Pretty ginger cat waiting to be adopted

Fund-raising in aid of Chats de Chatillon

With my good friend Micala Wilkins, from Alacim Social Media Marketing, we are organising several online events to raise money for this wonderful cat refuge. Based near Parthenay in France, Chats de Chatillon is a non-profit association run by husband and wife team, Judy and Alan Lewis.

The refuge desperately needs funds to purchase two portable isolation units. Extra money will also help them to keep on top of ever-increasing maintenance and vet’s bills. 

Isolation

The Chats de Chatillon cat refuge takes in abandoned, abused and injured cats and kittens on a daily basis. They get calls to take in ‘refugees’ all hours of the day and night, and they very rarely say No.

New cats often need to be isolated until they are given a clean bill of health by the vet. Sadly, some of these cats have infections or viruses that can be treated, but cannot be cured. They have less chance of being adopted, and will remain in isolation for the rest of their lives. 

Having portable units will improve the quality of their lives enormously. They will be able to lay in the sun and play in the grass, without being a risk to other animals. 

How can you help?

If you own or know a business that makes or sells cat-related products we would love to hear from you.

We want to create a luxury ‘Feline Pamper Hamper’ to be the 1st prize in an upcoming raffle. If you can donate items to go into the hamper it would be fantastic. But even if you can’t donate a kitty product, you can still help by sponsoring one of the cats in isolation. Alternatively, you can make a monetary donation. 100% of the proceeds will go to Chats de Chatillon. 

Businesses that sponsor, or provide donations will get a special mention in all online advertising for the fund-raising events. If you can help, or want more information, please get in touch with me, Micala or Judy,  

On behalf of everyone at Chats de Chatillon, thank you.

Your support and donations will help improve the quality of life of our feline friends

Chats de Chatillon kitten

 

Little Miss Polly & Pretty Pebbles

white cat sat on windowsill
Little Miss Polly

Miss Polly (right) has been diagnosed with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Until we find someone special who can give her a loving home she must be isolated from other cats. 

She arrived at the refuge in May this year. Abandoned in the town centre, she was suffering from an extremely deep bite at the base of her tail that had caused a huge abscess. The vet thinks she may have got infected when she was attacked.

Polly has a pure white coat and is extremely affectionate. She longs to be loved. Aged about 7-8 months (born approximately Sept 2020) she is still only a kitten. She is such a happy, friendly little girl, and loves to race around.

Quality of life

Pretty Pebbles came to us in such a terrible condition that she would not have survived much longer. She has been diagnosed with Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV), and like Miss Polly, she must stay in isolation.

When she arrived Pebbles weighed only 1 kg. She was such a good girl being cleaned up and cared for. Never getting cross or lashing out, even though she was in a lot of pain. 

Because these two infections are caused by different viruses unfortunately they cannot share accommodation. Having portable isolation units will improve the quality of their lives enormously.

 

 

What is a Generation Group? 

Let’s start with a simple question. Do you know which generation group you are in?

There are so many different terms that it has become quite confusing, especially as I now see business articles referring to target audiences as Gen X, Gen Y and Baby Boomers. These are terms frequently used in the news and in marketing, but what do they all mean?

A recent article I received, about finding the best social media platform for my target audience, had me scouring the internet to find a concise definition. Then I thought, if I don’t fully understand what generation groups are, other people will be just as confused.

It’s not just a personal thing. From a business perspective, we need to be seen on the right social media platforms. We have to know which groups our customers fall into, because different generations have their own social media favourites. 

Our Ancestors

When people talk about Generation X it can be a bit baffling. It seems to me that it’s because when we think about generations we think about the family – parents, grand-parents, great grand-parents, etc.

 

This is one way of looking at it and it’s called ‘Familial Generation‘. You and your siblings are one generation, your parents, aunts and uncles, are another, grand-parents are another. And so on. 

When you hear talk about Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials there is a different term for these and this is when it gets a bit mind-boggling. These are called ‘Sociological Generations‘. It’s a bit of a tongue-twister isn’t it? I think it’s more important to know the actual group names, than understand the definition but I’ll try and summarise it.

Life Events

Putting people into sociological categories – Baby Boomer, Generation X, Y, etc is more complex because it’s seen from two different perspectives.

One is based on birth rates as documented by the census, which considers population expansion and contraction. So if there is an age difference of 5 or 6 years between siblings, according to the census they could be in different sociological generations. If your parents were very young when they had you, you could potentially belong to the same category, as defined by the census. That part of it is probably the most difficult to understand. 

The other way of defining sociological generations is through life events that link groups of people. Sociologists look at common life events and shared experiences to define the groups.  

For instance, ‘Generation X’ grew up with parents who divorced and mothers who worked. Personal computers were just coming on the scene. And there was that cross-over from analog to digital. Along comes MTV, Atari, computer games, Apple, YouTube, Facebook. It’s these elements which are used to define the X, Y and Zs.

Therefore, in marketing terms, it’s the sociological generations that we are referring to and should try to comprehend.

Identify the Generation Group

generation group and year of birth

 

I’ve made it into the Baby Boomers group (1963) so this article, about finding the Best Social Media Platforms is actually pretty accurate when I think of how I interact with the world wide web.

Knowing the generation group will help to focus on the right social media outlets. That will give us more time to focus and improve on other business areas, such as our websites, or improving our content

It won’t be a ‘one-size fits all’ for every business scenario, and there might be some trial and error. But, when we’re running a full-time business, this ‘Generation Game’ might give us more time to spend with our loved ones. That has to be a ‘Brucie’ bonus.

 

‘Sharing is Caring’

If you like this article let me know – and let your friends know!

 

Business Blogs – When is the best time to blog?

It occurred to me this morning that I hadn’t posted a business blog in a while. With so much going on with coronavirus, self-isolation and people disobeying the distancing rules, why would anyone be interested in a blog about websites? Or website testing? 

So then I started thinking about the reasons why I should do a blog and it got me thinking about optimisation. It sounds like a random train of thought doesn’t it? But I’m talking about ‘optimisation’ in a business blog kind of way. And at 6 am on a beautiful Sunday morning I’m sat at my desk researching ‘Business Blog Scheduling’. 

I know the reasons why I should be submitting regular business posts. It’s so that it keeps my website fresh, helps with SEO and search traffic, helps build a good relationship with clients, etc, etc. But doesn’t how often we need to publish a blog and the optimal blogging frequency vary, depending on the type of business you have?  

 

top part of a round white clock face showing numbers and the words Prime time

Image Credit

General Blogging Guidelines

So as a result of my early morning research I did actually come up with a few general guidelines.

  1. Publish a new business blog at least once a week
  2. Always publish on the same day
  3. Focus on creating high-quality content

Great. Now I have my guidelines all I have to do is find a way to make user testing sound interesting. That’s the hard bit. But then, reading different articles this morning, I noticed that Guideline #1 isn’t strictly correct. It doesn’t always have to be new content. If you have posted something previously about a topic that is still relevant, or has come back in fashion, re-use it. There’s nothing to stop you giving it a bit of a tweak – re-cycling! – and republishing it. It counts as a new business blog, just don’t keep re-using the same one every week.

Identify your audience

Guideline number 2 is about being consistent and routinely publishing your blog on the same day. This is where I think we need to experiment to find out what works best for our own business and for our customers. But the first step has to be identifying your business blog audience.

My services are not going to be required by everybody. To be honest I probably have a very limited audience – owners of small and medium sized business enterprises – SMEs. And it doesn’t really matter what line of business my ‘audience’ is in. If they have a business website then they are a potential customer, even web design businesses.

I regularly work with a couple of web designers, reviewing their work during and after publishing, because catching bugs earlier means it easier and less expensive to fix. When you’re busy it’s easy to miss little things, such as broken links or poor navigation. Lots of little things can lead to one big, bad customer experience. So sometimes, it just helps to have a fresh pair of eyes look over the content and usability. 

There you see, I have drifted off into my own little testing world when I should be focusing on the task in hand and telling you about the ultimate goal.

The goal, of course, once you have identified your target audience is to successfully maintain a business blog that will increase website visitors. Making new connections and continuing to engage with existing customers or clients, will hopefully start generating new sales. 

Experiment

Different audiences will have different needs. If your business blog is a tool for providing up-to-the-minute information about products that you sell then you probably need to publish short, promotional blogs on a daily basis, or even several times a day. Whereas if you provide technical services, like testing for example, then that requires a longer, more detailed blog. So I think for me personally, once a week should suffice.

If you’re not sure what your blog readers need then you might have to experiment and see what formats and frequencies get the best reactions. See which format is a consistent favourite and continue with that. 

Now comes the hard part – creating high-quality content.

Avoid Burnout

This came up in several of the articles I read this morning and probably made the most sense. We all start off with so much enthusiasm, especially when people like or share our posts. But trying to consistently write something that’s interesting, in whatever line of business you are in, can be exhausting. There are a couple of ways to overcome this and avoid burnout.

First of all, why not share the load? Try inviting a guest blogger to write for you occasionally to add a bit of variety and a different personality. (This could work for me, and I have already got a couple of people in mind). Alternatively, if you really don’t like writing content and this is what puts you off blogging then you could hire someone to do it for you full-time.

Second, try writing and stockpiling articles for when you haven’t got time to keep to your business blog schedule. I have started adding articles or other blog sites to a ‘Favourites’ folder for future inspiration. I also check out Google search trends and try to use them as topics or keywords.

Timing

A lot of research has gone into analysing blog post timing data. Which Social Media platform is best for your business depends a lot on your target audience. I doubt many of my potential clients would be on TikTok for example. Pinterest is another one I don’t bother with, and I only have an Instagram personal account, not a business one, and even that is rarely use. You don’t need to have a business presence on all of them if it isn’t going to do anything for you. It just makes it harder to manage.

Mobile phone and tiles spelling Social Media

My business networking focus is on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. To get the best from these platforms for my business I need to look at the research.

Well, I have looked and basically the answer seems to be ‘it’s complex’ because it depends on your industry and your audience. Fortunately, I know my audience and thankfully. the research does confirm that these are the best platforms for my industry sector. That’s a bonus. 

However, I don’t intend to make this post any longer than it needs to be, so I’ve added a link to an easy to follow Info-graphic. Under normal circumstances it provides all the optimal posting timings for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It also includes data for business sectors such as B2B, B2C, Higher Education, etc. 

Best Time Scheduler

Unfortunately, at this moment in time, there is nothing remotely normal about what is going on around us. Schools and the majority of businesses are either closed or employees are temporarily working from home. Our travel, work and home schedules are different, which means that our access to the internet and social media is different. 

In a few months there will be more data analysis on the best times to post a business blog, based on the lock-down period.  So I’m going to put creating an all-singing, all-dancing ‘Best Time Scheduler’ on hold for the time being and write some new content for my once-a-week business blog. 

I’m sure my audience will let me know if they want more from me, but for now, I think it’s time for another cup of vanilla chai before I go out in the garden and pull a few weeds. Happy weekend everyone!

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 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!

 

 

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

Let’s Get Creative

What can you do that is different from what everyone else is doing?

Lightbulb on a postit - get creative

Whether it’s now or in the next 6 months, most small and medium-sized businesses are going to have a few obstacles to overcome. Maybe now is a good time to get creative – start thinking about what it is we do and how can we improve it. 

Get Started


Running a business is hard work. It’s not just doing the jobs that bring the money in, it’s marketing, paying taxes on time, working with suppliers, etc. We learn how to manage these activities, but when something we have no control over impacts our business that’s when we need to stop and think. The situation we now find ourselves in, through no fault of our own, needs to be managed, otherwise not only will our businesses suffer, but our health will suffer too. I’m in the same boat, and I don’t know how I’m going to pay the bills this month. But I’m trying to stay positive. I’m fit and healthy. We have a place to live and food in the freezer. I’ve arranged meetings with the bank and insurance agent to discuss our finances and there’s government aid we can apply for.

“Being creative can involve cooking a meal from scratch, creating a novel marketing campaign, making up a bedtime story for your child, finding ways to cut costs, or even developing a creative solution to a negotiation impasse. Whatever you do, creativity helps you do it better.”

From the book ‘How to be more creative – A Handbook for Alchemists’ by Marelisa Fabrega.

We’re not the only ones in this situation and that bizarrely is what is making me think positively. Now, I need to channel my positivity into creativity. I’m off to do some mind-mapping to jog my creativity.

 

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 IT TESTING

Dedicated to Quality

“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”.

Find Out More

Why having your own business website is so important

In a recent poll I conducted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, I asked ‘Do you think it’s important to have your own business website?’ A staggering 96% voted Yes. And I say ‘staggering’ because when I check out the various social media platforms, I rarely see anyone promoting their business website.

So maybe there’s a lack of understanding as to why social spaces are the perfect arenas to promote their business website. 

Online research still on the increase

More and more businesses are setting up online because they have the potential to sell their products or services to a wider market. Data shows that researching on a product, service or holiday before parting with any cash is still on the increase.

Having a website designed for your business is an important step towards grabbing a piece of the online marketing pie. And building a business website is so much easier now. You can hire a professional to help build it or you can use one of the various Website Builders, such as WordPress, Wix or Squarespace.

Searching online using multidevices


What are the Pros and Cons of having your own business website?

Pros

 1. Less competition 

If you sell your products or services on eBay, Amazon, AirBnB or similar sites you are competing with other sellers. Your potential customers don’t go on the main selling sites to look for your products. Even if they find one of your items, they can be distracted by other adverts flashing up around them. Creating a business website means your products and services can be found and, with no distractions, they are more likely to buy.

 2. Create brand awareness

It’s a competitive world out there and building a website with your brand name means that if it’s good people will recognise it, talk about it and share it. Having a business website with a secure (https) domain name that’s relevant to your business stakes your claim to that name. Getting there first will protect and secure your online brand and reputation. SAA IT Test logo

3. Reach a wider audience

Having your own business website you can attract customers from anywhere in the world, not just social media users. Not everybody has a Facebook account but most people have internet access and they use it to research before they buy.

4. Customer service 24/7

You can keep in touch with your customers and offer advice and support anytime anywhere.

5. Access to Business Information

Even if your physical shop is closed your customers can still find your business website and they can access it from a variety of devices. As long as you keep the information uptodate they can check availability of goods and services and check your prices.

6. Advertising

Use your website as a tool for advertising your business and creating customer awareness of your products, brand, and offers. Encourage your customers to leave reviews.

7. Fresh content

This can be a Pro and a Con. Your website is there to promote your business. Make sure the information is uptodate and interesting enough to attract more customers. Writing great content is a task in itself, hence why it’s also listed under Cons. There’s plenty of help out there if you know who to ask, and some excellent tools too. (that’s another Blog topic!)

8. Reduce communication costs

The Internet is an inexpensive form of communication and a great way to keep in regular contact with customers, suppliers and other businesses.

Cons

1. Website crashing

Error message on a website

Sometimes your website might crash making your business unavailable to customers. It’s normally only short-term so don’t let this put you off.
2. Accessibility

More and more customers use mobile devices for online purchases and if your website isn’t customised for mobile users they go elsewhere. Make sure you have a Responsive Website Design (and that’s also another topic).

3. Poor design

Some websites look cluttered and the user journey from searching to buying is too complex. If customers can’t find what they are looking for within a few seconds they won’t stay on your website very long.

4. Bad publicity

If customers leave a negative reviews on your website the bad publicity could have a huge impact on your brand reputation. Don’t ignore bad reviews and feedback. Respond calmly and professionally. Tell them what you will try to do to change things, offer a free replacement. How you respond can turn bad publicity into good publicity. But this isn’t just linked to business websites, it anywhere someone can leave a rating or review.

5. Not reaching your target audience

It’s not always easy to reach the right audience straight away. It can depend on your content and how your business ranks in searches compared with your competitors. Don’t be disheartened, there are people out there who can help with advertising, SEO, and content writing.

6. Poor content

Keeping your content fresh, informative and uptodate can be a real advantage. If you’re not comfortable writing your content then the thought of it could put you off having your own business website. There is help out there and sometimes all it needs is a fresh pair of eyes and a little encouragement to get you on the right track.

Increase Your Sales

So, you can see the Pros for having your own business website outweigh the Cons. The potential for increasing your customer base, business branding, reputation and increased sales is just too good an opportunity to miss.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get your business website working for you today.

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

Dedicated to Quality

“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”.

Find Out More

 

Understanding Inbound Marketing Terms

Now you’re probably wondering whether a blog about Inbound Marketing Terms is worth a read. Well, if you are trying to promote your business online then yes it is. 

Although I can tell you a few things about websites, user testing and writing great content, I’m still learning about Digital Marketing. So when I come across something that helps me to understand one small area of this huge subject, I share it. 

If you only get one useful idea or piece of advice from it then you have still learnt something which will enable you to better promote your online business. 

Personally, the terms Social Media and Social Media Engagement stand out the best and have got my little grey cells working overtime. Now I’m thinking of more ways to start conversations and find interesting, well-written posts to share. Google Trends might be my starting point today. 

But I digress, I’m sure you’re all thinking ‘Get on with it!’ OK. Make yourself a brew, sit down and have a read of this post from a fellow blogger. Then tell me that you haven’t learnt something new today. 

 

Focus definition in dictionary

Inbound marketing focuses on creating helpful content that pulls your buyer toward your website where they can learn more about you, your expertise and knowledge, and what you sell on their own time – without being interrupted with ads or traditional marketing. By exchanging useful content for demographic information (especially email), inbound turns browsers into leads and, eventually, leads into customers. 

Read the full post:

The Vocabulary of Inbound Marketing: The Layperson’s Guide to Terms You Need to Know

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