SEO Technical Audit Checklist (advanced)

The idea of technical SEO is to minimise the work of bots when they come to your website to index it on Google and Bing. Look at the build, the crawl and the rendering of the site.

Tools Required:

  • SEO Crawler such as Screaming Frog or DeepCrawl
  • Log File Analyzer – Screaming Frog has this too
  • Developer Tools – such as the ones found in Google Chrome – View>Developer>Developer Tools
  • Web Developer Toolbar – giving you the ability to turn off Javascript
  • Search Console
  • Bing Webmaster Tools – shows you geotargetting behaviour, gives you a second opinion on security etc.
  • Google Analytics – With onsite search tracking *

    *Great for tailoring copy and pages. Just turn it on and add query parameter

Tech SEO 1 – The Website Build & Setup

The website setup – a neglected element of many SEO tech audits.

  • Storage
    Do you have enough storage for your website now and in the near future? you can work this out by taking your average page size (times 1.5 to be safe), multiplied by the number of pages and posts, multiplied by 1+growth rate/100

for example, a site with an average page size of 1mb with 500 pages and an annual growth rate of 150%

1mb X 1.5 X 500 X 1.5 = 1125mb of storage required for the year.

You don’t want to be held to ransom by a webhost, because you have gone over your storage limit.

  • How is your site Logging Data?
    Before we think about web analytics, think about how your site is storing data.
    As a minimum, your site should be logging the date, the request, the referrer, the response and the User Agent – this is inline with the W3 Extended Format.
log file analyzer

When, what it was, where it came from, how the server responded and whether it was a browser or a bot that came to your site.

  • Blog Post Publishing
    Can authors and copywriters add meta titles, descriptions and schema easily? Some websites require a ‘code release’ to allow authors to add a meta description.
  • Site Maintenance & Updates – Accessibility & Permissions
    Along with the meta stuff – how much access does each user have to the code and backend of a website? How are permissions built in?
    This could and probably should be tailored to each team and their skillset.

    For example, can an author of a blog post easily compress an image?
    Can the same author update a menu (often not a good idea)
    Who can access the server to tune server performance?

Tech SEO 2 – The Crawl

  • Google Index

Carry out a site: search and check the number of pages compared to a crawl with Screaming Frog.

With a site: search (for example, search in Google for site:businessdaduk.com) – don’t trust the number of pages that Google tells you it has found, scrape the SERPs using Python on Link Clump:

Too many or too few URLs being indexed – both suggest there is a problem.

  • Correct Files in Place – e.g. Robots.txt
    Check these files carefully. Google says spaces are not an issue in Robots.txt files, but many coders and SEOers suggest this isn’t the case.

XML sitemaps also need to be correct and in place and submitted to search console. Be careful with the <lastmod> directive, lots of websites have lastmod but don’t update it when they update a page or post.

  • Response Codes
    Checking response codes with a browser plugin or Screaming Frog works 99% of the time, but to go next level, try using curl and command line. Curl avoids JS and gives you the response header.

Type in Curl – I and then the URL

e.g.

curl – I https://businessdaduk.com/

You need to download cURL which can be a ball ache if you need IT’s permission etc.

Anyway, if you do download it and run curl, your response should look like this:

Next enter an incorrect URL and make sure it results in a 404.

  • Canonical URLs
    Each ‘resource’ should have a single canonical address.

common causes of canonical issues include – sharing URLs/shortened URLs, tracking URLs and product option parameters.

The best way to check for any canonical issues is to check crawling behaviour and do this by checking log files.

You can check log files and analyse them, with Screaming Frog – the first 1,000 log files can be analysed with the free version (at time of writing).

Most of the time, your host will have your logfiles in the cPanel section, named something like “Raw Access”. The files are normally zipped with gzip, so you might need a piece of software to unzip them or just allow you to open them – although often you can still just drag and drop the files into Screaming Frog.

The Screaming Frog log file analyser, is a different download to the SEO site crawler – https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/log-file-analyser/

If the log files are in the tens of millions, you might need to go next level nerd and use grep in Linux command line

Read more about all things log file analysis-y on Ian Lurie’s Blog here.

This video tutorial about Linux might also be handy. I’ve stuck it on my brother’s old laptop. Probably should have asked first.

With product IDs, and other URL fragments, use a # instead of a ? to add tracking.

Using rel-canonical is a hint, not a directive. It’s a work around rather than a solution.

Remember also, that the server header, can override a canonical tag.

You can check your server headers using this tool – http://www.rexswain.com/httpview.html (at your own risk like)


Tech SEO 3 – Rendering & Speed

  • Lighthouse
    Use lighthouse, but use in with command line or use it in a browser with no browser add-ons.If you are not into Linux, use pingdom, GTMetrix and Lighthouse, ideally in a browser with no add-ons.

    Look out for too much code, but also invalid code. This might include things such as image alt tags, which aren’t marked up properly – some plugins will display the code just as ‘alt’ rather than alt=”blah”
  • Javascript
    Despite what Google says, all the SEO professionals that I follow the work of, state that client-side JS is still a site speed problem and potential ranking factor. Only use JS if you need it and use server-side JS.

    Use a browser add-on that lets you turn off JS and then check that your site is still full functional.

  • Schema

Finally, possibly in the wrong place down here – but use Screaming Frog or Deepcrawl to check your schema markup is correct.

You can add schema using the Yoast or Rank Math SEO plugins

The Actual Tech SEO Checklist (Without Waffle)

Basic Setup

  • Google Analytics, Search Console and Tag Manager all set up

Site Indexation

  • Sitemap & Robots.txt set up
  • Check appropriate use of robots tags and x-robots
  • Check site: search URLs vs crawl
  • Check internal links pointing to important pages
  • Check important pages are only 1 or 2 clicks from homepage

Site Speed

Tools – Lighthouse, GTMetrix, Pingdom

Check – Image size, domain & http requests, code bloat, Javascript use, optimal CSS delivery, code minification, browser cache, reduce redirects, reduce errors like 404s.

For render blocking JS and stuff, there are WordPress plugins like Autoptimize and the W3 Total Cache.

Make sure there are no unnecessary redirects, broken links or other shenanigans going on with status codes. Use Search Console and Screaming Frog to check.

Site UX

Mobile Friendly Test, Site Speed, time to interactive, consistent UX across devices and browsers

Consider adding breadcrumbs with schema markup.

Clean URLs

Image from Blogspot.com

Make sure URLs – Include a keyword, are short – use a dash/hyphen –

Secure Server HTTPS

Use a secure server, and make sure the unsecure version redirects to it

Allow Google to Crawl Resources

Google wants to crawl your external CSS and JS files. Use “Fetch as Google” in Search Console to check what Googlebot sees.

Hreflang Attribute

Check that you are using and implementing hreflang properly.

Tracking – Make Sure Tag Manager & Analytics are Working

Check tracking is working properly. You can check tracking coed is on each webpage with Screaming Frog.

Internal Linking

Make sure your ‘money pages’ or most profitable pages, get the most internal links

Content Audit

Redirect or unpublish thin content that gets zero traffic and has no links.

Consider combining thin content into an in depth guide or article.

Use search console to see what keywords your content ranks for, what new content you could create (based on those keywords) and where you should point internal links.

Use Google Analytics data regarding internal site searches for keyword and content ideas 💡

Update old content

Fix meta titles and meta description issues – including low CTR

Find & Fix KW cannibalization

Optimize images – compress, alt text, file name

Check proper use of H1 and H2

See what questions etc. are pulled through into the rich snipetts and answer these within content

Do you have EAT? Expertise, Authority and Trust?

https://www.semrush.com/blog/seo-checklist/

How Not to be a Dick in Work

I’m a big admirer of Huel, from both the perspective of a marketer and as a nutritoinist (I have an MSc in Nutrition). I recently saw the Huel office wall – “Don’t be a Dick” on my Linkedin newsfeed:

It certainly got my attention. A good bit of social media marketing foda, if nothing else.

It does sound similar to Google’s, now infamous, “don’t be evil” mission statement or motto which has since been dropped. Probably because they’re a bit evil.

The potential problem with such a bold statement, is that – nobody thinks they are a dick. Even the laziest, most unpleasant people I’ve ever worked with, will constantly complain about others, but put themselves on a (dodgy) DIY pedestal. Self serving bias is an amazing thing.

This video explains the dickhead-bias a bit more – people who think they’re a good person, usually aren’t:

With this in mind, I thought I’d put together a post, on what I think, a dickhead’s behaviour typically entails; I hope it helps!

Summary

  • Feedback in private, not in public or in meetings
  • Do not try and control & do everything, then complain nobody is helping you
  • Do not talk over people in meetings
  • Don’t be aggressive in the office – it’s cowardly
  • Don’t ‘bad mouth’ any other colleagues – it makes other anxious
  • Find a productive way to vent your negative feelings – complaining & projecting negative emotions needs to be avoided at all costs*
  • Don’t make fun of people, unless they’re a good friend and it’s mutual banter
  • Don’t force your opinions on other people – unless they’re backed with data

Work hard, have a laugh, have each other’s backs

*Everyone needs to vent somehow, I personally don’t like it when people talk ill of colleagues, to other colleagues. Talking to someone outside of work is a good way to vent, you can then exaggerate all you want without damaging the professional reputation of whoever is in question. Exercise however, has to be the ultimate way to vent. You have the fuel in terms of anger or frustration, turn it into something positive by exercising.

Talking ill of other colleagues, will also make those around you anxious. Imagine let’s say, you talk badly about someone for making a mistake, everyone around you will automatically become more anxious about making a mistake and are less likely to fess up.


On a Personal Note (Bit of a mind-dump)

Please skip this bit unless you want to know my mental health history!

This section is a personal rant that I embarked upon after a few beers on a Saturday (what else can you do during lockdown!?)

SEO and MMA blog founder Drew Griffiths
Grapple & Strike – Light HeavyWeight Final – 2007

So that’s me, in the picture above, on the left – about to slam UFC fighter Jack Marshman into the canvas. You can watch the video here.

You’d think that 8 MMA fights, 1 Full Contact Kickboxing Fight and years’ of experience as a doorman, might make me immune to office bullying – but if you did – you would be very wrong.

I hold myself accountable for not building enough confidence and not being able to set boundaries very well, but being mocked, shouted at, literally screamed at, made fun of constantly – led me down a pretty slipperly mental health slope in the last 3 years.

Again, I’m happy to ‘own’ this, I need thicker skin, but a vent on my own blog can’t hurt, I don’t think?

Maybe I’m a threat to people, maybe they don’t get me, I don’t know but avoid being a dick if you can because it literally made me suicidal…

I honestly think that 90% of people try and be good and nice, but they don’t realise when they are being dickheads. Not many people have the emotional intelligence to detach and evaluate their behaviour. Either way, never take anything personally and remember “hurt people, hurt people” – i.e. people will issues, often become bullies or general wankers.

If you’ve been on the receiving end of dickhead-behaviour, don’t be bitter, finds ways to cope and improve your resilience, lean into negative feelings and use them positively as fuel for exercise etc.

We all just want to be accepted and valued, if you can help people to achieve a sense of both – then you’ll avoid being a dick.

The problem I found was that, the worse my mental health was, the more spaced-out I felt and the more people made fun of me.

My depression & anxiety, really started to get bad in university. I had some problems as a kid, after my dad died, I remember having loads of skin peeling of my hands – and the doctor saying it was stress related, think I would have been about 7. I had stomach and GI issues starting at age 14 (a typical physical symptom of anxiety) and then started with really, excruciating muscle & joint pain. This was really confusing, because I literally couldn’t sleep and my feet and knees were always really painful, I used to ice them all the time. I went to the doctor’s and he said – “nothing is red or swollen, so there can’t be any pain”. This really messed me up, as I thought that I was clearly in pain, but apparently that was impossible – so what was I feeling then? was I going mad? Since then I’ve learnt that muscle pain is also a typical symptom of anxiety, it’s also a common side-effect of the acid-reflux medication they’d had me on for about 10 years. Wankers!

Anyway, got a bollocking and called a nutter by my mum when I told her what the diagnosis was (depression & health-anxiety), girlfriend at the time also had a go at me – for feeling sorry for myself – eventhough I’d not really been feeling sorry for myself or at least I hadn’t gone to the doctors about that, I’d gone to see why my muscles and joints were constantly hurting.

Depression is often caused by inflammation – inflammation can be caused by a lot of things, but gut issues are a common source. Inflammation can cause the muscle pain, anxiety adds muscle tension in the mix and you have a very painful body – especially if you’ve been hammering acid-reflux medication for a decade. Inflammation often causes brain-fog.

Brain-fog is a nightmare. It’s such a vague term that it sounds like bullshit, but if you think how groggy your mind can become when you have a bad cold – it’s a bit like that. In fact, I’d describe my issues with mental health as a bit like having a cold, all the time – as I don’t really think particularly negatively, I just get a shit-load of physical symptoms.

So 2003, after getting told to basically stop moaning and get on with life, Brain-fog-galore, and riddled with muscle pain, I go to work in a local hotel gym. I’m basically a zombie with muscles. This is the problem with depression, the more depressed and/or anxious you feel, the more spaced-out you will become and the more people will give you shit.

I had a first class degree from a top 10 UK uni, and a Master’s degree, but would regularly get introduced to people as “the thick one” whilst in work.

No real issues with people when I got my next job in a bank call centre. The same when I got my first digital marketing job – everyone was pretty cool. I’ve fitted in great in some places, but other places, people have not been particularly nice.

I’m quite eccentric and don’t have any self-confidence, so I guess I’m an easy target? Or maybe I’m just a dick myself – who knows? I used to be Buddhist and would always turn the other cheek – I’ve recently changed my life-philosophy to ‘modified Buddhism’ – Be nice to everyone, don’t take offence or get defensive with your close friends and family, but don’t take any shit off people you don’t know or don’t like.


Feedback in Private, Praise in Public

The number 1 passive aggressive tactic of an office dickhead, appears to be the eagerness, to feedback in front of as many people as possible.

This can cause all kinds of issues as a rebuttal will also be witnessed by colleagues, meaning that the initiator looks like a bit of an idiot.

Example –

In a team meeting, someone complains that you didn’t complete a task correctly. Instead of telling you at the time and giving you an opportunity to rectify any issues.

Feedback should be timely, specific and delivered privately.


Gaslighting – did it really happen like that?

I don’t think people realise how damaging, ‘gaslighting’ can be.

In case you’re not one of the cool kids – gaslighting was a term coined in a book (I think), within which the husband would mess with the gas lights in the house – the wife would say “did you see that, the lighting keeps going off?” to which the husband would typically reply “nope – you’re obviously going insane, nothing happened”

Do this a few times, and the victim will question their grasp on reality and have no confidence in what they’ve seen or perceived.


Don’t Put Other People Down

There are lots of ways to make yourself feel better. You can exercise, learn new skills, meditate, go for a walk in nature, have a bit of banter.

unfortunately, the default way, and lazy way to make oneself better is to put other people down.

This is a bad idea in work for a few reasons.

  1. You make those around you more anxious
  2. You make yourself more anxious

How does it make others anxious?

Well, let’s say you slate someone for making a stupid mistake.

This will make others more fearful of making mistakes. You also push yourself into a kind of metaphorical corner because if you make any mistakes, you will looks like a hypocrite and a bellend.


Assume Miscommunication Not Malice

Be aware of the main cognitive biases, and don’t have stupidly high expectations of your colleages.

If something goes wrong – could you have communicated the task better? Have you been approachable enough?

did you provide the nessery training?

Is morale low because everyone is always moaning?

Are you inspirnig others or being a dick?

If something goes wrong, don’t blame and finger point – see what you could have done differently.

7/10 there has been some kind of communication breakdown.

Avoid any negative-bias, have a more positive-bias in regards to people and give respect to get respect.


Don’t Have Aggressive Opinions about Stuff You’ve not Researched

if you haven’t read a book or researched a topic – how can you have an aggressive opinion about it?

If you shout louder than someone else – does that make your opinion more valid?

What is your opinion based on? Information, experience or a self-serving bias?

I once attempted and stuck to a low card, ketogenic diet for anxiety.

Every man and his dog slated me for it.

“Someone tell Drew to go and look at a food pyramid” exclaimed one, morbidly obese office dickhead.

Did I mention I’ve got a Master’s degree in Nutrition?

If you’d like an informed opinion on low carb diets, this article is a good starting point.


Don’t Get Angry

If you are consistenly losing your shit, you either have expectations that are too high, and/or you are not taking accountability like you should.

If you lose your temper – you will make those around you anxious.

An office is not a place for aggression. If I spend all day controlling any impulses after years of training to fight people, I expect the same of others.

marcus aurelius quote - calm mind

Don’t Talk Over People in Meetings

This one is so obvious – yet people still do it all the time.

Best way to deal with interrupters, seems to be to wait for them to finish and then say “…as I was saying…” and carry on.

Don’t be H.I.T.O.

A new abbreviation that I literally just made up, stands for:

Hard In The Office

HITO dickheads will get aggressive and use confrontational postures to try and itimidate people in the office.

It’s just not appropriate, go and work on a building site if that’s what you’re into.

youre hard - the office

Cynicism is not Superior

Negativity is a lazy way to feel superior, as is cynicism.

cynicism in the office

It’s not difficult to find fault in ideas, projects, work people have done – finding solutions to those faults is challenging and much more productive. Many office inhabitants prefer to moan and pick fault however, I guess because it’s easier and makes them feel superior.

According to the Macmillan Dictionary, cynicism is defined as:

“…the belief that people care only about themselves and are not sincere or honest…the belief that things will not be successful or useful…the attitude or behavior of someone who is willing to let other people be harmed in order to get advantage.”

I think this quote or snippet says it all really:

“In a management training that my company sent me to a few years back, I was introduced to a new concept: “cynical terrorists.” This category was meant to describe the kind of person who assumes the worst of everyone, shoots down every new idea, and generally drenches their environment in negativity with the volatile energy of a broken sprinkler system”

Quote Source

There is often ‘much logic’ in cynacism, but it can lay a very negative foundation to all of your thoughts and interactions.

Sometimes, I believe, it is better not to think 100% logically. If something lies out of your control, for example, other people’s attitudes, other people’s abilites – then you may as well find a positive in it.

For example, if you work with someone who doesn’t know how to do his or her job very well – this is an opportunity for you to help someone out, or from a narcisstic point of view – to look good!

marcus - i do what is mine to do, the rest does not disturb me

If you want to create a culture of negativity and disrespect, then cynicism is the way to go – more info in this study.


Don’t Hold Grudges

Try and vent in a positive manner. You need to vent – I think anyway – but venting in work and holding grudges is a pretty negative way of dealing with your emotions. Use it to fuel exercise, to motivate you to learn a new skill, or ‘get it all’ out with yoga and/or meditation.

I’ve been guilty of taking pride in never moaning or complaining, only for a rant to come out of nowhere when I’m tired or feeling low – e.g. when my son is teething and not sleeping!

Being spiteful in work however, is the epitome of bellend behaviour – not helping people out for eample, because you are holding a grudge is not exactly being a team-player.


Be Aware of Cognitive Biases

2 of the most common cognitive biases, are self-serving bias and confirmation bias. Also “Fundamental Attribution Error”. I remember one dickhead beeping and waving his fist at a learner-driver, only to complain about a man on his street who was aggressive with learner drivers.

Of course he had an excuse for himself. We judge others directly by events, but we always have an excuse for our own behaviour.

Infographic Source


Don’t Disempower People then Complain they’re not Helping

Don’t be one of those dicks who has to control everything and then complains that he or she is the only one that every does anything


Don’t Take Things Out of Context

This well annoys me.

Apparently, I get all my nutrition info from conspiracy theorist Joe Rogan, I am an anti-vaxxer because I question the flu-jab for children and I went on the keto diet to lose weight.

Not of these are true, people just skew everything, not sure why. I do get some of my nutrition tips/info from Joe Rogan’s podcasts, but usually from Dr Rhonda Patrick and Professor Dom D’agastino – I’ll always check their info against Google Scholar and Examine.com too. I’m not an anti-vaxxer at all and I went on the keto diet to help with anxiety.


Don’t Think Less of Yourself, Think of Yourself Less

just do the right thing, cold or warm, tired or well rested. despised or honoured

SEO – Use Search Console to Create Blog Posts that Rank

Go to search console

  • Click “Performance” in the side bar
  • Click “Position”
  • Click “Pages” (near the bottom-third of the page on the left)
  • Click on a high-performing post in terms of Impressions and Clicks in google
  • With the specific page/post selected, click on queries
  • Make a note of all relevant queries in the top 100
  • See if these queries can be added to the ranking post
  • Find any queries that are not directly related to your post
  • Create a new post specifically about this/these queries (if you rank for it without a specific post – you’ll rank better with a specific post for that query)
  • In the original post – put an internal link to the new post

Building Your Brand – Why Blog, Why Use Display Ads etc?

“You’ll never get yourself off the treadmill of paid ads, if you don’t build your brand”

Someone on a Search Podcast, 2019


It’s very easy to dismiss online content, blogs, image assets and even display ads as pretty much useless – because you don’t have the instant gratification of seeing leads and/or sales.

This is completely understandable; especially if you have a background in sales – where your job has been to ‘finish off the lead’ and get a sale.

However, if you are in it for the long (or medium) run, then building your brand is a must. Whether you are a tradesman or a giant corporation, your brand’s reputation and the brand-awareness is your safety net when it comes to consistent website traffic, leads & sales.

It takes time to build a brand – but once it is built, those people who come to you direct because they know who you are – are effectively free – or at least very cheap in comparison to some of the cost per click of Google Search Ads these days.

Building a brand is not easy however. Take my other blog for example – Blackbeltwhitehat.com

The blog has over 600 pages of content, lots of it really long, in-depth and time-consuming to produce. The site has 5,000-10,000 visitors per month, but virtually nobody comes to my website via a branded search on Google.

This could be down to one specific reason – the domain name is crap and hard to remember.

I’ve bought a few more memorable domains (like WokeMMA.com “Woke” being an ironic term for self-awareness used in the MMA & Jiu Jitsu communities) and I am currently weighing up the time & effort of re-branding everything like GoogleMyBusiness, TrustPilot etc. – plus all my back-links currently point to blackbeltwhitehat.com (I’m aware of 301s etc. but I’ll still definitely see a drop in rankings).

My blog is ultimately a hobby that I’ve invested less than $50 into over 6 years.  But if I had some more budget – I’d put together a plan to build my brand online…

Logo Design Illustrator
Blackbeltwhitehat.com

How to Build a Brand Online

First make sure you know your target audience & do one of those SWOT analysis. Then make specific goals to establish some brand KPIs.

Here are some ideas on what to do next:

  • Get a relevant, easy to remember domain name!

Learn from my mistake, a short catchy domain name is an easy-win if you are just starting out from scratch. A lot of the best and obvious domain name will be taken however, so you’ll have to do some research first. If you are just starting out, don’t name your business until you secure your domain name!

  • Display Ads

Depending on your niche, you can set tiny max CPC bids in some instances – and they’ll still get thousands of impressions for very little spend. Gmail ads work particularly well for (potential) low CPM (cost per 1000 impressions).

Rotate your display ads’ design & colours to stop people ignoring them due to ‘banner blindness’.

  • Blog & Outreach

Blog are great for reaching people who are researching a potential purchase.

For example, I landed on Perfect Keto’s blog a few times whilst researching Exogenous Ketones. Then ended up buying their branded product on Keto-pro.co.uk; because, for what ever reason, I trusted their brand.

Create great content, with statistics, images and video – and then outreach it – i.e. send it to relevant blogs and websites.

If you can afford it, use “PR-Level” outreach and contact national newspapers etc. This can be done via websites such as gorkana

If you content gets links too – then great – that’s good for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Doing some of your own exclusive research and generating tables of statistics are great for generating back-links naturally i.e. passively.

So consider doing some market research using Google surveys etc. These guys calculated RV/Campervan depreciation in value, just by looking at vehicles for sale online and get hundreds of back-links.

To turn blog’s into direct sales, you can also use relevant ‘CTA’ images below your blog.

For example, if you post a blog about the Walking Path’s of Snowdonia on your Snowdonia-based-bed-&-breakfast website; consider adding a relevant & clickable ‘book now’ and/or ‘get your free brochure’ button with eye-catching image at the bottom of the post. Many people now do this with newsletter sign up pop ups, which are a bit annoying but do work.

Before you start a blog, do your keyword research.

  • Create Tools

Content is great – but tools tend to do better than copy. For example, NerdWallet’s top page in terms of organic traffic – is their mortgage calculator.

  • Reviews

As well as brand awareness, you want some social-proofing of your brand. Start with a free account on Trustpilot and GoogleMyBusiness

  • Video & Social Media

The number 1 mistake people make on social media is to harp on about their brand all the time. Be entertaining, provide useful information and insightful comments. If you are over-promotional, people will not follow you. Build some authority by providing helpful insights that your target market will appreciate.

Videos & podcasts can be costly in terms of time. If you don’t want to set up your own podcast, guest-appearance on other people’s podcasts can generate valuable awareness and also back-links to your website (important for Search Engine Optimisation/Rankings).

  • Build an amazing product and/or service

This is your foundation and one of the reasons that Apple is so successful. An LSD-fueled Steve Jobs came up with some amazing ideas and concepts. The brand also turned itself into unique hybrid of tech & fashion thanks to their pioneering products.

The big, light-up apple on the back of Macbooks no doubt was a design aimed at building brand awareness too!

Please note – I realise this blog has a rubbish social media following. But that’s due to lack of time/money investment. I generally just use this blog as somewhere to record my thoughts & to remember how to do all things marketing related. E.g. here are my notes so I remember how to use Screaming Frog to scrape OG tags.

See my 2019 guide to Keyword Research by Clicking Here.

How Important is the Right Accountant?

When someone goes about starting a business, the nervousness and the excitement is highly motivating, and it’s easy to get straight stuck into doing all the interesting stuff, like the marketing, sorting out the website and creating your company logo.

Accountants in Chester
Image Source

It is important however, to get the basics in place first, and to give the fundamentals, and the ‘boring stuff’ the same thought, care and enthusiasm as the more interesting and rewarding elements of starting your own company.

Choosing the right accountant for example, is not the most exciting task, but can be pivotal in regards to your businesses success.  It’s pretty interesting, but also a bit worrying, that any Joe Bloggs can call him or herself an accountant without any relevant credentials or qualifications.  In spite of this fact, very few business owners speak to a number of potential accountants, or research around them and their reputation. This is potentially a huge mistake.

Ensure that any accountant you are considering hiring, are qualified through one of the main associations/accrediting bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW),the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

It goes without saying, or it should do, that you should also look into how you will pay your accountant. Are there set fees, or does he/she charge an hourly rate?  If possible choose someone that can audit and advise you in regards to your business, as well as being a bookkeeper. Ideally your accountant will have experience in your business sector; but not conflicts of interest.

Ensure that you do not choose an accountant, just because they are situated right next to your office. It is an important decision, that should not be just a quick decision or after-thought.  They will after all, be in charge of your money.  Look what happened to Mike Tyson!  (he wasn’t screwed over by an accountant, but still…).

I live in North Wales, right on the border with England, and my accountant is based in Chester.  It’s definitely worth looking outside your home town. I did have an accountant based in Wrexham, but it was impossible to speak to, or get in touch with him, via phone or email, so he may of well be based in Australia.  Good customer service and ‘contactability’ are also crucial.

Disability inactivity

Small Businesses and Accessibility for Disabled Customers & Clients

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) states that businesses that provide ‘goods and services’ must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people.

The DDA may influence your entire business, from how you treat your staff, people who apply for jobs at your business, and of course – your customers.  If you fail to do what is deemed as reasonable to adapt your business to the needs of disabled people, then legal action could be taken against you.

If you’re not motivated by compliance with the law (or the ethics behind disability access), a free service created by directenquiries.com allows businesses with ‘good’ access and facilities for people with disabilities to be listed on their directory.

Direct Enquiries will also provide an action plan to identify areas that need improvement.  These are generally simple changes that can be done at low or no cost to the business.

The directory and the corresponding action plan aims to encourage more businesses to improve their access and services, and in doing so, attract more of the UK’s disabled individuals.

In addition to the improvements in disability access (to new buildings and businesses in general); there has been an increase in the sale and manufacture of recreational vehicles and cycles for the disabled, or people with specific needs.

Inactivity is a major problem; and can compound existing health problems for people with mobility issues:

Disability inactivity

Companies such as Quest88 are now providing a range of disability aids and cycles that give disabled people a range of ways to become active.  With the success of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics this market has seen an exponential increase over the last 3 years – improving people’s lives and boosting British manufacturing at the same time.

Kiosks point of sale

How Point of Sale Is Evolving

As technology continues to evolve at an exponential rate, point of sale is developing to correspond with customer’s expectations of speed and efficiency. The shift from traditional high street and in-store shopping, to online shopping, represents a demand for convenience.  The rise of internet speeds, web-enabled mobile phones and the increase in the use of tablets like the Nexus and iPads; is good news for online retailers, but creates a separate issue of optimisation across channels.

The issue of Conversion Rate Optimisation across different platforms and technology is the subject of many articles, and many tutorials; however less is written about integration across platforms.  Over the past 5 years, in order to meet customers’ preferences and to increase efficiency, a number of retailers have launched online kiosks in store.

The kiosks are able to provide the customers with detailed brand and product information at the touch of a button (or maybe a few buttons).  They can also check availability of specific products and many kiosks now come complete with chip and pin technology, so that customers can effectively ‘self-serve’ themselves, and potentially avoid long queues and delays that are often seen in busy retails outlets.  They can also potentially be integrated with mobile phones, remembering customer details, and even enabling customers to use coupons found online.

In the aftermath of the last British recession, people are demanding more product information and specifications before making a purchase. Kiosks are an ideal way of providing instant access to this information without over-stretching resources in terms of staff time and availability.   In addition some larger stores stock thousands of products; with dozens available for a given purpose.

Kiosks point of sale
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Kiosks can help people follow simple questions, and narrow down results to give one, or several products that perfectly fit the customer’s individual needs and requirements.

Kiosks can also provide retailers with additional information to fill their ever-expanding database of customer data.  Customer journeys and ‘bottlenecks’ now have a whole new dimension; as does Conversion Rate Optimisation.

This information can be applied relatively easily, as most e-commerce kiosks can be updated with relative ease. Are in-store kiosks the Sales Assistants of the future?  Hopefully not literally, but they can certainly be used to streamline store processes and optimise sales figures.

Keeping your Business on the Straight & Narrow

We all know the stat, well, approximately – 90% (ish) of businesses fail in the first year…

Most of us have dreams of starting a particular type of business. Be that as it may, when the fantasy turns into a reality, many don’t really have a clue about running or maintaining a business.

There is both an art and a science behind running a successful business. From the income administration through to the business’ operational procedure. There is a wealth of learning and data for organisations to influence, with the goal that they can control their business in the right course. From choosing the right accountant, to sorting out the company website; there is lots to learn, and fast, when you start your own business.

Business blog
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The longer it takes people to pick up and learn basic business procedures and best practices, the more money it will cost.
So what are a few things that they can do? All things considered, they can embrace courses that won’t upset their business hours and permit them to take in the essentials that will make their business develop.  Courses are normally available on bookkeeping and business management at local vocational colleges.

The business must have clear and quantifiable objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Without an unmistakable system, the business will be meandering heedlessly and there won’t be any reasonable strides for the associations movement. This will influence the business all in all and workers inside of the business. Choices that will influence the business’ development will dependably return to the business technique that is set up.

The business can just become effectively if there is an in number group of representatives, consultants and offices that are working towards the fruitful execution of the method. The business should have an in number ability securing procedure and needs to recognize and contract ability that will best execute the method for the business. The ability ought to be procured taking into account quantifiable results. Enlist a group of authorities that will be committed to dealing with the complete workload for one of the offices in the association, to guarantee that specific zone of the business is performing as per the dispensed targets.

Income is lord to a business. It is key for dealing with the development and money related danger to a business. The straightforward guideline is to keep expenses low and to keep income high. This likewise means overseeing organization income and benefit conjectures, and in addition watching out for operational expenses and to keep looking for approaches to minimize them.

Imagination is crucial for the business. By what means will the business keep on enhancing with anticipated buyer patterns and changes to nature, innovation and that’s just the beginning? Apple is one of the idea pioneers regarding the matter of development through outline. It’s this ground breaking that will permit the business to develop into a brand pioneer.

Build up the business’ novel worth suggestion.

The business needs to keep showing quality in its industry and to its purchaser market. What is it about the business that makes it a pioneer? The business ought to look to enhance its quality through accreditations, perceived industry affiliations, grants, testimonials and customer portfolios, to give some examples. The more the business enhances its apparent worth, the more open doors will emerge for the business to work with higher profile customers and for new business to go ahead autopilot.

Entrepreneurs and supervisors need to make a move in terms of satisfying the business technique. This must be accomplished by having an unmistakable heading and activity arrangement for the business. In the event that the work force inside of the association can take in the obliged activities as has been demonstrated by other effective organizations, they will make an in number open door for their business to well over the long haul.