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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

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Having a website for a small-town business is crucial for promoting tourism, attracting new businesses, and providing valuable information to local customers.


However, designing a website for a small town can be challenging, as it requires a different approach than designing a website for a business in a large city.


In this blog post, we will discuss small-town business website design best practices that can help you create an effective and engaging website for your company. Let’s start by answering this important question we get asked all the time:


Do I even need a website if my customers are local?

Yes, a small-town business should have a website. A website serves as a digital storefront for businesses, and in today's digital age, it is essential for any business, regardless of its size or location. Here are some reasons why a website is important for small town businesses:


  • Online Presence: Having a website allows a small-town business to establish an online presence and reach potential customers beyond their local area. With a website, they can showcase their products or services, provide contact information, and make it easier for customers to find and learn about their business.

  • Credibility: A website can lend credibility to a small-town business. In today's digital age, many customers expect businesses to have a website. Without one, potential customers may perceive the business as less legitimate or less professional.

  • Marketing and Promotion: A website can be used as a marketing tool for small town businesses. They can use their website to promote their products or services, offer discounts or promotions, and showcase customer testimonials.

  • Customer Convenience: A website makes it more convenient for customers to interact with a small-town business. Customers can place orders or book appointments online, access business information from anywhere, and get in touch with the business through contact forms or email.

In summary, a website is important for small town businesses as it establishes an online presence, lends credibility, serves as a marketing tool, and makes it more convenient for customers to interact with the business.


A quick note on Local SEO

Having a professional website for your small-town business adds one other advantage: it helps with your Local SEO. Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is crucial for small town businesses because it allows them to be visible to potential customers who are searching for businesses in their local area.


With local SEO strategies in place, small town businesses can improve their online visibility, drive more traffic to their website, and ultimately increase their sales and revenue.


Search engines favour local companies in their search results. But you can’t take advantage of that favouritism if you don’t have a website. How does a search engine like Google know what town you’re in or what local areas you service if you don’t have a website?


Now you might be asking why Local SEO is important at all. Here are some specific reasons why local SEO is important for small town businesses:


  • Targeted Traffic: Local SEO helps small town businesses target their audience by optimizing their website and online presence for local keywords, phrases, and search terms. This ensures that when people search for products or services related to their business, their website will appear in the search results, resulting in more targeted traffic to their website.

  • Competitive Advantage: Local SEO can help small town businesses compete with larger businesses in nearby cities or towns. By optimizing their website for local search, they can attract customers who are specifically looking for businesses in their area, rather than competing with larger businesses for generic search terms.

  • Increased Visibility: Local SEO can increase a small-town business's visibility in search results, maps, and local directories. This can help them stand out from competitors and make it easier for potential customers to find them.

  • Improved Reputation: Local SEO can also improve a small-town business's reputation by increasing their online reviews and ratings. Positive reviews and ratings can help build trust with potential customers and encourage them to choose their business over competitors.

In short, local SEO is important for small town businesses because it helps them target their audience, compete with larger businesses, increase visibility, and improve their reputation.

Now that you understand why you need a website, and some of the marketing advantages it offers your company, let’s dive into the best practices for small-town business website design:


Website Design Best Practices for Small Towns

Most great website designs have certain key features. It’s become best practice for great web design companies, like REM, to include these features by default in all its small-town designs:


  1. Start with a Plan: Before we even begin the design process, it is essential to have a plan in place. Identify the purpose of your website, define your target audience, and establish your goals. Your website should be designed to meet the needs of your audience and align with your goals.

    Setup a time to talk with our Marketing Director if you need help defining your target audiences and setting up your marketing and sales goals.
  2. Keep it Simple: When designing a small-town website, it is important to keep it simple. Avoid clutter and prioritize the most important information on your homepage. Use a simple color scheme, clear typography, and consistent branding throughout your website.

    REM websites are expertly designed by our in-house designers. You’re not getting a cookie-cutter template. With REM you get a custom website that is specifically designed to help convert visitors into customers. We don’t let design clutter get in the way of communicating with potential sales leads.
  3. Be Mobile-Friendly: With the rise of mobile usage, it is essential to design your small-town website to be mobile-friendly. Use responsive design techniques to ensure your website adapts to different screen sizes and devices.

    All REM sites are mobile-friendly and will work well on almost any mainstream browser or device. This gives you access to the largest potential group of clients.
  4. Optimize for SEO: To make your website discoverable, it is important to optimize it for search engines. Use relevant keywords in your content and meta descriptions, ensure your website has a clear hierarchy, and use descriptive URLs.

    If SEO, or digital marketing in general, is a priority for your company, let your REM representative know right away. We can bring our marketing team in to consult on the design from the very beginning.

    By the time your site is done, it will not only be beautiful and easy-to-use, but it will also be setup perfectly to launch your online marketing campaigns.
  5. Provide Valuable Content: Your small-town website should provide valuable content to your audience. Showcase local attractions, events, and businesses to promote tourism and engage visitors.

    REM also offers content creation services as well as content marketing. If your staff are afraid to write online, or they consider writing to be a tedious task right up there with going to the dentist, then our team can help!
  6. Prioritize Accessibility: Your small-town website should be accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities. Use alt tags for images, ensure your website is navigable with a keyboard, and use high contrast colors for readability.

    REM websites come with accessibility basics included, but we can also upgrade your small business website design to be fully AODA compliant. If you are interested in a fully accessible site, just let your REM sales rep know.
  7. Incorporate social media: social media is an excellent tool for promoting your small town and engaging with visitors. Incorporate social media links and feeds on your website to encourage social sharing and interaction.
  8. Use Calls to Action (CTAs): Calls to action are an effective way to encourage visitors to act on your website. Use clear and concise language to guide visitors towards your desired actions, such as booking a hotel or visiting a local attraction.

    While we are on this topic, it’s also important that you work with other businesses in your area so that you can link to their websites for relevant services.

    For example, if you run a small-town yoga studio that is doing retreats, you should have links to local healthy-eating restaurants. Maybe a local store that sells yoga equipment. How about a link to local hotels or a bed & breakfast in case guests want to stay somewhere before or after your retreat.
  9. Test: Once your small-town website is live, its important to continuously test your site and make sure all these key features are easy to find and use. Monitor your website analytics, gather feedback from users, and make improvements as necessary.


In Conclusion

Designing a website for a business in a small-town requires a different approach than designing a website for a business in a large city. By following these small-town website design best practices, you can create an effective and engaging website.

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Woman working from home and using a standing desk


The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the way we work, with many companies now adopting hybrid work models after several years of employees working from home. Hybrid work models are a blend of traditional office work and remote work, where employees can work from the office or from home.


This new way of working has its benefits and challenges, but with the right practices, businesses can reap the benefits of this model while minimizing the issues that arise. In this blog post, we'll discuss the best practices for a hybrid work model that can help businesses succeed in this new era of work.


Define and communicate the hybrid work model

The first step in implementing a successful hybrid work model is to clearly define and communicate it to your employees. This includes outlining what a hybrid work model is, how it works, and what employees can expect. You can do this by creating a hybrid work policy that outlines the guidelines, expectations, and responsibilities of both employers and employees.


Communication is key

Communicating with remote working staff requires a different approach than communicating with employees who work on-site. Communication is key to successful remote work. Make sure you communicate regularly with your remote staff, even if it's just to touch base and see how they're doing.


Remote workers rely heavily on technology to communicate with their colleagues and superiors. Make sure you use the right tools such as video conferencing software, messaging apps, and project management tools. We recently did a great post on different communication tools for remote work.


Remote workers may have different schedules and working hours than on-site staff. Be flexible in your communication and accommodate their schedules as much as possible. Schedule meetings at times that are convenient for your work-from-home team as well as your in-office team.


Establish clear expectations

It's important to establish clear expectations for both office and remote work. This includes setting clear work hours, work expectations, and deadlines. Employees should understand what is expected of them, whether they're working in the office or remotely. By establishing clear expectations, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that work is being completed efficiently and effectively.


It is very important that your leadership team has full buy-in on these concepts and can relay these expectations to their respective team members. Working remotely can make managing staff members even more difficult, especially when it comes to caring for their mental health or monitoring their stress.


While we’re clarifying expectations, make sure your remote workers know what is expected of them in terms of communication. Establish communication guidelines such as response time and frequency of check-ins. Make sure these expectations are clear and reasonable and that teams are held accountable.


Provide the right tools and technology

To ensure that employees can work effectively from home, it's important to provide them with the right tools and technology. Here is an example of some tools that your workers might need:

  1. Laptop or desktop computer: A reliable computer is essential for remote work. Most remote workers prefer a laptop as it is portable and allows them to work from anywhere.
  2. High-speed internet: A stable internet connection is crucial for remote work. High-speed internet ensures that remote workers can access online tools and communicate with colleagues without any disruptions.
  3. Headset or headphones: Headsets or headphones with a built-in microphone are essential for remote workers who participate in video or phone calls. They help reduce background noise and improve audio quality.
  4. External monitor: An external monitor can provide remote workers with more screen space, which is especially helpful when working on complex tasks.
  5. Ergonomic desk and chair: Sitting for long periods can cause back pain and other health issues. An ergonomic desk and chair can help remote workers maintain good posture and avoid discomfort.
  6. Web camera: A web camera is necessary for remote workers who participate in video calls. It allows colleagues to see and interact with each other, which helps build stronger relationships.
  7. Project management tools: Remote workers often use project management tools to track their progress and collaborate with colleagues.

Additionally, employers should provide IT support to ensure that employees have the necessary support to work remotely.


Build a strong culture of trust and collaboration

In a hybrid work model, it's important to build a strong culture of trust and collaboration. This includes encouraging open communication, sharing ideas, and fostering a sense of belonging among employees.


Employers should ensure that employees feel connected to the company and to their colleagues, regardless of whether they're working from home or the office. Here are some tips for how you can do this:

  1. Provide opportunities for virtual collaboration: Encourage remote workers to collaborate with their colleagues using online tools such as project management software, video conferencing, and chat apps. This helps remote workers feel like they are part of a team and that their contributions are valued.
  2. Virtual team-building activities: Organize virtual team-building activities such as online games, virtual coffee breaks, or a virtual happy hour. This helps remote workers get to know their colleagues and builds a sense of community within the company.
  3. Recognize remote worker achievements: Make sure to recognize and reward remote workers for their achievements. Celebrate their successes and acknowledge their contributions to the company. This helps remote workers feel valued and appreciated.
  4. Provide access to company resources: Ensure that remote workers have access to company resources such as training materials, company policies, and employee benefits. This helps remote workers feel like they are part of the company and have access to the same opportunities as their on-site colleagues.

Keeping remote workers engaged requires a strong foundation of trust and collaboration. Achieving this is more difficult when employees are working remotely, but not impossible.


Invest in employee training and development

To ensure that employees have the necessary skills to work in a hybrid work environment, it's important to invest in employee training and development. This may include providing training on virtual communication, time management, and project management. Employers should also encourage employees to continue learning and growing in their roles.


Focus on health and wellness

Working remotely can be isolating, and employees may struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance. To combat this, employers should focus on promoting employee health and wellness. This may include offering virtual fitness classes, providing mental health resources, and encouraging breaks throughout the day:

  1. Encourage regular exercise: Encourage remote workers to take regular breaks and engage in physical activities such as stretching, walking, or yoga. Suggest that they set up a home gym or participate in virtual fitness classes.
  2. Promote a healthy diet: Encourage remote workers to maintain a healthy diet by providing resources and tips on healthy eating. Consider offering healthy snacks or meal plans as a perk.
  3. Offer mental health resources: Offer mental health resources such as access to counseling services, support groups, or online resources. Provide training to managers on how to recognize and support employees who may be struggling with mental health issues.


Encourage work-life balance

One of the benefits of a hybrid work model is the flexibility it provides employees. However, this flexibility can also make it difficult for employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. To ensure that employees are taking breaks and disconnecting from work, employers should encourage work-life balance by setting boundaries and promoting a healthy work-life balance:

  1. Set clear boundaries: Set clear boundaries between work and personal time. Create a designated workspace and set specific work hours to help you maintain a sense of routine and structure.
  2. Prioritize tasks: Prioritize tasks based on their importance and deadline. Use a to-do list or project management tool to help you stay organized and focused.
  3. Take breaks: Take regular breaks throughout the day to help you recharge and avoid burnout. Step away from your desk, go for a walk, or engage in a hobby.
  4. Disconnect from work: Disconnect from work outside of work hours. Avoid checking emails or taking work calls outside of your designated work hours. Use technology tools that help you turn off notifications when you are not working.
  5. Communicate with colleagues: Communicate with colleagues about your work schedule and availability. This helps set expectations and avoid unnecessary interruptions.
  6. Practice self-care: Engage in activities that promote self-care, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and family.
  7. Set realistic goals: Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself. Be kind to yourself and recognize that it's okay to not get everything done all the time.

By following these tips, you can help your remote workers maintain their well-being and productivity while working from home.


Evaluate and adjust regularly

Finally, it's important to evaluate and adjust the hybrid work model regularly. This includes regularly gathering feedback from employees, assessing the effectiveness of the model, and adjusting as necessary. By regularly evaluating and adjusting the hybrid work model, employers can ensure that it remains effective and meets the needs of their employees.



In Conclusion

The hybrid work model is here to stay, and businesses must adapt to ensure their success. By following these best practices, businesses can successfully implement a hybrid work model that maximizes the benefits of this new way of working.


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A person's hands using a smartphone while looking at statistics on paper


Guest post by Aaron Mears of Asterisk Marketing


If you have started to consider a new way to advertise your business through digital marketing, then you might be interested in using a pay-per-click method. This option is often called PPC, and it's one of the best ways to make sure you’re using your advertising budget to its fullest. If you want to explore this idea a bit more, have a look at this informative article where we'll talk about the 6 benefits of PPC for small businesses.


1) The Cost

When it comes to spending money on advertising, small businesses don't have a large amount put aside as major companies typically do. Their sales numbers are often unpredictable, so it's difficult to gauge what percentage should be spent on advertising each month. Pay-per-click advertising is the best way to ensure that you are only paying for those interested in your product or business instead of paying a large amount for potential customers.


Pay-per-click is exactly what it sounds like, and it means that you are only charged for every click that your website link receives. For small businesses with limited budgets, this is the perfect option! You don't have to worry about your budget being wasted on advertising to the wrong people, and you can adjust it monthly to suit your sales.


2) The Reach

Physical advertising only reaches those that are in the area, and you never know who will see it, so you need to strategically plan to make it as appealing and eye-catching as possible to ensure a good ROI. With digital advertising, you can adjust the ad to cater to the type of people you are choosing to reach, which means you are more likely to get customers that want your product.


Image of PPC statistics from WebFX

General pay-per-click statistics.

Image source:


Real estate has become one of the top industries that have moved to use PPC and other digital marketing based on the broad reach that it allows them. Many small businesses must rely on getting new customers all the time instead of helping their current customer base, and this means you need to advertise in many different places at once. A billboard will reach the people in that area, but for agents that want to advertise out of town to attract new clients, digital marketing is the best idea to consider.


3) It's User Friendly

When it comes to using PPC for your business, it couldn't be easier for a newbie to use. A good campaign will tell the customers about your business while giving them a "call to action" that requires additional interaction. This could include such lines as:


  • “Click this link for more info.”
  • “Sign up here to get to the front of the line.”
  • “Let us know what you think in the comment section below!”


This strategic combination leads to high traffic on your website or social media page. By combining a great advertisement with highly searched terms, you can draw in tons of new people from all over the world.


Making your ad is simple, and there are tons of different resources online that can help you out. If you are having some trouble, consider hiring a marketing company to help you figure out what the best ad will look like for your company. A marketing team uses years of expertise in things like search engine optimization and social media trends to make an ad that will get the most traction and views possible.


4) Customize On the Fly

Physical advertising is something that needs to have multiple reviews before it's finalized, and this requires quite a few different processes that determine what will look the best. You need to ensure that the product or business is at the forefront of the ad, and you need to make sure all the information being given (website address, date, product name, etc.) is accurate before you publish the ad to the masses.


If you decide to change the URL of your website or even your business's name after your ads have been published, then you are basically throwing money away. PPC ads allow you to change things as they become relevant, so you can update the URL for your ad or company name in minutes instead of allowing your current ad campaign to run out after a few months.


Small businesses need to advertise smaller things (like flash sales or expiring discount codes) at a quicker rate than larger corporations. Choosing an ad campaign that can be adjusted immediately is much better for smaller businesses because they can easily adjust what they want to promote.


Laptop with statistics on the screen


5) It's Quick

We mentioned a few times how instantaneous PPC campaigns can be when compared to something like a physical advertisement, and that's important for businesses that are ever-changing. Small businesses like real estate firms or artisanal makers rely on word of mouth within the local community along with worldwide campaigns that are in online business. Physical ads only appeal to those in the general area, so using your advertising for online marketing is a much better choice for anyone that wants to see a high increase in interest quickly.


A PPC campaign could take a few hours to a few days to create, but once it has launched, you will see results almost immediately. A good campaign will give you some higher traffic within a few days, but you will see major results after a few months. After 3-6 months, you will see incredible results that will last a long time if the campaign is properly maintained and updated.


6) Easy Tracking

Advertising to the right crowd is important, and you want to ensure your advertising medium can be easily tracked and adjusted to suit your customer base. If your business is geared towards a younger crowd, then a social media campaign is the best way to go, but that might not work if you are trying to advertise a retirement home. Tracking who sees your ads and how they respond is a great way to see which ones are worth the extra funding and which ones can be altered.


There are plenty of different statistics that come along with your PPC ad campaign, and it can sometimes become tricky to understand what each one means for your business. Hiring a professional marketing expert is a great way to help you figure out what all your data means, and it's the easiest way to get a clear explanation of where you should go next. If you choose to do your ad campaign by yourself, make sure you are doing as much research as you can to understand the various abbreviations and percentages that are often included in the data report.



Choosing a company, like REM, to help you with your PPC digital marketing campaign will help you in so many different ways, and it's the best way to get expert help on improving your digital footprint. If you want to improve web traffic to your website, get new customers, or tell people about your new business in the area, then digital marketing will likely give you the best return on your investment. Talk to a professional today about what kind of PPC ad campaigns will work the best for your industry.


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Sad person walking away from his desk after being laid off


At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we saw an uptake in hires. Everyone was trying to build up personnel to keep up with the rising consumer demand in tech as everyone was moving online. Because everyone was being forced to work from home, many people needed to buy new software, new computers, or require more tech support from home. This created a void in the tech industry that many companies filled by hiring more staff.


However, now that the pandemic is coming to an end and more people are going back to “normal”, there has been a surge in layoffs. In 2022 and the beginning of 2023 there have been thousands of layoffs across the tech industry in North America. This is causing many people to begin to worry about their jobs and the security of their positions. People are also beginning to wonder why there have been so many layoffs and how to protect themselves from this alarming trend. There are a few reasons that could be contributing to these layoffs and the coming ones later in the year, but as of right now there is no safety net.


Why are Layoff Rates Rising?

Around the latter half of 2022 we began to see large companies begin to lay off a large portion of their staff. Twitter, after it was bought by Elon Musk in 2022, laid off 3,700 people over email, and could potentially lay off even more in 2023. Amazon, on January 5th, 2023, said they were laying off 18,000 people or about 3% of their total staff, and announced that they plan further lay offs for later in the year. However, the question remains for many people, why are these layoffs happening?


That, however, is a complicated question with more than one answer. It always depends on the company and how they are managed as well as the demand for what they offer. There are a few common explanations we have been able to see across a wide variety of companies in the industry that are contributing to this major wave of layoffs.



One of the most common and predominate reasons for these layoffs is of course the pandemic. It is not just because the pandemic caused a lot of companies to downsize, in fact it caused a boom in the tech industry. It is instead for a few other reasons, mainly the over hiring companies did during the pandemic and the stigma around firing during the pandemic.


Due to the higher-than-normal demand for tech products and services that happened right at the beginning of the pandemic, companies began to hire a larger than average number of new staff. These larger companies, but also some smaller ones, felt as though they needed to hire more people to make up for the higher-than-average sales. However, with the pandemic coming to an end, sales numbers are beginning to drop again. This has caused a shift in the number of employees many companies need to have. This has then caused many employers to go back and lay off several old and new employees. This is one of the reasons for the continuous layoffs going into 2023 as more and more sales are beginning to drop.


Another big reason companies began to lay off people after the pandemic was because they were afraid of the stigma around firing people during it. At the start of the pandemic a lot of people lost their jobs, because of this there was a global fear going around about job security. This contributed to why many companies held off on letting go of staff. They were worried that other companies, social media, applicants, or the public may look at them in a bad light for firing people during this time. Many companies were also unable to properly evaluate their employees because many of them were working from home. This made it harder to judge who they were and were not going to let go of during the pandemic. Now that everyone is going back to “normal” and companies can “ethically” lay off employees, there has been a surge.


Work from Home (WFH)

During 2020 a lot of us were told that we would have to start working from home, and many of us got used to it. Working from home seemed odd at first compared to the “usual” way we worked, however, for many people it was a nice change. They got more work done, could see their families more, could work with their disabilities, it benefited many people in different ways.


WFH, however, had some negative effects as well. It caused a lot of people who did not have a lot of experience with technology to drop in job performance. Companies often had to spend a lot of money on work from home set ups for employees, online training, and other accommodations. It may also be contributing to why people are now getting laid off. People got very comfortable WFH and are reluctant to go back to the office like many companies want.  


A lot of companies are looking to go back to the way things used to be and as such are forcing or mandating that all their employees go back to working in the office. In many cases employees that never worked in the office even before the pandemic are being forced to go in. This has caused many lay offs or threats of lay offs out of the company’s desperation to go back to “normal”.

How is This Affecting People

As you may have guessed all these recent layoffs have had many different impacts on existing and former employees. Not only are people losing their jobs, but many remaining employees are being placed in difficult situations. From having to choose whether to stay with a company or not, whether to go back into the office, and even some big life choices.


Current employees of many companies, especially larger ones, are beginning to debate whether they should stay or leave. With layoffs already happening and more to come it is beginning to scare a lot of people. They are concerned about their jobs and their economic wellbeing. Many people have families that they need to take care of or make house payments or simply get by on their own. Because of the impending layoffs within the tech industry many people are considering moving away from tech or to a different company with more job security.


People have also been affected by the layoffs in the sense that they got used to working from home. Many people have been resistant to going back into the office because many of them took the opportunity to make big moves. As everything was being moved online and they were no longer required to be in the office, they took the chance to make big life changes. Many chose to have children, which made a lot of people want to stay home to be with them, as well as dependent children who could not be without a parent. People also chose to move out of the big city and into smaller cities or the country, because they no longer needed to be around the big companies or within range of meetings anymore. This is causing a lot of push back when it comes to moving back into the office as people either cannot get to the office anymore or do not wish to leave their homes.


All of this is causing a lot more trouble for companies than they expected. Because most of the tech industry relies on good hardworking people who live in the city or are willing to commute, companies are now facing other risks. They either need to hire new people in the industry who are not as experienced but are willing to work in the office or need to start changing their minds regarding their layoffs.


How is This Affecting Companies?

With rising layoff numbers there has been a few impacts on not only the laid off employees but also remaining employees and the companies themselves. There are many problems that companies in some cases did not expect to happen. Anytime companies begin to lay off employees there are expected impacts such as lower morale, people leaving out of fear, and public backlash. However, many companies did not expect some of the other responses they have gotten.


The public is beginning to view this in a different light than anticipated. Despite avoiding backlash during the pandemic by holding off on letting people go of employees, companies are now experiencing major public push back now. People see it as companies cutting back due to the potential for a coming recession. Companies are also seeing higher than normal numbers of people willing to leave to find other jobs that allow them to continue to work from home or stay within a stable position. This is typically normal but not at the rate some companies are beginning to see.  


With the rising layoffs a lot has happened within the world and there are many factors that are going into these decisions. However, this is impacting employees and companies alike in a variety of ways, and with the impending layoffs coming later in the year there is bound to be more stress, fear, and push back from everyone involved.


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Employee remotely working in front of a computer


Are your employees quiet-quitting? Do you suspect your staff of time-theft?


If you’re scratching your head about what these terms mean, you’re not alone.


The pandemic pushed us all into a new era of work habits and work-related terms, some of which are dubious and, probably, totally unnecessary.


As employees moved to working remotely for what seemed like the rest of their lives, companies seemingly became less trusting of their employees’ productivity.


These new terms likely wouldn’t exist if employers didn’t have monitoring software tracking every moment of an employees’ time on the job.


Employee monitoring as the new norm


Companies use various methods to track how much work staff is getting done during a day. At a basic level, they monitor employee activity on company chat programs by watching their status. At the next level, businesses can use programs to access employees’ browser histories. Such a move potentially gives employers and managers access to sensitive information, especially if work-related and personal browsing is done on the same laptop.


Then there are more invasive systems, such as those that track heat strokes on the keypad or trackpad. Other ways involve using an employee’s laptop mic or camera to monitor what they’re doing — sometimes without their knowledge.


In some cases, monitoring systems use cameras to track employees’ mental and emotional states based on their facial expressions. The camera detects attentiveness based on eye movement, which, experts say, is an inaccurate measure.


Critics seem to think all this is too much fodder for abuse in the hands of management.


Monitoring systems are here to stay — so what do employers have to do?


There’s nothing stopping businesses from using software to watch employees. Apart from one province — Ontario — companies are not even required to let workers know they’re doing it.


So, what are the rules in Canada around employee monitoring?


Officially called “electronic monitoring,” employee watching has not yet been standardized in Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA). However, guidance issued by the Ministry of Labour in 2022 describes electronic monitoring as all forms of employee watching done electronically. The Ministry refers to all aspects of surveilling employees, irrespective of whether it’s done on employer-issued equipment or while employees are physically at, or away from, the workplace.


It is important to remember, these new ESA requirements around electronic monitoring policies do not govern the use of information obtained through such systems.


In easier words, employees have not gained any new or increased privacy rights as a result of the latest rules.


How does the new electronic monitoring policy apply then?


When the rules are clear as mud, employers need to be careful when developing electronic monitoring policies. One reason for this is because a company could have different types of employees for which monitoring methods may differ.


According to the province, employers that have 25 or more employees (full-time or part-time) must implement an electronic monitoring policy for all workers in Ontario, including management level and probationary employees.


The Ministry’s guidelines clearly state that employers do not need such a policy for any employees outside of the province.


Currently, other provinces do not require employers to adopt an electronic monitoring policy. But, British Columbia, Alberta, and Québec, as well as federally regulated workplaces, have privacy laws that impact the adoption of a monitoring policy. In contrast, Europe forbids all excessive forms of monitoring.


So how do you go about creating a monitoring policy?


Some mandatory features required by the ESA are listed below.


  • An employer must provide a description of how it electronically monitors employees.
  • An organization must share the purposes for which information is being collected and will be used.
  • The official policy must be dated when it’s created, and all subsequent changes must be dated as well.
  • Companies must provide each employee with the electronic monitoring policy 30 days before planned implementation.
  • Companies with existing policies must convey any changes to employees within 30 days from the date of revision.


What else is needed in an electronic monitoring policy?


When you’re creating a monitoring policy, it’s important to keep the following in mind.


Be clear about what you intend to monitor. Create a comprehensive list of all work aspects, equipment, and other ways you’re going to monitor. For instance, access to the Internet, laptops, phones, virtual private networks, computer file access, emails, communications via chat apps, records management software, surveillance cameras, security cards, printers, scanners, etc.


The company must also extensively explain the circumstances in which monitoring will occur. For example, will you be monitoring employees at all times? Or will you do it only during regular business hours? Or will you limit it to only during the employee’s specific scheduled work hours?


You must also clearly define the purposes for which you want to electronically monitor staff. Companies could have a variety of reasons, for instance, using the information for business-related operations, business administration, compliance tracking, safety, security, workplace investigations, productivity, and/or performance management.


Make sure you define scenarios in which information gathered for one purpose may be used for a different reason.


Take a bird’s eye view of how this new policy will interact with other company rules, such as those around information technology. Ensure that all company policies work together and are based on consistent company standards.


Exceptions to the rule


Rules vary dramatically when monitoring unionized employees vs. a non-unionized workplace. In the first case, monitoring rules must be negotiated with the union. In the latter case, employers should exercise reason when developing the policy, limiting the extent of privacy invasion to a fair level or develop it following guidelines shared above.


Should employees just accept being monitored?


First, employers must remember that if the employee doesn’t understand the tracking system, it’s almost like entrapment.


Critics say we’re moving a bit too fast in holding our employees accountable even if they don’t understand how a company’s tracking system works. Daily work tasks are never limited to our job descriptions. In real life, practices can vary widely, depending on the type of work environment. Monitoring systems fall short of recognizing some essential elements of our jobs as “work.” The AI-driven systems don’t capture tasks that are helpful to employers, like brainstorming sessions or mentoring co-workers.


Critics say the data gathered through employee monitoring software isn’t an accurate representation of employee performance. When companies use AI to track a limited set of employees’ work aspects, they short-change their hardworking staff.


There are no studies pointing to a meaningful impact on productivity. Research does not prove that the benefits of worker surveillance systems outweigh the costs.

In fact, experts that have studied this phenomenon say employee monitoring can often be counterproductive and detrimental to productivity.


Employees that worry about monitoring may reject soft skills-based activities to protect their productivity. When people know there are systems in place to watch them, they will spend more time trying to find loopholes than getting work done.


Some studies also indicate that watching workers produces problems — by creating worker stress, eroding trust in management, and encouraging employees to game the system.


Why else are companies monitoring their employees?


It almost seems as if companies are conducting a massive research experiment using employees as subjects. The issue, experts say, is that employers aren’t equipped to understand worker-surveillance data. Very few companies have a data science team capable of properly studying and drawing useful conclusions from the information collected.


Employees may increasingly feel they have no choice but to accept this new fate if the company offers them flexible work options instead.


So what should companies do?


Ask questions and have constructive conversations with employees.


Experts that study worker productivity say employers would benefit more by assessing output, rather than activities that AI marks as work.


When it comes to addressing quiet quitting, team leaders should first find the answer to the question: What is quiet quitting? Once they’ve identified it, they can investigate what causes it and solutions they can develop to prevent it.


Business leaders should collaborate with their team to create an environment that enables workers to give their best. At the same time, companies should actively identify workers who are eager to take on more leadership tasks.

Rather than spying on employees, companies can take the following steps to improve employee productivity.


  • Ask staff about professional and personal goals.
  • Share corporate aims with staff, highlighting those that are most relevant to their roles in the company.
  • Evolve a work ethic that lets employees take ownership of the company’s ambitions.
  • Find middle ground with workers when identifying key performance indicators linked to goals that directly affect their roles.
  • Actively and openly reward employees who meet the goals. Coach and counsel those who may temporarily fall short.


Since some form of remote work is here to stay, companies must shift their perspectives on productivity. They should work with staff to allow for a healthy work-life balance, while still successfully achieving the company's goals.


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The number one thing every business owner fears, is getting scammed. Whether that be through email or call or by a trusted employee. In reality, thousands of businesses and people are scammed or defrauded every single day.


There is a common misconception that if you get scammed or experience fraud that it must be your fault, that you were careless or stupid enough to fall for it. However, the truth is that even the smartest and most vigilant people get scammed too. It is becoming harder these days to detect fraud either from external or internal sources within our companies, but there are still things you can do as a small business owner to help protect your company.


Types of Fraud and Scams

As the years have gone on, and the internet has become ever increasingly ubiquitous in our lives, scammers have found more and more ways to scam and commit fraud. With that it means that you need to remain on the lookout for these types of fraud.


Scam Calls and Emails

Everyone has heard of scam calls and emails, but the question is, do you know what to look for? Scammers have begun to adapt to the world around them and have created more convincing and sophisticated ways of scamming you over the phone or through email.


Scam calls often come from “companies” that your trust. For example, you may get a call from your bank claiming that your information has been stolen or that they need you to renew your credit card. Often, they will have some but not all the information about you and your bank account and will ask for your credit card information to verify that it is you or to cancel your account. The issue with this kind of scam or any other over the phone involving your personal information is that they are taking advantage of the fact that you are scared. Most of the time people are so worried about their information being stolen that they give it away to a stranger who claims they can trust them or that they are just trying to help.


When it comes to email scams, there are many different types. Everything from an African Prince asking for money, to fake invoices. Most email scams are easy to detect and delete or ignore, but sometimes they can be hidden in plain sight. These days many companies are experiencing being sent fake invoices, and without thinking their financial teams will just pay it like all the others.


Other times companies will receive emails from fake manufacturers claiming they can give them a great deal on the same product they already use, but never have any intention of sending them any product. Emails are easier to fake and easier to fall for as many business owners answer hundreds a day without thinking.


Point-of-sale (POS) System Tampering

Not every company uses a POS system, but for those who do keep an eye out for potential scams. There are two kinds of scams that can occur with your POS system, online and physical.


Online are the most frequent ways POS systems are taken advantage of. These days it can be very easy for scammers to hack into your POS system and steal customer information or even company information. Many people forget that their POS system is connected to the internet and can therefore be accessed remotely. This allows hackers to get in and steal whatever they want without ever being detected.


The other way is through physical tampering. Either through attachments or false chips, card readers can be tampered with. Scammers can use fake cards or fake readers to steal your customer information. If your machine has been tampered with it can sometimes be hard to tell as many attachments blend in with the machine itself. However, the reader may start saying the card failed or the system itself may shut down, or the card reader may suddenly stop working all together. All are signs of tampering and may call for further investigation.



Everyone knows what embezzlement is, but not many people know what to look for. When it comes to money and accounting you are placing a lot of faith in the person you have in charge of it. So, it is fair that many people don’t wish to think bad of that person or accuse them of fraud, even when signs are present. When embezzlement does occur you often begin to see the signs in your money trails. Clients or customers may begin to contact you about unknown charges on their cards, or unpaid invoices. Keep an eye out for any unknown money disappearing.


How to Avoid and Prevent Fraud and Scams

Avoiding fraud may seem easier than it really is. Fraud and scams are sneaky and hard to detect, so it can be hard to avoid something when you don’t know it is already happening. Instead, these are a few measures to put in place in advance to put up as many walls of protection before it is too late.


Security Protocols and Checks

Security protocols and checks may seem obvious and feels like it doesn’t need to be said, however, it can be surprising as to how many companies have unfit or un-updated security measures. There are a few key security checks you as a business owner and a company should be doing regularly.


First, regularly change your passwords for all company-related accounts. I know this sounds tedious, time consuming, annoying, and hard to remember, but in the long run it will be worth it. The number one-way scammers get into accounts is through stealing someone’s password, this often occurs because people reuse or never change their passwords. By requiring your employees to regularly change them, you are keeping their information and the company safer.


Second, educate your employees on what to look out for when it comes to fraud and who to notify if they find anything. Have this implemented into their training have them regularly re-trained as scammers are always adapting. Often, scams are left uncaught because employees don’t know what to look for or are scared to notify their superiors out of fear of being known as the person that got someone fired. By implementing this in training and informing employees to notify when something occurs you are creating a safe space within the company.


Finally, conduct regular checks on all your systems. Make sure you or someone else is conducting regular checks on all systems you use within your company. Look out for any malware, tampering, anything suspicious or out of the ordinary. The smallest thing can lead to big problems. Not only should you be doing system checks online, but also conducting physical checks. Check for any unknown or out of place devices on things like company computers, card readers, computer servers, and any other hackable electronic device within the company. Doing this on a regular basis may help prevent scams or maybe help catch scams before they can cause too much damage.


Work with Professionals

Working with professionals can mean a few things. In this instance there are two types to focus on. The first is professionals in the sense of accounting or auditors, and the second refers to good professional employees.


Bringing in a professional like an accountant to go over your finances is a great way to detect and prevent fraud. As a small business it may be hard to afford outside help, especially when you are just getting started, however, having someone come in occasionally to help or conduct a surprise audit is entirely worth the money. It may seem better to save that money for something else but spending that money to look for and prevent fraud now can save you thousands of dollars in the future.


Hiring good and professional employees may seem obvious, but these days many people lie on their resume or may seem better than they are. Make sure to conduct thorough background checks on all potential employees and vet them with reliable references. If a resume seems off or you simply feel unsure about hiring someone, go with your gut and air on the side of caution.


Get Insurance

Now this may seem like the most obvious idea, however, it can be easy to forget and overlook. When you are just starting out there are a million different things to think about and always remember and getting insurance can be easily overlooked. Go out and make it the first thing you do when starting your business, or if you know you are going to forget, put someone else in charge of doing it. On top of that make sure to check and keep an eye on making sure your insurance is up to date. The last thing you need is for something bad to happen, and your insurance is out of date, or the information is incorrect.

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The COVID-19 pandemic brought on numerous challenges and changes to so many aspects of daily life, including the functionality of workplaces.


As we look towards the future and embrace a “new normal,” what Covid policies are worth keeping in place at organizations forever? With a predicted tech-driven outlook on the horizon for businesses and their operations because of the pandemic, it’s necessary to assess the overall impact Covid has had on workplaces as a whole.


Below are some practices and benefits you may or may not have adopted during the pandemic that you should consider embracing permanently.


1. Recognize when remote work makes the most sense

An overwhelming realization that was felt by workers all over the world during the pandemic was the ease of remote work and how easily some positions can be adapted to suit it. While there will be situations and specific jobs that require employees to work in-person, many have discovered that working from home is just as, if not more, efficient than going into the office.


If you find that a job can be completed from the comfort of someone’s home and productivity does not decrease or degrade in doing so, then it would likely be beneficial to consider remote work where it’s needed and makes the most sense.


2. Find a balance with hybrid work

Many jobs can be a blend of remote and in-person work. Countless people felt the weight of isolation during lockdowns and craved the social aspect of seeing and interacting with their co-workers face-to-face instead of solely through a screen.


It is important to assess which positions this work model would be suited for and which employees would respond well to it. This decision could change where people come into the office as needed, or there could be a scheduled set of days and times staff are expected to work in person and when they can work from home.


Hybrid work has been proven to provide several positive benefits for the overall productivity and well-being of employees, so it’s definitely a model to consider if it would make sense for your organization.


3. Enhance comfort with technology and digital tools

The suddenness of the pandemic required businesses to quickly implement and adapt to remote work environments. This drastic shift demanded the acceptance of various technologies and a range of digital tools that may not have been used by workplaces in any other circumstance.


This is not a bad thing, by any means. In fact, as much as it may have grown tiresome to repeatedly hear and say “you’re on mute” during online meetings, there’s no denying that Covid required people to pick up skills and develop comfort with them that have rapidly become job necessities. Also, learning to meet the requirements of jobs that were once solely in person necessitated the need for people to explore programs and software that would have otherwise been left untouched and unexplored.


The “adapting to change” mindset that Covid forced many people into, should continue to be embraced, with the limitless potential of technology and digital programming held as a high priority need for the foreseeable future.


4. Prioritize employee well-being and quality of life

Covid, in so many ways, impacted people’s mental and physical well-being. Isolation and burnout, to name a few common pandemic-related workplace side effects, were really brought to light over the past few years.


This has caused countless organizations to re-evaluate how they treat their employees and what they can do to help improve their experience at work, and ultimately boost their productivity in the process. Really listen to the needs of your staff and don’t try to cut corners when it comes to employee wellness.


After all, studies have shown that a happy worker is a productive worker.


5. Recognize the importance and necessity of sick days

Living through the pandemic really forced people to be mindful of their physical health and recognize when they are feeling unwell. Did you wake up feeling sick? Stay home, log off, and look after yourself. This Covid mindset took hold for workplaces since the outbreak began and it shouldn’t be abandoned moving forward.


Not only is it careless to ask people to come into work when they’re sick and potentially spread their illness to others, they are far more likely to experience burnout, make mistakes, and generally not perform their duties to their regular standards.


Illness is an inevitability, and if Covid taught us anything, it should be that looking after ourselves and staying safe is a top priority.


6. Consider leaving masks on

Wearing masks has not only been proven to help prevent the spread of Covid, but other viruses as well. Even if you don’t require masks all the time, it’s sensible to ask staff to wear them if they’ve recently been ill, have been exposed to someone who is sick, or simply during cold and flu season when there is a much higher likelihood that more and more people will be catching and spreading viruses.


It’s better to be safe than sorry and prioritizing the health of staff should always come first.


7. Don’t slack on office hygiene standards

From strict hand washing guidelines to hand sanitizer rules and wiping down workstations with disinfectant, Covid drastically improved the hygiene standards of office spaces and staff everywhere. While you don’t have to take these new norms to the extreme, there is no harm in continuing to keep these standards in place.


Not only does it ensure workspaces are kept clean, but it also reduces the spread of bacteria and germs. With handshakes coming back into the workplace fold as Covid numbers go down and anxiety decreases, it makes sense to keep the sanitizer and soap at the ready.


8. Don’t ignore the necessity of good air quality

The classically stuffy, stale air of office cubicles went to the wayside for many organizations during Covid. Recommendations pushed for HVAC filters to be changed to high-quality particle filters like MERV-13, as well as introducing other valuable technologies to clean the air.


As more people return to work in-person, don’t underestimate the importance of high air quality ratings. Business owners should take the time to investigate ways they can change or upgrade their space in order to meet the International Well Building certification.


9. Communication from leadership should stay consistent

Changes were abundant for workplaces during Covid, requiring leadership teams to become consistent in their communication with staff. Newsletters, group messages, large-scale team meetings, email notices, etc., became commonplace over the course of the pandemic. Arguably more than ever before, leadership was connected much more with their lower-level staff.


This is not something workplaces should let go of. Staff deserve to be kept in the loop with organizational updates and notices, and it creates less of a divide between different teams and departments.


10. Embrace flexibility and understanding

People are still feeling the effects of Covid, and the heaviness that continues as we move through a post-pandemic world. Navigating these challenges means treating your staff with understanding and flexibility.


11. Provide low-effort–but still fun–ways for your team to participate in social activities

Pandemic social activities required a large amount of ingenuity and delving into previously untapped territory in terms of office fun. What was once a typical holiday staff party at the office with a potluck lunch, was now an ugly Christmas sweater competition over Zoom.


Although you can bring back in-person events from the time before Covid, try to respect people’s social batteries as we re-adjust to this new normal. Online social activities are a great way to keep staff engaged, but without too much extra effort. This could include team Jack-box Games, trivia, bingo, ice breakers, or even a movie you can watch together through Teleparty –the options are endless.


12. Don’t underestimate your business’ weak spots and areas for improvement

Coping through Covid required businesses to really reflect and analyze what their weak spots are and how they could improve. Covid left a huge impact that required changes, downsizing, and difficulties that were previously never seen on this scale before.


Keep this kind of thinking moving forward. Don’t become complacent. There are always ways you can be better as a company, and the more aware you are of potential flaws, the better prepared and equipped you will be to handle things effectively in a crisis.


13. Look to other organizations to see what’s worked well for them


So many businesses’ great ideas spawned from Covid, and the ways that organizations have adapted through such difficult times has truly been a testament to people’s limitless creativity and fortitude.


Look to your competition to see what they have done to keep themselves afloat. Critically evaluate what’s worked and what hasn’t and draw inspiration from your findings that you can apply to your own business.



Just because we’re shifting out of lockdowns and people are no longer stockpiling Covid tests, that doesn’t mean you should completely resort back to the business mindset you had before the pandemic. The practices and policies mentioned above are great options to keep and embrace outside of the pandemic.

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What are internal links?

Internal links are hyperlinks inside your website that lead to a page inside your website. External links are links that link to webpages outside of your website. Internal links are normally used to point to important information on your site, especially content that might be relevant to the visitor.


There are different types of internal links. Along with the links on your homepage, post feed, menu, etc., you can include internal links in your content. These links are known as contextual links. Contextual links are useful, and point website users to engaging and interesting content. Additionally, they help search engines find which content on your website is related and help the search engine determine its value from there.


The more links an important page receives, the more crucial it will seem to various search engines. This means that well-used internal links are incredibly useful to your SEO.


Internal vs. external links

All websites, even online storefronts, consist of internal and external links. While internal links connect posts and pages within your website, external links connect pages to different websites.


Why are internal links important?

Internal links are useful and important to use if you’re managing a website. Three reasons why you should be using internal links include:


• Helping users navigate a website more easily.

• Assisting with establishing information hierarchy for a website.

• Helping to spread ranking power – link equity – around websites.


Best internal link strategy


1. Figure out the best structure for your website

A good practice for website structure is to imagine it being organized like a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid is your homepage, then below that you would have grouped content divided into key categories. The further down you go, the more you will find individual pages that are not parts of the main content categories, but still might be important. If done properly, your website’s menu should reflect this structure.


It can really help to visualize your website structure if you write each page of your site on a post-it notes and then place them on a large table or wall so you can rearrange them as needed. Does that article on how to return your product belong in the Support section? Or maybe the Frequently Asked Questions page? Or perhaps you need links from both areas?


2. Determine what your most important content is

It’s necessary to determine what your most important website content is – your cornerstone content. To put it simply, this is your best and most complete content, and serves as the core of your business. These are the posts you want people to discover when searching for products or topics that you specialize in.


If you want to let Google know that this is your most important content, you should be adding multiple links from different pages on your site. That’s where contextual links come in.


3. Include contextual links

When you’ve accumulated multiple articles that you’ve written about a specific topic, they should be linked to each other. This will demonstrate to search engines and your users that these articles are topically related. This can be done by linking directly from sentences in your own copy or by adding links at the end of the post, or even better, from both locations.


4. Think about adding a related post section

Consider adding a related post section to your website. There are countless add-ons and plugins which can add complete related post sections to your posts. This can be an effective way to expand your post reach to more visitors. Think about testing it out is you use one, however. You want to make sure the related posts are actually related posts


If you’re unsure, then link to posts manually and put the link to that post at the bottom of the article.


5. Add links for hierarchical pages

If your website includes hierarchical pages, try linking parent pages to their child pages and vice versa. Also, don’t forget to link sibling pages to each other. These specific pages should be related to one another on a well-organized website, which is why connecting them makes the most sense.


6. Include links to your most recent posts

It’s a great habit to make sure that every time you publish a new piece of content on your site, you add links to the new content from older pages. Remember to try to make sure that when you do this, the pages that you are linking from are topically related to the new content. Google prefers if the contextual links are relevant to the topic the visitor is reading.


Adding internal links to your most recent content is a great way to ensure that search engine crawlers find the new content and index it when they follow the links from other pages on your website.


7. Add navigational links

If you want to make your cornerstone more authoritative, add links to it from the homepage or the top navigation menu. This method should be done with the pages that are the most imperative to your business. This is going to give the posts or pages on your site more value.


8. Insert links to your taxonomies

Taxonomies, such as tags and categories, assist in organizing a website and helping users and Google understand what your posted content is about. For example, if you have a blog, it could be helpful to add internal links to the taxonomies that post belongs to.


9. Input links to your most popular posts

Inputting links to your site’s most popular posts or pages is another important point to consider. You should be creating these sections in the sidebar or the footer of your website so that they show up on all pages and posts.


10. Anchor text

After you decide which links should be included on a page and which ones should be granted link value, it’s necessary that you incorporate the proper anchor text.


Your anchor text should look natural when used in your copy and you should avoid using generic terms like ‘click here’ or ‘read more’.  Generic anchor text doesn’t tell Google, or the reader, where the link is taking them. Using descriptive anchor text means that your reader knows where the link is going, and you can even include keywords to boost the value of the link with Google.


An example of great anchor text would be: “Let REM help you with a new business website” vs. “REM makes great websites. Click here to learn more.”


11. Orphaned Content and Internal Linking

Orphaned content are pages on your website that do not have any internal links connecting them. This makes it difficult for users to find, and harder for search engines to crawl. In this process, you need to determine what pages you want to be found, deleted, or optimized for search engines.



Utilizing internal links correctly is incredibly important in optimizing the success of your website and boosting your content through search engines. If you follow the strategies and tips outlined above with the implementation of internal links, your SEO and users will thank you.


REM offers a robust Search Engine Optimization service that can help your site rank higher in Google Search Results. Our expert team of digital marketers will make sure that your site has the correct SEO setup and meets all of Google’s requirements. We even take care of fixing your internal links for you!


Speak with our Marketing Director to see if REM can help you get noticed online.


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Your website is a critical part of your organization’s story, marketing efforts and digital presence in the big bad online world. You spend time and money creating an online experience that would attract and drive certain behaviors from your target audiences. But somehow your site has a high “bounce rate.” So, what exactly does that mean?


Well, a bounce, in simple terms, means people are coming to one of your web pages and leaving without staying for less than 10 seconds. While they are there, they are not clicking on any links, your Call to Action (CTA), or another page.


The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who do this versus those who interact with your site. The average bounce rate falls between 41% and 55% and the ideal is 26% to 40%. Anything above and even below could mean your site has a problem and is not performing to the best of its ability.


To find out your site’s bounce rate look at the individual channels and pages in the behavior column of Google Analytics. If you are scoring above 55%, “Houston we have a problem,” or even worse, we have several problems. It could mean bad content, misleading descriptions, a poor navigation experience or design. Most importantly it’s a sign that users are not doing what you want them to do on your site; they aren’t converting. And this can have an impact on your SEO rankings. In fact, one industry study found a strong relationship between time on site and rankings.


Sometimes a website can have a naturally high bounce rate. Therefore, it can be very important to check with a digital marketing specialist who can determine the cause. For example, what if your website has a name that is very similar or identical to another company in a different industry. ‘ABC cleaners’ could be a dry-cleaning company or a window washing company.


Another reason for a naturally high bounce rate would be if your city or street has the same name as another place. Websites in Cambridge, Ontario will sometimes get visitors from Cambridge, Massachusetts or Cambridge, England. Those visitors will naturally bounce once they realize they are on the same page.


Let’s get down to business and explore some of the top reasons your site could be failing to engage your audience and causing a legitimate bounce rate issue.


Three words: content, content, content

With so much information on the web it’s a rare thing for someone to accidently end up on your site. People use google to search for information and visit the sites they think have it. If your content doesn’t measure up, they’re leaving. Content must meet the users’ expectations, or they will bounce to another site.


Following a few basic rules can help:


  1. Create content that matches with your visitors’ search intentions. Your website should focus on the reasons and problems a visitor may have and try to address them.
  2. Keep your phrases short. Writing for the web is quite different than writing for a printed publication. Sentences should be short and include key words to improve your SEO rankings, especially in your headings.
  3. Think about the user journey and improve internal linking. Where do you want them to go and what do you want them to do while they are on your site?
  4. Invite visitors to your call-to-actions. Make it simple and easy.
  5. Keep educating! Tell them about related blog content on your site and keep them longer.
  6. Follow good design principles. Make your page scannable with easy-to-read headers. Break up your content with engaging images. Make sure your important information is loaded and visible within 3 seconds of the page coming up.


Look around for an honest opinion from a colleague, a professional copywriter or even a loyal customer to review your content and adjust accordingly. You may also consider hiring a writer or a good content strategist.



REM offers content marketing and blog writing as some of our digital marketing services. Our professional writers produce content that is engaging, and you don’t have to do anything, just review it once before we post it online. Speak to your REM representative or contact our Marketing Director for a free, no-obligation conversation about how we can help.



Slow Load

Studies show the average online attention span is about 8 seconds. And on top of that, most people will leave if your site doesn’t load in less than 3.9 seconds! You don’t want your visitors to spend those precious seconds of their attention watching a throbber (the loading icon), or they’re going to bounce. There are millions of other web pages. Patience is not an online virtue.


Rethink whether you want that big video file to automatically play and take a closer look at those scripts. Take advice from the Google and run a Page Speed Insights test to find out their recommendations. Other tools include Lighthouse reports, Pingdom or GTmetrix. If your page is taking longer than a few seconds you need to fix it.


Keeping it Real

Real titles and real descriptions matter. Your title tag and meta descriptions play a key role in setting visitor expectations. When your content doesn’t line up, people bounce. Nobody likes to be misled, nor do they have time for it. Accurate titles and descriptions are necessary; consider these your first impression. If you falsely advertise, they will simply return to the search engine and go to the next best page.


Good meta descriptions do the following:


  1. Explain the organization or the purpose of the page - Provide information a user is looking for like the product or services offered, the location and operating hours.
  2. Pull direct content - Think of using a quote or perhaps the first couple of sentences that summarize the content of the page. Chances are a lot of your key words are found there.
  3. Summarize - If you primarily sharing information, Google suggests summarizing the entire page. This will give search engines more opportunities to find your page.
  4. Share differentiators - If your site is supporting a specific product, share what makes it the best in your description.


The lesson here is to be accurate and be descriptive. This will bring the right visitors to your site and encourage them to stay.



Nothing is more frustrating than landing on a page and not being able to find the menu, the next step or good grief, the link to buy to your product. Poor design creates problems for users who want to browse your site resulting in, you guessed it, the bounce!


If your content is good, your titles and descriptions on point maybe it’s time to hire a designer to identify potential issues. Work with them to ensure the menu, links and any CTAs are self-explanatory and easily accessible. This will improve your user experience and your bounce rate.


Be friendly to the phone

Global web traffic on mobile phones has surged in recent years and as of November 2022, 60.28 percent of all web traffic came through mobile phones. If your website is not mobile friendly you are doing your organization a huge disservice.


Consider these common mistakes of unfriendly websites:


  • Content is too wide, going past the screen
  • Links are too close making them inaccessible on small screens
  • Text is too small, meaning your users are spending too much time trying to accommodate your content


Websites that are not optimized for mobile do not look good on mobile devices AND they probably don’t load very fast, either. Take the time to explore the site from your own mobile device or to find out how your site measures up by trying Google's mobile friendly test. Alienating the majority of web traffic is only going to increase your site’s bounce rates.


REM designs beautiful, user-friendly websites for businesses who want a great user-experience and a fast-loading website design.


Error 404

We’ve all been there and usually we give it our best effort and click that link a few times just to be sure. If your bounce rate is really, really high, with visitors only spending a few seconds on the page, chances are they’ve hit a blank page or 404 error message.

To replicate a user’s experience try looking at the page from popular browsers, Safari on desktop and Chrome on mobile. Then find the time or expertise to help you fix broken links, errors, and ensure those blank pages stop your visitors from bouncing.


Don’t ask for the kitchen sink

Only ask for what you really need. If you try to collect too much information from your visitors,’ they will bounce! Requesting maiden names, social security numbers and financial information will deter people from staying on the site. People are wary and they have the right to be with the number of online phishing scams out there. The SlashNext State of Phishing report found over 255 million attacks in over six months in 2022 alone! 


Take the time to build trust and inform your users. If they stay and learn, your bounce rate will go down and your SEO rankings will go up.


Never ignore your bounce rate

How long someone stays on a page can help you determine the success or failure of a website. SEO isn’t just about key words, titles and tagging. It’s about strategic content and design, navigation, and most importantly engagement. Just think about how much time, energy and money went into building your site. Start with those critical pages and try a few improvements. Check back in a few weeks and see if they’re making a difference.


You want to know that those efforts are paying off and you’re living up to your visitors’ expectations. Monitoring your bounce rate can be a simple and effective way to take your site to the next level!



If you don’t have the time to do this yourself, or in-house, speak to your REM representative or our Marketing Director so our expert team can help take this off your plate. You can then focus on running your business and helping clients, while we take care of making sure people can find you online.


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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Illustration of a mailbox coming out of a cellphone


Email marketing is an attractive, simple, and effective strategy for entrepreneurs to grow their business, sell a product or service, or connect with their customers in a genuine way. Not only is it relatively low cost, but it is simple to create in a short lead time (we’ve all been there!), the results are easy to measure and the impact it can have on your engagement with your customers is tangible. All of this, of course, if done well.


Through our research, we learned that 61% of consumers prefer to be contacted through email, that 99% of users check their email every day and that for every $1 spent, email marketing has an ROI of $42. Those are promising numbers!


A successful email marketing campaign includes planning, audience segmentation, personalization, and a strong call to action. Above all, the most essential thing is that a genuine connection needs to be made between the sender and the receiver. It is through relatable, thoughtful, and valuable content that your emails will be opened and engaged with time and time again. Otherwise, you can risk your carefully crafted email ending up in the spam folder, or worse, unsubscribed from.


To prevent that from happening, below are ten tried-and-true ways to genuinely stand out in your customers’ inboxes.


1. Create relatable content


A powerful and impactful email campaign goes beyond numbers (though measuring those is certainly important) and aims to add value to the customer. It is often forgotten that customers do not owe anyone their attention — it is earned.


“Permission is earned through quality content and offers, genuine interest in and deep understanding of consumer preferences/needs, and a consistent track record that builds trust. Keep the trust, keep the permission, keep the customer. It’s not just the volume or brilliance of content that matters, it’s how that content relates to them. If content is not relevant, it’s nothing more than a waste of your time and a reason for the consumer to take away permission for ongoing interaction with you.” explains Ted Rubin.


Relatable content depends on who your audience is and what they deem valuable. If your brand promotes selling sustainable products, one way to empower and educate customers is to provide them with further information or research about climate change and why their purchase would make a difference. If you are a lifestyle YouTuber and your brand focuses on motherhood and home living, one way to provide value would be to showcase time-saving hacks or meal-planning ideas. In short, anything that you share with your audience that could better their livelihood, empower them to make a change, save them time or money, or simply provide them with comfort or wisdom is relatable and valuable in their eyes.


2. Keep subject lines short

The purpose of the subject line is to grab the customer’s attention. Email subject lines will get cut off if they are too long, particularly on mobile devices. We know that 46% of opened emails happen on mobile devices, so using short subject lines with fewer than 50 characters ensures that people scanning their emails will open yours. Also, stay away from clickbait titles. Not only will it leave a sour aftertaste in your customers' mouths, but it will also dilute your credibility as a brand.


3. Use a reputable email provider

Using a less reputable email marketing campaign provider will hinder your chances of landing in your customers’ inboxes. Do your research before committing to one platform. REM offers a newsletter module, and our designers can create a beautiful newsletter template for you. Speak to your REM Customer Success Team member and ask them for more information on setting up your newsletter.


4. Find the right time to send out your emails

The best time to send emails depends on your audience. According to aggregate data, the most likely times for customers to open emails are 10:00am on Tuesdays and 3:00pm on Thursdays. Emails sent at these times will likely deliver results. For optimal results, however, you need to study your specific email lists and campaign analytics. Segment the lists into subgroups of customers based on feedback and interactions with your content. This primary research should drive your email timing, not general industry data.


5. Personalize emails through market segmentation

Unlike traditional advertising, email marketing reaches its audience every time. In fact, 99% of consumers check their email every day. This allows the perfect opportunity to create a genuine connection with your audience through market segmentation. In other words, you can tailor your message for each target audience.


Say you’re selling apartment units in a condo building. By separating your audience into buyers, investors and realtors, you can reach each audience and provide them with clear, valuable information that is pertinent to their area of interest.


Another common way to do this is by age group. We know that different generations intake information differently. Ivan Veta, SEO specialist at Scopic Software, found this to be a helpful method for his clients, as it allowed them to switch up their strategies according to generational marketing preferences.


“Our learnings thus far have concluded that millennials react positively to campaigns that contain infographics,” said Veta, whereas “Gen X and baby boomers readers tend to click on action buttons to read more about a certain topic.”


By personalizing emails through market segmentation, you’re providing tangible value to each audience and connecting with them in a way that is genuine and thoughtful.


6. Understand the 3 Rs of email marketing

On any given day, a customer’s inbox is flooded with emails, promotions, sales, or inquiries. Consider their activities across all social media platforms and you can see how easy it is for someone to experience content fatigue. A customer’s attention is their most asset and yet it is pulled into hundreds of different directions daily — often before they’ve even had their first cup of coffee!


Because of this, Alice Elliott warns digital marketers and entrepreneurs to understand the 3 Rs of email marketing — content must be researched, relevant and relatable.


Rather than relying on algorithms or automated systems, she encouraged entrepreneurs to do the hard work of collecting email addresses that are a suitable match for their brand. While the fishnet approach works for certain brands, it is more valuable in the long run to create a curated list of loyal customers.


Once you’ve gathered a curated list of email addresses, ensure that your product, service, or content is relevant to this list. The journey between your content and the “unsubscribe” button truly lies in the relevance of the content.


Lastly, avoid the “spray and pray” approach to email marketing. Rather than throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks with the customers, focus that attention on writing a considerate, relevant, and valuable campaign.


7. Offer valuable solutions

For your email marketing campaign to have any true impact on the customer, it must offer some valuable solution to their pain point. Whether it is offering your decluttering services to an overtired mother who simply lacks the time to tackle that area of their home or providing a discount code to your audience for an upcoming sale, finding ways to offer value goes a long way with your customers.


8. Be authentic

In a world consumed by filters and smoke and mirrors, it is beyond refreshing to interact with an individual or a brand that is unapologetic in their values, beliefs, or morals. That authenticity is what draws like-minded people together, builds brand loyalty, creates community and a feeling of belonging, and converts leads into customers. Best of all, it is in an authentic and genuine way.


9. Include a call to action

With all this focus on getting the customer’s attention, it’s easy to forget the initial intention of the email. Are you reminding them that they have an item in their cart? Alerting them of a sale? Promoting a new product? A clever subject line may improve your open rate, but to increase engagement, you must increase your click-through rate or the percentage of subscribers following email links to your webpage. This is where you’ll need a call to action (CTA).


Developing a call to action can be as simple as including a direct request. “You can’t expect your audience to guess what you want them to do next,” said Kendra Jones, a PR and marketing strategist specializing in influencer marketing. “Placing concise calls to action, such as ‘Click here to download your free guide,’ that are hyperlinked to the opt-in increased my click-through rate by 18%.”


10. Optimize for mobile

Since 70% of emails are opened on a mobile device, and your CTAs all lead back to your site, mobile optimization is crucial.


Here’s what mobile-optimized looks like:

  • All relevant text can be read from a single screen without having to pan
  • The email and landing page load quickly
  • There are clear, tap-able buttons
  • Font type, size, and color are easy on the eyes


Email marketing is a valuable tool to connect with your customers in a genuine way and stand out in their inbox among the influx of content competing for their attention. If done right, email marketing can convert leads into lifetime customers. It can provide education, entertainment, value, and solutions. Before you send out your next email marketing campaign, make sure you pull up this blog post to double-check that you’ve accomplished all ten recommendations before hitting “send”.


Speak with your REM Customer Success Team or Sales Rep for more information about setting up your own newsletter and start reaping the benefits of great email marketing.


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