Take care of your business, your customers and YOU

People are referring to the covid-19 pandemic as a war and that we are fighting an invisible enemy. Maybe there are some similarities, but however we view this period of confinement there is no doubt that it is changing lives now and in the future. And because people are forced to spend more time at home it is also changing our relationship with the outside world and our online search behaviour.

According to data recently published by Google, search and consumer behaviour is changing on a daily basis. So what can we do in these difficult times to take care of our business, our customers and, most importantly, ourselves? 

Can we use this new search behaviour to create content that will help others find the information they need? Yes we can, because we are also consumers and we are changing too. 

Trust written in blue pen on a clear board

 

 

 

 

Credible Information

Just the Facts wording displayed on a computer monitor with blue background

Because consumer search behaviour is changing, the way businesses write and present their content needs to evolve with it. To do this we need to understand the 5 relevant shifts in consumer search behaviour identified by Google.

1. Assembling critical information

We’re all searching for new critical content to help us get by and adapt to changes in lifestyle. Home-schooling, home deliveries and home-working are just a few of the key areas where searches are now focused. So businesses and organisations need to provide clear, credible information about their services and where, how and when people can get the things they need.

Fact not Fake

Reinforce that you are here to help. Keep in regular communication across your website, blogs, social media and Google My Business page. Most importantly, make sure that what you communicate is factual – there is so much fake news being distributed and most of it causes more concern and heightens emotions and anxiety. Your customers need to be able to trust what you are telling them.

Try to be flexible by helping customers with cancellations and refunds. Providing a good customer service is something they will remember you for. Poor customer service is what they will tell their friends about.

2. Making New Connections

With social distancing people are nurturing their existing relationships, whether it’s with family, friends or businesses. But they’re also making new virtual connections and search interest is spiking on YouTube for topics such as ‘Cook with Me’, ‘Study with me’ and ‘Disinfect with me’. But also for multiplayer games and virtual happy hour!

Are there any ways your business can virtually connect with consumers locally and globally? What experiences or services can you create and share with them?

3. Changes In Routines

Our online habits are changing as we adjust to new routines and schedules brought about by self-isolation. As well as spikes in search interest for D.I.Y and dumb-bells, there is also more interest in watching other people adapt to new routines, with some late-night show hosts broadcasting from their own homes.  

Google’s recommendations for helping consumers adjust to their new confinement routines is to let people know that your business is available whenever and wherever. Update and publish content that is interesting, entertaining, informative and promotes wellness. And publish it often. 

4. Praising Everyday Heroes

I’m sure we have all seen or heard of Captain Tom Moore, the 99 year old World War 2  veteran raising money for the NHS. At the time of writing, over 600,00 people had contributed to his Just Giving fund. What an amazing gentleman. A true inspiration for us all. Before the end of this isolation I’m pretty certain there will be more everyday heroes that we will want to support.

Look for people who are helping and find ways to support or celebrate them. Are there any everyday heroes in your business – employees or customers – or in your local community?  Support and share their achievements.

5. Taking Care of Themselves and Others

people holding hands, taking care of business and ourselves

I think we are all looking for ways to take care of the physical and emotional needs of ourselves and others. We are looking for activities that will help to ease the boredom, anxiety and restlessness. They can be virtual or real-life activities. And because of this growing need for stimulation, there has been a surge in virtual tours of galleries, museums, chateaux and even online music festivals!

If your business has an interest in any of these areas, that’s fantastic. Get involved and facilitate some virtual collaboration. If you’re not, there’s nothing to stop you sharing some of your favourite virtual tours or creating some of your own. Focus on ways to enrich peoples lives. Join conversations about home-based health and well-being, share links to home-based yoga sessions. 

Don’t just take care of your business

Some businesses will survive, others will adapt, re-invent themselves and come up with bigger and better business ideas. But if you are going to take care of your business, then your number one priority has to be taking care of yourself

These are bleak times but we will all get through this, one way or another.  Just remember to stay connected. Keep in touch with your family, friends, the local community and other businesses. Please, stay safe and stay in touch.

If you can dream it you can do it – Walt Disney

Click here to read the full Google Search Trends and coronavirus article

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need some help? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

Social Media & SEO

Do you promote your business on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? Did you know that boosting your postings on social media could help your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? 

 

“…it’s a fact that social media properties do dominate the front of the search engine result pages for brand names. Which means, social media profiles indeed have the power to rank in the top 10 results. Social media profiles are a great way to connect to your prospects and customers”

Kyren Smith, Lyfe Marketing

 

So, does social media impact SEO? Well, yes, there is a tenuous link between although it may not be immediately clear or easy to explain. Boosting your postings could improve your search engine rankings and bring traffic and visitors to your website. More traffic means higher visibility in search rankings and ultimately more customers. 

How does it work?

If you write a blog and post the link to this on your Facebook page then it will get liked and shared. If not, then maybe you need to brush up on your blog-writing skills, but that’s another story. Social media is built for sharing, so the more people like and share your blog, the more people see it and your business gets more visibility. Make sure your post settings are public, so if friends of friends see your post they will click on the blog link (the URL), like and share it.. The blog URL is linked to your website so by clicking on the blog link takes traffic to your website. So you are linking the blog to the site and that link is an important factor in  SEO ranking .

According to Google, social media is NOT a factor that directly affects your SEO ranking, but there is evidence that things like ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ are somehow related to your ranking. However, social ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ are definitely a direct ranking factor for Bing.. 

Optimise your Social Media sites

If you have several social media sites…Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest…are they consistent?

  • Make sure you have a profile image so you are more recognisable. Complete the profile section, making it relevant to your business, and appealing to your audience. 
  • Wherever possible make sure your profiles include a link to your website and if you have any offers or promotions then try and add a link to those as well. 
  • Be consistent with your posts and blogs and provide regular updates. But bear in the mind the post guidelines for each site because you don’t want it to look like your spamming. For example on Twitter you should post several times a day, but you don’t need to do this with Facebook or LinkedIn. 
  • Posts do better with images. Use eye-catching photos to attract attention. Catchy headline. Great content. And ask people for a share – it’s good, proven optimisation.
  • Use Hashtags because they are Keywords. They help categorise your content and help people find it. Just don’t over do it and use them correctly on the different platforms. Register a brand-specific hashtag and use it on all your posts
  • Review your website and make sure your content is optimised for social media sharing. Add social media sharing buttons. Videos show up in search results so add some into your content. 
  • Interact with people. If someone comments on your post, respond. Join groups and take part in conversations.
  • Keep posting – stay professional, unbiased, credible, approachable, and most of visible.

 

To read more, go to: How does Social Media Impact SEO? And if you need expert help with Social Media marketing, in my opinion there is no-one better than Micala Wilkins at Alacim Social Media Marketing. She has been in the marketing business for several years and has helped me enormously. Remember Social Media does impact SEO but only if you get it right! 

First published 22nd Feb 2020. Updated 9th April 2020

SAA I.T Test Consultant

 

‘Sharing is Caring’

If you found this useful then let me know – and let your friends know!

 

 

 

Macarons are so much nicer than cookies

colourful cascade or macarons

 

Chocolate-chip anyone?

I’m not being totally disrespectful to cookies. There are some nice ones, but living in France I have now acquired a taste for macarons. The colours, the different flavours… Hmm, I’m going a bit off track here, because I should really be talking about browser cookies, and even they’re not all bad. 

Following my article about Website Legalities and business websites having to display a cookie notice, I had a couple of questions from worried website owners. Personal Blog owners too should take heed because you also have to comply with the privacy laws. 

What are browser cookies?

They’re not particularly dangerous and they can’t be used to steal your personal data. In fact browser cookies are generally harmless.

They store login details and other little bits of information on your computer from the different websites you have visited.

The information can only be read by the website that made the cookie, and it can only store details that you have given it. It can’t be used to get any other personal data from your computer.

 

How does Amazon know what I’m looking for?

Well, let’s use Amazon as an example. When you log into your Amazon account it stores the details you entered and shows you everything related to your account. The Amazon website also stores a cookie on your device that tells them what items you viewed last time you were there. So it’s only reading and sharing with you the information you gave it before.

In theory, a website could store your credit card as a cookie, because you gave it that information. But only the website where it’s stored can read it. Therefore the only real ‘danger’ is if someone physically has access to your computer because they can read the info. To be on safe side though, you should only provide personal and financial data to websites that you trust 100%.

Is a cookie a virus?

No, cookies are NOT viruses and no, you cannot catch coronavirus online either. (Believe me, I have seen that asked in one of the browser forums). Cookies are just simple text files. They can’t make copies of themselves and spread to other networks so they cannot be defined as a virus. They could be used as a form of spyware though because they store information about browsing history. That’s why a lot of anti-spyware products regularly flag cookies up for deletion. 

Responsible web developers

Now we’re getting down to the privacy issues side of things. Responsible web developers will provide clear descriptions of how cookies are used on their site. There are different types of browser cookies, some are necessary and useful and can’t be refused, others such as third-party cookies usually get created if you frequent websites that display adverts from another website. Again these are not really bad cookies, because they help advertisers keep track of how many people are seeing their ads and whether a particular ad campaign is effective. Cookies can also limit the number of times as advert is shown and display ads in a particular order.

Privacy Laws

The legislation about using cookies for storing information came into force in May 2011.

All new and existing business websites SAA I.T. Tst Consultant Privacy Policy have to be compliant. And it’s not all the responsibility of your web hosting service. They can provide cookie data about their website but not yours, especially if you add links to other websites.

There are sites such as CookieBot which can analyse and report back on the cookies it finds on your website and tell you how intrusive they are. Then you have to decide how you use that information and the best way to obtain a user’s consent.

 

As a responsible business website owner you must:

  • inform users of the purpose of cookies,
  • obtain their consent,
  • provide users with a way to refuse them.

And if users do give their consent it is only legally for a period of 13 months maximum.

Details of the types of cookies used on your website should be included in your Privacy Policy or a separate cookie policy prominently displayed on your website, and a link in your Cookie Notice. 

There are a number of WordPress plugins for cookie notices and plenty of websites out there offering to scan your site, continue to monitor it and provide bespoke cookie policies. Check out CookieBot and Termly.io

All this talk about cookies has got me thinking about macarons again. I’m gutted that the lock-down stopped me from attending a macaron baking workshop with Keith at Jambon de Printemps last month. But I’ll be the first to sign up for the class when everything gets back to normal.

Stay Safe. 

 

 

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need some help? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

Responsive Website Design - SAA IT Test Consultant

A poor customer experience will impact sales

When you first published your business website who did you ask to check it out for you? In the majority of cases, if you are a small business owner it would probably have been close friends or family. And I don’t blame you, because I did the same. But unless they have website user testing experience then their feedback is likely to have been clouded by loyalty and emotion. 

They’re your friends and if you were just starting out, they’re not going to say anything negative to dampen your enthusiasm.

Same with me – to a certain extent. As an experienced user tester I always provide honest, constructive feedback. But whether it’s as a friend or a paid test analyst, I try to do it without sounding too critical. And I don’t just give negative feedback. I always report back on the positive aspects too.

Get an unbiased view

Having a fresh and impartial pair of eyes assessing your website will find issues that could affect your customer’s experience. A poor customer experience will generate bad reviews and it will impact your sales. Outsourcing the validation of your website to an independent user testing expert will give you an unbiased, unambiguous view of your business website, its strengths and its weaknesses.

 

“According to research by McKinsey, an incredible 35 per cent of Amazon’s sales come from recommendations.

More and more e-commerce businesses, small and large, are outsourcing their user experience (UX) testing to third-party testing service providers and business website user testing is one of the services that I provide. 

Initially I will look at your website and comment on my first impressions and then I will consider the most important factors for a well-designed business website. 

  • Can I tell in a few seconds what it is your business provides?
  • Are there any customer reviews?
  • Can I find what I’m looking for quickly and easily?

I’ll check whether the site is secure, if there is a data protection policy and, if it’s a commercial site, that all your general terms and conditions of sale are prominently displayed – payment options, refunds and exchanges, cost of delivery, after-sales service, etc.

What do you want your customers to do? 

User testing helps you understand how a customer might interact with your site. It covers the main steps a customer might go through such as selecting one or more items, choosing sizes, adding them to the shopping cart and going to the payment process.

The user journeys can be different every time. If there are different paths through the process, then there will be multiple user tests. And if there is an issue at any point this will be brought to your attention in the feedback report.

A bad customer experience will result in lost sales, bad reviews and more revenue for your competitors. Is that what you want? Or would you prefer to have an increase in sales, good reviews and recommendations, and a loyal customer base that trusts you to provide a secure, reliable service? 

Find out how my user testing experience can help you improve your customer’s experience.

FIND OUT MORE

 

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need some help? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

 

Website Legalities Updated 

Do you remember my last article on Website Legalities? It covered the privacy laws relating to Cookies and Privacy Policies and the mandatory details you have to display on your business website. If that was a lot to take in, well sadly for the individual entrepreneur there is a lot more you need to know.

Mandatory Details

As an individual entrepreneur, as well as the Cookies and Privacy policy, you have to display personal details that identify you, and the type of activity you carry out. 

Identification

For all activity types – Commercial, Craft and Regulated – your business website must display the following mandatory identity details: 

  • Name and Surname
  • Home Address
  • Telephone Number and Email Address
  • Name of the Director, and name of any co-director or editor if there is one
  • Name, company address and phone number of your business  website host. 

Activity

Additionally, for the type of activity you are registered to carry out, you must display the following mandatory Activity information:

Commercial

  • Registration number in trade and companies register
  • Individual tax identification number
  • General Terms and Conditions of Sale, including price in euros, Tax, delivery costs, date of delivery, payment terms, after-sales service, right of withdrawal, duration of any offers, the cost for phone calls (standard call charges, etc).

Artisan

  • Registration number in the trades directory
  • Or registration number in the register of companies of the chambers of trades in the departments of Moselle, Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin.

Regulated

  • Reference to applicable professional rules
  • Indication of professional title
  • Name of the EU state in which the professional title was granted
  • Name of the order or organisation with which a registration was made

 

This article covers the information required for individual entrepreneurs. There are other mandatory requirements for companies registered in France. All the information for individuals and companies can be found on the Service-Public.Fr site.

 

Tick for compliance - individual entrepreneur

 

 

 

Non-Compliance

Best case, if you don’t comply you will get fined €1500. But do you really want to be worrying about getting caught?

Worse case, if you’re found to be processing data without authorisation you could get 5 years’ imprisonment and a €300,000 fine. 


Non-professional Websites

I’m including this category for completeness. Personal blogs are slightly different. You are not obliged to reveal your identity, but you can still be fined.

If you decide to remain anonymous, then you only have to display the identity details of your website host. Your hosting company has to have your identification details in case of legal proceedings.

If you don’t want to remain anonymous then you have to provide your identification details. Name, Surname, Home Address, Phone Number and Email Address. 

Non-compliance for personal blogs may result in a year in prison and a €75,000 fine.

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need additional assistance? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

KEEP YOUR BUSINESS ACTIVE

Be prepared. Be Business ready

It’s not all doom and gloom for businesses that appear to be running ‘business-as-usual’, because they will be the first to receive a positive response from global customers once this crisis is over. The following article landed in my mailbox earlier this week, and it’s based on facts and figures, and includes good, positive advice. 

Read on – COVID-19 : not all doom and gloom for travel and hospitality markets

Keep you business visible. Create and share blog posts about your business, about your industry. Stay positive and upbeat.

Make sure you are Business Ready for all the new orders and bookings coming your way soon

Are you Business Ready? 

For a free review of your business website – GET IN TOUCH

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need some help? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

Creating Great Visual Content

Let’s be honest. Do you think that posting the occasional out of focus photo on Facebook or Instagram is a very effective marketing strategy? I have even seen photos uploaded that are not the right way up and have to tried to tilt my phone and my neck to see what it is. 

Apart from being a fool for twisting my neck, more importantly, if someone can’t spend a few minutes preparing a quick post I don’t want to do business with them.

I’ve posted a few blogs recently about improving content with professional photography, planning your content, etc. And when the following article landed in my mailbox it tied all of these topics together and also provided some ‘Visual Best Practices’. There’s not only information on how to define your content marketing strategy, but a great visual of a mind-map to go with it! 

Read the article – Visual Content Best Practices

Tell a Story

If you put in a little thought, time and effort into what you publish, people are going to remember it more. They will link great visual content to your business and you will stand out over your competitors. Think of it as telling a visual story. 

What images can you use to help to improve your text content and make it more memorable?

great visual content

If you have enjoyed reading this article please like and share.

Sharing is Caring!

 

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need some help? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

SAA I.T Testing

By your side

“Our aim is to help you improve the quality of your customer’s experience and increase the visibility of your business by providing expert advice and offering a range of affordable solutions and services”.

Let’s talk

SAA IT Testing – Committed to you and your business

 

two teddy bears advertising good hygiene

As we move into another week of confinement, I want to reassure all my existing and potential clients that I remain committed to you and your business.

As a responsible business owner, I will be following the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), and all relevant authorities, for country-specific requirements.

I am fortunate that my line of business does not involve face to face contact with my clients and I can work from home. But the same as everyone else, we are being impacted by a downturn in trade as small and medium-sized businesses cancel or reduce their orders.

If there is anything  I can do to help you  through these difficult times please get in touch. I have extended the FREE business website review indefinitely, and can also offer assistance writing blogs or content to help your business look it’s best.

If you prefer, we can just talk. Sometimes it is just good to have someone to talk to who is in the same situation.

Thank you for your continued loyalty and trust in SAA IT Testing Services

Please Stay Safe and Stay Well

Shirley Atkinson, SAA IT Testing 

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need additional assistance? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed