Today I had a meeting at a lovely pub just outside Roundhay Park and was fascinated to learn from Richard, whom I'm currently building a car sales website for, that the park is the largest park in Europe! Now, I know it's large - I've walked around most of it, but the largest? I looked it up, and guess what, it is!
So I decided to look for myself. For those of you either familiar with Leeds, or thinking about visiting, here are some interesting facts about the wonderful Roundhay Park, a must for anybody in this part of the world.
If you're anything like me, then you'll need your daily coffee fix to wake you up. And not just any coffee. No, instant simply doesn't cut it - with a new gift of an espresso maker from my wonderful friend Liesl, I am now happily making my own coffee on the stove every morning.
So imagine my delight when I was asked to create an online coffee shop, a website where you can order your coffee of any strength, bean or ground, to be delivered to your doorstep as frequently as you like. Perfect! I'll never run out again!
Google's algorithms are a complicated beast and are continually changing, so its fair to say that SEO is an art rather than an exact science. But one thing is for sure, it takes time and patience to achieve organic search engine results - top ten Google listings don't happen overnight.
So, should you skip straight to paid for advertising?
Well not necessarily. Think of it this way. How many times have you skipped past the adverts to the organic listings? People trust them more, so for certain industries where trust between client and consumer is key, paid for advertising is never going to get the same kudos as an organic top ten listing.
Coronovirus has been described as thew 'worst public health crisis for a generation' by the PM, but for many small to medium sized businesses it is also the worst financial crisis for many. Arctic Bee builds websites for many different types of customers including a number of cafes and restaurants and these are going to be the hardest hit as people avoid public and social gatherings over the coming weeks which could indeed stretch into months.
For many small businesses who rely on person to person contact here is food for thought. How crisis proof are you? Whilst for some businesses this will be too much to ensure survivial, for others it provides an ideal opportunity to consider how you future proof because when this pandemic nears its end or a vaccine is found, there is no doubt that this situation will reoccur with either a new wave or new strain of the virus, and there is so much that businesses can do to ensure their survival when social interaction dwindles.
Over the past six months I have been on an extraordinary journey, not least of all because despite building websites for over twenty years, I finally made the decision to leave behind my management job and go it alone, realising that my mental health and wellbeing were more important than a sizeable salary.
I have been told on many occasions that I am an amazing woman and not one to take compliments easily, it took some time to realise that yes, perhaps I am an amazing woman after all. Always determined, I graduated from University in 2000 with four young children, was National President of the Mature Students Union for two years and campaigned tirelessly on behalf of mature students and student Parents, worked my way up from a classroom teacher to a head teacher and headed and grew the training for an ex-offender training charity and set up the first scaffolding training centre in a UK prison.
Whether you live in Leeds or you’ve never been to Leeds and are planning a visit, it is simply an amazing place with lots happening. The first time I visited I was working for the charity Bounce Back and went straight to the prison, in itself an amazing Victorian piece of architecture – but I soon got to visit the City Centre and if you’re a shopaholic, Leeds is the place to be. Bounce Back, incidentally, are moving into the area so watch out for details of their great work - it's a worthwhile charity that focuses on getting ex offenders into work and transforming their lives and I am truly honoured to have worked for them - check them out at www.bouncebackproject.com
I now live in Leeds as well as maintaining a presence in London but always look forward to my journey home to participate in some of the best of what Leeds has to offer.
Here are my top five favourite activities and places to visit:
The past month has taught me some very hard lessons, not least of all to be more mindful in what I post online. Social media is a double edged sword. Sure it allows you to keep in touch, share, offload and let others know that you are thinking about them, but all too often people's lives appear to be somehow perfect and images and videos can hide a darker truth.
When I posted about the end of a relationship on Facebook recently I received so many messages of love and support and I was naturally touched when Emily, a friend I used to work with, offered me refuge and girl therapy at her home for the weekend.
I never took the offer up. Instead I ended up spending days shut away inside crying, asking why this was happening to me and not knowing where to turn as anybody who has been through any form of heartache will relate to. Emily, if I am honest, slipped my mind. I was utterly bereft and forgot that there was a world in existence beyond my front door.
This morning I attended a business networking event in Warrington just outside of Manchester and networked with a range of companies from the local radio station, Wire, to IT companies and business coaches. Invited by CDN networks, wireless technology specialists, who showcased their impressive facial recognition technology, I turned up to the Haliwell Jones Stadium not really knowing what to expect.
Home of the Warrington Wolves, the event started with an inspirational speaker Bennie Westwood, former England ruby player and now an ambassador for the club, who spoke passionately about the game and the time he lifted a trophy with his young daughter on the pitch.
This led me to thinking about my own family and the opportunities that networking more widely in the North West will give me to visit them in Liverpool and Manchester – work life balance is so important and face to face meetings with potential and actual clients is the key to making Arctic Bee successful. I cannot over-estimate the importance of business networking if you are starting out in business and it is certainly something that we can advise on and support you with if you are looking for marketing advice as well as now having good contacts in Warrington who specialise in support for new business start-ups and business coaching.
Penguins don’t live in Whitby. And they can’t fly. So I found out on recent trip to Whitby.
I went with a friend who who was photographing a wedding - finding myself babysitting the couple’s granddaughter and then suggesting a boat ride out of the bay.
It was on the way back when my friend said to me ‘I wonder what birds those are?’ pointing to a flock of them perched high up on the sea wall.
‘Penguins?’ I suggested to which he burst into laughter.
‘And how exactly did they get up there?’
‘Er, fly’ I said.
Many people ask me why I started a web design business. Discussion around mental health, whilst taking on more prominence in recent years, still seems tokenistic. Employers, the media and organisations pay lip service through articles, policies and wellbeing initiatives, but many people I have spoken to who have experienced anxiety, depression or other stresses either through personal or work related circumstances have discussed how ill equipped their employers were to cope with the situation. There are organisational attempts to tackle mental health issues but when it comes to the individual it's a different matter.
It's been an exciting day here at Arctic Bee as we go live with our new website. Built using a Joomla CMS platform, we took just over a week from start to finish and we are very proud of the results. A content management system is the ideal solution if you are looking to self manage of your website or you are looking for your business to grow as it is flexible enough to grow with you. You can add pages, modules, components and more.
So we've recently set up a new office in Leeds in Yorkshire, having offices now in London and Kent. It's quite a lifestyle change. Leeds is vibrant, happening and cosmopolitan, a mini London in the making but without the stresses and pressure of London life. It's the perfect balance.