[caption id="attachment_4931" align="alignright" width="324" caption=" It's all visible right through this portal"][/caption] Whatever one may think of them, business review sites are all over the web. This post isn't a debate on their worth or practices, but rather an acknowledgement that they are a reality, and as such are best handled in the most positive way possible. One of the best known is Angie's List, and I hope to help you make the most of your business profile. If one review has been written about your business, you have an Angie's List profile. It just happens. The thing is, you can have a big impact on what people think of you beyond just what the reviews say.
Why do this? Well, as I was trying to beef up our profile, I looked for others to see what posted pictures might look like on Angie's List, and my biggest problem was finding a profile that had any at all.
Most A.L. profiles are bare of anything not entered by a customer, or by the Angie's List team filling in basics. Which is crazy, because most of them are free. Just as you don't pay to have your company on Angie's List, you also do not have to pay to see the reviews and profile of your own business. You can set up a free account at business.angieslist.com, where they will also allow you to manage the information and presentation of your profile.Doing this is a no-brainer. Doing it well can be a little difficult though.
Managing the Basics of your ProfileFirst, under "Edit Company Info" is just what you would expect any profile page to have, and it should be no problem to fill out. I would just encourage you to fill it out fully, and clearly. By clearly I mean that unless you're in the business to business field, try to use common, even colloquial English in place of business jargon. Just think about who will read this, and how to communicate well to them. We sell discount flooring, but instead of just putting "Discount flooring dealer" with no verbs or other grammatical availabilities, we wrote "We are a locally and family owned retail flooring store. Our company has been selling flooring since 1921 and is currently in its fourth generation of family ownership." Now a reader knows something specific about us.
Now you must be aware of the size restrictions. Each gallery type has a height and width limit applying to each image in the gallery. Currently the site says "Maximum file size is 4 MB. Pictures will be resized if above the file size limits" but this is not the best guide for your uploading. After seeing a number of confusing results from my uploads, I conducted a series of tests, and I determined that the size restrictions are much more specific, and vary by gallery size.
Pictures in a One Item Gallery are limited to 500 pix wide by 375 pix high. Pictures in a Two Items Gallery can each be 275 pix wide by 175 pix high. Pictures in a Three Items Gallery may be 200 pix wide by 150 pix high.
Anything outside those limits will be resized to fit within them. Now, if you do upload larger images, allowing the site to do the resizing, you might click "preview" to see what your image will look like, and you might be quite startled. The preview may show you a badly distorted picture, but fear not. With my company's site all of the final posted images had been resized proportionally. They were smaller, but undistorted, despite what the preview displayed.
Again, I recommend you pre-size your images to fit the dimensional limits so you can see how they will really look. This will help you both choose and arrange your photos. As far as arrangement goes, the first gallery you upload will be the topmost, and the rest will follow in the order you upload them (I know that sounds intuitive enough to not even mention, but they actually reverse with videos, which I did first).
In our case, I put two or more galleries together, using one Gallery Title and Gallery Description for both.
As you can see, the Gallery Title, "Waterproof Vinyl Plank Flooring", is right on top of "Gunsmoke Walnut Waterproof Vinyl Plank, a Supreme Click Elite product," which is the "File Title" for the first of the pictures. Here's what the individual picture information boxes look like:
Since the two titles stacked in a visually clumsy way, I skipped using the File Titles, and for the individual images, just used their descriptions, which print small under the photos. Just be aware of it, and plan on those two titles (gallery and file) being the same size, and being close together for the first image in a gallery. There is probably a clever way to turn that into a benefit.
Once you submit a gallery, the images will be held for "approval," that most ubiquitous of effective porn preventatives. Our pictures usually posted late in the afternoon if I uploaded them in the morning, or by the next business day.
2. Video and/or Audio
You get up to 10 audio/video files free in the "Media" area. I suppose a podcast, a radio commercial or long form interview would work here, but I went with just videos. Initially I uploaded a couple of mp4s, but I ran into an issue with conflicting restriction listings. At the top of the section the upload page said "limit 2 minutes each", but a little lower it said that videos must be, "... no longer than 180 seconds." Most of mine are longer than even the 3 minutes, so I wanted clarity on how much editing I might need to do. Our Angie's List consultant explained that if I just use a YouTube link, the only restrictions are those of YouTube, so I went that direction instead.
You should plan the order in which you prefer people to encounter your media as they scroll down, because the sequence of my entries appeared in the reverse order from which I uploaded them. The last will be first in the media section on Angie's List. YouTube videos will appear at a 320 x 240 size, and they will not have annotations, nor will any parameters be in effect. The thumbnail image will be the same as it is on YouTube.
3. Neat Operating Hours
|[caption id="attachment_1337" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="How do you get this . . . "][/caption]||[caption id="attachment_1338" align="aligncenter" width="275" caption="... to look like this?"][/caption]|
Two words, "phone call." Or just one, "email." The first version is the default layout. No matter how you enter your operating hours information, the system wants to detail each day in paragraph form. Angie's List's representatives have access we don't, and can arrange this information neatly for you. I sent pictures to illustrate what I was after, so feel free to yank the two above for your email. You can just write, "I want our times to look less like this [first image] and more like this [second image]," and they should understand fully.
I hope this will encourage you to control how you look to your customers searching on Angie's List, and I hope even more that it will now take you much less time to get your things looking just right.
- - - - David is a Writer at Floors To Your Home (.com), as well as the PPC Manager, a Marketing Strategy Team member, a Researcher, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jitō. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, explore film history, mix music (as in 'play with Beatles multi-tracks') and write non-fiction for my friends. Connect with me on W. David Lichty's Google+
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