Tel 01522 811688
Freephone 0800 988 8366

Happy Birthday James!

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Many Happy Returns to DBS’s Online Marketing Manager, James Hopkins, who turned 34 on Sunday.

The team celebrated with a rather delicious apple and blackcurrant birthday cake and the usual singing of Happy Birthday on Friday morning.

James spent the weekend with his wife Kasia and four-year-old son Alex, relaxing, enjoying the hot weather and taking advantage of some of the fun things to do locally in Lincolnshire.

Their itinerary included a trip to the seaside, a walk across the Lincolnshire Wolds to have a picnic in the ruins of Old Bolingbroke Castle, going out for an Italian meal in Horncastle, breakfast by the sea, exploring the new North Sea Observatory at Chapel St Leonards, and visiting nearby National Trust property Gunby Hall.

James joined DBS in 2011, and focuses on driving traffic and enquiries to our clients’ websites through social media and marketing.

You can read more about James here: http://www.dbsinternetmarketing.co.uk/our-team/4/james-hopkins/

Agree? Disagree? Do let Matthew Rayner know what you think by commenting below.

DBS create new website for innovative new first aid product

mockuper (1)DBS is very pleased to have recently launched a new website to allow a client to sell an innovative new product that helps to tackle hay fever, pet and dust allergies.

Earlier this year, Sam Fells of Microcapture came to DBS with an idea for a new natural first aid product, and wanted a new website built in order to help her to start to sell that product. Microcapture is a family owned and run business with over 30 years’ experience of developing therapeutic fragrances, which includes the menthol eucalyptus fragrance used in Kleenex tissues all over the world.

Sam is the product development manager at Microcapture and had previously spent 12 years working at Boots. She wanted to find a drug-free way to help her young son cope with his hay fever, pet and dust allergies, so Sam and the team at Microcapture developed a brand-new product – Breaze Vapour Oil – as a natural product that harnesses the antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties of ten essential oils.

Along with the Breaze Motion Activated Pillowcases, the products offer round the clock natural first aid for summer sneezes. The new website, which we built to a tight deadline, is an ecommerce website that allows people to purchase the vapour oil and the motion activated pillowcases quickly and easily online.

DBS’s Online Marketing Manager, James Hopkins, suffers from hay fever, and has been using the vapour oil and the pillowcases for a few weeks and has found them to be very beneficial and a huge relief to his symptoms. As part of the launch of the product, DBS has also been running Facebook campaigns to help promote Breaze.

Click here to view Breaze Allergy’s newly launched website: https://breazeallergy.com/

Agree? Disagree? Do let Thomas Hounsell know what you think by commenting below.

Is your site HTTPS compliant yet?

clip_image002Google Chrome – the internet’s favourite web browser – has begun labelling websites that have failed to upgrade to HTTPS as ‘unsecure’.

Google gave webmasters six months notice of the change which has been rolled out as part of the new Google Chrome 68 browser and means that websites that have failed to upgrade are now given a ‘not secure’ tag viewable to anyone who visits their website.

If your business has as of yet failed to make the switch, then we highly recommend that you get in touch so that we can help you migrate from HTTP to HTTPS as soon as possible as we anticipate unsecure websites will receive both a drop-in web traffic and a fall in search engine rankings.

Please call us today on 0800 988 8366 to discuss your next steps.

Agree? Disagree? Do let Matthew Rayner know what you think by commenting below.

Why savvy businesses claim and optimise Google mapped listings

When it comes to modern SEO tactics for businesses one step which cannot be overlooked is the setting up of a Google My Business (GMB) listing.

What is a GMB listing?

Google My Business is a platform which creates mini-websites for businesses within Google search results featuring all of their important information. Commonly sought for information like addresses, opening hours, phone numbers and more are included together in one place for customers to easily find. They can also read reviews from other customers and find on a map exactly where the business they are looking for is located.

Why it’s important

Whereas in the past people would use Yellow Pages to search for say a Family Law Solicitor or an Estate Agency, today they do it through Google, so if your business isn’t on there or it is missing key information then you could be missing out on a serious amount of traffic and enquiries.

What’s more, GMB listings represent an opportunity to connect with your clients. All listings have the option to be reviewed by customers and the sum of the reviews is reflected in a star rating alongside the business name. If you don’t have a listing, then you are missing out on a vital opportunity to prove just how much better you are than your competitors or to respond to any negative reviews left on your listing that you feel are unfair or need a response.

A fully optimized Google My Business listing will look something like the image above.

In today’s market, more and more businesses are using their mobiles to find the information they want, as and when they need it. GMB listings show up across various devices and allow users to contact you from their phone with just a couple of clicks of a button or find your brick and mortar address to come and visit you.

GMB listings are also important for rankings. If a competitor is bidding on your name as a search term through Google Pay Per Click, then their website could show up in results when someone searches for your name and could fool a potential customer into clicking their website instead of yours. With GMB listings it is clear to a customer which listing represents your business and so you are less likely to lose out.

Here at DBS we can help you get started with a Google My Business listing so that you can make your business more accessible to the people looking for your products and services. Call us now 01522 811688 to find out more.

Agree? Disagree? Do let James Hopkins know what you think by commenting below.

The power of evergreen content in SEO

It’s a well-established fact now that content marketing is among the best methods of driving traffic to your site. However, when preparing content for your website there are a few ground rules you need to follow – one of which revolves around the idea of creating ‘evergreen’ content.

clip_image002What is evergreen content?

Evergreen content (like the tree) is ‘timeless content’ that stays fresh forever and never loses its leaves. Evergreen content is blog posts, infographics, articles and other types of media that stay relevant forever and consistently generate lots of traffic.

How do you create evergreen content?

Let’s start with how not to create evergreen content. The big no-no if you want to create consistently traffic boosting content is to create time-sensitive articles.

Covering current topical events, celebrities, memes, politics, holidays, latest gadgets and updates are all examples of time-sensitive content. While they might generate quick bursts of traffic, in the long run they won’t do you any favours at all.

What do we mean? Well let’s say you decide to write an opinion piece on the potential impact of a new piece of technology on your industry. You write the article, post it on your website, share it on social media and run an advertising campaign to generate more hits. This would drive a lot of new traffic to your website in the short-term (happy days!) but due to the nature of the content, interest will die down. Your article will, in a few months, or years, be out of date and may even look rather silly if none of your predictions came to pass.

To create evergreen content that works for your business you need to come up with content that suits your target audience. How can you help your customer? What are your businesses most FAQ’s? What are your customers ‘pain points’?

Using blog posts, articles, infographics and other forms of media you can help address those points, move your customers closer to a purchase and establish yourself as a leader in your field. The key though is to create content that will stay relevant and only require occasional tweaks. You can then rely on it driving traffic through social media and through search engine results for years to come.

Click here to read more about Content Marketing and how it can help grow your business: http://www.dbsinternetmarketing.co.uk/articles/how-content-marketing-will-grow-your-business.html.

Agree? Disagree? Do let Chris Coleshaw know what you think by commenting below.

BBQ Fun At DBS

Untitled design (6)We’d like to wish a very happy birthday to DBS Director David Clarke!

The team celebrated David’s birthday last week by joining him for a BBQ at his home in Navenby. Team members, family and friends gathered in David’s garden to soak up the good weather and enjoy some tasty food and drink together.

Click here to read more about David: http://www.dbsinternetmarketing.co.uk/our-team/1/david-clarke/

Agree? Disagree? Do let James Hopkins know what you think by commenting below.

Annapurna Base Camp Diary

David Clarke, founder of DBS, recently went trekking to Annapurna Base Camp to raise £3500 for Cancer Research UK. It’s still not too late to donate via Just Giving:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Annapurna-Base-Camp

We hope you enjoy reading David’s journal…

Friday May 18 May
I left home about 3pm to drive to Heathrow. Surprisingly for a Friday there was little traffic and I was at Heathrow by 6pm well in time for my 9:30pm Qatar Airways flight to Doha. I took very little luggage – just a holdall and a backpack. The backpack would carry what I needed during the day. The holdall had to be under 15kg as this would be carried every step of the trek by the porters – more later.

I slept well during the flight which was probably directly attributable to the excellent Pomery Champagne.

Saturday May 19

Doha was crazy hot at 6am in the morning. I had a short layover and then a pleasant flight to Kathmandu.

I remembered that two years ago Kathmandu was a shock to all senses but this time it felt strangely like home. Amongst the throngs outside the airport I picked out my driver who was bearing an “Ian Taylor Trekking” flag.

After a short journey that seemed loosely based on a video game I arrived at the Yatri Hotel. In the foyer to greet me were Ian Taylor and his wife Laura.

I knew three people from my Everest Base Camp trek: Jenny (a Kiwi) and husband Jason (Aussie) plus Shelley from Arizona. Kim and Fiona made up the rest of the small group of 6 trekkers. Kim lives above the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories of Canada while Fiona is a singing teacher who hails from Scotland.

I also met Dawa Sherpa and his son Sonam. I remembered Dawa well from my previous trip.

The group met for a briefing and then had dinner followed by an early night.

Sunday May 20
After a short minibus ride we took an internal 25 minute flight to Pokhara which is a much slower paced city than Kathmandu. We strolled down to the lake and boated to a small island before continuing on for lunch at the far side of the lake.

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The White Pearl Hotel was luxurious and I made the most of it as I knew that the standard of accommodation would drop the further along the trek we progressed.

Monday May 21
After an early breakfast a minibus picked us up to take us to the start of the trail. Roadworks and traffic really hampered us. The start of the trail dropped very quickly and was followed by a 2 hour stepped ascent of a valley side. I realised that temperature and humidity were going to play a big factor.

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The accommodation in Urelli (1960m/6430ft) had a very basic ensuite basin, shower and a western toilet that flushed (more later).

We ate well and watched the movie “Sherpa”.

Tuesday May 22
It’s worth pointing out here that we were now on a trail that had no vehicular access. From this point we wouldn’t see any vehicles for 9 days. Every single item of food, every bottle of water and all building material is carried in by porters. These small framed guys (some barely over 5 feet tall) carry enormous loads using a headstrap and usually wearing nothing more on their feet than flip flops. Legends…

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We ascended steadily from Ulleri (1960m/6430ft) through forests of oak and rhododendron to Ghorepani 2,840m/9,317ft.

I was literally soaked in sweat on arrival and was grateful that the woodstove had been lit in the tea house we stopped in as it gave me a chance to string up my damp clothes in an effort to dry them out. We played cards in the evening and had a really early night at around 8pm. Ensuite toilet, basin and shower!

Wednesday May 23
4:30am came very quickly as we awoke and began the one hour ascent of Poon Hill (3,210m/10,531ft) which offers one of the best viewpoints of the surrounding mountain peaks. Unfortunately this wasn’t our day. It was very misty and cloudy.

The four Sherpas that accompanied us held an impromptu celebration at exactly 6:02am which was 10 years to the day that Ian Taylor (our glorious leader) had summitted Everest. Ian was very modest about his incredible achievement.

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View from Poon Hill (when it’s not cloudy)

We descended Poon Hill and sat down to breakfast. A steep flight of steps rose up Poon Hill directly across from the tea house with a gap of about four feet on the left between them and a stone building. A load bearing pony lost its footing descending the damp stone and fell into the gap between the steps and the building. It was well and truly wedged and obviously very distressed. Sherpa Power to the rescue! The Sherpas and porters quickly lent a hand and somehow managed to get the poor creature back on its feet while its teenage owner wept openly.

After breakfast we climbed through ridges of pine and rhododendron to stay at Tadapani (2,610m/7,020ft). No ensuite but a communal western toilet that had to be flushed by pouring water into it from a plastic jug that floated in a large barrel of water.

It was too hot to use my three season sleeping bag so I tucked myself in between the duvet and top sheet provided which were incredibly damp with moisture from the atmosphere. I fell to sleep very quickly but woke during the night with the strange sensation of feeling like an integral part of a sponge cake.

Something made me check the clothes that I had left dry outside. The humidity was really high and my sodden clothes were not drying by hanging outside. I only had a few changes of clothes so I slept for the remainder of the night with a damp sock on each hand, my trousers spread over my upper body and my underpants on my head. Needs must and all that.

Thursday May 24
The day started with a with a steep descent through rhododendron. One of the Sherpas was excited to see a tiger footprint in a pile of poo although I personally did not share his enthusiasm.

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When in Nepal a steep descent means only one thing – a steep ascent. So we made our way up to Chomrung (2,140m/7,020ft) whilst watching Langur monkeys swing through the trees. Their party piece is to urinate on passers by. I was anxious not to join the party. Leeches were prevalent on this part of the trail so we constantly checked boots, ankles and legs.

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Fri May 25
Still spending most of the time in tropical forest we dropped down, climbed up and dropped down to the village of Bamboo (2,145m/7,037ft). No en suite but a flushing loo that backed on to a river.

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Saturday May 26
Trekked from Bamboo to Deurali, which sits at 3,230m/10,597 ft. Now we began to get a real sense of the mountainous terrain as we left tropical forest behind us.

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No en suite. Toilet was a hole in the ground. Deep breath, hold breath and think of Ski Sunday.

Sunday May 27
After six days of solid trekking we began the ascent to Annapurna Base Camp which involved traversing precarious bamboo ladders over rushing mountain streams. The elevation at base camp was 4,131m/13,553ft. The atmosphere at this elevation contains only 14% oxygen compared with 21% at sea level.

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Monday May 28
We awoke to a covering of snow. Alarms had been set early to watch the sunrise. Annapurna Base Camp sits in a natural basin surrounded by 8,000m plus peaks so it is absolutely spectacular.

Annapurna 1 looks very accessible from base camp but, chillingly, 30% of attempts to climb it result in death.

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This day was a long day retracing our steps all the way past Bamboo to Sinawa. A dog we had fed accompanied us all day down the trail. This wasn’t uncommon and we always seemed to be surrounded by dogs.

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Ski Sunday before you ask.

Tuesday May 29
We got the sense that we nearing the end of our trek. The Sherpa’s meditation music gave way to local music and then dance music as an impromptu disco broke out at 7am before we headed out.

We clapped our four porters out of Sinawa as a thank you for their sterling efforts for carrying up to 30kg of our gear each.

We had a memorable coffee stop back in Chomrung with more Sherpa and disco dancing plus the perfect cappuccino - believe it or not.

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I remembered I had brought crayons and sweets for the local kids and handed them out.

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A steep descent to Jhinu Danda saw us check into a really nice hotel with full all-singing-all dancing ensuite. A hot shower felt like heaven.

We had a great meal with ice cold beers followed by more Sherpa dancing and an early night at 8pm.

Wednesday May 30
After a 2.5 hour trek we noticed the trail begin to widen slightly. We turned a corner and spotted the two 4WD vehicles that would take us back to Pokhara.

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Outside a wooden shack a kettle had been placed over an open wood fire and we enjoyed one final cup of mint tea together as the 9 day trek ended.

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It was a bumpy and nerve wracking 2 hour drive looking over sheer drops before we hit a metalled road. From then on it was just over an hour before we were back in the comforts of the White Pearl in Pokhara.

Thursday May 31
Several of us went paragliding in the morning from a huge hill overlooking Lake Pokhara. It was spectacular despite not being able to see the mountains due to cloud. Rest of the day was R&R before meeting as a group for a meal.

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Friday June 1
Pokhara Airport was shrouded in mist as we took the short flight back to Kathmandu.

I spent some time in the local market in Kathmandu. The only westerner. Completely safe.

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We had yet another celebratory meal in the evening with lots of laughter but knowing that the next day we would all be going our separate ways to attempt to slot back into normality

To sum up…

Nepal has something about it that I find hard to put into words. It’s a world away from the UK yet I feel at home there. Nepal makes me question the way we live our lives here in the West. Nepal is the fourth poorest country on the planet yet everyone seems so happy and super content with just what they have - which ain’t much most of the time.

Two major religions co-exist side by side with no apparent tensions. It’s safe to walk the streets. People are kind.

It’s well worth a visit.

My journal may make parts of trekking in Nepal seem like torture but it’s a small price to pay for the rewards of spending time in breath taking scenery with genuinely beautiful people.

Agree? Disagree? Do let Chris Coleshaw know what you think by commenting below.