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Are you ready to see your business grow?

With restrictions starting to be lifted on lockdown in Scotland from next week, is your business digitally ready for the new norm?

Many businesses will be preparing their physical stores for opening but going forward we think a lot of people will continue to stay home more and do their shopping for all types of products online from mobiles, tablets and desk tops.

The most recent core update from Google has seen websites with old, out of date content and low word counts see a drop in traffic of over 75%

We have spoken to so many businesses recently that have had websites set up for them a number of years ago and they have never looked a them since.

They don’t have new content, they haven’t checked their keywords, meta descriptions, titles, their messaging isn’t consistent with their social media and they haven’t optimised their images - website loading speeds can be hugely affected by this.

A website needs love and attention as much as any other part of your business.

Without it, no one will find you in the digital world.

You need to make sure you’re website is ranking - how often do you scroll to page 4 or above when you are ‘googling something’

That’s where we can help.

We can audit all your digital offerings, website, twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pintrest and Google business to make sure they are working for you. This will help people find your site and in turn increase sales and profit.

We can offer this service as a one off, annual MOT, six month check up or we can manage all your content and updates for you. We can tailor a service to your business and website.

With over 10 years helping businesses grow online through digital marketing and social media - we know what we are doing.

Contact us today to get your business seen.

Clare Bridson

Founder of 291 Media

Make your website picture perfect

Getting the imagery right on your website is crucial.

It can improve your SEO rankings, help you convert sales and make you look more professional.

Once you’ve thought about the shot you want, you then think need to consider how it will look on the page, where you should shoot it, how to light it properly, what size it should be and then how to optimise it for web.

Here’s our tips on how to get it all right.

What shot do you want:

Do you want a photos that sells your product or service or one that attracts interest in your blog or page. Do you want people to feature in it, customers or employees or are you promoting a beautiful place that you want to take customers to.

Tools for the job:

No matter how good your mobile phone is, a digital camera, in our opinion is always a better option for website photo. It’s bigger, sharper and if you are shooting in RAW you have so many more options. A camera doesn’t need to break the bank, Our Canon EOS 80D cost around £600 and was a great investment. We also bought a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens which is perfect for portrait and product shots. Canon is our preference but there are lots of great cameras out there that don’t cost the Earth and are much cheaper than having to hire a photographer every time you need pictures.

Why spend thousand of pounds on a website for it be be let down by the imagery.

How are you going to take it:

Lighting plays a crucial role in photography. It can bring your photograph to life.

If you are shooting products LED light boxes like the CiaraQ Photo Studio Tent can be really helpful and cheap but natural light can work just as well. Think about what’s around you. Clear away anything that might get the background of your photos or close blinds and curtains if there is too much sun coming in. A piece of white card, bent into a slightly curved shape can helps make the backgrounds look seamless and allows the light to bounce back onto the product.

If you’re promoting a destination then you want to pick a sunny day and try to include models. People like to see our people doing things, it makes then want to do more. Thank about interesting angles and wide lenses to capture landscapes.

If you are looking to take portrait images, try taking your images at ‘golden hour’ Golden hour is roughly an hour after sunrise or before sunset, when the sun is at its lowest position. Photos taken at this time have a lovely soft flattering tones. Photoshop is also a great tool for correcting light and skin tones. We recommend a 50mm lens for your portrait shots.

What size and shape sound it be:

Most content management systems will give you a guide to the size and shape your images should be for different parts of your website. Social channels will also give you specifics for their feeds too. Make sure you follow these guides or you might end up with some images missing, which looks odd and isn’t great if you are trying to make a product look enticing.

We see so menu websites where this happens, especially with thumbnails and e-commerce sites. Most e-commerce images are recommended to be square. Set yourself up a template in photoshop or Lightroom that you can put all your new images in to make sure they are fit for purpose. A template helps to keep them all uniform and make your website look its best.

Optimising your images for web:

Optimising your images allows you to save them in the smallest possible file size without reducing the overall image quality.

By uploading optimised images to your website you can improve its speed, SEO rankings, achieve a higher conversion rate on sales and leads and back up your website faster.

While this is something people often forget to do, it a pretty simple process. You can use one of the many image optimisation plugins and tools available to automatically compress images by up to 80% without any visible loss in image quality. We use tinyjpg.com

Clare Bridson

Founder of 291 Media

Be seen during Lockdown

As we enter our sixth week of lockdown, we’re all wondering how long this is going to continue, how we are going to keep our businesses alive and how we are going to let potential customers know we are still open.

There are lots of great new websites that have popped up over the last few weeks to help businesses promote themselves, including edinburghlockdowneconomy.com which we are helping with.

If you need a bit of help and guidance as to what else you can do to market your business right now and in the longer term, here are a few suggestions:

1. Online directories

There are loads of them to choose from, more than ever and lots of sites offering free listing at the moment which you would normally have to pay for.

2. Collaborations

peak to your friends that have businesses or people in you Linkedin community and see how you can help each other out. Perhaps you can exchange skills and help each other out, without having to think about paying someone for the skills you are needing.

3. Ask for reviews and showcase them

Don’t be shy, contact your customers and ask them for commendations and reviews.

4. SEO

Is your website performing for you? Are you using all the relevant keywords, are your meta descriptions complete, do your pages have H1 titles. These will all help improve your SEO and rankings.

5. Word of mouth

Speak to your customers and friends regularly, tell them what you’re doing, ask them for suggestions, see if you can help them.

6. Social media

Make sure you keep a social media presence throughout lockdown.  Helpful tips, product information, entertaining stories.  Keep your followers engaged or you could loose them.

7. Create good quality content

Regular and helpful blogs will not only show you are an expert in your field, it will also drive traffic to your website and improve your SEO.  You should aim to write something monthly at the moment.

All of these suggestions will help your business in the long run, so make sure you are putting yourself out there.

You’re not the only one feeling they way you do and remember - we're in this together!

Clare Bridson

Founder of 291 Media

Social Media in Covid-19 Times

It’s a tricky time for all businesses at the moment, no matter their size.

No one is sure when life will return to normal, how people’s spending habits will change and when travel will be possible again.

As scary as this can be, it’s not a time to switch off and hide, it’s time to be seen, to show your customers you appreciated them with tips and information and to attract potential customers who may be interested in you and your products.

Social media is an amazing tool for this.

Not only is it simple to access, it’s easy to target specific audiences and you can achieve great results with just a small budget.

Potential customers are spending hours scrolling on their social media channels just now. We found a recent survey which showed time spent on Facebook has increased by 47% at the moment, so it's the perfect time to create high-quality content that tells your story and creates interest your business and products.

A simple monthly posting schedule can make this task less daunting and makes sure you are covering your key products and services - not just posting for the sake of posting.

Think about:

  • Who your audience / target audience is
  • When your audience is online
  • Why you are posting
  • What’s your USP
  • What’s topical and what people are talking about
  • What grabs your attention when you scroll through your social media feeds
  • We say, make sure it’s topical, interesting, fun and informative and include eye catching images or videos.

    If you need some help or guidance with your social media, we offer a range services from half day 1-2-1 training to strategy and campaigns to imagery, videos and community management, all at a cost that works for your pocket.

    Clare Bridson

    Founder of 291 Media

    Working from home

    Working freelance means we’ve had a bit of experience of working from home.

    It can take a bit of getting used to. There's distractions everywhere from morning tv, to ‘I’ll just put in a washing, to friends that pop by because they knew you are home.

    For anyone that’s new to ‘WFH’ or have had to because of Coronavirus, there’s the possible added complications of children to keep entertained, extra family members at home and perhaps extended family to shop for.

    We’ve put this short guide together to help everyone. We hope you find it useful.

    1. Try to find a separate quiet space to work from.

    This could be a spare room if you’re lucky enough to have one, your bedroom or the kitchen where there’s a table you can work from.

    2. If you can get one, a desk is a great idea.

    You have a proper workspace, everything you need is in the one place and it’s better for your back.

    Our clients BMG Office Equipment have a great range of fit for purpose desks that work in any homes and they are delivering to houses for free at the moment.

    3. Have a routine or timetable to work to.

    For you and the kids. After everyone’s fed. Take a solid couple of hours to focus. Give them a task they enjoy and will keep them busy, reading, drawing, even X Box if it gives you time until lunch. Little kids will like it if you tell them they are working like their parents.

    You can then do the jobs that you need to concentrate to get through before giving them some quality time and you do some more when they are in bed or their favourite programme is on.

    4. Use a ‘to do’ list.

    That way you can keep a note of things that pop in your head when your dealing with the dishes or walking the dog so you don’t forget them and ticking them off will give you a sense of achievement.

    5. Take proper breaks.

    Putting down your mobile and Mac helps with creativity and productivity and can help prevent cabin fever. Your mental health is important too. We’ve been taking a couple of hours to do those little jobs around the house that you don’t get round to. Fixing the shed, painting the back door, tidying out the kitchen cupboards.

    6. If you just can’t get any peace

    Invest in some noise cancelling headphones for some quiet time. Your favourite tunes can help you focus and block out the world around you. James Morrow Home Entertainment have a great range of Bose that you can choose from.

    Good luck and stay safe everyone.

    Clare Bridson

    Founder of 291 Media