What Are The Benefits of Local Business Meetups?

meetup logo

How important are local business meetups to small and medium-sized businesses?  – Phil Gregory:  Peak District SEO

I’m not averse to attending business meetups. I know plenty of business owners who say that they just aren’t useful.  So who to believe?

Let me make one thing clear.  At this point, I’m only attending free meetups. Perhaps I’d get more out of paid meetings, but that remains to be seen.

Working in SEO for 18+years I have learned to base my decisions on the data.  It can be tempting to go on instinct, but such decisions are often based on bias and personal preference.

In the last 3 months, I’ve attended 2 meetups. Both were interesting, One was more business focused than the other. I didn’t acquire any leads from either meetup, but does that mean that attending was a failure?  Personally, I don’t think so? Two meetings aren’t enough to declare the whole idea pointless.

The latest and current favourite is the ‘Informal small business meetup‘ in Derby. Run and organised by Ascentant.

Some Benefits of Local Business Meetups

Peer Insight
Just listening to the everyday stories of other business owners can provide valuable insight.  All businesses face a unique set of challenges, but hearing how each business overcome these issues can be invaluable.

Grounding
Listening to accounts of business owners can make you rethink your levels of investment and effort, perhaps we are focussing on the wrong things, or maybe we are really on the right track and any doubts you had were unfounded.

Learn Best Practise
The opportunity to meet owners of other similar businesses can reveal some best practices, that you are overlooking.   It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, you can still learn something.

A Social Opportunity
Once your our initial nerves have passed and introductions have been done. You may actually find that you like and have a lot in common with the people you’re meeting. As a hard working business professional, we all need a social life opportunity to make new friends, and let off steam.

And last but of course not least,

The Business Opportunity
You attend these business meetups with the primary aim of getting leads and new business, but just like the rest of life, sometimes the most meaningful relationships don’t just happen on the first night. Over time, and a few meetings, once more trust has been built up, business opportunities can reveal themselves.

In conclusion, you may not get a lead from every meeting, but that doesn’t mean that your time wasn’t well spent.  You get out what you put in.

Did I miss anything? Perhaps you disagree? either way, I’d appreciate it if you’d leave me a comment below. thanks for reading and sharing my articles.

Phil Gregory

Phil is the founder of Peak District SEO. He helps businesses make more money. Using traditional Search engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media, and paid advertising (PPC). Phil loves Real Ale & Fell Running.

Choosing The Right Web Platform For Small Business

Choosing a web platform for small non eCommerce business: Phil Gregory – Peak District SEO

It’s true that I’m into SEO, and that’s the cornerstone of this business. However, without websites there is no SEO, so what I want to talk about today is your choice of platform. When choosing a web platform as a small business, the choice of the platform really matters.

There are a number of different web platforms out there to choose from. Making the wrong choice could be costly for your business.

Firstly I’d really urge you to stay away from those free platforms such as WIX and Weebly. such platforms are fine for the creation of personal or hobbyist websites, but I wouldn’t risk building my business on them. They do create some good looking websites, with their build in template builders, but the fact of the matter is they create a lot of code-heavy pages. the code isn’t what we in the SEO business would term as SEO friendly. The markup (Code structure) isn’t the best quality either.

If you hand code your website, that’s fine if you have the skills, that can work.

I appreciate that most people don’t have the skills to build a fully functioning web platform themselves. So that leads us to CMS (Content Management Systems) driven sites.

There are a number of open source CMS platforms such as WordPress, Concrete 5, Drupal, Joomla and Ghost to name a few. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are the big players in this field.

If you are going to build a business website that has built-in future proofing, then you need to be looking at something with a CMS.

Having tried all the above platforms,  I chose WordPress. Wordpress beats the other systems hands down, because of it’s many themes, and it’s capacity to be extended.

WordPress has a massive community of active developers developing themes, and plugins which can add an almost infinite range of features to your website.

Code it yourself or choose WordPress.

Wordpress Logo

WordPress is so versatile and flexible, for me, nothing else comes close to it.  It’s not just me who favours it.
A massive 19% of the worlds websites use wordpress as their preferred CMS.

The real benefit of WordPress is the easy setup. If you have some understanding of HTML, and PHP you should be able to get WordPress setup in a matter of minutes.  Some other platforms can be trickier to set up and then don’t have such a massive community that you can engage with.

Many web hosting companies now include an auto setup for wordpress which sets up your database and joins it to the site in a no fuss, hassle free solution. Whether you set WordPress up, or whether you know someone who can do that for you, consider the limitations of the DIY approach.

Hire professionals to bring your ideas to life

I’d recommend calling in the experts. Speak to a web professional. someone who has experience in installing and customising wordpress, someone who is understands CSS and  javascript.

Dan Kirkland from Tor Studio is used to seeing customers who’ve started on their own, and want to take that next step:

We get a lot of customers coming to us asking us to fix their websites. they’ve had a friend or relative get them started and now they need something that looks more professional.”

Consider speaking to a separate graphic designer too. Get them to build the look and feel of the site to match your existing brand.

Here at Peak District SEO we always used trusted designers, developers and web hosts to help keep projects on track.  We’ll be happy to recommend other web professionals who will work with you to create a theme that suits your company.  Our recommended professionals can create a website that works, and looks good on multiple devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how to get started with your first website.

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Phil Gregory

Phil is the founder of Peak District SEO. He helps businesses make more money. Using traditional Search engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media, and paid advertising (PPC). Phil loves Real Ale & Fell Running.