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What to Consider with Online Booking Platforms for Your Website

online booking tools for your website

Many of my clients operate businesses based on appointment booking.  From automotive garages, massage therapists, hair salons to bookkeepers and more, online booking can have a great impact on traffic to your business.

Make Online Booking Easy for Regular Customers

Online booking makes it easier for your customers to book appointments with you. Regular customers can book, change, cancel or reschedule their appointment, all without picking up the phone. Not only is this easier for them, but it saves you time avoiding those 3-5 phone calls.

Encourage New Clients to Book

Online booking can also be a great tool for new customers looking to try your services. Maybe you’re interested in applying an introductory booking offer? Again, they don’t have to pick up the phone to see your availability and make their own appointment.  Presently it seems most people prefer to not speak on the phone. However, you will find that if they have questions about your services, they may book an appointment online and follow up with a quick phone call.

Features to Consider When Choosing an Online Booking Platform

There are many features to consider when choosing an online booking platform. These features will be specific to your business, your needs and what you consider to be so important you can’t live without it. The goal of this plugin is to make booking as simple as possible for your customers and for your business. There is a solution out there for everyone.

Keep in Mind:

  • Number of services offered
  • Number of staff members
  • Availability: Consistent hours daily/weekly or always changing?

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Do you need clean-up/set-up time in between Appointments?
  • How far in advance can people book/cancel appointments?
  • Do you want text message & email reminders?
  • Do you want a customer portal where customers can view/edit their upcoming appointments?
  • Would you like this to also serve as a CRM tool?
  • Do you want to accept payments online at time of booking?
  • Would you like it to connect with your current invoicing system?
  • Do you need to be able to keep customer records and be able to share them with the customer?

If you’re thinking of implementing a new online booking system, it’s important to first sit down and find out your exact business needs.  Like buying a house, make your wish list and then start looking for solutions that fit. If this task seems daunting, give us a call and let’s figure it out together.

Don’t forget to join the conversation online on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And sign up for our monthly news for even more tips.

Until next time,

Deanna

 

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Tips to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

ransomware

In light of the cyber-attacks last week in London, Eng and also in Oshawa, ON I would like to share some tips and best practices for preventing/dealing with a cyber attack.

I sent this information as an email to my clients, and would like to also share it here. This is a critical concern, as it was brought to my attention yesterday that some local websites in Uxbridge (none of mine) were hacked on Saturday.

From my past experience in IT and dealing with two Ransomware Attacks, I wanted to share some best practices on how to avoid malware/ransomware and also what to do if you are “attacked”.

  1. Tips to Avoid Getting “Malware” Through Email:

    • If you receive an email from an unknown sender:
      • Don’t click on any links or download any attachments
    • Check the email for spelling/grammar mistakes
    • Check the email address for unusual spelling/formatting

Read more

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What One Feature Could Make Your Life Easier?

wordpress plugins

Have you ever just wished your website had that one feature that could make your life that much easier?  Whether you’re a massage therapist looking for payment recording features, or wanting to keep track of contact information for sales on products in case of item recalls.  No matter what you’re looking for, chances are there’s a plugin for that!

WordPress is a world-wide, online, open source website creation tool.  Because it is open source, it means anyone can create themes and plugins for it.  Plugins are these amazing add-ons that plug in to your existing WordPress site.  These plugins can be anything from SEO tools, to specialized image galleries, to product management systems, even sales conversions tools.

If you need it, chances are someone else did too and there should be a plugin for that!

Free vs. Premium Plugins

In the world of plugins, like most everything else, there are free and paid versions.  The free versions typically include the basics of the plugin, minus some nice features like customization and branding.  The premium versions are typically everything you could want right out of the box for a cost.

Plugins range in price depending on their complexity, available support and required features.  Most have the option to buy outright, or pay monthly.

Some of the BEST WordPress Plugins

There are some really amazing plugins out there right now.  The ones I’m currently loving are:

  • Akismet
  • Jetpack
  • WP Smush
  • Wordfence
  • YOAST SEO

These are my essential bundles that I install on every website I develop.  Then I leave room for customizing options specific to the client’s wants & needs.

Some premium plugins that I enjoy are:

  • NextGen Pro Image Gallery
  • Wordfence Pro
  • Events Calendar Pro
  • WooCommerce Premium Extensions (PayPal, etc.)
  • Give Premium

The Downside to so Many Plugins?

The only downside to there being so many plugins, is that there are so many to filter through when you’re looking for your dream one.  That’s why I am constantly reviewing plugins in a wide range of functionalities so I can find THE BEST ONES.

What’s that one feature that would make your life easier and more efficient?

I invite you to get in touch by telephone or email, or connect through FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram. You can also sign up for our exclusive monthly newsletter for more great tips on social media marketing, SEO and websites!

Deanna