How Digital Marketing Affects Consumer Behaviour

Digital marketing has changed the way consumers now purchase goods and services. Businesses can no longer keep churning out generic marketing messages and hope for the best. Consumers are more sophisticated and tuned-in nowadays, so companies need to build relationships with their prospects through digital marketing channels.

Here are some examples of how digital marketing has changed consumer behaviour:

Analytics

Before the emergence of digital marketing, it was virtually impossible to understand customer trends and preferences fully. Now it’s possible to build consumer profiles based on analytical data gathered from website tracking and email marketing. This insight provides marketers with valuable information to enable them to create marketing campaigns built around consumer preferences and segmented audiences.

Content aimed at an audience that has already displayed and interest will improve open rates and so lead to increased purchases.

Social Media

Social media has transformed a brand’s ability to reach out to prospective purchasers. It provides all businesses with a channel in which to develop relationships and strengthen their brand. Consumers can now make an informed decision based on opinions from family, friends, and other users. They browse the internet, read reviews and testimonials, and then make a decision about a product or service.

Loyalty

Consumers seek value for money and won’t accept overpriced services or products, and neither will they accept poor customer service. They are less likely to remain loyal to a brand as they were before the onset of digital marketing. They will also happily switch brands if they think they are getting a better deal elsewhere.

Tolerance

Consumers today have limited patience, and they expect an immediate reply to queries. That’s the beauty of digital marketing channels – they can be fast and furious. It takes one tweet to build or destroy a brand’s reputation when consumers share their experiences online.

At Real Internet, we have bags of creative experience in the digital marketing world. We design thoughtful, responsive and practical websites in WordPress, which we host on secure, dedicated servers. We pride ourselves on our ability to take all of our clients based in Gloucestershire and Bristol on a successful journey into the digital marketing world.

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Keeping IT Real

M6 GrM6-Group-Logooup of Companies

Back in August, we were approached by our client, M6 Group, to bring their websites up to date. We started working on a major revamp and upgrade a couple of weeks ago.

M6 Group is a commercial vehicle hire and servicing company and they have two websites, their main M6 Group website and Birmingham Test Centre website. Both websites were looking outdated with old images and out of date text. We are working through the websites to give them a new look and new feel, and lots of new content that talks about what they do, and how they add value to the service they provide for their customers.

So far, we have written the new content for the M6 website, and the build is coming along really well, it’s looking smart and modern, which is what they needed. Unfortunately, the person that we’ve been working closely with, Jules, who is their vehicle hire manager, fell out of a lorry the week before last and broke her arm! So, now she’s sending us stuff whilst typing very, very slowly, one finger at a time. We send her our best wishes and a speedy recovery.

We will keep you posted on how the new build goes, and once everything is up and running,  we will let everybody know so you can have a look at their smart new website.

Raysfield Pre-School Cartoon-lion-preschool-logo

A few weeks ago, Raysfield Pre-School approached us with problems they were having adding content on to their website. One of the benefits of having a WordPress website is that it’s a content management system, which means you have access to it, and you can make changes yourself if you need to.

Unfortunately, Raysfield’s website theme had been updated a few years ago by somebody else, not us, to a theme that is no longer supported and the person who did it is no longer available. This put the Pre-School in a situation whereby it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to update the website.

So, they asked us if we would have a look at it and fix the problems for them. We agreed that we could fix it, but the main issue was that the theme was no longer being updated, which meant that as time went on, they would encounter more and more problems. As they are a charity, we offered to update the website theme and move everything over so that the situation wouldn’t happen again, free of charge. The website is now up and running, take a look here.

Monthly Website Reports 

We have been issuing the Monthly Website Reports for a while now, and, although we did write a blog about them back in July 2019, we thought it was about time we talked through the reports with you to explain in more detail what it all means.

This is a very brief summary of what your Report includes.

  • It contains data about updates, analytics and security.
  • It can help you track website traffic, and you can use it to identify areas for improvement, for example, how to convert more website visitors to sales leads.
  • It tells you how fast your website loads as well as the number of pages a visitor views.

Starting from the end of this month when we send out October’s reports, we will be ringing around everybody to talk through them with you, what it all means and how we can help you move forward in your businesses.

We hope the Monthly Website Report is clear and easy to understand, but contact us if you would like more information or to discuss how we can support you over the next few months.

What to Look for in a Website Design Company

The modern business world is a fast-moving place and looks a lot different than it did just 5 or 10 years ago. One massive change over that time has been the need for most businesses in almost all sectors to have their own website. It allows you to catch your potential customers’ attention online and gives people a way of finding out about your services or goods over the internet. A decent website also builds trust with consumers. If you do not yet have a website, it really is worth hiring an expert company to design one for you.

But what should you look when choosing a website design firm?

Experience and Testimonials

Any web design company you hire should produce awesome websites. The company you use must be able to create a site which is responsive, well put-together and delivers a great user experience. But how do you check this out properly? The first thing to do is look into how much experience they have and check that they know what they are doing. It is also worth looking on their own website for customer testimonials or examples of previous work they have completed.

Great Customer Support

A web design company might build you the best site ever, but if they offer poor customer support, it will be to no avail. You must find a web designer who is approachable, able to explain things clearly to you and is easy to contact. An easy way to check this out is giving them a ring or dropping them an email before you hire them. If they respond in a suitable timeframe and in a warm yet professional manner, it is a good sign.

Other Services to Help Your Business Grow

While you may initially hire a company purely to design you a website, it often pays to use one that can help with other areas in your business. This saves you the hassle of finding other companies to do them for you. Whether it is assistance with graphic design, branding or hosting, this can save you time and therefore money in the long-term.

Contact Real Internet Today for Outstanding Web Design

If you are looking for a website design company in the South West UK, contact Real Internet today. We offer all of the above and more to help your business thrive. With a variety of services including web design, hosting and graphic design, our sites also come with an optional monthly maintenance package for a truly one-stop solution.

HTML vs WordPress

What’s the difference between an HTML and a WordPress website?

All businesses know how crucial it is to have their own website in the modern world. Whether it is to help with your digital marketing plans or boost sales, a decent website is worth its weight in gold. This is not always an easy area to grasp, though, if web design is not your forte. One thing which confuses many people is the difference between an HTML and a WordPress site. But how do they differ?

HTML vs WordPress – the major difference

The first thing to know is that they are two entirely different things! HTML is a coding language which web developers use to create static web pages. WordPress, however, is a content management system. These systems allow users to create, edit and publish content online. As a result, they can also be used as a platform to develop effective websites.

But in what other key areas do these two differ?

WordPress is easier to use

If you use HTML to build your website, you will need to have learnt and become proficient at coding in this language first. Even if someone else builds the site in HTML for you, you will not be able to update or change it without coding experience. WordPress, on the other hand, requires no previous coding skills and is, therefore, much simpler to use. Even business owners with no specialist IT knowledge can use its intuitive interface to manage their site.

WordPress has multiple templates and plug-ins to use

An HTML website will have to be built from scratch, and the static web pages coded one by one. This is time-consuming and laborious – especially if you have to de-bug pages which do not work as intended! WordPress sites, on the other hand, come with multiple templates you can use. This not only makes the design process quicker and less costly, but it also gives business owners a wide choice of creative themes to use. WordPress also contains plug-ins which HTML does not. To make your HTML site more dynamic and feature-rich, you would have to code it all in manually. With a WordPress site, pre-configured and easy to install plug-ins make this much more straightforward.

WordPress sites can be quicker

All business owners know that responsive sites with fast load times are essential. Another advantage WordPress websites have is they are usually quicker than HTML ones. This means they will give a better user experience and people stick around on your site for longer.

Awesome web design around Gloucestershire and Bristol

If you need expert website design around Gloucestershire and Bristol, contact Real Internet on 01454 806570. We have many years of experience building lightning-fast, responsive websites which look amazing. Get in touch today for more details.

What Is Digital Marketing?

One of the real buzzwords within the business community over the last few years has been digital marketing. It is a phrase you see everywhere and it’s a way of marketing that lots of companies use. If you haven’t tried out this way of reaching customers yet, you may wonder what it means and what it involves. The great news is that it’s not hard to grasp.

Digital Marketing Explained

In simple terms, digital marketing is any marketing you do online. It differs from traditional (or print) marketing because of this. While traditional marketing uses things like paper flyers to hand out in person, digital marketing is conducted entirely online, with no print supplies.

What Are the Most Common Forms of Digital Marketing?

The truth is that there are several different digital marketing channels businesses can make use of now. As online tech has developed, the ways we can use it for marketing have as well. Some are more common than others though. This includes:

– Social media marketing where businesses engage with customers, post offers and give updates on company news via sites like Twitter and Facebook.

– Pay per click advertising where companies run paid adverts via search engines online. These adverts are the ones that show up at the top of the search engine results and can help drive more sales your way when targeted for specific keywords your customers are searching.

– Email marketing where organisations send out email messages to existing customers with details of offers or promotions they might be interested in.

– Search Engine Optimisation where businesses optimise their website to show up higher in search engine results.

While this is not an exhaustive list of digital marketing channels, they are some of the most popular around.

Why Is Digital Marketing So Popular Now?

There are a few reasons why it has become so widely used in recent times. Perhaps the most obvious is that consumers now spend more time shopping, searching and interacting online. This means that businesses who use online marketing are connecting with them in greater numbers and where they actually hang out.

Digital marketing can also bring cost savings to businesses. Compared to printing out expensive brochures to mail out in the post, sending a batch of emails is much cheaper. Digital marketing methods can also prove much quicker to carry out, thus saving valuable working time.

Effective Website Design to Help Digital Marketing

Having a responsive and great-looking website is a must for proper digital marketing. How your website is built and designed has a big impact on your SEO efforts. If you are based in the Bristol/Gloucestershire area and need an expert web design service, get in touch with Real Internet today. We can also help with brand development so you really stand out online. Contact us today

 

Why You Need a Web Hosting Service

Website hosting is, essentially, the way websites present themselves to the world. Every website has to be hosted, or it’s simply not visible.

Web hosting is one of the most fundamental parts of the online landscape – but because it’s such an essential and universal feature, a lot of people don’t really know about it, or what it is. As such, we’ve to put together a little explanation of what exactly web hosting is, and why you should choose a hosting service.

Web hosting is the storage of a website’s data on a server, allowing internet users to access your web address on their browser. A website consists of files and data, and those files need a place to be stored where they can be reliably called upon to present you with a webpage.

When you decide to use a website, do you think about where it comes from? Probably not, but it has to come from somewhere. This is where servers come in. A server is a computer or set of computers that are always running so that it can be called on at any time – and website files are stored on one of these. When a person tries to visit a webpage, their request is sent to the server, which produces the webpage you want.

However, not everyone who makes a website owns a server. After all, they might not have the money or technology necessary to keep a server running continuously. You need a web hosting service to provide the required technologies and expertise to ensure your website is viewed by customers online.

Hosting is a process whereby someone who owns a server provides space on it to those who need it – they ‘host’ the data for a website, so that it can run without incident. As such, by using a hosting service, someone can have their website files stored safely and keep their website functional without having the hassle of running their own server.

Different providers offer a range of options, from email accounts to FTP access and WordPress support, and they can help maximise your website’s potential. Let’s take a look at some practical reasons why a web hosting service is a worthwhile investment. There are many, but here are just a few.

Improving Website Responsiveness

Investing in a good website hosting service is the pathway to ensuring that your website is as responsive and reliable as possible – at all times of the day. Periods of peak traffic can easily crash a lesser server and render your website inaccessible, so it’s essential to work with a hosting service that can analyse your traffic patterns to provide optimal service.

Optimise your customer’s user experience with a fast website. Slow and sluggish load speeds can make your site look amateur and increase your bounce rate. With web hosting services, your website will have more bandwidth and RAM to optimise its performance.

Keeping Your Website as Secure as Possible

When you invest in a professional web hosting service, you’re also investing in their ongoing efforts to keep your website as secure as possible. Servers are often a prime target for hackers and DDOS attackers, who can seriously disrupt your business and cause real problems if they get access. A professional hosting provider will help keep your website safe from such attackers.

For search engine algorithms to see your website as trusted, you need to keep it secure. However, The Small Business Guide to Cyber Attacks published by Hiscox revealed that more than half (55%) of UK firms reported an attempted cyber-attack in 2019. If your website is one of those targeted, sites such as Google won’t trust your website, which means it won’t show up in search pages.

With a dedicated web hosting agency, you can ensure that your website’s firewall and antivirus software run smoothly, offering you protection from potential attacks.

Ensuring You’re Primed for Ongoing Business Growth

As your business grows, the demands you place on your hosting server will increase. You may need to store a broader and more comprehensive website, you may need to process more and more customer transactions, and your general traffic patterns may become busier. If your business is going to grow, you need a web hosting provider who will be able to facilitate your growing needs properly.

Regular Maintenance Reports

The best way to improve your website’s performance is through accurate data and analytics. At Real Internet, we provide a monthly report on your website’s analytics, security, and performance so you can see any improvements we’ve made through updates.

Additionally, our analytics will demonstrate how your website is performing with users, with statistics such as page views and session durations. Plus, with our digital marketing services, you can maximise traffic with targeted strategies to areas with the highest referral rates. This information will help you decide when your website needs updating.

An Investment That Every Business Can Afford

These are just a few of the many reasons why all businesses should invest in professional web hosting services. The flexible nature of those services means they are affordable for all businesses. Whether you’re a multinational corporation or you’re a sole trader who has recently started your business, there’s a web hosting package for you.

If you’re looking for website hosting, web services, or website design, then we are here to help. We work with clients across the South West, UK, and offer an end-to-end service from web design to digital marketing.

We design and produce websites that are perfectly suited to our clients’ needs, and we offer hosting on servers that are secure and rigorously maintained. As such, from the start of the creation process to the very end, Real Internet can help you build a website that works for you.

For more information, get in touch with our team today.

Yate Outdoor Sports Complex Cafe Ordering System

As the COVID-19 crisis subsides, we’re all adjusting to life in the post-lockdown world, which means we have to find new ways of doing business. This is especially true in the hospitality industry. When a customer walks into your premises and orders a coffee and a sandwich, extra measures must be put in place to comply with social distancing and to keep you and them safe.

The Clubhouse at the Yate Outdoor Sports Complex needed a solution to be able to provide such extra safety measures. They wanted to automate their entire ordering system, from the customer choosing their food and drink through to the bar and kitchen staff preparing and delivering the items.

We implemented a WooCommerce solution for them, with some adjustments for their individual requirements.

YOSC Online Food and Beverage System

For a detailed walk-through how this process works, please take a moment to watch our instruction video here. But in summary, it looks like this:

• The customer accesses the menu from a QR code on the table or in the bar
• The customer then places their order by navigating the menu and choosing their food and drinks
• They are then taken to the checkout where they pay for their order
• In the bar or kitchen, staff are notified of a new order
• Staff fulfil the order.

No cash has changed hands. Social distancing has been observed. Business can continue, providing YOSC with an additional steady income stream. As a side-benefit, the Clubhouse can also keep a much tighter control on stock, reducing waste and cutting costs.

It’s taking time for all of us to get used to new ways of doing things. Whether you’re shopping in the high street or meeting friends for lunch, your world has changed. At Real Internet, we are doing our bit to help businesses find their way through this transition to a different way of living and working.

With our help, the YOSC Clubhouse is now keeping its staff and customers safe whilst still providing a great service.

YOSC are planning to extend the system to include all the bookings for their sports facilities.

The system we implemented could be used for a number of businesses where money changes hands for goods or services. For example, it would work in exactly the same way as we set up in YOSC for pubs, hotels or B&Bs. Hairdressers could add it to their online booking systems and could take full payment or a deposit before the customer’s appointment. It has the potential to be used in so many different ways, if you can think it we can do it!

We have also implemented online shopping systems for other websites where purchases are completed online.

If you would like us to do the same for you, please get in touch.

Speedway Flooring – How to Build a Great Website from the Ground Up

It’s one of those businesses and brands that succeeds by being invisible.

Speedway Flooring is the leading installer of liquid screed floors in the South West. Like us, your first question is probably – what exactly IS a screed floor? It’s the concrete foundation underlying all tiling, carpets and floor coverings in your home, your office, your doctor’s surgery or an indoor ice rink.  If the Speedway team do their job right, you shouldn’t even notice the result. If not, you will certainly notice if, after six months, your tiles crack or your linoleum lifts.

Up until July 2020, Speedway Flooring’s web presence had been as invisible as its perfectly smooth floors. Managing Director and founder, Antony Jones, has built up the business over 14 years by personal referral and word of mouth. Which – like his floors – is a very solid foundation for good business.

Antony realised that a website is now business-critical to share information, stand out from the competition and find new customers. He wants to expand into new markets – how would new customers find him except through web searches? It’s not uncommon for smaller businesses or sole traders to have no web presence – last year a survey revealed that 75% of Britain’s small businesses don’t have a website.

But if you are scaling up, or looking to attract new business, it’s time to bite the bullet.

This is the story of how Real Internet helped Speedway Flooring launch their new website – using the start-up package which is tailored for single services or businesses just starting up.

No smooth talking. Just smooth floors.”  A very good place to start

When starting work on a brand-new website – take your time.  Time to talk with your designer, and copywriter if you’re using one, about your brand. They need to understand your company and your goals as though they were a partner. What makes you stand out from your competitors? Do those competitors have a web presence? If so, what do you like or dislike about it? What do you offer that they don’t?

In the case of Speedway Flooring, it was very clear that this is a company that doesn’t believe in sales spiels and genuinely believes in delivering a perfect service every time. Antony was clear he didn’t want to over-complicate the new website by using too many technical terms or contractor industry jargon.

“People can call me at any time, or quiz me at the site visit, to get the technical requirements and information they need. But going into enormous detail about drying times, or how many millimetres deep the floor needs to be, can be off-putting on a website, especially to homeowners rather than people in the building industry.”

This led directly to the mission statement line on the website home page:

No smooth talking. Just smooth floors.’

Which set the tone for the entire website. A few well-written pages are more effective than dozens of over complicated ones.

The art of web design

“The best websites require users to think less. They do this by ensuring they understand and meet their users’ needs in a clear, easy and efficient way.” Tom Fogden, web designer.

A good website is usually more than a simple static home page with contact details. For smaller companies who offer a single service, up to 4 pages is usually plenty to explain the product and introduce the team.

Increasingly, potential customers want to know who they are buying from as well as what they’re buying. It gives the same reassurance as a personal referral so including some background about Antony was going to be a key component. Speedway also needed to explain in layman’s terms what liquid screed flooring is and what the benefits are.

The home page solved this neatly by creating two click-throughs: About Us – the people – and Liquid Screed – showcasing the product and its key benefits. We were even able to add a more light-hearted comment on what NOT to expect from a liquid screed floor: “cracked tiles, uneven floors, higher energy bills and headaches!” into the list of benefits. Keeping the tone friendlier and more conversational. No smooth talking, just smooth floors.

To create the About Us page, the team decided to use a direct quote from Antony talking about his career and why he’s passionate about doing a good job, every time. It was important for everyone that the personality of the company, as well as the product, was clear on every page of the site.

…and the science

As a user, what’s the one thing that is guaranteed to drive you crazy, or drive you to other sites? Links that go nowhere, confusing website structures which take 10 clicks to find the contact details, laborious load times?

The science of web design is about making the online experience as easy as possible for a potential customer. In reality, this is all about building a site that is easy to navigate. Of course, you can buy website building templates ‘off the shelf’ now, and DIY your website design. In reality, what you won’t have access to is experts who understand the mysteries of “Google optimisation” and compliance. And particularly, how to create clear, simple structures that allow customers to find what they need fast.

You know yourself how frustrating it is when certain sites simply don’t look right on your different devices. Real Internet will ensure that your site appears the same whether it’s accessed on a laptop, mobile phone or a tablet. It’s called responsive design – since the website automatically adapts or responds to the device or platform it is loading onto. If you don’t build this into your design, words can be cut off at the edges or images could be cut in half. And you wouldn’t want to lose any zeroes off the price list and mislead potential customers!

Pictures can speak louder than words

If your images aren’t good, your site won’t look good, either. You can make anything look attractive – even cement!

In many instances, we suggest steering clear of using stock photography which can look over-staged and commercial, even cheesy. But, for Speedway, using a mix of well-shot, well-lit images, and powerful close-ups, plus real-life images of the Speedway team installing floors, gave the new site visual standout.

Dividing the web pages in two, and devoting 50% of the screen to an image, demonstrates confidence in your product or service, and catches attention.

For Speedway’s home page, we chose an aspirational image of the ‘finished product’ and on other pages such as Liquid Screed, we embedded images of the team at work, laying the liquid floors. Research confirms that in most cases, ‘people buy from people,’ especially with smaller businesses. So, putting a face to a product creates a stronger emotional connection, and builds trust in your brand.

If you are a smaller business or sole trader thinking of creating a website, please get in touch with us here at Real Internet – we’d love to help you get online!

What does a web developer do?

If you want the very best website you can get, you need to contact a web developer to help you. At Real Internet, we have a specialist team of web development experts ready to help you – but what is a web developer, and what do they do?

What is a web developer?

A web developer is someone who “builds” your website. They will be responsible for the way your website looks, works, and operates. Every element of your website from the website design itself through to how quickly it loads will be down to the web developer. This is why you should always choose a web design specialist with a good amount of experience.

What does a web developer do?

Simply put, a web developer will create your website for you.

The process will begin with a consultation where the web developer can get an understanding of who you are and what you want to achieve with your website. They’ll make a note of your preferences in terms of the way the website is designed and what kind of things you want it to feature.

They will then set about building the website. Just like building anything, a website is put together piece by piece from the base coding upwards. At every stage, the current build will be tested and checked to ensure it’s meeting expectations, before moving on to the next portion of the build.

When a website is completed, that’s not the end of a web developer’s job, however. If you choose, you can have them maintain and update your website on an ongoing basis. This is an intelligent investment, as who better to keep something operating than the individual or team who built it?

A crucial asset

A web developer, then, is a crucial asset to your business, organisation, or operation – it will be through a web developer that your website will be built and maintained going forward. With such an invaluable task, make sure you trust it to the right people. Contact the web design specialists at Real Internet for more information.