Loading speed is how fast your website loads when a user search for it. Customers want their searches to load almost instantly and are not afraid to shop around online if your user experience is not quite up to scratch.

You might think to yourself - why is this important? How can this be helped? Why does it matter?

Well loading speed actually plays a part in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and how Google views and ranks your website. Recent studies show that Google considers loading speed as an important ranking factor when considering where to index your businesses website.

Recent Google algorithms focus pre-dominantly on user experience, they consider loading speed an important thing for search users. Pages with a slower loading speed will often have much higher bounce rates plus lower average page view time and lower conversions.


Test your businesses website loading speed using Page Insights on Google. If your loading speed needs improving work alongside a quality reputable web design designer. They will be able to help improve your sites speed with some of the below suggestions:

  • Enabling compression: Use a programme (Gzip) to compress the size of your CSS, HTML & Javascript files on-site. For images compress the sizes using Photoshop or other design software.
  • Reduce page re-directs: Every time a page directs to another page, the wait to find a search and page result increases. Ensure minimal re-directs as these slow down your loading time.
  • Leverage browser caching: Browsers store information every time a user visits your website. Set your ‘expires’ header for a year, this reduces the loading speed over time as it loads saved information and doesn’t have to load the entire page.
  • Improve server response time: Server response time is affected by the number of traffic your site generates, the amount of information it has to load plus the software and hosting package you use. Ensure the server you use has adequate space, the most up-to date software and deals with issues like slow queries and performance.
  • Optimize images: A simple but effective tip for improving your businesses website. Ensure images are a relatively small file size and correct format for loading up in an adequate time.

With the rise of e-commerce and shopping online mixed with the steady decline of the high street, traditional local advertising has taken a back seat with customers focusing more on modern marketing techniques rather than the traditional ones.

But there is a place for both, especially for SMEs looking to survive in the competitive print, embroidery and branding industry.

Local advertising can be both traditional and modern. Traditional advertising focuses on elements such as radio adverts, advertorials for magazines, directories etc, direct mail, brochures and so on. This is seen as ‘old-fashioned’ by many but done right this is a highly effective eye-catching way of gaining new customers for your business.

The modern approach to undertaking local advertising is focusing on things such as online directories (Yell etc) plus paid advertising such as Google Ads & Facebook Ads which allows you to target users based on their behaviours and importantly in this case their location.

Focusing on a local strategy and gradually building up to a larger audience has its advantages, they include:

  • Being cost effective: Focusing on a specific customer base allows you to focus your efforts and reach the relevant customers increasing your ROI.
  • Increased referrals: Something that you cannot do online as well as in person is referrals ‘word of mouth’. Engaging with local customers & communities will increase your businesses presence in an area. The lowest cost but most effective form of local advertising.
  • Get found online for local searches: Focusing locally and using directories for your business will help you get found online for searches relating to your location.
  • Easier to maintain & manage: Working on a smaller scale will give your business the confidence to get stuck into Marketing activities as they are on a smaller scale and easier to manage.
  • Allows for more dynamism: Engaging with local customers over different medians means you can work a tailored message per platform. It also gives you the opportunity to test what works and what doesn’t before launching your idea on a bigger stage.

It's not!

One of the common misconceptions I come across from garment decorators is that they class a 'website' order as an order if the customer pays for it online. This is perceived as somehow different to somebody who finds you online and picks up the phone or emails, or visits your store to give you an enquiry or place an order.

It's all about choice for customers. 

If you've got an 'all singing, all dancing' website where customers are comfortable placing an order for their embroidered or printed clothing online, then great. Lots of them will and you should definitely make that option available to them. 

But if they give you an enquiry and you win the order by any other means then put that in your 'website orders' folder as well. 

A commercial website (brochure or e-commerce) is a sales tool first and foremost.

Make sure it looks professional, promotes trust and reflects the brand and values of your business, and of course sells something. Your homepage especially needs to do this, but equally important, it must be flexible enough for you to easily update with your latest offers, promotions, best-selling products, content, social media campaigns and so on.

Try looking objectively at your homepage, if you're not happy with it then it's unlikely your potential customers will be. If you want an idea of just how critical this stuff is online, I found this article 'a real eye opener': http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223150

Focus on marketing, your businesses biggest potential income generator. 

When all that hard work and effort you have put in to promoting your new or existing website starts to pay off and the orders, customers emails and phone-calls are coming in, whatever you do, don't send them back to the place they just came from (your website) to try again, 'cause they'll go somewhere else!

Making sure your website gives the best customer experience possible, and when you get to that dream position of how to handle all the orders then look at the rest of the stuff.

When is a Website Not a Website?

If you want a website that books the job in, does the proofing for you, creates the delivery note, sends the invoice, collects the payments and even makes the tea. That's not a 'website'! 

There's plenty of software out there that'll handle all that (maybe not the tea) and will serve you well. You can get it built specifically or integrate it with your website. We meet lots of people in our industry who tell us about how much time they spend on this kind of stuff, trying to do it themselves, trying to figure out how these systems work, attempting to upload a zillion products, worrying about whether they need to add more widgets or features to make it better for them. 

What about the customer? 

Excercise caution if you find something that promises to do it all in one, that's a tall order to be all things to all 'platforms'. 

What if you want to change your website? 

You shouldn't have to change your order processing system. What if you want to update your brand and improve your marketing or get a swanky new responsive website, you shouldn't have to change your proofing system or accounts package.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that this stuff isn't important, it is! But they are not the same and none of it will win you any business...

One last thought... 

Try setting up a new site from a website design company online, fully branded for your business to sell your embroidered or printed clothing. It will cost £10k+ and take months of planning and consideration.

For a sensible solution that helps businesses actually generates income get in touch on info@etraderwebsites.co.uk or call 029 2074 1663

We will happily chat to you and see if we can possibly help grow your business and its online presence.

You might think a chatbot is a new revolutionary Marketing tool, but this is not the case… they have actually existed for decades but only in recent times businesses have to exploit them and the opportunities that come with having an on-site bot.

A well optimized chatbot is a great way to boost conversion rates and generate more online leads and sales. Bots were initially built dominantly to deal with customer service, aimed at improving efficiency in resolving problems and queries from customers. But they have since developed further to become more Sales & Marketing based.

There are two main types of bots – the intelligent bot and the scripted one. The scripted uses pre-defined points and responds in an automated manner. Whereas the intelligent bot is continuously developing, analysing customer text and learning from conversation and experience using AI.


The development and growth of the chatbot is dominantly owed to Facebook who using their Messenger app allowed bots to be integrated into their platform. With over 4 billion users (as of September 2019) using their messenger app, the potential for businesses using bots is huge.

There are many benefits as to why you should use Chatbots for your online business including:

  • Chatbots have massive potential: In Marketing terms bots are still in their infancy. They will continue to develop and grow and will soon be at the forefront of most websites service efforts.
  • Chatbots are simple to build: There are many providers out there who make building bots easy and a simple drag and drop exercise. Of course, there is bespoke but with bots in their infancy now is the time to explore the cost-effective options available.
  • Chatbots help grow your brand image: A chatbot represents your business, its values and brand. It is a great way of brand building and helping convey a message as to what your business is all about.
  • Chatbots simplify customer service: They take out the human aspect of dealing with an enquiry, stripping it back to its simplest form and provide users short, concise, clear information leading to greater customer satisfaction.
  • Chatbots are actually cost effective: The cost of developing a chatbot is minimal compared to the cost of having someone dealing with online enquiries and issues. With the potential lead generation, they can also provide using AI, the bot become one of your most affordable sales tools. 

A social calendar is a great way for your business to improve your Online Marketing’s efficiency and work weeks and in some cases months in advance.

With businesses using so many Social Media platforms, it can be a bit of a daunting task to stay on top of it and plan accordingly. But don't be too put off, using a Social Media calendar allows you to plan and schedule campaigns for maximum impact, it will also help identify any gaps which may need plugging.

Managing your Social Media schedule also allows you to tailor your campaigns to certain times of year, focus on certain events and seasonality and maximise your inbound efforts.

To help plan your calendar, there are 100s of templates readily available online, but this can be done simply on Excel, Google Drive or anywhere you like. It is not just planning your content that is simple but scheduling it is also easy with Social Media management tools like Buffer, Hootsuite & Crowdfire.


Here are a few simple reasons why you might want to consider using a Social Media calendar:

Improve your online efficiency

Social Media calendars help you to avoid scrambling. Sit back & relax knowing you have heaps of content planned on your accounts. This will also free up time to focus on other aspects of your businesses Marketing strategy.

Plan for multiple platforms in one place

A calendar allows you to plan for individual platforms instead of the same post on every Social Media account. Craft different messages for different platforms to improve engagement. The most obvious one is LinkedIn; ensure you post more curated thought leadership content instead of a generic post.

Track, plan, monitor & manage your strategy

Calendars allow you to track, plan and monitor what is working, what is not working, and you can tweak it accordingly as you are going along.

Reach more people

Using a calendar helps you reach a wider audience, plan content around events & holidays. Using these in the posts will help you reach a wider audience than a standard post.

One last thought...

It is great for businesses to be efficient and ensure they are on top of their Social Media strategy but there is still room for spontaneity. 

For those things that you never know may pop up that may be relevant to your business, customers and trends you can engage with keep a balance between planned and real. Customers want a business with a personality not just post after post.