Could Your Business Benefit from Offering Online Appointment Scheduling?

A growing number of service-oriented businesses, such as hair salons, barbers, personal trainers, massage spas and health spas, are utilizing online appointment scheduling and are changing the way they interact with their customers. Because many of these appointment systems are mobile-friendly, people are able to connect with these businesses wherever they already are, providing the 24/7 convenience today’s consumers demand. Allowing your customer to connect with you at any time of the day will keep them coming back.

Depending on your business’ needs and which system is selected, the many advantages of utilizing online appointment scheduling can include the following:

  1. Saving time spent booking appointments
  2. Needing fewer staff members to manage appointments.
  3. Easier management of staff schedules. Booking is real-time and staff is immediately notified when an appointment has been scheduled for them.
  4. Flexibility to choose when to collect payment: upfront collection at time of booking, or after services have been delivered.
  5. Clients are notified of cancellation policies and any fees incurred.
  6. Automated reminders to clients reduce the number of no-shows, which costs some organizations several thousands of dollars each year. By switching to online scheduling, some see a 50% or greater reduction in no-shows.
  7. Business or financial reports can be generated and provide informative data such as the number of no shows, the number of appointments each staff member completes, comparisons of location-to-location productivity, or the number of appointments that were booked because of a marketing promotion.
  8. Be integrated with back-office software to reduce amount of time spent on bookkeeping.

These benefits would be attractive to most companies, and especially to small businesses with limited staff resources. But the positive returns from using online scheduling do not end there.

Businesses will also notice:

  1. More appointments

    • People spend so much of their time online and appreciate companies who make it convenient to do business with them. There’s no waiting, as often happens with phone scheduling and they can book appointments at any time of the day.
    • Integrating your booking system with social media makes it convenient for people to make bookings when they’re already on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
    • Include Customer Review integration to encourage NEW customers to book the first appointment with you online!
  2. Customer retention

    • Encourage customers to return, sooner. Send seasonal deals, or a birthday greeting with a coupon. Set these up once and let them run automatically.
  3. Increased revenue

    • Online booking makes your business available 24/7, allowing you to receive more bookings than you would via phone. You can also offer items your customers can purchase like gift certificates, promotional items or services, while they are booking their appointment.
  4. Increased efficiency

    • The calendar would also show you where there are gaps between appointments. You can utilize the time with special demonstrations or promotions that can be marketed ahead of time.
    • You can also assign resources (like a room or equipment) to specific services to help you prevent duplicate booking.
  5. Lower overhead

    • Fewer overhead costs because the need for a person(s) to handle reservations is eliminated.

Technological advances have changed consumer expectations and customers have become accustomed to getting what they want sooner than later. They appreciate businesses that provide services quickly, at a time or location that is always convenient; positive experiences with these businesses will encourage customers to return time and time again and they, in turn, will influence others to do the same.

Ready to get started with online appointment scheduling for your business? Fill out our checklist and send to UmeWorks to start discussing your business’ scheduling needs.

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How to Like a Facebook Page From Another Page

How to Like a Facebook page

As a business owner, do you ever wonder (or want to be reminded) of how you can Like another Facebook Business Page as your page, vs. as an individual? Perhaps you have a partner, a colleague or a member of your business networking group you’d like to help promote. Or perhaps you’d like to ask another business to promote your Facebook Page to help your company get more visibility.

No need to “Google” it – here are the instructions right here:

How to Like a Facebook Page as your Page:

    1. Go to the Page you want to like.
    2. Click below the Page’s cover photo.
    3. Select Like As Your Page.
    4. Select a Page and Submit.

To see a list of all the Pages that your Page has liked, go to your Page and scroll down to Pages liked by this Page in the right column.

To see posts from pages that you’ve liked as your Page, go to your Page and click See Pages Feed in the right column of your Page.

Want help with your website and Internet presence? Contact UmeWorks in Torrance at 323 638-9328 or info@umeworks.com to discuss your website needs.

Why Having a Child Theme is Important for Your WordPress Website

You and your website designer have finally selected the WordPress theme (from the thousands that are available) that you feel is the best fit for your website. However, it’s not completely matching your vision and you want to make adjustments to the design. This is where using a child theme comes in.

It’s important to understand what a child theme is and its relationship to the original, or “parent” theme. The parent theme is “a complete theme which includes all of the required WordPress template files and assets for the theme to work.” The child theme inherits the look and functionality of the parent theme but can be used to modify any part of the theme without touching the parent’s core files and assets. The child theme overwrites specific assets of the parent theme, while maintaining the rest from the parent.

Benefits of Child Themes:

  • Allows you to easily reproduce or move your modifications
  • Keeps your customizations separate from parent theme functions
  • Parent themes can be updated without deleting your modifications
  • Save on development time as you are not starting from scratch

Although it may initially feel a bit intimidating, it is not that difficult to create a child theme in WordPress. There are three main steps to set up a child theme:

  1. Create a theme folder in your wp-content/themes folder.
  2. Create a stylesheet that you will put in that child theme folder that designates the parent theme stylesheet.
  3. Enqueue stylesheet by creating a functions.php file for your child theme and include the enqueue PHP script.

For the full instructions on how to do this, visit the WordPress theme handbook page.

You should avoid making changes directly to the parent theme files, as your customizations will be lost once the theme is updated. Some people will then skip theme updates in order to avoid this, but it is not advisable to do so; the updates may include important bug fixes and new features and skipping them could result in security and compatibility problems.

For Website Owners, your Key Take-Away is this:

Before you engage a new website designer, be sure s/he understands the importance of Child Themes, and plans to implement one on your new WordPress website to prevent problems and unnecessary work maintaining your site in the future.

UmeWorks has built many WordPress websites and implements child themes as part of our usual practice. If you want an experienced website designer and developer, schedule a free initial phone consultation with UmeWorks to discuss your website needs.

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How Do I Get My Website on the First Page of Google?

“How do I SEO my website?” is a question I hear a lot.

First, what is SEO? Search engine optimization is defined by Google as, “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.”

Further, Google states, “the key to getting more traffic lies in integrating content with search engine optimization and social media marketing.”

While Google Search Engine does not share its algorithm, but there are many things you or your webmaster can do to help your website’s Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP). Google is basically try to serve up websites that are relevant and useful in response to the user’s search query.  So the methods we recommend you do are in response to Google’s objective so you can swoop in and save the day for your website’s SERP.

the 3 SEO super powers

Meet the  Super Hero of On-Page Organic SEO

Do you wonder what you can do to help your website get found on the Internet without paying thousands of dollars for paid ad campaigns? Super Hero Organic SEO is here to save the day. She has magic powers to share to help your website achieve higher rankings.

SEO Super Power 1: Unique, Compelling Content

Write unique compelling content about your products or services and what makes your business special. Or actually better put is, describe the problem your potential client has, and how your offering can help them solve it.  Do NOT copy someone else’s words – Google will see that this is lifted and not value this page. Your site’s SERP may be penalized with too many pages detected with unoriginal content. To get the most from this Super Power:

Keep It Fresh: Add new content consistently; fresh content is better ranked than old, stale content

For example, if you have two websites that are identical or similar, continually add some more content on their site on a consistent regular basis that is custom, unique content, not copied from someone else. Don’t leave it the way it was published from day one; the updated site will continue to rise in at search engine ranking, while the stagnant site’s SERP will decrease.

This is why many website include blogs which makes it easy to continually add new content that is keyword rich. You may consider enhancing your blogs with images videos or audios. This increases the likelihood that humans will read it too.

» Learn more about using your website content for Inbound Marketing to attract new clients.

SEO Super Power 2: Keyword Phrases

Use keyword phrases relevant to the web page you are optimizing, remembering to select from your potential customer’s perspective and how they would search to find a business, product or service like yours, such as” website designers near me.” Remember that many searches are now done with voice versus typing. Place keyword phrases in the page where ever sensible, such as in the following:

  • Heading tags – these are section titles and considered more important than paragraph text, so including keywords are helpful here.
  • Front load – first sentence in first paragraph
  • Image filenames – instead of using image1.jpg, you can use a name that is relevant to image using keywords, whenever appropriate, e.g., dog-flea-spray.jpg;
  • Image Alt tags – use brief description of image, using keywords whenever appropriate
  • Meta title – which is 60 characters or less that describes what that page is about, again using keywords and Geo tags.
  • Meta Descriptionaccording to Google’s blog, there is no limit to the number of characters allowed. However, if pulled into the snippet that appears below the page title in search results (which may be different on mobile vs. desktop), it may be truncated to 155-160 characters.  It should be a short blurb containing keywords as possible, but be enticing so that a reader is encouraged to visit the web page.
    Google search results snippet
  • Meta title, title and description should be unique for each page. They should be specific to what the content is on that particular page. If you don’t update your own website, check with your webmaster to be sure this is being done.

Optimize each web page for its specific, pertinent keyword phrases. Don’t try to optimize the entire website on each page.

choose and optimize each web page with relevant keyword phrases for SEO

For example, you are selling marbles, it’s fine to have your home page optimized for keyword phrases about assorted marbles. But if someone is specifically looking for RED MARBLES, have a web page optimized for “red marbles” so this web page is served up by search engine results. The white marbles represent other words on the page that support the keyword phrases. Perhaps, how red marbles are used or are the favorite of top marble shooters.

A more realistic example could a pet store. The owner may choose to have a particular web page in their website optimized for “dog flea control products.”  The keyword phrase for this specific page should be about your “dog flea control products”, not about “pet store”.  This web page can help their pet store attract itchy dog owners in the summer months.

WARNING: Stay away from the Dark Side, i.e., the old world practice in a galaxy long, long ago of keyword stuffing; that is putting keywords in just to put them there, as bullets or try to hide with colors that match your page background. Search engines are onto this and your page ranking may actually be punished for this. Using our metaphor above, the right glass does not have ONLY red marbles in it, i.e., does not just repeat the keyword phrases over and over, “dog flea control products dog flea control products dog flea control products dog flea control products.”

SEO Super Power 3: Incoming Links

You can also improve your website’s SEO by taking action outside of your own website. Claim your listings and add website’s URL address on business citations or online business listings such as manta.com Merchant Circle, Yellow Pages.com etc. Learn more about incoming links in our articles: why you should care about backlinks and what to know about backlinks.

Another way to increase incoming links is to build relationships with influencers and/or bloggers in your industry and niche. If you have a relationship with reputable, high-authority site owners, perhaps they would do an article about you and your company’s products and link to your site and create an inline context link. You could offer a free sample for them to try and review.

Another Dark Side WARNING: Do not confuse this with paid farm links sites which can damage your  website’s reputation.

So use these three SEO Super Powers to land your website on Google’s first page!

Want help with your website and Internet presence?  Contact UmeWorks in Torrance at 323 638-9328 or info@umeworks.com to discuss your website needs.

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What is a bounce rate and how to reduce it

This is a common question I receive after clients review their Google Analytics report.

The way digital marketing works is pretty simple. A visitor comes to your website from any of the traffic channels including search engines, social media, blogs and so forth. The visitor then learns about your products by reading through some of your content. If they are impressed by an offer, they can choose to take action in the form of making a purchase, downloading an e-book, signing up for your email newsletter, etc.

However, things don’t always follow that path. Sometimes, a visitor might come to your website, look around, and leave without taking a desired action. In fact, they could even leave without clicking on the menu or any of the links on your page, right?

When that happens; when a visitor simply comes to your site and leaves without engaging with the page at all, we say that the visitor has bounced.

What is Bounce Rate and Why is it Important in Marketing?

Bounce rate, therefore, is the frequency at which visitors come to your site and leave without engaging with the page at all. It is expressed as a percentage and calculated as follows;

The Bounce Rate of a Web Page = Total Number of Bounces on a Page in a Given Period ÷ Total Number of Page Entrances over the Same Period.

A high bounce rate typically means that either;

  1.  The quality of your pages is low such that there is nothing to engage with. Or,
  2. The page doesn’t provide the answers visitors are looking for.

How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate

Although Google doesn’t use bounce rates to determine a site’s rank in search engine results, even terming bounce rate metrics as “spammable and noisy,” that doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye to high bounce rates.

For one, when visitors come to your site and leave without engaging with the page, it becomes difficult to convert those visitors. Additionally, in AdWords, a high bounce can negatively affect your Quality Score, leading to a higher Cost Per Click (CPC).

The good news is that there are a couple of things you can do to bring your bounce rate down to a more reasonable level. The following are a few ideas to consider;

    • Adjust how Google Analytics calculates your bounce rate

In Google Analytics, any single-page visit is counted as a bounce no matter the amount of time a visitor spends on that page. The first step is to change this so that Analytics takes into account time spent on the site when calculating your bounce rate.

    • Focus on fixing Profit Pages of your site

The Analytics dashboard has something known as profit index which is a database of web pages most frequently viewed prior to conversions or transactions. Rather than attempting to fix the bounce rates of all pages on your site, focus on fixing these profit pages.

    • Take out low-value traffic channels

If certain traffic channels are bringing in visitors who are not interested in your products/services, then you’re going to see high bounce rates. Taking out these low-value traffic channels can significantly boost your bounce rate.

    • Fix your CTAs and Landing Pages

Finally, visitors could be leaving without taking any action because your Calls To Action (CTAs) and Landing Pages are poor. Perhaps your CTAs are not compelling enough, or your landing pages don’t satisfy visitor queries. Fixing these issues can lower your bounce rate.

Now, Get Started Fixing Your Bounce Rate

Of course, you can’t have a 0.00% bounce rate. But, if you can implement the four strategies discussed above, rest assured of a meaningful improvement in your bounce numbers.

Get more details in our Guide to Reducing Your Website’s Bounce Rate.

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