The Ultimate Trading Online Voucher Guide

The Ultimate Trading Online Voucher Guide

As a digital marketer and a website designer in Mullingar, Westmeath, I think this grant is amazing for SME’s that are looking to trade online for the first time or to upgrade.

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Fair play to the government that took a proactive approach by increasing the Trading Online Voucher from covering 50% of the cost to 90% to help business trade online during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Under this grant, an eligible business may apply for funding to a maximum value of €2,500 or 90% of eligible expenditure (exclusive of VAT), whichever is the lesser.

Some of the business owners that I speak to assume that the Trading Online Voucher is all about an eCommerce site and selling products. But there is much more to it than that as let’s say that you are offer face to face consultations you can do these online and get paid for them in advance all within your website which is classed as trading online.

What type of businesses are eligible for the Trading Online Voucher?

  • Businesses that have limited or no e-commerce presence
  • Businesses with less than 10 staff
  • Businesses with turnover less than €2m
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least 6 months
  • Businesses must be located in the area covered by their Local Enterprise Office.

What type of expenses are covered in the Trading Online Voucher?

  • Building a new e-commerce website
  • Upgrading your current eCommerce website
  • Converting your current website so that it can trade online
  • Implementing online booking systems such as appointment schedulers
  • Implementing online payment platforms
  • The cost of Internet-related software
  • Developing an app
  • A digital marketing strategy
  • Implementing the digital marketing strategy including SEO
  • Training to manage an online trading activity
  • Subscriptions (excluding transaction costs) to low cost online retail tools
    Online advertising such as Facebook ads (up to 30% of all other approved costs)
  • Photography (up to 80% of all other approved voucher costs)
  • IT consultations

This is how it works once your business has been approved

Let’s say that that you want a bit of everything or need some advice on where to spend this grant to be the most effective, just get in touch with me by booking a video or phone call here and I will point you in the right direction in a non-salesy way.

Gleeson Digital can do everything apart from building you an app, but we can recommend some really good Irish app developers.

So let me put this into perspective.

First, you need to get in touch with your Local Enterprise Office. For those of you that are in Westmeath, you will need to contact the Local Enterprise Office Westmeath that is located in Mullingar. You can email them here localenterprise@westmeathcoco.ie.

Then you will have register with your Local Enterprise Office to attend a webinar that will explain everything that you need to know in detail and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.

You will need to get 3 quotations and you can pick whichever website designer or digital marketing agency that you choose. You don’t have to opt for the cheapest one.

So let’s say that you want a new website, need a digital marketing strategy, some Facebook ads and some photography that costs €2,800 + VAT which comes to €3,444.

You will have to pay your web designer or digital marketing agency first and then the Local Enterprise Office will reimburse you in a matter of weeks. But please note that you will have to provide proof that you have paid in the form of a screenshot of your bank statement.

€3,444 you pay
€2,500 the Local Enterprise Office will reimburse you
€   944 net cost

Other information that you need to know

  • Claims can be made in either 1 or 2 instalments for completed work
  • Expenditure on the various project components can only be claimed once
  • All third party/suppliers must be bonafide businesses that can provide details of their tax registration and provide an up to date tax clearance certificate
  • Applications must be accompanied by quotations from 3 local suppliers.

Final thoughts

The first round of this grant that was launched in April was valid for 9 months and the latest round is only valid for 4 months.

So reading between the lines you can see that this grant will be phased out so you need to act fast as funding may run out or the grant may well get cancelled as the pandemic comes to an end. It will then revert back from 90% to 50%.

This a great opportunity to give your whole online presence an overhaul so don’t miss out by assuming that it doesn’t apply to your business.

So if you want independent advice on the best way to allocate the Trading Online Voucher for your business in the form of website design, digital marketing strategy, photography, SEO etc. you can book a free consultation with me here.

For example, if you already have a WordPress website you might not need to pay for a whole new website. It may be possible for us to allocate your budget wisely by simply adding an online store to your existing site so that you can allocate some money to driving the right type of traffic to your website using SEO or Facebook ads.

– Gary

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website designer & digital marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction)

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What is a Search Engine Optimisation Audit?

What is a Search Engine Optimisation Audit?

So you have spent thousands on your website and you have just realised that your website isn’t generating that much traffic from search engines, so the chances are that your website needs an SEO overhaul.

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The best place to start is with an SEO audit that will highlight areas that can be improved upon so that your website climbs Google’s rankings.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimisation is the process of making a website or website pages appear higher up in search engines such as Google. The higher up they appear the more likely that users will click on these search engine’s links to your website.

The 7 key stages of SEO are:

SEO Audit

The great thing about digital marketing is that there aren’t many grey areas regarding how successful any type of campaign is and search engine optimisation is a typical example of this because everything is measurable.

The purpose of a website audit is to identify as many issues affecting organic search performance as possible such as:

  • Technical SEO problems
  • Website structure problems
  • On-page SEO problems
  • Current website domain authority 
  • User experience problems
  • Content gaps and opportunities
  • Website loading speed

So in addition to spotting current website issues, the audit also serves as a starting point where initial statistics can be compared to the statistic in the coming months or years to follow that will show how effective the search engine optimisation campaign has been.

Keyword Research

One of the first things that we do before we even design or build a website is keyword research. 

Keywords are terms or phrases that are typed into search engines which should be strategically placed in the website multiple times so that the website appears higher up in the search engine results pages. But please note that if this is overdone, which is known as keyword stuffing, Google will penalise your website for this as it sees this as spam and an underhanded way of trying to beat the algorithm. 

Using the right keywords is one of the most important components of search engine optimisation. 

On-Page SEO

Now that we know what your target market is searching for on search engines, it’s time to dive into on-page SEO which is the practice of creating web pages that answer searcher’s questions. 

Once we have the keywords or keyword phrases that search engine users are using we can amend the website accordingly to make it “Google-friendly.” We do this by updating strategically placing the keywords into the website such as amended content or text, updating page titles, changing the titles and alt tags of images; to name a few.

Technical SEO

Now that we have created valuable content based on our keyword research, it’s important to make sure it’s not only readable by humans, but by search engines too.

So as the name suggests this is the technical part. If I can compare on-page and technical SEO in an analogy, the on-page would be how a car looks and the technical search engine optimisation is all about the engine.

I will keep this section brief but careful attention is needed in the following areas for search engines:

  • Increase the loading time of a website & it’s individual pages
  • Optimise images so that they load quicker
  • Instruct search engines which website pages to index
  • Inform Google what the pages are about using schema markup & the canonical tag
  • Ensure the website is mobile-friendly

Blogging Using Keywords

This is admittedly similar to the on-page SEO that I mentioned earlier but blogging should be an ongoing part of your digital marketing & search engine optimisation strategies.

Blogging has 3 main advantages for SEO:

  • It can increase your domain authority
  • Google gives extra juice to websites that blog consistently
  • Your blog posts can reach a wider audience if it is done properly

A great tip is to keep the important content above the fold for desktop users so that they are encouraged to read the article. Above the fold means in the top part of a page before scrolling down.

This is harder to do for mobile as you have fewer characters to play with so make sure that the first couple of sentences are interesting enough to keep your viewer’s attention. 

Link Building & Establishing Domain Authority 

So we have created content that potential new customers are searching for, that answers their questions and that search engines can understand, but those qualities alone don’t mean that your website or website pages will rank. 

To appear high in the search engines results pages you have to establish authority. That can be accomplished by earning links from authoritative websites, building your brand and nurturing an audience who will help amplify your content by sharing it on their social media accounts and by commenting in the comments section of your blog posts.

Google confirmed that links and quality content are two of the three most important ranking factors for search engine optimisation. Authority websites tend to link to other trustworthy sites and spammy sites tend to link to other spammy sites.

Measuring & Tracking Results

If you can’t measure something how are you expected to improve it?

It’s no different in SEO. We track everything from rankings and conversions to domain authority scores to help prove the value of SEO. Measuring the impact of our work and ongoing refinement is critical to your business’s SEO success.

While it’s common to have several SEO goals, establishing one specific primary end goal is essential. Then we can work towards that.

Final Thoughts on SEO

SEO should play an important part in your digital marketing strategy because it is a great way to generate the right traffic to your site. But don’t get hung up on the number of website visitors from search engines because quality traffic is much more important.

I tried not to get too technical in this blog post as some of the SEO jargon can take some explaining, but if you need any advice on improving your business’s SEO to grow, get in touch.

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website designer & digital marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction)

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