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David’s trip to Everest Basecamp

This September, DBS Director and founder David Clarke undertook a great challenge and trekked to Everest Base Camp. Being thousands of meters above sea level, long days of walking and torrential rainfall meant the trip was far from easy, but made the achievement at the end so much more impressive.

In total the trip took 8 days to get up to base camp and an additional 3 to get back down. During the trip, there were inevitably highs and lows. When I asked David what his favourite part of the trip was he said he had to be the moment he finally arrived at base camp. What was the worst? Day 7 - as it when the altitude sickness kicked in. Nausea, sickness, headaches and eyes that were almost swollen shut made it difficult to get through.

His daily routine started at 6 am when his alarm went off, breakfast was served at 7 am with the walking starting at around 8 am. Most of the days finished around 3 or 4pm.

David decided to take on such a big challenge as he turned 60 earlier on in the year and he thought it was a now or never thing. Would he do something similar in the future? Apparently he has no plans as of yet. But he is having a good think about whether to do high altitude again or not. 17,500 ft is a long way up and puts a big demand on your body.

Finally, I asked If he would recommend other people giving this challenge a go, “Yes, but it needs a huge amount of training and dedication to do it justice”

Well done David, the whole DBS team are really proud of what you’ve done!

Here are some of the amazing pictures from David’s trip:

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David had to take a helicopter out of Kathmandu as Lukla Airport was closed due to cloud. They ended up landing 600m below Lukla which added to the trek.

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Day 1- The trek began with putting duffel bags on yaks and heading for Phakding

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Day 3:  The group undertook an acclimatization walk to 3900m. This picture was taken on the descent into Namche Bazar. Torrential rain all day did not make the trek easier!

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Day 6: Plastic bottles will be banned on Everest from next year but the photo shows how every bottle of water arrives

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Made it to Everest Base Camp. A whopping 5364m high

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

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Why is Google Maps not working on my website?


Why-is-Google-Maps-not-working-on-my-websiteMany websites have a Google Map embedded onto their site somewhere, whether this be part of the home page or contact us section to allow potential customers to easily find your business and visit.

If you do have a Google Map embedded on your website, we encourage you to check to make sure it is still working correctly and not showing the following error message:


Google Map error screenshot
What does the error message mean? Well, back in May 2018 Google announced that from July 2018 it would be a requirement for businesses to add billing details with the Google Maps Platform API (an API is something developers can use to request data from another server, for example in the Google Maps case we can send some data to Google’s servers to retrieve information such as driving directions)

You will need a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account in order to continue using Google maps. Once you have enabled billing, you will gain $200 worth of free usage per month for Google Maps, Routes and Places products. Although a lot of companies do not exceed this monthly limit, we do recommend that your map configuration is reviewed to ensure that you are not paying any unnecessary costs for getting data from the Google Maps Platform.

Maps are an important thing to have on your website as they are extremely useful, so using Google maps, routes and places are all still great features to use, you just need to make these modifications in order to ensure the maps still works effectively on your site.

The DBS team will be happy to help you if you require assistance with obtaining the API key or if you would just like some more information. Give us a call on 01522 811688.

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

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DBS named finalists at the Lincolnshire Media Business Awards 2019

Lincolnshire Business Awards 2019- CroppedWe are excited to announce that we have been named as finalists for the Lincolnshire Media Business Awards 2019.

We will be heading to the Awards Ceremony held at the Lincolnshire Showground Epic Centre on 17th October. The awards will see Lincolnshire businesses go head to head for awards across a range of categories voted by a panel of independent judges. The categories range from Apprentice of the Year, Business Person of the Year to Heart of the Community and Innovation Award. With 16 categories, it will be an evening with plenty of amazing winners.

DBS have been nominated for TWO categories this year: Employer of the Year and Digital Campaign of the Year.

The awards are now in their 16th year and it is a great event that shows the efforts of businesses across Lincolnshire. All of the winners are then put forward to with the prestigious Business of the Year Overall winner.

Commenting on being shortlisted, DBS Director Julie Priestley said. “We are delighted to be finalists for both the Employer of the Year and Best Digital Campaign awards.  It makes great business sense to us to invest in our team, they are the heart of DBS Internet Marketing and are continually striving to achieve great results for all our clients.  We are looking forward to an evening celebrating all the amazing local businesses in Lincolnshire. It should be a great evening.”

We are so proud to be finalists and are looking forward to the awards ceremony as it’s a great evening and its lovely to be able to celebrate the amazing achievements of local businesses.

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

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Online Payments are changing

Online PaymentsWhat is Strong Customer Authentication and how will it affect my business? Changes were due to come into play on the 14th September 2019, however several countries have announced that their implementation will be temporarily delayed.

When the new regulations for authenticating online payments are introduced in Europe, they will make shopping online even more secure for the customer. Here we discuss in further detail what Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is, how it could affect your business and what measures you can put in place to accommodate the new rules.

What is Strong Customer Authentication?
SCA is new a new regulation requirement in order to reduce fraud online and make purchasing online more secure. Once this new regulation is live, you will need to ensure that your checkout meets the required level of authentication. If it currently doesn’t, you will have to build additional authentication into your checkout process.

For a payment to successfully be processed, SCA requires the authentication to use at least 2 of the following elements:

1.    Something the customer knows (This can include a PIN code or Password)
2.    Something the customer has (This can be a code sent to a mobile phone)
3.    Something the customer is (This is completely unique to the person and can include face recognition or fingerprint).

By including at least 2 of these elements, you are ensuring the payment is genuinely being made by that person.

Currently online payments often require 3D secure- this is when the customer is prompted by their bank, once they have made a payment online, to provide additional information such as entering a one-time code which is sent to their mobile or a password. The new regulation is building on this, taking it one step further to ensuring higher security.

When is SCA required?
Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will be required for online payments that are “customer initiated” within Europe. Therefore, this will include the majority of card payments and all bank transfers.

SCA will be required when both the company and the customer are located with the EEA (European Economic Area). Please note that currently it is believed that the new regulations will still take place in the UK regardless of the outcome of Brexit, so online companies need to be aware of this change.

When is SCA not required?
There are some cases where SCA will not be required. Certain low risk transactions and transactions of a low amount (e.g. Under €35) may not require the additional security measures.

Other exemptions may include subscriptions, trusted beneficiaries (where customers could have the option to white list certain businesses they trust) and phone sales.  Despite these being possible exemptions, it is not guaranteed. At the end of the day, it will be the customers’ bank who determines which payments can be made exempt. Bearing this in mind, you will need to be prepared for SCA and not rely on these payments being exempted.

What are the next steps?
If your business will be affected by the new regulations, we recommend that you start preparing for it as soon as possible. Unlike the current authentication which adds another step to the customer checkout, the new regulation is attempting to minimize the friction during the checkout process and make it as smooth as possible whilst still being more secure.

It is important to be aware that payment methods such as Apply Pay and Google pay already support the new regulations as they both have a layer built in which requires your fingerprint or password. Using these methods is one-way businesses can offer a smooth check out experience but still meeting the new regulations.

If you need any more information about the new regulations coming into effect later on in the year, or would like to discuss any changes to your checkout to accommodate these changes then please contact the DBS web development team on 01522 811688 and we would be happy to help.

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

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How to improve your Local SEO

Local SEO. Internet Marketing Concept.Optimising your local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is vital for small businesses. Local SEO is where you target customers who are likely to come and visit your store or business location. By correctly targeting the correct people who are in the vicinity of your business, it will encourage them to come and visit. Studies suggest that once someone has searched for a local business, they are likely to go and visit the business within 24 hours, so it is vital to get your business out there. Here we discuss a few ways in which you can improve your local SEO to get you seen by more people, but more importantly, the correct people. By using some of the same methods of standard SEO such as creating engaging and informative content, you can become more visible, however for local SEO there are a few more factors you should consider:

1.    Claim your business listing
Claiming your My Google Business page is a great way to start. This will mean when people search for a business similar to yours, you can appear in the business listings and this will provide potential customers with important information such as your opening hours, your address and contact details. Try and use local keywords in your listing as well. Google is not the only listing you can claim. Look at Bing Local, Yelp and other industry specific business directories to make your business more visible. Also add all of this useful information onto your social media networks as well. You can make your listing stand out with images and reviews. This could make the difference of a customer picking your company over a competitor.

2.    Keyword Research
Just as with all SEO and many forms of digital marketing, keyword research is extremely important. Having an understanding of what words and phrases customers are using when searching online lets you know what you should be including in your content. Start with some competitor analysis as this is a great way to get some inspiration to start you off. Use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to help with this exercise. You can then use the keywords you want to focus on in your targeting list in Google Adwords and ensure they are included in your website copy to help with organic results as well. A great way to add keywords in a website is by writing informative and helpful blog articles for your target customers.

3.    Think mobile first
Many people are using their mobile phones above any other device they own so it makes sense to always ensure mobile is at the top of your mind when carrying out any form of digital marketing. It is especially important for local SEO as people will be looking for businesses on their phone on the go, so if they are near your business, they are likely to visit. You need to ensure that when customers are searching, all the information you want to get across is easy to read on mobile and that it’s all easy to find. Although your website needs to look good across all devices including tablets and desktop, mobile should always be the priority as so many people rely on them.

4.    Reviews are extremely useful
It is a good idea to ask your customers for reviews. As long as you don’t force your customers, or ask them in a rude or forceful way, a lot of customers will be happy to provide you with one. This is especially important for certain sectors such as dining or hotels. Having reviews on Google or Trip Advisor and other review sites will help you appear higher up on the search results page. Also, reviews hold a lot of power. If customers see several good reviews, they will be more tempted to visit your business. But make sure you keep an eye on reviews. Good reviews can do amazing things for both your brand visibility and your reputation, but bad reviews can sometimes be damaging. By addressing reviews, whether they are good or bad, in a quick and professional manner will show you have high levels of customer service.

5.    Be Social
Social media isn’t going anywhere soon, so it is important for your business to be visible on social media as it will be where your audience is. Social media marketing as a whole is relatively cheap form of marketing and can have an extremely high impact. The main thing to consider is which social platform is right for your business? Each social media platform is different, and you need to cater your content for this. It also depends on which social media platforms you believe your ideal customers to be on. If you are a restaurant for example, then Instagram is a great platform for you as your products are extremely visual, which will translate on Instagram well as this is a very image led platform. Social media is also a great place to push offers which can entice people to visit your business. Once you have people at your business, try and get them to share that they were there or used your product or service as this will help increase your reach.

6.    Make sure you measure
As with all elements of marketing, you need to make sure you measure the results consistently so you can adapt your strategy and see the results. The Google My Business dashboard can provide you with some information such as how many times your listing has been viewed, how many times it has been searched and how many times your map has been looked at. These are all great indications that customers are interested in visiting your business or contacting you.

7.    Make sure all details are correct
When filling out your business listings, always ensure your business information is correct. Keep your phone number, website, email address, business address and opening hours consistently up to date to avoid any customer confusion as this could lead to frustration. Also ensure all your information is consistent. Make sure your present your address in the same way each time with no abbreviations, as again this shows a great eye for detail and professionalism.

8.    Get blogging
Creating a blog on your website is a great way to regularly update your website, include local keywords and provide your potential customers with useful or entertaining content all at once. Not only is blogging great for SEO, it can benefit the customer by providing information each time they visit your website. If you can keep them engaged, they will be more invested in your business. You can use these blogs on your social channels as well!

If you need help with your local SEO strategy then Team DBS can help. We can look at your current website, and ensure your site is fully optimized for local SEO traffic. We can also help with your social media presence as well. If you would like more information or a no obligation quote then please do not hesitate to contact us.

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

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PPC vs SEO – which is best for my business?

Text sign showing Ppc Vs Seo. Conceptual photo Pay per click against Search Engine Optimization strategies.Search Engine Marketing (also known as SEM) consists of two main areas, PPC (Pay per Click Advertising) and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). If you are new to these terms, they can appear to be extremely daunting prospects. Here we help to explain what they are, discuss the differences between the two of them, why they are important for increasing sales and revenue, and which one will work best for your business.

What is PPC?
PPC stands for Pay Per Click. This marketing technique allows you to show a customised advert to people who are searching for your products or services. The beauty of it is that you are only charged when someone clicks on your advert, hence the name.

Pay Per Click advertising is most effective on Google or Bing and the reason it’s so effective is that you get to choose the search terms your adverts are shown for. The ads are highly prominent as they appear at the top of search result pages and in most instances will be the first listings that clients or customers see.

The exact position your ad will appear in depends heavily on how much you are willing to spend, your resources, and skill set in the area. If there is a lot of competition for certain “keywords” (which are phrases that your potential clients or customers are typing in to the search engine), then it will cost you more per click to feature at the top of the page. You can identify which results on a page are PPC as they feature the word “Ad”.

What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the marketing technique used to try and influence the “organic” or “natural” search engine results, which you do not pay to appear in. By optimising your website content and digital presence by focusing on certain keywords, you can end up getting your website on to the first page of the search engine results without the need to pay every time someone clicks on the link.

Organic results appear below the PPC ads. If you create your website with the keywords that people are searching for in mind in terms of meta data (the code that sits behind each page and tells Google what your website is about), the text on those pages, the layout of the site and more, then you can create something that Google and other search engines will love and will be more likely to appear higher up in the results. Having a site that is easy to navigate, answers your customers questions and has a good overall customer experience are factors that Google likes and in turn will reward you with a higher position. But it is isn’t just enough to do this once and forget about it – Google likes to see a website that is constantly being updated and an active social media presence, so SEO is an ongoing process.

What are the differences?
Cost - The main draw to SEO is that it free - but only to a degree. Initially you will have to pay for the website and the content on it to be optimized if you want it to be done properly and in line with keyword research. You may also have to pay for someone to write ongoing content (such as a blog) or to write your social media for you, but you can do that yourself.

However, you will not have to pay each time a customer clicks, unlike PPC where you must pay for each individual click regardless of whether the customer ends up converting. Having said this, it takes investment in both time and money in order to get your SEO to a great level. The cost you end up paying for an ad depends on what keyword you are bidding for and how many people are bidding on the same keyword, among others, as PPC is effectively an online auction. Although you have to pay each time a customer clicks through, you do not have to pay every time your advert is viewed. Although SEO does not have a direct cost like PPC, you have to consider the cost of both time and money spent on your ongoing efforts to build you SEO as it is a time-consuming task.

Position in Search Results - PPC ads feature above organic results and also feature at the bottom of the search results page. The position of your advert depends on many factors. Organic results fill the middle of search engine result pages (SERPs) and the exact position, again depends on many factors. The more relevant search engines think you are, the higher up the page it will place you. Many people think that if they are positioned high up in the natural results then they don’t need to feature in PPC, but often that isn’t the case. Many people will only click the first two or three results they see, which are often PPC. To catch as many visitors as possible, you generally need to appear in both.

Time - PPC is a much quicker option and you can see results in a much shorter time period. If PPC adverts are set up effectively you can start seeing results straight away. SEO is a time-consuming task in comparison, and it can take months for the benefits to start to be felt. However, if it is carried out regularly and efficiently, you will see the benefits that can last a long time.

Visibility - PPC ads are more visible across all of Google including their partners such as YouTube. This means your ad can appear in more places than your organic result which can lead to more visits to your site.

Control - A benefit of PPC is that you are in complete control of what your ad says and how it will appear (even if you cannot completely control where). This means you can create tailored ads that are targeting specific groups of people. The more informative your ad is, the more likely a customer will click.

Amount of Traffic - Studies have suggested that PPC ads get more clicks, however this will therefore result in higher cost. SEO results will get high amounts of traffic but only if you feature high up in the results, which again can take a lot of time to achieve this, if at all.

Conclusion
In conclusion the best approach for many businesses is a combination of both PPC and SEO. Depending on the budget you have available and the type of business you own, you should start with PPC as the results can be seen faster, but team this up with an SEO strategy as soon as possible, as the sooner you start, the sooner you will start to see the benefits. This is a longer-term strategy and will require a lot of initial effort, however if you continue to carry out SEO you will hopefully appear on the first page of results which will be cheaper for your business in the long run. They also work hand in hand as if you start off with PPC ads you can use the keyword data you have created in your research to aid your SEO strategy at the same time.  Both PPC and SEO take time to completely master and will involve a lot of resources, however when they are done well, both methods make a huge impact on the visibility and success of your website and business.

If you need help with your PPC or SEO strategies, then the DBS team are happy to help. Contact us on 01522 811688 or visit www.dbsinternetmarketing.co.uk for more information.

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

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DBS founder celebrates milestone birthday

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Many happy returns to DBS director and founder David Clarke who celebrated his 60th birthday on Sunday!

The DBS team celebrated in a relaxed way with David, his family and friends after work on Friday night by going to listen to some live music whilst enjoying pizza and a few beers.

David founded DBS in the USA in 1986 before returning to the UK and founding DBS in the UK in 1996. Over the years DBS evolved from being a print advertising business to being the web design and online marketing business that it is today.

In 2017 as David began to step back from the business DBS became a 100% employee owned company.  

To find out more about David and to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, visit https://www.dbsinternetmarketing.co.uk/our-team/1/david-clarke/

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

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