10 Common Mistakes Wedding Professionals Are Making on Their Websites (Part 6)

The ACPWC found valuable information in this article from Brenda Cadman, Principal at Wedding Business Websites.

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Your website is one of your most important marketing assets.  It is your “front door” online.  So it is critical that you make that great first impression to entice wedding couples.  Learn from this informative series on website mistakes and gain insights on how to fix them.

MISTAKE #9: YOUR WEBSITE TEXT IS DIFFICULT TO READ

The quality of the fonts you select for your website are a large contributor to your website’s usability. Fonts should be easy to read and consistent in size with the exception of some headings or subheadings. In general, sans serif fonts are preferable for website use because they are easier to read on screen. Font colors should also be considered.

Make sure your font color is readable against your background color. Too much contrast (for example, using yellow text on a black background) can be just as ineffective as low contrast (for example, using a thin, light gray text against a white background).

Also, never use stylized, fancy fonts for your body text. Save those for your titles and accent text and stick to a simpler font. Note that sans serif fonts are often easier to read on screen than serif fonts.

MISTAKE #10: YOUR WEBSITE HAS BROKEN LINKS & ERRORS

Broken links and errors imply poor site maintenance and means potential clients won’t be able to find information they are looking for. Worse, it automatically gives users the impression of laziness, poor attention to detail, and general lack of care for your website and possibly your business.

Explore your own website regularly to check for broken links, as external links are often changed or moved with no notice to linking sites, rendering them dead links. If you are unable to fix the link, remove it from your website altogether.

Get friends or family to proof your website and check for errors and missing information. There is nothing like a pair of fresh eyes, and it’s free too!

Photo source: flickr.com/ linh.ngan

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10 Common Mistakes Wedding Professionals Are Making on Their Websites (Part 5)

The ACPWC found valuable information in this article from Brenda Cadman, Principal at Wedding Business Websites.

Your website is one of your most important marketing assets.  It is your “front door” online.  So it is critical that you make that great first impression to entice wedding couples.  Learn from this informative series on website mistakes and gain insights on how to fix them.

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MISTAKE 7: YOU DON’T THINK SECURITY AND BACKUPS ARE IMPORTANT

The reality is that small business owners, including wedding professionals, are often targets for hackers. In fact, according to a September 2013 Forbes article, a shocking 30,000 websites are hacked every day, and the majority of those sites are legitimate small businesses like yourself. Here are 5 simple ways to ensure that your time is free to spend on your wedding business, not fixing a hacked website:

  • Use maximally strong passwords – This applies to your WordPress login and your hosting passwords. Strong passwords contain a mix of letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Do not use “admin” as your username – When you install WordPress, the default username is “admin”, and a lot of people don’t change it. If you don’t update this, it makes your website more vulnerable.
  • Run your WordPress updates regularly – Your WordPress updates are not something to be ignored. In fact, it’s imperative to run upgrades because they improve features, fix bugs and prevent hackers from inserting malicious code.
  • Implement malware monitoring – Sucuri.net is an awesome website monitoring and malware cleanup service. In a nutshell, their service frequently scans your website and alerts you if you’ve been hacked or infected. If you do end up hacked, the Sucuri team will clean it up for you at no additional cost.
  • Utilize a third party backups solution – It’s much more reliable, it’s faster and it’s more efficient for you to have direct access to your backups, rather than relying on a hosting company to restore them for you. Consider Vaultpress.com or Codeguard.com, both of which are inexpensive.

MISTAKE 8: YOU’VE ONLY PROVIDED A CONTACT FORM ON YOUR CONTACT PAGE

It may seem redundant to provide both your email and a form, but trust us when we say you should. In fact, if we had to choose between having just a form versus actual contact info only, we’d go for the latter. Why? Simply put, many users don’t like forms. It often doesn’t provide a copy of the message sent, it confines the user to the fields provided (annoying!), and we don’t know where the message is going!

Providing your email address gives potential clients the choice to fill out your form now, or keep a copy of your email for future use. An email address can be easily forwarded and shared with others, whereas a form forces people to visit your website to contact you. This is not necessarily a good thing, especially if your website is not mobile responsive.

Make it easy for your customers to contact you via the method they prefer… list your phone, email, address (if you have a business location) and yes, a form.

Photo source: flickr.com/ ºNit Soto

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10 Common Mistakes Wedding Professionals Are Making on Their Websites (Part 4)

The ACPWC found valuable information in this article from Brenda Cadman, Principal at Wedding Business Websites.

Your website is one of your most important marketing assets.  It is your “front door” online.  So it is critical that you make that great first impression to entice wedding couples.  Learn from this informative series on website mistakes and gain insights on how to fix them.

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MISTAKE 5: MUSIC AUTOMATICALLY PLAYS WHEN YOUR WEBSITE LOADS

Websites should never have music or video on auto-play. Most users get distracted or turned off when they hear background sounds they did not explicitly activate or choose. If it’s important for you to have audio or video, always use a media player so users can play and pause anytime.

Auto-play also slows down your website’s loading time, which may cause users to exit out of impatience. And finally auto-play music is one of the biggest factors that make a website appear dated, so we recommend removing it altogether.

If music is crucial to your business or branding, install a media player (do not set it to autoplay!) so users can choose to turn on the music if they want.

MISTAKE 6: SOCIAL MEDIA IS POORLY INTEGRATED ON YOUR WESBITE

Be Consistent. Often business owners will only list their social media platforms on their homepage or one other page (usually the Contact page). You should place your social media links in the same location on every page.

Be Visible. Make sure that your social media links aren’t hard to find, either because they are placed in an odd or obscure place on your website, or because your website is cluttered and they get lost amidst all the content. Choose a location that is easy to find. Your footer is a great option because you can add extra text or call to action with it.

Be Recognizable. Use the official platform icons to indicate social media links. These icons are recognizable and what your customers will be looking for if they want to find your social media properties. Simple text blends in too much and isn’t strong enough as a call-to-action.

Be Accurate. Make sure your links actually take your visitors to the right pages! You may not even realize that certain users aren’t being directed to your business Facebook page – double check in your page settings that you haven’t hidden your page from any viewers, unless there’s a specific reason you don’t want people in other countries to be able to access your page. If your Facebook link doesn’t seem to be working for everyone who tries to visit, it’s possible you are blocking access to your page.

Photo source: flickr.com/adamquirm

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10 Common Mistakes Wedding Professionals Are Making on Their Websites (Part 3)

The ACPWC found valuable information in this article from Brenda Cadman, Principal at Wedding Business Websites.

Your website is one of your most important marketing assets.  It is your “front door” online.  So it is critical that you make that great first impression to entice wedding couples.  Learn from this informative series on website mistakes and gain insights on how to fix them.

MISTAKE #3: YOU HAVEN’T IMPLEMENTED ANALYTICS

Website analytics provide invaluable information not only about your website’s performance, but also about the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. It can also reveal important facts about your target market. Therefore, it is important to have them implemented to make sure your website is doing its job, and that your efforts are not in vain.

There’s an easy and free way to address this! Simply set up a Google Analytics account and obtain the resulting code to plug into your website. If you’re not sure how to add the code into your site, your web developer should be able to do it very quickly.

To set up your Google Analytics account, go to: Google.com/Analytics

MISTAKE #4: YOU’RE USING A PERSONAL OR FREE DOMAIN NAME FOR EMAIL

If you’re thinking of using your Gmail address (or Yahoo, Telus, Shaw, etc.) as your contact email address on your wedding business website – STOP!

You should always use an email that shares your domain name (e.g., in our case, we use hello@ weddingbusinesswebsites.com), not your personal or free email address. Making this one change on your website will contribute to raising your credibility and professionalism.

Most domain services let you set up a professional email for free or inexpensively. Alternately, there are some great email hosting providers such as Google or Zoho that are highly affordable.

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10 Common Mistakes Wedding Professionals Are Making on Their Websites (Part 2)

The ACPWC found valuable information in this article from Brenda Cadman, Principal at Wedding Business Websites.

Your website is one of your most important marketing assets.  It is your “front door” online.  So it is critical that you make that great first impression to entice wedding couples.  Learn from this informative series on website mistakes and gain insights on how to fix them.

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Mistake #2: Your Website Hast Too Much Going On

If you have too much going on, it will make your website look cluttered and overwhelming. Here are some changes that can go a long way to creating a more organized and visually appealing website:

  • Limit your website to two or three font styles to give it a clean, modern look.
  • Stick to a cohesive color palette that matches your brand. I have seen some brands effectively use multiple colors throughout their website, but I would recommend that you keep it to two to three colors (not including a neutral light or dark color for text or backgrounds). For example, choose one primary color and one or two accent colors, and then use it consistently throughout your website.
  • Images are great, but they should enhance, not clutter up your page. Don’t add pictures just for the sake of adding pictures.

Get friends or family to proof your website and check for errors and missing information. There is nothing like a pair of fresh eyes, and it’s free too!

Photo source: flickr.com/ MarkTaylorCunningham

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10 Common Mistakes Wedding Professionals Are Making on Their Websites (Part I)

The ACPWC found valuable information in this article from Brenda Cadman, Principal at Wedding Business Websites.

Your website is one of your most important marketing assets.  It is your “front door” online.  So it is critical that you make that great first impression to entice wedding couples.  Learn from this informative series on website mistakes and gain insights on how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Your Website Looks Outdated

Modern couples expect their providers to be up to speed with the latest trends, and having your website be described as “outdated” is not the impression you want to leave with wedding couples. Here are 5 things that will automatically make your website look outdated:

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  • Using default web colors like blue and purple links. Instead, choose colors that work with your brand’s color palette and avoid those default color shades.
  • Avoid old school fonts like Times New Roman or Comic Sans. Instead, use Google Fonts for a free and easy way to add modern, attractive fonts.
  • Give your site a look right now… do you have any blinking or flashing elements, such as mail icons, gifs, banners, buttons, or a rotating logo? Get rid of them. It’s completely outdated to use them.
  • Website visitor counters are a thing of the past. You should be using a robust, behind the scenes analytics tool like Google Analytics.
  • Skip the neon. Fluorescent yellow or hot pink (and so on) look highly dated, especially against a black background.

For more examples of items that make a site look outdated, visit: WeddingBusinessWebsites.com/Outdated-Website

 

ACPWC also wants to remind you that the last day to register for the Personalized course in No CA is Friday April 24! Hurry up and register for this course as soon as possible!

Photo source: flickr.com/b@nfy

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IRS Gives Free Money to Taxpayers

Renee_at_WIC_SmallIt’s not everyday that the IRS offers to GIVE you money!  Read below to see if you qualify and make sure you are claiming every credit possible.To Your Success, Renee and Team

IRS Gives Free Money to Taxpayers
By: Renee Daggett

I want free money!!  How do I get it?  Back in 1975, Congress approved this Earned Income Credit (EIC) to provide an incentive to working taxpayers.  To qualify, you must meet certain requirements.

Cash_in_PocketTo qualify, you must have earned income from employment (W-2), self-employment or another source of income.  You don’t need to have children to qualify, but the more kids you have, the higher the credit.  You can be single, head of household or married filing joint with your spouse to qualify.

If you are married and have at least one child, there are 4 tests that you must meet to qualify:
1. The relationship of the child (son/daughter/adopted child/stepchild/foster child/grandchild/sibling/niece/nephew)
2. The age of the child (younger than you, younger than 19 or younger than 24 and a full-time student, or disabled)
3. Residency (child must live with you in the US for more than ½ the year)
4. Must file a joint return (child cannot file a joint return)

If you are married and have no children, you must meet 3 tests:
1. You and your spouse must have lived in the US more than ½ the year
2. You or your spouse must be between the ages of 25 and 64
3. You or your spouse cannot qualify as a dependent of another person

In order to qualify in 2014, your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be less than:
•$46,997 for single or HOH filers ($52,427 married filing jointly) with 3 or more qualifying children
•$43,756 for single or HOH filers ($49,186 married filing jointly) with 2 qualifying children
•$38,511 for single or HOH filers ($43,941 married filing jointly) with 1 qualifying child
•$14,590 for single or HOH filers ($20,020 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children

Tax Year 2014 maximum credit:
• $6,143 with 3 or more qualifying children
• $5,460 with 2 qualifying children
•$3,305 with 1 qualifying child
• $496 with no qualifying children

60% of the errors in filing this credit are due to 3 things:
1. Claiming a child who does not meet the age, relationship, residency or joint return test mentioned above
2. Filing as a single or head of household when legally married
3. Over or under reporting income or business expenses to maximize the credit

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Did You Know?

•Thank you for being a fan of Admin Books!  Please help us share business tips by suggesting to your friends to “like” our Facebook pagewww.facebook.com/adminbooks

•In an audit, the IRS will look closely at the following expenses: travel, entertainment, meals, and auto deductions.

•If you receive an audit letter from the IRS or Franchise Tax Board it could mean that their computer pulled your number.  Certain numbers can trigger this: high mortgage interest, high charitable contributions, high business expenses, business losses for many years, no W-2 for Officers, high travel expenses, etc.

 

Speech_Bubble“The first great gift
we can bestow on others is
a good example.”

~Thomas Morell, Librettist

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Keep the Receipt or Lose the Deduction!

Renee_at_WIC_SmallIt is amazing that a small piece of paper can bring either relief or discouragement.  Do you know how IMPORTANT your receipts are when you are in an audit situation?  The thing that bugs me is that the IRS can deem a deduction disallowed because the burden of proof is on the taxpayer.  And, if you don’t have your ducks in a row, they fall out of formation and it can cost you money.  I hope this article below gives you insight to protect all your deductions.

To Your Success, Renee

Keep the Receipt or Lose the Deduction!
by Renee Daggett

Time after time, there are rulings from the IRS stating someone lost their deduction due to bad record keeping.

Karen Hough had to pay $100,849 in taxes because she “estimated” the business expenses.  She relied on her testimony to prove the deductions, while the IRS required documentation.  She did not have cancelled checks or receipts.  The IRS could see she spent money, but because she could not prove the items purchased, the deductions were denied.  There were no excuses.

I had someone ask me why they should keep their receipts when they charge all their business expenses on a credit card.  The reason why you keep a legible receipt is that if you are in an audit, the IRS will NOT accept the line on a credit card statement showing a store purchase.  They need the original receipt or a readable copy.  If you don’t have the receipt, the auditor can say that you purchased school supplies for your kids and not believe you purchased office supplies for your business.  The deduction would be denied.  Do you save all your receipts?  Do you copy the thermal receipts because they will fade after 2-3 years?

To keep your record keeping life as simple as possible, have one business checking account.  Run everything through this account.  This way you can track income and expenses in one place.  I pay $1 a month to have my business checks mailed back to me so I don’t have to print copies of checks online.  I know most banks go back months or even a few years, but if you are audited, it can be 3 years later and who wants to print each check online?  Plus, I work with many banks and some don’t go back 3 years.  I have had clients have to pay large bank fees to get copies of checks.  No fun!

The IRS requires that you keep a log of your business miles.  This includes starting and ending odometer, date, business miles driven and business purpose.  Your calendar and your receipts will help indicate where you drove.  Don’t forget to count your deposit runs to the bank!

You need to train yourself (and your staff) NOT to use cash.  Cash is so hard to track.  If you lose the receipt, you probably won’t remember what you purchased…thus missing a deduction you were allowed to take.

For meals and entertainment expenses, you are required to document who, where, when, why and how much.  You have to indicate WHO you were with and why you entertained this person.

So how long do you need to keep your receipts?  You can amend a tax return (or be audited) 3 years back.  However, if you underestimated your income, the IRS can go back 6 years.  If you did not file or filed a fraudulent return, the IRS can go back many years as they want.  Also, if you purchase assets and they are depreciated over a period of years (5, 7, 15 years), you need the original receipt for that period of time.

Bottom line is that you need to PROVE everything you purchase for your business.  Do you have written documentation that if you were audited there would be no change in the taxes due?  I hope so!

Admin Books Can Provide Peace of Mind with
TAX RETURNS!
Here’s How:

A new client came to us seeking help to file his tax return.  We collected the data for the current years return and made sure they received every deduction allowed.  Since the client lived in another county, they found it convenient to review the return remotely, speaking to the preparer on the phone.

Admin Books noticed that on their last year’s return, they did not file 2 deductions to which they qualified.  In this return, the husband and wife were self-employed, had a good size practice, but were paying high self-employment taxes.  The client was very pleased to find out we could assist them in amending their last years return to collect a refund.  Admin Books also recommended changing the business entity in order to reduce their tax liability.  Does your preparer review the return with you line-by-line?   Are you confident that you are paying the lowest taxes required?

Tip Corner
by Renee Daggett

Our business purpose is to provide the small business owner with peace of mind.  We are passionate about helping business owners, CEOs and managers be successful in their business.

  • Set asideW-2’s, 1098 Mortgage Interest Statements, 1099-MISC, 1099-R, 1099-B, 1099-DIV, 1099-INT in a file ready to give to your tax preparer for your 2013 tax return.
  • Did you know…if you accept credit cards as payment for your services and products, you can be paying premium fees? Check to see what percentage you are payingfor Non-Qual rates. It can be 3-4%. The reason why is because of the rewards/points cards and company cards that are used get charged a higher percentage.
  • Have all 2014 bank and credit card accounts reconciled. Check for any un-cleared items in the reconciliation window. Review details of all new assets purchased for the year (what was purchased, date and amount).

Refer a Friend, Receive a Gift!

Know anyone that’s struggling with:

  • Tax returns
  • Bookkeeping
  • Payroll
  • Financial management of their business

If so, please tell them about Admin Books and email Renee their information.  If your referral hires us to help them, we would like to thank you with a $25 VISA GIFT CARD!!

Complimentary Tools for YOU!

I want to make sure you are aware of several valuable items that you can take advantage of on my website compliments of Admin Books.

  • FREE business quiz
    • Audio on personal finances
    • Mileage log
    • Records Retention Guide
    • 30-min. consultation for prospective clients

 “When a man dies, if he can pass enthusiasm along to his children, he has left them an estate of incalculable value.”


~Thomas Edison, Inventor

 

 

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A Day of Design at The Mountain Winery

Mountain-Winery-Collage

Join owner and designer of Amazáe Events Inc., Crystal Lequang, for a day of design at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. Crystal will be leading this one day experience on May 4th, giving you an in-depth look into event design from concept to execution. The course is open to all and is targeted towards new planners or those who have been in the industry for a few years. The curriculum will focus on clients, colors, and composition (Crystal’s 3 c’s) and will breakdown the process of a classic event from florals and tabletops to venue layout. You will also learn the importance of how the design processes impact the organization of event logistics through timelines, budgets and contracts. Gaining insight into the design portion of the industry will help your company to blossom and flourish.

Sign up now to learn how to grow your design business and capitalize on the $72 billion spent annually in the United States on weddings. Class size is limited so reserve your spot now for this design expertise class.

Get your early bird discounted ticket by April 11!

Monday, May 4, 2015
9:00am – 4:00pm

The Mountain Winery
14831 Pierce Road
Saratoga, CA 95070

Founder-and-Event-Producer1

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Questions to ask when hiring a Wedding Planner

Working with a wedding planner can be tremendously beneficial, especially if you want to have an unforgettable wedding without all the details associated with such a major event. However, keep in mind that it is important that you find the right wedding planner for you!

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When hiring a wedding planner, make sure to ask the right questions because they will help you determine whether or not you are compatible with that particular service provider. Here are some of the most important questions to ask:

  1. What types of service do you provide and what does your service include, more precisely? There are multiple types of wedding planning services out there – from Full-service to Wedding Day Management to event design. Make sure you ask your planner about the kinds of services he/she provides and about the things included in these services too. Believe it or not, these things can differ a lot from one planner to another.
  2. How many weddings do they do in a year and what is their specialty? Each planner has his/her “special talent”. Some are amazing with wedding designing, some specialize in ethnic weddings and most are great with making sure that every tiny detail is absolutely flawless for the Big Day. Ask your planner what is their specialty and ask them how many weddings they do in a year too. This will help you determine the quality of the services offered by a particular planning service provider.
  3. Can he/she help you create a vision for your wedding while staying within your budget? Ask your planner if he/she can create a vision for your wedding so that it suits your style, personality and love story. After all, you need someone who can pull all the details together and help you create a harmonious wedding where everything flows naturally!
  4. What happens if he/she is sick and cannot attend the wedding? No matter how amazing they may be, wedding planners are human too. Ask your planner what happens if he/she cannot be there for you on the Big Day. Most of them will include specifics about this in the contract as well, but it is definitely important to ask anyway. Inquire if they are a part of an association.  If they are, they can provide another professionally trained planner.
  5. Does he/she have references or at least a portfolio you can look at? You don’t hire your pastry chef based on words only – so why would you do that with your wedding planner? Ask your planning expert if he/she can provide you with references from previous couples or if he/she can show you photos of previous weddings. This will give you a better idea of what your planner can (and cannot) do for your own Big Day.

If you are still searching for the perfect Wedding Planning Training or Design course, make sure to stop by  The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (ACPWC). Our next Personalized Training course will be Friday, May 1 – Sunday, May 3.   We have an adding bonus Wedding Design course on Monday, May 4.  Deadline to register is April 22.  Space is limited.

Visit us and find out more about our association!

Photo source: flickr.com/ mikecogh

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