Category Archives: “Just Nancy”

Do You Need HTTPS Now?

We Are a Google Partner Specializing in Search Marketing, Mobile, and Display.
We Are a Google Partner Specializing in Search Marketing,, Mobile, and Display.

HTTPS – Google loves it, but for informational websites, moving to HTTPS adds to your costs. Expect to pay $129 to $229 for a SSL or secure socket layer certificate to be able to have your website use HTTPS in the browser bar.

For me at this time, I am not moving to HTTPS and it is mainly due to the additional cost. I do not have e-commerce on my website and I only use a contact form for prospects, so do not feel that I must have this extra security. But, Google loves the security and encryption that HTTPS affords for websites. At some point in time, the use of HTTPS on your website may be a ranking factor for organic results, but for now, it is not.

E-Commerce Sites MUST be HTTPS

If your website has e-commerce, you take payments or log users into a secure area, you really need to be using HTTPS at this point in time, no exception.

New Websites Should Embrace HTTPS

Any new websites we design are all in HTTPS. At this time I do not feel that existing informational websites should move to HTTPS, but that day may be coming soon.

To find out more about how we can help you, I invite you to visit our website to browse our service offerings and read more content on topics that will help your business grow.

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The Burger King Syndrome

Nancy McCord a Google Partner and Bing Partner
Nancy McCord a Google Partner and Bing Partner

The Burger King Syndrome? Yes, that is what I call it when a customer wants everything their way right away. Now, mind you, that is not necessarily a bad thing to want something your way – sometimes.

It’s great to want things your own way. I want them my own way too. But it’s not a good thing if a client is not willing to pay for that level of customization.

In some cases, where you are working with an ecommerce store theme that is a template-driven application, you may not be able to get your product images in a different position than the theme template allows – no matter how much you might be willing to pay to make that change. It is important to understand, there are simply some things that simply cannot be customized to your personal specifications.

Here is where addressing customer expectations in advance is very important as well as having a contract for a project. If, as part of a project, a customer expresses needs that you know will not be workable, you can always shift the customer to a different item before work even starts. And before the contract is enacted.

Taking time to evaluate needs and clarify what is supplied, what can be customized, and what additional options can be purchased, is all a part of taking good care of a customer and providing excellent customer service. I personally never rush the early part of a project before contract.

No one likes to hear – no we can’t do that, but sometimes you may simply not be able to have it your own way.

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Improve Your Cash Flow with These Business Tips

Don't Let Cash Run Out, Get Proactive
Don’t Let Cash Run Out, Get Proactive

Improve your cash flow with my easy to use and implement tips for small business owners.

Late Fees and Interest
Make sure you put a late fee (I use $15 to $25) in your work agreement and spell out how much and when you charge interest on late payment. My terms are net 10 days and on the 28th of the month I assign late fees and interest. Even big companies will adhere to a signed agreement and pay my late fees. So spell out your requirements so you have leverage.

Monitor Payments and Contact Late Payers After 5 Days
My payments are due the 5th to 10th of each month. On the 15th I contact all clients who have not submitted a payment and ask if they need a copy of the invoice and remind them of the date I assign late fees and interest.

I have to say that this is the key to keeping my clients current has significantly improved my cash flow. If you do not enforce your own contract no one else will. If you let people pay you late and not pay the contracted penalties, you are setting yourself up to be paid consistently late. It was only when I started to enforce my own contract with customers and got proactive, well before the late date, that I started to get consistent on-time payment results.

Move Chronic Late Payers to Auto Billing
When a client is a chronic late payer, I try to move them to our auto billing program. This way I have a credit card on file and I bill the card on the 5th of each month.

Move Chronic Credit Card Decline Customers to Prepay
When a client has repeated credit card declines, I move them to a prepay basis before the new service month even starts. That way I do not perform any services where payment is doubtful.

In Conclusion – Be Flexible But Firm

Being in business since 2001, I have seen it all and been stiffed for payments large and small. What I have found is that people will only pay you in the fashion that you detail in your agreement and that then you actually enforce.

There is nothing worse for a small business owner than to perform a service and to never get paid for it or to have to chase down a client for months to get payment for services.

As for me, now, I will simply stop performing services when there is a payment problem. I unfortunately have allowed clients in the past to take advantage of me by ringing up a bill, accepting the promise of a  payment next month, and then having to chase them for payment or to having to write off all my billings with that client as a bad debt.

Experience has been the wisest teacher for me in the area of improving my business cash flow. If you have tips on how you keep your own clients current leave me a comment. I’d love to know what you do.

 

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Helping Your Team Achieve Success

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Helping Your Team to Success Starts with Listening to How Problems Happen

My kids and husband help me with my business along with 7 professional writers. Sometimes even the very best planning cannot account for things that come up.

Although we have had some internal scheduling challenges in November and December this year, our team is dedicated to success.

My approach to handling problems is to look at them without criticism and blaming and ask – “what can we do better?”

I have found that in challenging situations, personal conferences are better than a team meeting ;as no one wants to feel singled out or made to feel inadequate when compared to other team members.

What has come out of one of my three meetings so far is that we should order our blog posts farther ahead to allow for more time for post installation and no last minute installations.

Additionally, we developed a plan to have a second library of all of our social media projects so that our editors and writers do not work under pressured deadlines.

I have personally found that by relieving the pressure of deadlines in my business that my team works better and is able to achieve their personal success goals. Happier staff means better retention and increased productivity.

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How to Get Clients to Value Your Time

Nancy McCord is a Google and Bing Partner
Nancy McCord is a Google and Bing Partner

Can you teach others to value your time? Yes, you sure can. I have been in business since 2001 and over time my business and client load and demand for my services have grown significantly.

As a business professional who makes a living off of time billing, I have learned a few things about helping clients learn to value my time.

Use Calendly
I use an appointment calendaring app called Calendly. I started out with the free version of Calendly but now use the premium paid version. This app moved me from one to six emails (for each client) to schedule a mutually available time for client strategy calls to now one email with a link and the client self-selects a time and even gets automated reminders.

I even use Calendly for pre-paid consulting appointments, linking the notifications in the app to my billing page to get payment before I even get in the car.

Rarely Talk on the Phone Except by Appointment
Most of my correspondence is done by email. I have voice mail messages letting clients and prospects know the best and fastest way to get me is by email. I typically send all my phone calls to voice mail. This puts me in charge of my day and time allowing me to be highly productive.

Set Email Auto Responder Messages
If I am super busy and not available to react immediately to an email, I set up a “vacation” notice that I am super busy that day and list the times I will be checking email. I will always respond that same day, but sometimes am tied up on a code issue, SEO problem, or AdWords program set up. Interruptions on some of these projects kill the thought continuum and are serious  distractions. When I am working on a project I have a laser-beam focus and operate at a high level of efficiency and competency. Calls distract from that focus.

By communicating when I will respond, I assure clients that I will touch base back. I do however perform triage. If there is a disaster happening – I will stop my project to help. I do have a strong sense of urgency when it comes to assuring that your site is up and fully functional or that a real time sensitive problem is addressed quickly.

Set Limits on Free Services
Although I am willing to freely share my thoughts and time with prospects, I do limit the time I will spend without moving into a paid client category. I do clock all my time chatting with a prospect. Typically at the end of 30 minutes I will go and then followup by email with a request to move to a paying client category. I have been burned a number of times and now I do value my own time. The most important thing I have found is if you do not value your own time, clients will not value it either.

That being said, you do not have to be rude, pretentious, or full of yourself by setting limits and guiding customers on how best to use your services effectively. I always try to be helpful yet focused.

In all I do, I work hard to provide value for clients and work to save them time and money. If you are looking for an expert to help with your SEO, content strategy, or Internet Marketing Program using Google AdWords, contact my by email at nancy@mccordweb.com.

 

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