Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Best Social Media Platforms 2022

Client blog-site

In our recent experience, the top three on the list below have led the way during the past couple of years, best for business posts. We also use YouTube, Twitter and, occasionally, Tumblr (depending on the type of business). So far...

We have several clients for whom we manage social media and an analysis of their activity concurs with this statistic. Facebook is, without doubt, top of the heap. Instagram works well if there are relevant images. YouTube works well for video (obviously). Twitter is good for interactive clients.

Interestingly, videos uploaded to Facebook and Instagram are more widely viewed than static images.

As with all social media, you get the best results when you take the time to use it. For example, post interesting stuff regularly and keep an eye on any notifications or responses, reacting positively where appropriate. Andsocial media is not all about you! Additionally, you need to show interest in other posts, comment on them (nicely) and maybe strike up conversations. 

For example, if your business is a service and you have difficulty with relevant images, connect with people about their interests, whether it's sport, arts, gardening, etc. You will gain followers which helps your 'popularity'.

In our case, we design websites and manage social media therefore the best relevant images we have are snapshots of our clients' businesses. We also offer to edit clients' own videos and we have been planning to set up a studio for promotional video filming (that was pre-covid so other things took priority). 

Meanwhile, some of our social media clients are their own worst enemies - we set them up and they don't use it because they don't have the time. Time spent building your online network and interacting with people is similar to, yet much cheaper than, training salespeople. Those who do take the time to build (e.g.) a Facebook following, will notice the benefits, which is why it's so popular, despite its many irritating ways. Not to worry, though - help is at hand. We offer this service too!

It's also worth using analytics to monitor the progress of your activities (we can do that for you).

We also set up WordPress blogs for smaller clients with low budgets & we offer a blogging service.

Check us out! 

  • https://twitter.com/BPcUK/ 
  • https://www.facebook.com/TheBPcUK 
  • https://www.instagram.com/bpcuk/

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Using Video in Social Media Posts

Have you noticed that Facebook and Instagram posts with videos generally have more views than those with static images?

Creating videos is easy with smartphones and many now have in-built editing facilities. No longer does one have to upload videos to YouTube before sharing them (although it's still a good medium). Facebook and Instagram take direct uploads of your video content.

For example, a UK client set up an Instagram account at the end of 2018 and each post received up to 15 likes. The medium was used infrequently and their first video was posted a couple of years later, which has been played 173 times, to date.

Their next few posts (images) still didn't break the 15 likes barrier so another video was added in March 2021. It was very short, created with their social media tools and, to be honest, quite irritating (if only Instagram would facilitate post-editing) but it has, to date, peen played 271 times.

The next post - a lovely photograph - managed 13 likes followed by the next video - a very good one - which achieved 304 plays. 

  • Two more posts (each had fewer that 15 likes) and another video with 155 views;
  • Fourteen posts (each had fewer that 15 likes) and another video with 100 views;
  • Four posts (each had fewer that 15 likes) and another video with 78 views;
  • Four posts (each had fewer that 15 likes) and another video with 104 views...

... and so on, clearly illustrating that videos are better than images for Instagram. 

Their Facebook statistics are slightly skewed because there are paid 'boosts' on some posts. That said, posts often reach 500 people, recently a post reached over 1,000 views with a boost and, over the Christmas season, another post had over 7,000 views. 

Of course, views and likes are not the same thing but there was also an increase in website traffic. Visitors via Social Media rose from under 30 a day at the end of last year to almost 100 a day during January, dropping down to an average of 55 so far during February. Most visitors originate via Search Engines, of course.

Finally, YouTube is not dead. The client featured below has had over 70,000 views of their videos.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Why does a professional website cost £100s or £1000s?

"Here is some flour, yeast and water. I'd like some bread. How long will it take?"

Tailored websites bave basic ingredients and variations. We've tried to provide a guide below of the costs of building a website and the time it takes.

It is rare for a website to be completed in a few days (elapsed) because things tend to added or changed as the design and build progresses. There are often delays in waiting for content, particularly photographs of appropraite shapes and sizes. If scheduled dates are missed, this could impact delivery times.

This is an example of what we do for a small business website:

Pre-contract (allow 2-3 hours over 2 days)

  • Understand the client’s objectives and expectations – allow at least 1 hour (not chargeable);

  • Prepare detailed quotation for client agreement, making it clear what is/isn’t included – allow 1 hour including subsequent discussions (not chargeable);

  • Provide a guide to additional costs, such as domain name and annual hosting, SSL certification, etc., and a list of complementary services the client may consider during or after development, e.g. SEO, social media management.

Set up (allow 1.5 days over 3 days)

  • Set up hosting space for a test site. Depending whether the website is new or a re-design, this can be on the client’s chosen host server or on the developer’s web space. This may include:
    • Install WordPress database with a customisable theme / child theme;
    • Install a selection of plug-ins for functionality to make WordPress admin easier for users, e.g. user back-up facility, contact form, cookie compliance message overlay, image slider, image gallery, search engine sitemap and analytics, social media links, etc.
    • Customise all elements. Include colour palette, typefaces, fonts for headings (1-4), paragraphs and links.

  • Set up pages templates and menus, ready for content.

Website Development   

Content (time depends on number of images and documents to upload and number of pages with content but is likely to be up to a day's work):

  • Upload the supplied images and documents;
  • Upload the supplied text to appropriate pages.

Design & Layout (allow an average of 30 to 60 minutes per page):

  • New WordPress themes incorporate a 'block building' system. These all include Visual (like MS Word) and Text options. If the content is to be updated by users, the block building system should make it easier to use columns when mixing text and images on a page;

  • Extra time will be needed for certain elements, e.g. image slider functions, interactive map, customised forms, SEO (alt-text for images, optimisation of written content), etc.

Publishing the Website (allow 1-2 days over 2-4 days)

  • When the PC-based design is signed off, the developer will add responsive re-sizing, take a full back-up, transfer the website to its new host, apply the SSL certificate and perform thorough testing and any necessary tweaking, followed by another full back-up.
  • Site maps will be submitted to search engines, Google Visitor Analytics will be set up and activated.
  • Handover to client will include basic documented ‘how-to’ followed by 30 days support.
Other  annual costs are:
  • domain name renewal
  • hosting renewal
  • SSL renewal
  • Backup and software versions update service
  • Social media management
  • monthly/quarterly blog writing

Optional ongoing updates/seo/social media cab be quoted as required. Our rates are considerably lower than similar services that have been established 30+years. Our experience enables us to advise and guide our clients, as required.

We can also provide e-commerce websites but these will cost significantly more to set up.

Contact us for your professional website quotation - see our website info for contacts:

The BPc / Professional Solutions


These are screen-shots of some websites that we have designed for clients:

UgleyVillage

SunSeekerDoors.co.uk

Signcraft.co.uk

QuestForExcellence.co.uk

MasticPointingServices

Small Projects Undertaken by J42S

HCDWS.com

BiFoldingDoors

Friday, 27 November 2020

Beware the Perils of Not Visiting Your Website

As touched upon in our previous post, there are things to watch out for when managing your own website.

Setting Up your own Website

When using a pre-prepped website, such as Wix, it can be easy to overlook the obvious. For example:

  • social media links, such as Twitter, are set up to link to the Wix Twitter account, leaving the website owner to edit this to point to their own social media accounts;
  • uploaded images may have inconsistant sizes or are so large that the website display is slow;
  • poor SEO rankings in search engines may be a result of written content, e.g. insufficient content, keywords, alt-tags, etc.;
  • bad or broken links, copyright out of date and no recent news posts can all contribute to making a website looking neglected, rather than to project you as a thriving, energetic company.

This isn't scare-mongering to entice you to use our services*. Today's post is inspired by a genuine case that we helped resolve, very simply, much to the website-owner's relief.

The Importance of Visiting Your Website

The company's website was not developed by The BPc. It was set up for them using a D-I-Y 'web-builder' system and handed over to them for on-going updating, which they have been doing, quite happily, for some time. But no-one ever thought to look at the website as a curious new visitor would.

There were the expected issues of last year's copyright date, a link that wasn't and, worst of all, a link that went to an asian language site with very naughty photographs. Having investigated how this came about, it was originally a genuine link to a .com domain name that had lapsed, which was subsequently purchased by a.n.other for an entirely different purpose, only in the past two weeks.

The moral of this story? Add a diary note to check your website every three months.

 *But please do contact us if you would like a website review or website design!

 








Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Skills For Your Business.

Jack of All Trades? 

There is a GoDaddy advertisement currently on TV, suggesting that a plasterer uses their service to make himself a website. In addition to being a skilled plasterer, he may possibly offer related services, as is quite normal and he may have other related skills. Like stilt-walking, to reach higher up the wall!

As is expected of large USA corporates, their marketing is excellent. There are financial incentives to encourage new customers to sign up and stay longer term. And who doesn't smile at the image of Harry Redknapp with Sandra's Jam Roly-Polys?

    GDDY Headquarters: Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
    Subsidiaries: Afternic.com, Inc., Host Europe Group, others
    Employees (2020): 7,000

Before you go ahead, just think about your job and where your income comes from. Do you want to be a plasterer or a carpenter or whatever you've spend years learning and building up? Or do you want to be a website designer?

How hard can it be? :)

During the past 30 years, we've seen software packages to enable our clients to create their own graphics (after dabbling, most of the professional businesses came back to professional designers) and do-it-yourself websites with their hidden nuances. These include Wix and Weebly.

This trend has also led to students creating cheap websites for small businesses. We've no problems with students trying to gain experience in their chosen field and make some money - as long as clients understand what they are getting. Internet presence is generally better than no presence at all.

Some of the issues we've noticed with home-grown websites include:

  • social media links going to (e.g.) Wix Twitter account rather than the website owner's account;
  • images uploaded are inconsistant sizes or too large which can slow down website display;
  • poor SEO for search engines - written content, insufficient content, alt-tags, etc.;
  • website can look old or ignored if not updated regularly, including copyright date and news.

Why SEO is important

If the website designer doesn't understand the importance of SEO, it will be more difficult to get the website noticed by search engines (e.g. Google). We can work with owners of diy sites to improve the SEO but sometimes the learning curve is too long or the chosen website software isn't flexible enough. Wix isn't bad, though, neither is the customised WordPress blog, although somewhat inflexible compared with a professional WordPress website.

Saving Money

If you haven't got the money for a professional job, be careful which diy site you choose - don't get locked in! It will end up costing more in the long run.

If you would like an affordable, professional bespoke website, with friendly support from a team that offers an individual service, try one of the following:

  • The BPc (of course) for logo design, website design, SEO and social media management;
  • Professional Solutions for website design/build, e-commerce plus website and PC support.

Supporting Small Businesses

Just a thought... if plasterers, plumbers, etc. want to build their own websites, don't be surprised if website professionals have the spare time to attempt plastering, plumbing, carpentry, brick-laying, etc.

;)


Friday, 29 November 2019

Website Designs Delivered Autumn 2019

We've been working on new websites during the past few weeks. In September, we published HCDWS.com and, in October, we completed two websites. One is a replacement website for a client who was desperate to move away from their Yell-hosted site with all its associated costs. The other is an exciting new start-up. We teamed up with Chris to develop and build the October projects.

Digital Wealth Solutions

Digital Wealth
HC Digital Wealth Solutions (HC-DWS) is a marketing distribution company based in London. It offers modern technology solutions to help Discretionary Fund Managers and Financial Advisors (IFAs) to support their investors’ portfolios.

The website provides all basic information and many opportunities to contact the relevant people in the team, should more information be required.

Mastic Pointing Services

Mastic Pointings
Mastic Pointing Services (MPS) wanted to move their old website away from Yell and take the opportunity of bringing it up to date. They contacted The BPc for a quote, telling us that we had been recommended by another of our clients, Hanson Catering.

The site is aimed at construction professionals and buiding companies. The finished website has a clean, contemporary look and feel and is easy to use.

One 'in the wings'

An exciting start-up company launching a new range of drinks. A branding/design consultant (with whom we've worked before) invited us to quote for the website build, which has been delivered but not yet published.

The vibrant, feel-good tone of the website design fully complements the product marketing.



Further details and links can be viewed on our website: Clients' Websites page.


Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Social Media for Business: Common Errors to Avoid

Don't fall foul of common errors made by many companies trying to manage their social media.

social media management
1. Have a Plan - and revisit that plan frequently

2. Don't focus on the number of followers you have - focus on their quality

3. Choose 2, 3 or 4 social media sites for your business - forget the rest for now

4. Remember to check out the competition! Also, visit your own website now and then

5. Using whatever means are available, monitor progress over time and use it to improve results



A Social Media Plan doesn't have to be complicated. It can be as simple as checking in at 9am every Tuesday and Thursday, looking at messages and browsing through and reacting to your timeline. Have a post or tweet ready, with links to a blog post or website page.

Build your followers by ensuring that: posts/tweets are interesting (use #hashtags) and following accounts that could be your target clientele. Reacting to others' posts and tweets will establish a rapport and encourage them to follow you. Include a link to your social media from your website.

Focus on the best social media sites for your business. For business to business, this may be Twitter or LinkedIn but Facebook may be better for business to consumer promotion. Instagram requires a smartphone and frequently uploaded photographs for best results but it can be linked with Facebook.

Keep your eye on the ball! Check out your competitors at least every month but don't assume that their ideas are working better than yours- they may be thinking the same about you. Also, it's amazing how many website owners rarely look at their own websites once they've been published. The website owner is responsible for quality of the content even if a third party is being paid to update it. Some of the issues we've noticed are a website that is down/hacked or a home page refers to a future event that is now in the past.

Social Media usually offers some kind of analysis, such as number of views, most popular post/tweet, etc. Google Analytics, if included on your website, also provides information regarding visitor sources from social media, search engines, etc. Looking at the whole picture over a longer term (at least 2 or 3 months) provides an insight to what works and what needs work.



How we can help
Should you need guidance on how to manage your social media or use Google Analytics, just ask. The BPc also provides low-cost social media management and visitor analysis/report services.
Contact us.