For small business owners claiming business on running costs can be a useful way of subsidising expenditure and injecting cash flow.
This process involves businesses paying tax on their profits, and removing the cost of expenses from the final amount paid.
Moreover, knowledge of possible deductions can help give SMEs a better chance of survival through different avenues. But what is it possible to claim for?
Loans and Overdrafts:
Smaller organisations aiming to save money on their tax bills ought to bear in mind that interest incurred on overdrawn business loans and bank accounts is typically deductible. Therefore, as a general rule of thumb it's advisable to utilise company funds rather than borrowing money personally.
It's also worth noting that it's possible to receive tax relief for pension contribution, up to the corresponding contribution limit in certain instances pension contributions are made by the business on behalf of their employees. However, contributions can also be made as an individual, a sole trader or partner.
Furthermore, this tax relief also extends to any family members working within the business.
Thirdly, partners and sole traders are able to claim a percentage of the cost of driving their cars, applicable running costs include fuel, insurance, road tax, repairs, and maintenance. The proportion of costs that entrepreneurs are able to reclaim is determined by business mileage on a pro-rata basis: commuting to work does not qualify as a business journey.
Similarly, most small businesses are able to claim capital allowances on new vehicles bought within the accounting period, and the amount of capital allowance an individual is eligible for is determined by the proportion of business use the vehicle gets.
Furthermore, new cars receive one year's allowance the year they're bought, for that reason there are tax benefits to regularly changing cars.
Travel and Subsistence:
In the event that business duties take entrepreneurs further afield, all costs incurred as a result of subsistence, work, or travelling are allowable, and what's more is that these expenses are undisclosed to HMRC. For instance, if a job requires journeying abroad, both the cost of getting first class flights and traveling by ferry would both be fully allowable, therefore it's possible to save money on an equivalent service rendered abroad when compared to those at home.
Working from Home:
It's quite common for small business owners to work from home, whether that's the business headquarters or just the occasional admin task. In any event, it’s possible to claim a proportion of their household bills such as council tax, utilities and other expenses from HMRC, the amount each individual is entitled to is decided by the size of the property and how much business use it gets.
Sole traders and business partners are able to reclaim costs incurred as a result of business calls made on private landlines or mobile phones. In addition: directors and shareholders can do the same for calls made from home phones. It's also possible for small business proprietors who have a phone used solely for business purposes to claim line rental as well. Furthermore, it's possible to forgo any benefit in kind (BIK) contributions, for being given a company phone by an employer.
Decoration & Refurbishment:
Another useful tax deduction that small businesses can make use of pertains to redecorating areas of your business space that are visible to the clients, customers and the public. This can apply to anything from paint and tools to furniture, paintings and antiques, but it's also worth noting that in order to claim this relief business owners must make a case justifying their expenditure and receipt of this relief is at HMRCs discretion.
Finally, the cost of staff parties and other forms of team entertainment are typically deductible, this normally applies to annual dinners and Christmas parties. Moreover, there will not be any BIK for personnel in regard to business events as long as the cost of the event does not exceed £150 per person.
For more information on how to save money in your small business, visit Cottons Accountants.
Growing your business is exciting. You and your team strived to reach this stage with hard work and determination. Even if you're happy with the current state of your business, you should keep looking for ways to develop. The secret is being prepared.
In this article, Amy Roberts, senior business development manager at Spotcap, provides us insight on what entrepreneurs should consider before embarking on the journey.
Understand your business environment
The first step to take is asking yourself a series of questions. Is there an increased demand for your product or service? How much additional funding will you need? Do you have a plan on how to spend it? Honest answers can help you make a realistic decision on whether it’s the right time to grow.
Once you’ve decided to take this next step for your business, getting to know the ins and outs of your company and competitors becomes essential. Take the time to research and get a good grasp of the industry or environment you operate in. A good practical step to start with is a SWOT analysis, where you look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Let’s break it down into smaller steps:
Thinking about these factors will make it easier to put together a clear step-by-step strategy. And don’t forget that circumstances and your business environment can change at any time, which is where a contingency plan will help you prepare for unexpected events.
Find the funding that’s right for you
Securing finance is the next crucial step – one which might seem daunting if you don’t know what’s right for you. Beside traditional loans and grants, there is a myriad of financial products that are designed to meet different types of business needs: online business lending, asset-based lending, crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending.
Some growth opportunities will need more funding than others. For example, if a customer commissions a larger than expected order, you might require a loan quickly to bridge additional expenses in the short-term. In this case, it would be best to turn to alternative funding products, such as business lines of credit, invoice financing or merchant cash advances. If, however, you plan to make a large-scale investment like purchasing new property, then a traditional, long-term business loan would more appropriately fit your needs.
Having a good understanding of your business plays well into this step. Once you’ve determined what your goals and needs are, you’ll be able to decide on the most fitting product. There are many resources available online, but don’t forget – you can always ask for advice, be it from your accountant or a financial adviser.
Prepare your staff
Growth applies considerable pressure on every part of your business, most noticeably on your team. When you plan to scale up, you also need to consider the impact this will have on your employees. Rapid growth might look like a sign of success, but it also has the potential to create a high pressure environment, resulting in burnout.
To counteract the added demand, you should begin recruiting before you begin to scale. Alternatively, consider temporarily outsourcing tasks by hiring a freelancer. You don’t want to set out to grow, only to end up losing your employees in the process due to too much stress.
Victor, a marketer from London, confirms that this can easily become the case: "I worked for a company that was growing rapidly. Our number of users doubled but our team stayed the same size. After six months of working 12 hour days, a third of us resigned."
Use Technology to help you
Admin can be time-consuming, burdensome and not at all inspiring. But it’s necessary – without a robust back office, a growing business risks dealing with unnecessary setbacks further down the line.
The good news is that technology can help automate a large portion of administrative responsibilities, like book keeping, invoicing and HR. You can also make it easier to manage your business while travelling - why not integrate a digital solution for document signing and management, or an online platform that organises all your payments and invoices? The right software can allow you and your staff to invest more time where it really matters.
Go with your own timeline
Growing your business doesn’t need to be a short and fast process. Rushing through changes can damage your performance and negatively impact your bottom line. You should choose a pace that fits your specific situation, allowing you to respond to changes and deal with additional workload. This way you can manage expectations more effectively and prepare for increase in pressure from customers, suppliers and employees.
In the end, much like entrepreneurship, scaling is about calculating risk and preparing. Make sure you and your staff are ready to take on this new challenge, and you’ll be able to keep your business moving forward!
Amy Roberts is a senior business development manager with Spotcap. Her focus is on adopting growth opportunities that allow Spotcap to provide UK SMEs with tailored finance.
If you'd be interested in guest-blogging for Small Business Advice Week, send a proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org
In the last 20 years the use of mobile devices has grown rapidly across the world, so it’s no surprise that people choose to connect with a business through this medium. Nowadays, we use our phones to research services, search for business, and choose which things we wish to buy. Even though phones can now do more than ever, the mobile phone is a device built with calls in mind with 75% of consumers considering phone calls to be the fastest way to receive a response from a business.
According to BIA/Kelsey (a leading marketing data and research company): mobile search will generate 73 billion calls to businesses in 2018, up from 30 billion in 2013. It’s clear that companies who open up their telephone lines as a touchpoint have a competitive advantage over those who don’t. This tremendous rise in phone call communication gives many businesses a greater opportunity to increase inbound call conversion rates. Ignoring the significance of phone calls could be depriving businesses of valuable insight and data into their customers’ sales journey. So encourage website visitors to make that all important call to your business and discover how to convert those calls into business.
The Untapped Potential
You can generate more interest by engaging with your customer over the telephone than through any other medium. People who initiate inbound calls are on average more likely to convert 30% faster and spend 28% more. However despite this potential, some businesses do not clearly display a phone number on their website and many are unaware of which marketing campaigns are driving consumers to call. Ensure these 5 steps are implemented in your marketing strategy to drive the growth of your inbound calls:
1)Call to Actions (CTAs) - Ensure you make your main CTA a phone number as this can significantly influence your conversion rate when it is the main focal point of your website.
2)Provide a Local Number – A local phone number can make your business seem more trustworthy than a generic 0345 or 0800 number and encourage more calls.
3)Display your Availability – Whether that’s providing opening business times to call or an icon to show ‘Phone Us Now’ to prompt a call and overcome possible hesitation.
4)Offer a Call-back Request Option – Greatly improve the customer experience by providing customers the option for a call back request – a win-win situation for both parties
5)Define your Return on Investment (ROI) – Call tracking is a key element if you want to profitably grow your business. With call tracking you can calculate a more definite ROI with instant access to the overall performance of your individual marketing channels. By integrating call tracking from Mediahawk, your business can identify which of these channels, campaigns or ads are generating phone call conversions. Without clearly measuring your ROI, you are uncertain which marketing campaign is responsible for generating phone calls and what is working successfully.
With a strong marketing strategy in place to drive your inbound calls, you are generating high quality leads to your business. A study by Google states 61% of mobile users call a business when they are in the purchase phase of the buying cycle. Discovering what exactly takes place when a call converts is the key to increasing your conversation rates, growing your business and reputation.
Take a look at the 8 things happen on calls that successfully convert:
Identify how to fulfill the customer's needs more clearly by asking open-ended questions to gain meaningful insight and engagement from the caller.
The caller shows appreciation for the support of the agent, uses words or phrases to compliment the service or product. This happens both ways as the agent is able to compliment the business, products and services during the call providing reassurance to the caller.
The agent proves a positive representation of the business through speaking with clearly, slowly, and with a high level of professionalism, which leaves callers with a favourable impression.
4.Consideration of the Other
The caller uses words, phrases and speaks politely to the agent – there is a mutual respect and consideration of one another during the call and conversation. This builds rapport.
5.Agent to Expert
The caller engages in further questions and enquires about a product or service during the call – the agent then proves their expertise of the business.
The agent stays with the caller throughout the duration of the call rather than passing to multiple agents. The agent shows good communication skills through a combination of using ownership language and an equal dedication to effective listening. The agent uses phrases that take responsibility for the caller’s demands such as ‘I can assist you with that’ and ‘what I shall do for you now is…’
7.Personal Detail is Given
The caller states their name to the agent, gives their phone number, or provides their personal address during the phone call.
8.Ask for the Sale
Asking the caller ‘are you ready to purchase?’ The caller has taken time to call due to their interest in the product or service however the call has not converted until the agent confidently asks for the sale, and moves it through to the next level.
A business is only as good as the tools it uses. And thanks to technology, there are more tools out there than ever before to help businesses with productivity, accounting, organisation, anything that is crucial to a business’ survival. Small Businesses especially cannot afford to use anything second-rate, so Small Business Advice Week looked at what we, our partners, and other businesses use to stay on top. We’ve put together a list of five apps, platforms, and websites that can help you get faster, better results.
Trello is a team management and task planning system that makes it easy for any business to keep track of who’s doing what, and when. Its simple interface and layout mean anyone can use it: a truly modern to-do list for the 21st century. Make plans, amends, and see how things are progressing at any stage or section of your business.
A plug-in that scans websites to determine their domain authority (DA), Moz provides an invaluable service in telling you how your website is being viewed by Google and other search engines. If you don’t know what that means, or don’t think it matters, you need Moz. If your DA isn’t strong, and if it isn’t growing, you will suffer as a business. You cannot be an offline business anymore. A strong online presence is one of the best indicators that your business is stable, viable, and connected.
Accounting is complicated, important, and expensive. A mistake can be costly, potentially damaging, costing you time and money. Trying to do it on your own will mean working longer hours, less sleep, and more stress. Keep track of expenses, send invoices, and manage your cashflow in a sustainable way. With helpful graphs and visual aids to illustrate how your money is coming and going, QuickBooks' software makes accounting simple, meaning you have more time to focus on your business.
A smart platform for team messaging that is entirely focused on a positive user experience by a large group of disparate people, Slack allows for seamless communication without the hassle of other messaging systems. You can also share files through Slack, meaning you can work on something together and talk about it at the same time.
Hootsuite allows to co-ordinate, plan, and stagger your social media posts for optimum traffic times, giving you a higher degree of control over what you can post and when. Its easy-to-use dashboard lets you see how your account is doing, and the premium version gives you analytics to implement a serious plan to grow your base, get more followers, and become a social media juggernaut, which can help generate business, and build your profile in the eyes of the public.
Small Business Advice Week wants to help SMEs become the best businesses they can be. If your company provides services that streamline the business process, help people get organised, or can make SME’s lives easier, you could be a partner for Small Business Advice Week 2018.
In this article, Steve King, director of Gifts International, shares the three things you need to start doing today to if you want to improve your client and employee relations.
Keep your staff and clients happy and success is sure to follow. Of course, this is a lot easier said than done — there would be a lot more Richard Bransons walking around if the subtle art of human psychology was easy to master.
That being said, there's plenty you can start doing today that will put a smile on your staff and clients' faces and help keep your business running smoothly. Read on for my three top tips for building stronger bonds with the people who are essential to your business.
Give Your Staff Autonomy
Research has uncovered 11 key factors that affect employee wellbeing, which Acas reveals in its guide to improving workplace wellbeing. At the top of this list is autonomy — the freedom to perform your job the way that works best for you.
If you want to keep staff happy in the long run, avoid being overly prescriptive with your company processes. Instead, give your staff plenty of discretion when it comes to how they achieve the results you demand of them and they're sure to be happier and more productive as a result.
This is sure to keep clients happy as well, as this company culture will encourage your staff to be proactive in solving your customers' problems. Your clients will appreciate working with a company that doesn't need to run every little decision down the chain of command, helping to build a strong relationship with them that is sure to last.
Another key contributor to the all-important feeling of autonomy is having some kind of say in the big-picture organisational decisions. While it would be a mistake to get every last member of staff involved in high-level decisions, your team will tend to be happier if you give them a say in decisions that directly affect them. For example, getting their opinion on new protocols and processes they'll be expected to follow will let them know you value their opinion and want to provide them with the autonomy they need to excel in their role.
Lean workspaces devoid of any warmth or personality can seriously affect your staff's wellbeing and productivity, new research suggests. In fact, a study by psychologist Dr Craig Knight revealed that enriching a sparse office with houseplants increased employee wellbeing by a massive 47%, creativity by 45%, and productivity by 38%.
So: fill your office with houseplants for a simple and affordable way to make your staff happier and more productive. Pick your plants from the Telegraph's roundup of the best houseplants to clean the air and your office greenery will also help reduce illness throughout your company too, making them well worth the investment. Just make sure there's at least one plant in each employees' eyeline so everyone feels the benefit.
Nothing quite puts a smile on an employees or client's face like a thoughtful gift. The little things really do make a big difference, and marking Christmas and birthdays with a bottle of their favourite tipple or a beautiful bunch of flowers is the perfect way to show you value your relationship.
If you want to show your clients you see them as more than just a monthly paycheque, send them a considerate gift to mark each anniversary of your relationship together. No matter what business you're in, this kind of attentiveness is going to put you in good stead with your clients.
Gifts are a great way to show your staff you care too. Whether it's at Christmas, their anniversary in the role, or as a reward for some particularly great work, a little something can show your staff you care and really increase their pride in their work.
Keeping every one of your employees and clients happy is no easy task, but following these three tips will get you well on the way to building strong bonds with the people that make your business tick.
Follow Gifts International on Twitter for more gift inspiration, and follow @SmallBizAdvWeek for more business tips.
The world of small business is becoming increasingly turbulent, with more small businesses being created every day and only 80% of them surviving past the first year. Small Business Advice Week wants to help them succeed, and one of the best ways to do that is to constantly analyse what you are doing and what is working.
When you know for sure which methods are bringing in consistent revenue, you can expand on those methods, or restructure your resources to better focus on what you know is working. The only way this can be done is by consistent analysis: measuring what you’re doing and using your data to see how you are truly performing as a business.
This analysis will result in a considerable amount of data that needs to be refined into an easy-to-understand action plan, but that can take time, resources and money you may not have.
However, the 9 Spokes smart dashboard gathers just the key data from your business apps and brings it into one place through easy to understand visuals, or widgets, that you can digest quickly. There’s no arduous sign-up process of tedious data entry for hours before you can start to see results. The 9 Spokes business dashboard allows you to sync up the cloud apps and software you’re already using, so you can get started right away, as well as get the recommended apps for your industry.
The immediate benefit is saving time, something small businesses can never have enough of. But you can also gain more certainty that is hard to come by when trends are constantly shifting due to new trends, social media fads and changing markets.
Focus is something many SME owners are desperately seeking in a world that has so many distractions. Knowing where you’re going and why is invaluable, and will reassure you when things don’t seem to make sense. Many business leaders say they rely on intuition or ‘gut feeling.’ But numbers show how you’ve grown, and how you’re growing. They show trends, patterns, and can predict the future, if you know how to use them. 9 Spokes can do all of this for you, so you can get your business into the best possible position it can be in for the next day, year, or decade.
Alex from World of Cycles, a bike shop in Dundee, uses 9 Spokes’ free cloud-based platform to create a single view of its key metrics. It allows him to plug in his apps like eCommerce system Shopify, retail management software Vend, Facebook and Twitter for social, and accounting software Quickbooks, among others. This means he can immediately see the key health check metrics like sales staff performance and the performance of marketing campaigns in one place.
“Before setting up 9 Spokes, the day-to-day running of the business sounded quite disjointed. Software was available, but there was nothing that brought it all into the same space. Before that we wouldn’t know what the most popular item was, how staff were performing or what we had sold week by week.
“It’s made us more profitable because we can see what our most important products are and what’s performing well, so that we can only have our most important products in the store,” says Alex.
You’re only as good as the tools you have, and 9 Spokes is both a tool, tool-box, and tool catalogue, giving you everything you need in one place. You can customise your own dashboard to see the metrics only you want to view, so 9 Spokes can give you deeper insight across your financial and non-financial areas of your business.
This is why Small Business Advice Week has partnered with 9 Spokes, because it provides small businesses with a degree of knowledge and focus that can give them a clear understanding of where they are and where they’re going.
Having everything in one place gives you more clarity and control over your business, which is something you can’t afford to turn down. Best of all, 9 Spokes is completely free to join, no credit cards details required! Get your own dashboard free here by joining at https://www.9spokes.com/.
It’s no secret that first impressions are critical in business, if your company makes a visual impact straight away you’re more likely to be seen as professional, reliable, and credible. This can be achieved through strong logo design, the use of white space on either a business card or website, even the font can change how you’re perceived. Visual appeal can be assessed within about 50 milliseconds, so it is imperative that your design is flawless, or you will lose out.
‘Design is thinking made visual.’ – Saul Bass
This Small Business Advice Week, take a look at your choice of design themes, and if they aren’t working for you, consider giving them an overhaul. Here are five areas that might need some attention:
The logo is the face of your company, that can say more about your company than you can. Having an instantly recognisable symbol that people link to you means that you have made an impact in their lives. Your logo is your business, it is a visual stamp that will be on everything you do. Make sure it’s a good one.
A bold colour scheme helps set you apart from the crowd and will make more memorable and recognisable. This stretches across all elements of your branding: your logo, business card, website, any merchandise you may have. Keep it consistent, if you mix and match it lessens the impact and could confuse potential customers.
Fonts can help build your brand in small ways. It’s not just the words, it’s the way the words look. This can dictate the tone of your business, building gravitas and class through the use of a traditional script, or taking a bolder modern approach.
Use of Space
It can be tempting to cram as much information about your business into every space you own. You want people to know about you, to know what you do, and to understand what makes you better than your competitors. But if you’re not careful, you’ll end up with messy or confusing layouts that don’t effectively communicate what you want them to. Overloading your customers with information will annoy them, and will send them running to the next company.
When utilised correctly, space can be calming, directing people’s eyes where you want them to go, letting them move through what you’re showing them at their own pace.
No matter what content you’re putting out: blogs, videos, motion graphics, infographics, it all relies of graphic design. It should be the foundation of everything you do, the style informs and accentuates the content. There is always a way to make something look better.
If any of this has made you pause and re-appraise your business’ design, consider hiring a graphic designer. Amateurish design will kill interest in you almost immediately, good design will make people stop and take notice.
Let us know what crucial design choice changed your business for the better @SmallBizAdvWeek
In the world we live in today, to some extent all businesses are online businesses. They have to be. If you don’t have an online presence, for all intents and purposes, you don’t exist.
One of the best ways to build that presence and start gaining attention is to set up a blog. It should be about your sector, not necessarily just about you. People want to read about things that they can use, if you can provide insight into your industry or the world of business, people will be interested. If all you write about is yourself, they won’t be.
Blogs should be helpful, interesting, and tackle an issue that your customers regularly face. They can be tactically filled with your key SEO terms to boost your ranking while also cementing you as a reliable presence that serves a definite purpose. Check out our other blog post if you’re wondering what SEO is.
If you get people going back to your site consistently, it will cement you as a credible source of information, and that will benefit you immeasurably.
The content itself should be engaging, focused on something that you know is of interest to your customers or others in your field. A post about how to solve a specific problem, or one that analyses an issue you regularly face will not only be interesting, it will present you as a company that understands the needs of its audience.
Besides SEO and building credibility, blogging also allows you to directly engage with your audience via social media and sharing. If you write a blog that people find useful, they’ll share it, which is not only good for your exposure, it also doubles as an endorsement of you and your services. People are more likely to trust and use a business if it has been recommended by a friend, which is what sharing is tantamount to in the digital age.
By presenting yourself as an expert, what you are offering your readers is your knowledge, that is the product that your blog is selling, which in turn sells your business. Making a name for yourself is difficult, but the only way to do it is to start making content that people can use. Once you’ve built up a body of work, you effectively have a large resource of free knowledge to offer you customers and visitors. This is impressive, and commands an air of authority that cannot be bought or manufactured out of thin air.
Lastly, it will allow you to research your own industry and gain a greater perspective of where you are in relation to your competitors. Having a deeper understanding of the field helps you understand why your business works the way it does, and how it could work better. Blogging gives you the freedom to think about your work in an abstract way, and can potentially give you an epiphany by stimulating you in ways your normal workload can’t.
So this Small Business Advice Week, if you don’t have a blog on your website yet, set one up today. You won’t regret it.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It’s a process where you tweak minor things on your website in order to increase your visibility when people search for your sector. Essentially, the higher you rank on a search engine, the better your business appears to your customers.
If you appear on the first page of Google for example, you are far more likely to get visited, and therefore more likely to turn that visitor into a client. If your business is the first up on Google for a given search query, that means you are indisputably credible, reliable, and ready to help that customer with whatever problem they have.
This establishes you as a leading brand, putting you literally above the rest, giving you the best possible platform to spread your messages from.
SEO is something you can work on in small chunks regularly, and will improve how you appear online. But it takes time. If you want a quick fix, this isn’t it.
That being said, there are a handful of relatively simple ways you can improve your ranking in search engines just by changing how your website appears to the bots (pieces of code that trawl the web every time a search is made) that can have a big impact.
However, it is important to remember that this system should not abused – search engine companies are fully aware of how people attempt to manipulate SEO systems beyond what is necessary: if you spam their bots with unnecessary or untruthful content, they will penalise or even drop you from the engine entirely. There are right ways and wrong ways to go about this process. The most important thing to remember is that the bots want to help the customers connect to you. Their job is to find what the customers want –what you provide- and show it to them. If you make that process easier or faster, the system rewards you. If you play the game without cheating, you can win, and win big.
SEO takes a long time to come into effect. Don’t expect results overnight. You should set some measurable goals in a reasonable, achievable time frame. Do you want to increase your traffic? Your leads? Your conversions? Of course, ideally, you’ll get all of these. But depending on where you are with your business, different things may be better for you than others, and you need to prioritise the things that will benefit you the most.
If you’re just starting out, you need to start getting paying clients, so you may want to have generated six clients in six months through your website. If you’re established, you need to maintain brand awareness, so you might want to double your site visits in a year. So put yourself on a time line, set specific, measurable goals, and get on it. If you don’t have analytics set up on your pages, that’s step one.
Google analytics is a service that tracks how many visits your site gets, and can be configured to show you where those visits come from, so is a must for any business.
Once you’ve got analytics set up, it’s crucial to use it. If you aren’t understanding how and why what you’re doing is working, you aren’t really succeeding. You’re just being lucky. So watch where your leads come from, and how many you convert from visitor to customer. Once you understand what works and what doesn’t, you can double down on the things that are getting you business, and change the things that aren’t.
Your goals need to push you, but make sure they’re realistic. Adapt them over time, tweaking them as the needs of your business change.
What To Do:
First, look at the title of your website. Does it have your company name? Does it have a brief description of what you do? And does it appear when you hover over your browser tab? What you want is a little box to appear when you point your mouse on the top of your internet window with that information in, that is what the bots scan to find out what you website is about. It’s called a meta-title. You can set it in the page settings of your web-building platform.
If you include things irrelevant to your customers or your business, you won’t rank as highly. Likewise, if you include dozens and dozens of works that are technically relevant but don’t make sense, you’ll be bumped down the list.
The main thing to keep in mind is that while you’re trying to appease pieces of code, those same robots are designed around helping to create a smoother experience for its users. So if you focus on making your visitors happy, you’ll make the bots happy, and they’ll move you up the search list. That’s a win-win-win.
The next most important thing to focus on is the actual content on your pages. The bots will scan every word on your site, so it’s important to maintain a consistent amount of key word mentions for whatever you want to be found for. Again, it’s crucial to strike a balance between a good level of what you’re aiming for, and not overloading the bots to such a degree that your page becomes a minefield of repetitions.
To do that, imagine you’re a customer who has just found your page. Write it for your ideal customer, someone who has the exact problem you solve. What are their complaints, their frustrations? How can you help?
It’s important to consider who actually goes on your site, and who you’re trying to attract. There are many different type of content you can put up, all of which will help present you as a credible business, while engaging the visitors. Blogs, videos, infographics and pictures, and FAQS can all be informative or entertaining, can all be shareable, and can all be useful to you no matter what business you’re in. Tailor your content to who you want to target. They’ll appreciate you far more, and will be more likely to use you.
You should also use links to establish credibility, and make your site more versatile and accessible.
One: It might help your customers better understand your topic, providing them with some key information. Anything you think might help your customers is a good thing to provide them.
Two: It boosts your SEO. Links to and from your site all increases your validity in the eyes of search engines, so include some in relevant places for valid reasons, and you’ll be climbing the ladder without having to do any work, and helping your customers at the same time. If you’re lucky (or if you ask nicely), some of the sites you link to might even link to YOU on their sites, so get networking.
It's more important than ever to make sure your business is seen first. SEO can help you appear in front of a massive audience, and will immediately give you credibility before you've even been clicked on.