Recently we were approached by one of our clients who noticed he was getting a high volume of traffic to his site, however did not seem to be getting much in the way of leads or conversions. On closer inspection, his Analytics was giving him misleading false data, and I can guarantee that yours is doing exactly the same to you, so it’s worth having a look at.

When you log into your Google Anayltics dashboard and open up Reporting>Acquisiting>All Traffic>Referrals have a look down the list of referrals for any of these sites:


What are these sites and why are they linking to your site?

They are not linking to you at all. These sites represent fake referrals. They are created in your Google Analytics account to trick you into visiting spamming websites. If you open on these URLs in your browser, you will likely to be redirected to an online store, marketing scam or malware site. Welcome to the world of Google Analytics Spam!

google spam

The biggest culprit at the moment is Semalt. Check out this very useful article that looks at Semalt in more detail. The bad news is that these sites an seriously mess up your metrics, giving you a completely inaccurate idea of how many visitors/referrals your site gets. The good news, is that you can block them. We put filters in place to ensure that the data you are seeing is more accurate.

Click here to see a very useful article that explains how to set up your own filters  (though please read the instructions VERY CAREFULLY!), or get in touch with us for a quote and we will do the hard work for you.

Our clients often employ third-party SEO & marketing companies to help them promote their websites, which from our point of view is a good idea as it’s not our cup of tea.

We are however inevitably asked by those companies for FTP access to our client’s website. We unfortunately do not provide FTP access to any of our clients website because FTP is an insecure transfer protocol.

What does “insecure transfer protocol” mean?

When transferring files to and from a server using FTP, everything including usernames and passwords are sent over the internet in clear text. An attacker or hacker can “listen” for this kind of traffic on the internet and capture your login information or even the information you are transferring.

It is an insecure method of copying information from one computer to another, or from your marketing company’s computer to our server.

The technical jargon version

The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a TCP/IP protocol which transfers files between FTP servers and clients. With the use of either an IP address or a hostname, FTP can create a link to a remote computer after resolving hostnames to IP addresses.

FTP has a major drawback while performing authentication the data will transfer in plain text, this allows anyone spoofing traffic to capture the username and password mid-transaction. This is the reason why FTP is considered insecure.

We do provide…

We provide a completely free, secure service whereby your marketing or SEO company sends us any files that they need on your website* (for instance an updated robots.txt file, sitemap file or other).

The files that make up your website are editable through the content management system that we provide with every website we design.

In this way we keep your website secure while your marketing or SEO company ensures your clients can find it online.

*Usage restrictions & fair use ploicies apply, please contact us for details

Have you tried Facebook Ads?

Were you happy with the results from your campaign?  Or are you convinced that Facebook Ads don’t work?

If it’s the latter, you’re not alone –  many small businesses have tried Facebook Ads and been unimpressed with the results. But the fact is, they don’t know how to do things the smart way!

You’ll have seen that tempting, in-your-face “Boost Post” button sitting there waiting to trip up unwary Facebook page managers.  To be fair, it does have its uses, but it should never be your sole route into a Facebook Ads campaign.


Boosting Posts Isn’t Always The Best Strategy

In fact, the “boost post” option is a lot better than it used to be when you could only target people who liked your page and their friends.  However, you aren’t able to use one of Facebook’s most powerful targeting tools – Custom Audiences. Your budget options are also limited.

Let’s look at a better way to do this.

The Facebook Ads Manager

Even if you use “Boost Post”, the resulting advert sits within your Facebook Ads Manager dashboard and this is where you can view your progress and results

FB ads manager


The image doesn’t show the full range of metrics but you get an impressive set of analytics to show just how your advert is performing as well as keeping track of your spending.  It’s all valuable information.

Creating an Ad

Contrary to popular belief, Facebook does care about businesses, and is particularly keen to support small business.  The Facebook advertising platform is continually evolving and it’s now far more straightforward to use than previously.  They really are trying to make it easy for us!  When you click that green “Create Ad” button, this is the screen you are presented with.

FB ad results

That looks a bit more flexible than “Boost Post”, doesn’t it?  Let’s assume you want to promote something on your website.  Here’s a tip: DO NOT simply enter your domain URL. Always enter the URL of a specific page on your site – make it as easy as possible for people to reach the desired destination in a single click.   For example, here I’ve used the landing page for one of my free downloads.

FB ads clicks to website


Your Ad Creative

By “creative” I mean the actual design of your ad (text and image).

On the next screen you’re able to add images (the default is the image on the page you’re linking to, but you can change it if you wish) – and you can enter text for your ad too.  There’s also the VERY cool option to add a “Call to Action” button to your ad.  If you know anything about marketing, you’ll be aware of the importance of calls to action (CTAs) and the fact that you can include clickable CTAs in your Facebook Ads is amazing! Below is an example – I’ve added a “download” CTA.


FB ads CTA


As you can see, on the right of the screen you get a preview of how your ad will look, and this updates in real time as you edit the text, image etc.  Note that you can also select the placement of your ad – the default is desktop news feed, desktop right column and mobile news feed.  Each option has a “remove” button.

Your Target Audience

The next section is for Audience Selection and this is where you’ll begin to see the advantages of using the Ads Manager rather than “Boost Post”.   There are more selection criteria here, including the “Custom Audience” option.  Custom Audiences are one of the hidden gems within Facebook Ads – an absolute goldmine for marketers.  It’s possible to create Custom Audiences from your email subscriber list, your Facebook Page fans, your website visitors and if you’re an app developer,  users of your app.

Why is this powerful?  Because these people are already “warm leads” – they’ve signed up to receive information, visited your website already, downloaded your app or liked your Facebook Page.  With Custom Audiences, you can show your ads to these prospects with a far higher chance of conversion than if they hadn’t already expressed interest in your products / services.

FB ads audience selection


Your other targeting options are Interests, Behaviours and Connections (i.e. other pages liked by your target group, and their friends if you so wish). I’ve done a quick example above. As you can see, you get a real-time “dial” showing the size of your selected audience.  Tip: aim to make it around 200,000 or less for best results. Think carefully about your targeting!

Campaign, Bidding and Pricing

One of the recent changes to the Facebook Ads platform was a revision of the campaign structure.  A new level “Ad Sets” was added, and even more recently amended again, so that the whole thing looks like this:

C:\Users\master\Desktop\new FB ad structure Sept 2014.png


This may look complicated at first glance, but it’s actually an improvement over the previous format.  You can now organise your campaign setup for specific objectives, ad sets corresponding to different audiences, and individual ads within each ad set (useful for split testing).

This is how it looks within the Ad Manager. You’ll probably want to change the name of your ad set to make it memorable.  Set a budget that you’re comfortable with – it can be as little as £1 per day – and whether you want the campaign to run continuously or for a specific time period.  In the “Bidding” section you have the choice of optimising for clicks (CPC) or impressions (CPM, cost per thousand impressions).  If you’re new to Facebook Ads, I’d recommend sticking with the default setting to begin with. (see below)

FB ads campaign and bidding

Give Facebook Ads A Try!

If you were one of those small business owners saying “Facebook Ads Don’t Work”,  I hope you’re beginning to see that Facebook Ads can be a powerful , cost-effective marketing tool for your small business. As with anything new, you’ll  have a learning curve to become familiar with the platform and the different targeting options.  The best thing is that you’re free to try out as many ads as you want –  once your budget is set,  Facebook will never spend more, and you’re always kept informed of progress via email.

In this post I haven’t even mentioned the very best way to set up and manage your ads – Power Editor.  This is an add-on to the Facebook Ad Manager that’s only available in the Chrome browser. It offers more options, including “Lookalike Audiences” whereby you can create a new audience of similar people based on an existing Custom Audience (think about that for a minute!) – and “Unpublished Posts”, which are Facebook Page posts that never appear on your page but instead are shown as adverts in the Newsfeed.  Watch out for a future blog post about Power Editor.

Have you been successful with Facebook Ads?  I’d love to hear what has worked for you – go ahead and share in the comments.  Please share this post to your networks too!

This blog was brought to you by Naomi Jane Johnson

Naomi is a freelance social media consultant and trainer living in north Notts. She also dabbles in web design and SEO. Her longterm hobby is breeding, showing and judging pedigree cats. A Fairtrade supporter, Naomi promotes the use of eco friendly/organic products wherever possible. Follow Naomi on Google+ and other social networks, and download her FREE Facebook Marketing Cheat Sheet

 Original Source

The words on your website are reaching readers in a certain way, whether you like it or not. The tone of voice for your website copy will go a long way to deciding whether you’re connecting with customers.

A while ago, former Apple marketing vice president Allison Johnson revealed that Apple never used to refer to marketing strategies or advertising campaigns. They used them like every other business, but it was more of a question of internal attitude: Apple didn’t want to feel like they were selling anything (consciously or subconsciously).

Johnson worked for Apple between 2005 and 2011, during which time they released several products (including the iPad and iPhone). She says that just before the release of a new product, Apple would turn into a ‘launch machine’.

What does that mean?

Effectively it meant that Apple would just focus on teaching and informing people about their new product, rather than selling.

This technique has quickly become part of Apple’s culture and it is highly effective: when Apple has a product that’s ready for consumers, the whole world writes, tweets and blogs about it. That’s not a coincidence.

Apple’s tone of voice and ethos is to focus on the facts: what have they launched, why do you need it and what problems it will solve? And they keep their words as simple as possible. They’d focus on these principles so hard that you’d forget you were being sold to. That’s magic, stealth-like marketing.

I don’t think a lot of companies think about their tone of voice and their attitude to communication. Certainly, not many businesses operate like Apple and I wonder why.

So what’s your tone of voice? Who are your best customers? Who’s most likely to visit your website and how do they want to be talked to?

Look at the words your business uses and make them work as hard as possible. You could do far worse than focusing on your customers’ relationship with your products, rather than the products themselves or their relationship with you.

Matt Press, Splash CopywritersThis blog was brought to you by Matt Press of Splash Copywriters 

I often get asked what is Reiki and how did I get into doing it, after all I am not the stereotypical “new age” person that you may have in your mind especially if you meet me, I’m a shaven headed tattooed guy who likes to work out.

What is Reiki – In a nutshell it means life force energy or in western words energy healing, it deals with a person’s Ki (their Chi), it is such a gentle healing that it works with people, animals, plants and even works alongside modern medicine

What got me on my path to becoming a Reiki healer was when my wife was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and although she had been living with it all her life once she started on medicine to help the pain. It actually had the reverse effect and caused her to need to use a walking stick before her 30th birthday, so action was needed. I had heard about Reiki and a local teacher was offering a 1 day course to attune you to level one and having been told by every psychic I had ever met that I had healing hands I thought it may be worth investigating.

I passed the first level and immediately went home to my wife and started to work on her knees and hips, gradually she started to get better but the pain kept coming back, we found though that other issues were eased like her PMT with a Reiki healing. It got to the stage where she was able to bin her medication that she used for PMT and started to use my healing hands instead. Well I found this to be marvelous and signed up to take Level 2 so I could start working with people outside of my family. Getting to this level helped my wife and her symptoms dramatically and within 12 months of level 2 Reiki once a week she was able to stop using her stick as much and binned the daily ibuprofen usage and only used it when it left her bed ridden.

Fast forward to 8 years later and if you met my wife now you would not know that she has Osteoarthritis as she manages it with positivity, love and above all regular Reiki sessions, she has not used a stick in over 6 years and only takes medicine if I’m not around or she has been driving long distance. She is only one of a number of people that I have helped over the years and I now run my own business. You can find out more about what Reiki is or if you want to know if it can help you then please visit my website and make contact with me.

This guest blog was brought to you via Peace and Light

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It always interests me that when sports people and teams do badly or well, the coach is seen as integral yet in business, which is even more complex than sport, people often don’t even think that they need a coach. Few people in sport would expect to achieve success without a coach, so what is the difference in business?

For example, this weekend Mo Farrah broke Steve Ovett’s 36 year old British record for the 2 mile distance. His coach, Alberto Salazar, has been seen as having a key role in transforming Mo into a world beater since he started working with him early in 2011. Within six months, the Londoner was celebrating a 5,000 metres world title and a 10,000m silver medal in Daegu, South Korea, before going on to win the 5,000m and 10,000m double in London a year later and then to repeat the feat in Moscow in August 2013. The International Association of Athletics Federations presented Salazar with its Coaching Achievement Award at its annual gala in Monte Carlo 2013 and the British Olympics team is now using him to oversee coaching of all the UK runners.

Renowned for his attention to detail and his use of cutting-edge science, Salazar has worked with Mo on changing his familiar bouncy running style into something more economical and energy-conserving. Farah trusts his judgement so even though he is about to celebrate his daughter’s birthday he’s checking with Alberto “if I can go on the bouncy castle, maybe if I take off my shoes.”

The message from sport is that a coach will help you to success in the beginning and then help you keep there by honing your skills and adjusting, focusing on the details as the challenges change. They seem like really good reasons why businesses should have a coach as well.

inspire2aspireThis blog was bought to you by Inspire2Aspire. Sarah and Bob Brown are a husband and wife team who help you focus on actions and create better decisions, innovative strategies and plans, leading to improved results.

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We have had a lovely start to the summer by launching not one, but two sites for happy clients.

Robert Guy ConductorCheck out the new website for Conductor – Robert Guy, which will hopefully help launch him into Orchestral Conductor Stardom! More on this and a link to his site here.


St Therese of LisieuxThen check out our Primary School website for St Therese of Lisieux – a special one for Director Fionnuala who used to be a pupil there many moons ago!

Dear Clients,
Please be advised that our webservers are being upgraded today and therefore you may experience some down time. Apologies for any inconvenience this causes you.
Fionnuala & Heinz

You wait for a bus and then two come at once….

We have launched our second website in March which makes up for no launch in January!

Read all about the new website for business and promotional printing company Fasprint Ltd – here.

Back in January we made ourselves a challenge to launch at least one website per month. We are known for doing much more than just websites and therefore we are busy with many other types of projects but we get a special thrill when we get a new client online for the first time or take an old website down and replace it with something new and fresh.

So this month, we completed the branding and website design of CSWS-Ltd, a company based in Pontefract that specialise in Storage, Mezzanine Flooring, Partitioning and Racking. This is a new company headed by Mike Steadman. Check out our full story on our Portfolio Page.