By Carrie Kahn
As a QuickBooks ProAdvisor®, I’ve worked with many mid-market business owners who use QuickBooks® Enterprise to take their business to the next level. Here are the top five productivity tips I recommend to my clients.
IR35 is a word used to describe two sets of tax legislation that are designed to combat tax avoidance by workers, and the firms hiring them, who are supplying their services to clients via an intermediary, such as a limited company, but who would be an employee if the intermediary was not used.
Such workers are called ‘deemed employees’ by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). If caught by IR35, they have to pay income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) as if they were employed. The financial impact of IR35 is significant. It can reduce the worker’s net income by up to 25%, costing the typical limited company contractor thousands of pounds in additional income tax and NICs.
Website content is everything that appears publicly on your website pages. This can include:
– Textual content including that which is on static pages and blog or news posts
– Images, videos, video links, graphics
– Reviews, testimonials, comments, feedback
– Press releases and related news
– Links to other related external resources
– Even the look and feel of your website and the way your visitors find their way around forms part of that website content.
Many small business owners manage their own websites but underestimate the importance of quality content. This leads to poor performance in the search engines and a lack of user ‘engagement’. They’ll very quickly leave and pursue the next link in the results page. In turn, this leads to disappointment when all the hard work doesn’t return the desired customer enquiries.
And of course, anyone can write text but those who don’t like the task tend to neglect it. This leads to the website becoming stagnant and boring to the would-be customer.
Good, new content must be added frequently as this keeps the website interesting to both search engines and readers.
So really there are two primary objectives for website content: The first is to ensure that your prospective customer can find your website at all. The solution to this problem is generally know as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short. Secondly, once you’ve got your prospect to your website, you want to retain their interest and probably create a ‘call to action’. This ensures that they engage with you and, hopefully, they get in touch.
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short, is all about gaining the interest of the search engines so that your website appears higher in the massive list of search results. Th first thing to focus on is the website content. This involves paying attention to the text, grammar and writing style. It is also important to keep content fresh with new articles and posts added frequently. This ensures that the search engines keep coming back to see what’s new on your site. It is also essential to determine a key phrase focus. You should ensure that you repeat your key phrase throughout the site content and at appropriate times. Make sure that you have included images and/or video that is relevant to the key phrase and content. It’s also important to ensure that you complete the ‘alt text’ field and the image description for any images you have used.
You’re over the first hurdle, the search engine’s love your website. A link to your page appears at the top of the results when searching for your key phrase.
Now you have to ‘engage’ your reader. This engagement starts with the meta description. This is a short summary of your page content that encourages your reader to click through to your website.
So, you have begun to engage – now you must keep their interest. But words are just part of it. Grammar and writing style are key to ensuring you don’t lose your reader’s interest in the first paragraph. Think about your audience. It is ok to use relevant technical jargon If your target audience consists of accountants or engineers for example. In fact, they will probably appreciate it. But be careful if you’re aiming your website to those looking for general information. A lot of readers may be put off or lose interest if you use too much jargon or too many three letter acronyms.
Whilst keeping a focus on your key phrases you should now begin to give some value to your text. Your reader will continue to read if they find the style appropriate and the content interesting and useful. Furthermore, if there is some value to the content, they are more likely to share it and/or link back to it creating more interest in your page.
Finally, we come to your ‘call to action’. This is the means by which you encourage your reader to engage further. Maybe they will call you or complete your enquiry form; or maybe they want to share the information with their associates and friends. Make sure that you deliver the call to action in the right way and at the right time. It’s very easy to annoy your reader if you bombard them with pop-ups to contact, chat, join a mailing list, fill a form etc. So experiment with different methods, monitor the responses and adapt until you find what works best for you.
Quality content is how the search engines determine where in the results list your page will land. Ideally, you want to be on the first page. Anything after page 3 or 4 is highly unlikely to gain clicks. If your content is aimed at a specific niche, it may have fewer searches but also fewer competitors. Therefore you may find that more of those searchers will click through to your page. But be careful if your key phrase is very common or popular. In this case, you’ll be competing with some very established and proficient contenders.
Having gained the click through to your page, make sure that the user is engaged by the first paragraph. Keep your writing style and key-word focus at a level appropriate to your target audience. Break the content with sub-headings, images, videos and links to other resources.
Have timely calls to action. In the simplest form, this could be just links to your contact page. A more advanced way is to create pop-up dialogue boxes at an appropriate time to attract your reader’s attention and encourage them to engage. Encourage sharing too. A reader is far more likely to click on a link provided by a respected friend or associate than one that randomly appears in search results.
So here is my call to action (I generally choose the subtle approach). If you would like to know more about the services that I provide or if you need help with your SEO, please respond below or click on this link to contact me.
Some other useful links:
Tim Cooper is an award-winning freelance financial journalist with 20 years’ experience. He has written regularly for a wide range of publications. He has also written for many organisations from large blue chips to small sole traders.
No employer wants to miss the payroll run, which means they’ve not paid their staff on time. But it can happen for several reasons, including mistakes in the process and financial pressures.
In the past 12 months, the biggest cause of missed payroll has been cash flow stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Many companies are still feeling this financial pressure, and the unwinding of government support structures such as the furlough scheme later in 2021 could trigger yet more payroll failures.
Perhaps you’re thinking of starting a new business. Or maybe all the foundations are in place and you’re ready to press ‘go’. Either way, this is the right time to talk to us at DBL Enterprise. We offer a number of support services to new businesses so that you can start out with confidence. Our services include:
Before you hit that go button, there are a number of things you should be sure of. A number of questions you should have asked yourself and be sure that you know the right answers. But, of course, the set of questions is different for every new startup. That’s why we offer our free consultation to help identify the questions you need to ask and help make sure you know the correct answers.
When starting a new business you will need to register for tax and possibly for VAT also. It’s essential to keep comprehensive and accurate records of all financial transactions for the business. This is not just for legal compliance reasons, but also to ensure you’re tracking your progress and heading towards profitability. Failing here is one of the most common mistakes that small businesses make and it is a recipe for business demise.
We can help explain the many accounting options open to you. Maybe you’re willing and capable of running your own books. Or maybe you want to spend your time growing your business and providing the service/products that your customers require. Either way, we can help you identify the right accounting package for your needs. Having done so, we help set up the accounting structure and identify a cost effective resource for managing your accounts.
Today, a website is a pre-requisite for any business and there are hundreds of options for how and what to build. Some are very low cost but that low cost comes at the expense of your significant effort. Others will cost a fortune and do absolutely nothing to benefit your business.
We can help guide you through the minefield you’re about to enter and make sure that you don’t get unpleasant surprises. To start with, we’ll think about the nature of your business and explore all the ways a website can help you to run and grow your business. This will lead us into a number of platform options. We can identify the right background functionality to make sure your website is effective. Finally, we’ll consider the look and feel that’s right for your business and make sure you end up with everything you need.
Once we have the foundations in place, we start work on the really tricky bit: making the website work for you rather than you working for your website. To do this we apply SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This helps to ensure that your potential customers can find your website among the billions of websites out there. We can also help with affiliate marketing and email campaigns. If your business requires an online shop, we can also help to set that up and manage the order processing if needed.
If you lose interest in your website, the search engines and all those prospective customers will lose interest too. For the website to work well, it must remain current. Keeping content updated and adding new content is the way to retain both your interest and that of the search engines. We can assist by writing content for you or providing a platform for you to easily add content yourself; or maybe a combination of both.
So whatever business it is that you’re about to start, I’m sure we have something to offer that will help with your success. If you want to find out more about our services, please fill in our simple contact form and we’ll get in touch.
As a Quickbooks Pro Advisor I and can help identify the right quickbooks solution for your business. Contact Me for more information or a free consultation. For more information on Quickbooks products, click here
The Accountancy Partnership – Another great resource for those just starting a new business.
smallbusiness.co.uk – resources and information for start-ups and small businesses