How to make good news travel faster than bad news on Facebook and Google

Reviews are becoming an increasingly important part of the consumer’s decision-making process – especially Gen X and Millennials. They are turning to online reviews for other’s opinions on restaurants, hotels, graphic designers and indeed anything they’re considering spending their money.

Do you have control over your reviews? Do you know where they are and what they say?

 

Taking ownership

Google automatically creates a listing for many businesses that will appear when those businesses are searched for. These listings are invaluable to businesses, as they allow control over the way potential customers will perceive them when they are googled.

Claiming these pages is easy, as there is a simple prompt on the page asking if you own the business. The claiming process may take up to two weeks, but once completed you will control the listing.

 

Getting good reviews to show first

The listing will be where the reviews are left. The good and the bad will all be there. Google will rank them by importance, with more detailed reviews showing higher than single sentence or uncommented reviews.
These reviews are important for several reason. In addition to being one of the first things potential customers check, the reviews also formulate a star rating, an aggregate of each individual review.

Having many good reviews is essential, not just to increase your star rating and making your business look more attractive, but also to drown out the noise of any potential bad reviews, especially when those bad reviews come from someone with a chip on their shoulder!

 

Getting your first review

There are several do’s and don’ts when it comes to your clients and good reviews. It is important to not send out a broadcast email to your clients, friends and family asking for a five-star review. Not all of them may believe you deserve that rating, and Google’s algorithm will pick up on several highly positive reviews flooding your listing all at once.

What you should do instead is start by asking some important clients who would walk over hot coals for you to write a review.

 

Making it part of your customer service process

As a general rule, it’s good to follow up your customers to get some feedback on how they found your product or service. When a customer has positive feedback, follow them up with a ‘glad you liked us’ email. This email should contain a direct link to the location where they can write the review. This makes the process simple and Google’s algorithm prefers consistent reviews over time.

 

Always respond to reviews

Leaving replies on positive reviews shows that you are engaged with your customers, and also indicates to Google’s algorithms that this review is more noteworthy, placing it higher in the listing.

 

Dealing with bad reviews

As with good reviews, dealing with bad reviews is a complex issue that can make or break your business’ reputation depending on how you handle it. The most important thing NOT to do is respond with an angry rant. This appears both unprofessional, can create an on-going argument and, as with responding to positive comments, makes the review seem more important, bumping it up higher in the list.

 

Legitimate Bad Reviews

Instead, the first thing you should do is ensure the review is real. If the reviewer is a client you recognise and know, contact them privately, either through a phone call or an email. Offer to remedy the issues they have raised, and then ask them politely to either change or take down the review.

 

Fake Bad Reviews

However, if the review is not from a legitimate client, respond to them on the review stating that you do not know who they are and would like them to contact you. This allows you to appear level headed, and then proceed with the steps outlined above. Always report fake reviews to Google.

 

How are Facebook reviews different to Google

Reviews on Facebook operate quite similarly to those on Google. Facebook may have automatically created a listing for your business, so it is wise to claim it in order to moderate it. When dealing with reviews on Facebook, manage them with the same rules as those for Facebook, with a few caveats.

 

Block unhappy customers before they review

Facebook allows you far greater control over the reviews you receive. If there is a particularly volatile reviewer leaving negative comments on your Facebook page, you may block them. This allows them to still see their comments, but other users will not. It also means that they can’t move from negative comments to negative reviews. Once you get a negative review you can’t hide it like you can with comments.

 

When a PR crisis hits

If your company is hitting with a PR issue, you can disable reviews on your Facebook page in order to save your rating for once it blows over.

 

Encourage cross-platform reviewing

It is also a good idea to ask those who leave positive Facebook reviews to make a review on Google, as well as the other way around.

 

Business Best Practice

Reviews are a great way of encouraging business best practice. By managing what customers are saying about your business you are managing the quality of the products and services you are providing. It’s a win for you and your customers.

Taking ownership of the listings, and moderating reviews correctly, are critical first steps in taking advantage of this powerful asset Google and Facebook have generated for you.

What Questions to Ask a Web Developer

Are you thinking about getting a website built? Most people think about price and design, but forget to ask about the backend of the website (where you make edits), and how the website is going to function for their business into the future.

Your backend should be your most important consideration when building your website.

Your website is an iceberg and the way it looks is just the tip. So if you’re shopping around for web developers, we’re going to arm you with some key questions and important information about website backends.

What platform should I use for my website?

We build our websites using WordPress. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • It’s the preferred platform for small businesses
  • It’s very flexible in both design and functionality
  • There are lots of web developers who know how to use it – so if you want to switch developer, you’re not stuck with a website no one can edit
  • There are lots of third-party developers building helpful plugins and integration with other software.

 

But what do we really mean when we say ‘WordPress’? And how does it relate to playing with Lego?

Often people view WordPress as being similar to Wix or Squarespace, where you choose a pre-designed theme, add your content and away you go.

But WordPress is more than that, it actually refers to the underlying coding platform – the building blocks of a website. To use Lego as an analogy, you can either buy a pre-designed figurine (like the Millennium Falcon below) or you can buy a box of Lego bricks and design and build a figurine yourself.

WordPress works the same way – you can buy a pre-designed theme that someone else has designed, or you can start with a blank canvas and have your website custom-built to suit your business.

When we speak of Lego, we’re generally referring to the bricks, not the pre-designed figurines. We should view WordPress in the same way – it is the code, not the themes that are built with it.

To further the analogy, choosing between platforms is like choosing between Lego and Duplo.

 

What are the pros and cons of buying a theme?

Often people buy a third-party theme (a theme that’s already been designed). They install it, add some images and text, and the website looks good fairly quickly.

In many cases this can make it cheaper and quicker initially. Plus, there’s the instant gratification factor.

But what if you want to start making adjustment to the theme to suit your business needs – what if you want to add another AG-2G quad laser cannon to your Millennium Falcon? This is where themes start to make things tricky.

If a website has a third-party theme, it can be challenging for website owners to make their own updates in the backend of the website.

Being able to make edits to your website quickly and easily is crucial for small businesses! We simply cannot impress this enough.

It also becomes difficult for even your web developer to add extra functionality as your business grows.

 

What’s the best alternative to a third-party theme?

A custom-built theme is the way to go!

We prefer to custom-build websites for clients when possible rather than using a third-party theme, because it makes the website more flexible and more scalable. Your website should grow with your business.

Ask your web developer to code up the website so it’s customised for your business. This can take longer, so there’s a little less instant gratification in the development process, but your website will be much easier to update in the future!

In the backend of a custom-built website, the design work is pre-saved. If your web developer has coded it well, updating the backend of a custom-built website is not too different from filling out an email or a form.

You can update the headline, the text and the image, and when you push the save button, it updates itself to fit in with the design of the page without any extra input from you!

This keeps your pages looking great, it’s easier to keep mobile-friendly and is less prone to errors.

A custom-built theme is also handy for websites that have the same information in multiple places. Let’s say you have a product page and a product summary on the homepage that both need to be updated.

If you have a third-party theme, you’ll probably need to change that information in several locations on the website. If you have a custom-built theme that allows for easy maintenance, the product details will automatically update on the product page at the same time as the homepage.

With that being said….

 

Always check the backend before you buy!

Whether you’re using a pre-designed theme or custom-building, a lot of websites and themes are being built by people who have a strong design background but not a strong coding background.

If you pick a third-party theme, it’s important to have a click around the backend to help you decide on a theme, and to know if it’s going to work for you.

If you’re getting a website custom-built, ask your web developer to show you an example of what the backend will look like.

A lot of third-party themes use a system called Visual Composer. It’s great for web design experts, but for people who aren’t familiar with it, it can be difficult to operate. It can also be easy to accidentally break the website.

Your website should be working for you, saving you time rather than adding to your to-do list.

 

A quick sidenote on DIY-ing with a WordPress theme, Squarespace or Wix.

Getting a website built can be expensive, and as small business owners we often choose to spend our time over spending money. We think services which allow you to easily and cheaply build a basic website yourself are fantastic for allowing small businesses with tight budgets to access the benefits of having a website.

However, there are many limitations to these websites, so if you have the budget, then getting an experienced developer to build a website for you is definitely the way to go.

And if you’re paying for someone to build your website, you want to make sure you’re getting a quality product.

 

How often should I need my web developer to make changes to the website?

Rarely! With a well-designed custom-built theme, updating website content is a straightforward exercise that you can do yourself.

In a dynamic business, some content on the website will inevitably need to be redeveloped or updated down the track.

Gone are the days of “set and forget” advertising like Yellow Pages. We’re now running multiple dynamic campaigns throughout the year and ideally, you’d have specific landing pages for each.

Going back to your web developer every time you need to make changes to the website is incredibly costly and time-consuming. It’s useful to have a template for your landing page that enables you to add new pages yourself when needed.

Typically, when we build a campaign for people, we’re aiming for specific target markets, so your landing page is going out to a very tight target market. If you’re looking to target business to business (B2B) service professionals, you might want one landing page for accountants and one for financial planners, for example, with the same design but different content for each target market.

If you have that template set up then someone can just go in and fill it out like a form or an email and create a new landing page. It becomes a fast-moving campaign that you can do without having to spend lots of money going back and forth to the web developer.

It’s worth investing a little more in the design process at the beginning to save you time and money down the track. You’ll end up with a well-functioning site that’s easy to maintain.

 

How will the website cater to SEO and Google Analytics?

When your website is being built, think ahead!

WordPress has lots of great plugins and tools you can use. You can install the Yoast SEO plugin and manage your own SEO. This can be a bit trickier if you do go for a third-party theme as they can be a bit bloated with unnecessary code.

They have functionality built into them, but when you start doing SEO, suddenly the site slows down and has too much code in it, which affects a website’s ability to rank well on Google.

If you use a custom-built theme that only has the necessary code in there, then it will give you a strong basis for you to build on later.

Google Analytics is crucial to understanding whether a campaign has been successful or not. It allows you to see how much traffic your website is getting, where it’s coming from, and the demographics of the people visiting your website.

Make sure your web developer installs it for you when your website is launched, and that he installs it in your name and under your own account.

Once it’s set up, it can’t be transferred. You don’t want it to be created through your web developer’s account, because if you lose contact with your web developer, you’ll lose access to all that data.

 

Go forth and make great websites!

We hope this has helped you feel more confident about choosing a web developer and about websites in general.

If you have any questions you want to ask us, please give us a call on 1300 1400 56 or use the contact form below. We love to talk for hours about websites and all things digital.

Also, if you’re interested in having us build your website, pop over to our projects page to have a look at our previous designs.

 

Ask our consultants a question!