Tuesday, 6 August 2013

3 Steps to Start Your Business with Google Places

Author: Wasim Ismail

 From all over the world, people search for businesses on Google by the millions if not billions each day. Your business will benefit from Google Places for Business when they search for your business or locale by having your contact information available at their fingertips.
Just how do you start to set-up your enterprise in Google Places for Business? Whether you are a purely offline business or otherwise, it is in your best interest to have your company on the Google search-scape.

You should check out if Google has already an existing listing for your business, as there are a number of possible searches made for your business already. But if it’s not yet available in the listing, you can simple create a new business listing.

Here are the three steps to get your business up to speed with Google Places:

First is to login with your Google Account at Google Places for Business.

Your Google account can serve you for so many ways and here you should link your account to your business. If it is the first time that you have logged into Google Places, you will be prompted to provide your country of business and business phone.

Secondly, click on Add new business or Find Your Business.

Remember that you have to provide valid and real information such as a physical address for you to appear in Google Places. Otherwise, you might end up violating the guidelines for use of Google Places for Business. Everything you enter should be as accurate as possible for Google to verify the information that you enter.
If there is already information about your business in Google, you can edit the details and provide exact details for customers to reach you and go to your place of business. You can include your operating hours, accepted modes of payment as well as pictures and videos providing further details about your business.

And lastly, verify your list and click Finish.

Finally, when you have completely and accurately filled up the Google Places for Business basic information fields, you can select the method how you can verify your business. You can select from an automated phone call or a text message or even in postcard send to your business location.
When you have verified your business, you can then see your local business listing live on Google by signing into your Google Places account and clicking on “See your listing on Google.” You can view your listing as seen by users.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Put Business Pinterest Analytics to Work

Author : 

Have you ever wondered how your business website’s images are engaging your visitors? Having several images on your website does not truly guarantee that you will keep your visitors engaged and kept on your page even with all those social media buttons. You can place these tools all you like, but how do you really know which of these are your best and charming website element? Knowing which is which can enhance and further place great emphasis and attention to your business.

Placing pictures to entice and fascinate your visitors can leave more to be desired; like hanging pictures of your products on the hallway of your office or even photos placed on brochures and advertisements – but how do you know which of these pictures take the eye of your clients?

Good thing we have Pinterest Web Analytics to help us out. Now with Pinterest for your website you can showcase your products and services and have a measure for your business.

How do you activate your business pinterest web analytics?

It only takes a few easy steps to get your business on pinterest up to speed. Be sure to have your pinterest for business account ready and verify first your website. Verifying your website shows you are a trustworthy source to other pinners.

  1. Navigate to your pinterest profile and click on the edit or pencil icon or go to the upper right corner menu and select “Settings”
  2. On the field for website, enter your web address then click on the button “Verify Website”
  3. Instructions will be shown on the next page which you need to follow. You can verify by using the HTML downloadable verification file or using a META tag.
  4. When your web site has been verified by Pinterest, you would note check mark icons on your site and site images.
  5. As soon as your site is verified, you can now check out the Pinterest Web Analytics at http://business.pinterest.com/analytics/

From the Pinterest Web Analytics page, you can see what other people are pinning from your website as well as tracking your pinning activities.


Take advantage of this Pinterest feature by switching to the new Pinterest website look. You can learn a lot from studying how your pinners are interested with your website images.


Monday, 1 July 2013

Selecting A Readymade Website Theme or Creating a Uniuque Theme

Author : 

Purpose of this article
When deciding to setup an online website, in the initial stage you are in the planning stage of the design, how the website should look and feel. You generally have couple of options, one of the questions is either hiring a graphics designer to design your website from scratch, bespoke according to your requirements, and the other option is where you purchase a ready made template online, and save costs on the design work.

So which option is best for you and your new business, should you go down the route of hiring a designer or purchasing a ready made template.

Hopefully in this article we will clear up so points and misconception on the above point.

What is Bespoke template?

Bespoke template is when a graphics designer designs a template from scratch without using any framework and templates to build from. The work is generally done as a sketch on a paper or a wireframe program, on which the main positioning and layout is sketched and put together, this gives an overall idea of how the website elements will be positioned, such as where the navigation will be across the top, or the right. Once the overall concept is understood from the wireframe and sketch, the designer would then work on bringing this template to life by using a designing program such as Adobe Photoshop / Adobe illustrator and many others.

Using a design program, the website would be given detailed features, colour and be made to look and feel like a website, but only its still an image.

Once you approve the image, the designer would then convert this image (PSD to HTML) into template for your business, based on how you would be developing your website, such as a standard HTML or a open source CMS (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento).

What is ready made templates

Ready made templates are website designs that other designers have done already and put on the market for others to purchase. Its available to the public, and whoever desires the template by purchase it. At times you are offered an option to purchase an exclusive licence which will then remove the template from the market for others to purchase, making it exclusive for you (this generally has a larger cost attached to it - you are better off designing your own from scratch).
You can generally purchase website layouts from:
plus many others on the web.

Depending on how you will be building your website and on what platform such as Joomla, Wordpress, Magento, you will generally notice that you can easily get a ready made template for these platforms which are ready to be installed, something like plug and play.

Cons of a ready made template?

With a ready made template, you are basically skipping the process described above, so you save on the design costs of a website, and you move straight to the development stage, unless you have some CSS styles and colors to change on the template, which would not take you as along as designing a whole site from scratch. The template has already been designed to match certain industry styles and to mirror certain websites concepts such as a traditional blog, or a news site or a portfolio.

With most ready made templates, you do have a certain amount of freedom in terms of selecting your own colors and updating the style sheets to meet your taste, but its within limits. It is very unlikely that you would be able change everything on the templates styles.

Cons of a bespoke template

The main point it all boils down to is cost. If you are on a tight budget than its a sensible option to skip the design stage or to shorten the design stage by purchasing a ready made template. At times it may also not be cost factor, on the other hand if you are on a tight deadline and need to get your new website up and running in a short period of time. You could bypass the design stage by purchasing a good template.

Pro of a bespoke template

The main factor is that you get to design it to your taste, its just like building your house from scratch, you can put up walls where you like and select what styles and colors go onto each wall. If you are someone that is very picky and you don't want to go with something that’s already on the market, than going down the route of a bespoke design would be a better choice for you.

Pros of a ready made template

The best thing I love about ready made templates, you can get your site up quick, you dont have to spend hours designing, as said if you're racing against time, and want something up live for visitors to see, its a good option.

Depending on where you generally purchase you template it from, if there is a good community you can easily get help and support on issues that you may struggle with when installing a ready made theme.

Best of all they don't cost much, for about $50 - $100 you can pick up a very good layout ready to use and install.

Cons of a ready made template

Ready Made Website TemplatesNow you may not always find what you are looking for, as they are designed generally, and may not match with what you are looking to portray (even though you have a vast collection of templates to select from), in which case you will have to resort to designing your own template, which is great, it will make your project unique and stand out. You also need to be careful where you purchase the templates from, the two website links mentioned above are reliable sources which you can trust. If you purchase a template from a non reliable place you may end up with corrupt files, and even the risk of virus and hacking.

Finally the layout that you purchase is not really unique, it's available for everyone. Nothing will stop your competitors to purchase the exact same layout and duplicate what you have, not saying they can not do that with a unique template - its possible there also, but its much easier with ready made themes, as you just have to purchase and install.

Conclusion - What do i need for my business?

It’s a tough decision in selecting which path to go down, as especially for those startup business where you want something unique and special to stand out from the crowd but also want to keep the cost low, as cash flow can be limited in the early days.

I personally am all for designing a template from scratch as that’s what i enjoy, but on the other hand If I was conscious of costs and time I would definitely go down the route of purchasing a ready made template. Which is what I did for my wifes website www.henna4u.co.uk - the old site was built on basic HTML, which was getting outdated, needed something simple, and quick, and she was not realy fussed on how it looks as long as it does the job. So why spend hours on designing something when you can puy couple of dollars spend an hour customizing it and its live to go.

Bottom line, do what’s best for you and your business.


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Nation Wide Security Website Launch

We are pleased to launch www.nationwidesecurityuk.com An UK based security company offering a wide range of services. We worked with their agent to produce the design work and upon approval developed the website along with contact forms for visitors to fill out.


Monday, 20 May 2013

The Basics Of Twitter

Author : 
Every single person knows what Twitter is, whether you use it for your business or just to keep up to date with trends news and information, overall it's a valuable tool, but more importantly it's a powerful platform. Just the other day one of my friends came to the office to discuss having a website and coffee of course, and he’s Twitter profile now has over 41K followers compare to the 600 he is following. All he’s doing is sharing and tweeting the latest news about a certain sport. The frightening thing is he states, he didn't know it was going to get this big, and that he was going to have such an authority. He now gets messages and mainstream media contacting him asking to do interviews and whether he would just have a chat with them on air.

Now the real scary thing is that this individual just tweets, and doesn't know fully what Twitter has to offer.

We all know how to create an account and upload a snazzy picture of our self or our business logo. I want to go beyond that, and look at how to actually make the most of Twitter for whatever cause we are using it for. I’m sure there are many out there, that just DO NOT UNDERSTAND Twitter, rest assure I was one of them. Facebook seemed a piece of cake to master, but getting my head around Twitter just wasn't happening. - Don't worry it's not difficult as it sounds.

I usually get asked a few questions by colleagues, friends and family, which I will aim to cover below in a simple manner.

Who should I follow?

This is like saying, who should I be friends on with Facebook, or whose business page should I like. Even though Twitter has a limit or cap, on a ratio of people you follow, Its about 2000 people. Some people go crazy and follow every single person they come across on Twitter. Fair enough, but would you actually interact and be interested in what all of these people post out, every single day, hour and minute.

What you will find if you are following a HUGE amount of people on Twitter, your Twitter stream will just be full of tweets, you may even find it difficult to keep up with everything, and what everyone is saying. It's like being in a room with 2000 people all talking at once, and you trying to listen to all of them. - tuff hey.

What should I tweet?

It's just a social networking site, you can tweet anything you like, whatever crosses your mind, or if you find something interesting on the web, that you feel like sharing with your followers.
You may just want to share your thoughts, or similar to many others, the reason why you have created a Twitter account is so that you can stay up to date with news and events, so you may not want to tweet anything.

When should I tweet

You need to find what you are comfortable with, there is no pressure that now you have a Twitter account, that you need to be tweeting all day long, some would say couple of times a day is sufficient, and what you will find others saying and even doing is tweeting on the hour. There is no hard written rule. You also don't want to come across as spammer, if you are tweeting every other minute or hour, your followers may get upset, or more like fed up of seeing you again :) - Just be yourself

Hashtag - you what?

You have probably noticed in front of certain keywords within a tweet there is at times a # (hashtag), such as #SEO. This is how everyone stays connected in a certain way on Twitter. Everyone that mentions a hashtag before a word can be potentially exposed to thousands of others that are following that hashtag. All you have to do, is click on the hashtag and see who's following this certain hashtag.

When you create a tweet, if you feel that you want to create an hashtag, you just need to enter # before the word, which will then add your tweet to the stream of hashtags on-line.
If you are still unsure on #Hastags, this article has a list of resources and guides all related on the use of hashtag: Secrets of Twitter Hashtags (For Those Still Unsure)

Someone invited me to a Twitter Chat, - what's that?

Unlike the standard instant messenger chat box we usually have, Twitter chat is basically everyone having a conversation, at once but agreeing to a certain hashtag. A business could have a Twitter chat about their products and services, for instance we would have a hashtag called #alrayeschat, which would be passed around to all, and then on a decided time, which is convenient for everyone, we would start chatting and discussing our services and products, but including the hashtag on every tweet. In other word we are having an open public conversation .

You could have Twitter chat about your products, services, general about your industry, or even just with your friends and family. Whatever you may feel comfortable with.

Can I connect and chat with someone famous.

Oh Yes you can, if they are on Twitter, you can always tweet them by mentioning them in your tweet such as. If you wanted to mention me in your tweet you would start with @wasimalrayes (my Twitter bio name) or mention that within your tweet. - now you can imagine someone famous will have thousands of these happening so your tweet can just be buried in the midst of all the others.

You could also re tweet what they post out once in awhile, by adding a few of your own comments at the end of it. If you are following them for a while, you may notice that they have asked a question or are encouraging some sort of a conversation, a perfect chance to respond and start the conversation.

Just like offline, we would not force anyone to start a conversation, adopt this same habit on-line too. Keep it natural.

What's # Discover

It’s basically a discovery page :) - okay it's a page where Twitter uses your data, such as your location, the profiles you follow, and what you re-tweet to present you with tweets, activities and recommendations of whom to follow.

You can find out more about the discovery tab in detail on this page: Using the Discover tab

Twitter Lists

Twitter lists allows you to put tweeters into a category of your choice for you to monitor, and the best thing, is that they don't get to know that you have them on your list. So for example if you are interested in “Baking Cakes” you could create a Twitter list with that name, and individuals whom you feel are experts in this industry you could add them to this list. So when you want to view a wall just related to Baking Cakes, you can click on your list to view all the tweets done by those individuals that you have added.

Twitter lists are great to reduce the noise and pollution on your main stream, if you are following a lot of individuals you your main stream can be quite nosy and populated, and there's a good chance that you may have missed something, hence creating a list can help you be more productive and organised. You can also have the list as private so only you can see it. Below is a quick video overview of Twitter Lists.