Open for business early

I walk through Darlington town centre most Wednesday mornings at 8.30 and notice some, not many, businesses are open for business.  Observing these businesses later in the day I noticed that they are the busiest.

Traditional trading times the UK is 9-5 but this is not a rule or a law.  You should be open and be ready for customers before 9 am or earlier.  The windows should be clean, stock refreshed, lights on and the shop clean and tidy, staff ready to serve.

In a past chapter in my life, I ran a retail outlet and later a restaurant.  The retail outlet was open early, if it was warm the doors would be open, a couple of potted plants outside and my signature – the pavement brushed and swilled with water.  This activity actually attracts attention and gives a good impression of an ‘on the ball’ business, its actually free advertising and great for staff positive mentality.  Activity attracts activity.

In an office environment, the same applies, get the staff in early, let them go early or give extra time off in lieu or build it into the employment contract.  They should be ready to take calls and conduct meetings at 9 am (or before) rather than just get going after a coffee at 9.45 ish.

Back to my observed stars in Darlington, the businesses I noticed were Savers, Relish, Alfornos and Taylors.  All successful expanding businesses.

If you are stumbling through the door at 9 am, hanging around outside, the keyholder is not there and the entrance is messy it won’t take much to instigate the above and the results will be great – all for free, just a little time and effort. The early bird gets the worm.

Darlington

Updating and guarding against hack when using WordPress

WordPress

Make sure you log into your WordPress site daily.  One reason is that it is beneficial to have an up to date active website for your customers and the search engines. That’s a given.

The other is security.  Out of date plugins and themes expose your site to hackers who will try to access your site to take control.  They can start sending SPAM emails using your server, forward your traffic to illicit websites and sometimes add ‘back door’ to allow these activities at a later date. All this can be embarrassing, costly and time-consuming to rectify.

Some tips to keep your WordPress site safe.

  • Install Wordfence plugin.  This plugin allerts you by email when you, someone else logs into your account, if someone sets up a new user and when plugins need updating.
  • Update your theme and any you are not using as needed.
  • Update the plugins as needed.

The server you use can have a big bearing

Cheap servers dont moniter the server enviroment as well as the more costly ones.  Dont buy purely on price and ask how they moniter and make the server enviroment secure. Two good ones are Go Daddy (although they do charge extra for email addresses) and LCN.

 

Why you should be on Social Media

As inane and boring and frustrating as it is Social Media is a must, must, must for businesses – most anyway.

You may have gathered that I dislike Social Media but why do I tell ALL my customers to be on it.  Powerful is an underestimated description of SS. Smartphones are awfully intruding and we have stories of seeing people at dinner all looking at phones, I’m guilty too, but they are brilliant and if you’re a business who offers a service or product, for obvious reasons you should be represented.

The key is to not throw information out and hope it sticks.  First, decide who you want to communicate with and adjust your activity and content to pull-in the target then plan a time and action plan to start publishing content.

For example, we manage all the SS for a manufacturing and restoration company.  We set the content to attract customers from further afield (specific towns) and to attract a higher end appreciative type of customer -bigger spenders.  We have now achieved this attracting customer with high-end furniture for restoration using better wording, mentioning high-end brands and painting a picture that our client is a high-end provider.  We use a mix of SEO and content to SS.  The results are attracting the exact customer profile in the area we want. And ongoing. This customer spends zero on advertising and all the business comes via the website.

If you want us to look at your marketing – let us know here and well book a chat.

WordPress Image Size IS important

Keep the images in WordPress a nice size – Google like it and will rank your website higher.

If your site is a little slow to load its often caused by large images. They are easily reduced within WordPress – a good size is 400 to 1000 pixels wide. Faster loading site are ranked higher as this produces a better visitor experience for your site visitors – Google like this.

Do this: Go to Media, select images, select the month (I start with the oldest), edit and re-size, click Scale.

Hill Top Grass

You have to be on your website often, updating and changing to pull customers in – here is how:

Back in the 1990’s when I first started working with websites I always told customers to make sure they update often – most didn’t.

I now work on customers website to do this for them.

Here are a few tips to help you really make your website work:

1 – Shocking – actually look at it.  Some of my customers never look at their own sites (you know who you are Jo :-)).  You really need to know what’s on it, how to navigate it and does it work.

2 – Update it with an insight as to what you’re doing, your offer etc. Think about what your customers will find useful – not pictures of you at an award do. Useful stuff like when you’re open, your location and directions, guarantee you offer and FAQ’s etc.

3 – Smooth navigation – make it easy to navigate. Respond to customers questions, make it easy to contact you.

4 – Evolve – everything is changing all the time. Reflect this on your site, talk to your prospective customers.

5 – Who is your target market. Speak to them and make sure your offer is directed to your target market.

Update website