masses. I am sure that you will be able to come up with a few techniques of your own. If you follow these tips however, you will find that those likes and follows start to roll in pretty quickly. This is ultimately going to translate to more money in your pocket.

Content is king

Content is always the first thing you need to focus on when it comes to having a great website

Contrary to popular belief; your main focus when it comes to developing your website should not be the overall look or design. Sure; this type of thing is important, but most people do not head online to indulge themselves in ‘eye candy’. They head online for information. You could have the prettiest looking site in the world, but if you do not give people the information that they want then they will be hopping on over to one of your competitors pretty quickly. This means that your main focus should always be the content that you put on your website.

As I have mentioned already; people will come to a website in order to find information. Sure; the ultimate goal for you as a business will be to convert these visitors into a sale. Before you do that though, the company needs to ensure that you are going to be able to provide exactly what they want. This is where your content comes into play. Content will ensure that people do not need to look elsewhere to get the information that they need on the products and services that you sell. If they have to leave your site to get this information then they will not be coming back. They will most likely end up purchasing from the place that they found the information. So many companies out there suffer from a lack of sales simply because they do not include enough information.

Content also provides a way in which you can showcase your reputation. People wish to purchase from those who show that they are truly knowledgeable about the products and the services that they offer. This means that you should try and avoid using generic ‘manufacturer’ content on your site. People will have seen this over and over again. You will want to offer something truly special when it comes to content. Show people why it is your company that they should be purchasing from as opposed to any other customer. Show them that you are the only that has an in depth knowledge on what you actually sell. This will give people peace of mind knowing that they are purchasing from the best.

Of course; the main reason as to why people focus on content is the fact that it is the content which will get them ranked highly in the search engines. Good quality and unique content will lead you to a higher position on the search engine results page. The higher you rank; the more business you are likely to do. In addition to this, if you produce top quality content then people will link to your website. This provides you with even more targeted customers landing on your page, and that is ultimately going to lead to even more money in your pocket!

In short; focus on content. Your site will be successful.

What is responsive design?

Responsive web design is something offered by just about every decent web designer nowadays. If they do not offer it then you want to steer well clear. This is because responsive web design is absolutely vital when it comes to succeeding with a website. So; what is responsive web design? Well, that is something which we are going to cover on this page.

As you may know; mobile device usage is on the rise. More people are using mobile devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets) than ever before. In fact; it is predicted that by the end of 2014 more people will be using mobile devices than actual computers to access the internet. This means that many of your website visitors will actually come from a device other than a PC or Laptop. You need to cater for them.

Mobile devices have smaller screens than computers. This means that websites that display fantastically on a desktop computer are not going to look right on a mobile device. For example; the user will have to zoom in to read text, and the navigation of the site is going to be absolutely abysmal. If your site is not optimized for mobile devices then you will be throwing away a ton of customers. This is where responsive web design comes into play.

Responsive web design is a technology which enables a site to ‘adapt’ to the size of the screen. For example; if a user accesses a website through their iPhone then the website will be able to recognize this. It will automatically display the site which is optimized for smartphones. The desktop version of the site will remain hidden unless the user accesses the site through their desktop computer instead. The benefit of showing a mobile site to the customer is the fact that it has been designed especially for the smaller screen. This means that the text is readable without the user having to zoom in on the page, and the navigation system is going to be an absolute breeze to traverse through. In short; people are going to have absolutely no hassle browsing through your website. This is exactly what you want. After all; the last thing you want to do is annoy your customers.

In the past people opted to develop a separate mobile website for their business. This was all well and good back then because it was the only technology that existed. This is not something you want nowadays though. If you have two websites then you need to keep them both up to date. This can be a lot of hassle. If you have a responsive web design then you are only need to update one website. This reduces the workload considerably. It is also going to be easier for your customers as they will not have to browse to a different site just to see it displayed properly on their mobile device.

Why not talk to your web designer today about the option of having a responsive design created for your business?

Digital development from the North