How does your website UX affect SEO?

Most people see SEO only as keyword research and placement, meta tags or code changes, but SEO is more than that. It is about creating a good user flow and what could be more important for user flow than the efforts you have put into creating a good user experience for a website? SEO is not just about high rankings. Of course, your title tags and meta descriptions need to be optimized, but here are a few more things that people sometimes overlook when working on SEO.

 

 

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Website Layout

Website layout is of utmost importance when it comes to the simplicity and ease of website navigation. According to ExtendThemes, it has the role of structuring the information on a website, emphasising the most important elements of it. If your website is not easy to navigate and the most important information is not easy to find and follow, this will negatively affect the website’s user experience, which might lead to your visitors leaving the website immediately. When building a website for masterbatch suppliers, Abbey Masterbatch, we focused on the simplicity of website navigation and created a user-friendly website to boost user experience.

 

Calls to action

Creating eye-catching call to action buttons with interesting and engaging text will lead to more page visits and longer visit duration, proving that your website does have value to the visitors. As a result, search engines will see the relevance of your website and will start to rank it better for the targeted keywords.

 

Website speed

If your website loads slowly, the visitors will soon lose interest and will leave the website – that’s probably what everybody knows from their personal experience. But a slow-loading website will not only cost you potential visitors, but it will also cost you your rankings too – every SEO tool has a website speed test and the reason is simple – search engines never rank slow-loading websites highly.

 

Website responsiveness

A mobile-friendly website is a must nowadays and the reason is not just a good user experience. It is also important for your website’s rankings and this is one more example of how website user experience and SEO work hand-in-hand with one another.

 

Wrap up

Regardless of what is more important to website owners, user experience or SEO rankings, these two are inseparable in certain aspects. The above tips will hopefully help you make them work well together and create great websites both in terms of user experience and SEO rankings.

 

Top reasons why you need life insurance

The problem with this topic is that people in their thirties who may or may not have started families feel that this is a depressing thought to consider at their age. Why would they think about their own passing in such a happy phase of their life? It almost feels like making that move and buying life insurance calls for this unfortunate event we all fear.

But it does not have to be that way. I personally see it as a move people make to protect their families; a final good deed done for their loved ones.

Anyway, depressing thoughts aside and looking from a practical aspect, why do you need life insurance?

 

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Protect Your Family

 

Protecting one’s family is not a choice, it is more of an instinct. The main purpose of buying life insurance is providing financial support to your family and thus protecting them. It helps you make sure your family is financially stable, that your spouse’s lifestyle does not need to be compromised, or that your children’s education expenses will be taken care of.

 

Leave inheritance

In case your family does not need any immediate financial help I mentioned above, life insurance helps you ensure a solid future for your children in the long run.

 

It’s easier when you are younger

Like I said, younger people tend to avoid this move because they think it is too early to think about what happens when they are gone, but the fact is – insurance is much cheaper for younger people, especially if they are single.

 

For your peace of mind

 

Last but not least, it should bring you peace of mind. As reluctant as you might be to start this whole thing, once you are done with it, it will help you, I promise! Knowing that your family’s financial needs will be taken care of and that you’ve done everything you could to protect them should help you lead a worry-free life and be happy.

 

Conclusion

 

I’m not sure about you and what you consider the strongest reason for buying a life insurance policy, but for me, it is definitely the last one, which summarises the previous benefits of having life insurance. Renew Life’s slogan “Renew Life Give Your Family Peace of Mind” perfectly reflects the whole point of having life insurance and I agree with what they say 🙂 .

 

 

Fun corporate event entertainment ideas

Remember the time when corporate events were all serious with very little fun and entertainment? It’s as if ‘corporate’ used to mean “stiff”. But let’s admit it, the times have changed, and entertainment has become an important part of corporate events. This is what engages the audience and breathes life into these events. After all, it is the people who will attend these events and people like fun, no matter what title or position they hold.

 

The focus of corporate events is now on creativity and entertainment and there are so many options and interesting ideas that can help you win the hearts of your attendees.

 

There are several types of corporate events, such as seminars, conferences, team-building events but today I’ll be talking about interesting ideas that might help you spice up your company milestone or anniversary celebrations and make them a true success in every aspect. But before that, I will share a very useful post by Event MB with so many inspiring ideas to help you impress your attendees at your corporate event.

 

Interactive Food and Beverage Stations

This is a great trend that your guests will love. The stations are created to match the style of your wedding theme and there will be a chef or bartender responsible for explaining the origins of the food and beverage served. What your guests will particularly like about this is that they will be able to customize their food, desserts and drinks!

 

Photo Booth

Photo booth is a proven success. Wondering how I know this? Well, I’ve attended several parties with a photo booth and there was always a long queue in front of it. That’s how I know that everybody loves photo booths.

 

Magicians

Having a magician at your corporate event will add a circus element to your it and will awe your attendees. Their interesting and inspiring tricks will also leave the audience wondering “how the hell are they doing it?” which will make this event unforgettable.

 

Light Up Letters

Light up letters are such a great and pleasant distraction that you can use to personalize the event and make it outstanding! Adding different coloured bulbs to suit the colour theme of your event will add a stunning effect to your corporate event.

 

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Great Music

When there are great music and a powerful beat, your guests will simply have to move, dance or even jump. So be it a live band, DJ or maybe even karaoke where you will give your attendees an opportunity to be rockstars – I promise you, they will never forget this experience.

 

Magic Selfie Mirror

I’ve recently attended a corporate event run by AG Events, a corporate entertaining company, and my favourite part was the magic selfie mirror. It was so refreshing, fun and it sort of helped me reconnect with my inner child, which is probably why I truly enjoyed playing with it. The photos I’ve taken capture this amazing spirit and the atmosphere filled with laughter and true happiness.

 

Fire Performers

This looks somewhat dangerous, doesn’t it? Yes, and this is a sentiment you want to add to your corporate event, trust me! I’ve had a chance to attend an event with fire performers and their performance was so impressing that I had to try it myself (not at the event, of course 🙂 )

 

Wrap up

There are many ways you can spice up your corporate events and give your attendees a chance to enjoy themselves, have fun, laugh and even be silly if they please. These emotions colour your event and make an everlasting memory for your guests!

Things I’ve Learned in a Leadership Development Project

About a year ago our business started growing and as much as everybody was excited about this growth, there were so many changes and challenges we needed to overcome as a team. At one point it became clear that our leadership team needed profiling and coaching in this exciting period of transformation, otherwise, as absurd as this may sound, the company would literally not be able to ‘survive’ this growth.

 

We have contacted Mosaic Partners, a coaching & mentoring company and started a cooperation with them. The first step was understanding the profile of our leadership team. We have analysed the company culture together, identified the gaps within the executive team and after just a few sessions, Mosaic Partners provided a list of recommendations. We started implementing these recommendations and Kate was there for us every step of the way, with her insights, advice and the passion she had for everything she was doing.

 

Surprising things I have learned

 

I will skip the part about what it takes to be a good leader and won’t dwell on the qualities like integrity, flexibility, honesty, communication and so on. If you want to read about this, I’d recommend a TaskQue post, it perfectly summarises and explains the most important qualities of a great leader. I’d like to focus on the 2 most surprising (and core) things I’ve learned that helped me develop as a leader.

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Leaders are not born, they are made

 

I have read so many posts and books about personal qualities of a leader and after reading these I got an impression that leaders are born, not made – you can not learn to be confident or have integrity (some of the qualities of a great leader) – you are either born with these or not. Admittedly, deep down I felt that people had the potential to develop in these areas, and that gave me some hope. On the other hand, I’ve heard so many times about someone being “born to be a leader” and that made me feel discouraged because I needed this leadership course, so I obviously was not born a leader. But Kate convinced me otherwise, everybody can be made a leader if they are willing to start making decisions and take responsibility for them. So, the first decision you need to make if you want to become a (great) leader is the decision to grow, both personally and professionally. This brings me to the second most important thing I’ve learned.

 

Being a leader means you have made a promise to grow and evolve

 

People who have made this promise have everything it takes to be a great leader. How? Well, people who want to grow and evolve, people with a growth mind, are honest enough to admit they are wrong when they are. They are confident enough to admit that they are not perfect and that they can still learn, even from interns, which actually enables them to grow and evolve. People with a growth mind inspire others and empower them because they’ve decided to listen. And they have decided to listen because that is the only way to hear, learn and thus grow. These are just some examples and when I think about every quality of a great leader and analyse it, I can very easily find its root in one single thing – commitment to constantly develop and evolve.

 

So, put it simply, to become a good leader, you need to do 2 things: you need to believe that you can do that (that good leaders can be made) and you need to decide that you will use every opportunity to grow and develop. These are the most useful (and surprising!) things Mosaic Partners have taught me.

6 Useful Branding Tips

Creating and growing a brand can be quite a challenge. One of my first branding projects was Connect Insolvency Ltd, a firm of liquidators & insolvency practitioners based in Newcastle upon Tyne and I created a simple, clean and professional brand for them using vibrant colours. Years later, I still help companies with branding and I successfully do that by following the rules below.

 

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Competitor Research

 

Competitor research is an important step in the whole process and it does not help you only with creating a successful brand, but with starting a successful business too. By doing this, you can get some interesting ideas, understand the market and find this unique touch that will set you (or your client) apart from the competition.

 

Understanding your target audience

 

Target audience is the audience that your brand should best speak to, so, understanding what they like, what they do not like, their age, goals, interests is very important – or let’s put it simply, you need to identify buyer personas in order to create a brand that speaks to them best.

 

Simplicity – Less is More

 

Yes, keep it simple, stupid. Creating a clean and simple style and following it through when creating all corporate materials is very important and you need to remember that simplicity is key to success. Do not get carried away and overcomplicate the logo – as much as this might seem interesting, it will confuse your target audience, trust me. If you are tempted or think about adding more elements to a logo, think about Nike, McDonald’s or any other successful brand that uses a simple logo.

 

Consistency

 

So, creating a simple logo and following the style consistently will help your brand send a unique message and be recognized. Starting from the style, fonts and colour palette you will set standards that should be followed in order to ensure brand consistency. Creating brand guidelines is something you should do in this part of the process as this will help you immensely with managing your brand too.

 

Communicate with your target audience

 

One of the main goals you need to set for your brand is to speak with your target audience. Understanding your target audience is the first step towards this goal and after you have found out their age, interests, likes and dislikes, you will be able to use this knowledge and implement it when choosing the font, colour palette, mission, vision, values and slogan.

 

Brand Management

 

Managing your brand is an ongoing process that you should be actively involved in. Once you have created your brand, you should not stop there. So, how will you be heard, how will you share your story with your target audience and differentiate your products or services from your competitors? Managing your brand might lead you to rebranding even and do not be reluctant to do that is it turns out to be necessary.

 

 

 

Hope the tips above help you with your branding project. If you have any questions or need help with branding, contact me, I’d love to chat with you!

Air conditioning without external unit

Today I am going to write about air conditioning without an external unit, which I did not know was possible until I faced a problem with restrictions on my property. About a year ago, my wife and I bought our first flat and were so excited to start renovating it. My wife was particularly excited about buying new furniture and decorating the kitchen – her job was to plan everything, and my job was to make it happen 🙂 .

 

Both of us were facing different challenges – she liked different pieces of furniture that did not match well or fit in, and my challenges were mainly about structural changes – which walls can and can not be taken down, do I need a permit and what kind of permit do I need? A seemingly small challenge almost ruined my whole experience and joy of buying and renovating the flat – due to the restrictions on the building, we could not install an air conditioner with an outside condenser, which we thought was the only option available. At that point I felt like selling the flat and running away from everything – I could not imagine myself living in this new (almost) perfect flat, where everything looks just as we had always dreamed of, but feels extremely uncomfortable, especially in summer. I know this might sound like I am making a mountain out of a molehill, but this is exactly why I am writing about this. I was prepared for big challenges, I was even prepared for not being able to solve them and finding an alternative solution, but I was not prepared for this seemingly small challenge that could affect the quality of my life and time spent in my new flat so much.

 

Luckily, I came across the company called ACS Installations, offering air conditioning without external unit among other things. I called them and explained the challenge we were facing and their approach, the questions they asked me, their responsiveness immediately convinced me that I had nothing to worry about. Water cooled internal condenser installed by ACS Installations helped me regain the joy and excitement I initially felt and lost at the thought of not being able to have an air conditioner in our new flat.

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I know this might sound silly, but I am sure we all have our moments – we freak out over nothing, which at the time seems to be everything to us 🙂 .

Why is Customer Service important to your business?

I’ve recently had a chat with a business partner and friend and was surprised to hear his statement that it is more important to invest in marketing and product development than in customer service. I am not saying that marketing or product development is not important, I am just saying that customer service is as important as these two.

I agree that a business can not grow without a good product and that the product or services should constantly be improved and invested in. I also agree that marketing is crucial for establishing a brand and reaching new customers. But business growth is impossible without customer retention – who will be using your products and services that you are trying to build so hard?

Here is why I think good customer service is crucial to your business.

 

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Adds Value

It adds value to your business and helps you build relationships with your customers. And it is not just about call answering, or problem-solving and similar – it is about exceeding expectations. I am sure that you, like every business, have many competitors, so building strong customer service can be a good strategy that can help you differentiate yourself from them and provide additional value to your business.

 

Helps Build Your Brand

I have come across a number of posts showing examples of well-known brands failing to provide good customer service. And instantly I started thinking less of these brands. It was unimaginable for me to think that a worldwide known brand can fail in this area. But they have. And it stained their brand and reputation, not only in my eyes. If bad customer service can compromise a company’s reputation, I am pretty sure that good one can help build it.

 

Grows Business

One of the customer acquisition tactics is word of mouth marketing. I know many businesses whose 20% – 40% of new business comes through the existing client recommendation. Providing good customer service and encouraging your customers to share their experience, rate your service and review your business help you win new customers and it is the most honest way of advertising!

 

 

So, think about what good customer service can bring you and start improving this area of your business. If you think you are not ready to hire a customer service representative, there are many other (no strings attached) options that you can use. For example, a company providing secretarial, administration and virtual assistant services, Executype PA Limited, also offers high-quality customer services at an affordable price!

Balancing work and family life – Is it possible to do?

Every post, article or advice one might come across about achieving a happy life will contain the word “balance”, I am sure about that. And it is true – balance IS everything. If we are talking about food, you will hear about nutritional balance and how important it is for your health or if the topic is related to other health or wellbeing issues, the message is the same – find a balance and keep it!

Things are pretty much the same with work and family life. Leading a happy and content life, both professional and private is possible only if you find a balance between your career, family, friends and the most important (and quite often underestimated) part of it – yourself. Quality time on your own, with yourself, is also crucial for finding a perfect balance in your life.

There are many books or articles offering advice on how to achieve a happier life through balancing work and family. Most of these recommend planning your schedule, your time with your children and partner, planning the time for your errands and of course taking care of yourself.

 

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But is balancing your work and family and being happy with both equally really possible? I am wondering – can a person really achieve this and be happy, knowing that they have given to both of these areas of their life as much time as they really wanted to, and thought was right? Is there such a person?

If there is such a person, their job must involve their family and children and they could be doing something the whole family likes and enjoys. I have recently come across Ticket Rangers, a ticket comparison company owning a website where you can compare Florida attraction ticket prices – a Florida attraction ticket comparison site. They seem to be visiting a lot of fun places with their children, compare prices, rate the places they visit, write reviews, recommendations, etc..I was amazed by what they do and how beautiful this idea of a perfect job is, a great example of a job you need in order to achieve this perfect work and family balance!

Why your company needs content marketing

Content marketing, as a marketing strategy, focuses on the creation of content, its publication and most importantly, on its distribution to your target audience. The goal of these efforts is to drive more traffic to your website, resulting in more new business sales.

With content marketing, you establish yourself as an expert in the field and naturally, people buy from whom they can trust and see as an authority.

 

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So, what do you achieve through content marketing? I will try to simplify and explain this as I explained and advised a client (Forklift Solutions, a company offering forklift trucks for hire and sale in Newcastle, Sunderland & throughout the North East) that approached me asking for advice recently.

Build a name for yourself

Building a name for yourself is the first goal you will achieve. If you know you’re the industry and common pain points of your target audience, you can easily address these through your content and therefore become an expert in the field. Additionally, through establishing a name for yourself, you will build brand awareness and demonstrate your skill at the same time.

Improve your organic traffic

If you regularly post fresh content on your website, this will help you improve your Google rankings. And if you focus on the relevant keywords when writing content, you are likely to show up in the top results, which will considerably improve your organic traffic.

Generate more website traffic

It is as simple as that – first, you build a name for yourself through great content, then your organic traffic improves, which leads directly to generating more traffic. Of course your website will get more visits if you appear in top 5 results for a given keyword. It does take time and effort, but you can get there!

Convert more

As you can see, each of these steps helps you achieve the next goal and the ultimate goal, of course, is to convert more. And you can convert more just by sharing your knowledge, your thought and expertise with the world!

 

 

So if you really know your job and love writing, this will be an easy task for you. It will take time, of course, but I can promise you’ll see the first results quite soon!

 

Voice Search is Coming!

Change is the only constant in our modern, digital world. Methods of communication are changing more rapidly than ever before, with businesses and consumerism driving the way, we’ve come a long way from hieroglyphics and smoke signals!

Two things that stand the test of time are the written word and the spoken word. We will forever be communicating using speech and through writing – what changes is our method of delivery.

There are subtle differences between written and spoken: the written word allows the reader some breathing room and time to think, the spoken word is more immediate and elicits quick, emotional responses.

 

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Getting ready for the Spoken Word

In the age of Digitisation, where we are communicating mainly through our phones, written words are the currently the dominating factor. The next frontier is Voice.

Why is voice taking off? It’s quicker, and as a culture, we value our time enormously.

Consider a Google Search; we could speak out a search to our phone, or type it out…

The few seconds saved by from taking your phone from your pocket, unlocking it, finding your favourite search app, tapping the search box – AND THEN thinking of, and typing out, your search query, is invaluable.

Is your website ready for Voice Search?

Voice is flourishing with Search Engines. More and more people are searching using voice. ComScore predicts that by 2020, 50% of Google Searches will be performed by Voice.

Since the way in which we use Search Engines is changing, Search Engine Practices will change too. It won’t be as simple as ranking at the top of Google, there is more competition.

For example, I’m searching for an office space in Newcastle. I could type out “best office newcastle”. Alternatively, I could speak this into a Search Engine – where I’m more likely to say something like “I need to rent an office in Newcastle”, because that is more natural to say.

“Best office Newcastle” and “I need to rent an office in Newcastle” are different Keywords which require different optimisation.

So what’s different about Voice Search?

It dramatically affects your keyword research.

There is more opportunity as there are a larger variety of keywords to optimise for.

How much website traffic will you achieve optimising for “Best Office Newcastle” vs “I need to rent an office in Newcastle”?

Are you better off with a smaller percentage of the type-search results or a larger percentage of voice-search results?

The Key Separator with Voice

The key difference with voice is that the initial search result, rather than be displayed on a page of search results, will be SPOKEN OUT LOUD to you.

This is MUCH different from what we have had before.

Let’s consider for a second what it’s like to have a search result spoken back to you. One day the technology will allow an answer such as “There is well priced, modern office space 5 miles from Newcastle with free parking which has rooms available!”

If that works for you, you’re not going to go anywhere else!

You pay attention to the result

You are more attentive to the result of your voice search than you are a typed search. You are listening carefully, so that you can make an informed decision whether that would be a good office for you!

When results are displayed in list format, you scan over the results quickly. The space is highly competitive and the attention you earn is actual quite fleeting in comparison.

The value of having a potential customer paying attention to you is incredible. If your offer is compelling enough, the customer would have no reason to consider any other options. Hey, presto – you have yourself another customer – magic.

What are the search engines going to do?

Google, Apple and Amazon both have well-functioning, efficient voice search engines built in (as long as you speak clearly!).

Naturally, there will be a few teething problems, just as there was with SEO and PPC in the early years. It is the responsibility of the search engines to deliver to you the results that you desire. If any search engine stops doing that – you aren’t going to use them. It’s their business!

How any search engine chooses to do this is entirely at their discretion. Do they award this ‘voice result’ to the top organic search results? Do they let advertisers pay for the right to this space? Or will there be an entirely new mechanism for this? The decision made here will be massive for thousands of competing businesses.

Conclusion

Voice is fast becoming a key part of our marketing strategies and will be considered alongside website design, email marketing, classic SEO and PPC, as well as social media before too long.

Sleeky Web Design and Print is working closely with Metropolitan House Business Centre in Gateshead on their Search Engine Optimisation, ensuring they are at the top of the search results for highly relevant, targeted keywords. Sleeky will continue to optimise their pages for increased voice search when that becomes a financially sound option.