APP OF THE MONTH: FACEBOOK PAGES MANAGER

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Digital Marketing, Social Media

In lockdown it is crazy easy to go off on major tangents instead of actually doing any work, so help curb your urges with our App of the Month.

Name Facebook Pages Manager
Product Description No more getting distracted by your wall, get straight down to business with all your Facebook Business Pages in one place.
Availability Available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Key Features ·       Manage your page comments, posts and messages from one place without getting diverted by all that tempting clickbait on your feed.

·       Keep track of your Insights (Facebook Analytics) so you know what activity is performing well and what you need to work on.

·       Sync your Instagram account to manage all your messages together in a single platform.

·       Get your Facebook Advertising set up to achieve your company goals whether boosting existing posts or creating new content.

·       Schedule Events and Appointments and publicise available jobs through one easy app.

Prices and Plans It’s completely free! (Until you start purchasing Facebook Ads.)
Biggest Pro It’s simplicity! When working on your business pages it is so easy to get lost in your feed if you log on from your browser or the Facebook App, (we’ve all been there, just one more video…) now you can avoid the urge and get directly to the point.
Biggest Con Unlike online you can’t view your page as a customer, basically just as your personal profile, so you can see what it looks like from a visitor’s perspective. It’s being updated all the time though, so watch this space.

 

So, get to work with Facebook Pages Manager!

Instead of looking at all your photos ever, since 2007.

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My Lockdown Corona-Coaster

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Creative Industries, Mental Health

I know I haven’t been around for a couple of months! I can only apologise! Like much of the population I have been slowly losing my mind.

I stopped watching the news in April because I couldn’t bear to learn what preposterous idea Boris and his team of terrible Tories have come up with next. Instead, I have been learning what’s going on in the world through hilarious memes shared across various different social media platforms with friends that I’m not allowed to see, all of whom are in places I’m not allowed to go to.

So, here is my Corona-coaster in action, all the way up and all the way down and round and round in bloody circles, until I have reached what will hopefully be slightly more consistent plateaux.

Weeks 1 to 3 when we were assured by our Prime Minister that we would only be in lockdown for 3 weeks I was filled with optimism. Finally, time to get my shit together. I would start ‘couch to 5k’, a new HIIT plan and a new diet to boot! By the end of lockdown, I would not only look great, but I would feel fabulous!

I would also start a new drive with The Arts Business. This was the time! Yes, I had lost 90% of my contracts due to the fact that I’m predominantly based in the arts and events industry but heck! Everyone would be in the same boat. We could get through it together. This was going to be great; I was finally going to do all the things I never got around to!

How was I to know this theory was so flawed!

I am used to travelling to different places to visit friends and colleagues up and down the country every weekend. I was just starting Am Dram season at The Core in Solihull, having just finished up Annie the Musical (with my dog Molly playing Sandy, she was amazing FYI.) I was ready to spend every other evening for the next 3 months in the wings! I went out for dinner dates, babysat friends’ children, went to rehearsals for future shows.  Even on home office days I went to coffee shops and bars to mix up the monotony of working from the same desk all day.

I would hazard a guess that not once in my life, even in my darkest periods of depression and anxiety, had I ever been more than a week without at least entering someone else’s house, let alone travelling more than a 10-mile radius to go to the supermarket and back.

And so, my initial breakdown began.

I sat in the garden and cried. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have a garden, and I’m not sure I would have lasted as long without it.

This was the longest of my meltdowns so far: I ruined my sleeping pattern; I spent countless days watching hours of easy television; I let the monotony of life take over me. The death counts and number of cases weren’t getting lower that quickly and the only news we had was that lockdown would be extended by at least 3 weeks…

At least 3 weeks? What does that even mean? To me it meant things weren’t getting better, maybe they never would.

However delightful my housemate is and however lucky we are to be living in a world where we can see anyone we want in a matter of seconds via video link, it just wasn’t the same, isn’t the same, as seeing someone in real life!

A friend who was also struggling dropped by to gift us an overspill of baking (sooo lockdown, am I right?) She ended up staying for 6 hours! At a reasonable social distance of course.

And so, our weekly sanity garden gatherings began.

I mean, one thing lockdown has had going for it is the weather. Basically unheard of for Britain, but those first few months were filled with brilliant sunshine 95% of the time.  The world may have been falling apart but at least the sun was out and I hadn’t had to fill up my car with petrol for a month.

Swings and Roundabouts right?

I had reached the (albeit slightly selfish) conclusion to ‘F**k Coronavirus’! If it was my time, I thought, then it was my time.  I’d rather be out living my life than die in between the same four walls watching bad TV with only a tan (and a pretty awesome dachshund) for company.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t being stupid! My Dad, for example, is high risk, so I wasn’t about to head over to his house and lick all the door handles, but I needed something.

It was around week 8 (day 310) that my mood swings were so intense I was living like a yo-yo.

By week 12 (day 1456) I thought if I do another quiz on zoom imma lose it! And I bloody love a quiz!

Week 16 (day 32, 851) I couldn’t find any motivation to do anything at all! I mean, if I can’t motivate myself to get off the sofa and work the day through how the hell are children meant to motivate themselves to home school.

Finally, week 20 (day 1,287,345) I know I needed to get a grip. Work out the negative, focus on the positive.

I went through therapy a few years ago where I learnt that I thrive in other peoples’ company and that had been completely lost in lockdown. I love group socialising! And even though I’d probably had more contact with my friends over social media than ever, it wasn’t the same as actually seeing someone in the flesh, and not freaking out if your hands accidentally brush over a tea cup.

I decided that mental health needed to take precedent. Not just mine, but my that of my friends, my family and my colleagues.

So, we expanded our bubble, again responsibly.  I know it’s not entirely in line with government guidelines (but who can understand that bag of contradictions anyway?). My friends who had been reaching out, struggling and felt all alone were brought together to get through whatever this life is and whatever it was going to become.

I watched the ‘Dear… Lin Manuel Miranda’ documentary on Apple TV and he said that if you have an idea that won’t leave you alone, that idea that keeps tapping you on the shoulder saying: “Hey, remember me, I’m here, I’m awesome,” you’re bound to do it eventually. And chances are that’s the one that will work.

So, The Arts Business will be my Hamilton

I started to count the little things as wins. I find it very easy to listen to the negative voices in my head, the ones that tell me I’m not doing enough, I’m not good enough, I’m not healthy enough, I’ll never be enough.

Which isn’t true…

I’m pretty awesome actually.

I have started to chip away at my to do list, things that I had fully intended to do at the start of lockdown.

I bought a new laptop and phone as a kind of business loan to myself. No more blaming my laptop (which FYI was not fit for purpose).

I stopped playing games completely obsessively (major deal for me).

I give myself credit for doing short bursts of work with different activities in between.

I decided to focus on me and hopefully the rest will follow.

Anyone else struggling with lockdown?! Let me know.

 

You’re not alone.

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Make an SEO Plan for your Arts Business in 3 simple steps: Part Four

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Start Ups, Websites

STEP 3: REACH OUT

The final step in your SEO Plan is all about links!

The first thing you need to understand here is the difference between a Backlink and an Inbound Link:

  • Backlinks or External Links are any link from an external website (any website that isn’t your own) to a page on your site. Backlinks are vital to improving your Off-Page SEO. Basically the more links Google finds ANYWHERE on the internet which link to you the higher you will be ranked
  • Inbound Links or Internal Links are hyperlinks you make on one page of your website to another, like linking an exhibition to the box office. Inbound Links are essential when working on your On-Page SEO.

Basically, what you need to know is that links are to SEO as downloads are to music charts! The more that are out there to higher you will rank in the top 40!

INBOUND LINKS

Inbound links are crazy simple both to make and maintain within your website.

If you run a blog, you can create links within the post to other similar posts or products and services pages or simply to a Contact Us page. When adding links to your blog posts 3-5 is generally a good goal to aim for whether these are inbound or outbound.

Obviously, the absolute ideal is to link within your site to keep traffic flowing through your website. If you are linking away from your site, in a perfect world somewhere on that page there is a link back to you.

When citing references and articles linking within your site is not always possible, so make sure you set the links to open in tabs as opposed to in the same window. That way your site remains open in the browser. After all, you don’t want to drive people away from your site, when they are checking out your sources.

What if you don’t run a blog?

There are loads of places you can link to:

  • Most websites have some kind of access to Contact or FAQ to make it easier to ask questions and get in touch.
  • Product pages can link to other product pages (check out our online store section in the previous SEO Post)
  • Pictures or videos could lead to galleries
  • Show or exhibition information can lead to box office/ticket purchasing or opening times

The possibilities are as endless as your imagination!

Be sure to think about your call to action button here too! This will be a link to the place you want to draw your audience to the most. Learn more about your call to action button here.

BACKLINKS

You may think you have little control over the number of backlinks that drive traffic to your site. You would be wrong! There’s loads of stuff you can do online to help.

First and foremost, make sure you add your business details to Google!  They have a 90% monopoly of the search engine market so you’ll want to focus on driving up your ranking primarily through them when developing your SEO Plan. Of course you can add your information to other Search Engine platforms to but if you’re limited for time Google should be your priority.

FUN FACT: It used to be that you would rank higher if your business had a Google+ account until Google realised they were flogging a dead horse with that particular social media avenue and shut it down. It took over YouTube which is now Google’s main social media platform.

It is still very much the case that if you use their products and services you will rank higher in their search. It may not be fair, but that’s corporative business for you.

Links from your social media accounts to your website are an excellent contribution to your backlinks. Generally the more reputable and sizeable the company, the more weight your backlinks will hold coming from that source. The Big Five Social Media Apps are generally considered to be:

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. Twitter
  4. Pinterest
  5. LinkedIn

Other popular Social Media Platforms that shouldn’t be forgotten are:

  • TikTok
  • YouTube
  • SnapChat

Whatever platforms you use to promote your website (and be sure to use the ones which compliment your business best) all will help with your Off-Site SEO.

It’s worth tracking your social media analytics to work out what posts perform best. If you can encourage reposts, retweets, regrams… of links to your site which become additional backlinks.

You will also want to consider uploading your details to prevalent listing sites. Does your business rely heavily on footfall from the tourism industry? Upload your company details to TripAdvisor. Perhaps you’re a children’s theatre company? Get it on MumsNet & NetMums. Want to make people in the local area aware of an exhibition? Upload it to Facebook Events.

It is also worth noting that majority of Local Councils in the UK have their own website for tourism and promotion in their local area.  Uploading to sites like this can be a great way of using your time to specifically target the right market and audience for your business.

If you want to sell merchandise for your store you could always sell through an external site like Etsy or Amazon to increase those backlinks. It’s the same if you’re selling tickets, maybe run some through Eventbrite or TicketMaster.

We mentioned earlier when coming up with Inspiration for Content you may consider employing a Guest Blogger or Vlogger. When doing this ensure that your guest shares your information on their website and social media platforms too!

It also works when people link to you so if you do any collabs with other companies or simply mention them in a blog post. Ask them to share your details on their social media and websites. Remember the Arts Industry is all about collaboration and if you don’t ask you don’t get.

If you find a backlink on a website you weren’t expecting, then it is common courtesy to return the favour and give them a shout out on your social and website as well! Especially if they’re singing your praises with a great review.

And there you have it!

Be sure to stay on top of the curve with new techniques for SEO that are coming out – the internet is constantly changing and this means that Google (and other search engines) will have to keep up to date with these trends and alter the algorithms and methods they use to rank you.

SEO is a long game!  You won’t see results straight away.  You will be lucky if you see the impact your efforts in 12 months but stick at it all the time and it will work!!!

Any questions or want use to create an SEO plan for you? Contact us or leave a message in the comments.

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APP OF THE MONTH: ZOOM

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Administration, App of the Month, Business Skills
Name ZOOM Cloud Meetings
Product Description The perfect app for lockdown! For all your meeting needs whether you miss your friends and want to stay in touch or you’re still trying to run your business and keep all your colleagues informed and up to date.
Availability Available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and on your PC/Mac.
Key Features ·       Meetings – Including online meetings, training and support Zoom has been used for all manner of things this lockdown, from hosting quizzes, lectures, discussions, choir sessions and, my personal favourite, the Ultimate Disney Singalong!

·       HD video and audio – It really is the best quality video communicator I have found and through quarantine I’m pretty sure I’ve used them all!

·       Mute – This seems like a simple addition, but as the host the ability to mute your attendees means they can hear you clearly and effectively.  I’ve run a readthrough over zoom and people can mute themselves when they aren’t talking so the script can be as clear and clean as possible.

·       Device Flexibility – They claim to be available on any device and as a user of all devices, from android to apple and back around to windows I am yet to find one it isn’t compatible with.

·       Security – Probably not necessary for your family pub quiz but great if you are discussing private or secret information you don’t want getting leaked.

·       Calendaring and Integration – It works across your browser and inbuilt software effortlessly. Without even intending to do so, if I schedule a meeting on my Mac it is automatically added to my iCal. It also offers extensions for Microsoft Office, Email and Web Browsers.

·       Screen Sharing and Remote Access – If a lot of your team are working from home at the moment then it’s a great way to make sure all company software and hardware is kept up and running. With their screen sharing and remote control your IT maintenance team can keep on helping from home too.

Prices and Plans Your basic meeting account is free (hence its increasing popularity throughout lockdown!) It’s paid accounts (with a few more features) range from £11.99 p/m – £15.99 p/m for each individual meeting host.
Biggest Pro The screen sharing and remote control! Yes, it is basically an updated Skype but the easy to use screen share and the ability to remotely control someone’s computer from your own is seamless. It makes life so much easier! Even if you’re only using it to sort out a straightforward technically problem for your Mum, you can save a lot of conversation conflict!
Biggest Con The 40-minute limit on group meetings can be annoying, but the sneaky way around this is to set up a personal meeting so the meeting number and password remain the same. This way after you’re booted out after 40 minutes your party can simply log back in immediately.

 

I love Zoom!

And I think everyone will agree with me when I say that this lockdown certainly wouldn’t have been the same without it!

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Make an SEO Plan for your Arts Business in 3 simple steps: Part Three

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Start Ups, Websites

Welcome back for Step 2 continued!

STEP 2: REFINE

 

8. CONTACT US

Interestingly your Contact Us page is one of the most important across your site. This is where your customers can get in touch with you and ask their questions.

You want the ability to communicate with and find you to be as flawless as possible. There is nothing worse than stumbling across a business you’re really interested in, only to find that there is nowhere you can get in touch with them!

You want to make sure that your contact us page is easy to get to from anywhere on your site and that visitors can get in touch with the right people in your company. Like my social media links I like to have access to our contact us available wherever you are on any page

There are a few things you can add to you contact page to make it really easy for someone to get in touch and lower that bounce rate:

  • Having an email account that matches your web address. What I mean here is instead of a yourbusinessname@hotmail.com or yourbusinessname@gmail.com consider getting an official email account: info@yourbusinessname.com or hello@yourbusinessname.com. It adds an element of professionality to your business.
  • Make sure your email address is a link. I know it sounds crazy but if a user has to copy and paste your email address into their composer they are less likely to get in touch. If you make it into an email link this means when you click it, a new email will automatically open in their default mail app with your email address already in the ‘To:’ line. It skips a step for the user making them more likely to get in touch.
  • Instead of or as well as you can have a Contact Us Box with whatever fields you like in it for enquiries. That enables users to write their questions then and there. This will turn into an email and be magically pinged to your inbox so it cuts out the middle man entirely making communication more direct and instantaneous directly from your visitors browser.
  • These days there are also apps or plugins you can get to link directly to your Facebook Messenger account. Contact methods are building more and more everyday and (even though from a business management perspective it can be a complete nightmare having to check a million digital mailboxes) different avenues of communication is exactly what your customers are looking for, from the traditional phone number to Instagram messenger.
  • If applicable, so if you’re a shop, a performance or rehearsal space, a café, basically any business with a fixed location, add a map to your website. Again, it’s pretty simple to embed Google Maps into your page so it’s completely interactive. You can also have maps in a myriad of different colours and designs nowadays so you can find the right map to perfectly compliment your company’s branding.

The easier it is for people to get in touch with you, the more time they will spend on your site, and the higher your search engine ranking.

As your company size increases, you’ll noticed the same questions and queries cropping up. At this point, to save time and, as an added bonus, improve your SEO you may want to add an FAQ pageto your site.

9. FAQ

A Frequently Asked Questions section (FAQ) will both save you time answering emails and increase your SEO.

You want this to be easily accessible so create a link wherever you have a contact us form or page and anywhere your customers are likely to want to get in touch and ask questions.

An FAQ page will inevitably grow as your business grows so you want to make it as efficient for users to find the answers to their questions as possible. I like to add page anchors to FAQs. Then dependent on how many questions your FAQ contains I will either begin with a list of questions which link to the answers further down the page, or a contents of categories which link to questions which link to answers.

Not only will this make your FAQ help your clients but it also means the questions can appear multiple times on a page, without being spam, so it will play in your favour when boosting SEO.

So be sure to remember you Keywords and Keyphrases when composing your questions and answers.

As an FAQ is frequently updated it also shows Google that you are still active. Remember, the more you update your site the higher your ranking.

10. FORMATTING

The way that you format content on your site is integral to your SEO.

Remember: SEO Bots scan your website’s code. They don’t see all the pretty features or pictures you’ve carefully displayed, they only read the HTML and CSS coding which translates into what your page looks like. So to Google it looks a little something like this:

SEMrush post code

Luckily these days you don’t need to be code fluent to create your website, but you should have a basic understanding of what certain things mean and how they are seen by Google in order to appropriately rank you.

For example, the size of your header has an impact on how Google ranks the importance of the statement within the header code. Header styles in html coding rank from 1-6, one being the largest and most important, so be sure to really consider your keyphrases and keywords when creating headers.

Specifically, in your code you’re looking for: h1 h2 h3 h4 h5 h6…

Font Size also affects the way your content is read by Google bots.

This doesn’t mean you should put everything written on your site in size 100! You still need to consider page readability. If it is easy to read people will spend more time on your site digesting your content.

Think about your Target Audience here too. What age range is your main focus? It may sound silly but if you’re targeting aged 60+ you may want to think about enlarging all your font sizes so when a user visits your site they can immediately read your content, on any device, without having to fumble around their house looking for their reading glasses. This will decrease your bounce rate and hence improve your google ranking.

Font formatting can also have an impact so if you put some of your content in bold or underlined Google can see that this particular bit of text is more important than the bits around it.

Whilst researching for this article I can across the Pasadena Playhouse Website and discovered they’ve had their own font designed. Not on is it gorgeous, but it means Pasadena Playhouse will be all over their coding whenever the font style is used. This is absolute genius for their SEO!

Make sure you always check your format on multiple devices! What looks brilliant on a desktop may look awful on a mobile device and vice versa. Most website builders and templates have systems in place to adapt your website for mobile devices so usually navigation is the same, if not better, on a mobile or tablet. But it is always worth a check none the less.

Keep your copyright up to date! There is little that I find more annoying than when a website has included copyright in the footer only for the year to be out of date! Say it reads 2018, visitors and Google Bots could be led to believe your website hasn’t been updated in two years. Google will lower your ranking and your visitors will leave thinking you’re no longer up and running! Nightmare! It takes a few minutes and is a once a year job, so get on it!

Finally, you want to be sure to keep your page visually stimulating. Add Images, GIFs, Videos, clickable maps, anything that will increase engagement levels on your site

It is important to remember this though: (as of yet, at least) Search Engine Bots have no way to interpret how videos and images might link to your keyphrases and keywords. All they see is a page of code!

This means how you name and detail your visual content is integral to boosting your SEO.

11. NAMING YOUR FILES

Like I said Google will not interpret your picture of a plush auditorium and rank you higher for the keyword ‘Theatre’. This is why it is so incredibly important to RENAME YOUR FILES. Name it ‘auditorium theatre.jpg’ and then Google will know what the picture is of!

If you start doing this from the beginning of your website production it is easy to get in the swing of it but if you haven’t it can be a proper faff and take bloody ages but it is so worth it.

(And I will be the first to admit it is something I know I am lazy with on my own site, but when you’re a one woman business machine it can eat into your entire life!)

I can almost guarantee (mainly because it is such a faffarooney) very few of your competitors will have done this! If you want to check if they have you can go into their code or often just hover your mouse over the top of the image to learn what it is called.

You can also add alt tags (or alternative tags) to your images. These add an additional detailed description to your image (and look a little bit better in the box that appears when you hover over an image on a webpage). This will also benefit your SEO. With the added detail you can really put your keywords and keyphrases to good use.

Ideally you wanna do this on your social media too! Especially if you’re going to embed images and videos into your website.

It’s exactly for this reason that Video descriptions are so important. Even if you embed a video from YouTube or Facebook the description for that video will be embedded into your code too.

Same goes for any documentation on your site. Google will glaze over a file called 847238962397846.pdf but if it’s called Birmingham-art-gallery-and-museum-events-risk-assessment.pdf they’re gonna take notice.

 

12. URL STRUCTURE

It’s important to remember your chosen URL is unique to your site and can be incredibly important when boost your SEO.

It used to be the case that the more common URL you had (.com or .co.uk) the higher your page would rank. This is starting to change.

I have a client who has recently bought the URL www.onlytogether.cymru. This is the name of their up and coming art project and the location it will take place (Wales in Welsh). As a project exploring Welsh heritage this is the perfect URL for both their website and the site’s SEO.

Think about this when designing each individual page to your website. For example, if the URL to your About Us page is www.yourbusinessname.com/about-us Google will know exactly where to direct people if they want to learn about you! If it reads www.yourbusinessname.come/Fhsdjfdsos8676etg9frwrESFHUE& Google won’t have a clue.

There are different ways you can set up your URL structure but in general practice it will auto name to whatever the title of the page is, so keep in mind your keywords and keyphrases when developing page titles.

13. ONLINE STORE

Do you have an online shop or sell merchandise through your website? This is another great way to boost SEO.

Each individual product can have its own individual page and, as I have mentioned, the more pages you have the higher your SEO.

Believe it or not there is a reason that Amazon is so successful and it has a lot to do with its website design. So, if you want ideas for your own product pages, pull them from the masters:

  1. Product Title with Image and Options: Here we see ‘Shakespeare in Love’ on DVD, the formats it can be purchased through (VHS, Prime Video, Blu-Ray and DVD) and the price difference along with a very brief product description.
  2. Add to Basket or Buy now: These immediate options make purchasing quick and easy meaning users are more likely to carry out the transaction.
  3. Share on Social: Like I’ve said before (and probably will again) include links to your Social Media everywhere! They also have an option to email it to a friend which covers all possible demographics looking at Amazon.
  4. Add to Lists: Specifically think Wish List, if your client can’t afford it at present build in an option for them to save it somewhere on your website so should they stumble across it again they get the option the buy it straight away!
  5. Special Offers: Give people even more of a reason to buy additional products.
  6. Other Sellers: Is it sold cheaper elsewhere on Amazon? They’ll let you know and even help you to check out other buyers.
  7. Items Frequently Bought Together: The first of Amazon’s upsale campaigns! They pick the top item which is bought with the item you’re viewing and give you the option to add both to your basket at the same time.
  8. Customers Who Viewed Also Viewed: The second upsale strategy. They’ll show you other products viewed around the same time by other customers.
  9. In Depth Product Details: This goes into detail of the technical specifications of the product similarly to an FAQ, answering all and any questions you could possibly have about a product in one place.
  10. Customers Who Bought Also Bought: The third upsale approach found further down the page. This shows you what users who actually bought this also bought.
  11. What People Viewed After Looking At his: I’m sure you’ve notice by now but all of Amazon’s upsale tactics are very similar! It is all their way of encouraging browsing and site interaction.
  12. Prime Video link: An advert for a slightly different service Amazon provide but is still relevant to what the user is viewing.
  13. Customer Reviews: Visitors put a surprising amount of faith in the opinions of others. Customer reviews are a great way both to boost your content and inspire purchases.
  14. Sponsored Advert: Whether you’re promoting something else available on your site or it is linked to another business who have requested advertising space on your page, it can be a great way to improve income and SEO.

How exactly will all of this improve your SEO? There are a multitude of ways:

  • All of this adds detail and content to your page and can be frequently updated.
  • The content itself includes a lot of repetition which is great if you have some of your keywords and keyphrase in there. Google is more likely to notice you but it won’t register the activity as spam!
  • The longer a user spends on your site the higher SEO, so the detail all on one page means the user will stay on it for longer and the mass throng of links to elsewhere in your site means even if they leave the page, chances are they will remain on your site.
  • Everything is linked! Again, we will discuss the importance of links in part 4!
  • If you are completely registered with the ins and outs of Google Analytics you can work out how much your website is actually making with regards to transactions and income, the higher your income the higher your ranking.
  • Again, think about your formatting and naming images! All of which will boost SEO.

  

14. GOOGLE ANALYTICS

Install Google Analytics! It is crazy simple to do whatever platform you’ve used to build your website. What better way to get Google looking at your website than embedding html coding which means Google has to look through your website!

Seriously! It’s a no brainer!

15. FAVICON

Finally, add a Favicon (or a Site Icon)! What’s that? It’s the little logo that comes up next to the website title in the tab of your browser. Although it won’t necessarily boost your SEO directly, (unless you name the image for one of your keywords of course) it does legitimise your sight. By looking all official visitors are more likely to stay on your site for longer, consuming more of your content and improving your Google Analytics which in turn improves your SEO so it’s a win.

Sites without favicons are a serious pet hate of mine so if I come on your site to see you haven’t put one on there be I shall be electronically wagging my finger at you!

Come back soon for the final instalment!

Any questions or want use to create an SEO plan for you? Contact us or leave a message in the comments.

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Make an SEO Plan for your Arts Business in 3 simple steps: Part Two

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Digital Marketing, Websites

STEP 2: REFINE

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

  1. YOUR HOMEPAGE

And the very beginning of your website is your homepage!

This is generally the first impression people will get of your website and business therefore you want to make sure it is clear from the offset exactly what it is you do. You also want to make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to interact with.

There is a super cool feature on Google Analytics where you can bring up an image of your homepage to figure out exactly how users are interacting with you site so you can learn what’s working and what’s not. (Don’t worry, I will be doing some Google Analytics posts in the near future!) It will also illustrate where they aren’t clicking. These are the areas you want to improve.

  1. CALL TO ACTION

Do you have a call to action button on your home page? This is a link which you draw attention to as somewhere you really want people to click. Facebook pages have a call to action button in the top bar which you can set to engagements like:

  • Contact Us
  • Subscribe Now
  • Donate Now
  • Check Out Website

call to action button facebook

As you can see the call to action button stands out over the other places you can click on the page, but it is still in keeping with your company branding.

Are you trying to sell tickets? Consider a prominent What’s On Button. Running a blog? Get people to check out your latest posts. Building an email database for future project? Have a Subscribe to our Newsletter. You get the point.

You don’t have to limit call to action buttons to your homepage either. If you have a page dedicated to a specific show or exhibition you may want to put a call to action button that says ‘Buy Tickets’ to encourage users to take the next step. Do you have some exciting news? Add a share now button to enable people to upload a link to your news straight onto their social media.

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA

It’s a good idea to ensure your links to social media are visible too. Social Media is such an inherent part of people’s lives with the average user spending 2 hours 24 minutes on it daily according to TechJury. So ideally you want your audience to be able to find it wherever you are on the site. I like to put it both in the header and footer so that your visitors can find your social wherever they are on the website along with including share options on posts.

You want to consider adding call to action buttons or statements like ‘Join Us’ or ‘Share Here’ to encourage continued interaction.

I’ll talk more about making links in Step 3 next month. (That’s right, links are so integral they get their own section!)

Remember, social media is one of the best ways to organically grow your company so add it in whenever you can.

  1. LOAD TIME

The other key feature about your homepage is how long it takes to load.  We live in a widely impatient society and, on average, if your load time is longer than seven seconds, you’ll lose a third of your visitors, crazy right?

How can you make your site load faster? To start with if you have images or videos on your homepage you may want to consider lowering the file size or video resolution. If you have built your site through WordPress there are plugins that will help your pages load quicker to. The best free plugin I’ve found is called WP Fastest Cache. It has a ridiculously easy set up that will immediately increase that website load time and decrease your bounce rate!

  1. COMPANY TAGLINE

Have you come up with a slogan or tagline for your business yet? You know, like ‘McDonalds – I’m lovin’ it’ or ‘Nike – Just do it’, well sort of anyway.

When you are considering your company tagline be sure to keep your these in line with your keyphrases and keywords. For example, The Arts Business Tagline is:

‘Marketing and Business Advice for the Creative Industries and Beyond…’

I’ve got marketing and business in there so that will help my instructional blogposts rank and ‘Creative Industries’ will help me hit up the right area of work. It’s working both for my business and my SEO.

Your tagline can appear all over you site without being perceived by Google as spam! Obviously, don’t over do it, us it sparingly and appropriately.

 

  1. BLOGPOSTS

Believe it or not Blogs are still the best way to boost your SEO.

Google’s bots are designed to consume text-based content and since AI hasn’t evolved enough to understand the content in videos or photos (not yet anyway) it means that writing is still one of the only ways to properly improve your search engine position.

You don’t need to name it ‘Blog section’ or anything, I know it can be a little difficult to slot this in seamlessly to your website without contrasting with your brand (unless you are a blog). So, jazz it up a little. It could be where you upload news or stories as well.

When writing your blogposts make sure you’re always thinking about how to pull together your article and your keywords and keyphrases.

The length of your blogposts is heavily debated. If you’re looking for a ballpark figure, make sure you keep it between 300-400 words as a bare minimum and 700-800 as an average.

You may think that surely the longer the blogpost the better, but remember you want to keep people engaged with your site and a ten thousand word essay on ‘How to Thread a Sewing Machine’ is unlikely to ever be read from start to finish.

If you’re struggling to think up new content for your blog there are plenty of places to find inspiration:

  1. Start by bringing it back to you and your company. What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)? The reason you started your business. That something, something you have that no other company does. Maybe you’re the only children’s theatre company that teaches comedy in the UK. Develop content around that. Think autobiographical too, don’t be afraid to share your story if it is relevant to your business, after all so much of your business is about the entrepreneur who began it.
  2. Another great place to find content ideas is to have a cheeky stalk of what your competitors are writing about. You can pull content directly from their posts (not in a plagiarism way FYI, find your on spin on it). Maybe they’ve written a post about the best 10 monologues for actor’s straight play auditions. You could write 11!
  3. You should also look at what is currently trending in your industry or just in the world that could affect your business. Maybe there’s a new technology that could revolutionise your production, or maybe there’s a mass pandemic which has closed down the world… Whatever it is just make sure you stay ahead of the curve so that your content is current and interesting. This will play into favour for your SEO.
  4. Think about guests posting on your blog. You could pay them, or trade services or even sell it to them as an incredible idea to reach a wider audience. Not only is this true but, in trade off, it will also help you reach more people. You are essentially tapping into each other’s database of followers and getting seen by a different crowd.

I know I rant on about this, but consistency is so so so so so important, especially when you are establishing yourself in the arts and you have limited time and resources.

So, don’t start off all guns blazing posting three article a day if this isn’t something you can maintain.  Both Google and your followers will think you’ve disappeared and hence your ranking will go down. Start once or twice a month. Remember, as your business grows so will your resources, and if your resources build you can increase your content. As far as I know Romeo and Juliet wasn’t written in a day.

Think carefully about each of the titles of your blog posts too. Think about that alluring clickbait that gets you every time (I myself am a sucker for: Child Actors: What do they look like now?). You want people to spend as much time on your site as possible so make your titles seductive.

I like to think of Buzzfeed as my muse when I’m coming up with titles for my posts. I can spend hours lost under their listicles spell. Basically, you want your articles to catch the gaze of your audiences and encourage them to read more.

Really not getting the traction you want with your titles?

Consider A/B testing.

This is when you set up two versions of your article with exactly the same content but different titles. This will help to give you an idea of what style of titles grabs more attention. The longer people stay on your site the better your google ranking so you really wanna home in on this.

Finally, you want to encourage as much interaction with your blog as possible so think about adding share now buttons to each post for whatever social media platforms you’re on. This way they are linking to you from a different site increasing your audience and SEO.

Think about turning on the ability for users to add comments or reviews to your posts too. It increases interaction with your page and produces new content without you having to write it.

If you are worried about trolls then heed this top tip (which I will admit is from RuPaul):

Don’t block trolls, they’re sneaky and it will simply rile them up more. Just silence or hide them. That way you can’t see them! And I like the idea of them being off in cyberspace somewhere having a rant to themselves!

  1. UPDATES

Updating your page is also a great way to improve SEO. Another excellent reason why adding new pages for blogposts is so useful. Frequent updates on your website and social media shows Google that you are active, dressed up and ready to party.

There are countless possibilities for adding content that isn’t a blog post. Things like adding customer quotes or stories, embedding videos, creating online galleries… let your imagination run wild.

If you’re just starting off and building your own website there are some people out there who would recommend you hide yourself from search engine bots until you’re up and running, rather than have them see it incomplete… well they are wrong.

FOLLOW THIS ADVICE INSTEAD…

Set yourself up a landing page. This will act as an advert for your new company. You can include links to your social media here and a subscribe now button so that customers will be able to be the first to visit your website when it’s up and running with the added bonus that you start to build yourself up an email database.

Then start to create your website in the background.

If your website needs a fresh new look you can use this nugget of wisdom too. By building your website ‘behind the scenes’ it means that your customers can’t find your new pages and get distracted by half finished, unformatted pages, judging your professionalism by these standards. But just because your customers can’t see work doesn’t mean Google can’t.

Search engines love it when you upload new content, and when else are you uploading more content than when you’re setting up or updating your website! That’s the time that everything is new (and shiny). Those bots will eat up the new information and spit you out higher in their results.

Remember to keep reintroducing keywords and keyphrases in your updated content. But don’t take the mick! For example, some scallywags out there would encourage you to do things like put white text on white background repeating your keyphrases over and over. This may trick the bots for a while, providing quicker ranking results but once they’re onto you, you will be punished by plummeting down the ranks where you’ll be so low it’ll take most your life to climb back up that ladder.

That’s right… Google knows EVERYTHING.

I know that was a lot of information to throw at you in one go! That’s why I’ve split step 2 into two posts! I don’t want to completely overwhelm you!

So, come back in a couple of weeks for the next instalment!

Any questions or want use to create an SEO plan for you? Contact us or leave a message in the comments.

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APP OF THE MONTH: SEMrush

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Marketing, Start Ups
Name SEMrush
Product Description For all your SEO needs! Any stats you could possibly need to know for your SEO Report and the quickest way to research if your SEO efforts are working and how you can improve your strategy.
Availability The best way to access SEMrush with all of its functionalities is directly through your browser. There is also an app available through Google Play Store and Apple App Store which can be used to track your existing projects.
Key Features ·       Analytics and Advertising: Unlike Google Analytics SEMrush can also tell you all about your competitors SEO and online advertising strategies and how well they’re working out.

·       Backlink Analytics: Assess your backlinks (incoming links on other peoples’ websites to your own) to see who is linking you from where and how successful it has been. In addition you can learn where your competitors have backlinks too.

·       Keyword and Keyphrase Research: Find the right words to improve your business’ ranking on search engines and how these change, dependent on countries you are active in.

·       Product Listing Ads: Understand Competitors best performing products and how this can be utilised in your business.

·       Traffic Analytics: The who, what, where, when, why, how, of the users visiting your page.

·       A/B Testing: Loads of ideas and practical guidelines for setting up A/B Testing on your website.

·       Projects: Set up a specific campaign for your website(s) with the exact information you want to track, from keeping an eye on your google position to scheduling your social media, available live to you whenever you want it.

·       And so much more information that can help you to monetise your business online.

Prices and Plans Price plans can be pretty expensive (ranging from $99 – $399 a month) so to access all its power you would ideally need to be a large scale business looking to expand further, but it has loads of free features so long as you set up an account.
Biggest Pro It is perfectly to the point and beautifully laid out to make the information quick and easy to read and understand.
Biggest Con You only get 10 searches a day with your free plan so make sure you’re strategic and leave yourself some time to write your plan.

 

Want to learn more about SEMrush and how to build your own SEO Report, click here.

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La La Land: Fantasy vs. Reality

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Creative Industries, Music, Theatre

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

 

I don’t live in LA, nor have I ever been, but in the same way I’m sure that no movie about American High School has actually accurately depicted an American High School I am positive that La La Land does not accurately depict what life is like for an out of work actress and struggling jazz musician living in Hollywood.  Feel free to stop me if I’m wrong (those of you who are struggling actors in LA will know better) but Emma Stone seemed to swan in and out of mansion parties as if this is the normal way to network.  The production parties I’ve been to have mainly consisted of a theatre foyer with a dodgy catered buffet and box wine but who am I to judge?  Maybe life is that different across the pond.  Now, I’m not stupid.  I know that embellishment is added for the sake of entertainment.  I’m not here to pick holes…

 

Despite the mixed bag of reviews I received before finally getting round to seeing it myself and the poor singing and dancing that is bettered every year on Strictly Come Dancing aside, I think La La Land raises some important truths worth pondering over which tend to play out in our careers and businesses, wherever we may be in the creative industry.

 

I was mentoring a young actor, a year into her drama degree, who moaned that she was sick of her retail job and was looking for something, anything, even remotely associated with theatre, her chosen specialised field.  Isn’t this what Mia (Emma Stone) does?  What Seb (Ryan Gosling) tries?  What we all do?  Many of us start off in the arts working in bars or restaurants, front of house or box office.  So long as it is part of a theatre or gallery or festival or music venue we feel in the thick of the action and it’s ok for now.  And I commend these people!  The passionate dreamers!  Our dreams get a little more jaded as we age but we start off fighting!

 

The audition process illustrated in La La Land unfortunately can be faithful to real life, which is a shame.  When they are run by bored minds who no longer really care about the work they are involved in they leave hopeful actors worn out and weary, hope dying with every rejection, like Mia.  She tells us she has been ‘trying to make it’ for 6 years and basically can’t be bothered with it anymore; dejection and fear has settle in.

 

The general consensus across the creative industries is that no one gets into the arts for the money so the moment you stop really loving what you’re doing is the moment you should stop or at least change course.  Sometimes it’s the rebuffs, sometimes the lifestyle.  I used to work in stage management and found my decision pretty much came down to this: Do I want to have a social life or do I want my work to be my entire life.  The love wasn’t there any more, so I left.  But what can I say: lady theatre dragged me back, just down a slightly different path.

 

Obviously, everything works out in the end, in the film at least.  Mia becomes a Hollywood Star due to the unprecedented success of her one woman show and Seb uses the money he made in his modernised Jazz band to fund his dream jazz bar business.  Obviously not entirely realistic but very Hollywood (and with a dream ballet sequence, the likes of which haven’t really been seen since Oklahoma!, who is complaining)!

 

So what should you take away from this movie?  What is the moral?  Sorry to sound pessimistic but dreams don’t always come true, at least not in the way you think.  I think the moral is that your life has to adapt with your craft, sometimes we must compromise and other times we must evolve.

 

The speech that struck me was that of Keith (John Legend) who tells it Seb Straight:

 

“How are you gonna be a revolutionary if you’re such a traditionalist?  You hold onto the past, but jazz is about the future.”

 

He has remembered something integral: art is a business.  To stay on top we need to roll with the punches.  He takes traditional jazz and gives it that contemporary, commercial twist for a new audience who, with any luck, will look into the origins of where this music came whilst continuing to carry it into the future with them, introducing a new audience and a new, evolutionary art form.

 

Seb makes his money in this band uses it to fund his dream bar.  Clearly, during his time spent with The Messengers Seb has learnt a few lessons, which are reflected in the bar set up.  The layout of his club takes us back to a 1940s feel of what jazz bars would have felt like, something which is fashionable at the moment, especially if you’re looking for that new hipster hotspot.  It serves fancy drinks in  fancy crystal, also super trendy, as opposed to the fried chicken sticks he originally longed for (now presumably reserved for the end of the night).  Then the jazz is the cherry on top.  He has nailed a business which gives him an outlet to perform the music he wants, whilst turning over (we hope) a profit.

 

You might be thinking this is a corporate way to analyse this movie, I prefer realistic.  So, look at Seb’s success, cut past the romance, the song and dance, the bright colours and remember to keep business and at the heart of your operation.  Drive your desire constructively to developing your values alongside the current climate with the aim of breaking even or making money so that you can reinvest it and do more work that matters to you and your viewers!  Adapt your mind set and progress with the times.

 

Your enthusiasm will always show in what you produce.  When things get tough, always remember your audience can see more than you think.  After all as Mia says:

 

“People love what other people are passionate about.”

 

What did you take from La La Land?  Any business strategies you think I’ve missed?  Or opinions your yearning to share?

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Make an SEO Plan for your Arts Business in 3 Simple Steps: Part One

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Digital Marketing, Technology

Here at The Arts Business we offer SEO Consultancy in which we create an SEO strategy specific to your business, analysing the pages of your website and those of your competitors with an action plan of exactly how to go about it improving your Search Engine Optimisation.  To learn more, click here.

But we are primarily educators and are firm believers that you should be able to do it yourself.

We have written a list of ways that you can boost your SEO!

Trust us, it’s really easy to do once you know how.

Just follow our instructions, without all the boring jargon!

 

What does SEO mean?

Let’s start with the basics.  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.  This, in a nutshell, is devising a plan to improve your ranking on Google’s Search Engine (or Bing, or Yahoo… or Ask Jeeves if you’re stuck in the noughties).

Google have bots that crawl through your website’s code and assess exactly what they think you should rank for and where.  I like to think of these as little bookworms who dig their way around your pages reading your content and then filing you into the appropriate place to help potential customers find you.

And there is plenty of stuff you can do to encourage this filing system to play into your favour. You want to get yourself filed at the front of that top drawer instead of falling behind the cabinet with little chance of being found until you next redecorate.

February is usually a pretty quiet time for the Creative Industries, so why not start a bit of early spring cleaning and scrub up your website so it’s working for you in the years to come.

But how? I hear you cry!

All you have to do is remember the 3 Rs! (No not reading, writing and arithmetic):

STEP 1: RESEARCH

STEP 2: REFINE

STEP 3: REACH OUT

Over the next few months The Arts Business will be looking at each step in detail (with Step 2 being published in 2 sections) starting right here, right now:

 

 

STEP ONE: RESEARCH

Starting with Keyword and Keyphrase Research.

KEYWORD & KEYPHRASE RESEARCH

I’m gonna throw a lot of terms at you but DON’T PANIC! I’ll break it all down.  Keywords are simply the individual words you want your business to rank for on Google and Keyphrases (you’ve probably guessed by now) are the phrases you want to rank for! See, Simples!

It’s important to be strategic about this.  For example, if you’re a small fringe theatre, like The Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham, the first Keyword you think of might be ‘Theatre’.  Easy right? Well not quite.  Yes, you will obviously want to rank for theatre, but you need to think about what competition you will up against in order to rank on that first page of Google.

 

Without taking location into account, after the latest news and paid ads, the first three hits are: Wikipedia; London Theatre Tickets and The Standard Newspaper Reviews of the West End.

That is some strong competition you’re contending with and that’s only the first three hits!  Realistically, if you’re a small fringe theatre, you’re not moving in the same circle, nor do you want to.

So, specify!

Maybe instead you pick the Keyphrase ‘Birmingham Theatre’.  Even then you’re in competition with reviewers, other bigger scale theatres in Birmingham and ticket sites.

If you were to get a little more specific again you’d opt for the Keyphrase ‘Birmingham Fringe Theatre’ and boom, you’re on the first page of Google! Well done Old Joint Stock Theatre!

Once you have settled on a Keyword or Keyphrase you want to ensure that people are actually typing that phrase into google and hitting enter!  There are websites that can help you with that.  I like to use SEMRush. It’s a subscription service but has a limited number of free searches for Keywords or Keyphrases you can do daily if you create an account.

Coincidentally, SEMrush is also our App of the Month.

As you can see I have searched for the Keyphrase ‘Birmingham Theatres’ on SEMrush.

 

 

There is loads we can learn from this report:

  • Volume is simply the number of people who have used this particular search.
  • What country they were in is represented by that countries flag.
  • Under volume you will see Keyword Difficulty which roughly translated is how hard it would be to rank highly on Google for this phrase, 1% being not tricky at all 100% being nigh-on impossible.
  • We can also see if that phrase is currently trending and in what month people are most likely to search of it.

If you opt to pay for SEMrush, or choose to take advantage of their free trial when devising your SEO Report, you can also use this to see how your rivals are ranking for your keywords and keyphrases, what their content includes and what their average page word counts are and what back links they include.  This can be really helpful in acting as a guideline for your website.

Of course, if you don’t want to pay for SEMrush you could do this research through Google and trawling through your competitors website. It will take a little longer this way but if they’re ranking highly on Google for your keywords and keyphrases you’ll want to  find out why so it can act as a blueprint for your own website.

You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with your SEO Report, especially when doing your own report for the first time. My advice is to focus on 2-3 keyphrases initially.  If you reckon you can deal with more, go for it! But whatever you business, however large, I would recommend you keep it between 5 to 10 keywords and phrases.

Once you’ve decided on these you’re gonna want to find up to 20 words to use in copy which will assist you in ranking for your keyphrases. In basic terms these are the words you’ll want to use as much as you can in your content in order to boost your search engine visibility.

SEMrush also has suggestions for this dependent on your keyphrases, but these are basically words by association. You wanna rank for theatre? In the list you may put words like; entertainment, audience, drama, plays, acting, improvisation, etc.

 

GOOGLE RESEARCH

Of course, finding your own rankings can be time consuming so I suggest that if you are any further than page 10 assume no one is ever going to find you and get moving with your strategy.

Whilst you’re doing your Google research, you’re also going to want to check out how you look in Google:

 

The text in purple/blue is the title of the page, also known as your metatag or title tag. Whatever software you’ve used to build your website you can alter this pretty easily to say whatever you want. Simple things like capitalisation of letters and punctuation can make your website more appealing to click on. I like to use hyphens (-) or the straight line thingy (|) to separate out the information. This is also what you will see in your browser tabs.

The summary is just below the Metatag. When composing this, bear in mind you’re working with about 40 characters so make sure its concise and to the point.

QUESTION SITES

Another great place to do research is on websites like Yahoo Answers, Quora or Reddit. Just search for your specialist area (whether it be theatre, art, museums, galleries) and read through the questions that have been posed on these sites. You’ll get an idea of the types of subjects your Target Audience wants to know the answers to and you can use this to give you content creation ideas.

 

And there you have it, your research phase!

Next month we’ll teach you how to take all of your research and use it implement changes in order to optimise your website.

In the meantime if you have any questions or want use to create an SEO plan for you? Contact us or leave a message in the comments.

 

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APP OF THE MONTH: HoursTracker

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Administration, App of the Month

 

Name HoursTracker
Product Description The perfect app for freelancers! Track the work you do for the multitudes of companies you work for down to the minute by checking in and out and tracking your wages!
Availability Available on the Apple App Store and from the Google Play Store.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cribasoft.HoursTrackerFree.Android&hl=en_GB

https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/hours-tracker-hours-and-pay/id336456412

Key Features ·         If you spend your day flitting between companies and to do lists this app is perfect for clocking your hours for each individual job by hour, day, week and month.

·         Pay is added up for every minute you work!  HoursTracker also calculates an estimated net pay and any overtime.

·         Enter a job location to list in the order of jobs from closest to furthest

·         Tags help you to organise what jobs are active, billable and have been paid

·         Note how many hours your expected to do each day and when.  HoursTracker lets you know when to clock out and gives you a 15 minute warning so you can wrap up

·         Quick and easy to learn, as soon as you register your first job it’s all pretty self-explanatory

·         Shortcuts make navigation of the app super quick and easy.

Prices and Plans It starts completely free which only allows you to enter a limited number of jobs.  To upgrade from the personal to pro version is a one off payment of £4.99 and that pretty much opens all of the app’s capabilities.  Trust me when I say it is well worth it.
Biggest Pro It has a beautiful simplicity which basically allows all freelancers who work for multiple companies to live a much simpler, more organised life!
Biggest Con It would be nice to be able to figure out different amounts of tax through this app but you can’t have everything and even without this it’s still pretty great

 

All in all, a brilliant app which does exactly what it says on the tin!

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