Innovation and enterprise blog

The British Library Business & IP Centre can help you start, run and grow your business

4 posts from October 2018

25 October 2018

10 SEO Tips Your Website Can’t Live Without

Here are some top tips from our partner UK2 on boosting your SEO and website traffic...

Website owners are constantly on the lookout for ways to boost website traffic. For organic search results, there is no better way than to spend some time fine-tuning your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). 

SEO is how search engines decide whether or not to recommend your website to internet searchers like you and I. Google and Bing both pride themselves on serving up quality websites with only one click. Whether your website is one of those quality sites on offer depends on a host of elements that you may not be aware of.

#1. Have a great domain 

A great domain doesn’t necessarily mean an expensive .com, but rather means using a great domain for your specific purpose. Keep your domain short and try to include keywords or website specific information. It may take a while to create a great history for your domain. However, it is worth checking the domain history if it is a pre-owned domain. It’s important to make sure that your domain has stayed clear of blacklists.

#2. Use keywords

While using keywords is easier said than done, a little research can help you discover which keywords you should be aiming for. Discovering the perfect keywords for your website may be a trial and error endeavour, but tools like SEMrush or Moz’s Keyword Explorer can help and both offer a free trial. Whichever you choose, be sure not to cross into the realm of 'keyword stuffing' by overfilling content with the keywords you’ve chosen. Consider asking Google for suggestions with their AdWords tool, as this can help you create a keyword planner and set goals to reach the traffic you want.  

#3. Create engaging content

Many website owners get this SEO step wrong. Rather than posting daily updates chock full of information, it’s best to focus on answering the questions your website traffic is asking. Remember to take advantage of product descriptions and About Us pages. In addition, make sure that you have text accompanying all images and infographics. You don’t have to be a content wizard to maximise SEO, you simply have to include content wherever readers expect it to be. Keep a blog to dive into topics and an FAQ page to keep up with the questions users are most often asking. Before you know it, you will have created a website full of valuable content that ranks well.

#4. Use meta tags

Meta tags, as simple as they are, help web crawlers understand what your website is about. These small snippets of text appear in the code of your website and can work wonders for helping your website appear in search rankings. Website tools like WordPress and Website Builder have easy fill forms to include meta information. However, you can add it yourself to your HTML code if you prefer by creating a note document and uploading it to your webserver. Create a system of adding meta tags whenever you introduce new content and search engines will take notice.  

#5. Optimise for any sized screen

Generally, your WordPress template or Website Builder tool will take care of this for you. However, it’s worth spending some time double checking how your page appears on various tablets and mobile phones. You may find an image that doesn’t fit the screen quite right, or text that wraps a little oddly. These are easy fixes but can help boost traffic when remedied.    

#6. Build links organically 

Search engines like to see your domain on other websites. Some website owners like to purchase these inbound links, but this is not a good idea. Instead, allow links to your website to build up naturally. Collaborate with other websites to produce content for shared links between pages. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Search Engine Optimisation, it’s that there are no shortcuts. 

#7. Keep up with links and sitemap

Website navigation is not only important for SEO, but for website visitor experience too. Make sure that all of your links are in working order and that the path through your website has easy-to-follow buttons. Imagine yourself as a website visitor: where would you expect each link to take you? Is your menu easy to access and understand? These questions can work wonders in making sure that your sitemap flows smoothly.  

#8. Keep your website fast

Website speed is crucial for SEO. Search engines know that our patience for loading websites is very thin. This is exactly why Google and Bing will only direct you towards sites they know will load quickly enough to keep viewers happy. Keep image sizes low and make sure that there is nothing preventing your website from performing at an optimum pace. Check your website speed at Pingdom. Once pinged, the website can return a list of issues that may be causing your website to slow. Oftentimes, adjusting a bad script or fixing a DNS problem can boost speeds for your website in a few clicks.

#9. Ask for help when necessary

If these tips are slightly overwhelming, know that you’re not alone. Luckily, there are many tools available to help. For example, SEO Guru from UK2.NET can quickly scan your website and help you spot any pain points with a free consultation. If trouble areas are found, our software will walk you through the steps to get your website in tip-top SEO shape. 

#10. Monitor your progress

Once your SEO is looking good, don’t rest on your laurels. Instead, set goals for the future and keep an eye on your progress. SEO Guru can help you watch your SEO efforts and let you know if there are any areas that need immediate attention. Keeping your search results at the top is a big job, however, we can help you get on top and stay there. Finally, you can improve your website traffic today with a free SEO scan from UK2.NET.


To see all upcoming workshops, webinars and events, visit our website.

23 October 2018

Start-up Day 2018 in London and around the country

Start-up Day helps budding entrepreneurs from around the country feel confident and provide tools to start a business and turn their dreams into a reality. Not only did this year’s event take place at the Business & IP Centre in London with almost 400 people attending a busy programme of talks, speed-mentoring and one-to-one advice sessions; there were 13 Business & IP Centres participating nationwide, where more than 720 individuals attended the day.

With an all-day line up of talks, our speakers in London covered everything from how to understand the UK market right now (Mintel market intelligence analyst Jack Duckett explained the latest trends) to becoming a successful entrepreneur and key strategies to employ when starting your own business (as experienced by Tangle Teezer ex-CEO Matt Lumb). The priceless advice our twelve speakers shared with the audience throughout the day was also live webcast, so you could tune in from anywhere in the world to watch... and listen!

Start-up Day - questions from audience at a Business & IP Centre event

Our audience didn't just listen, they also had the opportunity to engage in interesting discussions with the speakers

But that's not all: speed mentoring sessions with experts from Santander, Mintel, Google, Intellectual Property Office, Companies House and more covered practical aspects of setting up and running your own business, preparing attendees for the grit behind the glamour of entrepreneurship. To further empower current or future entrepreneurs, we also ran one-to-one advice sessions and tours of the Business & IP Centre itself, making the third edition of Start-up Day in London our busiest yet.

Business & IP Centre Sheffield with Start-Up Day branding

Sheffield on brand with Start-up Day decorations!

This is the second year Start-up Day has taken place across the National Network, allowing local entrepreneurs to be part of the presentations and talks at each regional centre, as well as the attendees being able to watch live broadcasts from London, all for free, as praised by one participant, “Left feeling so lucky and grateful to have access to this free information. Thank you for all your hard work organising this!”

Three Rivers Gin at Business & IP Centre Manchester

Three Rivers Gin at Business & IP Centre Manchester’s Start-up Day

Of the attendees up and down the country, 40% were planning to start up a business and 39% were either self-employed or the owner of a business. The majority of people said that lack of finance and the business idea itself were the main reasons behind them not starting a business in the past. A fifth of respondents stated that making a difference was the main motivation for wanting to start a business, with being their own boss and having a better work/life balance also high on the list, one attendee said “Superb event, kind people… after two years as a carer this event has given me many ideas - but mainly hope for my future.”

Start-up Stars event at Business & IP Centre Liverpool with guest speakers

The Women’s Organisation’s Cynthia hosting a panel of Start-up Stars, including Natalie and Jeni from SIREN, Sarah from SLMC Consulting and Amy from Drone Factor at Business & IP Centre Liverpool.

Start-up Stars event held at the Business & IP Centre Hull

Dr Max Gowland from Prime Fifty, Terry King OBE from Chapter3, Ralph Keeton from Ghost Walks Hull, Vikki Johnson from Fusion Laser Cutting, Andy Steele from 360 Accountants, Rob Lewis from 54 Degrees North and Vicky Cartwright from Diva Cupcakes at Business & IP Centre Hull’s Start-up Day’s Start-up Stars.

If you missed this year’s Start-up Day, all speakers’ videos from London are available on our YouTube channel and our blog with our top tips is available to read. To see all of our upcoming events and workshops, visit our website. Here are a few highlights from the Start Up Day 2018.

19 October 2018

IP Corner: Happy 20th Anniversary Espacenet

When I first began working at the British Library patent searching was very much a manual process which involved using a Catchword Index to find your patent classification, then looking that classification up in the accompanying Classification index to get the relevant subclass and finally, looking the classification and sub-classification up on microfiche to find any relevant patents. It was a fairly labour intensive and time consuming process, but it worked.

Then in 1998 the European Patent Office launched their free search database called Espacenet. Espacenet revolutionised patent searching for the ordinary ‘man on the street’. If they had access to a computer, either at home or more often through their local library, they were able to carry out patent searching using keywords or names or numbers or dates or all of them together.

Espacenet was however kind of a two edged sword, since without any experience of patent searching it was (and still is) possible to convince oneself that your invention was new and innovative because you did not find it when in fact you were simply using incorrect keywords.

The Business & IP Centre's Introduction to patent searching workshop takes delegates through the Espacenet database explaining the searching process and providing hints and tips on how to get the best from the database. Personally, I’ve lost count of the number of inventors I have helped learn how to use Espacenet effectively, preventing some from wasting time and money pursuing an idea that already exists and helping others start on the road to protecting and producing their new product.

If you can’t make one of our workshops you can download one of our IP guides here, which are free to access.

In the last twenty years Espacenet has grown from a basic search database to a database that can be used to search worldwide through 100 million documents, both published patent application and granted patents, from over 90 patent granting authorities. Searchers can now check legal status of patents, find out if patents are still in force using the European Patent Register and gain immediate access to the application files or ‘file wrappers’ from the world's largest patent offices using the Global Dossier. Full copies of patent specifications can be downloaded onto a hard-drive, or printed out if preferred, for later consultation by the searcher.

Espacenet is one of my favourite search databases mainly because it costs nothing to use but also because it empowers new inventors by helping them gain an understanding of patents, patent classifications and patent searching so that they can have informed conversations and make better decisions regarding their proposed inventions.

Happy 20th Anniversary Espacenet. Here’s to many more!

Maria Lampert, Intellectual Property Expert at the Business & IP Centre London

Maria has worked in the field of intellectual property since she joined the British Library in January 1993. She is currently the British Library Business & IP Centre’s Intellectual Property Expert, where she delivers 1-2-1 business and IP advice clinics, as well as intellectual property workshops and webinars on regular basis.

To see all upcoming workshops, webinars and events, visit our website.

10 October 2018

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Black Britain and the Creative Industries book recommendations

As part of our Inspiring Entrepreneurs series, we hosted a panel of leading lights in the creative industries with stories of what can be achieved with the right attitude and determination to celebrate the success and cultural impact of Black British entrepreneurs in the creative sector. The panel included MOBO CEO and founder Kanya King CBE, Femi Oguns MBE, actor and founder of Identity School of Acting and Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené, co-authors of Slay in your Lane.

As part of the Q&A the panel were asked which books had inspired them. You asked us to compile them; and your wish is our command: 

#Girlboss, by Sophia Amoruso

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg
“Without Lean In, we wouldn’t be here… that book was such an inspiration”

Black Feminist Thought, by Patricia Hill Collins
“A book which helped me grow a lot and I’d recommend anyone, from any background read. If it wasn’t for me having read that book, I wouldn’t have understood my position in this society as a black woman”

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman
“A magical book about life, trust, flow and mastery in being yourself”

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber

Business as Unusual - the Journey of Anita Roddick and the Body Shop, Anita Roddick

Book of Ecclesiastes

Kanya King:
What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School, by Mark McCormack

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE, by Phil Knight

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki
“I had all these ideas of what I wanted to do to generate an income… my mother told me whenever I wanted to do something, she’d say ‘no’ as she was very risk adverse. But you do need to take calculated risks… how you think about money, good debt and bad debt.


Of course, we can't miss out Slay in your Lane, written by Elizabeth and Yomi (currently available to purchase in our bookshop) and, as revealed at our event, one to look out for in the future, Kanya King's first book, we can't wait!

Slay in your Lane

To watch the speakers from the evening, visit our YouTube channel and to see other upcoming events, visit our website.