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10/09/2017: every time of change is a time of opportunity

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) becomes law on May 25th 2018. The Regulation demands that all web sites clearly display policies and statements relating to what happens to personal information submitted in enquiries. Even if you don't do anything with such data, you still need to have a policy stating that.

This could be seen as an administrational burden. However, more enlightened businesses are already beginning to see it as an opportunity to increase the volume of enquiries generated by their web sites.

How can more bureaucracy help us sell?

The simple answer is that it can't as such. What it can do is present you with an opportunity to demonstrate that your web site is compliant ahead of time and that because you care so much for their privacy, they can be more confident in placing enquiries with you than with your competitors.

Depending on how you manage the information submitted in enquiries, there are a range of standard packages available to make sure that you stay on the right side of the law, and promote your site as a beacon of good practice.

For a more detailed outline of the requirements of GDPR, see our summary document. We all use data in different ways to promote business, so give us a call, click in the header of any page to send an email or drop in to our mobile office so that we can tailor a package of measures to fit your needs.

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24/05/2017: the "just the ticket" tour is nearly ready to launch

With so many factors affecting the performance of a web site, you have to tick all the boxes to create an effective presence that will get you the response you need to turn into business.

It is no good focusing on just one aspect of the site. A common example being "Search Engine Optimisation", the favourite of the 21st century alchemists who profess to be "experts" in the field.

No, your site must first of all get found, of course, but then it must also carry a powerful message that is easy for the visitor to find, as well as being cogent enough to spur them to action. Once that stage is reached, it must be easy for them to get in touch.

Not only must your web presence do all of that, but it must also be secure from spammers, hackers and malware distributors whose robots are scouring the web 24/7 in search of targets from which they can steal data or ruin reputations by creating spam 'beacons'.

Oh yes, and then there's legislation. Does your site carry all the necessary contact information to qualify as a 'business letter' in the eyes of the law? Does all your advertising on the site conform to the codes of the Advertising Standards Agency? Is it decent, legal, truthful and honest in other words? Can you prove that? How secure is the information entered by people making enquiries from your site? The penalties for leaving even seemingly innocent personal data at risk can be devastating for any business.

Now, does your site tick all the boxes? Are you sure? One quick way to find out is to visit our mobile office at one of the venues that we will be attending throughout the summer and autumn of this year. The "Just the Ticket" tour kicks off at the Monmouthshire Show on July 1st and we will keep you posted of dates as they are confirmed.

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04/01/2017: speeding? me?

Another shabby scam email attempt has come to light. This one involves sending out fake fixed penalty notices taking the name of the Greater Manchester Police in vain. Vigilance is vital in keeping out of the clutches of the scumbags that send out this kind of thing, so I checked the link in the message by hovering over it. It turned out to be a Florida Holiday rental domain, so not really likely to tell me anything about my driving habits. Also, the email address was a fake from a domain owned by a machinery moving company, which had presumably been cloned or stolen in some way. Keep your eyes open... Evenin' all!

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22/10/2016: 12 months of christmas because 12 days is not enough!

Christmas is the season for Giving of course. So why shouldn't this last all year long? At the Websmithy, we have a series of special offers that spread over the 12 days running up to Christmas this year, the 12 weeks prior to Christmas and for the full 12 months following.

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09/09/2016: autumn is coming and our thoughts turn to business

The changing of the leaves, the longer nights and shorter days can mean only one thing - opportunity! As one season's market dies away, it leaves the way clear for the birth of a new one. Autumn is a cathartic time, both in nature and in business.

If you experience seasonal peaks in business, now is a great time to make sure that your web site is performing as well as it possibly can. Updates made now should get indexed twice by the search engines before the end of the year. This is great news for the Christmas market.

It is also great news for next year's tourist season market. All over the country, families will be taking their minds off the gloom and winter chill by looking forward to their next summer's activities. Your website can and should be a part of this planning process, so updating and making the best possible impact on this market should pay dividends in the coming year.

To get an expert view of how your site is performing in the three key areas of getting found, getting the message across and getting a response, along with free advice on performance improvements, come along to our next website surgery at the Shire Hall in Monmouth.

Village Websmith surgeries are completely free to attend and the next one takes place on September 20th between 9am and 4pm. There is no charge, but it is advisable to book so that we can make sure everyone gets the individual attention they need. Simply follow the enquiry link below, or call us on 01291 680187.

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06/09/2016: gain up to 40 times as many enquiries with regular, professional content updates

Enquiry & Traffic analysis for businesses with high, med and low average order value.

Traffic & enquiries with weekly updates
Business groupHigh £Med £Low £
Visitors6886618613088
Enquiries123123196
Traffic & enquiries with monthly updates
Business groupHigh £Med £Low £
Visitors327435966214
Enquiries92274
Traffic & enquiries with no updates
Business groupHigh £Med £Low £
Visitors64033072923
Enquiries32012

Regular updates to your website content can really pay dividends in your business. To illustrate just how big a difference this service can make, we analysed the last six months' results for businesses representing three categories; large, with order values in the tens of thousands, medium, with average order values of hundreds to thousands and small with order values in tens to hundreds of pounds. The results speak for themselves in the tables above.

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06/09/2016: welcome to joe miles, apprentice websmith

At last, there is an apprentice in the Websmithy to help with the workload and help make our customers' web sites work harder than ever.

Full of youthful enthusiasm, Joe is used to customer facing roles and as part of his early duties will be collecting, collating and posting information to our regular customers' sites as well as maintaining social media links and search engine webmaster records. Joe is here to learn the craft of the Websmith, and over time, will be gaining experience in all aspects of helping you get the best possible value from your investment.

This is an incredibly invaluable addition to the Village Websmith team and is going to make so much more work possible. Joe can be contacted by clicking in the header of any page as usual, or joe at VillageWebsmith dot co dot uk. He is here between 9am and 5pm, ready to get cracking

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20/08/2016: hassle free online sales for bespoke and one-off items

What do you do if you are an artist, jeweller or crafter making one off pieces and bespoke items, but want to sell online? Most shopping carts come with a hefty administrational burden and don't lend themselves to selling truly customised items.

And there's more!

By taking a place in our online shop window, you become the only representative of your particular craft there. The search engines see you as part of a greater overall site, so you are likely to gain more attention, but your work is exclusively showcased to people who are looking for what you do.

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30/01/2016: we're looking for a future superhero

If you:

  • Are aged 16-24
  • Want excitement and a challenge
  • Live near Tintern
  • Have a good command of English
  • Have heaps of common sense
  • Get on well with people
  • Find small businesses exciting

You could be the person for us. The Village Websmith in Tintern is looking for someone with those qualities to learn the art of Websmithery through an apprenticeship.

Websmithery is an exciting role, helping to get the sales message from business owners to potential customers quickly and efficiently.

While working as an apprentice, you will also be attending college, working towards the City & Guilds Diploma in Digital and Marketing. The ultimate goal of the apprenticeship is to prepare you to either run your own business, or take a leading role in this one.

So what are you waiting for? Let's get your career on the move!
Contact Neil Hesman at The Village Websmith on 0203 239 0350, or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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16/11/2015: phishing attempt spotted by a customer

This phishing email was forwarded to me by one of our observant customers who felt that it looked genuine enough to ask the question but suspicious enough to make asking worthwhile.

No matter how hard spammers try to make their emails look genuine, there is always something that lets them down. In this case it was the domain that the message was mailed from; googleaccountaudit dot com, which was registered yesterday to a gentleman in Kingston upon Thames.

His details have all been passed to Google now, along with a copy of the message. It is unlikely that these are the details of the actual perpetrator, but it can't hurt to alert Google to misuse of their name.

Rolling over the link that they want you to follow will show its true target in the tool tip that pops up. This will also bear no resemblance to the text.

Needless to say, that awareness and suspicion are two great tools for keeping your computer and your business safe from malware, so regarding every email that asks you to follow a link is a good policy, and checking the domains associated with the sending emails can confirm your suspicions.

As always, we are here to help, so by all means forward any suspicious emails to me and ask the question. That way, we can alert all the people we know to the potential threat.

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06/11/2015: spreading the word about your business has never been easier

With a major upgrade to the newsletter function, Webinthebox«site users can now get even more exposure for their latest information.

Information is now freely shared between the 'blog page, a newsletter page and a broadcast email template. The mailing function offers highly selective list management, with a final veto to remove individuals from recipient groups if you don't want to send them that particular newsletter. You can also send different parts of your newsletter to different groups to make sure that you get the most impact, with potential customers seeing only the most relevant items.

As an optional extra to the standard admin pages, this facility can be set up in a day, including importation of your existing database. After an hour's training, you will be sending out unique, personalised broadcast emails on your own stationery like a pro.

Call us on 0203 239 0350 or 07703 290243, or email for more details.

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14/08/2015: holidays were great, back to business!

With a number of members being away on holiday or enjoying the dubious delights of the NHS, last month's meeting was cancelled. Enough of such idleness, it is time to start laying the foundations for next year in business now, so many of us are rushing back to work. Networking now can send out feelers for the new prospects all businesses need to thrive and profit through autumn and into the new year.

The next meeting at the Haywain is scheduled for Wedensday, August 26th at 7am. As always, the meetings are free to attend, and there is no annual membership fee. Just turn up with a story to tell, some business cards to hand out and join in. All it costs is your choice from the Haywain menu.

The address is: The Haywain, High Rd, Stanford-le-Hope, Basildon, Essex SS17 9NR. See you there!

There will be a Village Websmith Website Analysis & Report Surgery immediately after the meeting, free to all attendees. If you would like to know how your website performs against the latest measures for getting found, getting your message across and getting a response, stay on for a while and find out.

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08/02/2015: message from google: go mobile or go home!

With half the traffic on the Internet now being delivered to mobile devices, the search engines are placing increasing importance on making websites mobile friendly.

I am getting increasing numbers of emails like the one shown to highlight the fact that some sites are in danger of being ranked lower than they would normally be, because there are issues for mobile users with the full page layout.

Automatically presenting a different layout to devices with small screens is now an integral part of Webinthebox®, but if your site has been established for a while, it needs a small update to bring it in line with current practice.

Take a look at your site. How long is it since it had a facelift? A simple, inexpensive update now can make sure that all the hard work that has gone into your website's search engine performance will continue to reap rewards in terms of site traffic.

Call us now or click in the header of any page to send an email and get the ball rolling.

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06/02/2015: you have to move with the times to keep the business coming in

How long is it since your website had a facelift? The computers and devices that potential customers use to view your site are changing on an almost daily basis. Tastes change and search engines evolve, so must your website to keep your business in people's minds.

Particularly important now is to make sure that your site is mobile friendly. The search engines are aggressively marking down any sites that do not deliver content correctly to the smaller screens of mobile phones and tablets.

These sites are examples of facelifts and mobile capability that have been carried out for our customers this week. Evolution rather than revolution is the key to making sure your site continues to get found and keeps looking fresh when the visitors go there.

Call us today or click in the header of any page to send us an email to get a free, no obligation assessment of your site's current potential.

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06/02/2015: spammers emulate the pot calling the kettle black it seems

This email was forwarded to me by a customer today who was very concerned that her email account had been hijacked.

This phishing attempt uses the name of Spam Assassin to try and convince recipients to follow a link to 'protect themselves'. Under no circumstances should this happen.

I traced the url that the link leads to and it is a doormat and mop rental company in California, whose account presumably has been hacked for this purpose.

Suffice it so say that if you also receive this scam email, it should be deleted immediately, not opened and definitely not acted upon.

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31/12/2014: new year, new look for your webinthebox® admin pages

There are some big changes afoot for 2015 here at The Village Websmith. Firstly, you will notice that the colour scheme of your admin pages has changed. This is to make sure that the pages are uniformly legible and easier to use. Originally, the admin pages followed the colour scheme of each site, which was fine in 90% of cases. However, some schemes that work well on the public sites didn't work so well on the admin pages, so to make sure they are simple for everyone, they have been revamped completely.

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10/10/2014: webinthebox® mobile version updated

Launched in February this year, the mobile version of Webinthebox® has been very popular among our customers. According to recent statistics, nearly 50% of web traffic is now delivered to mobile devices like tablets and smart phones.

With such small screens, the information on a normal site looks a bit cramped on a phone, so this special version displays your key information clearly with easy navigation on a 480px display, so phone users can find out about your business easily and without too much zooming and scrolling, encouraging them to stay on your site rather than moving on.

The latest updates make it easier for them to contact you now. The main phone number appears just below the masthead so that tapping it puts people straight through to you, and emailing you is even easier with a single click in the site header opening up their mobile mail client.

Your latest news is even more accessible with the 'blog layout having been updated to present news and images more clearly.

if you haven't already added mobile capability to your website, now may be a great time to do so as the 25% discount offer from February is still on. Call us on the number above or click the header of any page to send us an email and get your online presence mobilised now!

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20/08/2014: the multi-purpose office bears fruit!

Our office has been shared between websmithery and race bike maintenance for some time now, but since April has also been a greenhouse, where there have been chilli plants steadily growing on the window sills.

This is the first chilli of our harvest, and is headed for my dinner tonight. The plan is to use some fresh and make chilli jam out of the remainder, so visitors to the office will be invited to sample the same with cheese and crackers. All business people are welcome, and you can walk in with an idea, walk out with a web site as well, making your visit as multi-purpose as our office.

Call us on the number shown above or click in the header of any page to send us an email and let us know when you are coming.

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22/07/2014: congratulations to rsc photography - ten years in business and moving forward

I was privileged to be invited to the relaunch and celebration of the first ten years of RSC Photography. Celebrating because to do anything for ten years in the UK's financial climate, you have to be doing something right. Relaunching because RSC is now focusing (apologies for the pun) on sports and event photography.

The venue for the event was one of the fabulous Thames Barges moored at Maldon Marina, where the next day, RSC Photography were heading to photograph the regatta, which is a great and very colourful event involving a wide variety of boats.

The photograph shows Rob, Sarah and their daughter, Chloe getting the barge ready for visitors.

The other reason for relaunching was to publicise the new relationship between RSC Photography and the Village Websmith. Rob and Sarah are now helping small businesses in north Essex and Cambridgeshire to expose themselves more effectively on the Internet.

With Rob's extensive commercial experience, Sarah's prowess with words and their shared photographic skills, the team is ideally placed to create and maintain web presences with real impact. Call us to talk over your business goals, or click in the header of any page to send an email and get the ball rolling for you.

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05/06/2014: officially promoting monmouthshire

Being lucky enough to live and work in one of the most beautiful places you can imagine is a privilege that few can aspire to. As I never tire of telling people, this is a great place to visit, whatever your interests.

Now, having completed the Monmouthshire Ambassadors training course, I can officially tell people that this is a great place to visit. More than that, I have access to all the information you could need about places to see and things to do in the surrounding area. Visitors to Tintern are more than welcome to pop into my office for a chat, directions or details of local attractions. The kettle is very often on around here and you can be sure of a warm welcome.

Here I am after the training course with other delegates, pictured outside the venue, Caldicot Castle.

I have also been elected to the board of the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association, so get a chance to feed information from local businesses into the promotional and marketing mix. Please feel free to drop in if you are involved in tourism activities locally and tell me what you want the world to know. I will do my level best to represent local interests in the Association and its publications.

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11/04/2014: i've got a pen (and i'm not afraid to use it) book launch

Yesterday, I was privileged to be invited to the launch of the latest book by Essex author, Sarah Banham. The venue was stunning, being a 19th century sailing barge in Maldon Marina. Dozens of local writers and book fans came to take part in this beautifully organised launch.

Even the mayor was there, and in stark contrast to any mayoral visit I have witnessed before, joined in the party with gusto, staying right the way through to the end of the evening and chatting enthusiastically to the assemblage.

The Thames Barge, Thistle is the oldest iron hulled barge still operating and is the only Thames Barge to have been built in Scotland, leaving Glasgow for the first time in 1895.

Sarah's latest book was very well received by all the attendees at the launch. It deals with the thorny issues of finding the confidence, the time and the discipline needed to write and publish your own books. They say that there is a story inside all of us, and with the help of Sarah's book , we can get it out from its hiding place and down onto paper where it belongs.

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14/02/2014: webinthebox® goes mobile

Modern smartphones are wonderful things. There is no end to what you can do with one, including browsing the web. However, with such a small screen, much of the feature-rich content that our customers put on their websites, just doesn't show up as well as on a tablet or computer with higher resolution.

The answer is a new version of Webinthebox®, which automatically detects the smaller screen and presents a trimmed down version of the site that packs your most important information into a smaller space, yet with a simpler layout that maintains legibility.

This can quickly be added to any Webinthebox® website to keep your information in front of potential customers wherever they are. The even better news is that there is an introductory offer of 25% discount on all orders placed and paid for throughout February.

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18/12/2013: welcome to winning wednesday

Wednesday is derived from the Norse god, Odin who was their supreme god and god of victory.

Read me my story! That is not such a trivial request in any business. Getting a beta reader for your web content and brochure information can help to make your message much more effective.

Having been privileged to beta read a novel and a non-fiction book for Sarah Banham recently, the principal is one that can be applied to business copy to make sure it is working as hard as it can work.

What's the difference between a beta reader and a proof reader? This lies in the scope of tha activity. Proof reading is a vital stage before publishing anything about your business to make sure that the grammar, spelling and language are correct and overall, the document makes sense. Beta reading goes one step further in regarding the quality of the message as well.

Particularly with copy writing for your business, everything has to be perfect. The information content must be accurate, but at the same time, attractive and stimulating. The narrative must lead the reader to the only logical conclusion; that they need you to supply the products and services in question.

With a trusted beta reader or two, you can ask them to judge whether your story works or not. If they don't confirm that they would respond favourably, rewrite until it has the desired effect.

Over the years, hundreds of small businesses have trusted the Village Websmith to get their message across clearly and powerfully, so if you don't have the time or the tools to write your web copy and get it beta read, talk to us about how cost-effective a Webinthebox® site can be. For more information, just call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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17/12/2013: welcome to terrific tuesday

Named from the Germanic god, Tiw, and associated with Mars. Mars is known as the 'Red Planet' so make it a red letter day for your business.

Nobody cares about your business as much as you do. In fact, nobody cares about your business. They don't care how long you have been trading, how many vehicles you have or how many people work for you.

The only time that a customer will care about your business is when they care what beneficial effect it can have on their life.

That is why the wording of websites and advertising material needs to focus on the 'start reading' words such as 'you' and 'your' rather than the 'stop reading' words lke 'we' and 'our'.

The Village Websmith has helped hundreds of small businesses to present their message, changing the language of 'We' into the language of 'Oui'. To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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13/12/2013: welcome to fabtastic friday - "tap and filter questions"

If you want to get the right answer, first you must ask the right question.

I see open questions as filters and closed questions as taps to take a plumbing analogy. Working out which question to ask to which potential customer is the real art of getting to the order as efficiently as possible.

Anyone who has been exposed to any amount of sales training has probably heard coaches banging on endlessly about the value of open questions versus closed questions. The Rudyard Kipling rhyme "I have six honest serving men, they taught me all I know, their names are What and Why and When and Where and How and Who" will be indelibly impressed through over-use.

That has a value, open questions are great for eliciting information. However, at some point in the sales process, a decision must be made, which by its nature demands a closed question. It is never too early to ask for the order, then based on the answer, you can either get the signature, or open another line of open questions to get at the reasons behind a negative response.

How does this relate to the web? In the information content of your site, a series of closed questions can guide visitors to choose the most appropriate links to the sections of the content that are most relevant to them. Questions like "Have you ever wanted to writs a book?", "Are your energy bills too high?" or "Do you have relatives abroad?", linked to pages within the site can steer people quickly to the right place.

It is when designing the response form for the site that open questions come into their own. Questions like "What is your budget?", "When is your wedding?" or "How many rooms in your house?" all help to provide you with the information you need to prepare an accurate proposal. All Webinthebox« sites from the Village Websmith come with copy writing support to help you get the message across and a fully customisable enquiry form to make sure you get the right answers by asking the right questions. To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send us an email.

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12/12/2013: welcome to thrilling thursday

Thursday draws its name from the old English for thunder, a translation of a Latin name for Jupiter's Day.

What happened to Terrific Tuesday and Winnin Wednesday this week? Well, the day began, the phone rang and then it ended. That's what it seemed like anyway. The truth of the matter is that I forgot one of the most important lessons that I have ever learned. I didn't concentrate on what is important rather than what is urgent.

Every day has the same number of hours and when you are running a business, you have to get the best possible value out of each one of them. That is something that Gina Gardiner rightly drummed into me. The only way to get value from each hour is to decide what goes into it, rather than letting other people fill it for you.

The massed forces of modern communication can be culprits in taking away control of our time. Phone calls, text messages and emails arrive ceaselessly and can shift our focus if we let them. How often have you gone to your email application to send out a message to find that the inbox is full so rather than the planned sending, you deal with the incoming, only to be distracted half way through by a phone call, then completely forgotten the original aim?

This doesn't have to happen. There is hardly a phone you can buy without some form of answering service attached. Email clients can be set to download incoming mail on demand rather than automatically every five minutes.

Using this technology can put time firmly back in our own control. By switching the phone to silent and collecting messages at convenient times and choosing to manually download emails, our focus stays where we put it until we choose to move it.

If you have a group of customers that you want to hear from regardless of time, then setting up a separate mailbox and making that the only one that is polled regularly is the way forward. Only the people that you want to hear from get to know what that address is and you will know that whenever an email arrives in that box it is important.

Every Webinthebox« site includes up to five email addresses to help you do just this, as well as making your business message stand out, so to find out more, just call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to email us. Tread boldly today!

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09/12/2013: welcome to magnificent monday - mojo day!

Monday is MOJO Day here. The day that we suggest ways to focus on what is truly great about your business and yourself, then make sure that everyone knows about it.

Have you sung 'Happy Birthday' to your mouse today? Perhaps you should as its billions of relatives worldwide can help to bring you new business. Forty five years ago today, Douglas Engelbert gave the world's first public demonstration of the computer mouse, hypertext and graphical user interface. Since that day in 1968, these three landmark inventions have revolutionised the way that we all do business, and made possible an entire new industry.

In the great scheme of things, this amount of time is hardly the blink of an eye, yet every one of us is affected by the opening of communications channels to a 24/7 computerised market place.

Even though our work is largely dependent on this technological miracle, The Village Websmith sees the Internet as an additional means of getting people to do business with our customers, not an alternative. Promoting your business MOJO through as many channels as possible is the aim at all times. To get your message in front of as many people as possible, try our joined-up thinking approach to marketing and promotion.

Over the years, hundreds of Village Websmith customers have been helped to identify their MOJO, put it into a powerful message, then get it seen by potential new customers. Call us today on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to email us and get your MOJO working.

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07/12/2013: welcome to stunning saturday - keep it local

The day of Saturn, Roman god of agriculture, a day for growing your business. As in agriculture, sometimes growing something different can bring better results. The success of arable agriculture is influenced by planting the right seeds in the right ground. The same applies to all businesses.

In Japanese business circles, there is a phrase commonly used: "If you want to be truly global, first you must be truly local". But what if you only want to be local? Exactly the same applies.

The key is to define exactly what 'local' means in your business, then target your promotional activity in that area. There is little enough time in any small business, so the last thing that anybody wants it to use this precious resource fending off enquiries from customers that are too far away to serve profitably.

In many businesses, the deifinition of 'local' can very according to the value of a particular job. For example, if you are a plumber, it is not worthwhile travelling 30 miles to change a leaky washer, but that distance is well within profitable range for fitting a new boiler or refurbishing a bathroom.

So, how to go about managing the area in which you promote? In some cases, such as press advertising or mail campaigns, this is easy. You simply choose a publication that goes out to the area in question, or use a mailing list for chosen postcode areas. As the web is a global resourcem, anybody, anywhere can see your information.

Pinpointing the right areas is easy with Webinthebox« from the Village Websmith. The areas served function strongly ties what you do to where you wish to do it and for whom, with different information available to different geographical areas and market sectors. Targeting your promotion via the web this way is a very cost effective method of making sure you don't have to climb down a ladder to explain to someone hundreds of miles away that you can't just 'pop round' and give them an estimate. Call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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06/12/2013: welcome to fabtastic friday

Friday is derived from a translation of the Latin 'Veneris Dies', the day of the planet Venus. Venus was the goddess of love and today is a great day to love your business.

Going back to Tuesday's theme of repeating a message to make it stick, I am going to do just that today and repeat myself. Current marketing wisdom would have us believe that in order for a message to stick in the mind, people have to see it seven times.

That is all very well, but how to get your message in front of people that often, particularly if it is on your website. Giving people a reason to come back time and time again is the only way. That is where an effective 'blog plays its part in your website. By constantly posting items of news and interest, you can give something fresh to visitors each time they see your website.

Just putting the information there is not quite enough though, potential customers have to be encouraged to read it and get them into your site. That is where the broadcast email newsletter comes in. By mailing out a tempting excerpt from your 'blog item with a link back to the fuil story, you can bring customers back on a regular basis to see what is new, and make it easy for them to get the repetition of your main message that you need in order to make it stick in their minds.

Both the 'blog page and the broadcast email function are popular options in Webinthebox« websites. They are affordable and easy to use, so show your business a little love today. Even if you don't have the time or inclination to do this yourself, we can help. To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send us an email.

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05/12/2013: welcome to thrilling thursday - look at what i have created!

Thursday draws its name from the old English for thunder, a translation of a Latin name for Jupiter's Day.

What a great day for enjoying the excitement of being in business! OK, sometimes it may not seem so exciting, but considering the alternative of working for someone else, it is positively charged with fun and frolics every day.

The trick is to give yourself little rewards along the way by saving fun jobs to do immediately after the dull, boring and stressful parts that we all have to deal with. Admin never goes away, but it breeds and grows darn it!

The fun parts, like promotional activities can make you feel so much better than the dull, repetitive stuff. Jobs like keeping your website up to date with the latest news on jobs and projects that you have been involved in can be the most rewarding of all, it is great to look back at successes and tell the world.

While you are at it, why not contact the customers involved and get an up to date testimonial from them. Even better, ask them for a referral as well and get them promoting you among their friends, family and colleagues. There are few finer salesmen than a happy customer.

No time to do this? Don't worry, with the Village Websmith, it is all part of the kit. We do the work like getting testimonials and putting them onto your site along with your most exciting business stories, while you get the real fun part of reading about how good you are. It doesn't cost a fortune either. You will get all the help you need to bring people together to do more business, so to find out more, just call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to email us. Tread boldly today!

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04/12/2013: welcome to winning wednesday - who's who and who's you?

Wednesday is derived from the Norse god, Odin who was their supreme god and god of victory.

Perhaps today's theme could more appropriately be 'avoiding loss' rather than 'winning'. Any small business that has a website will have a domain registered. Do you know whose contact details are held by the registration authorities? Yours or your web designer's?

Why does this matter? Well, for much of the time it won't. While things are running smoothly, there will be little noticable effect from the registration details. However, things don't always run smoothly and when they don't, it can have a major impact on any business.

For a couple of examples, we have been trying to rescue domain names for a number of customers in cases where their domains were registered for them by a company that is no longer trading. However, as far as Nominet (.uk domains) and ICANN (.com and many other domain names) are concerned, the original registrant still owns the rights to use that name.

If you are still in contact, then getting the originator to transfer should be no problem. If you are not still in contact, there is a lot of admin work ahead to get ownership to something that should have already been yours in the first place.

Recently, The Village Websmith was victim of a similar abuse, so nobody is immune. In our case, a potential customer to whom we had sent a quote used our address without permission to register a domain. They then proceeded to send out a huge amount of spam email to contacts in a database to which they had no rights. This brought the owners of the database to my doorstep, wanting to know why I had stolen their information, which I had not.

You can protect yourself from this additional workload and cost by checking your 'whois' information now. If the contact details that appear aren't yours, it is a good time to alter them before it becomes a necessity. Your good name and your address are valuable assets and in these modern times they can be too easily abused by the unscrupulous.

If you would like peace of mind over your own domain, we will be happy to look it up for you, it only takes a minute and there is no charge for doing it. For more information, just call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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03/12/2013: welcome to terrific tuesday

Named from the Germanic god, Tiw, and associated with Mars. Mars is known as the 'Red Planet' so make it a red letter day for your business.

If a thing is worth saying, it is worth repeating. I said that if a thing is worth saying, it is worth saying more than once. This is even more true when you are considering the content of your website. The key is to say the same thing in different ways.

Why should we do this? Quite simply because not everyone who is looking for what you do is going to search for exactly the same thing online. The search engines are very sophisticated now and index site content looking for the required phrases in context. Thus words used in sentences, headers, image file names, alternate and title text are all evaluated in relation to other items and content.

For example, if you manufacture widgets, phrases like 'widget maker', 'manufacturer of widgets', 'widget manufacturer', 'widget producer', 'widget production' and 'widget factory' all have a value. Take a look through your website today and see where you have opportunities to vary the description of what you do to take in more possible variations that potential customers may search for.

Naturally, this should not detract from the sense that your site content makes. It is a very fine balance to strike when trying to please both the search engines and the human visitors to your site. You can probably call to mind many examples of websites that you have seen where the meaning has been entirely lost through trying to cram too much search engine friendly material into the content. Skilfully written web content can make an impact on the machines and the humans, so if you have any questions, we would be pleased to talk over your content with you.

Over the years, hundreds of small businesses have entrusted the Village Websmith to get their message across succinctly and attractively. To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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02/12/2013: welcome to magnificent monday - mojo day!

Monday is MOJO Day here. The day that we suggest ways to focus on what is truly great about your business and yourself, then make sure that everyone knows about it.

When someone asks you what you do for a living, how do you answer? Is it just a plain statement of fact? How about using that opportunity to sell? Having a 'stock answer' that encapsulates not only what you do but also what you bring to other peoples' lives by doing it can turn even the most casual question into an opportunity to sell.

This is not necessarily meaning to sell to the person asking the question, but by enthusing them with your MOJO, you can sell through them to all the people that they know.

By having a memorable introductory statement to use face to face, you can make an imoression every time. Don't be afraid of sounding trite by delivering the same message either. It may be the thousandth time that you have said the words, but it is the first time that the person you are speaking to has heard them. Practice makes perfect, so trying out different ways of putting your MOJO into words can help make your message stick too.

So where do the words come from? Well, if your website content is well written, the 'joined-up thinking' approach is to use a distillation of that messsage, cut down into the fewest possible words and adjusted to make it comfortable in use. This is a great skill to develop for business networking meetings to make meeting you the stand-out handshake of the day.

As an example, the Viilage Websmith's standard first time introduction is "We help small business people expose themseleves more effectively". What's yours?

Over the years, hundreds of Village Websmith customers have been helped to identify their MOJO, put it into a powerful message, then get it seen by potential new customers. Call us today on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to email us and get your MOJO working.

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30/11/2013: welcome to stunning saturday

The day of Saturn, Roman god of agriculture, a day for growing your business. As in agriculture, sometimes growing something different can bring better results.

Obviously, November 30th is a day when some people consider big to be beautiful. On this day in 1999, British Aerospace merged with Marooni to create BAE Systems, Europe's largest defence contractor. Also on this day the year before, Exxon and Mobil merged to become the world's largest company of any kind.

In stark contrast, and entirely at the other end of the scale, The Village Websmith is ten years old tomorrow. Rather than growing larger to handle more work, our way to offer personal, local service is to create new Village Websmiths to meet demand.

The Village Websmith franchise requires very little technical knowledge, is easy to set up with low incoming costs, and offers sales-oriented individuals a highhlyu satisfying way to earn by helpding local small businesses to sell themselves.

If you love selling and love business, talk to the Village Websmith about a franchise in your area. Call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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29/11/2013: welcome to fabtastic friday

Friday is derived from a translation of the Latin 'Veneris Dies', the day of the planet Venus. Venus was the goddess of love and today is a great day to love your business.

On this day in 1972, 'Pong', the first commercially successful video game was launched by Atari. Looking back this may seem like a very small step, looking at the sophistication of computers and games now, but in context is comparable to Louis Blé flying across the English Channel, leaving the words "Après moi, le déluge" echoing in his wake.

How about breaking some new ground today? Love your business by making a change. It doesn't have to be huge or earth-shattering, evolution being better than revolution in most cases. However, something new is always an opportunity to make new sales.

Perhaps presenting yourself in a new way would be a good start? Take a look at your website. How long has it remained unchanged? What great news have you amassed since the last update? It is time that everyone knew about what you have been up to.

For a fresh look at your business and how it is presented to the public, talk to the Village Websmith for ideas. This is not about technology, it is about sales and human to human communication. There is always a way to freshen up your public face without spending a fortune, so show your business a little love today. To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send us an email.

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28/11/2013: welcome to thrilling thursday

Thursday draws its name from the old English for thunder, a translation of a Latin name for Jupiter's Day.

On November 28th in 1964, NASA launched the Mariner 4 probe towards Mars. It was a Saturday rather than a Thursday. Personally I am surprised they didn't choose a Tuesday but that's just me being a sentimental old sausage.

The point is that this was the biggest step into the unknown ever taken by man. Nobody knew for definite that the probe would even get to its destination. The thrill of the unknown and the excitement of potential new knowledge were just irresistible to the scientists, so off it went. After nearly eight months of waiting, the reward was the first ever deep space photograph transmission of the surface of another planet. How good must that have felt?

On a smaller scale, the thrill of learning new things is one of the major benefits of being in business. Every day we can pick up something new and exciting. Promotion of a business is one area where you can always find something new, and it is the businesses that keep evolving and trying new angles that will prosper while others stagnate.

Today is a great day for looking somewhere new for customers. What about joining a new networking group? Word of mouth marketing is still the most powerful tool of all for spreading the word. At the Village Websmith, we foster the IN8 Networking groups. These differ greatly from most other business networking organisations in that there is no annual fee, no fixed meeting fee and no silly rules. Nobody puts any pressure on members to pass meaningless pieces of paper, members simply give and receive referrals when they are real and valuable.

Fancy giving it a try? To get information on your nearest group, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email. If there isn't one in your area, how about starting one? You will get all the help you need to bring people together to do more business. Tread boldly today!

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27/11/2013: welcome to winning wednesday - being old's cool or being old school, you choose

Wednesday is derived from the Norse god, Odin who was their supreme god and god of victory. Winning is what today is about, particularly about developing a winning culture and attitude in your business. This item came out of a conversation in a hospital waiting room yesterday.

Two companies, BB and WB for the sake of naming no names are household names in food production. BB is a household name in Wales and WB throughout the United Kingdom. Both advertise on television, stressing the traditional nature of their products and values of their company. Doubtless much has been spent by both on the campaigns and on market research beforehand to identify this as a desirable characteristic.

Chatting away to a fellow patient, we got round to asking what each other did for a living. She works for BB, the household name in Wales. I was impressed and told her so. It then surprised me to hear that she didn't like the company or the products, finding them too 'old school', and that she was looking for another job. She compared BB with WB where she had worked in the past. For me, being described as 'old school' is a compliment; I take it to mean embracing values of good service, fair pricing, straightforward communication and common decency. Obviously in the case of BB, it seemed to mean rigid, confrontational management tinged with a degreee of autocracy and reluctance to listen.

It struck me that BB's management had missed an opportunity here to engage and involve their staff in forming the corporate culture. If the people that work for you don't like what you do, it is likely that other people won't like it either, and things won't improve if the management style doesn't facilitate harvesting such feedback.

How can this help us? Well, if you have more than one person in your business, it is vital that they all share your love of what you do. Does everyone involved truly believe that what you do is the best option for all the people that buy from you? How about running an opinion poll to look for areas of change and improvement? By engaging customers and staff regularly, the products and services we offer, as well as the corporate culture can be adjusted to make sure of the widest appeal.

An easy way of doing this is to run an online survey attached to your website. Luckily, this is a standard element in Webinthebox® from the Village Websmith, through which staff and customers can be encouraged to give you their ideas anonymously, keeping your competitive edge sharp. For more information, just call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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26/11/2013: welcome to terrific tuesday

Named from the Germanic god, Tiw, and associated with Mars. Mars is known as the 'Red Planet' so make it a red letter day for your business.

I'm on a bit of a tight schedule today as I will be at the hospital all afternoon getting my nearly repaired leg poked and prodded, so will be brief.

May I suggest that 'brief' could be the watchword of the day. How many words appear on the main page of your website? Could the number be reduced to increase impace while preserving the meaning? One of the most common causes of 'back-buttonitis' is the number of words on the landing page. People can't be bothered to read through a great body of text to find the information they need.

Lists are a great way of cutting down content so have a think about how your business MOJO can be put simply into a series of bullet points that give enough information for people to want to stay on your website, but give it at a glance.

Once a visitor has clicked through onto one of the linked pages, then you can allow yourself the luxury of expanding the information, but giving too much initially can rob you of that vital chance. Take a moment today to look at your site content and edit savagely.

Over the years, hundreds of small businesses have entrusted the Village Websmith to get their message across succinctly and attractively. To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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Monday is MOJO Day here. The day that we suggest ways to focus on what is truly great about your business and yourself, then make sure that everyone knows about it.

On this day in 1984, Band Aid recorded "Do They Know it's Christmas" and released it just four days later. For 12 years it held the record as the biggest selling record in British chart history. The band's MOJO was that they cared very strongly about a crisis in Ethiopia, where the famine was killing people at an nprecedented rate.

The band comprised 36 musicians from widely varying backgrounds and musical styles, drawn together by a desire to help and the charismatic appeal of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. A truly amazing achievement.

I'm not suggesting that anyone should go out and record a single, merely using this as an example of getting people to recognise your MOJO and become enthused.

In a smaller scale, enthusiasm for your business is infectious, so today, have a think about how you present what you do. The language that you use when talking about business, is it easily accessible for those not necessarily in the know? Does it convey the joy that what you do can bring to customers? Does it touch their 'Hot Button'?

So many websites have content that is a series of statements that don't add up to a differentiator. What can people get from you that they can't get elsewhere? Why should they pick up the phone and call you first? Take a good look and put yourself in their shoes then make a positive change to your message. Make your MOJO shine through, not only on your website, but in every piece of paperwork, signage and every conversation. Enthuse yourself first and others will follow.

Over the years, hundreds of Village Websmith customers have been helped to identify their MOJO, put it into a powerful message, then get it seen by potential new customers. Call us today on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to email us and get your MOJO working.

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23/11/2013: welcome to stunning saturday

The day of Saturn, Roman god of agriculture, a day for growing your business.

Knowing where business comes from is always a great help in finding more. We talked a while back about evaluating the sources of enquiries from your website and press advertising, so today let's look at a simple way of understanding what enquiry comes from where.

Your email address says a lot about you, and we always recommend to customers that an address attached to their own domain, e.g. sales@widgets.co.uk always looks more professional and substantial than one of the freebie accounts.

Taking this one step further, how about having a different address for each of your advertising media? That way, you will know who has emailed from your website, who from press advertising, or who saw your vehicle signage etc..

This doesn't have to be complex and require many email accounts, you can have all the mail delivered to one mailbox by aliases, but each will show the address entered so you will know at a glance where the enquiry originated from.

Multiple email addresses are part of the kit with Webinthebox® from the Village Websmith and can provide valuable marketing information, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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22/11/2013: welcome to fabtastic friday

Friday is derived from a translation of the Latin 'Veneris Dies', the day of the planet Venus. Venus was the goddess of love and today is a great day to love your business.

On the subject of love, most of the small business people that we come into contact with on a daily basis love their business. They love what they do and as I have mentioned before, being in business in Britain is not easy, so most wouldn't bother were it not for that love and enthusiasm.

How about customers? Of course we all love them too. Without them we would have nothing. Do you show that love though? I don't mean just in the way of doing a great job, but how about saying "Thank you"?

This can take many forms from a simple phone call to follow up their purchase, through sending a bunch of flowers to publicly thanking the people that keep your business going. One customer, a motorcycle dealer, takes photographs of each customer with their new bike and publishes this on their website with a short story and a thank you. There is no end of choice in the matter of how you thank customers, the important thing is to make sure you do it.

From a purely business point of view, this simple act can do much more than create a nice warm feeling. The point of contact where you say "Thank you" is a great opportunity to ask for a business referral. A simple question tacked on to the end of the conversation can help bring additional business.

Show some love today on Venus' day and make someone feel good about referring you to their friends, colleagues or relations. Publishing to your website is a great way to recognise the contribution of customers and using Webinthebox to upload the information and create links back. It is easy to do yourself, or very affordable to get the Village Websmith to do it for you.

To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send us an email.

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21/11/2013: welcome to thrilling thursday

Thursday draws its name from the old English for thunder, a translation of a Latin name for Jupiter's Day. Few things make impact on people like thunder. Impact is vital to make sales. Today let's look at a face to face sales technique that I have introduced to many of the sales people I have worked with over the years.

I named this 'Future Success History' when working for Olympus as every aspect of sales training in the corporate world is incomplete without a catchy name and a decent three letter acronym. More seriously though, this is a way of making the sales process work in your favour by 'remembering' that the meeting has already happened with a favourable outcome. Once something has happened it can't un-happen.

It works like this. Before every meeting, spend time envisioning the person you are going to talk to. Imagine every statement, every question and every gesture. See yourself presenting the aspects of your business that the customer concerned relates positively to. See yourself presenting the proposal and the customer being delighted to sign the order, write a deposit cheque or take whatever step you use in your business to oonfirn the go-ahead. Do this over and over again until it becomes a memory.

Run through the memory again on the way to the meeting and take a few minutes outisde to go over it again before entering the building. This order has been placed as far as you are concerned, and there can be only one outcome; a positive result for your business.

It is as simple as that.

Don't just take my word for it though. Muhammad Ali, arguably the world's greatest heavyweight boxer used exactly this technique before every fight (Ali called it 'Future History').

Where does your website come in? With skillfully written content, you can pre-inform potential customers and shape the questions that will be asked when you meet them face to face. Presenting the different facets of your business MOJO in an easy to navigate way allows people to find the relevant information and start to form a positive opinion, which you merely have to reinforce when in front of them.

With the Village Websmith's managed content services it is easy. Sinde 1976, we have been delivering sales messages for all kinds of businesses; face to face, in print, through advertising and for the last ten years over the Internet. To talk over delivery of your own sales message, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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19/11/2013: welcome to terrific tuesday

Named from the Germanic god, Tiw, and associated with Mars. Mars is known as the 'Red Planet' so make it a red letter day for your business. Public speaking is as alien to many business people as a being from Mars. However, it is one of the most important skills that anyone in business can learn. Becoming adept in addressing new people in groups of all sizes from one upwards is simpler than many people think and there is help at hand.

Last week, I talked about making an unusual introduction to new prospective customers. Since then, many have said that it is all very well to talk about such introductinos but this area of their work bothers them.

That is no real surprise as many people cite public speaking as their biggest fear, even greater than death itself. In this context 'public' can mean any number of people tha you don't necessarily know, from one upwards.

How to overcome the reticence that so many people feel to open up and talk about their business then? The most reliable method that I have found in 37 years of addressing new people, either individually or in groups, is preparation. You may be familiar with the 'Five Ps' rule which states that Preparation and Practice Prevent Poor Performance. Addressing groups of people is all about confidence and the best way to be confident is to know exactly what you are going to say.

By having a series of ready made presentations at your disposal, you can be confident in what you are saying and present your business in a much better light. This arsenal of presentations can cover a wide range of common situations such as

  • A few seconds introduction to a stranger
  • A succinct sales oriented answer to the question "What do you do?"
  • A short intro presnetation up to a minute for networking meetings
  • A more detailed presentation of several minutes to address groups
  • A full, detailed sales presentation including visual aids to present your business
These should be dynamic and reflect what is happening in your business today, but correctly structured in the first place, they can be made flexible and adaptable for new information.

If you feel less than comfortable with presenting your business either face to face or to a group, then the Village Websmith's "Let's Talk about Business" workshop may nold tha answers. There are two levels, with an introductory half day workshop, outlining many of the skills and techniques, leading to an advanced level full day which is desined to enhance your presentation and bring out the showman in you.

To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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19/11/2013: welcome to winning wednesday

Wednesday is derived from the Norse god, Odin who was their supreme god and god of victory. Winning is what today is about, winning new business, winning the right price for every job we do and winning ore referrals from happy customers.

Today in 1820, the whaling ship Essex sank 2000 nautical miles of South America after being attacked by a sperm whale. Not a very positive thing you may think. However, Herman Melville was so inspired by this that he wrote Moby Dick, one of the best known books of all time.

Now, I am not saying that you have to have a disaster of any kind, just that inspiration can come from unexpected sources. All times of change are times of opportunity and conversation starters don't have to be about business.

How about taking a look at an item of world news today, using it to start a conversation and then turning that round to business. Think about how the connections and mental synapses may work. See the conversation unfold in your mind. Rehearse it from statement to statement so that the connection between opening and business is clear in your mind. Conversation is wonderful, ending it with some new business opportunity is even more so.

The 'left field' message, starting off with a seemingly unrelated topic can work just as well for your web presence. For ideas, just call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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18/11/2013: welcome to magnificent monday - mojo day!

Monday is MOJO Day here. The day that we suggest ways to focus on what is truly great about your business and yourself, then make sure that everyone knows about it.

One of the earliest opportunities to tell potential customers about your MOJO is your business strapline or slogan. This is your chance in ten words or less to let the world know, not only what you do, but why you do it better than anyone else and why they should call you first.

I have been thinking about straplines since seeing one on an electronic advertising banner while watching the Autumn International series of rugby matches on television over the weekend. Despite belonging to a household name comapny, which obviously has immense amounts of money to throw at creating and displaying their information, one simple step had been missed. They had not applied the 'So What?' test.

The slogan in question simply read "Better than water". This scores highly in the brevity stakes, but says nothing to anyone who hasn't read their long-form advertising. It is precisely that group that should have been the target for this form of advertising.

Try it for yourself. The 'So What?' test is just to imagine yourself selling that product to someone else. You offer that statement as a justification to purchase and imagine them saying "So what?" in response. You explain the statement briefly and then compare your answer to the original statement. Which is better? It will always be your answer.

Now look at your own business strapline and carry out the same exercise. If tha answer is too long, reduce the wording but keep the meaning. Your strapline is a vital first taste of your business and should go everywhere people see your name, your website, letterhead, business cards, vehicle and office signage; everywhere.

Over the years, hundreds of Village Websmith customers have been helped to identify their MOJO, put it into a powerful message, then get it seen by potential new customers. Call us today on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to email us and get your MOJO working.

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16/11/2013: welcome to stunning saturday

The day of Saturn, Roman god of agriculture, a day for growing your business.

Stunning could well be today's watchword. Good photographs are a great way of bringing impact to your message. The phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" is as true today as when Fox-Talbot and Dageurre first stunned the world by 'painting with light'.

What has changed is the availability of equipment and resources that make it possible for anyone to take acceptable representative images anywhere and at any time. OK, you may not capture 'the moment' like Cartier-Bresson or the spirit of a movement like Man Ray but producing photographs for your business has never been simpler.

Take a look at your website for a start. This is the easiest place to promote your work in pictures. Are the images used:

  • Up to date?
  • Representative of what you do?
  • Clear and well focused?
  • Quick to load?
  • Your own?
How about making it a Saturday project to review these images and at least plan to replace any that don't come up to snuff. If your business is about products, manufacturers can often supply the images that you need. More often than not, all you have to do is ask for the latest marketing CD.

If your business is service based, how about taking someone along to get photographs of you in action, or if it relies on people taking part in activities, perhaps a group of friends could be persuaded (beer often helps) to come along and have a go so that you can get some pictures.

Don't forget though, even if they are friends, get all the people in your pictures to sign a photographic release form, just to make sure that everyone knows that their image is going to be used to promote your business and via what media.

Do the images on your website do your business proud? Do they help tell the story, or leave visitors wondering what it is exactly that you do. For an unbiased evaluation and advice on sources of good, relevant images, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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15/11/2013: welcome to fabtastic friday

At tonight's meeting of the Tintern Pravda Editorial Politbureau, the proposed visit of world president Bollick O'Bomber was welcomed as a great boost to local culture and economy. Since the Tintern People's Tractor Plant (TeePeeTeePee) closed with devastating effects on local economy, residents have been having to push shit uphill in barrows and there have been no jobs to be found.

With the proximity of so many potential military targets, it was agreed that a real deterrent was needed in order for the area to survive and prosper. World Leader O'Bomber brings with him the possibility of local manufacture for parts of the warplane named after him, the O'Bomber Bollick.

It is anticipated that the impressive undercarriage will be built partly in Tintern, modeled on local landmarks. A number of volunteers for this challenging work have already stepped forward and a shortlist is expected to be ready in time for the next issue of Tintern Pravda. You will hear it here first.

Other local news concerns a rash of vandalism that has broken out between here and Catbrook. Several flowers have had their heads broken off and a wheel, complete with tyre was seen floating down the river Wye last week. A specialist from London has been called in to investigate these mysterious occurences. Chief Inspector Corner of the Yard is expected to arrive next week and we anticipate that the cuiprits will soon be brought to book.

Talking of books, don't forget that you can get all the reading you are needing from Annie's Print, Paperbacks and Limited Editions (APPLE) right here in Tintern. This people's message is sponsored by Annie herself who pays the entire print costs of the Tintern Pravda newspaper. Available only online, look out for our next edition.

Well, if you can't have a bit of fun on a Friday, when can you?

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14/11/2013: welcome to thrilling thursday

Thursday draws its name from the old English for thunder, a translation of a Latin name for Jupiter's Day. What a great day to make a thunderous noise about your business!

Well OK, a thunderous roar may not be appropriate but making a bit of a noise to remind potential customers that you are there and that they should be making the most of that fact can never hurt.

Updating information on your website for example is best done little and often. Small changes and items of news as they come along all play their part in keeping the information for human visitors fresh and engaging while also giving the search engines something new to index.

So where do the stories come from? In most businesses, that is easy, stories come from business activities, products and services. What happens when the interesting job you want to write about is not yet at a newsworthy stage? How about if the new products you have been waiting for have been delayed for a month?

There are stories all around that can be turned to business use. A little digging and thought is usually all that is needed to make them relevant. A few examples:

  • Seasonal; why people should be thinking about you at this time of year
  • Academic; requirements of families change as offspring go away to university, or come back. School holidays are times to promote activities
  • Weather; if it's too hot/too cold to do anything else, time to consider...
  • People; has anyone in your business run a marathon, caught a record fish, juggled fire extinguishers etd.?
  • Charity events; do you support a local charity that is topical?
  • Local news; have you scoured local press for a story that has impact on need for your products and services?
Ths list is endless. All you have to do is get excited about what you do and convey that in a different context.

With the Village Websmith's managed content services it is easy. You choose the frequency of updates and we call you on the appointed day to talk over potential stories and make suggestions before writing the copy, posting it to your site and promoting through social media. This can be monthly, weekly or even daily. The service is highly affordable, starting at just £40 a month. To keep your business looking fresh call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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13/11/2013: welcome to winning wednesday

Wednesday is derived from the Norse god, Odin who was their supreme god and god of victory. Winning is what today is about, winning new business, winning the right price for every job we do and winning ore referrals from happy customers.

Wednesday is a day for great enthusiasm, half way through the week and energy levels are way up there. Let's face it, in Britain today, you have to be a real enthusiast to keep going in a small business with so much bureacracy to deal with and every time you turn around you see a line of people in suits with their hands out for your money.

Enthusiasm, or over-enthusiasm can bring its own problem though. Take a look at some websites or brochures today. Who is trying to tell the whole story at once? How many words are crammed into the space?

Hesman's first law of copy states: "The number of people likely to read any text is inversely proportional to tbe number of words it contains".

In summary, if you want people to read your message, cut it into bite-sized pieces. No matter how great you think the message is, keep it short.

To get your message into the most easily digested form, talk to the Village Websmith about copy writing. If you have time to do it yourself but want to sharpen up your technique, come along to one of our workshops and pick up the secrets. If not, help is at hand, just call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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12/11/2013: welcome to terrific tuesday

Named from the Germanic god, Tiw, and associated with Mars. Mars is known as the 'Red Planet' so make it a red letter day for your business. The phrase "He looked at me like I was from Mars" is often used when we have done something strange or out of the ordinary.

Do something out of the ordinary today! The unexpected is always a great ground-breaker. How about thinking about your opening statement when approaching a new potential customer. Has it become formulaic and hackneyed? Would something new be like putting on a new suit for the first time?

How many times have you been in a shop and an obsequious assistant asks "Can I help you?" and you want to say something like "Yes, you could pay my mortgage". How many times have you used such a response? I have many times.

Opening questions are great but need to take people by surprise sometimes to get the conversation going your way. Face to face in retail situations, it is easier to come up with a new opening as people give clues in the way they dress, what they are looking at and their demeanour. Online you don't have those luxuries so you have to come up with something engaging yet general enough to intrigue any potential customer for your products or services.

Take a look at the opening statement of your website today. Does it ask a question that draws people to look more closely? How would you react to what you see if you were a customer looking for what you do? Applying the 'So What?' test that we talked about yesterday is a great idea here. Put yourself in the other person's shoes for a moment.

The Village Websmith's work isn't just about the nuts and bolts of websites. Over the years, hundreds of small businesses have turned to us to add that certain something in terms of content that differentiates them from their competitors and turns browsers into buyers.

To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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11/11/2013: magnificent monday - mojo day

Monday is MOJO Day here. The day that we suggest ways to focus on what is truly great about your business and yourself, then make sure that everyone knows about it.

Once you have this clearly in your mind, the real trick is to understand how different customers will be influenced by your MOJO. A standard test that we apply at the Village Websmith to any statement that goes into promotional material is the 'So What?' test. It works like this:

Simply imagine that you are a customer sitting opposite you and you make a statement about your business. Say "So What?" to yourself and come up with an answer. This answer then becomes the statement in place of the first one. For example "We have the biggest fleet of vehicles locally" becomes "You can rely on efficient, on-time deliveries", or "We deal with more widget manufacturers than any other local supplier" becomes "You can choose exactly the widget that fits your needs and budget". The examples are endless, but the point is that nobody cares about your business. What they care about is the effect that your business can have on their life or work.

So today, if you are thinking about promoting your business, spend a little time in the other person's shoes. One of the additional services available from the Village Websmith is creative business copy writing workshops where this and many other techniques are passed on from four decades of sales and marketing experience.
Over the years, hundreds of Village Websmith customers have been helped to identify their MOJO, put it into a powerful message, then get it seen by potential new customers. Call us today on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to email us and get your MOJO working.

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09/11/2013: welcome to stunning saturday; or should that be strategic saturday>

The day of Saturn, Roman god of agriculture, a day for growing your business.

Perhaps it should be 'Strategic Saturday'. To continue the analogy with agriculture, success begins with planting the right kind of seeds in the right kind of soil. Today, how about analysing where your new customers and enquiries come from? We all have limited resources in terms of time and money to put into business promotion, so it is vital to make sure that the investment is put into the places that bring the best results.

Once you have that information you can compare the effectiveness of all your promotional channels. If you don't routinely ask new contacts where they found you, today may be a great time to adopt the habit.

The first thing is to list all the places where people may hear about your business it might look like this:

  • Word of mouth
  • Website enquiries
  • Exhibition or show attendance
  • Vehicle signage
  • Local newspaper
  • Charity event sponsorship
  • Mailshot or leaflet drop
  • Outgoing telesales campaign
Once you have a list, you can put them in order of the number of new sales that they have generated. How does that look? Are the results surprising? What do we do with the information?

Well, there are two ways of looking at everything as we mentioned on Thrilling Thursday this week. However, these two ways ars a little different. Promotional channels may take a surprisingly low place in the league table because the message that is being put there is not as effective as it might be. For example, are you still running the same advertisement in your local paper that you were two years ago? Has your website been updated this year? Are your leaflets visually attractive and powerfully worded?

Once you are happy that the message delivered via each medium is as good as it can be, then the under-performing media can be ignored in favour of investing more resources in the better performing media.

To take this one step further, the people that come to you via your website have a wide range of sources available to them from which they can come up with your address. This can modify our view of the first league table. For example, an enquiry may have come through your website because the address was noted from a newspaper advertisement, a business card passed on or seeing your signwritten vehicle somewhere. It is therefore important to analyse website visitor figures in their own right. This will help you get a truer understanding of your enquiry levels and can totally change the conclusions arrived at from the first analysis.

Does your website give you the information that you need to make those value calculations? If not, talk to the Village Websmith. To start accurately evaluating prospect and customer sources, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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08/11/2013: welcome to fabtastic friday

Friday is derived from a translation of the Latin 'Veneris Dies', the day of the planet Venus. Venus was the goddess of love and today is a great day to love your business.

Of course we all know the old joke about Robinson Crusoe being the only man who got all his work done by Friday but it isn't necessarily true. The key lies in defining exactly what 'all your work' is. Disappointment is only when reality is not equal to expectation so if your expectation is not achievable, disappointment is the only possible outcome.

By setting realistic goals and learning to stop once they are achieved can bring much more pleasing results. You never know, you may achieve what you set out to achieve before the end of Friday. How good will that feel?

One of the most important things that Gina Gardiner taught me was to identify the difference between what was important and what was urgent. There is always a temptation to give the squeakiest wheel the most grease at the expense of jobs that can make a big difference in your business.

Getting the allocated tasks completed early may well leave a little space for some 'bonus' activities to help drive your business forward. How about a little promotion? Updates to your website keep it looking fresh, give people an additional reason to stay when they visit and help gain search engine attention. Using Webinthebox® from the Village Websmith makes this simple, with updates taking only a few minutes of your time. Show the world why they should love your business as much as you do and keep the news current.

Do you regularly publish case studies of sales and work done? Do you write a 'blog to highlight snippets of news? Do you promote your work fully through social media and the search engines? This is all easily done if you have time yourself. If you don't have the time, tools or inclination do make regular updates, you will find that the Village Websmith can offer easily affordable programmes of regular 'drip-feed' information to keep you in front of your buying public.

To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send us an email.

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07/11/2013: welcome to thrilling thursday

Thursday draws its name from the old English for thunder, a translation of a Latin name for Jupiter's Day. Juptier was god of thunder and is the biggest planet in our solar system, being one of the brightest objects in our night sky. Set big goals on Thursday and go large.

One of my favourite expressions is "Fear and excitement are just two sides of the same coin". A shift in perception can make something that looks daunting look challenging and stimulating instead.

Take a roller coaster for example. Some people won't go on it because it would scare them witless while others go on for exactly the same reason. Running a small business can be like a roller coaster ride and once the car has left the top, there is no getting off until a natural conclusion is reached.

Excitement and enthusiasm are infectious and come through in everything that we do. If we view out business in that way, it is easier to get potential customers excited and enthused about being a part of it.

Thrilling Thursday can be just that if we all try looking at what we need to achieve with a sense of wonder and excitement. Give it a try and amaze yourself with infectious verve today.

Marketing, promotion and sales activities all contribute to any business goal, and over the years, hundreds of Village Websmith customers have had help with presenting the exciting side of their business. Call us on 0203 239 0350 to talk over your business goals or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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06/11/2013: welcome to winning wednesday

Wednesday is derived from the Norse god, Odin who was their supreme god and god of victory. Winning is what today is about, winning new business, winning the right price for every job we do and winning ore referrals from happy customers.

Winning new business isn't just about meeting new people. Every business has a rich source of new opportunities in its existing customer base. The phrase "Never forget a customer, never let a customer forget you" may be old and hackneyed but such things don't have to be new to be true.

When you have a small business to run, it is just not possible to find the time to call everyone that you would like to. They have to be there for a start, which cuts down the available time even more. So how to make regular contact with the people who matter?

This is where the broadcast email comes in. A regular drip-feed of information about your business directed at the people that know you and have either bought from you in the past, or who have considered buying from you. It is not just the recipients that may act on what you tell them, but if you encourage them to pass the information on, it could bring in new prospects from their own networks.

Getting this right is important though and there are a number of aspects of the mailing list of recipents and the email itself that need to be considered very carefully before setting finger to keyboard.

The mailing list:

  • Is it up to date?
  • Are the contacts relevant?
  • Can you select groups or individuals?
  • Have the contacts had an email recently?
  • Is the geographical area relevant?
  • Are your competitors in the list?
The message:
  • Does your MOJO leap out at the reader?
  • Is it well worded and appealing?
  • Is it grammatically correct?
  • Does it contain a link to more information?
  • Does it contain a call to action?
  • Does it ask to be passed on to others?
  • Does it contain your up to date contact information?
  • Does it give the opportunity to unsubscribe?


There is much more to getting this right than simply buying in a database and sending out a bunch of emails to multiple addressees. With the built-in broadcast email function, you can send regular or ad-hoc information to a carefully selected group of contacts from your database, each one will be individually and personally addressed to make sure it reaches the recipient. Your custom stationery can be built in and you can attach files.

Database management and promotional mailshots are just two of the options that you can build into your Village Websmith support package to help spread the word in a positive, outgoing way. It is a highly cost and time effective way of keeping your message fresh and in front of the right people.

To find out about how to make sure everyone who needs to, knows about your MOJO, just call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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05/11/2013: welcome to terrific tuesday

Named from the Germanic god, Tiw, and associated with Mars. We aimed for the Moon on Monday, so let's ramp it up a notch and set our sights even higher today.

Mars is also known as the 'Red Planet' so make it a red letter day for your business. The phrase "He looked at me like I was from Mars" is also used when you have done something strange or out of the ordinary.

Doing something strange, breaking the mould and surprising yourself can be a great way to open the door to some new business. Potential customers are everywhere and Tuesday is a good day for finding them in a new and unconventional way.

One of my favourite places to look for new business is the supermarket. Try smiling saying "Good Morning" to someone wearing an item of clothing with their business name on it. Asking them where they get their embroidery done is a good opening. In the car park, the same can apply to signwritten vans or a particular type of car. Signs are everywhere about what people may buy, you only have to look for them to find something to say.

Make it amusing, make it very short; remember you have introduced yourself unbidden and everyone's time is precious, but make an impression, hand over a business card and wish them a good day then leave it at that. The seeds have been sown. Even if that person doesn't need what you do, they may well know someone who does and will remember the smiling, cheerful enthusiast they met in the car park.

My own opening is simple. I look for corporate clothing or signwritten vehicles with no web address on them and open the conversation asking who did the signage. When they tell me, I simply say, they left something off. This invariably prompts them to ask what. That is when I can say that there is no web address on there. If this means that they have no web presence yet, the door is open and I can deliver a business card and go on my way.

Do something out of the ordinary today!

The Village Websmith's work isn't only about creating effective websites. Through workshops and seminars as well as networking groups, there is help and advice always available to get more value out of promotion via the Internet, face to face selling, telephone, email and press advertising.

To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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04/11/2013: welcome to magnificent monday - mojo day!

Last week I mentioned that Monday is a great day for identifying and promoting the MOJO of your business. I am glad to say that a few people have asked me to explain. MOJO is an acronym. It stands for Most Outstanding Justifiable Offer. In the dull and boring world of CorporateSpeak, this may have been called a Unique Selling Point or USP. However, we don't wear grey suits here at the Village Websmith, so prefer something a little more funky.

More important than identifying your MOJO is to understand that it is going to be important to different people for different reasons. For example, the MOJO of the Village Websmith is the personal attention given to all customers in an increasingly impersonal business. This may be important to a customer because they:

  • want to save time
  • want to evaluate our marketing and promotional skills
  • prefer dealing face to face
  • don't have the language or computer skills to write their own copy
  • have a lot of questions to ask
  • don't know where to start promoting their business
  • want to negotiate the best possible deal


When talking to potential customers you can gauge which aspect fits which person by asking the right questions. With a website you don't have the luxury of that interaction, so different aspects of your MOJO need to be presented in a way that visitors can quickly and easily find the part of what you do that touches their personal 'Hot Button'. That is where our own MOJO comes in. In a short meeting, the necessary information can be gained and ordered far more quickly than in any game of email ping-pong.

Over the years, hundreds of Village Websmith customers have been helped to identify their MOJO, put it into a powerful message, then get it seen by potential new customers. Call us today on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to email us and get your MOJO working.

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02/11/2013: welcome to stunning saturday

The day of Saturn, Roman god of agriculture, a day for growing your business.

As in agriculture, business grows by planting seeds. Talking to someone today may lead to new business in a month, in a year or even in several years. The important thing is to get the message out there in front of as many new people as possible.

The Internet is the 21st century market place and the first port of call for many when researching new suppliers. Getting found is vital, but getting found in the right place is even more important. Every business has its own definition of 'local'. Targeting a world-wide resource like the web so that you get calls from people in your area of operation is one of the most important skills of websmithery.

Because we only work face to face with our customers, the picture that we can build up of your business is very clear. What you do and where you do it are equally important. By linking products and services to places very strongly using that business image, we can help you can make sure that the right information is seen by the right people. You may even have a sliding scale in your business whereby the distance you can afford to travel varies according to the scale of the job. This can easily be built in to your web content by creating a table of what you do and where you do it.

Saturday is a great day for thinking about your business and where your customers come from. Compare this to where you would like them to come from to deliver your services at the most profitable level. Would you like to more clearly define your own version of local in terms of web promotion? Do you waste too much time telling peopld that you can't just 'pop round' as they are 400 miles away?

To start targeting more accurately, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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01/11/2013: fabtastic friday

Friday is derived from a translation of the Latin 'Veneris Dies', the day of the planet Venus. Venus was the goddess of love and today is a great day to love your business. If you don't do that, how can you expect anyone else to? Look at all the great work you have done and make sure you tell everyone about it.

Sometimes it is too easy to take what you do for granted. You always do your best to make customers happy and leave them with a great job done. Very often they will tell others which is one of the best feelings in business. Do you manage that process though? Do you encourage and remind people to refer you? Do you make follow up calls months, even years down the road to make sure customers are happy? Satisfied customers can be your best sales team so use them to the maximum.

How about your online presence? Do you regularly publish case studies of sales and work done? Do you write a 'blog to highlight snippets of news? Do you promote your work fully through social media and the search engines? This is all easily done if you have time yourself. If you don't have the time, tools or inclination do make regular updates, you will find that the Village Websmith can offer easily affordable programmes of regular 'drip-feed' information to keep you in front of your buying public.

To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send us an email.

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31/10/2013: it's thrilling thursday - whip up a storm in your business

Thursday draws its name from the old English for thunder, a translation of a Latin name for Jupiter's Day. Juptier was god of thunder and is the biggest planet in our solar system, being one of the brightest objects in our night sky. Set big goals on Thursday and go large.

When asked what their busienss goals are, many will come up with answers like "Increase my profit", "Make more sales", "Get more customer referrals" or "Retire early". All very worthy goals but not the kind that can be measured. If you can't measure something, you will never know when you have achieved it.

Today is a great day for defining how much more profit, how many more sales, how many more customer referrals and how early you want to retire. Then the period must be defined. How many per month, per year, in five years time?

The targets when viewed overall can be frightening. "I want to double my profit in a year" is a very bold statement, which can seem unattainable. This is the time to 'chunk' the task. From a year, break down increases to monthly, weekly or even daily steps that can be easily measured and 'ticked off' as you go along. Even a journey of a thousand miles must start with the first step.

Go on, amaze yourself with what you can achieve. Set big goals then make them achievable by chunking them into bite-sized pieces.

Marketing, promotion and sales activities all contribute to any business goal, and over the years, hundreds of Village Websmith customers have had help with these aspects to help achieve ambitious targets. Call us on 0203 239 0350 to talk over your business goals or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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30/10/2013: welcome to winning wednesday

Wednesday is derived from the Norse god, Odin who was their supreme god and god of victory. Winning is what today is about, winning new business, winning the right price for every job we do and winning ore referrals from happy customers.

What a great day for digging out an old quote you may feel have gone cold and getting in touch to converting it into business. Customers may be looking at other options but they can't get from anyone else what they would get from you. Going back to Monday, focusing on the MOJO of your business, the quality that makes your value stand out in a crowd can help you do just that.

The bitter taste of poor quality lingers long after the sweet taste of low price is forgotten. Like Baby Bear's porridge, your combination of cost and value is just right. Different people will see 'just right' in different ways and asking the right questions helps to find out which bit of what you do is how you focus your offer.

Oscar Wilde described a cynic as someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. In our modern cynical world it is easy for people to base their purchasing decisions on an incorrect assessment. Lifetime cost, ease of purchase and delivery, prestige, comfort, peer comparison and pleasure of ownership are all powerful motivators. By identifying your MOJO and aligning it with the motivator or 'hot button' of the customer in question we can not only win business but also make sure that we get full value from the transaction too.

Do you collect testimonials from happy customers and promote them via your website and advertising? Do you regularly ask for referrals to friends and family? The tools available to us to do this are more powerful now than ever and definitely deserve a place in the marketing mix. Getting people to leave comments on websites, social media sites and Google + is easy, all you have to do is ask.

"Who else do you know that may want one of these?" is an easy question to ask but one that is neglected too often. If only one person in ten provides a lead, it is a free 10% increase in opportunities.

Wednesday is a great day for picking up the phone and making those calls in odd spare moments. There is no advertisement like a list of happy customers but having the list is only part of the story, promoting it is much more.

To find out about how to make sure everyone knows about your MOJO, just call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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29/10/2013: welcome to terrific tuesday

Named from the Germanic god, Tiw, and associated with Mars. We aimed for the Moon on Monday, so let's ramp it up a notch and set our sights even higher today.

Midweek days are great for approaching new opportunities at work. If you are in business to business sales, customers will be over the Monday emergencies and focusing on the things they need to achieve in their own activities. You can help them, and all it takes is for them to know that. Introductory phone calls on Tuesday can be the most productive of the week so use spare time to call some people you don't know yet. There was a time when you didn't know the person who is now your best customer so who knows who you will get introduced to today?

Introductory calls are frequently ignored as a way of getting business for many reasons. Some people fear rejection. Some are unsure of how to open the conversation. Perhaps identifying the people to call is a problem. Identifying the objectives of the call can be a sticking point.

Whatever the reason for not doing this, the rewards that can be gained can make you glad you did it.

The Village Websmith's work isn't only about creating effective websites. Through workshops and seminars as well as networking groups, there is help and advice always available to get more value out of promotion via the Internet, telephone, email and press advertising.

To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

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28/10/2013: magnificent monday - mojo day

The word Monday is derived from the old English for Day of the Moon. Let's use it to aim for the moon in our businesses.

This is your first chance of the working week to do something incredible in your business. While others wallow in the 'Monday Blues' you can promote your products and services to new customers. Take a while to think about the MOJO of your business. The defining quality that makes you stand out. The reason that people must buy from you and not from anyone else.

Does this reason come across clearly in all your business communications? On your website? In your advertising? Does it leap off the page of your brochures and flyers? How about your business cards? Your signage on buildings and vehicles? Your business letters and invoices?

Every word that you write about your business is a chance to get the sales message across and must be used to the maximum effect.

Over the years, hundreds of Village Websmith customers have been helped to identify their MOJO, put it into a powerful message, then get it seen by potential new customers. Call us today on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to email us and get your MOJO working.

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24/09/2013: search engine performance in plain english

One of the questions most frequently asked by customers when thinking about a new or updated website is "How will it perform in the search engines?". Quite rightly so. There is nothing worse than having a website like the summit of Mount Everest; achingly beautiful but only a handful of people will ever see it.

We could offer a page of techno-babble here and rely on confusing the questioner into submission like so many of the SEO 'specialists', or 21st century alchemists as we prefer to call them.

Alternatively, we could let the results speak for themselves. The table below lists a number of our customer sites in motorcycle related trades, along with some of the search terms that find them on the front page. Try a few out and if you like what you see, call us to talk over how your site could be at the head of searches in your own profession. Just click on the search term to perform a Google search in a new window.

We will alway be happy to talk over your questions and explain the technical reasons behind why our sites work as well as they do. Simply call us on the number shown above or click in the header of any page to send us an email.

Try some of these search terms to see our customers on page 1
CustomerSearch phraseURL of sitePage
A&R Racing ServicesMotorcycle Racing Tyresarracing.co.uk1
A&R Racing ServicesMoyorcycle Racing Partsarracing.co.uk1
A&R Racing ServicesMotorcycle Racing Accessoriesarracing.co.uk1
A&R Racing ServicesMotorcycle Racing Chainarracing.co.uk1
A&R Racing ServicesMotorcycle Racing Bodyworkarracing.co.uk1
A&R Racing ServicesMotorcycle Racing Brakesarracing.co.uk1
A&R Racing ServicesMotorcycle Racingarracing.co.uk1
A&R Racing ServicesMotorcycle Brands Hatcharracing.co.uk1
Abram MotorcyclesMotorcycle Wheel Specialistabrammotorcycles.co.uk1
Abram MotorcyclesSupermoto Wheel Specialistabrammotorcycles.co.uk1
Abram MotorcyclesMotocross Wheel Specialistabrammotorcycles.co.uk1
Abram MotorcyclesSpoked Wheel Specialistabrammotorcycles.co.uk1
Abram MotorcyclesClassic Motorcycle Wheel Restorerabrammotorcycles.co.uk1
Abram MotorcyclesWire Wheel Specialistabrammotorcycles.co.uk1
Abram MotorcyclesMotorcycle Wheel Refurbishmentabrammotorcycles.co.uk1
Abram MotorcyclesMotorcycle Wheel Builderabrammotorcycles.co.uk1
GP PerformanceMotorcycle Rolling Roadgpperformance.co.uk1
GP PerformanceMotorcycle Tuning Oxfordshiregpperformance.co.uk1
GP PerformanceMotorcycle Tyres Oxfordshiregpperformance.co.uk1
GP PerformanceMotorcycle Specialist Oxfordshiregpperformance.co.uk1
GP PerformanceMotorcycle Service Oxfordshiregpperformance.co.uk1
GP PerformanceMotorcycle Parts Oxfordshiregpperformance.co.uk1
GP PerformanceMotorcycle MOT Oxfordshiregpperformance.co.uk1
GP PerformanceMotorcycle Repair Oxfordshiregpperformance.co.uk1
StinkwheelsMotorcycle Rolling Roadstinkwheels.co.uk1
StinkwheelsTwo Stroke Motorcycle Specialiststinkwheels.co.uk1
StinkwheelsTwo Stroke Motorcycle Partsstinkwheels.co.uk1
StinkwheelsTwo Stroke Motorcycle Sparesstinkwheels.co.uk1
StinkwheelsTwo Stroke Motorcycle Exhauststinkwheels.co.uk1
StinkwheelsYamaha Past Masters Racingstinkwheels.co.uk1
StinkwheelsTwo Strokes Essexstinkwheels.co.uk1
StinkwheelsTwo Stroke Motorcycle Tuningstinkwheels.co.uk1
Gibson ExhaustsTwo Stroke Expansion Chambers/a>gibsonexhausts.co.uk1
Gibson ExhaustsTwo Stroke Exhaustsgibsonexhausts.co.uk1
Gibson ExhaustsAllspeed Exhaustsgibsonexhausts.co.uk1
Gibson ExhaustsMotorcycle Expasion Chambersgibsonexhausts.co.uk1
Gibson ExhaustsTwo Stroke Motorcycle Exhaustgibsonexhausts.co.uk1
Gibson ExhaustsBespoke Motorcycle Exhaustsgibsonexhausts.co.uk1
Gibson ExhaustsOne-off Motorcycle Exhaustsgibsonexhausts.co.uk1
Gibson ExhaustsTwo Stroke Motorcycle Tuninggibsonexhausts.co.uk1
Trikes 4UTrikes Essextrikes4u.com1
My own racing siteMotorcycle Racing Essexlcracing.co.uk1
My own racing siteYamaha Past Masterslcracing.co.uk1
Search engine performance is vital to the success of any business today, but there is a lot more that can be done to win traffic. Talk to us to get the holistic view and make the most of all opportunities to get your information in front of potential customers.

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01/07/2013: summer sale

For the month of July 2013, we are setting up fully featured Webinthebox® sites for the price of a Me! (Micro Enterprise edition) site. This can save you upwards of £500 off the regular cost of a unique, professional website. See our Special Offers Page for more details.

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03/08/2012: are we a tourist attraction yet?
Having just joined the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourist Association, it was great to see that the association is going to be featured in the Independent's travel section on Saturday. As a celebration of coming to work in this beautiful part of the world, we are offering free first year's hosting and support, worth ?120 to all new customers who are members of the association. Call us on 01291 608187 for more information or just pop along to our open day on August 30th. You will be more than welcome.

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17/07/2012: we're on the move!

From August the 1st, The Village Websmith will have a new address. We are moving into the Old Police Station in the beautiful town of Tintern, about five minutes walk from the incredible and historic Tintern Abbey. Our new address is:

T.O.P.S.
Clear View
Main Road
Tintern
Monmouthshire
NP16 6SE

This move is particularly exciting as it will give us not only more space, but also a high street shop front to welcome customers new and old. Examples of our work will be on display in the window and visitors will be more than welcome. Because we are not there all the time, it would be good to give us a call before dropping in. As Tintern is a great place for holidays, you could combine business and pleasure, stay in one of the many good hotels or guest houses here and enjoy the forest, river Wye and of course, the Abbey.

The photograph shows the view from our office window across the River Wye to the hills and fields. It's a tough job working in such surroundings, but somebody has to do it...

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12/06/2012: google+ local. take charge of your search engine performance!

In killing off the Google Local Business Centre (Google Places) record, Google has made what we consider a major step forward in giving businesses the tools to promote themselves locally.

Google+ Local has now replaced the original listing, and combines elements of social networking with search engine capability. This means that you can now actively reach out to your market rather than just leave your website sitting there for the search engine robots to find.

By having a carefully constructed Google+ Local page, which combines elements of your website and images of current work, you can create a strategy of sharing links to tell the world about yourself.

If you don't have the time or the resources to do this regularly, don't worry. As a part of the Fully Managed Websites programme, your Village Websmith will post to your main site, Google+ page and social networking pages at a frequency you choose to make sure you get the best possible value out of all sources.

Check out this link to an example of how we are using the Google+ Local page ourselves...

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07/11/2011: fully managed websites. let us keep you up to date and looking good!

We all know that keeping the information on any website up to date is vitally important, not only in keeping the flow of enquiries coming, but also it helps search engine performance if we update little and often.

Of course, theory is a great place to live but there are seldom any vacancies! Now there is a way to get the best out of your updates with very little effort on your part. Want to know more?

With the fully managed website programme, The Village Websmith takes the weight off your shoulders. Every six weeks or so, timed to coincide with the next search engine indexing of your site, we call you and ask what's new. You tell us and we write new copy, upload images and submit the changes to search engines in all current formats.

Not only that, but every other year, your site gets a facelift. Your annual hosting fees are built in, as is domain name renewal. In short, for a small, fixed monthly fee paid by standing order, you can relax in the knowledge that your website is kept at peak performance. You don't have to be an existing Webinthebox user either, we can take over the management of any existing site just as easily. Call us on 0800 970 9135 for a quote or more information.

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03/10/2011: too busy cutting down trees to sharpen the saw?

Generating enquiries from your website has to be a good thing right? Well, yes of course, but unless those enquiries are followed up in a professional, timely manner, all the effort, time and expense that has gone into generating them can be wasted. To help the people that need it most, The Village Websmith can now offer the 1st Finest range of services to make sure that nobody gets forgotten and everyone gets treated professionally.

The range of services is modular, so you get to pick just the parts that you need to cover the tasks that would otherwise take you away from the core function of your business, the part that makes you money!. From simple call answering and incoming enquiry handling, through outgoing sales campaigns to management of your paperwork for you, you can rely on us to give your business a substantial, competent and professional image, making it easier for you to convert more customer enquiries. Visit the 1st Finest site for more information.

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01/12/2010: who's lookin' at you kid?

In our current financial climate, it is important to know where every penny goes and what it buys you. This is just as true of your webvertising budget as anything else. While it may not cost a fortune to get search engine attention using Webinthebox? because the architecture is designed to promote good natural listings in search engines, it does involve a deal of admin and your time to keep things up to date. This naturally has a cost to your business for which you want to receive value.

To help all our customers know how well their search engine strategy is working, we have now built into the simple stats page an analysis of who is referring how many visitors to your website. There has always been a detailed analysis of how many pages are being viewed, but now you can see how that came to be.

If you are going for one of our search engine tune-up kits, this new feature will definitely be of interest to you in tracking the performance of all the various search engines on your behalf.

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25/11/2010: and the times, they are a'changin'
Every day, search engine algorithms are evolving. To help our customers keep pace with this, Webinthebox? evolves too. That is why all our core functionality files are uploaded freshly to all our servers every day.

However, there comes a time when the changes amount to a more wide-ranging affect that makes a bit of a tune-up necessary. With the increased market share of Bing, and with more people surfing on mobile devices, now is one of those times.

We have come up with three tune-up kits for websites depending on what customers already have in place, and you can see more details on our search engine optimisation and tune-up page. If you can't be bothered to read all that techie stuff, please feel free to call us on 0800 970 9135 and we will explain in plain language.

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08/10/2010: make your e-mails really stand out.

Not only can you send out emails to a carefully selected audience, but you can also make them really stand out now. Using the optional mail stationery in conjunction with your e-mailshot admin page, your emails can mirror the quality and image of your printed matter and website.

Looking this good doesn't cost a fortune either. There are just four key graphics that we make up for you modeled on your existing letterheads, logos and colour scheme. These are then automatically applied to the email messages that you send out using your emailshot admin plug in.

If you are an Apple Mac user, you can also order a modified graphics set that works with Mac Mail to make your everyday email output every bit as stunning as your mailshots.

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25/09/2010: definitions - explain yourself

Every business, trade or profession has special language, words that make people say "What does that mean". Likewise in any piece of written information, we refer to other sources that would benefit from expansion.

Now, with Webinthebox? this is easy. There is a new admin page through which you can set up definitions of words or phrases. The definition has space for a picture too. Then, when you use that word in the text, there is a simple code to classify it as a definition link and when visitors click on the link, a small popup window opens giving them more detailed information without using up more space in your main information area.

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24/09/2010: sub texts

We all have them. Small pieces of additional information that don't have a natural home with any of our major topics, but are far too important to leave out of our site entirely. These can be related to a number pages or topics, or can be specific to just one. Either way, these explanatory notes, expansions, asides or footnotes, call them what you will, need a home.

Well now they have one, in the shape of the subtexts area. This is a new table that holds information on anything you like as long as it comprises a header, some text and an optional image or two.

Entering the information in the table and associating it with a particular page and topic will generate a sub-menu across the page at the foot of that topic, comprising as many subtext items as you like. A practical maximum is about five or six otherwise the whole thing will start to look a little cramped. When the menu item is clicked, a 640x480px pop up page opens in the centre of the visitor's screen. Simples!

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14/09/2010: 'blog. we finally give in...
This page is a 'blog and we hope that you are finding it useful. For a long time now we have been asked for a 'blog to be added to the structure. In a purist sense, we have always resisted as our argument was that all Webinthebox? sites are nothing but a 'blog from start to finish if that is how you use them. Because the foundation of the sites is a Content Management System that is very easy to use, your content should always reflect what is going on in your business right now.

However, the customer is always right, so here it is. Unlimited capacity (up to the server's available space of course), flexible layouts, 99 topics per view with old views being archived, searchable text and the ability to upload comments on each topic. Satisfied?

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01/09/2010: local sales
There is a saying common in Japanese industrial circles that goes "If you wish to be truly global, first you must be truly local". Even if you don't want to be global we reckon that being truly local is an absolute must for any business. To go with the areas served page, the Local sales function has been launched to introduce the personnel, facilities and services that make your business the local answer.

Coincidentally, this is ideal for franchised operations like The Village Websmith for example.

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26/08/2010: image gallery changes (gallery 1, gallery 2)

The gallery page has got some key new features that we have been working on for a while. As well as the familiar category drop down selection, there is now a search function that looks for your word or phrase in the topic, image file name and main detail text. This should help visitors find just the image or group of images that they are looking for.

Once they have found them, there is more in store. Opening the image into its full sized viewer now gives the opportunity to toggle back and forth between the picture and the words. This is automatically picked up if any text has been entered and a link is placed below the image alongside its caption.

With the gallery 2 layout, you can also now assign a status to each image and have that displayed as a small graphic below the thumbnail

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14/07/2010: hierarchical people page
Many users of the original People page asked us "What about teams? Can we show them together?". Well, now the answer is yes. The original single column layout of the people page has been supplemented by the addition of People2 (it took us ages to think of the name) page. This allows any number of groups to be shown together in virtually any layouts of rows and columns with an optional graphical header for each group or tier.

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07/07/2010: newsletter pages for online viewing or e-mailshots

Newsletters are a very powerful sales tool, providing a resource to circulate information that doesn't have a natural home anywhere else in your website. From small snippets to major new items, Newsletters can hold a wealth of useful stuff.

Webintheox? newsletter files can hold up to 20 stories per page with a header, up to 10,000 words per story, an image and choice of layout. Add to that a header graphic, text intro and footer, and you have a huge capacity for news.

New this month is automatic date selection, so that you can work on a number of newsletters at once, the previous one being replaced with the current when the due date is reached.

To keep you closer to your markets, you can also mail out a version of the newsletter to your entire online database or just a highly selected few.

Better still, all of your old newsletters are available to read from the archive, which means that they are all indexed by the search engines so you keep on getting recognition for your work even when the new edition is published.

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16/06/2010: frequently asked questions
If you are fed up of answering the same questions over and over again when you would rather be getting on with some real work, the new FAQ page may be the answer. Using it you can direct the most common questions there rather than to your telephone so that you will be left free to cope with the really difficult stuff.

The page can handle as many question and answer pairs as you want, and these are grouped by category to keep them in rational order. You can have as many categories as you wish too, simply by typing in the name with your question/answer pair, it is created, so you just type in the same thing for other questions and you have a group.

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03/06/2010: sponsors page - feature the people that help you
The sponsors page gives a space to showcase the people that help you do what you do. They don't necessarily have to be sponsors, many customers use this for manufacturer information or just to say "thank you" to businesses that have contributed to their success.

On this site, the sponsors page is used to showcase particular Webinthebox? sites that we think are interesting uses of the system.

The layout is flexible enough to use it for any purpose where you have an image, some text (up to 10,000 words), a link, phone number and contact name to tie together.

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05/05/2010: money makes the world go round
And getting paid for the work you do is a vital part of that process. Now you can make it easier for your customers to pay you with the Webinthebox? online payments page.

When you invoice your customers, you simply email them a link, which takes them straight to the page. They enter the amount they want to pay, the invoice number and their email address for verification, and away you go. This links in with PayPal, WorldPay and most other popular online payment providers. Help your cashflow by adding a payments page.

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23/04/2010: new image gallery layout

Gallery five is the latest in our range of layouts for the gallery page. Being very similar to the main gallery page, its images are displayed in a table whose rows and columns you choose. The display ranges from 1x1 to 10x6 pictures per view.

The difference with gallery 5 is purely aesthetic in that the thumbnails all have a white background and drop shadow to give the impression of photographs laid on a table.

As with the standard gallery page, photos can be either portrait or landscape format, the thumbnails being resized to fit the available space.

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21/04/2010: calendar and bookings
The calendar page has always been popular with customers wishing to show their audience where they will be and what events they are attending or staging.

With the addition of a booking facility, this has just become even more useful.

When the booking function is enabled, visitors can book tickets in up to 8 different categories per event, then pay for them either online or by printing and posting a booking form.

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15/04/2010: menus to print out and share
Many of the restaurants, pubs and caf?s that use Webinthebox? websites publish their menus online. The original views with images and descriptions for course categories and individual dishes have now been supplemented with a printable version.

In a choice of formats, these options now turn the menu contents into a .pdf file on demand so that party organisers for example, can circulate your menu for annotation with choices, then get back to you with one, convenient order.

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07/04/2010: new gallery view (gallery 4)
Gallery 4 is a new layout for the images page. Based on one large central image, the thumbnails appear in rows of 5 or 6 beneath that. As you roll over the thumbnails, the image in the main picture frame changes and clicking on that or the thumbnail will open the image at full size in a popup window.

This layout will only work if all the images are of the same aspect ratio, os is not for everyone, but if you have enough control over the photographs on your site, it gives a refreshing change of layout for the visitor.

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26/03/2010: my top ten jobs page.

First used just over a year ago now, the Top Ten recent jobs page was designed for building trades, car or antique restorers and similar applications where there was a case study that could be linked to a before and after image composite.

This also helped greatly with search engine performance as it linked service to place very effectively and held lots of relevant, useful information with enough space to use variations on phrases to increase the chance of showing relevance to search phrases no matter how they are formatted.

The latest change to this page has allowed linking to multiple images from the gallery database to show progress through an operation. The layout is based on the same grid chosen for the gallery in terms of columns with as many rows as necessary being generated automatically.

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18/03/2010: brochures page updates

The brochures page allows downloading of .pdf files. These can be brochures, admin documents or special offer vouchers. In fact, any document that you want to give to people quickly and simply without any additional effort on your part can be included. The page shows a thumbnail of the document with a header and up to 10,000 words of accompanying text.

This latest update gives the ability to mix the brochures section in with other information on a standard page. Each document forms a page topic selectable via the normal menu.

Setting the document's status to "protected" disables the download until a valid email address is entered.

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Additional Images
14/02/2010: special occasions? never forget another one!
At the request of one of our florist customers, this function was added recently and should prove popular with restaurants, hairdressers, clubs and anyone in the gift or entertainment markets.

Using a simple form, visitors can set up their memorable dates, with the name, relationship and occasion they need to celebrate. Each week, the site owner gets a list of forthcoming anniversaries, birthdays and other regular party dates for the month or week in prospect (you get to choose the lead time). Then, to add the personal touch, you can call, email or send a card to all the people who should be remembering something so that they can a) remember, and b) make sure they buy their celebrations from you.

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10/02/2010: products page. show/hide more information feature

The products page was taking up too much room on occasions. If you have a lot to say about each product, then the space requirement is a bit much. This also leads to people not reading what you have to say about your products as they can be put off by having to wade through too much text before reaching the bit they want.

To trim down the initial view and make it more visitor friendly, the page now just displays an image, header, brief intro and a link to more information, which pops out in a layer below the image.

This also gives you the opportunity to get a bit more information back from your customers in exchange. By setting the page status to limited, you can show the basic information, but only registered users can see the full detail. Likewise, with any page in Webinthebox? you can set the page status to private, in which case all the information is only available to registered, logged on users.

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22/01/2010: guestbook, testimonials and customer comments

Customer testimonials are one of the most powerful sales tools available. For this reason, the Guestbook page has always been one of the most popular options in Webinthebox? sites. You can choose to either show all the testimonials that you have at every view, or specify a number to be chosen at random from the database each time the page loads. This helps to keep the view fresh and offer a better visitor experience. People will lose interest quickly if they see the same thing time after time.

In the latest round of changes, the guestbook page files now have a space to assign testimonials to individual members of the team chosen from your people page. A little recognition in this way can work wonders for the self-esteem of your workforce.

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04/01/2010: meet the people

The Webinthebox? People page has been a very popular addition to our sites for a long time now. This page gives a space where the members of the team can be introduced to the public with their name, job title, background and picture in the layout. This is very important in businesses which are carried out in people's homes, and helps break down barriers with customers before you even pick up the phone.

This month's enhancements to this page see the ability to assign people to different regions, showing them as part of the local sales page. The people page is the first reserved function to have the ability to sit as a topic in another page as well as on a page in its own right.

The last change has been to allow changes of layout so that photographs and text can alternate left and right, or be placed in vertical line.

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25/12/2009: areas served page. link service to place for great search engine results

The areas served page is a great new addition that came into being early in 2010. The idea is to make the link strongly between your product or service and the place in which you offer it.

You can be really specific about what you do where in this way, and the background information really helps the search engines put you in front of the people there who will be in the market for what you do.

In turn this will save you time through not having to explain to people at the other end of the country that they are too far away for you to "pop round and give a quote".

Each area record consists of introductory text, a bullet list of services, another bullet list of postcode areas included, names of key conurbations within the area, up to 10,000 words of text and a keynote image. This goes on to create a specific homepage for each area listed, which highlights what you do for the people there.

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the village websmith's 'blog

2010-08-26
Image Gallery Changes (Gallery 1, Gallery 2)

The gallery page has got some key new features that we have been working on for a while
...More information...

coming soon

2018-09-14
Motorcycle Road Races

Cadwell Park
3 days
Cadwell Park was where we raced for the very first time in the Yamaha Past Masters Series
...More information...