Spooky house surrounded by fog

Digital House Of Horrors

Halloween 2020 will be remembered as the year that was factually more frightening than anything Stephen King could have written. We are also in a place where many businesses are improving their online presence to hopefully improve the books after a devastating 10 months through Covid-19, and that's even before the UK's impending second wave.

Here at 291 Media we're helping many business with their digital revamps and getting festive campaigns up and running.

This Halloween, we're sharing some of the digital horrors we've been working through, in the hope that you don't end up in any of these situations, or wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

Websites left alone in the woods.

If you had your website built and haven't looked at it in the past three months, then it's time for a refresh. Like most of us, developers have been forced to work from home and this has increased the amount of change across many of the social, e-commerce and hosting providers and a lightening speed. Plugins, platforms and performance measures have all changed.

So what can you do?

Make sure you are using next generation images like WebP, SVG and properly compressed jpeg files. Update plugins that have been left behind. Some of these updates will give you access to more or better features, some resolve security and privacy issues. Make sure your content still reflects how your business and services are right now. Covid-19 has changed everything from opening hours and services, to pricing and delivery options. Make sure you are up to date and giving your potential customers the correct information.

Need help?

We totally appreciate that this process could leave you sifting through a lot of technical information and the fear that something, or everything, will stop working. If you need help, reach out to us by giving us a call or drop us an email, leaving you to concentrate on your business.

Costs that could give you a heart attack

We've heard of some companies and freelancers charging upwards of £330 to provide some simple updates to plugins and content. We are not saying, that this is not worthwhile, but we feel that simple updates should be invoiced as such. We all need to get through this together.

If you are looking for updates, or a new website. Make sure you get a few quotes and more importantly talk to the people who are going to be working for you. Ask questions like: How much support can you give me to get my content online? Do you include SSL certificates as standard? Do you include off page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as standard? How do you work with my social media campaigns.

Invisibility cloak

Some websites look great, they give your customers a great experience. They allow purchases to be completed quickly, download vouchers are easily dispatched, but your still not getting traffic to your site. It doesn't matter how big or where your business is physically located. If it's hiding in the cupboard under the stairs, then it's not working for you.

How do you improve the visibility of your website?

Make sure that your website is being found on Google and Bing. Some of the business websites that we are now looking after had no SEO at all on or off the page, never-mind a complementary social media strategy. We can highly recommend any of the Google products, Search console and analytics to find out how your digital store is working for you. They are all free! Google My Business is a fantastic resource! You can inform potential customers about the physical location of your business, your opening hours and even promote special offers.

Bonus Tip

Make sure you’re asking your customers or fans to leave you a review on Google. It's a good signal to potential customers that you are reliable, trustworthy and a safe choice. This will also give you a small boost in your rankings ;)

Lost in dark

We've all found websites that are difficult to navigate and use. That frustration of not being able to find the product or information we're looking for, or where we expect it to be. So it's back to Google and we move on to the next site within two clicks. Make sure your website is delivering a great user experience. A good way to test this for free, is to get someone to go to your website and perform some task. Are they following the directions and prompts in a way you expect them to? Is it possible to get back to your home page in one click?

Instead of buying a sports car, you've bought a bag of spanners!

Some of the website projects that we have worked on this year have cost in excess of £600 and the performance has been shocking. Checking the performance of your website is easy. There are many good website checkers around that can point you in the right direction of making improvements. This is the easy part, the work starts when you try to solve the problems from this report. Again if you need help. Talk to us.

Improvements we've made this week

We took a standard website which was built on Wordpress. It had 5 pages of content explaining what the business is and does. The performance of the site was shocking. So after a quick rebuild, we halved the data size of the site and doubled it's performance.

Locked out of your house

You have a website, you have all your social media channels, you have someone on your team who manages this for you. They leave the business and you can't find all the passwords and login information for your sites.

Keep the keys to your own socials and domains. It's much easier to give the people that need access to work on these platforms permissions and roles. Working this way means that you always have the keys to get into your digital shop.

If you have any questions or need any help with any of this, get in touch and we'll do our best to help you.

We might not be able to solve the fear of clowns and balloons, but we can help get you back on track.

Happy Halloween