One of the great things about having lots of data is taking the time to make sense of it – essentially turning data into useful information.

Update your free local business directory entry

One very useful piece of information we have discovered is that updating your online information regularly really does help you get found more frequently.
We’ve been analysing lots of data over a couple of years now and there’s a very real correlation between businesses that update their profiles regularly (at least every 90 days) and how often they show up in search results.

That seems to be the case not just for direct searches on our free local business directory, but also stands for click through traffic from the major search engines (Google/Bing/Yahoo etc.) to business profiles on MiQuando.com.

 

 

View this infographic shows where the biggest gains can be made from an up to date MiQuando profile.

 

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5 Star rating image

We all know the value of a good reputation and the pitfalls of a bad one, but what is it and how do you build your reputation online?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines reputation as…

the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something:

“his reputation was tarnished by allegations of bribery”

a widespread belief that someone or something has a particular characteristic:

“his knowledge of his subject earned him a reputation as an expert”

So basically reputation is about trust.  Do you trust this person or business to deliver on their promise?

Before the internet people relied on various sources such as gossip (some reliable some less so), shared experiences (person to person, aka word of mouth) and perhaps an individual’s standing in the community.

The internet has opened up vast opportunities for businesses to operate on a bigger scale to a wider market than many local businesses previously dreamed possible.  The trouble is, much of this online interaction is from people distant from the business and unable to gain access to the usual reputation sources.

So how does a small local business earn and share those extraordinarily valuable commodities online:

Positive reputation

Word of mouth recommendations

Simple, start using a “Reputation System”.   E-Bay or Trip Advisor are perhaps the best known examples where people who have used the services on offer, share their feedback and ratings to help others make a more informed choice.

Many small businesses are wary of such systems, worrying (probably unnecessarily) about the possibilities of negative feedback.   This kind of thinking is a little misguided, as it is the very existence of the occasional; let’s say less than positive response that generates trust.

Think about it, when did you ever pay any attention to those glowing testimonials businesses put on their web sites to try and create trust, and does anyone really believe those Better/Best Business Guides where the ‘recommended businesses’ have all paid for that privilege.

Even better, if you do get a bit of negative feedback, at least you have the chance to respond publicly and share your version of events, unlike the bad word of mouth shared down the pub leaving you blissfully unaware of any problems.

So if you want to broaden your customer base via the internet, you should be open to using a Reputation or Ratings system, after all you don’t have anything to hide do you?

Why not start building your reputation online today.  Every business listed on miquando.com has access to a comprehensive and independent Ratings and Reviews service that is completely free to use.

Image of Miquando.com Ratings and reviewsThe beauty of the miquand.com Ratings and Reviews service is the level of detail with the 5 star rating derived from ratings given for Value, Knowledge, Reliability, Friendliness and Service as shown below.

 There is also the nice added feature where a reviewer can also say whether they “Recommend” this business.  This is a very useful feature and something often missing from other review services.

The reviews can be quickly and easily sorted on any of the ratings, allowing people to instantly see the results for what is most important to them, whether that be value for money or reliability, or just sort on the Recommendations.

Another excellent feature is the ability to embed the MiQuando Ratings and Reviews service into your own website.  Not only can visitors to your web site see a set of independent Ratings and Reviews, but they can also add their own directly from your web site.

Start building your Reputation online today at miquando.com

Read our blog post on handling negative reviews here.

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MiQuando Facebook Icon

MiQuando Facebook IconWe see a number of small/micro businesses registering on MiQuando.com with a Facebook Page as their website address.  Trouble is, most of them are still just the horrible default name.

Your default Facebook URL is a randomly generated number that identifies your page to Facebook.  It’s dull, meaningless, has no link to your business and is not very searchable e.g.

 https://www.facebook.com/profile.phd?id=47825911x

If you didn’t know you could change your Facebook Page name (or haven’t bothered to) then you are missing out on a simple, quick and free marketing opportunity.

Personalising your Page Name/URL makes it far easier for people to find your business, brand or company Facebook presence.

What’s more, you can then use your new meaningful Facebook Page name in your marketing material, website and business cards e.g.

 https://www.facebook.com/FindItClickItBookIt

It’s a simple change to make and Facebook provides step by step instructions here https://www.facebook.com/help/409473442437047/.

Oh, and don’t forget to update your details on MiQuando™

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Chart showing % UK Internet users by age (source ONS Q4 2012)

Why Online Presence is essential for Businesses

With more people working and more distractions life just seems more hectic than ever.  Have you ever stopped to think quite how this affects the way we do business?

Clearly, fewer and fewer people are visiting the high streets of towns and cities across the country and more and more are finding the convenience of internet shopping (whether buying or browsing & comparing) a much more convenient fit into their increasingly hectic lives.

So any business that does not have some form of online channel that provides a way for customers to research, compare and buy, both products and services 24 hours a day 7 days a week, is excluding the 21st century customer!

Even if you think there is no value to your business in doing anything online, just take a moment to explore some numbers from the Office of National Statistics (Q4 2012) which tells us that 85% of Britain’s adult population is now using the Internet.

Chart showing % UK Internet users by age (source ONS Q4 2012)

And also fairly evenly split between male and female users

Image Showing Internet Users in UK by Sex

10 Tips to promoting your business online?

1. Get a Basic Web Site

A reported 60% of small businesses don’t have any sort of online presence at all!  There’s plenty of cheap self build options e.g. 1 & 1, but if you don’t fancy that a basic web site should cost less than £500.

2. Make your web site SEO friendly

Make sure your web pages have decent Page Titles, Meta Descriptions and Meta Keywords.  Check out this Blog article to see an example.

3. Register on a few valuable Business Directories

If you already have a listing on MiQuando ® – so far so good.  If not, why not?  It’s FREE, go and do it now by clicking here.

Make sure your details are kept up to date, your business description and keywords are accurate and we’ll build your very own Search Engine Optimised (SEO) page to help promote your business online for FREE.

4. Make Use of Social Media

Setup social media accounts for your business.  It’s completely free to register a FaceBook Page, a Linkedin business page and a Twitter Account.  Publish these on your contacts page and search engines will be able to link your accounts and content published on them.

5. Update your content frequently

Search engines love relevant content, so be sure to update your web site, post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to make sure the search engines can see new content and maintain visibility in search results for your business.

6. Add a Blog to your website

Another opportunity to add great relevant content.  First, more content means more authority which in turn means better search engine ranking. Check out this article from Swellpath for a more detailed explanation of why.

7.  Get Interactive

OK, so people can send you an email or give you a call, but you can get much more.  Make a simple web page that lets people register for a newsletter or opt in to email updates, gives you the opportunity to interact with existing and potential customers.  A quick and easy one to do too.

8. Let customers do more

Today on MiQuando.com you can sell and take payments online for services with our fully integrated Online Booking Calendar service.  No technical knowledge is required, simply enter your Service and Resource details and you can be up and running in less than 1 hour.

9.  Link it all together

You now have a solid online presence; whereby customers can not just find you online, but interact and even book services with you online.  It’s important to link it all together, so at MiQuando® we have made it easy for you by creating pre built links you can use to direct people to your Online Booking service from your website, a tweet, a Facebook or LinkedIn post or any other web site.  Just copy and paste the links from your MiQuando® account and you’re good to go.

10. Get some Word of Mouth Online

Every business knows a customer referral or recommendation is the best marketing tool in the world.  MiQuando.com will shortly be offering a full ratings and reviews service, free for every business and we even show you how to link it into your own web site.

 

Good luck and we’d love to hear your suggestions on how we can keep on improving MiQuando.com.

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