Category Archive Blog

Ecommerce – SEO – Dog Food

Ecommerce, SEO, Dog Food


Sounds slightly strange title to be starting out with, but this last month has been all about it.

We have taken on Passion Pet Foods as a client, who were using a little known ecommerce package to sell grain free pet foods online.

Yes the package was good, just not brilliant.

There was no option to further SEO the pages and product categories so much of the business they had was kind of what they would keep.

So we have taken their website and using the logos and pictures they already has, took the information and put it in a ecommerce woo package, added some little extras and have started to add long content blog posts.

So, its now getting some 1.5k visits a week – compared to the 200 it used to get.

The key phrases we have used are also now being picked up by google and moving on up.

Originally the highest ranked keyword/phrase was ‘free draw’ – not really pet food associated.

Oh don’t worry, we will somehow get a blog post in and use that phrase and get it even better ranked – I mean, anyone who hits the site and hangs around to read things will improve the google rankings.

Let’t not forget that google now likes to rank higher those sites who attract people and keep them on it – it is defined as user happiness.

We took various products and also defined better their page titles and pictures being relevant to the product, so items such as this grain free dog food

So bearing all this in mind, does the opening title make more sense now?

So having done the website, we now move on to social media for them.  The Facebook page has been a little neglected, so having gained admin access, we are now posting on a regular basis, and testing various types of posts and times to get optimal interactions.

So far, we seem to have found that 8pm weekdays, and pictures needing captions adding seem to out perform others.

Makes for an interesting time.

Good thing we like dogs.




Are BOTS the New Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?

BOTS – Pain or Useful?bots

BOTS are nothing new, they would usually have the word google or bing in front of them, along with spiders meaning they crawl your website to see what it can offer to listings.  Over the last year though, they are becoming more and more prevalent and more people know what they are and are beginning to understand how useful they are.

You might notice one on this website – its the home page left hand side – the blue circle – if you click on it, you can schedule a physical or online meeting with me to have a chat etc.  I suppose you could call it my networking introducer bot.

This particular on is courtesy of SnatchBot – were you can take their templates and alter them to suit your wishes.

I only have one set up at the moment, but do intend putting on my Facebook page to encourage people to sign up for my newsletter.

So yes, go and search and look and see how easy they are to set up and integrate where you want them.

I think of BOTS as being your VA – Virtual Assistant – they can remind people, have set conversations and encourage various to do what you want, so with mine, you can have a chat about meetings, either online or in person, what time and date and even have it confirmed to you there and then. None of that to-ing and fro-ing trying to organise diaries.

You can use them to answer questions, set up meetings, sign up for newsletters, anything really, although the more you want it to do, be prepared to take a while mapping out the what ifs and where tos, but its actually a most rewarding activity – or it is for those of us with a tech geek bent!

Go enjoy, but if you struggle – speak to my BOT and set up an online meeting with me to go through it.


Toodles x



Is Your LinkedIn Profile Working For or Against You?

LinkedIn – and How to Work It

LinkedIn is always changing its options and how it displays your information, but do you make the most of it or do you simply add things adhoc without making the most of it?LinkedIn

How would you like to ensure your powerpoint/video/article is seen by those you wish to see it.  Well recent changes mean that you can now do this.

Using media is a great way to make you stand out from the crowd, and used well can get you those calls and emails to start the conversation to do more business.

You have the option to add media in three different places on your profile – your work summary, your education summary and at the bottom of each section.


Ok, so how do I do this and why and what type of media should I use?

If you are looking to improve your overall branding, use articles you have written, slide presentations, and links to personal blogs perhaps that further set your brand up, be it a product or yourself.

If you are after sales leads, then case studies should be used to show others how they can use your product/service to make the most for them, or a link to an events page, or sign ups to your newsletter.


To add the media, simply click on the pencil in the various places you wish it to show and scroll to the link or upload button.

I would try to stick to two articles/media files although you can certainly add more – but who said more is better – you will simply cloud the water with too many and switch off potential customers.


Another item to look at is the Skills and Endorsements section.  Its never been all that clear what it was actually for on LinkedIn, but recent improvements would suggest that LinkedIn uses this section in ranking your profile when people are searching for it, therefore, and sorry if this sounds a tad obvious – have you got the relevant skills listed that people might search for?

So to just clear this up, you can only get endorsements from 1st level connections and for skills you have actually listed.  So, to manage them, well yes you can, ensure strong skills are listed – any you feel are not relevant to your new job (they might have been relevant some years ago in a different position) – delete them.  You can also pin the skills in order, again relevance is the key word in this.

Did you know you can have 50 skills listed? No? Make the most and use it.

You can also use endorsing others skills as a means of getting their attention – again – use it wisely.

I hope these few little tips help you improve your profile, oh and can I just remind you – like everything in life – tweaking and improving will bring rewards.

If you need help with it – you know how to get in touch I would hope!


Toodles x




Is Customer Service Dead?

We go through phases in a products/services lifespan where different needs should be addressed. So we have that wonderful honeymoon phase where if all if perfect and 100%, they can do nothing wrong, you tell everyone about it/them, you can’t praise them enough. Then further down the line – and if its a product, usually a month after warranty has run out, something goes wrong, something doesn’t work or you are not happy with the information or lack of relevant to a service.  This is when good customer service should kick in.

These days, with more and more understanding how to better utilise social media and this whole internet, more business’s need to ensure they have effective and immediate response to anything that is posted online.

So, you ask, what is the point of this post?

Simple, I am presently sitting in the third phase of customer service, ie been with them a long long time, had some ups and downs, that were sorted out, but am now at the whole disillusionment phase.

So, should I worry about naming names? No, because what I state is totally true and as I sit here on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I wait to find out what is being done.

Ok so to set the scene:

I have lived at present house for some 7 years now – its at the bottom of a slope on the edge of the Pennines, and I can see the old Winter Hill tv masts and lots of others from my bedroom window.  So when I moved here, I was immediately told about the ‘dip’ ie some 4 houses that get irregular signals for both tv and mobile network, but being mid contract at the time with Vodafone, decided to play wait and see, and for my TV, we had Sky installed as it worked whereas aerials needed to be rather too high off the top of the house to work all the time.  Shucks, I had to have Sky sports – such hardship!

So, as there were at that time some 5 of us on Vodafone, we soon got used to sitting at the top of the stairs or in your bedrooms to use them – no major hardship, at least we got to stay in the house.  Why mention the last bit? Wait and read on!

So renewal came round and I did, as after all I had been with them since 2000 – at it was by now 2010 – so 10 years, stuck with Vodafone as they were good elsewhere and had excellent customer service in that you could speak to people immediately, if you had issues, they rang you back or if I needed to speak on social media – gave me further contact details.  All in all, I was happy.

Every so often would ring up and ask if they were thinking of adding an aerial nearby and was given some helpful tips re airplane mode, and altering the network I was using etc and these worked over the years.

So we now reach the crux of the story – the last two weeks.

Wow, what to say about them, sheer hell and torture would be about the level I would aim for.

I kept receiving phone calls and making them from home, and with no particular pattern, some time in to the call, it would go dead.  The person on the other end could hear me, but I could hear nothing, so I thought it was the phone itself and took it to the local shop who sent it away to be repaired.  They kindly issued me with a replacement loan phone and I thought fantastic – they are good!

So I get home, head upstairs – as my office is there to enable me to make calls without needing to run up and down the stairs, I get a call, and bingo yes you guessed it – its happening again.  Good thing the window was shut.

So son no 2 comes home and rings his sister – it happens to him 3 times!! He has one of those wonderful apple phones.  So by now then thats 3x phones with the same fault – so I contact Vodafone via my landline, and go through it all – to be told a case would be opened.  As I forgot to ask what would happen next, I ring back two days later to be told no case was open but that they would.

So I sit and wait, and go and pick up the poor samsung I had sent back – for no reason – to find out they had forgotten to give me back my battery – so not only can’t I make phone calls from home, I now can’t make phone calls anywhere as I have to wait for my battery to be delivered.

I even give the old twitter @vodafoneUKhelp account a mention that I am more than a tad frustrated to just get the same old same old – head to some forum and post up the details.

Sorry @vodafoneUKhelp I don’t want to join up a forum to post up the details to then sit and wait, I want to speak to someone who can tell me what is going on.  I am of the age that I want to be able to ask questions and get answers there and then, I want immediate response as I am now very very unhappy customer.

So yesterday afternoon, I rang up, again on my landline – note this is costing me money Vodafone! – and went through to cancellations – I mean yes a mobile phone means you can take it anywhere, but if I want to use it at home, I can’t, I have to jump in my car and park up the road – so the word mobile, really is mobile.

Anyhow, I digress, I spoke to the most helpful individual for some time.  He couldn’t help me enough.  He kept going away and asking questions and then ringing me back, and eventually has escalated it as high as possible, however, I still have no time scale as to when it will be sorted.

So kudos to him for taking on ownership of the issue and trying to get it sorted, but Vodafone, let me explain how another mobile company handled it.

Work mobile is with O2 – they were contacted and explained re dip and bad signal – they immediately sent out a booster box free of charge, plugged it in and it worked each and every time.

See the difference? Vodafone gets pages of space and venom, O2 gets two lines and my utmost respect and gratitude for being straight to the point.

So Vodafone, after 16 years with you, when I have had 6 phones on the go at one time, one business phone, one dongle and spent too much money, whats your next step?

Do I get to post a footnote expressing my delight the matter is sorted or do I have to carry on not being able to use them whilst living at this address? Balls in your court.



Twitter is on the Decline!

We are told twitter is on the decline – is it?

Engagement with all social media is being slowly eroded.

On twitter for example, I am guilty recently of joining in and forgetting one of the concepts of the thing – ie its supposed to be social.

I have gotten lazy and when I read an article whilst travelling on a train or sitting around killing time, I don’t use my evernote anymore – it seriously needs a good clean up and tidy out, instead I simply tweet it, knowing its in my list of tweets so when at my pc or laptop I can then go through and read it thoroughly.

This of course is not what twitter is about.

I see others as well on there, trying to make themselves an ‘expert’ in a field, so simply send out half a dozen articles to send traffic to their website, forget the whole, landing page thing, ie why send people to your site if there is not an end goal? Sorry, I digress, so as a result of laziness on my part and also not practicing what I preach, I am noticing that there are no ‘conversations’ anymore.

Is this then indicative of all social media? Have we, having found it useful, now forgotten what its all about?

Have you even thought about taking a step back and if using it as part of your marketing mix – do you even have a strategy for it?

So a few things to think about then:

  • Why are you on twitter?
  • What do you hope to gain from it? Traffic? Conversions? Customer Service?
  • Have you got something of interest to others to offer?
  • Is your potential clientele on twitter?
  • How much time do you waste on it?
  • Do you simply tweet and not engage?

Just remember, if you are using it for marketing, its all about having the right product, in the right place, at the price price and right time.  So knowing this, have you answered those questions re twitter for a marketing tool?


Twitter Changes Over the Years

When I was but a young whippasnapper someone told me about this site called twitter where you could read short comments that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but being a sheep back then, I signed up and set up a profile.

Then I promptly forgot about it!!

The phrase ‘social media’ was not even invented back then ….. do I sound like your grandma yet?twitter changes

Most of the things I love about twitter though is what I have found out for myself.  Got to love the improvements recently.

Twitter analytics  being one of my favourite.

Did you know that you could see how your tweets were doing? Who had clicked on them? Top followers, top tweets, and so on.

But, have you used twitter cards yet? If you have access to your website, you embed some code and then you can then include information, be it a sign up form, be it contact details, be it new products – so they appear in your tweet and your lovely followers can go direct from there, after seeing it to purchase/contact/sign up.  Pictures have a proven click through better than mere words alone.

Then we come to twitter ads … thought about them?

Oh and lets not forget that you can now add video to your tweets – will admit when they started this with facebook, and it was an automatic start when you scrolled passed them – it got my goat – but like all things new, you get used to it.  So anyone out there added video content yet?Any good click throughs?

Now if this was going to be an article all about how to use twitter, I could then go on about the various dashboards you could use, or the various other tools they have come up with but this whole post is just about twitter itself and the developments that are progressing.

I suppose I should mention the latest one – ie turn 149 character in to thousands – now this one could be a step too far for me at the moment – being old you see, means I have to take time to get used to technology!!




Cashflow is King

Its scary the amount of new business’s I come in to contact with who honestly have no idea of how much money they are making, haven’t they heard cashflow is king!

Very scary!!!

They have a diary in which they write down their takings, or a quick spreadsheet which lists ‘some’ figures.

If you mention the scary words of ‘break even figure’ they just stare blankly at you.

Ok so lets just forget its a business we are running – do you look after your own accounts like that and constantly pay charges to the bank? Ok so some might – its at this point I would scream out for them to get immediate help if they wish to be in business for any length of time – but for those that do know whats happening in their personal accounts, why do you not know whats happening in your business?

Its not difficult – there is a myriad of online accounts software, both free and paid for that helps you do the most basic of of accounts. You can run off reports each week and check, you can even get your bank account to automatically feed in to it, thus giving you totally up to date figures.

But if you are really not that interested or are scared, you have some options – get a bookkeeper to do it for you, or take a course and find out how it all works.

End of the day, its your business, your life, you need to assert control over what is happening, money in and out, so yes cashflow is king.

End of rant!!



Work Life Balance

Have you manged to work out work life balance yet?

If so, let me in to the secret.

I was at  The Business Growth Hub Mentoring Dinner last week, sat among some very knowledgeable people, when one of them asked me why I was so conscientious.

Work ethic was my reply – I work until something has been done to my satisfaction, and that I didn’t stand fools glady either – yes I know, I need to be more tolerant.

So the next question was, why was my work ethic so important to me – now that seemed obvious to me, but I explained it.

First of all, necessity, as in being sole provider for three brats meaning no one else was going to put food on the table, but secondly was also pride.  I take pride in my work, my ability and also liked to ensure I did what was asked of me.

Again, to me, this was simple to understand and follow through.

Again, I need to understand though, that others don’t always feel this way and that perhaps they have other things they consider more important, and that they are not actually lazy (its the first excuse I think of for them!) just have different priorities.

So, anyone out there who knows how to achieve work life balance, it might be me that needs to listen out to something else.




Have you heard of periscope? Have you dabbled with it? Downloaded it?

I have, yes and yes.

So periscope then, its a live streaming platform that lets you interact with your viewers as and when.  If you are liked they touch the screen to give you hearts (likes) and the more you have the more featured you will appear in the general lists.

So then, who is using it and for what?

You get exhibitionists who appear to be using it for no other reason that to let you watch them sleep – yep, you read right, sleep!

You then get various sports stars who use it to take you behind the scenes – and its good!

You get people trying to tell you how to use it or how to use social media – and some of them are good – but few and far between at the moment.

You also get various letting you join in on some event that you are not actually at – which is helpful, or you get various who let you in on their meetings.

Its all a little big brotherish though.  I am sure it will happen soon, that you will get someone showing some very confidential moment on it.

On the whole though, when used with caution, its going to be a handy tool in the arsenal when promoting something or reinforcing brand.



Marketing Plans

I have often heard that a marketing plan is something you need to have in your business plan …. what utter tosh!

Your business plan can make reference to it but the details needed for a marketing plan would surely bulk out the business plan so much that no one would ever pick the dammed thing up!

A marketing plan simply needs to ask certain questions and then provide answers.

So, firstly define your target market – who are they, where are they, and how do I get to them, then the rest just follows on from that.

So you are clock shop – do you have a physical shop or is it online? What ages are you appealing to? It is children (ie their parents), old world ones, modern ones, novelty ones?  All these things need to be considered.

So having defined who you want to attract – where are they to be found? Do they sit on parents forums? Facebook? Clock forums? Pages?

What is the best way of getting their attention?

So simple really!

Oh and one thing to remember – just because you know about the goods/service – doesn’t mean your target market will – remember – go ask someone to test your answers that doesn’t know much.

Have fun with your marketing plans!

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