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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Man looking at a computer screen with a big chain link in the middle

 

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.

 

Conclusion:

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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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Website screen that has a thumbs down next to it

 

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.

 

Navigation

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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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Illustration of computer with error messages and problems

 

Imagine this: you’ve spent countless hours and a good chunk of money designing a custom website. You’ve thought about every small detail. You’ve mapped out how the user will interact with your website. You’ve written a thoughtful, clear, and conversion-driven copy. You’ve chosen between dozens of fonts, images and designs and you’ve arranged them just so. You’ve integrated third-party plugins to track analytics, capture emails and take care of back-end details. Now, you publish.

 

Your website crashes before it even has a chance to shine. Well, it turns out you are not alone in this situation.

 

According to the Third Parties chapter of their 2021 Web Almanac report, “a staggering 94.4% of mobile sites and 94.1% of desktop sites use at least one third-party resource.” They also found out that “45.9% of requests on mobile and 45.1% of requests on desktop are third-party requests.”

 

Your website may be using more third-party services than you realize. These services use requests to external hosts (servers you have no control over) to deliver JavaScript framework libraries, custom fonts, advertising content, marketing analytics trackers, and more. These third-party resources load in your visitor’s browser while your web page is loading, even if your visitors don’t realize it. They may be critical to the site functionality, or they have been added as an afterthought, but all of them can potentially affect how your users interact with your website and the overall functionality of the site.

 

You may have a lean, agile, responsive site design only to find it gradually loaded down with more and more “extras” that although were designed to enhance the back-end experience and analytics, often hinder functionality.

 

Recent research finds that third-party plugins could be hindering your website’s performance more than helping it. In this blog post we will be exploring five reasons why plugins hurt your website’s performance and a simple, integrated solution — go custom. After all, a custom website deserves custom solutions.

 

1. Third-party plugins cause conflict

A main cause of errors on your website is conflicts between two or more WordPress plugins that you may have installed. A conflict happens when two plugins are trying to accomplish the same thing in the same way, which causes one or both of them to malfunction. Third-party plugins are a major source of security vulnerabilities and website performance bottlenecks.

 

A perfect example of this is the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin version 19.7 was discovered to contain a conflict with other plugins which resulted in websites experiencing fatal errors. To make matters worse, this is the third time this year that this has happened.

 

To find a solution to this problem, WordPress recently announced a proposal to take a more proactive approach toward third-party plugins to improve security and site performance. What is being discussed is a plugin checker that will make sure that plugins are following best practices.

 

"While there are fewer infrastructure requirements for plugins than there are for themes, there are certainly some requirements that are worth verifying, and in any case, checking against security and performance best practices in plugins would be just as essential as it is in themes. However, as of today, there is no corresponding plugin checker” explained the team at WordPress.

 

One of the main problems is that there is a multitude of plugins available created to boost website performance, track SEO, user activity, etc. The intent is a good one. However, because of the large number of plugins available, multiple are used on websites simultaneously, making it hard to know which combination of them is creating conflict with each other or with the website’s custom coding. Another issue is the need to periodically update plugins, which again opens the door to possible conflict and website malfunctioning.

 

Many of our customers come to us with this exact issue, beyond frustrated and unsure of what to do next. We have transitioned each one of them to our custom-built CMS, [email protected], and have taken the reigns on managing all development and updates in-house, eliminating the need for third-party vendors. Our customers have realized the benefit of having a stable and custom solution to their problem, ensuring that their website is performing optimally, and not needing to compromise on any key features. Not only has this saved them time and money, but it has also ensured that no customers were lost because of their website’s lack of performance.

 

2. Some themes are incompatible with third-party plugins

The reality is this — plugins are built by various developers. This means that sometimes a website theme will be incompatible with a certain plugin. Although the plugin itself might have dozens of features, if one or two of those features don’t work properly with your theme, your website will not function well. You could try and troubleshoot each individual plugin, but that is a time-consuming and often fruitless task. Surely not how you want to spend your working hours!

 

3. Third-party plugins can be discontinued without notice

One of the most concerning aspects of using a third-party plugin is that at any moment it could be discontinued. This would mean that you are essentially left to your own devices to troubleshoot the issue, find which plugin has been discontinued, search for an adequate replacement and then hope that the one you chose does not conflict with your custom-built theme. It’s truly a hassle and a real way to lose time, money and potential customers. There is ample uncertainty in our world, but this is one that is truly avoidable.

 

4. Third-party plugins can slow down your website

Few things are more frustrating to a user than a sluggish or non-responsive website. The culprit for this is often the number of third-party plugins running on your website simultaneously. The reality is that any plugin that loads resources (such as JavaScript or CSS files) will slow down your website. Consider that you’re usually running multiple at once, and your website could be experiencing some real fatigue and performance issues. One temporary solution for this would be to become selective about which plugins are essential to your website and eliminate the rest. Unfortunately, this does not solve the rest of the problems we have covered in this blog post. The wise solution would be to allow a professional team of website developers to handle the functionality of your website, to ensure that you are not spending your time down the rabbit hole and potentially losing customers in the process.

 

5. Unexpected costs can arise

Developers earn an income by providing a free service for a limited or trial amount of time, and then charging the user once that time is up. In most cases, third-party plugins operate the same way. Most developers offer a free trial for up to a year and provide ample support during this time. After that period, however, you may have to pay to continue using the plugin or try to find support elsewhere. Additionally, some developers will charge customers for continued updates to their plugins. This can be a major issue because WordPress tends to change its core code often to improve performance and security. Outdated plugins can conflict with the new version of WordPress and cause issues on your site.

 

We believe a strong case can be made for the fact that third-party plugins can wreak havoc on your custom-built website, costing you time, and money and potentially losing customers. Finding where the conflict is between your theme and the plugin (and which plugin at that!) can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. With constantly changing and evolving plugins, updates to both the plugin and WordPress as a platform, unexpected website crashes and unexpected costs, this can be a frustrating experience at best.

 

There is a better way. At REM Web Solutions, we have removed the guesswork from the situation and have created a custom CMS, [email protected] Because of the nature of our work, we handle all the development and updates in-house, eliminating the need for third-party vendors. This stable and reliable solution can allow you to breathe easier knowing that your website is performing optimally, your users will convert to customers because of the fluid navigation, and no more time and money is spent troubleshooting an endless problem.

 

As we said, your custom website deserves a custom solution.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Illustration of man holding a pen looking at a computer and paper

 

Professional writing is something we all do dozens of times a day; but how much thought do we really give it? The way we write in a professional setting sets the tone for not only our selves but the company we represent. If we have spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or are simply too wordy that can make a negative impression on those we are communicating with.

 

Everything we write in our day to day working lives, from emails to social media posts all reflect upon us and our companies. Therefore, we need to make sure we are coming across as best we can. Writing matters, and many people have trouble remembering how much it can impact us. Writing is how we tell stories, make deals, convey history; it is the fundamental for human communication. Writing in the workplace or in a business setting is no exception.

 

Marketing Materials

Marketing Materials covers a wide range of writing tasks: from sales copy on websites to social media posts to blogs on your own website. Marketing is the first thing a prospective client or the general public will see of your company, so you need to make sure it is well received. If your copy is riddled with spelling errors or typos it sends a bad message.

 

First you need to look at your general advertising copy: Newspapers, billboards, websites, etc. Figure out the message you are trying to send and who you want to see it. Make sure it is easy to read from far away or in small print text. Avoiding errors will help with this, it will allow your potential clients to read it easier.

 

You also need to consider visual aids. If you are worried about not being able to fully get your point across without having one large text block, consider pictures. Using visual aids such as graphs or photos of your product can help people better understand what you are trying to say without having to read as much.

 

Next, look at your social media posts: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Even though this may seem as a more casual setting or form of advertising, it still matters. Social media these days reaches a massive audience base and can spread your message further than you originally thought.

 

Posts can be shared and sent to others across different platforms, so you need to be careful with what you say. Anytime you are posting anything you are representing your company. Your opinion has no place in the work environment and so it should not have a place on the company social media. Spelling, grammar, and sentence structure errors all also matter, so make sure to triple check before posting.

 

Finally, look at personal marketing: Networking, your personal website, client communications, etc. Most people do not think of any of these as marketing, however, when it comes to the professional world, everything is marketing. Anything you say or do regarding your company can have a big impact. If you are making a blog post for your companies' website, you need to make sure that you have no mistakes. The smallest mistake in your writing can defer potential clients.

Marketing is the first look a potential client or the general public has at your company. You need to make sure that from the very start your company comes across as professional.

 

Proposals

Business proposals are everything when it comes to first contact. Whether you are sending one to your boss for a new project or to a new client; they are the first point of contact people will get from you. You need to make sure that you are coming across professionally, clearly, and to the point. There are a few things you need to be thinking about when writing a proposal:

 

  1. What is your purpose? Think about what you are trying to achieve by sending this proposal and make sure that is your soul focus and topic point.
  2. Who is your audience? Is it your boss? Is it a new client? Your audience matters as you need to know who you are talking to. If you are writing for your boss, you do not need to explain every facet of the company and its policies. However, if you are writing to a first-time client who knows nothing about what the company does or how they run things, you may need to explain more.
  3. Stick to the point. Do not go off on tangents. You do not need to be talking about everything all at once, all that does is confuse the reader and deter them from wanting to read more.
  4. Use active writing. What that means is do not sound passive. If you are hovering around a point or avoiding getting straight to the point, it can come off as too passive. Now I am not saying go out and tell your boss or client what to do and when to do it as if you are in charge. But what I am saying is you should be straightforward. You do not want to come off as if you do not know what you are talking about.
  5. Avoid text blocks. Whenever possible, avoid long overly wordy text blocks. No one wants to read a three-page proposal with no breaks. They will get bored or lost and give up reading it all together. Keep your paragraphs, if possible, between 3-5 sentences and break up big groups of text with new headers.

 

Your proposals are very important, and they can make or break a potential new deal with a client or cost you that promotion. Be careful with what you say and how you say it. Most importantly make sure you are considering all these points when writing.

 

Emails

I am sure anyone reading this has written at least a handful of emails throughout their lives. Emails are the foundation that keeps businesses going. It is how everyone in the professional world communicates, whether it is with clients or your boss or your colleagues. However, not everyone thinks of emails as business writing, but it is.

 

Sending emails may seem a boring mundane task you have got to do a hundred times throughout the day, but they are everything. Most people will quickly type out an email and send it off without giving it another thought. The way you write emails can make or break your entire professional career. Clients and your boss will forever remember if you have typos or grammatical errors in your emails constantly.

 

It has been proven that people are less likely to want to continue to work with or in the future with a company that sends poorly written emails. Granted one or two occasional mistakes is simply just human error and most people will ignore it. However, constant and unchecked mistakes is seen as lazy and unprofessional and can cause major issues for you in the future.

When writing emails, make sure to proofread them. Now yes, I understand that most of you are very busy at work and many of you have better things to do with your time than re-read an email. However, it will help you immensely in the long run.

 

Once you do it a few times it will feel routine and less like a burden or extra task you must do. It will also allow you to go back and fix any mistakes you may have made before sending it and potentially coming across as unprofessional to a new client. There are reason teachers tried to engrain it into us all throughout school, it works, and it helps.

 

Internal Communications

Internal communication may be the last thing you think of when needing to sound professional, but everything counts. Internal communication in this sense refers to communication throughout a company with other employees, whether that be your boss, colleague, or subordinate. When you are speaking, or in this case writing emails or likewise you need to sound professional and like you deserve to be there.

 

Writing in the workplace or professional setting is like proving you know what you are talking about. Everything in the way you present yourself matters in a professional setting. You would not show up to work in your pajamas, in the same way you need to make sure you are communicating properly.

 

Poor writing cannot only affect your performance, but the performance of the people you work with. If you are not clear in what you are saying or make mistakes and do not correct them, it can affect everyone else around you. For example: if you are emailing your partner on a project at work and tell them that “79% of clients reach out for future projects” when you actually meant “97% of clients reach out for future projects”, that can greatly affect not only you but your partner as well. Simple mistakes can make or break your career, so you need to be careful.

 

The way you talk to anyone, whether it be a client, your boss, or a colleague matters. You need to make sure you are writing everything from emails to proposals correctly and clearly.

 

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Illustration of truck and storefront in a cellphone

 

Most people during the pandemic and with this new age of technology have shifted to online sales; our sales team at REM is no exception. We here at REM have adjusted our sales and outlook on the industry as the state of world of communications has been changing over the past 3 years.

 

Online sales have always been a thing in the business world, but never have we been this reliant on them. Now that we are coming to the end of the pandemic some sales are moving back to in-person, but most are staying online as everyone has grown accustomed to them.

 

Here at REM, we like to focus on a few main points when it comes to online sales and making sure our clients have the best experience possible. This way we can ensure each one of current and future clients is well taken care of.

 

Communication

Communication is the foundation for a great relationship with clients. Moving to online sales has come with a new set of challenges when it comes to communications. However, we have adapted to move forward as smoothly as possible.

 

Being hands on with communication is a major part of sales. Communication online is very different than communication in-person. Long pauses, exaggerated expressions, verbal ticks, and rambling all come across worse over a call or video chat. Small mistakes in verbiage and the way you speak can easily be fixed in person but over video call it can come off as unrehearsed or as a bigger mistake than it was. Being clear in communication helps immensely when it comes to online sales.

 

Clearly communicating what you are trying to sell your client on is also a major point. When you are talking to a client in person you must explain everything in detail. However, with online sales you can provide visual aids and occasional demonstrations. This allows us to communicate better with our clients and allow them to fully understand what we are trying to sell them on.

 

Here at REM, we have a very hands-on support and sales team, eager to help whenever needed. Communication has always been our top priority when it comes to client relations. Because everything we do is done here in house, it makes it very easy for us communicate easily and clearly with our clients regarding any questions they may have.

 

Flexibility

Flexibility is a key skill when it comes to sales; being able to change your pitch and approach depending on the response you get from a client is very important. Sales has always been a back and forth, a conversation between two people. So, when that conversation has a distance barrier placed in the middle it makes it a little harder to have.

 

Being able to change on the spot depending on your client is extremely important. Moving to online meetings has come with a new set of challenges that need to be adapted for. Technology is not always easy, and clients are not always as well versed with it as you may be, so be prepared to change your approach depending on them. Some people may also not be as receptive to online meetings as others, be able to change your approach depending on how the client is responding and your call will go much easier.

 

Changing meeting times is also something one needs to be on the lookout for. With in-person everyone made sure to plan their days very specifically around meetings, especially if it meant having to travel. However, with online becoming more common place it is easier for people to go over time in meetings or to double book themselves. Be flexible and understanding when it comes to having to change times.

 

At REM, our sales and support team are happy to be flexible to fit what you need. We are happy switch meeting times with enough notice and change up our pitch if it is not working.

 

Customization

Most sales representatives will customize their sales pitches depending on their client. Customization is a major player in sales and making sure that you can sell to everyone, and anyone, is the key to success. Being able to customize how you sell is a great skill to have and will help you further your sales career.

 

Not only is customizing your pitch important, but also being able to customize your product. Allowing clients to feel as though they have control over the product or service they are purchasing, and their sales experience is key. If your client feels like they have no choice in their sales experience or in the product they are purchasing, they are less likely to want to go back to the company. Now granted, not all products are customizable, and most clients are aware of that, but a sales pitch can always be changed.

 

Clients know when a pitch is rehearsed and can tell if you are just reading off a script. Change it up, make it feel like you have personally designed your pitch for the person you are specifically speaking to. Being able to improvise is also a big help. Your client's mood and approach may change while you are in a meeting, so be prepared to switch it up on the spot. The last thing you want is for your client to lose interest halfway through your meeting and get bored.

 

At REM, we care about our clients and their experience, so our sales and support team has learned to adapt. We make sure that each client feels like they are well taken care of by the best of the best. Due to the nature of the service, we provide here at REM, we can make sure the client has full customization over their website. This allows us to continue to provide the best service we can for our clients. If they are unhappy with something we are always happy to change it until they are.

 

Rapport

Building rapport with a client is one of the most important things when it comes to sales. Something to remember is that with long standing clients you are not just talking to them once or twice, but constantly. Making sure that you build up that rapport with them is key, it makes them feel like you care and not just because you want their sale.

 

Sharing jokes, talking about pets or kids, and talking about hobbies are things that can help you build up a relationship or a rapport with your client. Now yes, most of your time talking to a client should be focused on business, but, if they start talking about their kids do not cut them off. People love talking about themselves, and yes that does sound bad, but it is true. Allowing your client to talk a little bit more about themselves and their lives makes them feel like you care about them and will make them want to come back.

 

Building a rapport also helps you as well. Rapport with client does not just make them feel more comfortable but it can also help you. The better you know a client the easier it is to have future conversations with them and the easier it is to gear your pitches towards them. If you know how someone will react you are able to change how you act around them accordingly. The better you know a client the easier it will be to sell to them in the future.

 

Not only will it help you sell to them better, but it may get you personally more sales. If a client likes you specifically, they may request you time and time again as they work more with you company. They may also recommend not only your company but you to others they know, bringing in more business with your name attached.

 

Due to REM’s smaller size, we can have more personal one-on-one relationships with our clients. This allows us to make sure each client's needs are met. It also allows our sales and support team to better adapt to our clients as they know them more personally.

 

Once your company moves to a customer-focused sales approach, your staff will realise that it’s all about building relationships with your clients. They will stop focusing on pressing the sale and worrying about their commissions or close-rates and they will start to enjoy spending time with potential clients.

 

Professionalism

Moving to online has also come with working from home more, so maintaining a professional appearance has become more of a challenge. Making sure you appear at your best will affect your sales. It is also no longer just about how you look but how you background looks.

 

In the business world there is a certain dress code most companies prefer you to uphold. But, as people began working from home more, the dress code went out the window. However, if you have a meeting with a client you cannot show up wearing your pajamas or comfy clothes, you still need to look like a working professional. Make sure your hair is done and clean, you have on a good shirt and tie or anything else that suits you. Your appearance affects the appearance of the company, so make sure you look the part.

 

These days, since most people are still working from home or do a hybrid, not only do you yourself need to look good but your background does as well. Now most people do not have the time, money, or space to re-arrange their entire house to make sure they have a clean and clear working space.

 

However, you can limit the amount of unprofessional or distracting items in the background. That means removing most media posters, distracting knick-knacks, anything that can make noise, and if possible, keeping kids and pets away from working areas. The last thing you want during a virtual meeting is for your client to get distracted by a poster you have on the wall behind you or get upset because your cat keeps walking across your keyboard.

 

Take advantage of the latest technology and put in a virtual background to hide your office space if you can’t make it look professional. REM sales staff use the same branded virtual background to make sure our potential clients get a consistent experience regardless of who they are speaking to on the sales team.

 

At REM we have moved to a hybrid style of working, meaning our support and sales team works both in the office and from their homes. Due to this we make sure that even when they are working from home, they uphold the highest level of professionalism to ensure the best experience for our clients, both current and future.

 

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Woman holding a store's Open sign

 

Small businesses can involve a lot of complicated elements that make it difficult to see success. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re staying on top of all the elements that make a store operate with as few setbacks as possible.

 

Read the tips and tricks below to help make your store thrive!

 

1. Get to know your customers

One of the most important aspects of business ownership and management is understanding your customer base. This is a necessary point to be mindful of since you will want to identify with your clients who hold a genuine interest in the products and services you have to offer.

 

Connecting on a personal level with your customers will help you strategize more effective ways to gauge their interests and to improve your selling methods and products.

 

  • Phone calls
  • Face-to-face interactions
  • Video calls
  • Multiple customer contact points through surveys, customer service, and events.

 

Building meaningful relationships with your clients that place value on their feedback and experiences will help you serve them more effectively.

 

2. Stay organized

Organization is key to ensuring that your business operates smoothly and productively. Proper time management, streamlined documentation, automating tasks can help significantly with maintaining good structure.

 

Some key points to keep in mind with organization:

  • Set and hold deadlines – Manage administrative tasks by utilizing project management software.
  • Plan, plan, plan – You should be planning as much as possible with things like social media campaigns and email marketing. Use social media scheduling software, email marketing automation to help follow up with new leads. Communicate with your team using Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc. to keep up with daily tasks and necessities.
  • Keep records of business-related finances – Make sure you’re staying on top of your finances. Stay on top of every copy of invoices and receipts related to every transaction for bookkeeping and tax purposes.

 

3. Be flexible when you can

Flexibility is an important quality to embody as a business. It will help you navigate changing market conditions, unexpected problems, and deal with situations that you haven’t planned for. Be receptive to your data and lean into it, and don’t be afraid to alter your course of action if it’s not what you originally expected.

 

Take customer opinions and feedback seriously, and don’t allow your own perceptions to weigh you down and prevent you from making the right decisions for your business.

 

4. Add personal touches

Small businesses have an advantage in terms of being able to offer more personal touches than a typical big-box business. Especially if you have a smaller team, including things like personal thank-you notes, simple gifts, and offering freebies in exchange for reviews can go a long way.

 

5. Automate what you can

With repeatable tasks: choose to automate them. This will not only save you time, but it will help prevent things from falling through the cracks. Utilize accounting software to automate daily bookkeeping, follow-up on abandoned shopping carts with automated emails to customers, automate payroll in Excel, and create a chatbot to answer customer questions and respond to queries outside of business hours.

 

6. Make your website great

Websites are often the first impression people will have your business, so it’s crucial to make sure it’s great. Along with visual appeal, websites should be easy to navigate, uncluttered, and efficient to use.

 

The design should be simple and clean, and make sure your branding is consistent. Have a section that clearly outlines your brand’s values and mission, use helpful descriptions and high-quality images, and highlight key features.

 


 

Speak with your REM Sales Rep to discuss how we can build you a professional business website that not only looks great but is also user-friendly so potential customers can get the info they need quickly.

 


 

7. Craft unique content

Set your business apart from your competition with unique content that’s specific to your company. The content your business chooses to post will help make a positive impression on your current and prospective customers.

 

8. Review your costs

Cost control is crucial in keeping your business afloat and running smoothly. Look at budget variances and aim to streamline your expenses. Compare expenditures in your budget to see what matches up, and where your estimates might be off. Looking at areas where you can cut down on spending can be hugely helpful in being as budget conscious as possible.

 

9. Invest in data analytics

Data analytics – web analytics, social media, and financial analytics – are necessary to evaluate and fully understand as a business owner. This data is essential in understanding the health of your website, customer behaviours, and seeing what social media platforms and methods work best for you.

 

10. Cut down on distractions

It can be easy to become hung up on small, unnecessary details that distract you from larger priorities. Make the most out of project management software and don’t try to do everything for everyone all the time.

 

To maximize your productivity, experts recommend working in one hour time blocks with 15-minute breaks in between. If you’re looking for a good time management system, take a look at the pomodoro technique.

 

11. Make customer support a priority

The customer experience can often rival the products you sell in terms of importance. Make it simple for customers to get ahold of someone through social media, email, or messaging apps. Your business should be accessible, and you should be actively listening to pain points to better investigate problems and find solutions.

 

12. Look into your competitors

Critically evaluating your competition can be very beneficial in assessing aspects that may work well for your business, as well as what their weaknesses are. Look out for a digital marketing strategy and their target audience.

 

13. Build up a strong niche

Specialization can become your best friend as a small business, especially if you can offer a service or product that no one else can. This will help you push the value in your business and better define a target market.

 

14. Keep up with marketing trends

Marketing trends change and fluctuate all the time, so it’s important for you to keep up with them. Staying on top of current content trends are helpful in ensuring that your business doesn’t fall behind on social media platforms. You want to stay current and relevant, and that means regularly monitoring marketing trends.

 


 

If you need help with getting noticed online speak to our Marketing Director. REM offers several marketing services to help get you more visitors and clients. Sit down for a free, no-obligation digital marketing conversation today.

 


 

15. Build up a strong team

The people behind your business can help make or break it. Recruit people who genuinely care about your business.

 

16. Be passionate about what you do

Passion is one of the most imperative aspects of running a business. If you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll be able to better showcase your investment and belief in the products you sell to your customers, encouraging them to purchase them. Don’t lose sight of why you started your business and what it means to you.

 

17. Encourage customers to engage on social media

Encourage your customer base to engage with your business on and off social media. For example, if possible, have an aesthetically pleasing area in your physical storefront that you can use to encourage visitors to take photos and post on Instagram with a business-specific hashtag. Additionally, push your customers to interact with your posts on social media by liking and sharing your posts.

 

18. Generate interest with special offers

If you offer your consumer base special offers like discounts, freebies, and small gifts with specific purchase amounts, you’ll be able to entice buyers into choosing your business.

 

19. Think about strategic partnerships

Seeking out strategic partnerships can be incredibly beneficial for a small business. You can build a stronger reputation, increase word-of-mouth marketing, and reach new audiences faster.

 

20. Have fun

Through all this advice, remember to not always take things too seriously. Operating a business should be a rewarding experience. You should be able to channel your passion and dedicate your time to something you really love.

 

Conclusion:

Running a business can be challenging, but if you apply some of these tips and tricks to your plans, it should make the process go more smoothly.

 

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Four people collaborating in a meeting room using laptops

 

Over the course of the pandemic, companies had to learn how to deal with remote work while remaining engaged and connected to their employees. More and more businesses are now seeing the value in using collaboration tools to help their teams get crucial work done, manage deadlines, and stay on top of important projects.

 

If you’re not leveraging collaboration tools for your business, you should start now. Read the tips below to find out how you can get the most out of them!

 


 

Office 365

Office 365 is one of the most advanced collaboration platforms that is currently available. It has numerous productivity-boosting features and assets and can drastically help improve your business's digital workspace strategy.

 

Here are the Office 365 collaboration features you and your team should be taking advantage of:

 

1. PowerApps

The purpose of PowerApps is to manage organizational data by running an app you created, someone else created or shared with you.

 

2. Office Online

Office Online is Office Suite with elevated collaboration capabilities. You can work alongside team members on PowerPoint presentations and Excel reports simultaneously while using the mobile app, browser, or desktop-based Office Suite.

 

3. Flow

Flow is a service that lives up to its name. It’s designed to automate workflow across several apps and services relied on by businesses. Necessary for effective collaboration, workflows help people get closer to reaching and achieving common goals.

 

4. Video

Office 365 Video is like YouTube but focuses on business content. Users can create numerous channels where users can tag people for ease in findability. Video offers simple uploading, playback of video messages, and sharing.

 

5. OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business is an important part of Office 365. It’s a place in the cloud where you can seamlessly share, store, and sync your work files. As well, you can work on Office documents with other people at the same time.

 

6. Calendar

The calendar in the Outlook Web App is a valuable tool that helps you create and track appointments, deadlines, and meetings. You can create multiple calendars, link to other calendars, and share yours with other people in your organization.

 

7. Exchange

Exchange is a business-class email experience that includes public folders, groups, and shared mailboxes.

 

8. Planner

Planner is self-explanatory. It essentially helps you plan your day-to-day schedule, from due dates to status updates, teams can also update statuses and share files.

 

9. Skype for Business

Skype for Business gives users the opportunity to connect with team members and business partners across the globe.

 

10. Teams

Teams is an excellent chat-based workspace. It allows users to bring conversations and content together. It’s also naturally integrated with a variety of Office applications.

 

11. Groups

Groups is a unique collaboration feature that’s designed for communicating and coordinating group work and sharing information. As well, users have access to a shared inbox, file repository, and calendar.

 

12. Yammer

Yammer is a simple application that allows team members to share their knowledge and engage people within your company, as well as internal and external stakeholders.

 

13. Power BI

Power BI is a business analytics platform which provides interactive visualizations. Users can create reports and dashboards individually without having to rely on information technology staff.

 

14. Delve

Delve is an employee profile database for content discovery and simple collaboration. It allows you to find the right person and content when you need them.

 


 

Additional collaborative tools:

 

1. Slack

Slack is a very popular platform for teams to use to communicate through instant messaging, transferring files, and message search. It boasts a wide range of features and the potential to integrate several other tools as well.

 

2. Flowdock

Flowdock is a private and group messaging platform that allows for the integration of notifications from other channels as well, such as Twitter and Asana.

 

3. Asana

Asana is a well-known project management tool. It allows users to assign tasks to different members, add followers to projects, and keep track of deadlines. It’s a great organizational service to stay on top of to-do lists and important calendar dates.

 

4. Dapulse

Dapulse is a visually engaging and simple-to-use platform that assists in setting goals, communicating with fellow team members, and assigning tasks.

 

5. Redbooth

Redbooth is a basic tool that allows users to plan and collaborate through several functions including video calling.

 

6. Wimi

Wimi is unique in that it offers team members their own unified workspaces where users can manage projects and share different files. Wimi Drive is their cloud-based system that syncs files.

 

7. Quip

With Quip, users can upload various file types and edit them live.

 

8. Google Docs

Google offers a variety of collaboration tools including Docs and Sheets. Users are able to edit files at the same time and changes are automatically saved.

 

9. Codingteam

Codingteam allows teams to collaborate with each other while creating code.

 

10. Milanote

Milanote is a dynamic tool that can serve several different purposes including blogging. This tool is a great option for organizing creative projects into virtual vision boards.

 


 

What are the benefits of using collaboration tools?

 

1. Inform employees

Collaboration tools are the perfect way to keep your employees up to date on important information that’s pertinent to your entire organization. Sharing announcements becomes less of a hassle when you can make sure that all your employees can receive updates and notices in a timely manner, all at the same time. As well, you have the ability to schedule specific posts and messages for different times and can create various groups for a selection of topics.

 

2. Understand sentiment and engagement

Team collaboration tools are a great way to measure and assess analytics. Platform admins can look into advanced analytics that can help you better understand the sentiment and engagement on the platform. This information is very useful for company leaders in being able to see what top-performing posts are and who are the most active platform contributors. You can gain a thorough understanding into broader communication trends, as well as employee engagement within the organization.

 

These tools also allow you to see what posts are doing well amongst your employees. You can assess team members’ engagement by seeing their reactions on posts and whether they’re actively interacting with posts or overlooking messages from leadership. To further your understanding of sentiment and engagement, you can create surveys to send out to employees through your platform chat function and see firsthand how your staff really feel about specific subjects.

 

3. Enabling quick communication

Collaboration tools make it simple to touch base with the people on your team, even if they’re not physically working in the office. These tools also give users the ability to set specific statuses so you can see whether someone is away from their device, busy in a meeting, or if they’re available online. Instant messaging individual team members and video calling employees is a breeze when all forms of communication are integrated into one workspace.

 

Additionally, many platforms allow you to create customized groups chats and channels for various workplace needs, which can be very helpful in organizing your communications with certain people.

 

4. Planning

Everything from planning meetings and projects, to setting deadlines and client calls can now be done through collaboration tools. Having access to all the information that needs to be prioritized by the various people in your company in a well-organized interface can make balancing unending dates much easier to manage. As well, collaboration tools can help drastically with ensuring that all the people in your organization are on the same page and are far less likely to mix up a date or forget it altogether.

 

5. Collaborating

Of course, one of the main and obvious benefits of these tools is the ability for teams to collaborate with one another remotely. Team collaboration tools allow users to work together, no matter where they are, on various projects. They can instantly share files, use the platform to communicate via messaging and quick video conferencing, track changes and leave edits, as well as stay on top of important project milestones.

 


 

Conclusion:

Collaboration tools offer a truly endless list of benefits that are largely helpful for businesses and staff. Teams can work together on projects and connect with each other on a personal level. Leveraging these tools for your business is sure to result in increased productivity and positive employee engagement.

 

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Illustration of a computer monitor with design-related elements around it

 

Websites have rapidly started to transition from being solely information-based online directories, to creations of art, interactive projects, and experimental fun.

 

Visually, web design is now harkening back to the beginning of website development when designers looked for ways to show off new, creative techniques just for the sake of it. Web designers are thinking outside of the box with contemporary styling, elevated typography, advanced interactions, and visual effects.

 

More and more designers are also becoming conscious of website functionality that’s centered on usability and accessibility. User-centric focus has grown considerably in importance so that website visitors can enjoy an experience that’s easy to navigate and flows smoothly.

 

In a highly competitive digital landscape, there’s more freedom for website designers to express themselves through unique visual elements that also center on inclusivity. 

 

Here are some of the web design trends that were popular in 2022.

 

1. Animated typography

Interactive fonts are an innovative way to truly elevate the text that you use in web design. Designers have been making text move in creative ways through a user’s mouse movement. Certain websites use fonts that change weight or size when a curser hovers over the text offering a truly unique and engaging function for users to play around with.

 

2. Inclusive copy and design

Inclusivity has become a more consciously considered concept that a growing number of websites are moving towards embracing. Making an effort to be more inclusive in visual design, content, and language has become a developing priority. Ideally, this will become a permanent shift. More inclusive copy and design is necessary so that all users can feel comfortable when using websites.

 

This includes strategic decision making about a website’s target audience and ensuring that it’s accessible in terms of your brand’s tone of voice, and language that’s accommodating to all genders, viewpoints, and diverse experiences. It’s also important to be intentional with how you say things. Using alt text (descriptions for images to visitors who aren’t able to see them), text that’s legible in terms of font, size, and colour, and ensuring that users will be able to clearly read everything you post without difficulty.

 

3. Horizontal scrolling

Horizontal scrolling is a surprisingly engaging balance between text and images. Sideways navigation can add a great deal of visual appeal to a website, making it fun and appealing to navigate.

 

4. Multilayered imagery

Multilayered imagery focuses on more visually complex designs. Combining multiple layers of images challenge the conventional visual components that people are used to seeing. This style makes aspects like photo galleries more engaging and unique.

 

5. Oversized typography

Oversized typography is a bold design trend that’s been a fresh font take this year. Once they reach a certain size, words become their own form of graphic design, and can be used in minimalist or maximalist visuals.

 

6. Contrast colours

Contrast colours distinctly pop and stand out against any website that chooses to boast them. Colour is a basic tool to draw a user’s interest and stimulate emotion. A vibrant website aesthetic is anything but boring and is distinctly unique.

 

7.  Going off grid

Veering off-center is an effective way to emphasize a segment and make your website truly stand out. Experiment with bold text that ventures off the page in a non-traditional format.

 

8. Abstract illustrations

Abstract illustrations have endless potential in terms of complexity, shape, colour, and scale. They can be tailored to suit any subject matter or mood and have the ability to be incredibly distinct to a website’s overall brand design.

 

9. Page speed prioritization

When looking at the technical functionality of a website, a front-of-mind consideration for web developers has been page speed. Even taking precedent over SEO, the desire for increased page speed reflects users and their high expectations for this website feature. No longer are the days where people expect to wait for loading screens, and the majority will abandon a site if a page takes longer than three seconds to load.

 

Page speed optimization is essential in ensuring users stay on your website and can appreciate all the functions and features your site has to offer.

 

10. Split-screen websites

Split-screen websites are an interesting visual technique to break up a design. This dual layout offers eye-catching contrast, natural separation of content, and an opportunistic excuse to experiment with colour. 

 

11. Linework

Linework has the ability at times to look modern but distinctly retro. Linework illustrations can range from simple to detailed and abstract. The line weight will hold the largest impact on the effect of the style and can be an engaging method to make the graphic design on your website memorable.

 

12. Collage illustrations

Collage illustrations offer a tactile feel with varying levels of texture and colour. These kinds of graphics open up more white space on a website and allow you to incorporate a variety of elements without making a singular image the entire focus.

 

13. Nostalgia

Many trends lean on nostalgia, and web design is no exception. People love to reminisce about the past, which can be translated into a website’s visual elements. This style calls for a more analog feel with typography and images, vintage filters, retro fonts, blurred effects, grain, textures, softer lighting, and pastel colour palettes. These elements create a sense of familiarity and closeness that people like, which work well to capture and hold users’ attention.

 

14. Brutalist typography

Brutalist typography lives up to its namesake. It’s bolder, brasher, and dominant. A simple way to make a website pop while relying on a limited array of elements.

 

15. One-page websites

Often the most effective websites are ones that are simple. There has been increasing popularity seen with the one-page website design. This style forgoes the typical menus and multiple buttons in favour of simple scroll navigation. When the subject matter is narrower, one-page websites work better.

 

There isn’t always a need to clutter up a page with unnecessary details and images. Remove unneeded distractions and instead shift towards a visually pleasing poster that doesn’t require needless scrolling or searching.

 

16. Scrollytelling

Scrollytelling is a great way to leverage a digital interface and intricately present a visual story. Scrollytelling refers to an engaging technique where visual elements are sequenced together and organized together chronologically to convey a message to users. This method can include close-ups, large-scale typography, smooth transitions, and different animations.

 

17. Gender-neutral design

Another approach that goes along with inclusive web trends is gender-neutral design, which is already being adopted by an increasing number of websites. To embrace this option more fully, you can begin by opting out of visual assets and details that are excessively and stereotypically gendered.

 

It has become more standard practice for websites to allow users to choose from a list of multiple genders and pronouns in drop-down menus. To take it one step further, websites can take those options away completely when there isn’t a pressing need for them, like Snapchat has chosen to do.

 

18. Less neumorphism

Neumorphism is a minimalist design style that gained popularity in 2020 and used low-contrast monochrome elements, no sharp lines, and borders, with subtle shadows. It’s different from most used website designs, but the style is awful for accessibility. Lack of contrast makes sites with this design difficult to navigate for users with vision impairments, and overly shadowed elements pose a challenge for visitors being able to tell which buttons they are pressing.

 

19. Grainy gradients

Gradients with added grain have a very distinct look that grounds a design by giving it texture and a more natural feel.

 

20. Subtle motion design

Although interactivity can be a wonderful feature for websites to have, it’s important not to go overboard on motion design. Subtle movement can do a lot to enhance the visual appeal and dynamics of a site, but you don’t want to cause potential harm to users by making them motion sick. Animation such as parallax effects, mouse-triggered scaling, and plane-shifted scrolling should be avoided if possible. Instead, use motion selectively, not excessively.

 

Conclusion:

These are 20 examples of the hottest trends in web design in 2022. Try integrating and experimenting with some of the suggestions above to see what would work best for your website and make it stand out.

 

REM’s in-house graphic designers are very talented and experienced in designing modern, trendy business websites. Speak to your REM Sales Rep today to get started on your new site.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Red darts in the centre of a bullseye target

 

Being a small business owner has never been harder.

 

So, you wanted to start a business. You did your research, you followed all the rules, you worked hard, and you prepared for anything and then the pandemic happens.  Don’t be hard on yourself; no one could have predicted the changes the pandemic would bring to our economy.

 

Being a small business owner is a stressful and all-consuming job during normal economic times. Now it’s so incredibly easy to get burned out and overloaded by the chaos of starting a business. Luckily, entrepreneurs, especially successful ones, are very resilient and innovative people.

 

Successful people adapt to their environment

Adapting to the changes in our economy is key to success in business. It takes a savvy business mind to not only recognize issues that might affect your success, but also to find solutions to work around those issues and keep going.

 

Over the last couple of years, the pandemic has created a very challenging environment for small business owner. Here are some examples of factors that have changed recently:

  • It has become harder and harder to access financial capital
  • Inflation is at the highest rate we’ve had since the 80s
  • The world’s supply chain has been disrupted
  • Global worker shortages have made it hard on employers to retain talent
  • Social distancing and lockdowns have changed the way consumers shop

 

When you start a business, you have the normal worries such as managing cashflow, bookkeeping, or finding clients. Now you must pile all these other pandemic-related challenges on top and deal with them as well.

 

Ask any small business owner and they will tell you they have had to deal with at least one of these issues during the pandemic. For example, a local restaurant owner might face one or more of the following issues:

  • decrease the number of tables you can physically serve
  • staff shortages and pay issues
  • PPE costs and extra sanitation time
  • increase in online orders, possibly requiring a new website
  • paying commission fees on food delivery apps
  • large capital expenses like adding a new outdoor patio

 

Even with all these huge hurdles in the small business world, the rate of new businesses being started has increased year over year for the last three years. That’s right, the actual number of new businesses created each year has sky-rocketed in a time when we should be seeing contrition.

 

Take advantage of the turmoil

How did this happen? What allowed more and more businesses to start during this turbulent period?

 

First, a lot of people left public facing jobs or low paying jobs and jumped into the small business world. These chaotic times have led to rapid innovations in technology – online shopping, virtual reality tours, video conferencing, and accessible technology for smaller businesses such as CNC machines, plastic resin printers, etc.

 

These changing technologies have led to new cottage industries like remote working services, delivery services, PPE product manufacturing, video tutoring, and more. We could write hundreds of posts on the sheer number of new business ideas or changes in the last 2 years.

 

But what do all these businesses have in common? They were all the product of entrepreneurs who harnessed the most powerful and necessary skill to being a small business owner – being innovative. The whole world had to deal with these new challenges, but the owners that saw those challenges as opportunities were able to capitalise on this rare environment.

 

I was always taught to be contrarian when it comes to business decisions. You should always do the opposite of what the average person on the street is doing. If everyone is buying tech stocks, and all the watercooler talk is all about the latest .com stock blowing up…it’s time to get out of tech stocks.

 

If everyone is complaining about the economic situation and how hard it is for businesses to survive, it can be the perfect time to jump in and start a business. If everyone is starting businesses, then costs are usually higher. Access to resources is also more difficult if it’s current popular trend. Try finding a good web design company that isn’t fully booked during the good times.

 

Instead, look at the pandemic as an opportunity to get established in an industry that’s ready for some shaking up. If businesses are folding in that area, but you can see how to make some money, you will have less competition. Or maybe most of those businesses are owned by older people, and they are all going to sell and get out during the pandemic? This is your chance to acquire their businesses at a lower cost because demand is lower.

 

The smart investor buys when prices are low and sells when prices are high. However, you can’t just run out there half-cocked and hope to succeed. You need to have some key elements in place to make sure things go the right way.

 

Don’t compromise on your quality or vision

When times are tough, it can be very easy to start cutting corners to get by. Unfortunately, that can have a dire affect on your brand. Imagine you’ve established a local bakery and use only local ingredients for all your delicious baked goods. Suddenly, your local supplier shuts down. If you suddenly change to using a cheaper quality replacement, you could lose all your loyal clientele.

 

This goes the same for compromising your company vision. For example, you might have promised that 10% of all your sales go to supporting a charitable cause. You did this because you truly believe in the cause and that giving back is a key pillar of your company’s vision. Now suddenly your margins are tighter and covering costs is difficult with rising inflation.

 

You might be tempted to cut back on donating for a while to cover your costs. While it might help you stay afloat, the long-term damage to your brand could be very detrimental.

 

Surround yourself with talent

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll remember that I listed staff acquisition and retention as a major issue during the pandemic. But small businesses benefited from the pandemic induced labour market shuffling.

 

Remote work became the norm, which allows businesses to acquire talent from outside of their own geographical area. You are no longer limited to using the services specifically in your geographical space. The whole world is available now with remote video conferencing etc.

 

Produce in-house or locally whenever possible

If you really want to be successful during a time when global supply chains are in chaos, you must produce your products locally or in-house. If you can’t rely on your shipping container from China to reach you on time, you are going to struggle to meet customer demand.

 

Small businesses who manufacture their products locally have exploded in sales during the pandemic. Something as simple as a pharmacy mixing their own sanitizer in-house can mean a huge stream of revenue that wasn’t there before the pandemic.

 

Always have a back-up plan

If you ever get the chance to sit down and talk with Rob, our big boss guy, he can tell you all about the back-up plans and risk mitigation processes he has in place. Being a smaller company, REM is susceptible to possible issues, so he makes sure to have back-up plans for all our processes.

 

For example, we have one Marketing Director…what happens if he gets COVID or is hit by a bus tomorrow?

 

Good communication, a strong set of processes, and back-ups for all your processes means you can weather worst situations with only minor setbacks and without overloading your stress levels. Take the time to setup your processes and have alternatives for each one.

 

Now make back-up plans for all areas of your company from your receptionist to your internet provider.

 

Be prepared for failure

Part of planning for success is planning for failure. If you aren’t ready to handle a failure, it can completely derail all your other plans. However, if you have the right plans in place, a failure can even become an opportunity.

 

Let’s takes sales for example. If you are going in to pitch a deal with a potential client, you should have a plan in place in case they say no. Do you have evidence to dissuade their worries? Could you offer a discount or incentive to sign that day?

 

Preparing for failure means you are truly ready to be a successful business owner. Every successful business owner has realistic expectations and knowing that they will fail at some point is key.

 

In Conclusion

The last couple of years have resulted in a lot of changes to almost every aspect of our lives. The business world has not been immune to this, and we’ve seen a tumultuous number of changes.

 

Successful business owners have been innovative and have found solutions to these problems. They’ve found ways to make more money, or even just hold on, until better times come along.

 

These successful entrepreneurs have used the aforementioned tactics and strategies to make sure they are positioned to win at the end of day.

 

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