There is only one thing that matters online. It's a simple formula - WEBSITE TRAFFIC + CONVERSIONS = SALES. You need lots of people visiting your site, people looking for your type of product or service and then you need your website set up in such a way that it "converts" well. In other words, once people land on your site you have only a few seconds to gain their attention and get them to take action, for example phoning or emailing you, leaving their contact details on your site or visiting your premises.
The HOME page is particularly important to the success or failure of your website to make money. Website design needs to be geared to the customer and the content needs to talk about them and not about yourself. I provide a free Online "healthcheck" to identify any gaps in your online exposure. Why need get in touch today, I can point you in the right direction towards a website that increases your "bottom line".
Marketing your business online is absolutely vital if you want to progress and get in front of as many potential customers as you can. Many businesses unfortunately throw up a website and maybe a Facebook Page and think that their work is done but this should be just the start. You need to tick all the boxes and make sure everything is aligned in order to really promote your business online. Let me explain----
So you have your website up and running let`s assume, but your website strangely is not getting any hits/traffic/visitors or at least only a trickle, so what do you do? Firstly you need to ensure you have verified the website with Google and you can do this by using Google Webmaster Tools. By doing this you know that Google have now identified and will hopefully take notice of you and start showing you in Google Search. You also want to create an analytics account for the website so you can track how many visitors you are receiving each day and each week, and what sort of search terms they are finding you by.
Your website needs to have your contact details on the site, a clickable email address link or even better a Contact Form that people can fill in to leave you a message. You need to have a unique meta title and meta description for each individual webpage using all your important keyword terms. And your website content should have all your major and minor keywords sprinkled through it but never overdo one particular phrase or it may look like spam content. Use your major keyword terms in your Titles, Headers and Sub Headers and you can also tag all your photos with relevant keywords too.
Your website needs to be easy to navigate and clear and precise in its intentions. You need to grab peoples attention right from the start and give them a clear call to action whether it be leaving their email address, ringing your business or purchasing a product or service.
The search engines do not like to see a website in isolation as they will think it has no relevance to the wider community so you need to provide both internal and external...
Claiming and optimising your Google My Business Page is a great way of getting your business in front of potential customers and improving your online profile for local keyword terms. If you have a local business or service it really is essential you use this Page as an easy way to get high Google rankings.
Google now have what is known as a 3 pack of Google Business Listings which they usually show for local keyword terms, for instance `Accountants Belfast` or `Plumbers Dungannon`, at the top of their search page. For your business to be in with a chance of being in this 3 pack, which is obviously highly desirable for any business, you need to Claim and verify your own Google My Business Page and ensure it is optimised and 100% complete.
When you find your Page initially you should see a statement on the Page which says Claim Your Business and when you ask to claim it from Google they will send you a postcard a few days later with a code on it. You then need to place this code in your listing to ensure it is then verified and under your control.
Search Engine Optimisation
The listing then needs to be optimised for the search engines which entails filling in all the relevant sections on the Page. This includes ensuring you have the correct business name, address and telephone numbers on the page, having a link back to your website, putting in categories that your business fits into, filling in your opening hours and writing a short description about your business trying to use as many keyword terms as possible.
You also want to add photos related to your business, including a profile photo, a logo picture and a cover photo. The more photos you can add the better and if you `Geo-Tag` the photos this can be of great benefit to improving your ranking (for information on how to geo-tag your photos please contact our offices).
You may have also noticed that many Google Business Listings have reviews on them from customers, and it is really useful if you have...
Happy New Year to all our clients and visitors to our website! I hope you have a good night tonight and look forward to hearing from you and you hopefully using our services in 2016.
And don`t forget if you need a new website in 2016, maybe an ecommerce store, or a text marketing service or SEO services we are here to help. For a no obligation quote fill in the contact form or ring our offices.
If you are a regular on our website you will probably notice a few changes around here. For one there are less Pages on the website and two we have made the content more concise so it is easier to read. We have now broken our services down into 4 main categories which are website management, social media marketing, text marketing and SEO (search engine optimisation). All these services do interconnect of course but you could use one of these services without requiring any of the others if you wish.
In short we can do all of your online marketing and management, and help you have a healthy and growing online profile for your business or organisation. Whatever it is you are trying to achieve, be it online sales, more traffic to your site, more members or more leads we can help you.
For online sales we can build an online store for you and ensure it is optimised, and we help you on a monthly basis with SEO that will bring visitors who will be potential customers to your site. For bringing more traffic we can do a summary of your online profile and make changes to your site and links that will boost your rankings and also drive traffic to the site. For more members we can set up a lead capture box on your site, bring visitors to the site and you can use our text marketing service to both promote your membership and keep in touch with your members. We can also set up a lead capture box on your site to create leads for you and drive traffic to the site.
We can advise you on any area of marketing your business online, be it improving your website or promoting your business through your social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are so many strategies you can use to promote your business online and if you are not using some of them you can be sure that your competitors will be doing! So to stay ahead of the game you need to be using all the technology and methods available to you in order to gain that edge. If you want to start profiting online, or you just want some more eyeballs looking at your business, we can help provide this for...
The most powerful way to stay ahead of the game and keep on top of all your rivals in business is to dominate them online. A strong online profile using all the elements that will give you a powerful presence will do wonders for your bottom line in the short term, medium term and long term. Because so many local businesses do not use the power of the internet to its full potential it is often quite simple to steal a march on your competitors.
Here are a few pointers as to how you can deliver a strong online presence for your business:
First and foremost make sure you have a website that promotes your business in the right way, you want to be showing your website visitors what you can do for them and then leading them into taking action. Your website should be using all your relevant keywords and it MUST be mobile responsive otherwise you are wasting your time! Also make sure you have a contact form on the site which is capturing peoples emails and phone numbers.
If your business is selling products and/or services get an Ecommerce store set up on your website, the potential for selling is limitless if you can sell your products and services online and it can really push your business forward. Setting up an Ecommerce website is not as difficult as you may think!
Local businesses and indeed national businesses need to use the power of social media to drive their business and sales, and by using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc you can really make a connection with your customers. Social media can give you a more personal touch with people online and it can build relationships which is a very powerful thing to do when you are in business.
Use SEO techniques to build up your Google rankings so that people can find you more readily online when they are searching for your businesses keyword terms. You can do this in a number of ways, including using keywords in your content, providing regular fresh content on your site, creating relevant backlinks etc etc.
And don`t forget how powerful a Google+ Page (Google Business Listing) can be for a local business, and how much it can help with your search engine rankings. Make sure you have a link to your...
As April 21st has now passed and Google are rolling out their latest update, if you have not yet got a mobile responsive website you will soon see a dramatic fall in the rankings in the Google search engine for all your keyword terms. As so many people now search for the goods and services they require online through Google this could cause your business a great deal of damage.
But all is not lost yet. If you act fast to ensure you have a mobile friendly website as soon as possible you will hopefully not suffer a fall in your websites status. We can help you with this if you wish, if you are unsure whether your website is mobile responsive and passes the Google test we can check this for you and if it is not we can supply you with a mobile friendly website if you need us to. All our websites that are built in our CtrlCube system are mobile responsive and are perfect for looking at either with your smartphone or a tablet as well as your desktop applications.
This update has been coming for a while now, as Google sees the need for all websites to be responsive so that they can be viewed on all types of applications. As half of the people who probably view your site will be checking it out on a smartphone or tablet rather than a computer it makes sense to ensure they can easily read and navigate around your website.
A mobile responsive website fits perfectly into the screen of someones mobile phone, the text is large enough to read easily and it also easy to go to all the different Pages on the site and click on any links that are on the site. Anyone with a smartphone who visits a website that is not mobile responsive will very rarely hang around on that site so he site will be losing a potential new customer every time this happens.
If you do require help with a mobile responsive website please either leave a message or you can ring Roy directly on 07912 086 251. We can provide a low cost solution for you to ensure you stay ahead of...
Google have announced they are bringing in another of their updates on April 21st and this update is specifically aimed at penalising any website which is not mobile responsive (sometimes called mobile friendly or mobile rendered). So it is absolutely essential if you are a website owner that you ensure your website is mobile responsive by this date, otherwise you may see your website quickly slide down the search engine rankings for all your major keyword terms, meaning that you will lose traffic, and potential customers if you have a business.
Mobile is now becoming an important part of any businesses promotional strategy and it is obvious to see why when you look at the figures. It is believed that as many people search for goods and services both locally and nationally on their smartphones or tablets as they do on a traditional desktop such as a computer or laptop. So to have a website that either does not scan correctly on a smartphone, or has the text too small to read, or is hard to navigate around, does not make sense in this digital age, and Google have recognised this and are bringing in this update so as to encourage people and businesses to update their websites so they can be accessed easily on any device.
At Online Solutions we recognised that having a mobile responsive website was going to be an important requirement and so our CtrCube system which all of our websites are created from has this built in, meaning that all our clients websites are automatically mobile friendly. There are no adjustments to be made and so we make it easy for our clients to be compliant with Google and all the other search engines.
So if you at present have a website that is not mobile responsive, or perhaps you are not sure if it is mobile responsive or not, then get in touch with Roy here at Online Solutions to see what can be done for you. I cannot stress how important this is if you have a website that is promoting your business online, the drop in rankings will greatly affect the amount of website visitors coming to your site and so impact on your business. You can contact Roy on 07912 086 251 or alternatively fill in the Contact Form here on the website and...
As promised in an earlier post here is advice on how you can use Facebook to help promote your business. FB can be a great marketing tool if you make the effort to apply it correctly to your company.
Firstly you need to create a Facebook Page, this is not the same as your Facebook account but a Page which you can devote entirely to your business. It is very easy to create a Page for your business, you need to make the URL of the Page relevant to the business as this is what the Page will be identified by.
You have the opportunity to upload a profile photo and a large cover photo to the Page, so make sure you pick 2 really good pictures as these are the window to your FB Page and what everyone sees first when they come across your Page.
In the Settings section check out the About Us part and in this I would start with the URL of your website as this will then be a clickable link, and so will be a good promotion for your website as well as a good backlink to your site. There is another section to fill in where you can put in a longer description of your business and I suggest you fill this with as much information as you can. The more detail you give in all the Settings areas the more likely your FB Page will get noticed.
Once you have done all of the above you then need to start posting on your Page. You obviously need to post information about your business but try to make it as entertaining as you can. You can add pictures, link to videos and other sites including your own website, and it is good to Share other Pages posts, as if you do this they are more likely to Like your Page and reciprocate by Sharing your posts too.
Once you have made a dozen or so posts you...
Here are some Ecommerce stats that may surprise you and I am sure will be of interest to you if you have a business either offline, online or both.
Ecommerce is growing very quickly here in the UK, with the internet economy likely to expand at the rate of 11% over the next 2 years. By 2016, 1 in 4 retail purchases in the UK will be completed online.
Mobile commerce is a section of Ecommerce which is another huge growth area, with 44% of UK shoppers who have smartphones saying that they do, or would very much consider, making purchases direct from their mobile phones.
Multi channel retailing is now a big part of the new retailing landscape with many of the large retailers finding that their Click & Collect delivery system is accounting for around 50% or more of their overall online sales.
Over 40% of UK retail consumers are now performing online searches before they go to a store to check out their options and what is available first.
It seems that online prices are often more competitive than the prices within the high street stores, with the online price showing a significantly smaller increase percentage wise in comparison to the prices in the shops. This is obviously another reason why shoppers like to browse for goods and services online and often purchase their goods direct from the retailers online stores.
The digital economy has changed the landscape in so many areas, as for example with books, where e-books are quickly taking over the sale of physical books, and Amazon has become such a big player in this particular market.
Google accounts for over 90% of searches in the UK.
Ecommerce is now an area that smart retailers can cash in on and they can attract new customers from all areas of the UK and further afield. If they have a good, easy to use online store that is...
A new campaign group in Northern Ireland, Urban Exchange NI (UENI), have called for retailers and planners to collaborate in a bid to save the High Street from extinction.
The UENI are a group of regenerative experts who want to get as many people around the table as they can to generate fresh ideas on how to improve the towns and cities across Northern Ireland. They believe that the present system of town hall planning is plainly not working and is holding back development by being too unwieldy and not taking into account the wishes of the retailers.
They want as many experts as possible to put forward fresh ideas and plans to develop a healthier urban environment where our retailers can generate more business and thrive.
Of course the present climate is a very testing one for all the small to medium retailers both in Northern Ireland and across the whole of the UK, and this has led to a gradual erosion of the importance of the high street in all of our lives. Factors conspiring against the high street include the recent economic recession which has hit a lot of consumers spending power, the huge rise in online shopping and the competition provided by the large supermarkets situated on the edge of our towns and cities.
It is good news that the UENI are putting together plans to regenerate our high streets and make them healthier urban spaces with which to set up shop and purchase in, but it would also be good news if many of the retailers helped themselves by using the internet to attract customers and get sales. Any retailer who has goods or services to sell in their store needs an Ecommerce website to sell them from too. As we mentioned a large percentage of people now like to purchase their goods directly online so we must cater for these people. And having an online store will get your business noticed by new customers who may...
Prime Minister has talked positively about the economic recovery in Northern Ireland, claiming that it is well on course and going exactly to plan.
Ahead of a meeting with Stormonts leaders in London Cameron was effusive in his praise for how Northern Ireland was recovering from the recent economic worldwide crash and insisted that the Governments packages aimed at stimulating the economy here have worked extremely well.
The economic package included in it the promise of £100 million from the Treasury coffers if required to kickstart growth in areas where it was required, and it has now been announced where some of this money is going to be used. £30 million is going to fund development in an education campus in Omagh, £15 million to help build up a mixed tenure housing development and another 300 homes in a shared development scheme in Belfast and Newtonabbey, and a further £8 million is going to be invested in primary schools in the areas of Omagh, Portadown and Corran.
With news that the economy in Northern Ireland grew by 2.6 per cent last year David Cameron was quoted as saying:
" It is great news that the long-term economic plan is working for Northern Ireland, in the last year output, employment and exports have increased; access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises has improved, and independent forecasters have revised up their outlook for the region. This means more financial security for hard-working people and businesses in Northern Ireland, who can be more confident about a brighter and more prosperous future."
Politicians are also due to meet in Belfast today to discuss the ongoing issues regarding flags and parades and how to deal with other issues that are a legacy of the Troubles. It is hoped that the politicians involved in these talks will be able to come to an agreement and strike a deal that will help Northern Ireland move forward and help towards a more prosperous future...
Take a look at these eye popping statistics and then try to tell yourself that you don`t need a mobile strategy in place for your business. Mobile is the future of commerce so have your company ready to benefit from this.
82% of mobile shoppers use the search facility online to check out their options and influence their purchasing decisions.
79% of smartphone users are now using their devices to purchase with, so people are now both checking out their purchasing options AND buying direct from their mobile devices.
The places where people regularly use their mobiles outside of their home are when they are travelling, when they are in a store shopping and when they are in a cafe or restaurant.
Tablet users are using their search facility nearly 74% of the time they are online, far more than any other activity, which means you desperately need you website in a prominent place in the search engine rankings and you also need your website to be mobile and tablet responsive.
Local mobile searches (85.9 billion) are expected to start to exceed desktop searches (84 billion) in 2015, a statistic to make everybody sit up and take notice.
Worldwide smartphone use is expected to reach the figure of 2 billion people by 2015.
85% of the global population should have 3G Access by 2015. You can conclude by these figures that mobile marketing will be far more important than any other type of marketing within the next 12 months and all the big companies will be concentrating their marketing efforts in this direction.
We hope that as a business you are taking this into account and developing a powerful mobile strategy so that you can benefit and get more eyes in front of your business.
If you require help and advice in developing a mobile strategy Online Solutions will be glad to help you, just contact our offices for a confidential chat.
Here are some ideas on how you can use Social Media to increase your business profile and ultimately get more business or sales.
Social Media is of huge importance in our modern world of course with people tweeting and posting on Twitter and Facebook virtually 24/7, whether they are in bed, at work, shopping or watching TV. This all leaves businesses with a tremendous opportunity to engage with these millions of people online.
Engage is the word as you do not really want to be selling directly on the Social Media channels, but what you do want to do is to get your business name and services out there so that they get noticed. This is quite easily done.
Let us take a look at Twitter for example which is a particular favourite of mine. If you set up a Twitter account under your business name you can then fill in your profile and also upload a good picture of your business on there too. On your profile I would mention what you sell or what services you provide, your location, some personal info to engage with people, plus have a link to your website too.
Now if you want to interact with people and businesses in your local community all you need to do is put in the search box either the name of your local town or a search term with your town included and a host of people and businesses will then be provided. Go through these and Follow the ones that interest you and you will then find that many of these will Follow you back.
You then need to interact with your Followers and the people that are Following you by Tweeting at regular intervals, and I would use in these tweets the # and the name of your local town and # and the name of your business or type of business so...
There are increasingly strong signs that Northern Ireland is breaking free from recession with many sectors set for economic growth in the next 12 months.
The legal profession is one area that looks particularly strong at present and into the next year, although there are still areas of concern such as the public sector, as the Government continues to try to save money by cutting the public purse as much as they possibly can, forcing local councils to penny pinch and save money right across the board. It is believed the public sector could shed as many as 2,500 jobs in this year and the next.
The Quarterly Forecast Report from the Danske Bank produced many positive signs for the future economic progress of the country, with the belief that local economic growth could reach 2.4% next year. Other potential figures include the forecast that the Professional and Scientific services, which envelop the legal profession, architects, accountancy, advertising and engineering firms, could grow by as much as 4.3% this year (2014) and another 4% in 2015.
There have been a high number of foreign direct investments in Northern Ireland recently, and if you couple this with an improving labour market situation then the portents are looking extremely rosy.
So although the public sector is still stalling and cuts are still in evidence with job losses inevitable in the future, the private sector in Northern Ireland looks in a great position to kick on and grow significantly over the next few months and years if all goes to plan.
As confidence levels grow in the business sector an unstoppable momentum can be built and the economic recovery becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
The above statistics were gleaned from The Danske Bank quarterly report, and this bank is one of the leading financial enterprises in Europe with headquarters in Copenhagen but a strong presence in Belfast and the whole of Northern Ireland.
I was asked to help Lismore School Business Studies class with regard to their project. They were really pleased when I offered to design an ECommerce website for them, where they could sell the cook book online, including Click & Collect. It has been a fantastic experience for me too, seeing how the pupils have developed their entrepreneurial thinking!
Mobile is where the market is at right now, and it is claimed that for local searches the smartphone is now more widely used than the computer or laptop.
People now love to do their local searching by scanning their smartphones for what is available and so will check out local business websites on their mobile devices.
Now if your local business website is not mobile optimised then you could find that you will be missing out on a lot of potential clients and business. By optimised we mean that the website fits into the screen of your mobile phone perfectly, it scans and can be read very easily too, and it is easy to navigate through all the different pages on the site.
A website that is not mobile friendly can be very difficult to read as it does not fit into the mobile screen, you have to enlarge the text to try to read it and scan across and up and down to attempt to read all of the content. It can also be difficult to click through to other Pages on the website.
It is a fact that if a website is not mobile responsive then visitors will not waste their time trying to navigate around it and read it but they will just click away from the site and you will have lost the opportunity to connect with them.
If you are unsure if your website is mobile friendly or not just check on a mobile phone and you will soon be able to see if this is something that you need to get sorted out. This is a crucial aspect as if over 50% of your visitors cannot properly read your website you are obviously missing out and you need to rectify this as quickly as possible.
As mobile commerce becomes a more and more popular way of purchasing goods then the use of mobile phones to scan websites is going to grow and grow and the need for...
The forthcoming Heathrow expansion could create a boon to the Northern Irish economy it is claimed.
The proposed plans for a third runway at Heathrow could add as much as 40 more new routes through George Best Belfast City Airport, which would be to international markets and growing economies around the world. This would make Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole a very attractive proposition to investors from many parts of the globe.
Matt Gorman, Heathrows director of sustainability, said that:
"Northern Ireland business is heavily reliant on connections to international markets through Heathrow, we want to add up to 40 new long-haul, direct routes and improve our connectivity to other UK airports such as George Best Belfast City Airport."
This should be music to the ears of Northern Ireland businesses who should be able to take full advantage of this and be able to grow their own business accordingly.
It does seem that the plans for a third runway are not far in moving from the drawing board to acceptance to action, so this opportunity could come around in the not too distant future.
As we have pointed out in some earlier posts the Northern Irish business community, in Belfast and further afield in towns and cities, must now be proactive and use the new digital era and opportunities that are available to forge ahead and create growth, new jobs and revenue that will in turn help the economy and the whole country to be a recognised force both in Europe and the rest of the world.
Here at Online Solutions we provide a platform for any aspiring business that requires a strong online presence in terms of website, online profile, social media profile, Ecommerce website etc. For an informal chat about our services you can ring our offices at any time.
For more information on the Heathrow expansion story from The Belfast Telegraph please click on the...
Here is an easy way to build some good solid backlinks to your website and also attract more visitors to your site through this simple method.
Backlinks are an important part of a websites overall SEO score. But it is not as simple as saying I need more backlinks pointing at my site because it is quality and not quantity that counts.
For the uninitiated a backlink means that there is a website link on another site which links back to your site. In other words a clickable link on another site that if clicked takes you to a Page on your website. The clickable link may just be the websites URL or it may be some anchor text but as long as it clicks through to your website it is a backlink.
Since Google have released their recent Panda and Penguin updates it has become even more important that these backlinks are relevant. For instance if you have a website about improving a persons Golf Swing and you have a backlink to your site on a website which is about How To Run A Caravan Park then Google may well find this backlink irrelevant and useless and therefore penalise your website for having such a backlink.
So the backlinks you build must be on relevant, quality websites, and have we have said before 1 good backlink is worth 10,000 poor ones.
So how do we go about creating some for our website? Well an easy way to start is to list your website in some of the Local Directory Listings. There are lots of these listings and on most of these you are allowed to have a free account on them, list your business with all your contact details and address on them, write a short introduction about your business and the services you provide and also create a link back to your website. This will give you both a good quality backlink and by having your details on...
Business leader Gerry Kindlon is calling on Northern Ireland to embrace the digital world and the new technological advances so the country will not get left behind.
He believes that at present the country is too slow and cumbersome to take advantage of the huge business opportunities that the digital world has thrown up and believes that steps must be taken quickly to inform and educate students and pupils in schools, teachers, employers and employees.
Mr Kindlon is an executive director at Seagate in Northern Ireland, and says that the emphasis in schools and Universities must be focused on the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to provide the right education for the growing number of digital jobs that are arising as a result of the ongoing digital revolution. It is believed that the number of digital type jobs in the European Union is growing at the rate of 100,000 per year, and for Northern Ireland to grab their share of these it must move swiftly with the times.
He said that the world we live in today is vastly different to the one he was brought up in and that the country must understand the need to catch up with the new digital technologies and educate schools and businesses so that they can take advantage of this vast new land of opportunity.
We wholeheartedly concur with Gerry Kindlon and to that end we have created a website package that embraces many of the new digital technologies. If you have a business that needs to take advantage of the new Ecommerce and Mobile Commerce revolution you can use our website platform to do so, just contact our offices for more details.
"We have noticed a significant increase for leads which has gained extra business since using online solutions. Roy and Des have been very professional and have gone out of their way to help us."
Elmer Smyth, Smyth Window Systems, Portadown, Co Armagh
Over the initial period of 6 months, we were able to help GCS Solicitors, Armagh, increase their website traffic 310%, as a result of our ongoing SEO service. As a result they have gained many new clients.
Here's their website address http://www.gcsarmagh.com/ One of their Directors, Oisin Toner, is very happy to recommend our services, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org