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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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How to Retain Customers with Product Services

How to Retain Customers with Product Services

How to Retain Customers with Product Services

So many companies only focus on signing new customers. They offer special rates and sign-up discounts or spend thousands on marketing. However, the real profit comes from customer retention. Why pay more money to focus on new clients when you already have a customer base. Useful tools like product services and simply building brand loyalty go a long way to retain customers. 

Let’s look at it this way. Is it easier to ask a friend out to lunch or grab someone off the street? Obviously, you have a better chance of bringing your friend. Customers are no different. You have a much better chance of making a sale to someone you already know than qualifying a new lead.

Think of the work going into new clients. You have to market the product, generate leads, move through a sales funnel, and negotiate the sale. Each step costs time and money. Retaining current clients costs much less, and the more effort you put into retention, the more likely you are to gain referral business.

Fortunately, there are several ways to focus on customer retention without sacrificing your efforts to sign new customers. 

 

Build Loyalty

First and foremost, sell an excellent product. A good salesperson can sell almost anything, but customers jump to another company with a better offering if the product is sub-par. Selling a premier product builds trust with your brand. Loyalty is incredibly powerful for businesses. It’s what keeps customers with you even if there’s a cheaper option. 

Part of building loyalty is creating a relationship with your customers. Coupons and occasional discounts go a long way to remind your client base you care about their business. Newsletters and updates let them know what you’re up to and what they can expect in the future. 

Newsletters and coupons can only go so far. No matter how good your relationship is with your customers, they have to be happy with the product.

 

Product Services

Product services, or product service system, is a way to reshape a product and turn it into a service. Here’s an example: in the past, you could rent a movie and have to return it two days later. You paid a fee for those two days, and then you were done with the rental store. Along comes Netflix. Like with the rental store, Netflix retained ownership of the “product” but offered unlimited rentals for a monthly service fee. Sorry, Blockbuster. 

Let’s try another one. Spotify knows that selling a CD is a one-time purchase, and the seller loses ownership of the CD. Instead, Spotify provides access to the same CD any time a user wants to listen to it for one monthly fee of roughly the same price. However, users get access to that CD and millions of other songs. Which is better, 12 CDs per year or unlimited music all the time for the same price? Sorry, SamGoody.

The core idea of a product service is to retain ownership of the product while still providing the same outcome. You can mimic the same strategy. For example, you can create a database of online courses and sell a subscription allowing users to take as many as they want. Now, rather than buying the one-time class (product), customers can have unlimited access to all of your classes (service), and they’re more likely to stay with you. Turning an end product into an ongoing service can be a vital stepping stone to a successful company.

 

Customer Service

Customer service is how your clients stay happy. Provide excellent service, and your clientele will remain content and loyal. Think of all the times you’ve been frustrated with a product, so you call or email the business for help, and no one answers. Poor service is one of the top reasons customers leave. Hopefully, your customers aren’t calling in too often to complain, but if they do, have an effective system in place to handle issues.

Customer service is more than just reacting to issues, however. Businesses who can be proactive with their customers tend to build more loyalty and create more long-lasting relationships. Rather than waiting on a problem to come up, companies can reach out and offer new products and services at an intimate level.

Excellent service starts with taking the time to put a plan in place and find the right people to work with your customers. Strategies on proactive customer service include things like personal phone calls or weekly newsletters. Luckily, you can automate these strategies, so you get to set up shop and go back to progressing your business.

 

Relationship Equals Retention

From building loyalty to providing customer service to utilizing technical tools, retention requires hard work. Retention strategies come in many different shapes, and each business needs a different plan. You know your business better than anyone, so figure out how best to build your relationships. Do your customers expect a friendly, personal phone call? Does your enterprise rely on online communication to touch as many customers as possible? What strategy makes the most financial sense for you (keep labor costs in mind!)? 

There is no single right answer, but you can get some help. A significant part of utilizing a business and marketing suite is creating a strategy to generate contact lists and reach your current customers. Their professional expertise helps map out strategies that work in your industry, and as a team, they can build your solution for you. 

Building relationships with your customers is crucial to your company’s success, but it doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Understand the strategies and tools in front of you, so you can become more productive without sacrificing your need to generate new customers.

 

Hang on to your customers.

Product services and brand loyalty are incredibly effective ways to retain customers, but you need to take the care and effort to make them quality aspects of your business. Anyone can make a sale, but it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t get repeat customers. 

Your website can handle everything for you. Staying in touch with customers is vital, but email marketing services on your site can help by sending coupons or newsletters. Automated appointment features let your customers pick times to meet, so you never have scheduling conflicts. build a database of online courses establishing your expertise in the market and creating a new subscription-based product.

Shamrck lets you do it all in one place. It’s a complete website and business management suite to give you everything you need to retain customers, create new products, and work new leads. Maintaining a successful business goes well beyond making sales. You need to keep current customers, but you don’t have to do it alone. Use Shamrck to help make your company succeed. 

 

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How to Maximize Your First Time with Facebook Ads

How to Maximize Your First Time with Facebook Ads

How to Maximize Your First Time with Facebook Ads

 

Advertising as a small business is daunting. Where do you start? Do you have a budget? Who is your target market, and how are you targeting them? Massive corporations like Nike or Verizon can spend millions of dollars on TV and web ads, but you don’t need all of that to be successful. Marketing for your business is challenging, but you have options for any budget.

Marketing has changed over the past decades. Billboards were the end all be all of advertising once upon a time. While they still dot the interstates, advertising opened to new mediums like TV and radio. The problem was marketing on these mediums was still prohibitively expensive. Relying on word of mouth recommendations and storefront signs only go so far. 

Fast forward to the social media boom. Now small businesses have a diverse collection of options for advertising. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube…you name it, you can pay money to promote your product on it. Social media is more budget-friendly for small businesses. 

The new challenge is learning how to target your market surgically. Trying to attack the whole market is an excellent way to waste money. Identify who you want to reach, and strategize from there.

While there are several platforms to try, here are some ways to maximize your first time using Facebook ads. 

 

Strategize

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin.

Just like starting a business, you need a plan. Marketing is challenging, and trying to “make it up as you go” can be devastating. Start to form a strategy focusing your message on your target audience. What is your goal? Are you trying to drive customers to your website? Or maybe you want to build an email list. 

Build a timeline for your strategy. Decide when to launch or if you want multiple launches based on your campaign. Knowing the browsing habits of your demographic can make or break your plan as much as anything else. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available that can help define browsing activity.

 

Know Your Market

Who are you targeting? This should be the first question you answer when you start. The next question should be ‘why?’ We talked about not trying to attack the entire market. Market researchers exist specifically to give you data on various demographics. Whatever you need to know, chances are they have the data. You know your product better than anyone. You also know who is buying it. 

With Facebook, you can create highly targeted ads focused solely on your market. Be as broad or as surgical as you want. Pick through different keywords and age groups to narrow the crowd, and tailor your content accordingly.

 

Set a Budget

A few months ago, we sat down (virtually, of course) with Social by Steph’s Stephanie Smith to go into a little more detail about Facebook ads. She let us in on a few trade secrets like never hitting the “boost” button. It’s designed to convince you that spending $5 more will help reach more people, but really, $5 won’t do much either way. 

Why? 

Nickel and dining your way through a marketing campaign is a waste of money. Thinking that reaching tens of thousands of people by spending $15 on Facebook couldn’t be more incorrect. Don’t get us wrong, traffic is traffic, but you want the right people. You can expect to spend at least $30-$50 per day. You’ll have a much better chance of reaching the right audience. 

The moral of the story is if this is out of your budget right now, you need to save until you can contribute between $500-$700 per month. Otherwise, you are spending money and not accomplishing much. 

 

Set a Timeline

Setting a timeline can be tricky since you are trying to balance your budget with your marketing goals. Your marketing plan should consider campaign duration, but you need to set a distinct timeline to keep yourself from overreaching. When you start to see success with an ad campaign, the temptation to keep rolling forward is intense, but remember, you have a budget. Stick to it!

 

A/B Testing

No one is perfect. Your first ad campaign won’t be perfect either. However, you can do something called A/B Testing. A/B Testing is a process of showing two variants of an ad to different audiences and seeing which drives more clicks or conversions. In your case, different variants might be writing other text or using a different image. If you’re making a video, you could try different voiceover scripts or narration. 

The goal is to create two different ads with the exact same narrative. A/B Testing is invaluable as you begin a marketing campaign because you can try out different versions before committing your whole budget. The good news is that you don’t need an enormous sample size to figure out which ad tests better, so don’t worry about blowing your money on an ineffective ad. Start small with each version, see which performs better, and then put everything behind the more successful 

 

Learn

Learning from what works is essential. Learning from what doesn’t work is vital. Try using key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor your success (or lack thereof). KPIs are invaluable and used across every industry. When starting your campaign, have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. Do you want 30k more page visits? Create benchmarks at specific times for 5k, 10k, and so on to monitor your progress. If you’re not hitting your KPIs, learn from your opportunities, and improve. 

Your first time using a Facebook ad may be discouraging if you go in shooting for the moon. It’s ok to be ambitious, but set realistic expectations. Sit back and watch your campaign unfold, and most importantly, learn everything you can about where it’s useful and where it’s not.

 

Commit

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Many first, second, or even third attempts with a marketing campaign can fail miserably, but don’t be discouraged! Learn from what went wrong, and go into your next shot with a better plan. You need to commit, though. We talked about the pitfalls of trying to nickel and dime the system, so go all-in when you go in. 

It feels risky to sink a large amount of money into advertising, but remember, advertising exists on nearly all platforms because it produces results. Commit to your strategy and your timeline. Commit to your budget, and commit to making a successful campaign. That’s the only way to be successful. 

 

Marketing on Facebook

Facebook is one of the most budget-friendly advertising platforms available. We recommend it due to the pinpoint market segments you can target and the ease of use. Ad campaigns are challenging, so choosing a platform that’s easy to use will help immensely. 

Luckily, Facebook provides some guidance as you go about creating your ad(s), so you’re not lost in the weeds. But at the same time, you need to create an engaging ad or watch your money disappear. Do your research, make a plan, set a budget, monitor your KPIs, and commit to the process. Facebook can help to a point, but being successful is up to you.

 

You’re not alone, though. Small businesses need help all over the place, not just marketing. Shamrck is a complete website and business management suite with everything you need to be successful. Start your free trial to see why Shamrck is right for your business.

 

Benefits of Appointment Scheduling for Small Businesses

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9 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

9 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

9 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

Every year, thousands of small businesses open, and thousands of small businesses fail. Building a successful business is much more challenging than most people imagine. Without doing the right research, people have no idea how much work goes into every facet of a business. From marketing to overhead to employees, running a company can consume every bit of your time. 

The challenge is daunting but not impossible. For every business that fails, another thrives. The question is, how can you make sure yours is the latter?

We want to only look at the fun sides of operations. You make your schedule and all the decisions. Every new sale or new customer feels like a cause for champagne. Success means watching the company bank account grow. 

However, we need to have perspective. How are you protecting yourself legally? You need to know exactly how much money you’re making, as well as how much you’re making. Are you innovating? Your competitors are. What is your strategy for customer retention? Launching a company is more than having a good idea. It’s a living being that requires your attention or else it won’t last.

Here are nine reasons why small businesses fail.

1. The Market Is Too Small

Finding a niche is one thing. Being too narrow is destructive. Markets can dry up with any shift in the economy or unforeseen circumstances. Your company can’t be so focused that it shuts down if one segment of the market disappears. No one can see the future, but you can plan for it. 

By making sure you stay agile and versatile, you guarantee that you can weather any storms (as best you can). Businesses need to find identifiable segments of the market to target and be broad enough to appeal to all of them. If one segment shifts, you need to be ready to move to another. Just like we’ll talk about later, market targeting comes down to research.

2. Bad Management

Being a successful manager is challenging under any circumstances. Managing every aspect of your business, including hiring and managing employees, presents an incredibly difficult challenge. Many business owners are not familiar with managing purchasing, bookkeeping, employment, office space, and everything else. We always want to think a good manager is good at delegation, but that’s not always true. 

Delegating tasks to the wrong people can run your business into the ground faster than anything you can do on your own. The most critical problem facing business owners is identifying when their employees are making poor decisions. Unfortunately, sinking everything you have into your business means there’s not much of a learning curve. You either sink or swim. That added pressure means putting proper management at the forefront of your business plan. Will you manage everything yourself? Are there ways to outsource some of your tasks? Where are the opportunities to protect yourself?

Worse than poor delegation is merely a dereliction of duty. Getting spread too thin and overlooking vital operations can also destroy your business, possibly before you even start. Be sure you are up to the challenge, and when it does become time to hire employees to help, be a good leader. Inspire your employees to do their best work, and take advantage of excellent staff.

3. Opening For The Wrong Reasons

Write down the reasons you want to open a new business. Is it just to make your own hours or be your own boss? Do you just think it’s an excellent way to make money? Discover the “why” buried deep within your business plan. If you can’t identify a reason you’re passionate about, the chances your business will succeed sink. You need a passion for what you do, or you can become bored or disinterested, and the company will fail.

Ask yourself some simple questions.

-Why do you want to open a business?

-Where do your passions come from?

-Are you driven enough to put in the hours?

-Can you learn from your mistakes and improve?

-Are you determined to make this company successful?

When you feel confident that your answers point in the right direction, you’ll be ready to start a successful business.

4. Not Enough Money

Not only does starting a business require a lot of time and effort, but it also requires a lot of capital. Many companies can’t make ends meet only a short time after they open. Poor planning is typically to blame, so remember to budget for all of your needs.

Make fundraising a core component of your business plan. Remember, there are options for capital other than your wallet. Investment firms, banks, and Small Business Association (SBA) loans are all alternatives to investing everything you have. 

Start with consultations. Many small business owners don’t fully understand all of the costs involved in opening and maintaining a business. If you’re unsure about what to expect, try the SBA startup calculator. Not planning for all expenses can be devastating. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

5. No Business Plan

Speaking of setting yourself up for failure, make a plan! You need a business plan. Dedication and hard work only go so far. This opportunity is where you flesh out all the details of your launch. If you don’t know where to start, you can find samples and templates all over the internet. You’ll need some guidance, but ultimately, you need to do the research and fill out the details. 

Here are some key elements to include.

-A Mission Statement: What does your business do, and what are your goals?

-Market Analysis: Identify challenges and opportunities within your target market.

-Competitive Analysis: Who are your competitors? What can you offer that they don’t?

-Finances: How much startup capital do you need? List all financial information, including all costs and expected income. 

-Remember to include everything from infrastructure to taxes to marketing.

Budget: After you list your financial details, create a budget accounting for everything, and always try to be conservative with your expectations.

Business plans need to be extensive. You need to address every detail of your business launch and operations, or you may be setting yourself up for failure.

6. Marketing

Obviously, web-based businesses require a detailed, well-designed website, but every business needs an online presence in today’s market. Websites are a necessity, and a poorly designed site can make your business look unprofessional. Marketing starts with creating an attractive website that engages customers. 

Step two is getting customers to visit your website. This step is where social media is essential. You may be able to get by without a social media presence, but you’re already behind your competitors. The great thing about social media is the price tag. You can create accounts on almost any social media platform for free, and millions of people traffic Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter daily. Each one is an opportunity.

Another critical aspect of social media is the paid advertising side. Yes, accounts are free, but directing customers to your social media accounts can be challenging to do organically. Facebook and Twitter offer reasonable prices to help you reach thousands of people. 

Without some marketing modicum, your business can stay invisible and fail before you have a chance to be successful.

7. Too Much Ambition

Typically, ambition is a virtue in the business world, but you can quickly outgrow your budget and over-extend yourself. Slow and steady growth is the key to success. An extremely memorable example is the Borders Bookstore franchise. By wildly expanding in the ’90s and 2000s, Borders failed to plan for a future being shaped by online stores. By the time online retailers like Amazon took over the market’s lion share, Borders was stretched too thin to survive. They declared bankruptcy in 2011.

Their biggest fault was equating growth with success. The ability to expand doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to do so. Remember your business plan. Hopefully, you included five and ten-year outlooks to try to foresee potential challenges. This kind of planning helps you be more conservative before deciding to expand too much. You want your small business to grow into a large company. Just don’t get too impatient!

8. Customer Diversification

Having a cornerstone customer is excellent, but relying too much on one customer is risky. We discussed making sure you can reach different segments of the market. You need to diversify your customer base so that you can absorb any large-scale losses. Try to go after a smaller market along with targeting “whales.” The diversity will help you be more agile if you lose one of your more substantial income streams.

9. Stubbornness

Many small business owners are set in their ways. They’re experts in their field and want to build a business on what they know. It makes sense. Stick with what you know. 

But are you ready to change with the times?

Many businesses fail because they’re unable or unwilling to pivot to fit the changing market. Understanding the business world isn’t the same as 30 or 20 or even ten years ago is critical to your success. You need to be flexible. Adopt new software that can help with operations. Get past the notion that you can’t teach a dog new tricks. Learn from your competition, and study the market. Getting complacent because “your way is the best way” is a sure-fire way to put your business in danger. 

Summary

Opening a successful small business is much more challenging than most people expect. The level of dedication, commitment, and planning that goes into just the launch is daunting. Before you decide to go down the incredibly difficult road of small business ownership, remember why you want to do it. There are many reasons why companies can fail. Staying vigilant and keeping focused is the best way to increase your odds of success. 

Plan thoroughly, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s a world of resources available to you. Use them. 

Using a sales and marketing platform like Shamrck is invaluable for consolidating your tools and making you more efficient. Small business owners need to save time everywhere possible. Start your free trial with Shamrck to learn how we can help your business succeed. 

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...

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Why You Need a Development Team

Why You Need a Development Team

Why You Need a Development Team

Going it alone is hard. Business owners are well aware of this maxim because it applies to every aspect of running a company. Building and maintaining a website is no different. Website builders help users get started, but the perfect site requires more than a basic template and a few words. Resources like articles and videos help, but the most useful resource of all is a development team.

Most business owners aren’t also web developers. You don’t have time to learn how to code and create a custom website that fits your brand. Maybe you’ll find a template that’s close enough to what you want, but what happens when you’re ready to grow into something new? What happens when your simple site needs to be much, much more?

This step is where going it alone becomes more challenging. Choosing the right content management system (CMS) is critical. Content management systems come with all kinds of tools and resources. 

Development teams know exactly how to leverage those tools and resources.

 

What is a development team?

Businesses starting from scratch need to determine what approach they’re going to take to build their site. Will they use a website builder and simple templates? Some do, but general templates recycled styles don’t help a business stand out in the crowd. In today’s market, every business needs an online presence. Building a site with a fundamental website builder like Wix or Squarespace is like putting an ad in the White Pages (no one really sees it). Using a development team is like putting up a billboard on Main St.

Development teams come in all shapes and sizes, but the leading roles are web developers and web designers. People like to conflate development and design even though they’re two very different aspects of a website. Development is the construction of a site, the custom coding and creation. On the other hand, design refers to the aesthetics of the website, the schemes, and the look.

We can break these teammate roles down into a little further detail.

 

Back-End Developers

The back end of your website is where all the magic happens. Every click navigating to another page, every video on auto-play, and every pop-up happen because a back-end developer built it. Businesses need them to create custom elements that will make their website functional. These elements include site security and other applications, so finding the right back-end developer is essential. Developers also help build the kinds of flexibility that allow site owners to receive and manage user information. 

 

Front-End Developers

Front-end developers focus on user experience. The back-end developer will create the system for running searches or navigation, but your front-end developer makes it look awesome. The spinning wheels, zoom in/out buttons, and feature locations (among other things)? All of that stuff comes from on the front-end. 

Finding an excellent front-end developer is every bit as important as your back-end. The user-experience helps define your website. Visitors will judge not just your site but your entire business based on how your site behaves. An essential part of behavior is across multiple platforms. Your website needs to function the same whether someone visits on a computer, tablet, or phone. 

 

Web Designers

Web designers work in tandem with the developers, but they work on different aspects that flow together. The designer creates the look and feel of your website. Starting with the overview “template” of ideas, a designer will work closely with you to organize color schemes, create custom graphics, and help with the overall concept. Your brand is on display, and your brand is your business.

Keep in mind that designers are not developers. While they may have some experience with coding, their function is to design, not build. Working with a designer is almost an essential part of building your website, but you can’t count on them to make your site function.

 

Use a development team to make a change.

Website builders like Wix and Squarespace are extremely limited. Users start because the platforms offer attractive templates and a user-friendly dashboard. After a while, people realize their website can’t grow with their business and look elsewhere. 

If you already know there’s no future with a site builder, why bother at all?

Luckily, there are ways to migrate away from these other platforms (see our guides on Wix and Squarespace). Moving can be a challenge if you’re looking to do more than just change the look of your site. Using a development team to help you make the move removes confusion and limits mistakes. Plus, you get the bonus of expanding your current functionality by using developers to create new tools. 

 

Why you need a development team

The DIY route is challenging. As we mentioned before, you need a website. With internet traffic trends the way they are, your site needs to shine above everyone else. It has to be functional and chic. You need a website that represents your brand without sacrificing the user experience. More than anything, you need to be able to make changes. No business is the same. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so saving the ability to build custom features is essential.

Development teams do all of that for you. You get to choose the direction you want to go, work with the team, and watch as they turn your ideas into a beautiful website. The best part? You get to focus on the most critical aspects of your company, your customers. Some people believe they don’t have the budget for a development team. There are teams for all budgets, but all you need to remember is how much time and energy you’ll spend to build the perfect website. How many hours of work will you lose while you fumble through building a site? Compare your budget against how much money you’ll drop by not running your business and see how much it really costs to hire a development team.

 

We’d love to chat with you a little more about why a development team is a perfect business solution. Reach out, and let’s get started!

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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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