Setting your business on Google My Business to ‘temporarily closed’?

With the crisis around the Corona virus, many businesses are closed either by force or voluntarily. Changing your opening hours on Google My Business (GMB) to notify customers of your changed hours of operation is not only a nice gesture to your following, but also great for your ranking in Google Search because active business entries in Google My Business are favoured over stale ones.

However, with rules and regulations changing over days, keeping up with the changed business hours is a little time consuming. There is also an option to mark your business as “temporarily closed”… Wouldn’t that do the trick too or does it affect your rating on Google negatively?

In light of the Corona crisis, Google has changed the way it interprets these settings and due to these changes it is safe to mark your business as “temporarily closed” if it’s for more than two weeks.

Google adjusts reaction to Google My Business opening hours

Google will not drop you from search results and will not filter your business out just because it is closed. While it used to do this to more accurately reflect the state of businesses, there are so many shops that are closed now, that they changed this behavior and better serve the businesses during this crisis.

Source: searchengineland.com/

Be careful with sensitive data over Zoom

With everyone suddenly turning to video chat, Zoom has seen an astronomical usage increase. However, several security experts warn that Zoom can tap into the data that you’re talking about and is able to link this data to information from Google, Apple, Facebook and others to turn it into targetable advertising.

Doc Searls, co-author of the influential internet marketing book The Cluetrain Manifesto last century, today warned [cached] Zoom not only has the right to extract data from its users and their meetings, it can work with Google and other ad networks to turn this personal information into targeted ads that follow them across the web.

Source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/

Update: if you’re using Google GSuite, then you may be better off using Hangouts Meet. It’s normally reserved for Enterprise customers but now released to the general public.

There is also a browser plug-in that avoids having to install the client version of Zoom.

Update2: Alternatives for using Zoom that are better at keeping your privacy private.

Create online gift certificates and online ordering options for free with Google Forms

If you have a business in the food and beverage industry, the Corona crisis puts you in serious danger. The forced closure of all these businesses cuts into your money flow. The local government may have some bail out or subsidy plans but who knows how long that will take?

Asking your loyal customers to buy gift certificates from you is a good way keep a relationship with them while your business remains closed. It provides you with some useful cash flow. And you are assured of guests once you are open again.

Alternatively, or in addition to the certificates, you can offer a limited online menu for guests that they can pick up or you can have delivered. Bit every city offers delivery options, but Corona is causing more delivery options and services to appear because demand is great.

Both services can easily be created in Google Forms using your business GSuite account or your private Google account. The former is better but both will work.

Big benefit is that all customer details remain in your possession and don’t get stored anywhere else. Downside is that you will have to perform a few manual steps yourself to fulfill all the orders.

The fulfillment process is also a good opportunity to put your contract staff to work or to hire a few temp people to help you do it.

Take a look at this sample ordering form for gift certificates that I made for restaurant XYZ. People fill out their name, email address and certificate value. Perhaps add a bank account number so you can send them a payment request. Once payment is received, easily verified using internet banking or notification from your banking app, you can print a certificate, write down value and details and mail it out using the good old postal service!

For online ordering menus, you create a similar form. Add a webpage with the menu and place a link to your order form there. To limit your need to stock up on everything and perhaps enable you to cook everything by yourself or with just one chef, out together a limited “Corona” menu. Include your bestsellers and evergreens. If things work out well, you can add weekly specials.

Again, with an order coming in, send out a payment request to the customer, plan the fulfillment of the orders with the kitchen staff and text the customer that their order is ready for pickup!

Of course, if you already have an e-commerce system and shop, adding vouchers or online ordering can be even simpler. But this is a simple but effective way to add these services for free to your business and website!

Help de horeca is live

Via het nieuwe platform http://www.helpdehoreca.nl kunnen vanaf zaterdag 21 maart 12:00 uur waardebonnen aangeschaft worden door iedereen die de horeca in Nederland een warm hart toedraagt.

Deze waardebonnen helpen de ondernemers aan inkomsten, ook nu ze gesloten zijn of alleen voor afhaal en thuisbezorging operationeel zijn.

Bron: missethoreca.nl

Gratis bestelopties voor afhalen voor lokale horeca in Nederland

Door de Coronacrisis zijn veel horecagelegenheden in Nederland hun afzetmarkt kwijtgeraakt en verliezen ze broodnodige omzet.

Gelukkig zijn er ook veel slimme ondernemers die samenwerken om gezamenlijk een online bestelmogelijkheid te maken waarop mensen – die thuiswerken – toch eens in de zoveel tijd een maaltijd kunnen bestellen en zo de lokale ondernemers deze spannende tijd helpen doorkomen.

takeout window
Raam voor het ophalen van takeout en to-go bestellingen

Voor veel ondernemers is het moeilijk om een online bestelmogelijkheid te creëren op hun website omdat ze hiervoor de kennis niet hebben. De onderstaande diensten zijn gratis te gebruiken tijdens de nationale quarantaine en in enkele uren te realiseren. Daarna hoeft de ondernemer alleen nog maar zijn klanten te informeren via hun gebruikelijke kanalen: Facebook pagina’s, instagram, website, whatsapp of E-mail.

#supportyourlocalsNL

https://www.supportlocals.nl/

Andere lokale producenten werken gezamenlijk aan een heuse box met producten waar ze allemaal aan bijdragen. De box kan door mensen online besteld worden en wordt dan bezorgd. Op die manier zijn de lokale ondernemers in staat hun producten tóch af te zetten en verminderen ze de druk op de supermarkten die onder grote druk staan vanwege de bevoorraadingsproblemen en het hamstergedrag van mensen in de tijd van crisis.

NOW Fonds

Steeds meer horecaondernemers zijn bezig met het opstarten van een bezorgdienst bij hun klanten en het mogelijk maken van het afhalen van maaltijden. Er is echter een direct verband tussen hoeveel omzet u nu nog maakt en de hoogte van de maatregel Noodfonds Overbrugging Werkgelegenheid (NOW), de voormalige uitkering werktijdverkorting.

‘Er zijn dus situaties denkbaar waar bezorgen en/of afhalen u geld gaat kosten in plaats van dat het u geld oplevert’.

Ad Bolleman

Dus het compenseren van omzetverlies door thuis te gaan bezorgen en producten af te leveren bij de mensen, kan er toe leiden dat uw omzetverlies daalt maar daardoor ook de compensatie uit het NOW fonds. Lees meer hierover bij Misset Horeca.

eScooter huren om bestellingen te bezorgen tijdens coronacrisis

Ondernemers die tijdens de coronavirus crisis tijdelijk een eScooter willen gebruiken om hun producten te verspreiden kunnen tegen 0,50/km de scooter huren/lenen bij Felyx.com.

felyx.com

https://felyx.com/nl/nl/delivery

Op die manier kunnen lokale producten, al dan niet gezamenlijk, toch hun producten kwijt doordat ze met de scooter tijdelijk hun eigen personeel kunnen inzetten om bestellingen thuis bij de mensen af te leveren.

How To Post Updates To All Social Media Accounts And Google My Business

You’re probably familiar with the problem: you like to quickly post an update or photo to your personal or business Instagram, but then you spend a half copying that post over to all the other Social Media accounts you have. Facebook Pages, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, and so on. And last but not least, you really should not forget Google My Business (GMB).

GMB is your business profile on Google Maps and in Search. It’s where Google, if you are up to date and regularly refresh your content, retrieves semantic data about your company. It’s products, services, menus, opening hours, contact information and so on.

OneUp social media scheduling tool

Businesses who are active on GMB have shown an increase in organic traffic from Google although how exactly remains a mystery. So it’s a shame that updating all of your channels (website, social, mailing lists) is so much work. Surely there must a tool that can help automate this? After all, they’re all services in the cloud so it should be easy to couple, link and integrate them all into a single dashboard/app where I can create my update with text, photos and/or video? Right?

Wrong. There are plenty of Social Media Scheduling tools out there, such as Hootsuite, Buffer, SocialPilot and so on. Sadly, these services cost money and to really get all their features you have to resort to an expensive albeit all powerful plan. But most of us don’t want to pay $250/month/user for these features, no matter how useful and beneficial to our business.

Check out Social Media Scheduling Tools: The Complete List (2020 Update)

https://blog.oneupapp.io/social-media-scheduling-tools/

However, if you are willing to sacrifice a little of your time in return for cheaper tools, you can easily tie two or three of these scheduling tools together to automatically update all the Social Media platform of your choice, including Google My Business, for little or no monthly fee. But you have to do it yourself and can’t work together in a team.

  • SocialPilot, $10/month, 10 profiles
    • supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Xing, VK
  • OneUp, $4/month, 3 profiles
    • supports Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google My Business
  • Hootsuite, free, 3 profiles
    • supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube
  • IFTTT, free, links Social Media accounts
    • Free link between Instagram and WordPress
  • WordPress, free, 4 profiles
    • free link between WordPress blog and Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr

Why do I list Tumblr, even though the platform is mostly dead? First of all Automattic has acquired Tumblr and will breath new life into it, I think. Second and most importantly, Tumblr has a fantastic mobile app that lets you create the most media rich posts/updates of all. Text or photo, yes, but audio, GIF or posting video natively that you didn’t record with the app but with your phone’s camera, that where Tumblr’s App really shines. So it’s my go-to app if I want to cross post media rich updates.

Power Up Your Social Media Channels

Now for an example, let’s say you want to use the Instagram app for updating your followers. You want to use Instagram, Facebook (Page) and your WordPress blog. Then…

  1. Link Instagram to your Facebook Page. Free.
  2. Link Instagram to your WordPress blog through IFTTT. Free.
  3. Buy OneUp to feed your Facebook updates to your GMB profile. Only $4 per month.

Total cost: $4/month plus your WordPress plan – which could be free.

Brand New Colorful Website for BY AMI

by ami

Marking the first year in operation, BY AMI has certainly had a dream start by any standard! The restaurant was all over the media and Instagram is full of the colorful dishes and InstaWalls that his friend Jeroen van der Wier has made inside the restaurant. You really have to see these 4 meter high paintings yourself to fully appreciate them.

Needless to say Ahmed wanted his website to more closely reflect the image and style of the restaurant, his dishes, drinks and InstaGram account.

BY AMI – Urban Bistro

So I made him a new website by switching to a new theme that puts his (blog) posts front and center to shamelessly show of his colors at first glance. At the same time, the redesign puts more emphasis on mobile-first paradigm through Google AMP, a high-speed mobile experience that is natively supported in WordPress, because more than half of BY AMI’s visitors find the restaurant by discovery rather than by name. This way, everyone wins.

Finally, showcasing BY AMI’s dinner arrangements and services in a way that lets Google add semantics to the search results, I added Structured Data from schema.org to the site. Now, Google’s search algorithm can intelligently add various data about baby showers, theater arrangements or business offers to present a user with more targeted search results.

If you’re inspired by this project and would like to know how I can help your website, get in touch with me and create your site on WordPress.com. I can jump in later and help you continue it and will finish it in no time!

WordPress.com

New POS system for iZi ristorante italiano

pasta amatriciana

Very happy to report having set-up David from iZi ristorante italiano in St Maarten with a new cloud-based POS system from Lavu.com!

The new POS is software-as-a-service, which means he doesn’t need local servers anymore to record transactions. No Windows server to maintain. No software to update nor backup and restore. All data is safely in the cloud. In case of internet disruptions, the software has an offline mode that will record transactions and upload everything once the connection is restored.

Lavu POS 4.0

The expensive stand-alone (often Windows XP!) terminals that served as cash terminals or server stations can all go. The software runs as an app on iPads or iPad minis, that are easy to carry around by the waiters or set-up as a register using protective stands. The stands can also be securely bolted to counters or furniture to complicate stealing. But in case of (weather) damage, theft or malfunction, David just gets a new iPad, logs in with his Apple ID, downloads the app and after 10 minutes the new iPad is ready for business. He can then go claim the stolen equipment…

The result is a modern POS system that works alongside existing payment terminals from Sint Maarten banks for Maestro debit and credit cards. Apple Pay and Google Wallet can easily be added with a snap-on accessory on the iPad, when desired or needed.

lavu control panel
Lavu control panel on the web

Menus are easily created and added using the online Lavu control panel and price changes take literally 10 seconds. Waiters can stimulated to push certain menu items and receive a part from the profits. For instance, 5% of all Summerlicious menus they sell or 10% of the wine bottles but not wine by the glass.

WordPress Implementation for Inspired Psychologists

inspired sxm

I’ve recently completed a WordPress implementation for two psychologists on Sint Maarten, who needed an experienced but fresh look to give advice on their proposed site map. While able to make the site themselves, there was already so much to do that they would be launching quicker with my help than they would be able to do by themselves.

My experience with creating websites and analytical skills also helped create their main menu and page content. This way, they just need to add content and be done with it.

inspired sxm
Inspired SXM Psychology & Consultancy

The two friends and colleagues both share an “inspirational” love for their profession and I wanted to emphasise the no-nonsense approach of the two ladies. The language is very personal and direct and the site has ample opportunity to showcase their work with individuals as well as provide businesses with consultancy.