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Benefits of Appointment Scheduling for Small Businesses

Benefits of Appointment Scheduling for Small Businesses

Benefits of Appointment Scheduling for Small Businesses

Small business owners don’t have enough hours in the day. Full Stop. It feels like there is always too much work and not enough time, but realistically, some organization can free up time. Most owners have issues with organization and time management. That’s not to say they’re bad with organization or time management, but everyone can use a little help. One of the easiest ways to get back on a schedule is to add appointment scheduling to your website. 

Planning out your day is chaotic at best, and things pop up left and right to derail everything, but scheduling appointments and sticking to them can help bring a little calm to the storm. Streamlining your operations is vital for any small business owner. Shouldn’t that include organizing your schedule?

Are you already scheduling appointments? How? Using an integrated appointment scheduler on your website helps customers set up times to talk, and it keeps them on your site. Win-win! Stop using post-its or scrap paper to “put something on the books.” Using an online scheduling system can help with creating events on your calendar and automatically sending out reminders. 

It turns out there are a lot of benefits to appointment scheduling for small businesses.

 

They’re dependable.

Do you have that one flakey friend in your life that always says they’ll come to dinner but cancels at the last minute? The business world is no different. Customers can say “call me” and never answer. Or worse, you forget to call them! 

Appointments help to make sure everyone has a set time and place to meet. Whether you’re on a conference call or out to lunch, setting a defined appointment increases the likelihood of avoiding no-shows. Using a scheduler directly on your website makes it difficult for a customer to say “I forgot” since they pick the time and get appointment reminders. 

 

Appointments are more organized.

Everyone has meetings with no structure. Those meetings are like herding cats. Nothing gets done, and there’s an email chain cracking jokes about how inefficient it was. For a small business owner, wasting an hour on a meeting where nothing gets done is money down the drain.

Instead, schedule meetings with a clear outline of what you plan to cover. Allow time at the beginning and end for pleasantries, but make sure the discussion is substantive and valuable. Writing down topics and agendas is a good start, but using an online appointment scheduler lets you create a detailed plan that can be shared with all invitees before the meeting starts. 

Streamlining how you spend your time is difficult any day, but having structured meeting time is a massive step in the right direction. 

 

Online scheduling saves time.

Imagine every phone call that leads to an appointment. It probably takes a few minutes to actually get to set up the time, then a few more discussing the meeting’s content, and then a few more if the customer likes to talk a lot. You could be spending 10 minutes or more on the phone to schedule one appointment. Multiply that by the number of meetings you schedule, and you could spend half your day on the phone just talking to customers or vendors about spending even more time with them. 

Online scheduling gives you all of that time back. Now you can direct customers to the online appointment scheduling system and move on to more essential items on your to-do list. Streamlining operations is the best way to become more efficient as a business. The key component is time management. 

 

You make more appointments and money.

Did we mention time is critical for an efficient business? Well, with more time, you can add more business. More appointments mean more chances to interact with customers and vendors, leading to more revenue. Queuing up times on an online calendar lets your customers fill your schedule for you. Booking free consultations is an incredibly effective way to get potential customers in the door. 

An often overlooked aspect of setting appointments is taking deposits or payments directly from customers. Capture customers’ card information to hold their spots. This tactic will significantly decrease the likelihood of no-shows making your schedule more reliable. 

 

Online scheduling is popular for a reason. 

More and more businesses are employing online scheduling on their website. Most services make it straightforward to link social media pages directly to the calendar. Larger companies with multiple locations find it easier to centralize a scheduling process to avoid confusion. Customers select whichever area they need to meet and at what time. 

As small businesses grow, the process doesn’t change. You can maintain that same sense of centralization, whether you’re organizing multiple locations or multiple users. Most appointment setting software allows owners to create multiple users with individual usernames to receive notifications when a customer books an appointment without notifying everyone else. They can also control their availability, which may be different from the rest of the team. 

 

Conclusion

Most small business owners haven’t given online scheduling a second thought. In fact, many small businesses don’t think of a website as more than a logo and a phone number online. Integrated features like email campaigns and online calendars fly under the radar either by ignorance or not wanting to go through the trouble of setting them up. 

Maybe you have a trusty day planner where you keep all of your notes. Perhaps you prefer the organized chaos of sticky notes swamping your office. Regardless of how you do things now, this is a digital world. It’s time to go online. Drop the pen and paper, and start organizing your schedule online. The operational benefits far outweigh any added “trouble” of integrating systems. 

Shamrck is a complete website and business management suite designed to simplify sales and marketing for small businesses. Online scheduling is one of the many organizational tools at your disposal to help your business operate more efficiently. There are several benefits to appointment scheduling on your website. Maybe it’s time you started reaping the benefits for yourself. 

 

Start your free demo today to see if Shamrck is right for your business. 

 

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Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

 

Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

 

 

Caching your website is a crucial process for keeping your website fast. It relieves stress on the host and helps report information back to the browser. Great, right? We can do better. Shamrck uses world-class cloud hosting to make sure you have a reliable, speedy hosting service, but today, we’re going to talk more about WordPress content delivery networks, or CDN. 

 

You only have a few seconds to make a first impression on a site visitor, so slow page speeds set you back immediately. Website caching and image compression are excellent ways to maintain fast load times, so why do we need a CDN? Physical hosting sites help “store” your host on a server. The server location affects load times regardless of your compression settings or caching. This effect is called latency. Naturally, when information has farther to go, it will take longer to get there. CDNs help reduce latency.

 

 

 

What is a CDN?

 

Content delivery networks, or CDNs, are a way to speed up your website. They are a network of servers built to store static content. By storing static page information in an easy-to-access location, your site can retrieve page information and deliver it to a browser blazingly fast. 

 

 

 

How Does a CDN Work?

 

CDNs operate as a large network of servers meaning information can be stored anywhere in the world and relayed back to your website. Visitors anywhere can view your website faster. Your information is stored on a “host” server. As we mentioned earlier, the further away your visitor is, the longer the load times. This latency is due to “hops.” Hops refer to how often information needs to jump from server to server before being delivered to the visitor. The more hops, the longer the load time. Choosing the location for your host server is important because it will play a major role in your page load times.

 

By serving as a storage resource, CDNs automatically pull information from your website as information like HTML or JavaScript code for future use. Your server can then rewrite links to those pieces of information to make sure it’s pulled from the CDN moving forward.

 

 

 

CDN Benefits

 

A CDN can help your website perform better in every way, including sales. Visitors are more likely to have a better user experience when a site loads quickly and easily navigates from page to page. When you’re trying to convert leads to sales with website content, an engaging website is vital.

 

CDNs also employ a caching system much like your server. Site information moves from your server to the CDN freeing up bandwidth. On that note, a CDN is exactly that, a content delivery network. Utilizing the network helps handle large spikes in traffic since it can spread information over several servers. 

 

Most importantly, CDNs are scalable. Your website will see user ebbs and flows, but ultimately, the goal is to grow your visits. When that happens, your server needs to be ready to handle the new traffic. Content delivery networks are a ready-made solution to make sure you don’t run into any kinks.

 

 

 

CDN Speeds

 

CDNs are becoming more and more popular for their versatility and speed enhancements. Just like with caching, a CDN reduces latency and load times. We know slow page speeds can kill your traffic and SEO. Every additional second of load time costs you potential sales and crucial visitors. Since the CDN stores much of the site’s information, page speeds go up exponentially. 

 

One issue websites run into is a slow TTFB, or time to first byte. Without going too far into the weeds, this refers to how long it takes for your website to retrieve data for the browser request. Depending on the server and the data, your TTFB could have a negative impact on site performance. CDNs dramatically increase TTFB just by moving bits of information away from your server and onto the network. Shamrck’s website health check helps test for your time to first byte. 

 

 

 

Shamrck and DigitalOcean Spaces CDN

 

Shamrck hosts on a cloud server and uses DigitalOcean Spaces CDN to speed up websites even more. DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure with data centers all over the world. Spaces is an S3-compatible object storage service that lets you store and serve large amounts of data. By working with the power of DigitalOcean’s CDN, Shamrck is free to provide excellent hosting and website performance. 

 

 

 

Why a CDN is Right for Your Website

 

Working in tandem with your host, a CDN speeds up your site and boosts performance. It’s that simple. We walked through how CDNs work and some specific benefits, but everything leads back to enhancing load times, user experience, and other vital aspects of running a website. Utilizing a network of servers to store information and free up bandwidth on your host server is invaluable, and the results speak for themselves. 

 

 

 

We’d love to help you get started on your website improvements. Reach out today and we’ll do a full website health check!

 

 

 

Enter Caching.

 

Caching is the quick and (sometimes) easy way to speed everything up. At a server-level, caching can be broken down into very technical terms, but for the average end-user, plugins like WP Rocket help take care of the work for you. Here are some ways to speed up your website with caching.

 

 

What is Cache?

 

 

A cache is a collection of items of the same type stored in a hidden or inaccessible place. In the software world, we refer to it all the time. Traditionally, when someone clicks into a web page, the site has to request information from the server, which sends the data back to the browser, and users see the end result. Caching speeds up your website by not requiring it to request page information every time someone visits. 

 

Since most webpages contain headers, bodies, and footers, continually having to piece together every bit of information after each click is, understandably, time-consuming. The process slows down page load times since the server is processing so many requests at once. 

 

 

Why is caching important for websites?

 

 

Caching saves much of the website’s information for a server, so it doesn’t have to handle requests for every part of a web page anymore. The cache stores files to a disk or RAM, making it easier to duplicate the information when requested. This process limits the amount of work going into loading and reloading webpages, making them load faster.

 

Since these repeat files are stored, caching reduces the stress on your server. A fast server equals faster page load times, which has a substantial impact on your SEO. But more on that in a minute. This process also speeds up the time to first byte (TTFB). Essentially, the TTFB is the time it takes for a browser to start to receive information from the server. A low TTFB is crucial to fast load times.

 

 

Server-level caching with a good host.

 

 

A good host will handle caching for you. There are generally four types of caching done at the server-level: Bytecode, Page, Object, and CDN. We can break these down one at a time to understand why each is essential and why utilizing a speedy server with a good host is vital.

 

  • Bytecode: Bytecode cache deals with PHP code. PHP codes must be compiled into what’s known as a readable “opcode.” Once the opcode is in place, the server no longer needs to sift through the PHP to return browser requests. 

 

 

  • Page: Page caching refers to storing the entirety of the HTML from a webpage, so WordPress does not need to generate the page over and over. Most pages are static and evergreen, meaning they don’t change much. The server does not need to build the page for every click continually. 

 

 

  • Object: Object caching refers to storing database query information. Querying a database can be arduous and time-consuming for a server. Caching bits of data produced by a search means speeding up the page load times since there’s no need to query an entire database every time.

 

 

  • CDN: CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. CDN caching stores website files like javascript, CSS, and media. CDN caching is a more complicated process because it involves storing information away from the server on a, you guessed it, separate network. CDNs can deliver the website information instead of the server, reducing the stress on the server and speeding up load times.

 

Server-level caching is crucial because a good host does all of this behind the scenes. Since page load times are vital to your website’s SEO, caching as much information as possible is paramount.

 

 

WordPress Caching with WP Rocket.

 

 

Sometimes we need to go further than our server-level caching. WordPress has mechanisms in place to replace or supplement caching strategies. You can use plugins to perform caching functions if you are self-hosting or using a shared host. There are dozens of plugins to choose from, but we recommend WP Rocket. 

 

WP Rocket is exceptionally robust but simple to use. Developers will love the ability to play around inside the plugin, but we love that it is excellent for beginners who might feel overwhelmed quickly. The WP Rocket dashboard and settings are easy to set up and understand. The plugin also seamlessly works with eCommerce sites to make sure page load times are blazingly fast.

 

WP Rocket is a premium plugin offering different pricing plans, but given the usability and depth of the software, we recommend at least trying out the free trial.

 

 

How caching affects SEO

 

 

One of the largest hurdles websites face when trying to rank on Google is page load times. The Google search algorithms weigh load times heavily when ranking sites. This factor makes caching a must-have. Without caching, your server load speeds will deteriorate as your pages become more dynamic, and the servers have to request and report every line of code/image/etc. for every click. 

 

The stress will be too much for your server, and page load times will be slow. Not only will that affect your SEO, but you’ll lose traffic almost immediately. No one wants to wait more than five to seven seconds on a website to load. For every second it takes until TTFB, your site slips slightly further in the rankings and becomes more invisible in searches.

 

 

Caching is crucial

 

 

Websites today are dynamic, loaded with images, and interactive modal windows. Ecommerce sites have tons of media, links, and walls of text. The sheer amount of data on each page is enough to strain any server. This is why caching is so vital. Without caching, servers can be spread too thin, and page load speeds can drop dramatically. The consequences can be disastrous. 

 

Imagine your website is a store on the main street, but you start to open later in the day than other stores. So, the city moves your store to 3rd street. Search engines are no different. Search algorithms look for the “stores” that open early. Websites with fast speeds will outrank the slower ones, so make sure your site is as quick as possible. Don’t lose your place in the market because you didn’t apply some simple methods to make your website faster.

 

Shamrck knows website caching is crucial to a site’s success. We’d love to talk to you about your website’s performance and how some simple caching techniques can help immediately.

 

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How to Move From Squarespace to WordPress

How to Move From Squarespace to WordPress

How to Move From Squarespace to WordPress

Squarespace provides an easy-to-use website builder. There are some templates and drag and drop functions, but Squarespace isn’t anything special at the end of the day. Sooner or later, many users see the limitations and conclude that they’re better off moving away. If you’re looking to move from Squarespace, there are some essential things to consider. The move tends to be over to the more flexible WordPress.

 

Why is WordPress Better Than Squarespace?

WordPress is much more dynamic. Squarespace puts you in a box, and all sites are basically the same. With WordPress, the possibilities are endless. Using the right developer, you can create the perfect website designed to your specific standards instead of someone else’s. The intricate capabilities of WordPress are invaluable to a company trying to define an online presence. Squarespace limits your options to the point you can become frustrated over what should be simple features. 

The move from Squarespace to WordPress opens up a vast array of opportunities to improve your brand and increase your traffic. The only question is, why haven’t you already moved over?

 

Export Content

Of course, you already have content on Squarespace, and starting from scratch is not an option. The good news is that you can export much of your information automatically. You can easily export your blog posts and pages. Unfortunately, you can’t export everything so easily. 

Squarespace won’t let you export:

-Album pages, indexes, product, or events
-Blocks like audio or product
-Custom CSS
-Style changes
-Squarespace template

Even so, the bulk of your content can be uploaded onto your new site reasonably smoothly. Luckily, the aspects of the information you can’t bring from Squarespace is replicable in WordPress, and again, working with a design and development team will help a lot. 

To Export

  1. Log in to Squarespace and go to the “Settings” option on the left-hand side of the screen for whichever site you want to export (if you have multiple sites).
  2. Scroll down to “Advanced,” and from there, select “Export.” You’ll be asked for the export site, so be sure to choose WordPress if there are multiple options.
  3. Wait for a pop-up letting you download the information. *If you have multiple blog pages, you’ll need to choose which one to export before proceeding. 

 

Point Domain to New WordPress Install

If you purchased a domain, you’ll probably want to carry it over to your new WordPress site. The task isn’t difficult. You’ll need to change your domain’s nameservers to point to WordPress instead of Squarespace. 

The only word of caution may be to make sure you’re ready to make the switch ultimately. You can work with your WordPress host to set up a WordPress staging site. This way, you can handle any Squarespace traffic while waiting on the work to be finished for your full website. 

Remember to go to your domain registrar to change the settings too. Once you have your site built and domain pointed to WordPress, you’ll ultimately be ready to move from Squarespace.

 

Import Content to WordPress

Now that you have your .xml file, it’s time to import. 

  1. Head over to your WordPress dashboard and find the Tools menu. 
  2. When you click on Tools, you’ll see the import option below.
  3. Click import next and find WordPress at the bottom of the list, and then click Install Now.
  4. The link will change from Install Now to Run Importer.
  5. From here, choose the .xml file to import, and click the upload file and import. This step will get the upload process started. 
  6. The next page you come to will offer to create a new user for this upload, but your best bet is to select a current user from the dropdown list.
  7.  Check the import attachments box and submit!

 

The last step is to make sure your content is uploaded correctly. Check your pages and posts to ensure everything is where it’s supposed to be, and it looks good. If not, you may need to make changes page by page, or you can start the process over to try again.

 

Import Images to WordPress

We discussed at the beginning that not everything shares over flawlessly. You’ll notice some or all of your images when you move from Squarespace did not load. You have a couple of options to add them back in. First, you can go one page at a time and upload each image one by one. That method can be a little tedious, though. Luckily, there are plugins available to help with the task. 

Plugins like Auto Upload Images will find URLs in your post and automatically upload the image files to your WordPress media database. Rather than going page by page, the plugin will let you mass select posts and pages and then do a bulk action to update all of your pages. 

  1. Go to your “Posts” page in WordPress
  2. Select all of the posts you need to update
  3. Use the bulk action dropdown and click Edit and then apply
  4. A new window will appear, but you won’t need to make changes. Just click Update.
  5. All the images from your Squarespace pages should now be showing up on your WordPress pages.

 

Configure Permalinks

Permalinks are how traffic finds your website. When you posted something on Squarespace, you received a permalink resembling something like https://example.com/blog-post-title. WordPress can mimic that or other types of dynamic permalinks through a quick setting change.

  1. Go to the Settings in your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Click Permalinks to open the menu
  3. Select the Date and Name option since it’s the most commonly used.
  4. Use the custom structure to recreate something close to the Squarespace link. Since theirs is usually a date-page-post, you can create a custom structure using a dynamic link. For example .com/%year%/%month%/%day%/blog/%post%
  5. Hit save changes to lock everything in place.

 

Recreate the Template in Divi

You can’t take your Squarespace template with you, and most people don’t particularly want to. However, if you’re in love with the look, you’ll be able to recreate it with Divi. Divi’s page builder option gives you a vast amount of possibilities to effortlessly insert rows, sections, columns, text, blocks, etc. Creating the look and feel flows smoothly, and Divi offers excellent customer experience to help. 

The Divi builder makes it easy to take your current content and build it into the same type of template you had or if you prefer, a brand new look. You have options like custom CSS, responsive editing, and simple drag and drop tools, among others. If you’re not ready to build from scratch, Divi also has an immense library of pre-created options. 

 

Leaving Squarespace

The move from Squarespace is inevitable for a lot of people. The system can be clunky, limiting, and expensive for what you actually get. WordPress provides a much better opportunity to make something with more flexibility that better represents your brand and lets you grow. The change can be difficult, though. Despite the step-by-step instructions above, your site and user experience can get lost in the shuffle. 

Professional firms like WPClover are here specifically to help you make your WordPress site precisely the way you want it instead of how someone else wants it. We’d love to talk more with you about how working with us can save you time and money, not to mention all of the perks that go along with a WordPress website. Reach out, and let’s get started!

 

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How to Leverage Facebook Ads

How to Leverage Facebook Ads

How to Leverage Facebook Ads

How to Leverage Facebook Ads

 

Interview with Digital Insomnia’s Stephanie Smith

 

This week we’re very excited to sit down with Stephanie Smith of Digital Insomnia. Stephanie is the founder and Chief Insomniac at Digital Insomnia, an Atlanta-based consulting firm offering social and digital advertising help to small and medium-sized businesses. 

 

How did Digital Insomnia get its start?

I started my career at a startup called BLiNQ Media, which was one of Facebook’s first API partners. I’ve been doing Facebook ads since before there was a platform to manage them; I would have to build ads piece by piece manually. I was at that company for almost four years; it’s been my favorite experience, but I digress. After I left there, I became the “millennial job hopper,” averaging ten months at a company. I was looking for that same contentment I had at BLiNQ but couldn’t find it. Eventually, I realized I had to create it for myself. I was already doing some side hustle work helping friends and old colleagues. I noticed a gap in the market where there were businesses that had budgets to run campaigns but not enough to hire an agency that I would typically work for. I created Digital Insomnia to service those businesses by bringing my agency and Fortune 500 experience to their pockets. As of late, I noticed another gap of entrepreneurs working on even tighter budgets but still needing the knowledge to move their businesses in the right direction, so I started teaching what I know. I host workshops ranging from 15 to 250 people, I’ve taught classes, and I just launched my online course teaching everything you need to launch and manage an ads campaign on Facebook and Instagram.

So you found a calling and decided it was time to turn that calling into a company helping businesses with advertising needs but not the right resources. It sounds like a perfect match! Thank you so much for hanging out with us to talk a little more about social and digital advertising. We were hoping to focus specifically on how to leverage Facebook ads.

What are the benefits of using Facebook for an ad campaign? Why not other social media platforms?

Well, to be honest with you, Facebook isn’t the end all be all. It’s really about the nature of your business and where your audience is. It’s essential to understand the behaviors of your audience, so you know where to find them and speak to them. For example, if your customers are younger, they probably aren’t on Facebook. However, the buying power is substantial on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Facebook is a go-to in the strategies that I put together because they have the most active users, and their tools/features are the most robust. I can find the right audience and do some cool stuff to impress them at the same time that some other platforms are lacking.

 

In that case, a business looking to leverage Facebook ads will love the robust tools and an active audience, but how can we make sure the right people see our advertisements?

Well, first, you need to know who the right people are. Identifying your audience as an entrepreneur or business owner is crucial to the success of a campaign. When I teach people how to strategize and manage their own ads campaigns, we start with creating ideal customer personas, at least three. At that point, you can create audience categories based on the details within those personas. You then allow those categories to guide you when building your audiences on the platform.

 

Three personas. That’s a great way to view creating a target demographic and paints a clear image of what a business needs. Identifying the right audience is one of the biggest challenges next to figuring out the right budget. On that note, is Facebook good for a business on a budget?

Absolutely. But you can’t nickel and dime the system. Trying to spend $5-10 per day won’t get you any results; just take that money and go to lunch instead. If you are working on a tight budget, then you need to plan. Save money until you can contribute at least $500-750 per month. With a tight budget, make sure to get a niche for your audience. Don’t try to spend $500 with an audience size of 20 million; it’s like getting nosebleeds seats and yelling at the QB.

 

In March of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit American businesses hard. How should global issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic affect our strategies?

Typically with natural disasters or even mass shootings, the recommendation is to shut off ads for a while to allow the news to blow over. However, this is different. Right now, people are on their screens more than ever, and brands should be taking advantage of this time. It’s not insensitive to be advertising right now. Especially as a small business, you will need this just to survive. No one wants to see a small business die during a time like this, so people are still supporting their favorite brands. Don’t suffer in silence; use ads to share your story and let your audience know that supporting right now is keeping a small business alive. 

 

As much as we hate to accept these kinds of things do happen, it’s good to have a plan in place. Sometimes, changing up a strategy or creating a brand new one is the right option. Thinking about the bigger picture is tough, but making sure your audience knows you’re a small business needing support is worth the money right now.

 

What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone starting their first campaign on Facebook?

There are a few things:

  1. Don’t click that Boost button. Facebook designed it to spend your money quickly and not give you any real results. It will tell you that $5 will get you whatever reach. Which leads to be #2.

2. Budget to spend no less than $30-50 per day. Facebook/Instagram are pay to play platforms, so trying to nickel and dime the system will get you nowhere.

3. Learn how to use the tools properly. This may be a shameless plug, but I mentioned earlier that I created my online course to teach entrepreneurs and small business owners how to manage their own Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns. Don’t waste money fumbling your way around Facebook’s platform; learn from an expert and get a 7-10x return. Interested? Socialbysteph.teachable.com

 

Nothing shameless about a little self-promotion! We know the value of creating an online course. On that note, what’s one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you started in digital media?

I really didn’t know what digital media was before I started. I randomly fell into an internship with BLiNQ. I went to Georgia Tech to be an engineer and ended up switching my major to Business Management and Marketing. Digital media was a way for me to mix my interest in marketing with my love for numbers. One thing I do appreciate with the way I started is that I learned what all the metrics and equations were before doing any real media management. I began by doing reporting in the most old-fashioned way possible and also how to tell a story from the numbers. So if I could pass advice to anyone looking to get into digital media, it’s learning the numbers first; it will help with intuition as you are managing campaigns.

 

That’s excellent advice for anyone using digital media! Well, we really appreciate your time, Stephanie. This conversation has been great for anyone learning how to leverage Facebook ads into their marketing campaigns but also for anyone using digital marketing in general. Head over to Digital Insomnia’s site to learn more about what Stephanie and her team do, so you can rethink your marketing strategy.

We’d love to chat about your website goals too! Advertising for a website doesn’t do any good if you’re missing the essentials like a fast, reliable server and relevant content. Schedule an appointment with the experts at WPClover for a website assessment and take steps toward a better site!

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7 Elements Every Business Website Should Have

7 Elements Every Business Website Should Have

7 Elements Every Business Website Should Have

Your business’ website is the face of the company. Many elements have to come together to make a successful website. How does your site perform? Sometimes, all we need is a little overhaul. Other times, we need to rebuild (or build!) from the foundation. The goal is to incorporate essential elements like mission statements, content, and reliable hosting into a website we can run confidently. 

Successful websites show up on the front page of Google searches and maintain a high number of page views. Does your website check all the boxes needed to be successful? Here are seven elements every business website should have.

 

Discuss your business core first.

Think of your 30-second elevator pitch. Do you go off on tangents about non-essential parts of your business? No. You stay on point and focus on your main value proposition. Does that mean you ignore your other products and auxiliary features? Of course not!

Your job is to build value immediately. The homepage of your site should be brand intensive with dense amounts of services you provide. Short descriptions are best for your services, but make sure they are teasers to get traffic to navigate to other pages. 

Yes, your secondary products are essential, and yes, they deserve attention. However, your website needs to start with the basics of what your business does.

 

Branded design

Few things are more critical to your company’s image than a detailed brand design. Your brand is how you want people to identify your business. Branding is how you become memorable and known in your field. Some people conflate branding with a fancy logo and a chic color scheme. 

Just Do It.
Eat Fresh.
Love the skin you’re in.
I’m lovin’ it.

Immediately, you can name those brands, what industry they’re in, and the products they’re best known for. However, Nike, Subway, Dove, and McDonald’s didn’t get there overnight. That level of recognition comes with a mix of design and positioning.

Your website will play an enormous role in both. Site design is a crucial step toward an online presence. It defines the look and feel your traffic gets as soon as they visit your site. This first impression is your chance to make your brand as memorable as possible. Don’t overlook it!

 

Who we are

Every successful business understands it needs to be relatable. Your website provides an excellent opportunity to tell your story and your mission. Where do you come from, and how did your business get its start? Talk about your experience in the industry and your phenomenal team. Help your customers understand your company on a personal level. 

Channel all of that biographic information into your company’s mission statement. We know who you and your team are and when the company started. But what do you do? This space is another opportunity to showcase your core business beliefs. Express why your company exists and what you bring to the table.

The “who we are” section of your website is a place to show off. Share your expertise and why people should trust you with their business. Now is not the time to be humble. The competition isn’t. 

 

Contact us

Offering a way for customers and leads to connect seems obvious. However, there are a few things to consider. Try to avoid listing emails or phone numbers for security reasons. Giving an email address is asking for spam, so do your best to stick to communication forms. 

Most companies can use a generic contact form, but sometimes we need to capture more data or direct communication to a specific person. Builders like Formidable Forms help create more intricate forms to fit your exact needs.

 

Content management

Writing content for your website is essential. From your mission statement to the descriptions of your services to any blog posts, you need to load your site with relevant content. For one, a large amount of relevant content will help your site show up on search engines. The more pages you create are more pages for search engines to index.

Knowing you need relevant content isn’t enough, though. You need to do your best to read your target audience. Are you looking for industry professionals who will already know the jargon? If not, you’ll want to avoid acronyms and other technical lingo. Visitors who aren’t familiar with the industry will be lost and leave your website. 

Sometimes businesses fall into the trap of writing unreadable content just to fill up pages. This error leads to confusion or perception of laziness. Content may be the most important element of your website, so take the time to write thought-out pages. 

 

Optimized speed and performance

We discussed the need for content regarding SEO, but just as critical, your website needs to be fast. Page load speeds carry a lot of weight with search engines. Everything about your website may be better than a rival, but if you have a slow server, their site might perform better in searches leaving you one step behind. 

Not only does a slow page speed hurt your search engine status, but you’ll also lose traffic. Pages have approximately seven seconds to grab and retain someone’s attention. If your website takes four seconds to load, your chances of keeping a visitor on your site diminish dramatically. 

Your focus should be on a fast, reliable host. Keeping your website up to industry standards for speed and performance can make or break your site’s success. 

 

Maintain what you have.

Building a website is only the beginning. Everything you create needs constant maintenance. From updating plugins to writing new content, your site needs to stay fresh. Regardless of how amazing an article is, it’ll be replaced by something more modern in searches. Some pages will be (somewhat) evergreen, such as your mission statement, but blog posts and articles need to be updated frequently. 

One easy way to maintain fresh content is to stay up to date with current events and tie articles into topical situations in your industry. Trends are always changing. Make sure your site can keep up.

 

Summary

Successful business websites incorporate several various elements. Each one has its different purpose, but without them, you can fall behind the competition. Make your company relatable, and create a memorable brand. Make sure people can get in touch when they need to! Write relevant content with frequent updates, and make sure your website loads fast enough to keep people around long enough to read it. 

Building and maintaining a business site you can run with confidence takes a lot of diligence, but you can make life a little bit easier with a blueprint. Does your website have all the right elements?

 

WPClover is here to help get your website where it needs to be. Schedule an appointment with our experts to analyze your website and discuss how to improve. 

 

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3 Reasons WordPress is Best for Businesses

3 Reasons WordPress is Best for Businesses

3 Reasons WordPress is Best for Businesses

Launched in 2003, WordPress is a content management system allowing users to build and edit websites. It now powers approximately 35% of all sites on the Internet. For perspective, there are about 1.3 Billion (yes, with a B) websites as of January 2020. Only 50% of those websites use any type of content management system, making WordPress the most dominant CMS for creating and managing sites. The system’s tools and resources are why WordPress is best for businesses. 

Building a website is a daunting task. Content management systems like WordPress let users create a website with little to no understanding of web development. The software runs on plugins powering every detail of the site down to the pop-up that asks for your email address. Since WordPress started as a place for bloggers to host content, it needed to be accessible and straightforward. Businesses caught on quickly because the system made the daunting task of creating a new website much more manageable. 

More importantly, building a website on a WordPress template meant less labor time and lower upfront costs. Over time, WordPress.org began offering free site templates to make getting online even easier for everyone. Today there are many website builders and content management systems to choose from, but here are three reasons WordPress is best for businesses.

 

Flexibility

WordPress comes with an abundance of built-in tools. There are thousands of templates that allow businesses to find a look that suits their brand. The simplicity enables a user to create a personalized look and feel within a few minutes of signing up. Many templates even offer guides or suggestions for where to put content or how to arrange the site.

From there, companies can choose plugins to power the functionality of the site. Plugins are nothing more than pieces of software that add new features or functions to the website. Some plugins are simple and offer basic services like contact forms so customers can reach you. Others are much more complex to fit analysis and marketing needs. 

For example, Formidable Forms is a WordPress form creation tool. Users can create data collection forms for nearly any purpose. The plugin is simple enough to use one-click, drag-and-drop features and build straightforward contact information forms. However, the software becomes more and more complicated, depending on the company’s needs. Not everyone needs forms with conditional logic or dynamic prefilled fields, but those features are present regardless. 

While the example above is an oversimplification, the plugin catalog contains tens of thousands of plugins offering businesses the flexibility to build the perfect website.

 

Support

Like with any software, there will be issues. Some things will glitch, or integrations won’t work as they should. Sometimes you feel like you did everything right, but your website isn’t working correctly. It happens! WordPress.org has an excellent support setup, but many companies turn to WordPress management firms to handle support. 

Managed WordPress hosting and development firms like WPClover handle every aspect of designing, building, and maintaining a website, which includes support. WordPress provides tools to help troubleshoot problems, but not everyone is tech-savvy enough to handle a complex issue. For a company with a complicated website, trying to troubleshoot on your own can make things worse. Website management firms help fix and improve sites based on user needs and requests. They can provide support without demanding too much of your time.

Luckily, the WordPress CMS has been around long enough for there to be plenty of other support options. Books, articles, and videos are all readily available to everyone, and support companies allow businesses to submit specific problems to fix. WordPress is one of the few software services with sufficient available support. 

 

Integration

Finally, WordPress has an unbeatable number of integrations with other software. Remember, WordPress powers 35 % of all websites worldwide. Any service software not trying to build a plugin to integrate their software is missing an incredibly vast audience.

Why does this matter to a business?

Just having a website isn’t enough for today’s businesses. Companies need ways to engage customers. Plugins that create pop-up forms to collect data are fantastic, but what comes next? WordPress integrations let a business connect an email service to a project management software to an internal communication platform. A potential customer can fill out a request for more information. Through seamless integrations, the prospect immediately receives an automated email, their contact information goes into your database, and a message goes out to your whole team, notifying you of a new prospect. Everything happens instantly.

WordPress integrations open a new world of functionality. During the rise of WordPress, connecting various aspects of your marketing, sales, and productivity was crushingly time-consuming. As more SaaS products became available, they began integrating more with the system. WordPress became a more powerful force for businesses to automate as much work as possible and become streamlined like never before.

 

Why WordPress is Best for Businesses

Despite the plethora of site-building options available, only WordPress combines the high-level simplicity of one-click creation tools with the depth of the ability to build custom plugins to fit specific needs. The system is more flexible than any other CMS in the world, but it wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the level of available support. From a photographer trying to show off a portfolio to the largest Fortune 500 companies, WordPress fits every necessity.

WordPress is best for businesses small and large because the system opens up customizability to every facet of a website. Companies can create interactive tools alongside in-depth sales funnels to engage customers and close sales, all without a single call or email. In short, WordPress works for businesses so that businesses don’t have to work to figure out how to build the perfect website.

 

WPClover has years of experience with WordPress development and management. We’d love to talk more with you about your needs. Schedule some time with our experts and take the first step toward the perfect website. 

 

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