If you’ve known us at Panda Rose for a long time, you know these 5 words fit us well, and if you are just getting to know us or want to know more, here are some things you can expect!
I often hear people use this word to describe us at Panda Rose. Every employee is extremely knowledgeable, and quite multi-talented. If one person is ever stumped on a project, we collaborate and brainstorm with each other to reach a solution. This method is quite effective for us at Panda Rose, as so many employees are talented and knowledgeable in areas above and beyond their job title. Something really cool about us, is we actually train you how to manage your website on your own! We find it valuable for our clients to have control over their website and know how to run/oversee things.
(Or as some might say: quirky!) When I think of creativity, I think of Ms. Frizzle, the teacher on Magic School Bus! Her dress had different shapes and colours, her hair bright red and a little crazy sometimes, and her personality was always adventurous! And didn’t she have a pet lizard?
Anyway, while none of us drive a magic school bus (sadly, cause what a fun commute that would be), I would say this creative description suits us well! Most of us have quite adventurous personalities (and if you don’t believe me, watch a few of our YouTube videos and you’ll see what I’m talking about!) I would say our work matches Ms Frizzle’s outfit: it’s eye-catching, leaves a lasting impression, and displays your businesses personality perfectly (minus the tackiness)! Plus if you have glowing planet earrings you can believe we’re going to highlight it! In other words, whatever makes your business unique, we pay attention to the details and will design your website, mobile app, social media pages, etc. accordingly!
We like to have a good time at Panda Rose, and love to connect with people and network! If you are local to Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, and Saint Albert you have probably met someone from Panda Rose! We all love to laugh and have a good sense of humour, making us easy to get along with. One of my favourite social media posts we did was Father’s Day 2019. We sent out a bunch of dad jokes from people in the office, and you guys loved it! Creating an office and business atmosphere where people feel comfortable to express some of their biggest ideas, comes down the people. We are excited about your business and your future and our attitudes sure show it!
Panda Rose is located right here in Spruce Grove, and if you know anything about Spruce Grove, you know that we love to support each other’s businesses! Am I right, or am I right? This stretches as far as Stony Plain, Edmonton and surrounding areas. Good chance that if we work with you, we also look for any way we can support your business, such as buying your products because we genuinely love them or using your services! We are in the business of helping businesses, and we honestly want to see your business thrive.
We know how to work hard! We put in the time and effort it takes to generate results for your business so you see a profit. Your success = our success! Not sure if digital marketing, web development or any variety of things we offer will help your business thrive? We’ve seen time and time again that it does! But don’t just take my word for it, you can see for yourself! Check out our testimonials section on our website, and send us an email to see what we can do for you!
And the landlord is still expecting you to pay rent.
And you’ve got bills to pay.
You’ve got products that are going to go out of fashion.
You’ve got people who rely on you for employment.
You’ve got your own family to support!
So what’s a business owner to do in a situation like this?
For obvious reasons, you can’t just open up your shop and run business as usual. A fine from the government is the last thing you need right now! But surely there must be an alternative?
Well, yes, in fact there is (I’m sure you saw this answer coming a mile away).
But wait, there are some things you need to consider first . . .
The elephant in the room
Yes, that one. Amazon. Let’s face it, as soon as you enter the online marketplace, you are competing with Amazon. That’s not an easy feat. You’ve also got Etsy, Ebay, and countless other well-established sites out there to compete with. You need to ask yourself these questions:
What makes you stand out from the rest? What makes you different? How are you unique? What do you have to offer that they don’t?
Do you sell something unique to the region? Do you sell something that everybody wants, but can’t get from the mainstream big box stores? Do you offer delivery services in your region? How about next-day pick-up so a customer can save money on shipping? These days it takes several weeks for even Amazon Prime members to receive items in the mail. For an online shopper, being able to get their hands on an item quickly is like gold!
But . . . how?
There are lots of ways to open your own online shop. The first thing you need is a website. If you don’t have a website, you need to get one 10 years ago! You can’t possibly tell me that you’re too good for a website and don’t need one. No lie: any time I’m looking for a new place to shop where I haven’t been, I try looking up their website to see if they’re worth my time. And honestly, if the look kinda ghetto, I’m less likely to go. So get yourself a good-lookin’ website.
But why else do you need a website? I mean, everybody knows about you and people find you through word of mouth, right? Well, what about when your friend Janice’s aunt Sally’s best friend Betty’s sister Noreen hears about the shop from aunt Sally, but aunt Sally can only partially remember the name, and Noreen has an even worse memory than aunt Sally, so she only remembers that your shop’s name had something to do with pigeons or birds or something and the name of the town it’s in.
Oh, yes, that. So let’s assume the website thing isn’t an issue. Now you need to figure out how to sell your items online. There are a number of ways to do that, either through third-party websites where your products will be lumped in with a bunch of other products for sale from other businesses, or on your own website.
Yes, you can actually sell your own products on Amazon. But do you really want to compete with Amazon on their own website? Probably not. If you’re selling a product that Amazon already sells, you must list it on the same page, you can’t duplicate a product, but you can’t incentivize your product with two-day shipping. That’s something you have to earn. And speaking of shipping, Amazon decides how much your shipping rates are going to cost. If you’re interested in trying that outlet, article on Amazon.ca has some basic info on what you need to know to sell on Amazon.
Ebay is an interesting place, but you have to do your research if you want to sell there. Taking a look at top-selling items can be helpful in telling you what people are looking for on ebay. If your product doesn’t really fall into those categories, then it might not be the right place for you. If you sell antiques and collectibles, it’s almost definitely the place for you. If you want to learn more about ebay, here is where you can check out their selling basics page.
While you’re on their site, it’s kind of fun to look at their prohibited items page. Among may other things, if you’re trying to sell any of these things, I suggest you avoid ebay:
Products that pose a health or safety hazard (that seems really open-ended to me)
Speleothems, stalactites, and stalagmites obtained from caves on government land
So, if your store sells any of these things, I’d steer clear of Ebay.
Is most of your product handmade/original product? You could choose to open your own Etsy store. If you sell something particularly unique, this is not a bad option, or if you sell craft supplies or vintage items. You will find yourself competing with a lot of suppliers from China, though, which is always a challenge. Warning: like ebay, you also cannot sell human remains on Etsy. Also off the table: metaphysical services, violence, and illegal items. If you want to read more about Etsy’s store policy, you can view it on the Etsy website.
Now, as much as I like shopping on these sites, if you’re a mature business with a storefront trying to move into the online world, a better option would be to create your own store rather than putting all your products into someone else’s store, and this is where Panda Rose would really like to help you out.
A very popular hosted E-Commerce platform for selling products is Shopify. You pay a monthly subscription fee and can add any number of upgrades for additional features. They’ve got a nice clean-looking catalog and it’s relatively user-friendly. And yes, you can get your own web address, so if you want your site to be www.myawesomepigeonstore.ca, it can be that. Shopify can adjusted to have the look and feel that you like to match your company’s branding, and it can integrate well with Canada Post, manage your inventory, connect with your accounting system, and anything else you could possibly want.
If that’s not enough, there are some big names out there who trust Shopify — Adele, Lady Gaga, World Wildlife Foundation, Hasbro, The Economist, Heinz, and BBC. As you might imagine, while it’s primarily a shop, it’s somewhat versatile in how you can use it.
As a drawback, it tends to be more on the “cookie cutter” side of things, which I’m never a big fan of.
Speaking of versatility, if that’s what you’re after, Woocommerce is what you’re really going to want. I might be a little biased because I enjoy working with WordPress so much, but I’ve always liked how easy it is to manipulate everything in WordPress, which also includes Woocommerce. They’ve got a plugin for everything, but you don’t always need that plugin, you can often figure out your own code to make things work the way you like.
One project that was particularly interesting last year was making WooCommerce work with a non-Wordpress site for doing fundraisers. The site was built from our own code, but pulled all the WooCommerce info for products and whatnot, and people completed their purchase on the site. Our client only really had to deal with the WordPress/WooCommerce side of things as well where their main site is, which kept things easier for them.
All this to say that: if there’s something you want us to build, we can make it happen. Our answer is rarely “no”, and when it is, it’s usually because it’s in your own best interest, and if you still insist anyway, then so be it! We generally believe that nothing is impossible. I think that WooCommerce aggress with us with their “sell anything” and “no limits” points on their WooCommerce Features page.
Are there other eCommerce platforms?
I mean, yeah.
Are you going to tell me all about them?
While there are other platforms that offer eCommerce like Squarespace and Wix we generally recommend against using those types of platforms. They are not good for SEO and their limitations are significant. Because of their business model, they also tend to nickel and dime you for every little upgrade you want. eCommerce or website, just avoid these platforms. They’re not nice to work with and they don’t look good to search engines.
So what now?
Give us a call, comment on this blog, send us an email, contact us through our social media, send us smoke signals, or whatever way you prefer to communicate and set up a meeting with us. We can walk through the wide world of eCommerce and help you make the best decision for the type of business you run. We can help you build or refresh your website, and we can help integrate eCommerce into it. If your funds are more limited, we can help set things up and send you down the right path with a bit of training.
At the end of the day, we truly want to see the small businesses in our community be successful. As long as we have the tools to help business owners do that, we’d like to be a part of that.
Everyone wants to be seen and heard, but when everyone wants to be seen that means almost no one is. In case you got lost at the title, I’ll briefly explain what exactly SEO is.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization which is the process of getting more quantity and quality traffic to your website through the free, organic, or natural search results on search engines.
This of course is something you want for your business, free, organic, natural traffic. We’ll dive into some tips you can practice to achieve good SEO on your website.
1. Create Relevant Content
Did you know the amount of time people spend on your website affects your SEO? This means, you want to put out content that people will want to read. Ideally content with more words does better than those with fewer words. But this doesn’t go to say that a post with 2,000 words will do better than one with 500. Pay attention to the quality and relevancy of your posts as this is what makes the biggest difference. The idea behind “the more words the better” is that, you have more space to add keywords, add more outbound links and get people spending more time on your page.
2. Add Quality Photos
Adding photos increases the legitimacy of your website. You can easily find high quality photos for free or take your own pictures for your website. Make sure when adding photos to add keywords to the various components of the image. Such as the file name, alt text, title, description, and caption. Images are processed 60,000 times faster than text and 65% of people are visual learners. Images hold a tremendous amount of value for readers and SEO.
To make posts inviting to viewers always try to break up text with headers. Just think, if you click a link that is only somewhat interesting to you and are greeted with a huge block of “mono tone” looking text, the chances of you sticking around are pretty slim. The title would have to be extremely compelling for you to read past the first sentence. Don’t give your readers “Mount Everest” type of content to tackle. What I mean by this is, you can have a heavy or highly informative topic to write about but if you just lay it all on your readers you will overwhelm or even lose them. Break up your text with images, headers, and shorter paragraphs to avoid exhausting or boring readers. To give your SEO a boost try adding keywords into your headers. The easier your content is to read the better you will rank.
4. Mobile Optimization
Back in 2015 Google started penalizing websites that aren’t mobile friendly by pushing them down in search engine rankings. In fact, taking a look at some statistics on just how many website visits were from mobile devices in 2018, 58% were from mobile devices. This number just keeps jumping each year, if your website isn’t mobile friendly good chance you are also seeing a high bounce rate. If you are a B2B marketer mobile optimization is especially important. 77% of executives use their smartphones to research a product or service for their business.
5. Website Speed
Search engines pay attention to your websites loading speed. The chances of users leaving your site increases if they have to wait longer than 7 seconds for pages to load. Try optimizing the size of your images, larger images can slow down your page. Reduce the number of plugins, the more plugins you have the more resources are needed to run them which slows down your website. The recommended loading speed for your website is under 3 seconds. Since so many websites fall short of the recommended speed, you will have an advantage on your competitors if you increase your website speed.
There are many aspects to SEO but making these few changes will increase your search engine ranking and drive more traffic to your website.
Panda Rose Consulting Studios Inc is expanding and we have opened a second office in St. Albert
Panda Rose has recently celebrated 10 years in business and have also decided to expand! Our new office in St. Albert is located at13 Mission Ave, right off downtown! We can be found downstairs in suite 1140. Come by and say Hi!
We have been member of the St. Albert Chamber for a while, always with the intention of expanding into St. Albert and are continuing to support the local Chamber and it’s businesses by being members and even sponsoring the next Business Luncheon on June 12th!
Join us June 12th for the Kick Off To Summer Business @ Lunch by grabbing your tickets HERE
840 St. Albert Trail #105 St. Albert, AB
11:30 am – Reception 11:45 am – Commencement of Meeting and Lunch 1:30 pm – Scheduled End Time
Your online presence has bearing when it comes to getting a loan for your business.
According to Statistics Canada from 2016, 51.3% of small businesses request funds to help with their business. Over half of those people are requesting the money from financial institutions such as banks. Many business owners are looking to purchase equipment to speed up processes, hire employees, get into larger spaces and purchase high volume of items. Whatever the reasoning your business is looking to expand, you may need a loan in order to boost your business to take it to the next level.
“51.3% of small businesses request funds to help with their business.”
Last week we were lucky to have Tom Yeo from Scotiabank in Spruce Grove stop by to chat about the importance of your online presence when banks are considering you for a loan. When looking at getting a loan from the bank for business, there are a lot of factors at play, but as Tom explains, they always look online at your businesses website. Whether you sell online items or not, they look up your website.
So what exactly are they looking for when they look up your business online?
Tom says the first thing he does is look at the company website. He looks at the About Us section to see if it is up to date, relevant and if there even is one at all. He is looking to see that there is contact information and that its up to date. He wants to know that your company is going to have business for the next 2, 5, or even 10 years. Tom says then as he’s looking at the website he is looking to see “that it’s professionally done. That then shows that the company takes pride in what it’s doing and is actually invested in it’s image that’s out there.”
“shows that the company takes pride in what it’s doing and is actually invested in it’s image”
Your business’ online image is important for a lot of reasons. It’s important for potential loaners, investors, clients and even employees.
Tom goes on to say that “there was a company I recently decided not to do business with, because when I looked up their company online, what came up was employee reviews and they were all negative.” Now we all know that in business, we can’t make everyone happy. We also know that sometimes there are people out there that make a point to try to ruin a reputation of a company. When I asked Tom if there was any bearing in responses from the company on reviews he replied that it’s important to “manage you entire presence” and that replying to reviews has a “huge impact if done in a professional response.”
There is a bit of a process when beginning to look at funding options for your business, and managing your online presence is one of them. Look for:
Reviews. Search your company online and find reviews. Respond to any concerns left by employees or clients. We even suggest responding to the people who left you wonderful reviews! It’s great for SEO and building community around your brand.
Your website information is up to date an relevant. Make sure your contact information is correct and that your products and services are up to date as well.
Your website looks professional.
Pop over to our blog post 5 Website Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Business for more tips!
About Tom: Tom Yeo is originally from the UK and moved to Canada a few years ago. He has been in the banking industry for approximately 10 years in a variety of roles including personal banking, business banking and investments.
Panda Rose Consulting Joins Clutch’s Research of SEO & PPC Agencies in Canada
Every business values exposure. When companies are looking to expand their customer base, it’s very important that they find a marketing firm that can understand the intricacies of their business and target the right audience. Our clients trust that our expertise in digital marketing can help their business grow and they trust that we’ll always deliver on time. On our Clutch profile, which was created earlier this year, you can see what sets us apart as one of the best companies for your SEO, PPC, and general digital marketing needs.
Clutch is a Washington, DC-based B2B research and reviews firm. They look to connect business buyers with the best service providers worldwide, using a thorough research methodology based on client feedback in the form of unbiased and accurate reviews. To collect reviews, Clutch actually calls our former clients and interviews them about their experiences working with the Panda Rose team. We have our first review on our Clutch profile, and already the feedback we’ve received from our wonderful client Krista Rumberg has been more than we expected. Check it out:
Because of our commitment to our clients and our expertise in SEO, Clutch named us as one of the top SEO companies in Canada. We’ve also been recognized as a top-performing firm on Clutch’s sister sites, The Manifest and Visual Objects.
The Manifest’s content includes lists of top performing companies, articles on trends within the tech industry, and helpful guides for business owners. We are included on their list of the top 50 social media marketing companies in Canada.
Visual Objects is Clutch’s newly launched site that acts as a central hub to view the portfolios of creative firms. Visual Objects features firms from a variety of industries including app development, web design, and branding. You can find Panda Rose listed on their list of the top digital marketing agencies in 2019. We’re happy to be one of the first firms featured on Visual Objects and we’re excited to see how the site evolves.
With the new year underway, we’re extremely appreciative of our clients for taking the time to speak with Clutch and reflect on their experiences working with us. To get honest and verified feedback through a third-party source is a great opportunity for Panda Rose and we look forward to seeing how much more we can grow our presence on each site until we’re considered the very best digital marketing agency in Canada!
You’ve got a website for your company. You are “online”, that should be good enough right? I mean, you don’t sell anything on your website, how important could it be to invest in a good website?
The world is digital and as we shared in our blog post “5 Website Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Business” 47% of users leave a website if its loading time is more than 3 seconds. Couple that information with studies showing that between 70-80% of people research a company online BEFORE visiting a small business or making a purchase with them. A killer website is far more important than we give it credit for. Crucial even.
studies showing that between 70-80% of people research a company online BEFORE visiting a small business or making a purchase with them
Join Kelly Rose from Panda Rose Consulting Inc for a Business Breakfast as he talks about the importance of your business needing a solid website at the Stony Plain Chamber Of Commerce. This is an opportunity to ask Kelly some questions about your company’s website and how it can perform better, while getting the chance to also do a bit of networking with local business owners.
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.
Ideas Roadshow is a supplemental learning for people in IB (International Baccalaureate) programs and creates standardized international learning. This programs are offered through various channels such as specific school, libraries and teachers.
Panda Rose was able to supply support for the website, including code updating and also build the newest IB viewing version.
Panda Rose did some of the textbook mapping, meaning we were able to create the online textbooks in multiple languages for resources for students/teachers. In addition we created a chat forum for teacher and students to be able to communicate with each other on the website, rather than needing a separate app or platform. Leaving the user on AIM’s site, instead of another’s.
Curriculum Services Canada (CSC) is the Pan-Canadian standards agency for quality assurance in learning products and programs. CSC is a not-for-profit organization that provides services including the development, implementation, evaluation, and accreditation of teaching and learning resources.
Panda Rose was able to update the trillium list (the list of approved textbooks and resources for education) as well as offered updating of their code base. Their website was running on an older version, meaning they were no longer receiving updates, so updating their code allowed them to get them again.
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.
Email is a place of business. It is important in our world’s communication.It has many perks, multiple people can communicate together. Files and images can be shared. You do not have to be present to receive and email. And everyone has it.
On the negative side of email comes, spam and viruses. Which are extremely disruptive in our professional place of communication. Along with the chance of our personal information being stolen.
If email had sender authentication these problems would be no more.
Why doesn’t email have sender authentication?
Email was created in the 60s. At this time, those with email were in the government, universities and research labs. There was no need to be cautious when it came to email security. Sender authentication was not a need then because they were not being threatened by a web full of destructive individuals. And because there was a general sense of trust among those with access to emailing.
The form of communication was invented without creating the solutions to problems that were not yet known. Which I believe was the right thing to do. We shouldn’t be stopped from advancing in this world because of the unknown risks. Those risks can be taken care of once we know what they are.
Email wasn’t created with sender authentication in the 60s for understandable reasons. We are now well aware of the security issues that invade the email system today. From stealing passwords, unwanted emails and financial threats. My question is, why have we not yet fixed the problem?
Sender authentication would be a game changer for anyone with an email account as we would finally have the security to withstand attacks.
Recent years have seen the proliferation of high-quality package management tools for a wide range of web development languages. Ruby’s gems were always a key selling point of that platform, allowing for a sort legendary developer productivity which is now, thankfully, widely available regardless of platform.
But dependency management is an art unto itself, one that many give little thought to until something breaks catastrophically, leaving developers scrambling to patch some obscure dependent module they didn’t even know they had, as the left-pad debacle did for Node.js developers earlier this year.
If, as developers discovered that day, your project is only as strong as your weakest dependency, it’s prudent to have a handle on what you’re pulling in, from whom, and how you’re doing it.
Operating alongside npm, meant as a drop-in replacement, Facebook touts the following benefits:
The latter two benefits are tied to a .lock file, something that PHP users of Composer are likely familiar with, but which npm lacks:
The magic clue behind it? Whenever you run yarn install, the yarn.lockfile has precedence over the package.json.
If the yarn.lock file exists, the (exact) versions defined in it will be used.
If no yarn.lock exists, the (loosely defined) versions defined inpackage.json will be used, and a yarn.lock is generated.
Package management on the PHP side seems comparatively safe and manageable. PHP has an extensive standard library, and we’re unlikely to pull in 100 packages to boot a simple application. It’s much easier to survey the landscape of an application’s dependencies and get a feel for what’s there and why it’s there.
In fact, you might have questions which are worth reviewing.
What should I pull in as a dependency, and what as a dev dependency? Should I need to modify a dependency, what’s the correct way to go about it? How do I optimize my package usage for production?
Above all, be mindful of what you pull in, what that which you pull in pulls in, and the faculties your toolchain offers to allow you to manage these, lest today’s convenience lands you in an uncomfortable situation down the line.