BloggingMarketingSEOUncategorized

blogging for business

blogging for business

Blogging is BIG

It’s said that the first blog started in 1994 and by the middle of 2006 there was over 50 million blogs. 8-10 years ago blogs became a primary source of information for many people world wide and of course are still used a lot today.

Blogging however is more then just a place for people to write about their day or feelings. Blogs are being used for business and information purposes every day. Clients and consumers like to research companies and products, so they are knowing who and what they are working with/buying. Here is where a blog comes in. This is you opportunity as a business to reach out to your clients and give them the information they are searching for.

 

1.Establish yourself as an authority

The first great thing about having a blog on your website, is that you have an opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your clients eyes. By offering content related to what your customer is looking for, you are adding value and empowering your client to make information based decisions. By being an authority and having an empowered consumer, there is a built trust, instead of sales based off shakey ground. This helps increase client happiness and thus retention.

2.Boosts Website SEO

Trying to get to the top of search engines? There really is no quick fix that lasts a long time? Getting to the top of search engines takes some time and of course information is key. By blogging on your site related to the products or services you offer, it’s putting more of that relevant information on your site. The more information on your site, the more search engines believe your site is relevant to what is being searched. Google sees your site as an authority and ranks it higher.

3.Evergreen content

Slightly tied in with the above, blogging can create something we call “Evergreen content”. Evergreen content is something that’s always relevant. Information that isn’t changing with the trends or seasons. (Kind of like an evergreen tree!). You of course can write about hot topics, but creating content on your site that is always applicable to your business, helps keep consumers informed and keywords on your site.

4. Answers potential clients questions

Some people visit FAQ sections, and some don’t think to. Some are not even sure of the questions they have until it’s presented to them. By writing about tips, tricks or general information you may just answer a question for a potential client. This can save both you and them some time. And when they reach out to you, they are informed and again higher likeliness to sign/purchase.

5. Shareables

Creating blog posts and content on your site can provide enough information that people are interested in sharing it. If there is enough value (and it’s slightly entertaining right?) people want to share it. Share with friends or family or co workers etc. This sharing helps expose your business to more people who could potentially become clients/customers. They start to read your information, because an empowered, informed consumer and trust you to be that person that offers a service/product.

5.5 It’s fun

Okay maybe at first it’s not, but seriously gets the creative juices flowing some days!

MarketingSEOUncategorizedWeb Development

Website Development

5 Website Mistakes

Websitemistakeshurtingyourbusiness

The world has moved online, whether you make and sell a specific product or offer a services, customers are finding businesses online. In a recent blog post we explained Why A Good Website Is Important, but this post is about some of the common mistakes we see when starting with new clients, building or updating websites.

1. Your website is too busy

Making your website reader friendly is key here. If your online website is the first time a client is interacting with your business and they come overloaded with information they are more likely to navigate off your page and find an easier to read site. A good way to create a visually more appealing website is to have more white space. Sometimes a little less is more. Keep text blocks short and sweet. If you need to expand on idea, think about creating a blog page to link to for more information.

2. Ignoring the back end of your site

There are a few tools like SCHEMA you can use in the back end of your website to improve your ranking in search engines. Alt text for images is a great way of having keywords added to content. Structured Data markup helps organize the information for search engines so it they can understand what your website is about.

3. Broken links

Broken links or links that lead to no where on your website have a lot of negative effects. Firstly, it is frustrating to potential clients/customers. Picture this, your client is on your e-commerce site and ready to purchase the adorable item you have on your landing page. They click and it leads them to an error message or somewhere else. Now the customer has to navigate around your site to find what they are looking for and are more likely to go somewhere else. Additionally, too may broken or damaged links on your website can hurt your ranking in search engines.

4. Your website is SLOW

As we have shared in previous blog posts 47% of users leave a website if its loading time is more than 3 seconds. People don’t want to wait for a site to load in order to find what they are looking for. Our fast digital world has people wanting instant solutions to their problems and are more likely to navigate away from your site if it is slow moving.

“47% of users leave a website if its loading time is more than 3 seconds.”

5. It’s not accessible

Know your audience, especially if they are needing alternative languages or voice reading options. You can check out this website for a scan of your website.

 

 

Does all of this seem a bit daunting? Take one thing at a time and work on it slowly. Or you can always chat with the Panda Rose team about helping get your website updated.

MarketingSEOTechnologyUncategorizedWeb Development

Your website if the first impression people have of your business.

They are searching the internet for your services or product and they land on your page! Congratulations they found you! Which even finding you is hard enough with tons of businesses online competing for the same top of the search page spot.

They navigate to your website and are greeted by an unappealing site, irrelevant information or it’s SLOW. *que dramatic music* Consumers attention spans are short and when they are searching for information or products, even shorter when they are stopped by a SLOW moving or difficult to navigate website.

Did you know that 47% of users leave a website if its loading time is more than 3 seconds? So optimization is a vital thing for your website. If it’s well-functioning and the content/ products there are of a high-quality, more visitors will surely come and conversion rates will increase.

Deborah, our in house Web Development Expert says “Your website is an extension of your business. You want your website to match the professionalism of your business.”

Having a clear message you are trying to portray to potential clients and customers right away is what will keep them on your website, navigating and researching who you are and just what it is that you do.

In addition, great websites are showcases for some of your best work. You can show of all the amazing products or jobs you have completed to a potential client/customer before they even have the chance to contact you. This decreases some of the time spent answering questions, making your business just that much more efficient.

Finally, a good website with great content helps get you noticed on search engines. The more time people spend on your site and the more often the visit, the more search engines believe your site and information to be relevant. If you want to learn more about SEO check out our recent blog post What even is SEO? And How To Use It.

 

SEOSocial Media

Search Engine Optimization

What is it? And why do you want it?

Business has changed so much from the traditional model of working with consumers in store fronts from even just 30 years ago. The business world has moved online and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Have you ever been in discussion with someone about a topic, or curious about something and the first thing you do is “Google it”? We use search engines all the time to find answers to our burning questions, source out products and find local businesses.

Search engine optimization is about putting your businesses webpage at the front of the line. (Well okay actually the top of the page). Creating content relevant to your business and posting about it regularly helps improve your visibility to potential clients and customers. The more content you have on the world wide web relevant to your business, the more search engines think you are relevant to what people are looking for. This puts you closer to the top of the page.

The best part about using SEO strategies is that people are ALREADY looking for you business and content. People have burning questions, are looking to source products or find your business already. That is why they have “googled it”. Putting your content at the front of their views makes them more likely to reach out to you as a customer or client.

How can I improve my SEO?

SEO can be complex and that’s why at Panda Rose we offer SEO services for clients. But some simple tips for improving your SEO are:

  • Write blog posts on your webpage. This helps search engines see your content is relatable to a search.
  • Update your content on a regular or semi regular basis. Search engines are always trying to find the most up-to-date information.
  • Share your content on your social media channels. The more directions people are coming from to your webpage, the more relevant it looks.
  • You can also check out this more in depth blog post of SEO Practices in 2018: The Do’s and Dont’s.
MarketingMobile AppsSEOSocial Media

Instagram is a great platform for business to show off their entertaining and creative side. It is easy to use, easily accessed and fun to work with.

Unfortunately, I often find businesses treating their Instagram business profile like their website or worse, like a scrapbook. I’ll tell you why that is hurting their business.  

Like I said before, Instagram is for creativity and fun. When a business has a difficult time portraying those aspects of themselves it can turn people off to being their customer. Businesses do this in a couple different ways, let’s take a look and explore the fixes. 

Posting Unrelated Photos

This is an issue for the sake of professionalism. When I decide I want to follow a business on Instagram, it is for one of two reasons. 1) I want to see more posts from them. They posted an eye catching photo and I want to see posts similar to that one more often. Or 2) I have used their service or bought a product from them and wish to find out more about the company and support them.

When a business I decided to follow starts posting unrelated pictures, I lose interest quickly and I will normally unfollow.

But there is a right way to post “unrelated photos.” This is because they are not completely unrelated. A safe and fun way to do this is through Instagram stories. These are an easy way to show your followers a more relaxed or goofy side of you. Posting pictures of your children, snowfall, shenanigans in the office and dessert or any other random noteworthy picture goes in the 24 hour lasting Instagram stories. These personal pictures keep you real.

The point of bringing this up is a reminder to be a self aware business. Are you posting something that will intrigue your followers? How are you hoping people will react or engage with this post? What does this picture say about your company? These are questions we need to keep in mind while posting if we are looking to put on the best face for the company.

 

Posting Irregularly

The human brain is weird. We like things we are comfortable with. By this I mean that we would generally rather have some knowledge than to not know anything about what we are walking into. Keeping this in mind, we should be posting often and on a schedule. Doing this would result in masses of people who know about you. Who would clearly know what your business  specializes in, how your business would benefit them, and would put good word in for yourself. This is necessary in today’s day and age.

If you didn’t Instagram it, did it even happen?

 

And worst of all, Poor Quality Photos.

Instagram was created for aesthetic. This means color schemes, professional looking photos, organization and planning ahead. When a business does not do this they are not meeting the standard. Therefore they sell  themselves short.

Your business is reliable, honest and provides top quality. You know that and I know that, but the picture of your cluttered desk in poor lighting using your favorite filter from 2015 does not portray good things about our business to the judgmental human eye.

It can be difficult to know makes a good photo. What is the right lighting? What theme works best for your page? How should you manage the times you publish posts?

If you are feeling creative and think you can fix up your business page on your own, I would look for inspiration from big names. Check out Instagram profiles like Apple or Instagram itself. Or you could look into artsy profiles to find out what is trending concerning color schemes and filters.

If you are feeling lost when it comes to your business’s potentially aesthetic profile, that is OK. There are people all around you who would love to help point you in the right direction or take over your business profile entirely. They are called social media managers and you can talk to us at Panda Rose for such information.

A business profile can bring a lot of pressure. But let me assure you it isn’t all that complicated. Create a step by step process for your posts. Be sure you can check off the requirements you believe your posts need to meet the standard of an effective and engaging profile. If all else fails, you can always hire someone to make it work for you.     

 

I hope this blog post was helpful and that I will get to see all of your beautiful business profiles thriving.

 

Tessa  Houcher

MarketingMobile AppsSEOSocial Media

 

At the end of your work day, you flop on to your couch, grab your phone, click on your Facebook application and prepare yourself for all the memes you are about to discover. What a great way to end your day. You are scrolling past the argumentative political posts and the millions of pictures of your cousin’s children when you notice an eye catching ad from Netflix. “Its World Emoji Day!” You read on to find out that Netflix can now give you suggestions on what to watch, based on your emotions! Netflix can read my emotions, cool!

 

You click the link and it takes you to the Messenger app. There are instructions to send an emoji based on your feelings. You take a moment to consider your emotions. How are you feeling right this moment? After some consideration you come to the conclusion that the starry eyed, amazed emoji sums you up best. You hit send and see that Netflix is going to respond to you right away! Wow, Netflix sure knows how to make a guy feel special. A message from Netflix appears and it reads: “I love a good blockbuster!” Then a link to the movie Jurassic Park III shows up. You are not disappointed. The Jurassic movies are your FAVORITE! How did Netflix know?? You smile as you click the Watch Now button.

Pretty cool right? Who knew our technology would have advanced this much to give such accurate movie suggestions by 2018? I sure didn’t.

Maybe that’s because it hasn’t…

 

The story I shared with you isn’t the whole truth. While I did actually send Netflix the starry eyed, amazed emoji and I was given the suggestion to watch Jurassic Park III. I am 

actually not interested in watching that movie. I couldn’t tell you what movie I was expecting, or even what type of movie I was expecting, but Jurassic Park III wasn’t that movie.

 

So yes, I was slightly disappointed by the Netflix “emotion reader”. Notice, I only said slightly.

I realize I had the wrong understanding of what the messaging bot would offer me from the start.   

So if you find yourself confused like I was, allow me to enlighten you on the subject.

 

There are a few reasons why Netflix created this messaging bot.

First off, a messaging bot closes a relationship gap between the consumer and the company. The quick and simple communication between the two parties makes the consumers feel heard, connected, important and can make the relationship feel real. This will grow the trust the consumer has for the company.

 

Second, the bot allows for the consumer to be exposed to movies or a series that they otherwise never would have heard of. This way Netflix can show a user with strict genre preferences which restrict their personal accounts to limited type of shows, a variety of movies the user otherwise never would have looked into.

 

And third, Netflix is standing out! Netflix isn’t the only popular movie and TV show streaming platform but they are the only one with a messaging bot connected to your Facebook!

 

However I know that the bot has room for improvement.

 

I sent Netflix the dancing girl emoji and I was expecting a movie with a female lead or something along the lines of Pitch Perfect, Wonder Woman or The Crown. Instead the suggestion I received was an animated children’s Christmas sing-a-long. A movie I have zero interest in watching.

 

I love what Netflix was going for. But I don’t think the messaging bot was much more than a marketing scheme. Which is fine, actually smart on their part, every company needs to stand out some way.

 

But creating a well running suggestion messaging bot was not their goal. If it was they undoubtedly failed.

 

Maybe someday they will be able to release a bot that can actually communicate with us and give accurate show suggestions. Until then, I will enjoy this bot by sending in all of the emojis and seeing all of the diverse suggestions Netflix has for me. Who knows maybe I will find a new series I  love!

 

What marketing strategy would you try?

 

Tess Houcher

MarketingSEOShoppingWeb Development

store front image

 Black Sheep Legging came to Panda Rose in need of a new website.

For those of you who do not know, Black Sheep Legging is a clothing company. They rely on the Internet and representatives to sell their product. They emphasize on being unique and owning your style. Based in Alberta Canada, this company is taking the legging market by storm.

Black Sheep Legging’s last website was having issues and they were ready for a freshening up. Panda Rose was able to create a completely new website using Shopify as the store provider without purchasing any extra apps but still equipping Black Sheep Legging with all of the many specific features necessary for the shop.

store front image

Here are the features we created for our client:

Panda Rose was able to create an advanced collection filtering by multiple simultaneous criteria system. This component would be similar to applications that can be found on shopify but now our client doesn’t need to pay about $20 a month.

We added “VIP Pricing” which are custom discount levels depending on the specific permission level according to the tag possessed by the individual. If we didn’t make this feature ourselves, it would have cost our client $30-$50 a month for an application found in Shopify.

We also created an internal customer credit system that fit our exact needs opposed to finding an app that isn’t customizable and or costs money.

Panda Rose also resolved a commonly reported problem as Mailchimp’s scripts often conflict with some of Shopify’s. This problem is usually solved by installing an app from Shopify that can cost around $5 a month. But a developer can solve this quite simply just like we did for Black Sheep Legging.

An affiliate system was required and was integrated with commission tracking. The “Rep Portal” also gives reps the ability to customize their personal rep storefront. We looked through the following apps to integrate into Black Sheep Legging’s shopify:

people

Refersion almost worked but it would not switch customers to reps automatically when they completed the signing up process along with the inability to define different tiers of affiliates. We were hopeful, but it wasn’t a perfect fit for our client.

Affiliatly was attractive in that it was very straightforward and its prices were not bad. But this app left us no room to customize and fit the needs of Black Sheep Legging. Again, we had to look elsewhere.

ReferralCandy was not for a rep program like we needed but looked like it would thrive strictly as a referral program.

Ambassador was difficult to work with, in that we couldn’t really test it without being on the phone with one of the representatives. It’s price tag was also too much for our client and so this affiliate program didn’t quite cut it either.

So we created our own affiliate system. It does everything our client needs it to and it will not cost an extravagant amount every month.

The following three features were created by Panda Rose without an app in Shopify to compare them to:

Panda Rose was also able to use the existing basic tagging feature Shopify provides and built off of it to automate the addition and removal of tags based on events within the store. This enabled the ability for anyone new signing up in the site to be labeled as a “Customer” in our system. This tag is then replaced if the customer chooses to become a rep and will alter according to the rep tire they become. Again, this adjusts automatically.

shopping cart

The cart content checks hold the ability to modify contents on the fly before checkout. This means that Black Sheep Legging did not want customers reaching the checkout if they have more inventory in their cart than there is currently in stock. Upon adding inventory to cart, it’s automatically adjusted down to stock levels, and Black Sheep Legging is notified of the change.

An internal “free shipping” code system was created for rep usage to allow greater control for Black Sheep Legging opposed to Shopify’s discount codes.

If each of the features I have listed were apps that were integrated into Black Sheep Legging’s Shopify, it could potentially cost $15,000 a year. Which is obviously not necessary.

Maybe your company has the money to pay all of these apps to run your store. But can you handle all of the complications that come with having multiple apps piled all over you store? All of their different formats and requirements? Are you able to customize the apps to fit all of your company’s needs?

A developer can integrate all of the features your store may need and ensure that the features fit your specific needs exactly. A developer can prioritize you opposed to giant companies and app creators where you are just another business that is using their product. You can have real conversations with your developer to get your thoughts, questions and concerns addressed. Plus, no monthly fees to last you as long as you have the online store! Hiring a developer is without a doubt a wise investment for your business.

Tess Houcher

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MarketingSEOWeb Development

Even yours

I am not one of the web designers at Panda Rose, but I have worked with a couple websites and have visited many over the years. Lately I’ve been noticing that some websites draw me in and others I just scroll on by. Some companies neglect simple website guidelines and unfortunately, they end up missing out on customers they could otherwise do business with. These problems can be fixed so easily. Here are my tips which I hope you already practice.

Photography

One issue that is always interesting to address is the images displayed on a website. Images are a very powerful tool when it comes to your business. But a poor photo quality puts up red flags for potential customers and this should be avoided at any cost.

What qualifies as a poor quality picture?

  • The image is unclear as to what the featured item is.
  • Poorly displayed.
  • A mess in the picture. Or if something is dirty without purpose.
  • Bad lighting or blurry
  • Not trendy

If a photo is not done professionally and obviously so, it is a major distraction to the customers on your site. I find that when a site has beautiful pictures I am easily convinced that the product or service is legit and exceptional without even thinking about it. All because of the great impression.

If the picture on the right was on a bakery website you would be concerned about the quality of the business. (Note the lighting and crumbs.) But if the picture on the left was on the bakery website you wouldn’t even stop to think about the picture.

People notice problems, they don’t notice when things are as they should be. Don’t give your customers a reason to second guess your website.

Poor quality pictures leave me wondering if the company doesn’t have the money to update their pictures, therefore they do not have a good product or service. Now I know that I cannot make that assumption about all companies but it is an honest thought that comes to mind.

Get. A. Professional. Photographer. I know that it sounds like a hassle but trust me, it will allow your website to give a good first impression and everyone knows that first impressions are everything. Please just do it, you won’t regret it.

Navigation

Your website needs to be easy to look through. If someone is on your site looking for something and they cannot find it without clicking through all your of your pages, then your website is set up poorly. Make it very clear what they can find on each page and follow through with that initial description. If customers have to think up specific search terms to find what they are looking for, they will move on to a different site very quickly. I know that I do.

Keeping up with Trends

When was the last time your website had an update on its full appearance? Are the main colours red and white? Or this blue?

Time for a major update.

Black, white and one other accented colour can be a beautiful theme or at least a good start for those switching up their site. Which brings me to my next point.

Simplicity is Beautiful

Clean up the clutter. A site trying to fit all the info about them on their homepage is overwhelming for everyone. Simplify the homepage, not just because it is easier to take in but because it is pleasant to look at. Again, people notice problems, not when things are working well . . .

Organization is favoured by humans in general. Suit the needs of the masses by keeping organized. Use minimalism for not only aesthetic reasons but give people the ability to find the pages they want. Don’t throw everything their way before they have the chance to ask for it.

Mobile Friendly

When I am not at work, I hardly ever use a computer to search the Internet for anything. If I click on a site while I am on my phone and it is impossible to read or operate I move on to a different website. Sadly I am sure that I have missed out on many great products and services because the website did not work well with my phone.


My best advice is to remind you to think like a customer. Try to imagine that you know absolutely nothing about your business and see if it answers all the questions that a customer might have. Your site needs to be easy to navigate and easy to work with. If your website’s purpose is to book appointments, ensure that is an easy task for customers to accomplish. If your site is made for providing information for customers, construct your site so that everything is organized. And remember that aesthetics matter in every aspect of your site. I hope to see your beautiful site very soon!

Let me know how you fixed up a website in the comments!

Tess Houcher 

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MarketingSEOWeb Development

  

Does your website accurately represent your brand? Are you easy to Google? Kick up your on-line presence with a new reliable website, fully SEO’d, with hosting and 24/7 support!

For a limited time, Panda Rose will develop a new custom website at an introductory rate of $1000 CAD plus Tax, including one-year hosting on the Panda Cloud. *

We’re ready to get started right away on your website which will include:

  • A full redesign to modern standards
  • Up to 5 different customizable pages of your choice, including a splash page, service listing, a portfolio with a customizable media display, social media & contact options and more!
  • A modern responsive design so that your page looks great on all devices, including phones, tablets, and desktops.
  • Accessibility, search engine optimisation (SEO), and speed testing.
  • 24/7 email support and business hours phone support
  • 24 hour response time for questions or issues
  • Integration with popular social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Google Plus.
  • Google Analytics to allow you to track how your customers are using your website and improve conversion rates.
  • Integration with your current inventory, accounting, or tendering services available for an additional fee.

Hurry! This offer is only valid until September 30th, 2016! Contact us today to find out how we can upgrade your website game!

Contact Us Today

*Regular price: $1500 for site design and development + $35 per month for hosting with unlimited bandwidth. Provincial Taxes Apply.

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MarketingSEOWeb Development

restaurant website images

Did you know you’re 70% more likely to attract a long term customer to your restaurant by having a great website and online presence? It’s true! Kick up your on-line presence with a great new reliable website, fully SEO’d and ready to go!

For a limited time, Panda Rose will develop a new custom website at an introductory rate of $500, including one-year hosting on the Panda Cloud. *

Your introductory offer will include:

  • A full redesign of your website
  • Up to 8 different pages of your choice, including tools for reservations, menus — both online and downloadable, location services, and reviews that tap directly to social media, to find the best non-solicited reviews on-line and display them prominently.
  • A modern responsive design so that your page looks great on all devices, including phones, tablets, and desktops.
  • Accessibility, search engine optimisation (SEO), and speed testing. So all your users will have a seamless experience and you’ll be easy to find.
  • Custom menu pages which can be easily updated by your staff as prices and offerings change.
  • Full Integration with all popular social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Google Plus.
  • Google Analytics to allow you to track how your customers are using your website and improve conversion rates.
  • For an additional fee, we can integrate your website with your current reservation system, like Open Table.

But hurry! This offer is only valid until September 30th, 2016! Contact us today to find out how we can upgrade your website game!

Contact Us Today

*Regular price: $700 for site design and development + $15 per month for hosting with unlimited bandwidth 

25 views
MarketingSEOUncategorizedWeb Development

Did you know you’re 70% more likely to attract a long term customer to your restaurant by having a great website and online presence? It’s true! Kick up your on-line presence with a great new reliable website, fully SEO’d and ready to go!

For a limited time, Panda Rose will develop a new custom website at an introductory rate of $500, including one-year hosting on the Panda Cloud. *

Your introductory offer will include:

  • A full redesign of your website
  • Up to 8 different pages of your choice, including tools for reservations, menus — both online and downloadable, location services, and reviews that tap directly to social media, to find the best non-solicited reviews on-line and display them prominently.
  • A modern responsive design so that your page looks great on all devices, including phones, tablets, and desktops.
  • Accessibility, search engine optimisation (SEO), and speed testing. So all your users will have a seamless experience and you’ll be easy to find.
  • Custom menu pages which can be easily updated by your staff as prices and offerings change.
  • Full Integration with all popular social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Google Plus.
  • Google Analytics to allow you to track how your customers are using your website and improve conversion rates.
  • For an additional fee, we can integrate your website with your current reservation system, like Open Table.

But hurry! This offer is only valid until September 30th, 2016! Contact us today to find out how we can upgrade your website game!

Contact Us Today

 

23 views