DOES YOUR SMALL BUSINESS NEED A WEBSITE?

You may think not, and to be honest you are not alone. About 60% of small business don’t according to a survey made last year.

Common reasons why are:

We don’t need one
What’s the point?
It is too difficult to set up
Far too expensive
If you are one of the 60% here is why you may want to reconsider.

Why you need a website

Your customers will most probably expect you to have one. Most people now search on line looking for information. If you are not there they will ‘click’ on someone else.

If you want information on anyone or anything where do most start? You now hear people use the term ‘Google it’. If you want to find out when someone is open, what type of food they serve or if they stock your favourite brand go and look at their website.

What’s the address of that Italian restaurant you were recommended too or what entertainment is happening in your local area. All things we ‘Google’.

So do you need one? Is there a point?

The difficult bit

There are lots easy ways to set up a website with online software, and to be fair they can make a half decent job.

But.

Will you be found? You can do your research and go through a total learning curve on how to optimise your site, add meta data, keywords, structure your links……

And if they do find you what is going to make them use your services over someone else? In simple terms, what are you offering that makes you better than your competition?

Time for a bit of research on how to market your website, draw in the user and make them want you.

Website designers, marketing and expense

So if you think you do need a website, want to save a few pennies, find an online free service to build your website. Or if you do have a budget you may consider using a website designer, lots to pick and choose from in anyone’s local area.

Like us some marketing agencies do offer starter websites, one page websites for the smaller budget to x amount of pages for a little more. Check them out and see what will get you the best return for you cash.

Portraying Your Personal Identity Within Your Business.

What do you think the most important thing potential clients looking for a Celebrant want to see? Is it the Celebrant’s logo, numerous pictures of smiling brides, or perhaps badges of advertisers or training organisations they belong too? The answer is an actual picture of the person they are dealing with, the Celebrant who will actual perform their ceremony for them.

As social media is a small part of UKSoC Design’s business, I see so many of our members websites, bloggers and various social media business accounts who do not have a clear, or even one actual photograph of the Celebrant behind the business name or logo. Some members do not even have their names within their business description. This is a bad business move.

Take a moment to put yourself in a prospective client’s position. What do they see on your social media pages? Lots of stock images, but no actual pictures of the Celebrant? What image is this portraying to people? As a Celebrant, you are a key figure involved in any ceremonies you write and perform, and as such your picture should be available to see.

All of you have a profile on UKSoC’s website, and that profile has a picture of you on it, not your logo or a stock image, but an actual image of you. When you joined UKSoC, you were asked to provide a recent, clear photograph of yourself to display alongside your requested information. This is to show the person behind the words, and your website and social media shouldn’t be any different.

Recent clear, photographs are essential in helping secure bookings. Clients want more from their Celebrants than they do from registrars.  Some want a Celebrant to fit in with their ceremony theme, and old, outdated or even worse none at all pictures of you could result in them looking elsewhere. While you may love the picture of yourself at your cousin’s wedding ten years ago, the chances are you have changed your appearance since then, and a recent clear picture is essential. We all have images where we looked thinner, had more hair and perhaps less wrinkles, but being truthful portrays an image of trust.

While there maybe quite a few of you who are yet to secure your first ceremony booking, it is really important to display pictures of yourself as well as images of smiling brides and couples within your business tools, such as your website and social media accounts. Your picture and your logo work together to help prospective clients remember and recognise you.

A passport style, corporate picture can be just as damaging as none at all. Let’s face it, who likes their passport or driving licence picture, not many of us, and they certainly do not help portray what kind of Celebrant you are. On the reverse of this, pictures of you on holiday, wearing your football team’s shirt, or sitting in a bar with a drink in your hand aren’t good either. Face on pictures of you performing a ceremony, with clients or pictures of you alone in Celebrant mode are the kind of images you should use to gain business.

Without any pictures, how will clients recognise you should you meet up? How would you feel if you met them face to face only to be told you aren’t suitable for their requirements based on your look? Even worse, how would you feel if you were told how different you looked in your picture and they weren’t expecting you to look as you do? It may sound harsh, but it can happen, and a thick skin is required in business from time to time. All of this can be avoided be having a recent picture of yourself displayed.

Social media and a website, give you the same opportunity to directly address clients in the form of an ‘About Me’ section. This is a good place to have your picture and your name displayed, and is one occasion when you should be putting yourself forward to help gain business.

After all, you do not get a second chance to make a first impression.

 

 

 

A Guide to Local Search Optimisation

The Basics of local SEO

So you have a website, it all looks nice and your contact details displayed along with a list of your services. It’s live on the internet for everyone to see, but you aren’t getting any enquiries, why is that?

SEO, or search engine optimisation is how your website is found, and it’s a vital part of gaining business via the internet.

You may have paid someone pots of money to make your business look good on line, or you may have a friend who is quite handy building websites. It’s a start, but without SEO it’s pointless. No one is going to find you when searching for your services.

It’s like opening a shop closing the shutters and not telling anyone where it is.

Most celebrants work locally, and won’t have a need to be found UK wide. This makes being found a much easier process. However, before we delve into local SEO, there are a few things you need to check with your website company.

Has the website been registered with the major search engines (Google, Bing. Yahoo?)

Have you or the person who built your website added Google analytics to your website? Are you familiar with Google analytics? It is an essential part of being found via the internet. If you don’t know what this is, in simple terms it will show you how many visitors you have looking at your site. There is a lot more to it but for now, this is enough of an explanation.

Are the URL’s SEO friendly? For the people who don’t know it’s easy to find out just go to your website and click on one of your menu links. Have a look in the browser top bar and see what appears.

For example, click on the link above on this page called ‘order your website’ in the main menu, then look above and you will see the link:

https://uksocdesign.co.uk/websites-for-celebrants/

This is an SEO friendly URL, it describes the content of the page.

A bad URL would be something like http://www.uksocdesign.co.uk/page-234.html or http://www.uksocdesign.co.uk/?p=123

Do you have a sitemap and has it been submitted to Google and Bing etc?

All this needs to be addressed before you can start making changes to your site to be found locally.

Is your website mobile friendly? This is becoming more important everyday with more users viewing website via their phones and tablets. If you have Google analytics, you will be able to see how many people view via phone, tablet or desktop.

These basic changes are required if you want to head towards a successful website.

UKSOCDesign’s websites have all the above a standard.