Ruth Cheesley's Ipswich & Suffolk Small Business Association Blog

I mostly blog here about Open Source technology (Mostly Joomla and Linux!), local business and networking.

Ruth Cheesley

Ruth Cheesley

Ruth Cheesley is a Joomla! Specialist, CEO and co-founder of Virya Group.




She regularly speaks at conferences around the world on a range of issues from Community Management and Marketing to SEO and women in technology.

I remember my first networking meeting - I was still working full time, had some crazy idea about building websites as a business and absolutely no clue what that meant in practice!  An ISSBA Meet the Members networking event was actually my first voyage into the world of networking, and it could have been terrifying!  Thankfully, it was a really positive experience!

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Calling all businesses - did you know you can access 30 minutes of consultancy from 13 different business sectors as an ISSBA member?

Last year we launched the ISSBA Assist scheme, which allows any ISSBA member to reach out for support to one of our panel of experts.

Whether you need some pointers on a legal matter or have an SEO issue that needs some clarity, our team of specialists are on hand to support you and your business.

ISSBA Assist is an exclusive membership benefit to our members, which means that as soon as you join - even if you are in the process of creating your business - you can access these valuable resources. There is no obligation to go on and purchase services from the ISSBA Assist specialists, so you really have nothing to lose.

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Picture the scene .. you’ve spent ages agonising over your next killer product, you’ve built an awe-inspiring landing page and now you’re about to throw it out to the world with some tweets to drive traffic to the landing page and generate leads.

You send out 30 tweets over a couple of weeks, and you drive 10,000 visitors to the landing page.

Amazing job!

So, which tweet drove the most traffic? Where did the most conversions come from? Which message brought the highest proportion of ‘new visitors’ to the page? 

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Receiving enquiries on your website is often the main way that businesses interact with new leads, but all too often we come across instances where there is absolutely no tracking set up to monitor the number of enquiries, where they come from, and how much they might be increasing or decreasing over time.

Setting up your website to track this is a pretty easy process, but to do this you will need to know a few things:

  • The website URL of your contact page
  • The login details for your Analytics account (e.g. Google Analytics)
  • What happens when an enquiry is submitted (e.g. does it go to a "thank you" page?)

If you need help with any of these elements, feel free to drop me a line.

So, assuming that you have these three pieces of information, let's dive in!

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Just recently there have been some significant changes to the way Google AdWords display their adverts, which may be having a significant impact on the traffic you receive from your campaigns.

In this article, I'll cover three important changes introduced by AdWords with some quick tips for you to check whether your campaigns need a bit of attention to ensure that they are bringing in the best return on investment.

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How many times have you thought “I wish I could clone myself, then I could get <some task you don’t want to do> done at the same time as <this business critical task>”?


A common growing pain with small businesses is not having the resources or inclination to do certain tasks that are required of you because you’re too busy ‘in the business’.  Often this is a point where outsourcing is considered, and it can be incredibly helpful - or an absolute disaster.  Choosing to outsource should not be done through a fear of missing out because everybody else seems to be doing it - outsourcing should be driven by a clear business need.


Here are my top three tips if you are considering outsourcing as a way to enable you to grow your business.

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As many will now be aware, Google advised that they would be adding a new ranking signal to their algorithms - they would begin to favour (if only a small amount) encrypted sites using https over those which weren't using encryption - creating a lot of phone calls to web developers around the world I have no doubt!  But how do you implemented the forcing of SSL on your site, and what should you be aware of if you do?  

This article explains how to properly redirect your site to the encrypted version - assuming you have an SSL certificate set up and correctly configured - using an .htaccess rewrite.  It assumes you are running an Apache server with mod_rewrite enabled - if you're not sure about any of this, just send the link to your web developer and let them implement it!

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People often ask me as soon as I mention that we employ apprentices how I found the right person, and how we balance the time needed to train up a school-leaver with the benefits they bring to our business.  

I came to apprenticeships much by accident during the process of growing my business, but have learned some valuable lessons along the way.  Here are some of the points which I've found useful to bear in mind - both through my own experience and having learned from other businesses who employ apprentices.


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I have fond memories as a child going shopping with my parents - before the days of supermarkets we used to get most of our food from our local shop but once a week we made the journey to visit the delights of the greengrocers, butchers, fishmongers, and more in the small market town of Blandford Forum.

I can remember the first time I went to a supermarket - it was called Normans and while it was amazing to have everything in one place (and huge great big boxes of quavers crisps, which I remembered being particularly excited about!) it was pretty much the last time we ever went to any of the local shops for our regular food shopping.  Quite quickly more supermarkets started to spring up closer to home - Safeway, Co-op, and the big bad Tesco - and this is in a pretty rural part of Dorset!

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