If you’re a business owner, you know that having a robust online presence is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Well, you’ve got a website, so you’ve ticked that box. Not quite! One key tool that can significantly impact your business's visibility, customer reach and even lead generation, is a Google My Business (GMB) account. Buckle up as we delve into the reasons why this platform is a game-changer for your business.

Local Visibility with Google Maps Integration

Picture this: A potential customer searches for your service or product on Google. With a well-optimised Google My Business account, your business is not just a text result (which let’s face it, might not be right at the top of Google); it's also a prominent pin on Google Maps. Happy days, your business is on the map (literally!) and the client has found you!

Google Map Business Listing East Auckland Website

Establishing Trust

Google My Business Reviews

Trust is the currency that can make or break a business. Would you trust a business that has multiple five-star google reviews? Your potential clients will…and so will Google! As humans we feel confident that a business with so many glowing reviews will be a good bet. But guess what? Google feels the same. Want to improve your SEO? Ask your clients to leave you reviews on your Google My Business profile.

Remember that you can upload reviews from Google directly onto your website, but you can’t upload reviews into Google. ALWAYS ask clients to review you on Google!

Are you a real business?

Of course you are! And how do we know that? Because all your business information is presented to us clearly and in one place. Business hours, location info, contact details and website address. We trust a business with a complete profile.

Google My Business Information including Website Address

Customer Engagement

You can respond to reviews, answer questions, enable direct messaging, and set up alerts. You can (and should) even use Google My Business to publish posts to your Business Profile, like you would with any social media platform. Show Google that you’re active by regularly uploading photos and publishing posts to your Business Profile through Google My Business. By showing your profile some love, Google will reward you with a boost to your website ranking.

SEO Super-Charge

Google My Business is a powerhouse for local SEO. Your website will contain on-page SEO which targets certain keywords and key phrases. Your Google My Business profile should be the same. Google wants to return relevant results in its search so make sure you incorporate relevant keywords into your optimised Business Profile and you can tell Google what you want to rank for.

Faff-Free

If you're serious about harnessing the power of the online world and ensuring your business stands out in the crowded digital marketplace, creating and optimising your Google My Business account is a must.

The good news is that it’s relatively straight-forward to set up, and once it’s running it’s easy to keep up to date.

A good web designer 😉 will insist on setting up a Google My Business account for you (or at least supporting you in setting one up yourself) at the same time as launching a new site. However, if you find yourself without an account, give us a call and we’ll help you set one up. You really can’t ‘business’ without it.

Have you ever wondered why some websites rank higher than others in search engine results?

The answer is simple: on-page SEO.

On-page SEO is the magic wand that helps websites rank higher on search engines like Google. It’s all about making sure your website is optimised for both users and search engines (or humans and robots!).

Imagine you’ve just created a stunning website, filled with amazing content and eye-catching images. But no one can find it. That’s like throwing a fantastic party and forgetting to send out the invitations. On-page SEO is your invitation to search engines, letting them know what your website is all about and how to find it.

So, how do website developers do on-page SEO?

It’s a combination of science and art.

First, they make sure the website has relevant and unique content. The content should include keywords related to what the website is about. For example, if the website is about pets, the content should include keywords like “pets”, “animals”, and “pet care”.

Second, they optimize the website’s meta tags and header tags. Meta tags give search engines a brief summary of what the website is about, while header tags help divide the content into sections and make it easier to read.

Third, they make sure the website has a good structure, with a clear hierarchy of information. This helps both users and search engines understand the website’s content and how it’s organized.

Finally, they optimize the website’s images and videos by adding descriptive alt tags. This helps search engines understand what the images and videos are about and also helps users with visual impairments.

In conclusion, on-page SEO is an essential part of website development. It helps search engines understand what your website is about, and it helps users find what they’re looking for. With on-page SEO, your website will be the talk of the town in no time!

In 2021 hackers targeted over 40% of small businesses*, and we're noticing more and more people are talking about getting hacked. Everyone has a story.

As my kids would say ‘it’s normal now’ (this is 2022 dontcha know!). And if you work in tech, you’ll agree with my kids.

2022 has seen record levels of hacking, businesses being held ransom, people losing access to their social media accounts, and websites.

So do we need to accept this is the new normal, a new type of warfare?

No we don’t!

There are lots of ways you can protect your accounts, but if you’re going to start somewhere you’ll want to start with 2FA. You can use it for social media, emails, banking, website access…. It’s simple to use and it's free.

How 2FA works

When you log in to your account, you enter your username and password as usual, but then another box pops up asking you to enter your 6-digit code. You’ll open the authenticator app on your phone, select the account you’re login in to and the app will generate the code. Simple. The good news is you use the same authenticator app for all your accounts.

Your computer could be hacked tomorrow, and those hackers could harvest all your usernames and passwords, but if they don’t have access to your phone then they can’t get that 2FA code.

What 2FA app should you use

Google Authenticator and Auhty (by Twillo) and widely considered the best authenticator apps out there. Both are simple to download and set up and both can link to multiple accounts.

If you’re worried you might lose your phone and end up not being able to access your accounts, don’t worry. Each time you register a new account you’re given back up codes to use if you need to manually access your account. Just remember not to save these to your computer!

AND, you can sync your account with another phone, so a colleague or friend could also be a back-up option.

We want to protect our clients' accounts so ask all our clients who have admin access to their website to use 2FA. If you need a hand setting it up, please let us know.

* https://www.embroker.com/blog/cyber-attack-statistics/

With 4% of all Green House Gases emissions now attributed to digital technology, Wild Tree Digital was founded with the idea of reducing the carbon footprint of the internet, or at least all the parts of it we could get our hands on!

We are seeing enormous forest fires, ice melting, heat waves, and people being displaced from their homes – we’re witnessing extreme weather, and with it very real consequences for people around the globe.

Climate change is happening all around us and we can act.

At Wild Tree Digital aim is to reduce our own impact but also to join with others. We know that there are a growing group of people and businesses who passionately share our ethos of looking after the planet, whilst taking steps to become as carbon neutral as possible. Together we can create more opportunities for decarbonisation, innovation, and business growth by giving our focus, energy, and financial investment to generate a flourishing human society in balance with nature.

Wild Tree Digital is proud to join Business Declares and the fast-growing network of businesses that acknowledge the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

We aim to:

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini.

My strength is not that of a single warrior but that of many.

We all remember the day our first website went live. It was exciting and it was a massive tick-in-the-box for getting your business online. But how’s it looking now?

If you’re wondering whether your website is still in good shape, here’s some things to consider:

If there’s room for improvement then do it now! Often information on websites can simply be updated. A good designer will sit down with you and review your site before giving you a quote for the work. The good news is that updating content can be straightforward and could save you overhauling your site a few years down the line.

Businesses change all the time, your website needs to reflect that!

If you’d like to have that discussion with us, you know where we are.

As a business owner in New Zealand, you might not think that your website or online presence could have a significant impact on the environment. However, the truth is that the internet is a major contributor to pollution and carbon emissions. In this blog, we'll explore why the internet is polluting and what small business owners in New Zealand can do to reduce their carbon footprint.

What is the carbon footprint of the internet and how does it compare to other 'things'?

The internet is responsible for approximately 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the entire aviation industry. This may come as a surprise to many, but when you think about it, the internet is everywhere and we use it for almost everything. From streaming movies to online shopping, every time we use the internet, we are contributing to carbon emissions1.

How does the internet consume energy?

One of the biggest reasons that the internet consumes so much energy is due to data centres, where all the data and information that makes up the internet is stored. Data centres are essentially large warehouses that store servers and other computer equipment that power the internet. They require constant cooling and electricity to function, which is why they consume so much energy. Many data centres are powered by non-renewable sources such as coal, oil and natural gas. This means that they are contributing to the pollution and carbon emissions that are harming our planet. The constant need for data storage and processing requires a significant amount of energy, and as a result, data centres have become some of the largest consumers of energy in the world.

Data centres store your data, images, emails. They also house everything we stream and all the websites we browse.

...And website file sizes are increasing

Another factor that contributes to the internet's carbon footprint is the size of websites. Back in the 90s when we all waited for our computers to load websites line by line, designers were careful to keep websites data-light. After all, no-one wanted to wait ten minutes to join a chat room. Now websites load in a matter of seconds. Irrespective of the amount of data. Web designers often rely on templates and bloated website builders because it’s quick and easy to build websites this way.

Websites are getting larger every year. This graph shows average page weight from 2011 to 2021.

Website Kilobyte load average

We'll leave you with some good news

Despite the significant impact that the internet has on the environment, there is some good news. Many companies and data centres are working towards reducing their carbon footprint and adopting renewable energy sources.. And as Google starts to use a website’s load speed as a factor in ranking more and more sites will slim down.

In the meantime, use the internet wisely (and find a web developer who cares 😉).

And here's a few statistics2:

A Google search:

  • 0.5g CO2e on simple search3
  • 5.6g CO2e 5 minutes web browsing from a smartphone
  • 8.2g CO2e 5 minutes web browsing from a laptop (approx. the same carbon footprint as boiling the water for the cup of tea you’ll drink while scrolling)

The world’s ICT accounts for 1.4 billion tonnes CO2e. Of which:

  • User devices – 518 million tonnes CO2e
  • Networks -  196 million tonnes CO2e
  • Data centres -  140 million tonnes CO2e

 1 Why your internet habits are not as clean as you think - BBC Future , 2020

2 Berners-Lee, Mike, "How bad are bananas?", Profile Books, 2020

3 CO2e stands for Carbon dioxide equivalent. Carbon dioxide is the primary baddie in global warming pollution, but other greenhouse gases are important. For example, methane (CH4) is released in smaller quantities but is 75 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxide (N2O) and refrigerants are respectively 300 times and thousands of times more potent. All these gases are taken into account, and expressed as CO2e.

Have you looked at your website recently? I mean really looked. How do you even know if your site is still working properly? If you're not sure whether you site is awesome or awful, read on!

1. Is your website secure?

Google is about to come down hard on sites that don’t have a padlock symbol on the address bar. Secure sites have SSL certificates that bind a cryptographic key to your details. AND potential customers are much more likely to trust a secure site.

2. Is you site loading quickly?

Slow sites are terrible for customer engagement and for the environment. Also, Google is starting to punish sluggish sites by dropping them down the rankings. You might have worked hard on keywords and SEO only to get penalised for load speed. There’s lots of ways to speed up a site. Don’t be afraid to raise this with your designer.

3. Is your site responsive?

Your website should look great on ALL devices.

A good website has:

Responsiveness is essential.

4. Do you feel in control?

If you wanted to make a change to your site tomorrow, would you who to ask? If your developer disappeared into the sunset would you be able to access your site? If not, sort this NOW.

You should own your own domain name. If you don’t already, ask your developer to transfer it into your name. It’s easy to do and doesn’t change the access to your site.

5. Do you know how your site is performing?

How many people are visiting? Where are they based? What pages most interest them? This information provides vital clues on whether you’re meeting your clients' needs.

6. …and more security (!)

Is someone maintaining your site? Websites need updating to ensure that:

7. Do you still feel proud of your site and what it says about your business?

If your site no longer reflects your products, service or brand then you need to make some changes. If your website looks like it was designed in 2005 it might be worth giving it a fresh look altogether! A look at competitors’ websites is a great benchmarking tool for this.

STOP, wait a minute, you weren’t just about to load that photo directly onto your website, were you?

Your photo looks great but non-optimised images are bad news.

Large file size images:

It’s important to find a good balance between image quality and image file size. Read on to find out how you can optimise like a pro.

Step 1 - chose your file type

JPEG

JPEGs (also known as JPGS) are perfect for photographs or images containing lots of colours, shadows, gradients, or complex patterns.

PNGS

PNGs are most often used for text and logos/graphics or if you have an image where you want the background to be transparent.

Step 2 – Resize your image

If you've taken a photo, chances are it's huge - perhaps even bigger than your compter screen!  Open your image in Paint and it will display in its full size.

In the home tab click on ‘resize’ and then select ‘pixels’. Reduce the pixels number until it's approximately the right size for your site. This doesn't need to be exact!

Step 3 – Compress your image

Sounds technical, but there are lots of online (and free) tools that make this really easy. They quickly reduce the file size (the number of kilo bytes) without losing any image quality.

We use tinypng.com (which works for png AND jpg images). It's as simple as dragging and dropping your file onto their website.

When you save your file don't forget to give it a good title for SEO purposes. A good idea is to include your business name as well as any relevant keywords.

If you want to see any of this in practice, this YouTube video provides a step by step example.

If you've got any questions, feel free to get in contact.

If every civil servant in the UK sent only 10 emails a day that would account for 330,000kg of CO2e* released into the atmosphere over a working week. That’s equivalent to driving an average car 465,000 miles!

So, what can you do to make a difference?

1)   Consider hanging on to your devices for a bit longer. In the UK, we’re upgrading our smart phones every two years on average and replacing our computers way before the end of their lives.

"Even before you turn it on, a new iMac has the same footprint as flying from Glasgow to Madrid and back"
Mike Berners Lee

2)   Unsubscribe from junk e-mails. This is a good one because they’re also really annoying and mostly just waste time, so this is a win-win. Ten minutes is all it takes to unsubscribe from 20 accounts, and this could save you receiving ONE THOUSAND e-mails a year! This saves 20kg CO2e.

3)   Consider if the video you’re streaming is really worth it. The carbon footprint of YouTube is equivalent to that of Greater Glasgow2. There's some amazing content out there, but there's also some drivel. Cut the drivel.

4)   Use social media, and all the platforms you can, to shout about climate change. From inspiring individuals to make a difference, to pressurising corporations and governments, there is so much that can be done using the power of the internet.

5) Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, don’t stop using the internet! If you think the figures here are bad, you should see the amount of CO2e printing creates. The average email has a footprint just 1/16th the size of the average letter.

* CO2e stands for Carbon dioxide equivalent. Carbon dioxide is the primary baddie in global warming pollution, but other greenhouse gases are important. For example, methane (CH4) is released in smaller quantities but is 75 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxide (N2O) and refrigerants are respectively 300 times and thousands of times more potent. All these gases are taken into account, and expressed as CO2e.

  1.  Berners-Lee, Mike, "How bad are bananas?", Profile Books, 2010, p15
  2.  www.environmentjournal.online/articles/smarter-web-design-could-slash-youtubes-carbon-footprint/

From sole traders to large corporations, almost any company can reap the rewards of moving their business in a green direction. In a world where climate change is a real threat, it's more important than ever to consider the environment in business strategy, and we need to do it fast.

So what's so great about going green?

Numerous studies show that employees and consumers are placing more value on environmentally friendly products and companies. In fact, customers are willing to pay more if they believe a company's values align with their own.

The increase in public awareness into the climate change crisis means that more and more people are making lifestyle changes. For some people that means commuting by bike rather than car, for others the focus is on recycling, but for all, the easiest win is by simply purchasing products from a green company.

In a world where eco credentials have become important, employees and customers become true brand ambassadors when they believe that they support an ethical enterprise. And word spreads.

Have you noticed that many businesses have recently shifted their brand image to gain a green(er) reputation? Ikea now sources wood from sustainable foresters, McDonalds has banned plastic straws and Volvo has pledged that half its cars will be fully electric by 2025. These companies have made these changes because consumers are increasingly demanding social responsibility from businesses.

Companies who have made changes are proud to shout about them. After all, what better way to show your customers that you're current and that you care?

Many eco-friendly business practices also naturally lead to cost savings. From installing solar panels and energy saving equipment, to encouraging recycling and simply switching off the lights, there are lots a business can do. Whilst there might be an initial outlay for training or physical products, changing behaviours has long term benefits with some pay backs being remarkably short term. Many businesses find ways to offset these initial costs through grants, tax incentives and green schemes. It's worth looking out for any deals that affect you or your industry. See www.gov.uk/green-taxes-and-reliefs for details of government schemes.

As a green business, you can turn your small change into a big win by telling others what you've done. Not only are you letting the public know that you care about them and the planet, you can inspire others to do the same. The more people shout about their credentials, the more consumers get on board. And the more consumers who care, the more businesses, conglomerates and even governments will sit up and listen. We need big change to happen at the top, what better way to encourage it than by being part of the movement?

I think you'll agree that aside from being able to sleep at night, the benefits for businesses to go green are huge.

Web Design in Auckland
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Only 0.24g of CO2 is produced every time someone visits our homepage. That's 80% less than a normal website!

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