We are undergoing a refit at the moment so please bear with us if something on the site is not quite right. If you spot anything that isn't doing what it's supposed to , or even if it just looks weird please use the Contact page to drop us an email. It will be appreciated :)

LocalResearch2There are many ways to bring your business online and choosing the wrong one can be both costly and disastrous. You must do your market research first, it is an ongoing process that never ends but you have to start somewhere.

Start Local – Start Offline

The first thing you need to do is identify your local competition. ‘Local’ will mean different things for different businesses and depends on your market, but whatever it is you must identify the competition that falls into that bracket. It will be there or you don’t have a market.

Your initial sources should always be offline – not every business is online and you might be surprised what you find. In today’s economic climate there is a constant ebb and flow of companies and you need to be aware of it. You need to have a good working knowledge of your competition and how they are marketing their business. Take a careful look through your local paper and make notes of others in your market. Go through Local and Trade Directories – your library will have them. Don’t forget those old fashioned Telephone Directories either, Yellow Pages are still a mine of information for local business and it is the only place you will find some of them. How long is it since you walked around your local area? You might be shocked at what you see. So many of us only travel through our town in a car, and you miss a lot of useful information.

Throw Your Net Wide

Only when you have a good list of local businesses from offline sources should you go online. Start by checking all the search phrases you would expect someone to use to help them find your business. You need to make careful notes of the top twenty or so results for each search. Are they local businesses? Are they larger businesses targeting your area? Are they ‘real’ businesses or other types of sites that just come up for your chosen search?

Don’t neglect the adverts and sponsored results that surround the basic listings. Are they your competitors – cross check with your list. Are they larger companies who think it is worth spending money on advertising in your area? Are they real adverts or generic ones that make no sense at all – there are lots of those if you look carefully! Again you should make lots of notes.

Once you have done that search for each of the companies that you have identified in your original offline search and your broad online ones. Do they have a website? Are they listed in online directories? You need to search those too. Do they have a Social Media presence? How up to date is their site? Where does it appear in the search results, is it in the top five or six? Do you like the style of their site?

Don’t forget to search for your own business and see if you appear anywhere – and what people are saying about you.

Throughout this process you should be taking lots of notes so that you end up with a picture of what the competition is like online, what kind of presence they have both in terms of their own sites and on others. You should also have a good idea of what style and type of sites work well in your market area. There is no point in reinventing the wheel and people like the familiarity of certain styles for certain businesses.

Once you have done all this basic research you will have a good idea of how your competitors are marketing their businesses and you can make the basic decision about whether to bring your business online.


Education! Education!! Education!!!

Education!  Education!! Education!!! thumbnail
Recently something crossed my newsfeeds that made me think of my Dad. He was a very wise man in many ways and completely daft in others if I am honest, but that’s another story. He had to leave school very young, which he always regretted but, despite that, he never stopped learning. He would frequently ... Read More

The Cost Of Free

The Cost Of Free thumbnail
On Monday, quietly and without fuss, Feedly announced Pro Accounts. They didn’t make a fuss about it because they are not widely available yet, they were initially only offering 5,000 lifetime accounts at a cost of $99, the usual price will be $5 per month with an annual payment discount when it launches fully in ... Read More

Bringing Your Business Online – The Key To Success

Bringing Your Business Online – The Key To Success thumbnail
There is a simple key to success when you bring your business online. Without it, you will fail. The trouble is most offline businesses don’t realise just how necessary it is – and how different it will be to their current experience. The Magic Key Having made the decision to go online, you get the ... Read More

Refining The Feeds

Refining The Feeds thumbnail
Known fact – I am a Feed Junkie. I think RSS feeds are one of the greatest things ever invented, right up there with Ice Cream, Chocolate and Louis Roederer Champagne. In preparation for this article I counted all the feeds in my Reader. I am not going to confess the exact number, which are ... Read More

How To Test Audio On Your Site – The Simple Way

How To Test Audio On Your Site – The Simple Way thumbnail
A quick and easy way to test audio on your site is provided by SoundCloud - play or read, the choice is yours. Leverage is one of the current buzzwords, presenting your content in as many ways as possible. Hype aside, it is also the polite thing to do as it makes your content available to ... Read More

How To Be A Power Searcher – By Google

How To Be A Power Searcher – By Google thumbnail
Like it or not, we dance to the Google algorithm.  We may make all kinds of excuses, or word it any way but that, but it’s the truth. Yesterday Google launched something that seems to have gone under the radar of many of the noisemakers in our industry.  Why I don’t know,  but it’s their ... Read More