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DBS hosts online marketing plan workshop at business expo

DBS recently attended the East Lindsey Business Expo 2018 where DBS Director David Clarke was invited to host a specialist workshop, briefing delegates on the ins and outs of creating a comprehensive internet marketing plan.

EL Bus Expo Web

The event took place at the Stanhope Hall in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, and aimed to showcase the best businesses in and around the East Lindsey area and celebrate local innovation. The event was free to attend, and guests were able to take advantage of a number of special show promotions, programmed workshops and other incentives.

David’s talk explained that all Lincolnshire small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) should have a clear, written online marketing plan, and he guided local SMEs on how to write their own online marketing plans, along with detailed advice on how to monitor the results. Attendees also had plenty of time to question David following his presentation. In the feedback forms following the event, David’s presentation was rated highly and described by many as the highlight of the event.

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In addition to his talk to local businesses, David also delivered a workshop to 21 local secondary school students. The students were all in their second year of studying the AQA Business Marketing Technical Level in Business at the Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Alford. Their coursework is solely based on digital marketing, so the workshop was extremely beneficial for them. We were told afterwards that David made a direct, positive impact on their coursework, which we were delighted to learn!

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

Julie Priestley to host marketing workshop at Grantham Women in Business event

JulieDBS Director Julie Priestley will host a specialist workshop at the Grantham Women in Business meeting next week.

Taking place at The Urban Leisure Hotel in Grantham on Wednesday 14th November, Julie will brief delegates on the most effective online marketing techniques currently available and how they can impact positively on their business.

The event will also include food, refreshments, networking and a ‘Round Robin’ session with the opportunity to introduce your business. The event begins at 6pm and tickets are available for £10 from EventBrite. Guests are encouraged to book ahead to avoid missing out.

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

Doughnuts all round for Chris’s birthday

20181031_105721We would like to wish our Internet Marketing Specialist Chris Coleshaw a belated Happy Birthday!

Chris took a few days off to have a long weekend to celebrate his birthday and to spend time visiting Nottingham with his family, so today was our first chance to embarrass him with our customary gathering to sing Happy Birthday.

Instead of celebrating with cake as we traditionally do, we instead all tucked in to a pile of custard doughnuts as a vegan friendly option for the birthday boy! We managed to fit some candles on the top though, so he didn’t miss out on hearing our beautiful singing voices!

Chris will also be celebrating his five-year anniversary of working for DBS in a couple of weeks’ time. He has been helping to drive traffic and enquiries to our clients’ websites through methods such as content marketing, Facebook ads and social media marketing since November 2013.

You can read more about Chris here: http://www.dbsinternetmarketing.co.uk/our-team/9/chris-coleshaw/

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

Double celebrations for DBS staff

clip_image002We would like to wish a massive congratulations to Julie Priestley and Matt Rayner who are both proudly celebrating work anniversaries with us this month.

Julie first joined DBS in 2001 and has seen the business successfully grow and expand since its early days as a Yellow Pages advertising company. Julie was made an official director of the business in June 2017.

Matt Rayner celebrates 10 years at DBS this month having joined us originally in 2008. Matt started out as an internet marketer specialising in pay-per-click and now heads up our web team overseeing the development of cutting-edge websites.

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

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

Google+ Says Goodbye

clip_image001Google has announced that its social network, Google +, will shut down after reports of a data breach that could have affected millions of users.

When is Google+ shutting down?

Google has stated in a blog post that it will be shutting down the consumer version of Google+ over the next 10 months.

Why did Google+ fail?

There were high hopes for Google+ when it first launched back in 2011. Deeply concerned by the fast and disruptive growth of Facebook and Twitter, Google executives launched their rival social network to ensure that Google was not overtaken in the new era of social media.

While users loved Google’s search tool for its lightening quick speeds and minimal, unintrusive format, the same could not be said for their attempt at the social web. Bad publicity regarding the platform’s interface and its functionality dogged the company from day one and following an initial flurry of interest the platform struggled to take off. Where other social platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and even Vine offered something genuinely different to users, Google+ had no obvious selling points to bring it consistent growth.

Data Breach

Google announced in the blog post that it undertook an internal audit called ‘Project Strobe’ earlier this year in an effort to review third-party access to Google accounts. The audit highlighted a bug which may have allowed other developers access to private details of as many as 500,000 accounts. However, the research also brought to light the very low level of consumer usage, with 90% of user sessions ending in less than five seconds, prompting Google to call time on the network.

What do with your Google+ account?

Were you a user of Google+? If you’re looking to permanently delete your account, then here’s how you do it:

1) Visit https://plus.google.com/discover

2) Click ‘Sign In’ in the top right corner

3) Log in using your associated Gmail account

4) Click the drop-down menu in the left corner and select Settings

5) Select ‘Disable Google+’ and ‘Delete Your Entire Google Profile Here’

6) Scroll to the bottom of the page and check the box next to Required

7) Click Remove Selected Services.

Don’t forget that if you have links on your social media accounts or website to your Google+ profile then these will need to be deleted. Alternatively, you could link to your Google My Business listing instead. For help doing this please call us on 0800 988 8366.

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

DBS sponsor NK Community Champion Awards

43703374_2138159766222942_8274925687463215104_oDBS Director David Clarke was delighted to attend the NK Community Champion Awards earlier this week, which this year was held at the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) on Canwick Hill, overlooking Lincoln.

The illustrious event recognises the best examples of community effort and individual achievement within the North Kesteven community, honouring winners in nine separate categories.

Last year DBS were awarded the accolade of ‘Community Business’ of the year and as such were very pleased to sponsor the award this year.

DBS’s James Hopkins joined a team of judges in August to pick out 28 brilliant finalists from over 107 nominations made by residents of the North Kesteven district.

This year’s winner of the community business award was Leadenham Teahouse, a tea room that provides support for residents and smaller businesses and provided drinks when the village was beset by flooding. Other finalists in the category included AF Blakemore and Ringrose Law.

We would like to offer our congratulations to the winners, the finalists, and everyone that was involved in this wonderful event.

Click here to view the full list of finalists and winners: https://www.nkawards.org/winners-and-finalists-2018

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

Web launch for Broadbent Fabrications

clip_image002We are delighted to have launched a new website for Broadbent Fabrications.

Based in Lincolnshire, the company operates nationally fabricating a variety of bespoke, custom-made items from metal including steel, aluminium and stainless steel.

Broadbent Fabrications’ previous website was a one-page site, which has now been altered to offer clearly defined product and service pages allowing for an extra level of granularity needed for marketing purposes. Following the launch of the new website we have been very pleased to have started providing internet marketing services to Broadbent Fabrications, helping to drive more traffic to their website via Google.

Due to the type of service the client provides, the site is extremely image driven, providing images of past work undertaken. It also includes a blog with a content management system which allows the client to post regular news and work updates as and when required.

Click here to view the website for yourself: https://www.broadbentfabrications.co.uk.

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

Happy Lincolnshire Day: 5 reasons you should visit!

clip_image002October 1st marks the annual celebration of everything Lincolnshire. While we here at DBS call the county our home, we know that some of our clients have never been before. So here are a few reasons why you should put a visit to Lincolnshire on your to do list.

1 – The historic city of Lincoln

Lincoln has 2,000 years of history under its belt and arguably some of the finest historic buildings in the country. Take a walk up the infamous Steep Hill to Lincoln’s cathedral quarter and you’ll be richly rewarded. Among it’s cobbled streets you’ll find tea rooms, pubs and book shops nestled in between the glorious Lincoln Cathedral, which is the second largest Gothic cathedral in England, and Lincoln Castle, which was built by the Normans and is a court and former Victorian prison.

2 – Food, Glorious Food!

Lincolnshire is well known for its agricultural output and this abundance of food means that Lincolnshire has some of the tastiest and freshest dishes available. Local delicacies include Poachers cheese, Lincoln red beef, haslet, stuffed chine, plum loaf and of course…Lincolnshire sausages.

3 – RAF heritage

Lincolnshire has a proud history of aviation and is sometimes nicknamed ‘Bomber County’ for its active role in WWII. Today Lincolnshire has various operational bases in places like Waddington, and also Scampton where the Red Arrows themselves are based. Airplane and history enthusiasts can also make the most of the newly opened International Bomber Command, a £10 million centre that provides a comprehensive history of service of Bomber Command.

4 – Beaches and countryside

Lincolnshire is also famous for its flat landscapes and stunning scenery. Nature lovers can delight in the Wolds to the North of Lincolnshire and the fenlands to the south of the county. There are several nature reserves, sanctuaries and public parks to enjoy as well as beautiful beaches on the East Coast with popular resorts like Skegness and Mablethorpe and quieter areas like Anderby Creek.

5 – Navenby

DBS has been based in our current offices in Navenby since 2008. Situated just nine miles south of Lincoln, Navenby was once voted by The Sunday Times as one of the top rural places to live in the UK. It’s a charming village with stone period buildings and its own small economy of butchers, bakers, newsagents, restaurants and more. Navenby is also home to ‘Mrs Smith’s Cottage’ a 19th century grade II listed building where the owner Mrs Hilda Smith lived until 1995 to the age of 102. While it is currently closed for renovations the wonderful cottage serves as a time capsule into a bygone area.

We hope this blog inspired you to make a visit to Lincolnshire sometime soon. If you’re in the area don’t forget to give us a call and drop in for a coffee and a chat.

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

Is Google about to shut down your AdWords account?

clip_image002Google Ads (previously called Google AdWords) is on a mission to speed up its service. Its aim to deliver a better experience to advertisers has led to a massive purge on dormant Google Ads accounts. But will your account be on their radar?

Over the past few months Google has begun a process of cancelling specific inactive accounts that have failed to spend any budget in the last 15 months – so any businesses with active campaigns in that period need not worry. However, if you have paused your campaigns for an extended period or have a dormant account that you may want to use again one day then now may be the time to act.

In a post earlier this year they explained the reasons for their decision saying “accounts will be cancelled in order to speed up the AdWords experience and help users stay within the manager account limits.” In layman’s terms, this means that Google can reduce the strain on their systems and speed up the Google Ads platform for users who are actively using their tools.

When an account is cancelled it means that you lose all the historic data in your account. While you may receive a refund from Google for any unspent pre-paid budget left on your account and you can reactivate the shell of the account, you won’t ever get back the campaigns, targeting and keywords that you or your ad agency spent valuable time preparing. If you reactivate your account and then don’t spend or serve ads in the three months following your account will once again be deactivated.

There are lots of reasons why your account might have been dormant for the past 15 months. It could be that you’ve diverted your attention to another form of marketing, or perhaps your account wasn’t geared up to provide the results you needed. Either way, lots of things have changed with Google Ads in the past year and now is a good time to review your strategy.

Google Ads (or Pay Per Click Advertising) remains one of the best ways to drive quality traffic and boost sales and enquiries to businesses of all sizes. We can work with you to develop a paid search strategy either based around your previous campaign structure or starting from scratch with a fresh approach to get you the traffic, leads and conversions that you need. To find out more, please call us on 01522 811688.

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

How to use Facebook to recruit the best talent for your business

clip_image002For years now websites like Indeed, Reed and Monster have been the go-to online portals for both job-seekers and employers. However, social media is beginning to change that.

For a while now, LinkedIn has provided a way for small to medium sized enterprises to build their workforce without the need for an in-house recruitment team or the budget to pay a specialist recruitment agency. LinkedIn offers businesses a way to build up a brand and an audience, network with key people and target the best talent.

Behind the scenes, the social media giant Facebook has been looking for ways that they can also offer a similar way of helping businesses monopolize on their user base of over 1 billion daily active users.

The newly launched ‘Facebook Jobs’ now allows businesses to publish job listings from their Facebook pages. These posts will appear on their company page timeline, as well as on the news feeds of those that follow their page. However, like any other post on Facebook, once a listing is made live paid advertising can then be used to granularly target the most qualified users, outside of their ‘known audience’, drilling down by interests, location and other specific categories to find the best fits.

Using social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn ultimately takes out the middleman from your recruiting process and gives you back the control. Applications can be sent both to your company page inbox as well as to your own email address, and applicants can upload their CV’s for you to inspect.

Do you have a recruitment need? DBS can use Facebook Jobs and Facebook’s advertising platforms in tandem to create a highly targeted recruitment campaign that attracts a high-volume of well qualified job applicants. Call us today on 01522 811688 to find out more.

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

New website launched for leading agrochemical company

clip_image002We are very pleased to have launched a new website for Nichino Europe Limited, a UK based agrochemical company that provides crop protection and pest control products throughout Europe and beyond.

Nichino Europe is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nihon Nohyaku Co. Ltd., which is based in Tokyo and was established in 1928, forming Japan’s first and oldest agrochemical manufacturing company.

Based in Cambridge, they offer a strong, penetrative route to market providing European and non-European growers with well-established and innovative products backed by global research and development capability.

Commenting on the web launch and its features, DBS’s Matt Rayner explained: “We utilised DBS’s custom content management system for this project which allows the client to manage a variety of items from the admin panel including the innovative Supplier Map featured on their home page. Because of the nature of the business, the site will attract visitors from all over the world which is why the interactive map was proposed, accepted and put in place. The map allows users from all over the world to easily find the correct details for the supplier in their country”.

Click here to view the completed site: https://www.nichino-europe.com

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

DBS take part in judging for the NK Community Champion Awards

clip_image002DBS’s James Hopkins was delighted to take part in the judging of this year’s North Kesteven District Council’s Community Champion Awards last week.

The awards which take place every year are put in place to recognise those who have gone ‘above and beyond’ for their community. Out of 107 nominations made by thankful residents, the team of judges have picked out 28 finalists who will be invited to a celebration on Wednesday October 10th where winners will be formally announced.

Last year, DBS themselves came away from the ceremony with the award of ‘Community Business’ of The Year. The award recognised DBS’s significant contribution to the village of Navenby through a range of initiatives including founding the Navenby Business Network, funding defibrillator units as well as supporting local charities and schools. DBS are pleased to be sponsoring this year’s award.

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

Meers Legal Services launches with support of DBS

clip_image002DBS have been working with Meers Legal Services, a new London based solicitor, to help launch their first ever website together with in-depth marketing support to help them hit the ground running.

DBS’s Matt Rayner and Thomas Hounsell worked together to create a clear one-page website which encapsulates all of the client’s services and includes strong call to actions throughout, helping to increase conversions.

Working with our PPC expert Dan Atkinson, DBS also set about creating a series of campaigns on Google Adwords to establish brand awareness, increase traffic and generate quality leads for key services such as wills, inheritance and tax planning in the London area using specific and targeted campaigns to maximize results.

Click here to take a look at the finished website: https://www.meerslegalservices.co.uk/

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

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.

Thomas celebrates 7 years at DBS

clip_image002We’d like to congratulate Thomas Hounsell who is celebrating 7 years with DBS after first joining us in 2011.

Thomas joined our team at our offices in Navenby in June 2011 after studying for a BTEC National Diploma in IT at college where he took a keen interest in web and software development. Thomas joined us fresh from college and has now spent several years with our team developing his talents. Thomas is now one of our main web developers helping create and host websites for businesses all across the UK.

Outside of work, Thomas has a keen interest in motorsports, and also enjoys taking on DIY projects whenever time permits.

To find out more about Thomas and to connect with him on social media, please visit: http://www.dbsinternetmarketing.co.uk/our-team/3/thomas-hounsell/

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

New website launched for leading stairlift provider

clip_image002We are very pleased to have launched a new website for one of the region’s leading independent stairlift companies. Obam Stairlifts supplies stairlifts, hoists, ramps, through floor and platform lifts.

Commenting on the launch, Web Project Manager Matt Rayner said:

“We’re delighted with how the website has turned out. We trimmed down the number of pages on the website to allow for easy navigation by visitors. Rather than focusing on individual product pages, we decided to give an overview of the services and products required which would result in the next logical action – to get in touch.

“We improved the styling, design and usability of the website from a user perspective while still retaining the ability for Obam to be able to edit the website themselves with new content like images and be able to update their FAQ’s and testimonials. We also utilised Obam’s photoshoot specific shots to give the website a more personalised feel”.

Click here to view Obam Stairlifts newly launched website: http://obam.co.uk/

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

DBS ‘Highly Commended’ in Lincolnshire Tech Awards

julie with awardThe team at DBS had cause to celebrate this week after being recognised at the Lincolnshire Technology & Innovation Awards 2018 which took place at The Lincolnshire Showground as part of Lincolnshire Tech Week.

Director Julie Priestley and Web Project Manager Matt Rayner attended the awards on behalf of DBS and were delighted to be ‘Highly Commended’ in the category of ‘Small Business Of The Year’ - an award voted on by an independent panel of judges.

Commenting on the achievement, Julie said: “When we first found out we were shortlisted for the award we were delighted. To be nominated in this category two years in a row is a great achievement for our business, especially alongside such strong competition”.

DBS would like to congratulate Root2Recruit, the overall winner of this year’s ‘Small Business of The Year’ award – well done!

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

DBS to speak at Business Lincolnshire Breakfast Briefing

business lincolnshire logoDBS Director David Clarke is holding a free business growth training session in Grantham for Business Lincolnshire.

David’s topic is “Top Tips for Creating an Effective Online Marketing Plan” and will guide attendees through a range of topics from preparing a plan, which techniques work best and how to properly measure the results of a campaign.

The event will take place at 9am on Thursday 7th June at The Boilerhouse in Grantham and attendance is free of charge. Refreshments and networking opportunities will also be available as well as an open floor question and answer session.

For more information, or to book on to the event, please click here (link to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bitesize-lincs-top-tips-for-creating-an-effective-online-marketing-plan-tickets-45055264509) to register through Eventbrite.

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

DBS to take part in Lincolnshire Tech Week 2018

lincs-tech-week-soCCcial-thumb-1024x576Lincolnshire Tech Week has officially begun, and DBS are proud to be playing a key part in the celebrations.

Tomorrow the team will exhibit at the Lincolnshire Tech Expo at the Lincolnshire Showground, and James Hopkins will deliver a speaker session at 9:30am in the Lindsey Suite entitled ‘Top 8 SEO Tips For SME’s’. You can find more details about his talk here: http://lincstechweek.co.uk/speakers/james-hopkins/.

On Thursday 7th June the team will be attending this year’s Lincolnshire Technology & Innovation Awards where DBS have, for the second consecutive year, been chosen as finalists for the prestigious ‘Small Business Of The Year’ category, an award which is voted on by an independent panel of judges.

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

Small Business of the Year Finalists 2018

clip_image002We’re delighted to announce we have been chosen as finalists for the Lincolnshire Technology & Innovation Awards 2018.

The awards ceremony, which takes place on Thursday 7th June at The Epic Centre at the Lincolnshire Showground, sees Lincolnshire businesses go head to head for awards in 18 categories voted on by a panel of independent judges.

DBS has been nominated for the second year running in the ‘Small Business of the Year’ category.

DBS Director Julie Priestley said: “It’s fantastic to be nominated for such a prestigious award and we can’t wait to attend the ceremony and celebrate with some of the best businesses in our county”.

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

Important changes to Google Maps

clip_image001Google have announced changes to the Google Maps Platform which powers the maps and driving directions on websites.

Google Maps was a totally free service and you weren’t required to provide any billing details to use it on your website.

On June 11th 2018 the Google Maps service will change.

There will be a free tier with an extremely generous usage allowance before any charges apply.

However, Google will now require your billing details - even within the free tier.

If you find that after June 11th the maps on your website aren’t displaying the way they should then please contact us and we will do our best to provide a solution.

If you have any questions prior to June 11th then please contact us.


Agree? Disagree? Do let Julie Priestley know what you think by commenting below.

David's Annapurna Base Camp Trek for Cancer Research UK

david trek 2018On the 18th May DBS Director, David Clarke is trekking to 4,131m (13,553ft) over 13 days to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

2 years ago, David took part in the Everest Base Camp (EBC) Trek when friends, business associates and family raised over £3,000 for Cancer Research.

So this time David has raised the bar and hopes to raise over £3,500 for Cancer Research UK so please do what you can to help him smash this target to bits.

Last time David was in Nepal he got sketchy WiFi but when he saw your donations and messages on Just Giving it literally propelled him up the mountain!

Click here to visit David’s JustGiving page and donate with just a few clicks: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/annapurna-base-camp

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

Julie passes with flying colours

1DBS director Julie Priestley celebrated her birthday this weekend with an action-packed charity race at the Lincolnshire Showground.

Julie took part in the Inflatable Colour Dash – a five-kilometre race where participants climb, clamber and crawl their way through a course of inflatable obstacles while being blasted with a variety of brightly coloured paints along the way.

The event raises much needed funds for St. Barnabas Hospice, a leading Lincolnshire charity which provides palliative and end-of life care to adults living with life-limiting or terminal illnesses.

“I took part in the race with my friends Trish and Di and we chose the team name Charlie’s Angels. We had a really fun time raising money for a wonderful cause and would like to thank everyone who has sponsored us. We have raised £143 offline and £40 online so far” explained Julie.

Donations are still open and can be made through Julie’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lincolncolourdash2018.

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

Happy Birthday Dan!

clip_image002We’d like to wish a very Happy Birthday to DBS’s Dan Atkinson.

The team gathered around this morning to enjoy birthday cake in the office and hear about Dan’s recent holiday to Turkey.

“I celebrated this year by relaxing in the sun of Fethiye in Turkey. The area is one of my partner’s family’s favourites and we’re already planning to return so we can explore more of the ancient rock tombs and ruins,” commented Dan who recently celebrated three years with DBS.

Click here to read more about Dan: http://www.dbsinternetmarketing.co.uk/our-team/11/daniel-atkinson/.

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

Laughter Yoga at DBS

1Two Nottinghamshire women visited DBS recently and aimed to put smiles on our faces in the weirdest possible way.

Deborah Hodson and Denise Tooley-Okonkwo of LOL Yoga became fascinated with the health benefits of laughter and now spread their message through ‘LOL Yoga’, an alternative and engaging type of therapy.

“It is a great way of accessing those endorphins and feel-good chemicals that are in the body without actually having anything humorous to laugh about.” Denise said.

Deborah admits many find it strange to begin with, but says: “The mind doesn’t know you are faking it, we integrate our knowledge into feel-good sessions and by making yourself laugh for no reason, many people find that their natural laughter does come out.”

Denise says: “We show managers and employees how to deal with the stress and pressure of work because what often happens is people will go into work and let everything pile up on top of them which makes them stressed.

“Instead of dealing with that stress they will focus completely on work which builds up cortisol in the body and shrinks down the part of the brain that is for logic, reasoning and behaviour modification.

“We help people access their ‘zone’ through a range of laughter techniques that helps them release the cortisol and get focused again.”

You can find out more about LOL Laughter Yoga in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdcoMT2dczk

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

David delivers guest lecture at University of Lincoln

David Guest Lecture Lincoln Uni April 18DBS director David Clarke recently gave a guest lecture to a group of Masters students at the Lincoln International Business School.

The lecture covered building and developing an award-winning business plus managing and responding to the changes in the business environment.

"David's lecture to the Lincoln International Business School showed how DBS puts forward a good educational case for leadership and the ways that companies run. I was impressed by DBS's award-winning achievements. The students enjoyed it as much as I did." said Dr. Jialin (Penny) Hardwick. Senior Lecturer, Lincoln International Business School.

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