This question comes up time and again and what we would say to people is it depends!

Sorry not the answer you were looking for, right?

There is certainly an abundance of choice out there at the moment, whether it be through the DIY route, or by having a site built for you. Not all options will have exactly what you need.

Here are some things to consider,
What are your business goals?
How much time can you realistically invest in doing it yourself?
Will you be able to manage ongoing maintenance
Is the site scalable with your forecasted growth?
Do you want to sell internationally
How much can you invest in the project?
Do you understand the latest web development standards regarding google rankings

Here at We Are The Missing Link we are not tied to any particular platform so if you have decided to have someone build your site for you, we will advise you on the best platform. We will always build a mobile-friendly, scalable site, to the latest standards.

Every website sits on a server somewhere where it is connected to the internet for millions of people to visit. Costs vary from many offering free hosting to providers offering monthly subscriptions. There are three main types of web hosting, Shared, VPS (Virtual Private Server) and Dedicated Hosting.

Shared Hosting – When your website is placed on the same server with 100s if not 1000s of other websites.
VPS Hosting – Virtual Private Server – Where a web hosting company rents part of server with its own operating system
Dedicated Hosting – A full server dedicated to a single customer. Generally for high traffic sites.

With many providers offering very cheap or free hosting, there are some key issues to bear in mind.

Location: Where is it being hosted and with how many other sites. In some cases you could be on a server with 100’s possibly 1,000s of other websites and this can be an issue if they get hacked or have security issues and get blocked your site may be affected too.

Security – hugely important to have an SSL certificate, and protection against DDos and backups
Speed – you want your website to be as fast as possible
Support – can you get hold of them in an emergency,
Bandwidth – can the server deliver your pages to everyone that clicks on it as fast as possible.

We have our own 100% UK hosted server with 24/7 UK based support. Everything is backed up locally, physically and remotely to ensure your data is totally safe. Prices are based on your need – dependent on traffic and demand for your site.

We would highly recommend reviewing your hosting packages regularly, as your business grows your hosting package will need to alter to reflect your requirements.

A keyword is a simple word or phrase of words that users type into google to find what they are looking for. Also can be known as search queries.

The trick from a business point of view is to know the best words to attract your ideal client to your business.

Tips to help find the right keyword for your business?

1: Check its in sync with your business goal – have a clear vision for your business then its easier to find the right keywords for it.
2: Research the right keywords. Proper research will help you find and select the best keywords or phrases for your business.
3: Understand the types of keywords available:
a) Short Tail Keywords – usually these have a high search volume and consist of 1 or 2 words.
b) Mid Tail Keywords – a phrase of 3 or 4 words – generally have an average search volume
c) Long-Tail Keywords – a string of 4 or more words. Generally have a low volume of searches but good at filtering.
4: Think like your client – this is really important. When using a search engine, your potential customer does not know what you have that you know they need to solve their problem. So you need to work out the problem the customer has that you will solve and start from there.
5: Google – Google autocomplete – type a keyword into the search box and you get a list of keyword predictions. Also Google trends where you can discover trending topics relating to your industry.
6: Use keyword planning tools – SEMrush is a great tool and also can scan your website and advise the best keywords for you. It can also scan your competitor sites to see what words they use too!
7: Consider the search volume – if it is super high, it will be difficult to become visible and compete against the big brands. But too low and not enough people will use and so will not create traffic for your site.
8: Consider the competition for the keyword/phrase – a highly competitive phrase will be hard to get a good ranking – google ads will show you how competitive it is via the cost per click.

With the right keywords and a consistent SEO strategy you can get your website attracting your target audience organically. It isnt a quick fix but in the long run can be more cost effective than constantly paying for ads.

More and more Ecommerce businesses are seeing the benefits of using an ERP system in conjunction with their online storefronts. Here’s are summary of the benefits:

1: Improved Process Efficiency: One System, one database, one process across the lifecycle of a product. Eliminating repetitive processes, and reduces the need to keep manually entering information. Improving user productivity and reduces user error.
2: Accurate and Advanced Forecasting and Reporting – helps users and the business as a whole plan effectively throughout all aspects of the business from inventory and sales to financials and customer service.
3: Department Collaboration: One system across all departments giving one set of information.
4: Scalable Resource – Easily allows addition of new users, departments, warehouses, facilities across different regions and countries.
5: Integrated Information – a central hub of data across all departments – improving functionality with availability of real-time data to the storefront, customer access to information, stock levels, order status, delivery tracking and more
6: Ability to offer advanced and sophisticated pricing and tax strutures as required, including volume and value discounts, pricing by branch or location, general discounts by numerous fields

The end goal is to optimise operations, automate where possible and free up employee time. This leads to an increase in revenue and efficiencies whilst improving communications across the company. Its an end to end solution that connects accounting, CRM, manufacturing, inventory management, Human Resources and analytics and reporting.

Having a mobile friendly site isn’t a recommendation, its a need. 90% of all smartphone users have their device within arm’s reach 24hrs a day, and nearly half of all website traffic comes initially from mobile devices.

Even when consumers make their order offline, basic research is conducted through their mobile devices.

Also your google ranking is based on mobile usability and speed, so getting this right is key to your online visibility. Worth noting that performance of a mobile site is based using a 3g network so keep the overall page size small!

So here are a few ways that can help make your website more mobile friendly.

Use of text – often I see responsive websites which are great and you can see the size changing to fit a screen, but there is often too much text to make it easy to read. Keep your words short, precise but informational.

Calls to action need to be clear, and again the journey needs to be short.

Clear obvious buttons that navigate consumers in a simple way that need to be big enough for the largest of fingers.

Get rid of those pop ups – they are irritating and act as a negative experience on a mobile device. It is often difficult to close them down.

Images and media can be a great fit for mobile devices, however ensure you load small images which are not the desktop images resized but mobile specific images.

Testing mobile friendliness – google has developed a tool to test whether your website is mobile friendly or not. Visit https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

If you need help getting the most out of your website on a mobile device give us a call.