How to Boost Bookings Using the Bookly Plugin on Your website

 

Using a scheduling calendar on my website has saved me time and headache from booking clients. I can use the scheduler to make appointments, take payments, send out email and text reminders to clients, and the calendar syncs with my Google calendar. I absolutely LOVE using it!

In this post I will share with you how using the Bookly Booking Plugin – Responsive Appointment Booking and Scheduling plugin on your WordPress website will help boost bookings for you.  Please note there are affiliate links in this post and I am paid a commission when you click and purchase using the links.

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Bookly Booking Plugin

The Bookly Booking Plugin – Responsive Appointment Booking and Scheduling for WordPress has several features that help ease the overwhelm of scheduling appointments on your website.

Why I like it:

  • It’s easy to install
  • It integrates with my Google calendar
  • I can charge for services booked
  • It looks great on a phone, tablet or desktop computer
  • I can customize my messages to clients about their appointments
  • It can be customized with your brand colors and your logo.
  • There is a one-time fee costs $59 (but I tried it for free first with a limited version)

How having a calendar boosts bookings

All that sounds great, but how does having an appointment scheduler on your website boost bookings? Well, before I had the plugin, I would need to call everyone. If anyone came to the website, I only had a simple contact form. Contact forms are great especially when used to build your email list. However, adding the ideal next step of a booking calendar is like adding a call center to your business (sort of).  Also, I can now include a booking calendar link in my emails and on my social media posts.

  1. If a prospect wants to work with you, they will want to know HOW and WHEN. The booking calendar will show your availability and let them decide based on their schedule.
  2. Clients can book multiple appointments with you at one time.
  3. It acts as your virtual assistant when you are not able to answer the phone.
  4. You can pre-qualify serious inquiries by adding a payment (either the full amount or a deposit) to book exclusive appointments with you.
 
Where should the booking calendar go on the website?
I like to have it on every page that I’d like to get a booking from. So I have the calendar in multiple places on the my website, such as my CONTACT page and the 15-minute consult page.

Who is the booking plugin ideal for?

  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Dentists
  • Hair Stylists
  • Solopreneurs
  • Consultants
  • Fitness Coaches

How Customers Use the Plugin

Costs
There is a free (lite) version available thru the WordPress plugin directory and a premium version available thru Codecanyon.
Final Thoughts
I used to get overwhelmed with scheduling appointments with clients for tech support or consultations. However, since creating a ‘work flow’ system and implementing a booking calendar on my website, the overwhelm is eased. When I work with clients on their website, I highly recommend they add this feature to their contact page.
So did you find this information helpful? Do you currently use a booking calendar on your website? Do you have another version that you prefer? I’d like to know. Leave a comment below.

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Test Driving Used Cars

This post is sponsored by University Motor Company. They sell a variety of pre-owned vehicles that range from high end cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-class to enthusiast cars such as the Jeep Wrangler. While getting to know them I thought it would be fun to test-drive a few cars from their lot and bring along my friends for the ride.

Kaela, a PR consultant, and I wonder if we are still cool as we test drive a 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. 

Chatting with blogger Shanika Pichey (shanikapichey.com, about how long it should take to crochet a baby’s blanket for a friend.

All test drives can be scheduled thru their website (http://www.usedcarcolumbiasc.com/inventory.php). Find the car you are interested in, the click the “Schedule Test Drive” button to schedule your appointment. University Motor Company and their sister dealership Bluff Road Auto Sales carry Chevrolets (Camaros), Buicks, Hondas, BMWs, SUV’s, Crossovers, Toyotas, Cadillacs, Mercedez, Acuras, Infinity’s, Fords (Fusions & Mustangs) and Infiniti’s.

 

What I Learned from Shopping for Another Car

shopping-for-another-car-post
This is a sponsored post. In November, I started filming a new video series with my client University Motor Company (located at 633 S. Assembly Street in Columbia, SC). They sell a variety of pre-owned vehicles that range from high end cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-class to enthusiast cars such as the Jeep Wrangler.

So being who I am, I just had to take my hubby with me to test drive a few cars because why not?! I test drove their 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class from their lot (which I think they sold a few days after I left). Driving a Mercedes is completely different from driving my current car, the Ford Focus (with a hatchback). I felt like a mature woman in that Benz.

Philip test-drove their 2007 Jeep Wrangler. His current car, a 1999 Saturn SL, has seen better days. He’s driven it for 17 years. So he thinks it might be time to get his ‘dream car’ – a Jeep. I’m not a huge fan of the Jeep because it’s not my style, however, being in it, inspired me to plan another camping adventure! I could see us going ‘off road’ on an adventure just like they do in those commercials.

ebony-and-phil-test-drive-a-jeep2

There’s a lot to consider when you are making a car purchase. Philip and I generally make a decision based on price and practicality.Yeah, I know any car can get me to my destinations, but is it the really the right vehicle for me? If I’m going to be in the car every day, it must be a good fit for me and my lifestyle. There’s a lot of decisions that go into making a car purchase. These questions generally come to mind for me:

Can we fit it into our budget?

Is it going to suitable for me when I need to transport my supplies when I’m a vendor at the next Natural Hair Show?

Is it comfortable enough for a road trip?

How cool will I look in the car?

So if you have this many questions like I do, it will make sense to test drive more than two cars. Thankfully, University Motor Company has a variety of cars to choose from just from their website. You can search for a car that you might want. They usually carry Chevrolets (Camaros), Buicks, Hondas, BMWs, SUV’s, Crossovers, Toyotas, Cadillacs, Mercedez, Acuras, Infinity’s, Fords (Fusions & Mustangs) and Infiniti’s. You can search the thru the Vehicle Locator or directly on their inventory page http://www.usedcarcolumbiasc.com/inventory.php.

University Car Vehicle Locator

Check out the features. 2011-bmw-3-series 2007-chevrolet-tahoeThen schedule a test drive of the car you are interested in.

university-motor-schedule-a-test-drive

But I digress. The whole experience had me thinking about my business. As I get older, having a car that works with my lifestyle includes my career. So here’s what I learned (or really was reminded of) from shopping for another car:

Beauty Tip: Own a car that reflects your personal style.

Branding Tip: Any car can get you where you need to go, but does it really represent who you are, where you are or where you want to be? Is it practical for you? As a business owner, how you show up can make a statement of who you are and what you are about. What statement do you want it to make for you?

Tweet: As a business owner, how you show up can make a statement of who you are and what you are about. @makemeoverebAs a business owner, how you show up can make a statement of who you are and what you are about. @makemeovereb

Business Tip: At the end of the day, you must go thru the necessary process of buying the car that is practical for your bottom line. So, don’t rush the process. Take your time making a decision on a purchase that can affect your life and business.

For more information about University Motor Company visit their website at universitycars.com

Winner of EngenuitySC’s $5000 Ignite! Ideas Contest Announced

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Photo by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford

Nov. 16, 2016 (COLUMBIA, S.C.): RumbleLab, a mail subscription service for kids’ STEM activity kits, was selected via live voting and announced as the winner of EngenuitySC’s $5,000 Ignite! 2016 Ideas Contest, sponsored by Nephron Pharmaceuticals, at the new First Base Building at BullStreet on Wednesday evening, Nov. 16, 2016.

The $5,000 award was presented by Meghan Hickman, executive director of EngenuitySC, alongside Nephron Pharmaceuticals’ Hank Jibaja, chief information officer, and Lindsey Miles, manager of executive affairs, at the close of the Ignite! celebration.

RumbleLab, submitted by Moultrie Ball, is a monthly subscription box service of hands-on, fun, informal STEM educational learning materials for kids. RumbleLab focuses on getting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning tools to parents’ doorsteps, for naturally curious, innovative children who are not gaining those skills through the traditional U.S. education system – and want to be more knowledgeable in STEM topics and prepared for the future.

The prize dollars from the $5,000 Ignite! 2016 Ideas Contest will allow RumbleLab to test the classroom model of the concept with Richland County School District Two school North Springs Elementary, and to focus on scaling the business.

RumbleLab was live voted by nearly 300 Ignite! attendees as the best idea to move the Midlands forward out of three finalists, all of whom presented their business concepts at the Ignite! celebration, vying for the $5,000 Ignite! 2016 Ideas Contest seed money to kick start their business. The other Ignite! Ideas Contest finalists were Bonded, a new women’s empowerment online media platform, submitted by Brittany Kilpatrick and Samantha Shapin, and Kitchen Conversations by Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, a proposed “Tupperware party”-style sexual health conversation series for parents, submitted by Mary Dell Hayes and Kayce Singletary.

EngenuitySC’s Ignite! is the Midlands region’s annual celebration of innovation, entrepreneurship and economic competitiveness, bringing together nearly 300 movers and shakers in the business, creative, civic, tech, entrepreneurial and startup communities.

In addition to live voting for the winner of the $5,000 Ignite! Ideas Contest winner, attendees enjoyed open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres, networking and a notable program of three TED Talk-style addresses by dynamic leaders in the Midlands of South Carolina: Melanie Huggins, executive director of Richland Library, and Elise Partin, Mayor of Cayce; economic leader Mike Crapps, founder of First Community Bank; and artists and creative entrepreneurs Michaela Pilar Brown and Darion McCloud.

Ignite! was hosted at the vast, raw space of the new First Base Building at BullStreet, adjacent to Spirit Communications Park (home of the Columbia Fireflies), by EngenuitySC board founding co-chairs Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, S.C., and Dr. Harris Pastides, President of the University of South Carolina – as well as emcee Mary King, award-winning news reporter.

The sponsor of the Ignite! 2016 Ideas Contest, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, is a global leader in manufacturing generic respiratory medications in a sterile, highly automated environment. A woman-owned business, Nephron Pharmaceuticals recently moved its headquarters to West Columbia, S.C., right outside of owner and CEO Lou Kennedy’s hometown of Lexington.

Additional Ignite! 2016 Anchor Sponsors are BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, sponsor of the evening’s networking hour, and Spirit Communications, sponsor of the event’s Wi-Fi connection. Competitiveness Sponsors are SCRA, the University of South Carolina Office of Economic Engagement and Midlands Technical College. Collaboration Sponsors are BullStreet; First Community Bank; Mashburn Construction; Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports and Tourism; Ogletree Deakins; SCE&G; LLE Construction; Nelson Mullins; USC Faber Entrepreneurship Center; M.B. Kahn; KW Beverage; Grace Outdoor; NAI Avant; Lower Richland High School; Hopkins Middle School; Southeast Middle School; BrightBytes; and Columbia Fireflies.

To learn more about Ignite!, visit http://www.engenuitysc.com/ignite and follow the #IgniteCAE hashtag and @EngenuitySC on Twitter and Facebook: www.facebook.com/engenuitysc. 

About EngenuitySC

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., EngenuitySC is an economic development nonprofit focused on enhancing our region’s competitiveness and prosperity. In partnership with business, government, education and community leaders, EngenuitySC specializes in regional collaboration and project management; the activation of local industry clusters; and regional research, analysis and marketing. For more information, visit http://www.engenuitysc.com. 

Facebook: Facebook.com/EngenuitySC | Twitter: @EngenuitySC

 

Press Contact:

Chloe Rodgers, Flock and Rally, 843.230.1611chloe@flockandrally.com
Tracie Broom, Flock and Rally, 415.235.5718tracie@flockandrally.com

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Five Quick Ways to Make Over Your Blog and Website

blog makeover

Truth be told, I’ve made over my blog and website at least seven times since I started blogging in 2007. I started out with a maroon theme on Blogspot with a basic header, but no logo. Then decided that I wanted to keep the blog light and ‘airy’ and changed the color to a soft pink now with a new logo I created. At the time I was making all these changes, I was really just having fun testing out new blog tech tools. I eventually started helping others get their blogs started or giving them a blog makeover.

Since 2007, blogging designs have changed. With each blog makeover, I always included the use of the latest standards. I have realized that it’s ok and actually normal to have a website (blog) upgrade every year or two to stay consistent with current trends. For example, are you still using Windows XP or have you upgraded to Windows 8, or are you now on a MAC?

Here are a few ways to makeover your blog to stay with the current trends:

1:  Make Your Theme Responsive

This is probably a no brainer, but if you are still using the same theme or layout that you did 3 years ago, it’s time for a makeover. Get a blog theme that automatically changes (or responds) in size depending on what device a user is on.  How does your blog look on a phone, tablet and desktop. Most WordPress themes are now equipped to respond. It’s the new web normal.

 

2:  Add New Pics to the Home Page

Photos are selling point on any website. If your homepage has a slider option, add new slides to new blog posts on your site. If your blog is equipped to do this automatically, then you are already one step ahead of keeping the home page fresh!

3: Add an Email Signup Link after Posts

Add a ‘newsletter’ subscribe link at the end of each post so your readers can get tips delivered to their email. Use a service such as Mailchimp.com or ConstantContact.com to create simple emails and collect email addresses. Using your blog as a way to build an email list and grow leads for your services and products.

email signup screenshot

4: Update Your About Page

Are your goals are the as they were in a few years ago? If not, then why not update your about page to showcase what you are doing currently to highlight your skills and post new testimonials. Do you look the same as the photo on your about page? It might be time to include a new photo. Here are 10 great tips on how to write a good “About Page”. http://thestoryoftelling.com/10-rules-for-writing-about-me-page/

5: Update the Menu Bar with Only Relevant Links

The menu bar is a great way to showcase what categories and pages that you want to highlight. Take off the links that you want to de-emphasize. For example if you aren’t hosting any events, you might want to remove that link from your main menu bar.

So there you have it, just a few ways to update your blog and make it new. Why not take a few hours and update your blog. Then post a screenshot of your updates to your Facebook page asking your fans what they think of the update. If you need help with updating your blog, click here to schedule a consultation with me today.