SEO spring clean

Keeping your SEO up to date is a vital part of maintaining your website and growing your online audience. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned expert, spring is the perfect time to adjust your SEO strategy with a few easy tips and tricks.

If you want to give your search engine rankings a boost this spring but you're not sure where to start, Designer Website's search engine optimisation specialists have got your back. Here are our top tips for a thorough SEO spring clean.

Identify new keywords

The world is constantly changing, and it could well be that lots of new keywords and topics have become relevant to your business since your last big SEO check-up. You may be missing out if you have not updated your content to reflect up-and-coming trends; roughly 15% of all Google searches are completely new queries, so you might be able to capture a lot of extra traffic if you add extra keywords to your SEO strategy.

Whether you update your existing website copy to address current search trends or add extra content via blog posts, this is a great way to stay ahead of your competitors and give your site a nice spring boost.

Keep things fresh

Think of SEO like dating. When you first starting optimising your website, it's really easy to build your online presence and create new content that helps your site to rank. You might feel genuinely excited every time you publish a new blog post or add an informative new page.

But as time goes on, the thrill begins to wear off. Your content no longer ranks as well as it used to, and fewer people are visiting your site and engaging with your brand. You might even consider giving up and abandoning SEO entirely (though as we recently discussed, this is seldom a good idea!).

If you haven't released any new content in a while, we thoroughly recommend updating your website with some fresh new landing pages or a string of blog posts. It's important to remember how much search engines (especially Google) love fresh new content - as with relationships, a little commitment to your SEO can go a long way!

Minimise duplicate content

Content duplication - where the same piece of content appears on two or more web pages - can have a huge impact on your SEO strategy if you let it get out of hand. Few website owners create duplicate content intentionally, but it can sometimes happen by accident; for example, if you write similar or identical descriptions for two subtly different products, search engines may only index one of those pages, which will prevent the other one from ranking.

Try to make every page on your website unique, and if you can't avoid repeating a significant amount of content across multiple URLs, use canonical tags to tell Google which version you want indexed.

Don't neglect local SEO

If you have a brick-and-mortar business that's open to the public, you need to make sure potential customers can find you. Local SEO is hugely important - it's been alleged that 43% of Google searches are for things in the searcher's local area, and in the USA, an estimated 80% of disposable income is spent within 20 miles of the home.

So make sure your local SEO factors are in shape for spring. At the very least, you should create a Google My Business listing and make sure your company's address and contact details are correct and up to date wherever they appear on the web.

Master Google Search Console

Checking technical issues is an important part of SEO. You've created your new content, you're targeting new keywords, and you've even eliminated all duplication from your website - now you should carry out a Google Search Console check to make sure your website is working as it should.

Search Console can tell you all sorts of useful things, from how many of your pages are indexed to whether your pages display correctly on mobile devices. If you're new to Search Console, Google have some videos to help you learn the ropes, but you might be better off hiring a team of SEO experts to look after this side of things for you.

Remember: it's important to keep your SEO strategy fresh and efficient if you want to maximise your organic search traffic all year round. If you want to get more from your website, the Designer Websites team can help - our SEO specialists work closely with our experienced team of designers and developers to deliver the best possible results for our clients.

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what happens when you stop doing SEO

We create new websites for our clients all the time, and two questions we often get asked are, “do I need to do SEO?” and “how long will I need to do it for?”

The simple answers to these questions are, “yes you do need to do SEO” and “indefinitely or until your business stops trading… whichever comes first!” We really do believe in a long-term relationship with SEO if you want your website to be successful. It’s a bit like going to the gym – you can’t expect to come first place in a marathon if you don’t bother training for it, can you?

If you stop doing SEO – improving key pages, publishing new content, and so on – there’s a good chance that the search engines will gradually lose interest in your website. Google’s algorithm in particular loves fresh content; if you’re not doing SEO any more, you’re giving your competitors a great opportunity to overtake you in the search results. But why does this happen? Let’s start by taking a look at the purpose of SEO is and the reason it’s important.

What is SEO & Why is it Important?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), is the process of increasing the volume and quality of traffic to your website. Unlike paid advertising, SEO looks to improve the performance of your website organically so potential customers can find you easily when they’re looking for products or topics related to your business.

You can see our beginner’s guide to website optimisation if you want to take a closer look at some of the most common SEO strategies. Things like keyword analysis, blogging and link building are used by digital marketers to keep their clients’ websites at the front of the pack. Continually refreshing, updating and fixing things tells Google that you’re an active website worth showing in the search results, perhaps even in the number one spot!

If a client suggests taking a break from SEO or stopping altogether, it can be hard to predict the exact implications it will have for their site. It might not even have any effect at all… at first. But one thing is certain, giving up SEO for good, will inevitably damage your website and its position in the search results pages.

organic traffic drop

For example, this graph (taken from Google Analytics) shows you how one of our client’s websites was impacted when they decided to give up on their SEO strategy altogether. You can see the steady decline in organic sessions that’s been worsening ever since. This shows that while stopping SEO won’t immediately remove your website from the google rankings, it will have a long-lasting negative impact.

What happens when you stop creating new content?

When you decide to stop creating new content, you’re essentially hoping that the online presence you’ve built so far is going to be robust enough to keep things ticking over. Here are just a few things that can happen when you stop creating new content.

  • You’ll stop ranking for new, highly-relevant keywords, limiting the number of people finding your website as they search for terms related to your industry.

 

  • You’ll stop gaining links from websites with authority. If the information on your website is not up to date, no one will want to link to it. Having a strong backlink profile is important if you want your website to rank well.

 

  • People will stop engaging with you on social media. Social media is all about the ‘here and now’ and puts you in contact with hundreds (if not thousands) of customers. If your website ceases to exist in this space, people may think your business has stopped trading altogether.

 

  • You’ll drive away returning customers. If people visit your site more than once and just see the same boring content over and over again, they won’t bother coming back. New content makes people excited about your brand.

traffic drop

One of our clients decided to stop updating their blog on a regular basis and as you can see from the above graph (again taken from their Google Analytics), they started to see a noticeable decline in their organic traffic.

When we highlighted this dip in traffic, the client conceded that blogging was a necessity if you want to grow organic traffic and thus, we started blogging more frequently again.

Once we started publishing blogs regularly, they saw an increase in their organic traffic. In fact, their return to SEO drove more traffic to the site than they had before the dip!

What happens when you stop checking for technical SEO issues?

Besides keeping your website alive on the surface, there is a lot of technical SEO that goes on under the surface to keep your website working properly in the ever-changing search engine that is Google.

There are a few different ways you can keep track of technical SEO issues; for example, you could use an SEO software service like Moz to carry out site audits, check backlinks and keep track of your rankings. The most common tool used to track technical problems with your site is Google’s Search Console. You can read more about Google’s Search Console and how it works here

Here at Designer Websites, our SEO team carry out weekly Search Console checks to make sure that our client’s websites are working as they should be.

Failure to keep on top of your website’s technical SEO can leave a myriad of problems including:

  • Pages not being indexed correctly
  • Server errors
  • Problems with mobile usability
  • Slow page speed

And much more! Google is constantly changing, updating its algorithm and introducing new features, that’s why regularly checking your website’s technical SEO health is so important.

It’s also important to periodically check that other businesses aren’t duplicating your content and publishing it on their own site. When Google sees two copies of the same page, it will only index one (and there’s no guarantee that it will choose yours). All the time and effort you spent optimising your pages to rank for certain keywords will be for nothing if you don’t spot the duplicate content and act on it quickly.

If you do find duplicate content, here’s what you can do:

  • Contact the offending company and ask them to take the content down.
  • Rewrite the content on your own website so that it’s unique.

So, as you can see, deciding to stop doing SEO is going to cause some serious problems later down the line. If you’re not currently doing SEO for your website, we highly recommend you consider it! Learn more about our SEO services here.

boosted post vs facebook ad

If you really want to make the most of your marketing strategy in 2020, you need to be utilising some kind of paid promotions or ads.

There are a few major players when you look at the digital advertising landscape. Google, Bing and Facebook all offer a service that allows you to pay to put your content in front of targeted and relevant potential customers.

The Facebook family of apps now includes Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, giving you a range of different platforms to work with. There are an estimated 2.89 billion people with an account on at least one of these platforms, and over those 2.26 billion people use them daily. 

People of all ages are hooked into the captivating world of social media, and with such a huge audience to engage with, you really do want to consider your advertising options carefully. After all, thousands of people might be out there looking for a business just like yours… so how do you make sure that they’ll find you? Let’s find out.

What is a Boosted Post?

A Boosted Post starts its life as a regular old Facebook post. It could be anything; a photo of a new product you’re introducing, an offer you’re promoting or a competition you’re running.

When you boost a post, you apply money to ‘boost’ or ‘show’ your Facebook post to an audience of your choosing. Boosted posts are quick and easy to set up, meaning they’re a great option if you are new to Facebook advertising.

How do I set one up?

To create a boosted post, you need to look out for this big blue button. You’ll find it underneath your Facebook post on the right-hand side.

As you can see, the post in our example hasn’t had any organic engagements, so this might be a good candidate for boosting to try and generate some interest. Of course, you could also choose to boost a post that’s already doing really well to maximise its performance! The choice is yours.

boost post button

So, you’ve identified the post you want to boost, and you’ve clicked the big blue button. Now you need to tell Facebook a bit of information so they can make sure your post is boosted to the right kind of people, for the right amount of time, and in the right places. You’ll fill in a form that asks you the following:

  • What’s your objective?

Do you want users to comment on and share your post? Do you want them to click through to your website, or would you prefer to connect and chat with them over WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger?

  • What do you want your post button to do?

You can choose from pre-set call to actions like; ‘Learn More’, ‘Shop Now’ or ‘Sign Up’. Then you can set a destination for users to be taken to when they click the button.

  • What kind of audience do you want to target?

What are their interests? How old are they? Do you only want to target people in your local area? Defining your audience will help to make sure that your boosted post is reaching relevant people.

  • Where do you want your boosted post to show?

This is known as placements. You can let Facebook automatically choose your placements to maximise your budget, or you can choose the placements yourself. Facebook, Instagram and Messenger are a few placement options.

  • How long do you want it to run for?

This is where you set the total duration of the campaign. Here at Designer Websites, we often advise our customers to start with a short 7 or 5-day campaign to see how effective the chosen audience and budget performs for you.

  • What’s your budget for the campaign?

You can use a small budget of £10/£20 or a larger budget of £100+. The more you spend, the more people you’ll reach.

Once you’ve successfully answered all of these questions and entered your bank details, you’re pretty much good to go. You’ll probably have to wait while Facebook approves the boosted post, but once they’ve given it the all-clear, your post will start to be shown in your audience’s timeline.

What are the benefits of a boosted post?

  • You can reach new people who might be interested in your business or Facebook page. People might tag their friends, comment on the post or share it to their own personal Facebook page which is great for improving brand awareness.

 

  • You don’t have to design a fancy advert from scratch, you can use an existing post. This means you can set a boosted post up quickly and easily.

 

  • Boosted posts appear on your Facebook business page as well as being shown in your audience’s timeline. Facebook ads don’t appear on your business page, they work in the background.

 

  • You can use Facebook Insights to get a detailed summary of your boosted post’s performance. This will show you how many people you reached as well as showing you how many clicks, reactions, comments and shares your post received.

 

Ok, this all sounds great – but what are your other options? Let’s take a look at Facebook ads to see how they differ.

What is a Facebook Ad?

Facebook ads are a slightly different type of promotion that offers a lot more creative control than a boosted post. Facebook ads are created through their own Ads manager, a feature that might be a little trickier for advertising novices to navigate.

Rather than starting with a simple Facebook post you can build your Facebook ad from the ground up using advanced customisation options. You can optimise your Facebook ad to help you reach a wide range of business goals as well as engaging with a targeted audience of your choosing.

Setting up a Facebook ad

When you’re setting up a Facebook ad, the questions Facebook ask you are almost identical to those listed above – so we won’t bore you by cycling through them all again!

Instead, let’s focus on the things you can choose to do when you’re setting up a Facebook ad that you might not be able to do when you’re setting up a simple boosted post.

  • Choosing very specific placements.

While boosted post allows you to choose Instagram, Facebook or Messenger as your placement, Facebook ads take this one step further. You can decide exactly where the ad will show.

Do you want the ad to show in the News Feed, in Facebook’s Instant Articles, or as an Instagram story? These are just a few of the many placements made available in Ad Manager.

  • A wider range of ad objectives.

Tailoring your objective is much easier with a Facebook advert. Yes, boosted posts allow you to choose from some great goals like driving website clicks and generating post engagement - but again, Facebook ads take this one step further.

Facebook ad objectives are really quite extensive, covering everything from brand awareness to store traffic. This helps create an ad that’s perfect for your business needs.

  • More control over creativity.

When you create an ad through Ads Manager, you can choose a design that suits your brand and goals. Our PPC Specialist Andrew Gill said:

“We trial different kinds of Facebook ads for different clients every day! We’ve found that carousel ads and short video clips are the most successful ad format across the board. They’re more engaging than a standard picture advert and tend to convert really well”.

  • Advanced targeting capabilities.

Knowing who your target audience is is the key to success in the digital landscape. With Facebook ads, you can go beyond someone’s age and interests and target people who ‘look like’ users who’ve already interacted with your page, you can exclude people who’ve already interacted with a similar post and much more.

So which strategy do I choose?

So now you know the key differences, here are our recommendations. If you want to:

  1. Maximise engagement with a particular post
  2. Improve brand awareness
  3. Get an ad set up quickly

Go for a boosted post. They’re easy to run, easy to manage and are great for pushing your existing content further afield.

If you want to:

  1. Have full creative control
  2. Run a longer, more advanced ad campaign
  3. Show a promotion, product or service to a very specific audience

Choose a Facebook ad. They might take a little bit longer to plan and set up, but you can really make the most of your advertising budget through Facebook’s Ad Manager.

At Designer Websites, we can help with your Pay-Per-Click and Social Media Management needs. Get in touch if you’d like to make the most of your social media marketing strategy, we’re more than happy to help.

Local SEO

What is local SEO?

Local SEO refers to the process of enhancing your local online presence in order to attract more business from relevant local searches. It can be classed as ‘the practice of optimising your brick and mortar business for location-focused keywords and search terms’; such as “web design Barry”.

These searches can be performed across several different search engines, but with 90%+ market share in the UK alone, these searches are typically performed on Google, with the hope of being included in something called the ‘Google Snack Pack’.

The Google Snack Pack, also known and referred to as the ‘local 3 pack’ or ‘map pack’, is the boxed area that appears on the first page of Google search results when a local online search is performed. The Snack Pack box displays the top 3 local business listings most relevant to the search query and contains it’s very own search algorithm and set of rules. But why is it important for local businesses to appear in the snack pack? Let’s find out!

 

Why is local SEO important?

Optimising your local SEO means increased website traffic (if you have a website), leads and conversions since your efforts are placed into becoming more relevant to your base of local customers. It is a way to help smaller businesses compete more effectively against larger national organisations who have significantly greater amounts of resources at their disposal. By focusing on specific local SEO tactics, smaller firms are able to limit the impact of these bigger businesses that often optimise content for broader keywords and search terms and rely on brand recognition, rather than value offerings, to bring in footfall.

Further strengthening the case for local SEO are the fascinating stats that surround it. 46% of all searches performed on Google have ‘local intent’ (SER), “near me” searches are increasing 150% faster than traditional, local-based searches (Google) and 29% of all Google search engine result pages contain a snack pack in the results (RankRanger). 

With all of the advantages and buzz around local SEO, it comes to no surprise as to why so many businesses are battling it out to be included in the local 3 pack. So, what can you do to get in there? Here are the best ways to optimise your business for local SEO.

Improving your local SEO

1.       Create & Optimise Your Google My Business Listing

First things first, to get started with local SEO, you’ll need to create a Google My Business listing. For no charge, this establishes your business’ online presence and means you will appear on Google Maps. Not only will your business appear in search results across a variety of devices, but if Google authenticates your listing as a legitimate business, it could also appear in the sidebar space of a Google search.

 

There are several ways in which you can optimise your GMB listing to ensure Google not only sees your business but chooses it to appear in local search results. These are:

  • Keeping everything consistent between your listing, website & other online listings
  • Filling in every data point available i.e. Name, Address, Bio and Shortname
  • Keeping crucial business data updated such as opening hours and holidays
  • Get more reviews and engage with any that you do get

 

2.       Gain Regular Reviews

The last point that we made above is an important one. Getting your customers to leave glowing reviews about your business doesn’t just help to optimise your GMB listing and presence, but it also encourages more local customers to buy from you. The more footfall that your business experiences can lead to further positive reviews which then helps to build more signals to Google that your business is legit and worthy of ranking highly in local searches. Some tips to encourage your customers to leave positive reviews are:

  • Respond to existing reviews in a professional way, addressing any negative reviews that you may get and thanking reviewers for sharing their positive experiences
  • Asking for a review in-person after a sale has been made
  • Send post-purchase communications asking customers to leave reviews

 

3.       Optimise for Voice Search

Voice search has been rapidly growing over recent years, especially in terms of SEO. Therefore, it is crucial to optimise your content into a voice search-friendly manner, focusing on the way people ask questions when they speak rather than when they are typing. When performing voice searches using specific devices such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home or a voice assistant such as Siri, searchers opt for more long-tail keywords compared with regular search. As a result, you’ll have to adjust the SEO of your content to fit the more conversational tone of someone talking. A good tip here is to focus your efforts on traditional question starters such as who, what, when, where, why and how.

 

4.       Making Your Website Mobile-Friendly

Online mobile searches have also grown in popularity over the last decade with the increase in accessibility to mobile devices. In fact, in 2017, Google released its mobile-first indexing search results that prioritised mobile-optimised content over non-optimised content and even made it their primary index. This confirms the strategy behind optimising websites and content to be mobile-friendly, not just for local SEO, but for SEO as a whole.

Some tips for making your website more mobile-friendly are:

  • Ensure your website loads quickly
  • Use images and website copy only when needed and avoid filler content
  • Use bigger fonts that are easy to read
  • Implement an enhanced user interface for a great experience

 

 

5.       Greater Focus on Local Keywords

One of the most obvious ways to rank for local search results is to focus on local keywords, right? Of course, it is! Google’s own Keyword Planner allows you to filter keyword searches based on location, so you can get a better idea and understanding of the popular search terms for a specific area. This enables you to form a list of relevant local keywords that you can target to give yourself a better chance on ranking. Once you have these keywords, you can begin to implement content, meta tags and URLs to match.

Another great tactic that you can implement to increase local SEO results is to include mentions of location-specific landmarks and hotspots in your site’s content. For example, if your business offers web design in Cardiff city centre, including references such as “web design near Cardiff castle” could also bolster rankings in local search results.

 

6.       Implement Location Pages or Location-Focused ‘About Us’ Pages

If your business operates in more than one location, then location pages are a must. These pages allow you to target very specific location-based keywords around a main keyword e.g. “Cardiff decking” and “Slough decking”. At the minimum, each of these pages will need to provide the following information:

  • Opening hours
  • Name, address and phone number
  • Reviews
  • Promotions
  • Google Maps location

When adding these pages to your site, it’s important to remember that standards SEO rules still apply and content should be unique.

If your business only operates in one location, then having an ‘About Us’ page that focuses on local, relevant information is imperative. If you run a coffee shop, for example, your About Us page is the perfect place to provide information that you supply the coffee and cakes for local fundraisers each year. This reaffirms your commitment to your local community and provides potential customers near you with confidence in your business, which can lead to increased levels of business and many of the aforementioned benefits such as positive reviews.

 

7.       Take Advantage of Online Directories

Websites such as Yell, Yelp, YellowPages and Foursquare are online business directories that help to get your business name, address and phone number (NAP) on the web, which is one of the most important, if not the most important element of local SEO. NAPs act the same way as backlinks do to a website and let Google know that multiple places on the web are talking about or mentioning your business. The key thing to remember when adding your business to these online directories is to ensure that all information remains consistent.

Online business listing should include the following basic information:

  • Accurate business name, address and phone number which is consistent across all directories
  • A backlink to your website if you have one
  • A thorough description of your business

 

8.       Build High-Quality Backlinks

According to Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors study, ‘link signals’ were ranked number one and number two respectively in the most important factors for ranking in local organic rankings and the local pack and snack pack. Link signals are backlinks that point back to your website, so it’s important to get as many of these as possible, however, you do need to focus on their quality more than anything. The more relevant and authoritative the backlink is, the greater the signal is going to be to Google that your business is legitimate and also relevant to the local search being performed.

Some tips that you could follow to create high-quality backlinks to your website are:

  • Guest blogging on reputable websites that have a high domain authority
  • Produce high-quality content on your website that others want to link to
  • Engage with local businesses and influencers to link back to your website

 

SEO is a fast-moving and ever-changing industry, so you never know when Google will introduce new and innovative features to its search engine results page for local searches, but they are more or less guaranteed. Therefore, it is vital to keep on top of changes that can impact your local SEO. By starting off implementing the above eight points, you will ensure that your business not only takes advantage of lucrative local search opportunities but builds a solid platform that can be taken forward and progressed further when new and exciting local SEO features are announced.

Want to know more about how Designer Website can help your business with its local or national SEO, be sure to visit our search engine optimisation page today to see the professional and quality SEO services that our team of experts can provide. You can also get in touch with us if you require anything else!

 

Our SEO Services >

Search results is constantly changing and evolving so it’s important that marketers change their strategies if they want to achieve and maintain high rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Gone are the days where the SERPs are filled with hundreds of plain links. Now, featured snippets, rich cards and local results are the first things users see when using Google. But what impact are these features this having on website click-through-rates? Let’s find out.

A Quick Introduction to Featured Snippets

We’re sure you’ve come across Google’s featured snippets before but, just in case, let’s quickly get you up to speed on what they are.  

A featured snippet is a short summary of information from a trusted source or website that sits at the top of Google’s search engine results page (a position often referred to as ‘position zero’). Featured snippets appear above all other organic results and are shown for a wide range of questions, queries and keywords. They take up a huge section of the search results and might look something like this…

As you can see, typing ‘How to clean a car?’ into Google will show you a featured snippet with a step by step list of instructions and a labelled photograph. This quickly gives you all the information you need to get the job done, without requiring you to click through to a website. Helpful, right?

This isn’t the only style of featured snippet that we see in Google’s search results, in fact, there are 3 common types of featured snippets; paragraphs, lists and tables. Of these three types, paragraphs are by far the most common, currently making up around 80% of all featured snippets on Google.

Did you know that featured snippets are also the first point of reference for Google’s voice search results? With more and more smart devices and voice-activated assistants making their way into people’s homes, it’s clear to see why featured snippets are becoming more prominent in digital marketing strategies.

How Do Featured Snippets Impact Click-Through-Rates?

Google introduced featured snippets way back in 2014 to (in Google’s own words) “help people more easily discover what they’re seeking, both from the description and when they click on the link to read the page itself”.

Since featured snippets were introduced, SEO specialists have been increasingly concerned about their impact on click-through-rates. After all, why would users bother to click through to a website, if all the information they need can be found in the search results?

To tackle these concerns, Google adds a link to the source of the snippet of information prominently and cites the source website whenever Google Assistant reads it aloud as a spoken result. Google even sends a link to the Google Home app so users can ‘click to learn more’ if they so wish. But is this enough? How often do people click to learn more?

According to a recent study carried out by notorious SEO specialist, Rand Fishkin, “less than half of all Google searches now result in a click” (as shown in the chart above). Of course, this doesn’t mean that ranking highly is becoming less important, it just means that digital marketers need to be clever about generating content, adding schema markup to sites, and satisfying Google’s requirements if they want to gain maximum exposure in the search results.

Let’s take a look at a featured snippet we were able to gain for a client in 2019, to see whether gaining this top spot has had a positive, negative or no noticeable effect on click-through-rate.

This blog (shown above) ‘The Most Common Garden Weeds in the UK’ was published in March 2019. By mid-May, we started to see a huge spike in traffic to the website, and more specifically, a dramatic rise in the number of people visiting this blog.

A quick investigation found that this blog had been selected to sit in the exclusive ‘position zero’ for keywords related to common lawn weeds uk. (We gave ourselves a pat on the back).

Between the time the blog was published (March 29th) and the end of the year (December 31st) this blog single-handedly drove over 50% of all new users to the website, more than any other page on the website! The number of clicks through to the blog totalled an impressive 70% of all clicks through to the website, so the positive impact that this featured snippet had for our client was unprecedented.

When considering why that is, it’s likely that the topic that this snippet addresses is driving users to click through. The common garden weeds are listed in the featured snippet, but users might want to find out more information such as; when the weeds are most prevalent and how to get rid of them.

What Can We Take from This?

What this shows is that users are certainly becoming less likely to click on webpages and ads because, quite frankly, they no longer need to. Google is finding the information they need and presenting it to them in an easily digestible way.

However, what our client’s results show is that featured snippets are an incredibly valuable feature that can drive lots of people to your website. Gaining ‘position zero’ puts your site directly in front of the user, and if they do want to find out more, then it’s your site they’re most likely to visit.

It’s important to bear in mind that even users who don’t click on the featured snippet are still being exposed to your brand, whether that’s visually or audibly. This improved brand awareness and authoritative position can only have a positive impact on your business in the long-term.

So, gaining featured snippets is certainly something that business owners and digital marketers should aim for as part of their marketing strategy. You can read more about writing to gain featured snippets in one of our previous blogs.

How to Gain a Featured Snippet >

If you’d like help increasing brand awareness, boosting your Google rankings or keeping your website content fresh and up to date, find out more about our SEO team here.

DJay Plumbing & Heating

DJay Plumbing & Heating is a professional plumbing company based in Dinas Powys, South Wales. Having no real online presence, DJay contacted us here at Designer Websites to help take his business further with a fully functional, responsive website that displayed his wide range of services and could help with future enquiries.

After some initial discussions, DJay decided that the best option for him was a modern-looking brochure site that was easy to navigate, offered the most important information about his business and services and allowed his potential customers to contact him easily. Once this was agreed, our professional design team got to work on creating the sleek design of the website’s homepage and internal pages.

How else did we help?

Once the designs of the website were signed off, our SEO team got to work on the site’s unique and enhanced copy. Armed with a list of services that DJay offered, our professional copywriters conducted thorough keyword research that helped to create optimised copy for each page. This enabled the site and the web pages to be more visible to search engines like Google and Bing and to rank high in search results when online users searched for the services that DJay offered.

Once these searchers found the site, however, they required a way to contact DJay if they were ever in need of his services. To do this, we implemented a simple enquiry form on the site’s contact page that allows users to submit their details and the nature of their enquiry. In addition to this, we also added a boiler quote form at the top of every page, enabling users to request a free boiler quote anywhere on the site.

The end result was an eye-catching website that worked extremely well across a variety of devices, allowing users to find and interact with the site at home or on-the-go. You can visit it here - https://www.djayplumbing.co.uk/

If you’re in need of a new website for your business, Designer Websites can help - request a free web design quote today!

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New Ladders UK Direct website

Because ecommerce website design is something of a speciality for us here at Designer Websites, we frequently get enquiries from business owners who are looking to boost the visibility of their online stores.

We recently received such an enquiry from Ladders UK Direct, an ecommerce business selling a wide variety of ladders and work platforms. They wanted to improve their website's usability and drive more organic traffic to their products, and after looking at some of our previous projects, they decided that we were the right team for the job.

The new Ladders UK Direct website is now live - click the link below to have a look!

Visit Ladders UK Direct >>

Here are some of the improvements we made:

  • Fresh new website design
  • Search-optimised landing pages
  • Improved site navigation and product pages
  • Brand new back-end admin console
  • Ongoing SEO and marketing support

If your business needs a brand new website, the Designer Websites team can help - request a free web design quote today!

christmas social media, social media for christmas

With December well underway and Christmas rapidly approaching like an unstoppable festive asteroid, the time to give your digital content a seasonal overhaul is overdue.

After all, you’ve probably already decorated your home with all the festive trimmings, so it’s only fair that your social media presence gets the same treatment.

But just how do you encapsulate the palpable ambience of Christmastime within the confines of a single social media page? Where to begin?! Won’t somebody think of the children?!!

Hold your horses there, fella. Take a hearty sip of eggnog and calm it down – we’ve got you covered right here.

Trim up your social media for Christmas with our five top tips for Christmas social media.

 

Tips for Christmas Social Media

Step into Christmas by stepping up your social media game this yuletide and ensure your followers have themselves a merry little Christmas experience whenever they view your page.

 

christmas social media, social media for christmas

 

Seasonal Imagery

It’s long been said that a picture is worth a thousand words so, by that rationale, a quality social media image can save you a whole lot of ad copy.

Think of your social media profile as your digital shop window. What self-respecting shop would let December come and go without decorating their storefront in festive furnishings?

Start by sprucing up your profile and cover images with a healthy dose of red and a festive font. This is an easy way to inject a bit of obvious Christmas spirit into your branding without having to completely overhaul your existing assets.

You may also want to include other Christmas visuals – such as snowflakes, baubles, holly, etc. – in your cover image to further hammer home the point with festive fervour. The Christmas flavour will provide a welcome change for regular followers while also make for a memorable first impression to new visitors.

This is also a great avenue to advertise any festive products or services you may offer. Meanwhile, this is also a good opportunity to incorporate and highlight any seasonal offers you may be running over the Christmas period.

Which brings us nicely to our next entry…

 

Festive Offers

If you’re running seasonal offers over the festive period, congratulations – you’re showing your customers that you value their business and repaying their brand loyalty at a time of the year where it counts. If not, shame on you and it may be time to rethink your festive strategy.

Christmas is a time of year where the public is expecting their brand loyalty to be rewarded with sales and cut-price goods/services. What’s more, chances are, your competitors are probably going to be doing the same, so it’s a necessity if you want to keep up.

So, assuming you are indeed running some offers over the Christmas period, where better to highlight such offers than on your corresponding social media page? Make it overtly obvious by pinning it to the top of your page and/or boosting your offer post and you can’t go wrong.

Additionally, it’s also possible to customise posts to include specific background colours and themes, which is a simple yet effective way to also get your social posts in the festive spirit. The combination of the two is a sure-fire way to get your audience’s attention.

 

Spirit of Giving

As we all know, Christmas is the time for giving, peace on earth and goodwill to all. Why not soak up the yuletide ambience and take that festive message to heart by running a Christmas competition?

With gift-giving such an integral part of the Christmas experience, it’s only fitting that your brand follows suit and play Santa Claus to one or more of your followers.

A simple yet effective way of inciting social engagement, giveaways are like a hard-working postman – they never fail to deliver.

Whether it’s the allure of an attractive prize or the simplicity of the entry process, running a social media competition at Christmas is a fool-proof tactic that will only further endear you to your audience.

 

Santa’s Workshop

A great way to humanise your brand/company while still providing some excellent and engaging content for your audience is to give your followers a peek behind the curtain at what goes on behind the scenes.

Christmastime is the perfect period to provide such insight into daily operations, as it typically entails a happier office, a joyous atmosphere and – presuming Christmas decorations are out in force – an overall scenery that looks a lot more upbeat than at other times of the year.

Whether it’s a team lunch, exchanging Secret Santa gifts or simply showing off some of the best (and worst) Christmas jumpers to pass through your office doors, why not record any festive fun you might be having in the office during this time?

It all makes for great content, showing that your company is more than just a faceless logo and one that has a very human heart at the core.

 

Yule Blog

Blogs are a great way of attracting web traffic to your site, so why not pen fresh, festive-themed blogs and share your Christmas content on social media?

Christmas-themed articles are some of the most reliable and consistent content in terms of performance during December and some of the best is that which revolves around useful tips and advice over the festive period; e.g. “How to Save Money on Your Christmas Travel”.

While it might take a little thought to get there, if you can take the overall Christmas concept and connect your goods or services to the festive period, you’re on to a winner. Once you do, pen it, publish it and share away!

Run a gardening company? How about a blog on festive garden decorations? Operating a ladder business? What about tips for hanging Christmas lights? Offering web services? Why not write a blog on Christmas social media tips… wait a minute!

 

For more advice on social media for Christmas or additional Christmas social media tips, why not drop us a line today? Call us direct on 01446 339050 or click the button below to get in touch online now.

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It's the end of another busy week for us here at Designer Websites, and it looks like the rest of the tech and marketing world have been up to their eyeballs too! Once again there are a bunch of things on our radar that we'd love to share with you this week; from a double resignation at Google to 2020 website preparations. Intrigued? Just keep reading...

Photo from https://www.theverge.com/

Spotify Wrapped Takes the Internet by Storm

If you've ventured on social media anytime this week you might have seen images like this popping up all over the place. Well, that's because we've come around to the Spotify wrapped time of year, where listeners get an in-depth overview of their musical habits. That's right, those guilty pleasures and Disney-sing-alongs and Karaoke classics are about to be showcased for all to see! This year, Spotify has made their roundups social media-friendly, much to the disappointment of Apple Music users, who haven't been treated to these luxuries!

Google Co-Founders Step Down

It looks like some big changes to the Google management structure are beginning to take shape. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, currently CEO and President of Alphabet, are to step aside leaving Google CEO Sundar Pichai to take the reigns for Alphabet too. They've said they will remain in the company as active shareholders and board members!

Freshen Up Your SEO Strategy

The year is coming to a close and we're starting to see reminders that now is a great time for reflecting and adjusting your SEO strategy. 

If you've been focusing on building engagement on socials, writing engaging blogs or optimising your site content, it might be time to switch things up a bit! Why not dedicate some time to build some valuable backlinks, or pursue adding eye-catching video content to your site?

Start to plan your business goals for 2020 and consider how you can tweak your current strategy to suit them! Our SEO team always recommend at this time of year is a dose of healthy competitor analysis.

Take a look around competitor sites, find out what they've been doing, who's linking to them and make sure you haven't missed an opportunity to reach new audiences. You might notice your competitors holding festive competitions at this time of year, which is something your audience can really share and engage with!

Here are a few pointers to help you refresh your SEO strategy:

  • Check your existing site content and add extra information where you can. This will give returning users a little extra to read!
  • Consider adding videos to your marketing plan, a splash of eye-catching multimedia can really boost engagement
  • Build your social media following. Have you tried a Facebook boosted post this year?
  • Review your internal links and consider adding new ones, this will help Google better understand the layout of your site and potentially boost rankings!

These are just a few ideas to get you started, keep checking back to see our helpful SEO based blogs throughout the year. We'll see you next week for another DW roundup. Have a lovely weekend!

 

festive playlist, Christmas playlist, Christmas tunes, Christmas songs

 

With the calendar now well into December, it’s officially acceptable to fill your car with Christmas tunes and crank up the volume to a chassis-shaking, bell-jingling 11+.

To help you get your yuletide off to a flier, we’ve put together a festive playlist to get you in the Christmas spirit faster than Phil Mitchell at a free bar.

Chosen by the various members of DW team, this varied collection is a mixed bag of Christmas classics, festive favourites and holiday anomalies – and we mean varied…

If variety is the spice of life, consider this playlist to be a melodic lamb madras. Tuck in!

 

festive playlist, Christmas playlist, Christmas tunes, Christmas songs

 

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey

Making its debut in 1994, it’s hard to believe that Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year – all the more reason to add it your playlist and play it loud and proud!

A festive favourite for many, Miss Carey’s anthemic December tune is so popular that it even broke Spotify’s global single-day streaming record on Christmas Eve Last year, clocking up almost 11 million streams!

Festive Fact

Since its release, the song has been covered by countless artists, including everyone from Arianna Grande and Shania Twain to My Chemical Romance and Bowling for Soup.

 

“Christmas in Hollis” – Run DMC

An altogether different yet equally awesome addition to the playlist, 1987’s “Christmas in Hollis” proved that the festive airwaves are strictly reserved for radio-friendly pop music.

This tinsel-tastic track by New York rappers, Run DMC, originally appeared on a benefit album in aid of the Special Olympics. Solidifying its status as a Christmas classic, “Christmas in Hollis” even makes a memorable appearance in the opening five minutes of Die Hard – which definitely IS a Christmas film!

Festive Fact

Despite being directed by an NYU film student, the video for "Christmas in Hollis" went on to win Rolling Stone's 1987 “Best Video of the Year” award, incredibly edging out Michael Jackson's music video for “Bad” directed by Martin Scorsese.

 

“Mistletoe” – Justin Beiber

Justin Beiber traded his cap for a Christmas hat back in 2011 with this reggae-inspired holiday tune. By January 1st 2012, the track had reached an impressive 722k downloads, selling more copies in a calendar year than any previous holiday song in digital history.

Included on Beiber’s Christmas album, “Under the Mistletoe”, the song helped the album shoot straight to #1 on the Billboard 200 in the US. As a result, Beibs became the first artist to record three #1 albums before the age of 18.

Festive Fact

Prior to its official release, Beiber debuted the track live in front of over 45k screaming fans Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Stadium on October 6th. Despite the fact it was over two and a half months before Christmas, the crowd lapped it up!

 

“Things I Want” – Tenacious D and Sum 41

When it comes to warm and fuzzy Christmas songs, it’s fair to say that Tenacious D and Sum 41 are two bands that aren’t the first that spring to mind. Luckily, this tune from 2001 is neither warm nor fuzzy, instead offering breakneck festive fun in a 3-minute joyride.

Brushing aside the typical paint-by-numbers approach of seasonal song-writing, “Things I Want” is a yule-tirade of demands from Jack Black to St Nick, ranging from a time machine and a robot pelican to Pamela Anderson’s speedo top and a statue of Moby.

Festive Fact

Jack Black would return for another crack at the Christmas collaboration in 2010, teaming up with comedy actor, Jason Segel, to cover David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” mash-up.

 

“Stop the Cavalry” – Jona Lewie

Hitting the airwaves in 1980, “Stop the Cavalry” was never intended to be a Christmas song; however, the line “Wish I was at home for Christmas” led management to change course and take the festive approach.

In hindsight, Jona Lewie will be glad they did. The song has become a yuletide mainstay and, according to Lewie himself, the song’s royalties account for 50% of his annual income.

Festive Fact

Upon its release, “Stop the Cavalry” reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart. It was kept off the top spot by two reissued John Lennon tracks following his untimely death that same month.

 

“Proper Crimbo” – Bo’ Selecta

The brainchild of Leigh Francis, “Proper Crimbo” hit the airwaves almost two decades ago in 2003 and, while the cast of characters in the video may show its age, the song itself hasn’t lost any of its catchiness.

A true ear-worm in every sense, the song itself reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart back in December ’03. While it remained in the charts for nine weeks, it’s remained in our hearts ever since!

Festive Fact

Leigh Francis would return to the music charts ten years later in 2013, this time behind the legendary tasche of Keith Lemon with the fittingly titled “I Wanna Go On You”.

 

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – Brenda Lee

Despite turning 61-years-old this December 1958’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” isn’t showing any signs of age and is a firm favourite of many during the festive period.

Incredibly, Brenda Lee recorded the song when she was just 13-years-old. While the song was largely unsuccessful upon its release, it’s gone on to snowball into an absolute staple.

The track was also memorably included in 1990s Christmas classic, Home Alone, further cementing its status as a solid-gold Christmas classic.

Festive Fact

Famously covered by Kim Wilde and Mel Smith for Comic Relief in 1987, the cover version actually peaked higher than the original, reaching #3 in the UK Singles Chart to the original’s #6.

 

“Mr Hankey” – South Park

For anyone growing up in the ‘90s, South Park was a true phenomenon, blending outrageous cartoon antics with expletive-riddled adult comedy in one ridiculous package. This song is no different…

Released in 1997, “Mr Hankey, the Christmas Poo” brings a whole new meaning to the term “yule log”. Howdy ho, everybody!

Festive Fact

The following year, South Park would have another crack at the music charts with “Chocolate Salty Balls”, as sung by Chef (aka Isaac Hayes). Incredibly, Chef’s contribution went on to #1 in the UK Singles Chart in December ’98.

 

“Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues

What wintry playlist would be complete without being graced with the unmistakable opening piano notes of Shane MacGowan’s 1987 classic, “Fairytale of New York”?

A true iron-clad staple of the Christmas period, the song has endured year-after-year and has remained timeless since its debut. In fact, following its re-release in 2005, the song has made an appearance in the UK Top 20 every December since!

Festive Fact

MacGowan, himself actually born on Christmas Day, apparently wrote the song as part of a bet with Elvis Costello. It’s fair to say that MacGowan probably won that bet and has been laughing all the way to the bank every Christmas since!

 

“Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” – The Darkness

Rounding out the list in style is 2003’s the crotch-hugging, lycra-clad classic from The Darkness. Filled with trademark falsetto singing, outrageous outfits and face-melting guitar solos, it’s everything you could want it to be and more.

Channelling the festive tunes of ‘70s glam-rockers Slade and Wizzard, Justin Hawkins and Co. go all out in their festive foray into snowy song-writing with more cheeky lyrics than your average track from The Cheeky Girls. A true Christmas crowd-pleaser!

Festive Fact

Despite being hotly-tipped to be Christmas #1, “Christmas Time” by The Darkness was pipped at the post by a depressing cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” by Gary Jules. According to Music Week, they were beaten by just 5k copies.

 

 

So, there you have it – 10 festive favourites from the DW team to help you get in the Christmas mood and kickstart your own Christmas playlist. Merry Christmas from everyone here at Designer Websites!

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If you are in charge of a Facebook page, at the helm of an Instagram account or managing a Twitter profile for your business, you are probably already acquainted with the ins and outs of social media.

Likewise, sitting behind the wheel of a company’s social media will mean you are also probably well-acquainted with the cocktail of frustrations that come with it, accompanied by a seemingly endless “happy hour” of headaches.

From fluctuating engagement figures and inexplicable unfollows to negative comments and spam, the various vexations of social media management can be a common complaint for anyone looking to bolster their brand’s social standing.

In order to help lighten the load and improve your social standing, picking your spots is a key factor. Read on, as we explore the best time to post on social media to ensure your posts and pages gain traction and don’t fall behind.

 

 best time to post on social media uk, post on social media for business, schedule posts on social media

 

Timing is Everything

Social media can be a harsh mistress that’s also high maintenance. Constantly changing and ever-evolving, the online realm of digital networking can be a tough beast to tame.

However, with that being said, there are certain behaviours and user patterns that have helped identify the best times to post on social media (at least in theory).

To help you get a handle on your social media struggles, here are a few tips on when to post to get the highest engagement and garner the most eyeballs.

 

best time to post on social media uk, post on social media for business, schedule posts on social media

 

Time is Money

If you’re posting on social media for business purposes, it’s logical to engage with your following when most people are going to be available to see your posts and interact with them.

Naturally, posting at 03:00 a.m. will probably not see too good of a return, so don’t be surprised if such a post falls short like Homer Simpson at Springfield Gorge.

So, when are most people free to interact? Let’s find out…

 

Let’s Do Lunch

During office hours, a post nestled neatly in the middle of the working day to coincide with lunchtimes is a smart choice.

Many of us turn to our phones as a means of distraction during our lunch hours, whether its to catch up with the world, interact with friends or simply distance ourselves from the morning workload.

As such, a well-timed post that arrives during the hours of 11:00 and 14:00 to cover the varied lunchtime window can increase your likelihood of success dramatically.

This interval covers a wide margin of lunchtime windows, including those who take an early lunch and those who leave it late; however, it’s better to post earlier and cover the whole spectrum than leave it late and risk missing part of your demo.

 

Evening All

Outside of lunchtime, the next logical part of the day where people are free to relax, unwind and scroll aimlessly through reams and reams of social media posts is, of course, the evening.

With work in the rear-view mirror, the brief reprieve of the post-work downtime provides the working Brit with a few hours respite and the social media manager with a prime posting window.

For the clocking-off commuters, anywhere after 17:00 is a good place to start catching those idle thumbs during a home-bound public transport journey.

Meanwhile, catching your audience at home later in the evening when they are likely to be actively seeking entertainment is another great way to reach your audience.

Engagement figures tend to taper off as the night wears on so try to keep your evening post between the hours of 17:00 and 20:00.

 

All in a Day's Work

As for the best days to post, the midweek frequently records the highest engagement figures and Wednesday in particular commonly emerges as a standout day.

Additionally, Sunday is also a prime candidate for pinnacle posting performance. The so-called day of rest, sees many of us reach for our phones in search of boredom avoidance.

Meanwhile, those that have made the most of their Saturdays will be looking to recover on the Sunday with a schedule to suit

For a lot of Brits, the road to recovery means lazing around scrolling through social media. Make the most of this social media upswing by scheduling your post to coincide.

  

best time to post on social media uk, post on social media for business, schedule posts on social media

 

Trial and Error

While the above info is a great base to build upon in terms of social media engagement, it’s important to remember that this info is merely a guide and not an exact science.

The truth is, there is no hard and fast rule to social media posting and engagement figures can be dependent on a whole host of factors, from the quality of the post to the content of the media you attach.

Even a quick Google search on optimal social media times will spit back a mixed bag of results, at times featuring completely contradictory advice from what you read elsewhere.

As such, the best way to approach social media posting is with a trial and error mindset. Keep track of your posts, interpret the results and find out what works for you and your business.

 

Know Your Audience

When you’re scheduling your social media posts, try to bear in mind your target audience and think about their work patterns and living habits. This can have a big effect on engagement figures.

For example, a brand that targets stay-at-home mums is likely to have a drastically different posting schedule than a page that’s aimed at an audience that works 9-5.

While it may seem obvious, you should time your posts to coincide with periods when your audience is likely to be online in order to ensure your posts reach the most people, get the most exposure and achieve the most engagement.

The better you know your audience, the better you can cater to their needs and adjust your content and posting times accordingly. Do your homework and get inside the mind of your target demo and you won’t go far wrong.

 

For more social media tips or to enquire about the social media marketing services on offer here at Designer Websites, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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roundup heading

Take a break from the Black Friday shopping to join us for another roundup of the greatest and latest tech and marketing news.

This week saw the introduction of Google's ambient mode, the removal of inactive twitter accounts, the launch of a new social media platform and some very controversial photos of cows in VR headsets.

Are you intrigued? Let's jump right into it!

 

Video courtesy of Android

Google Assistant's New Ambient Mode

 Have you ever wished you could see helpful Google assistant information on your lock screen?

Well, with Google assistant's new Ambient Mode, that dream is becoming a reality! Things like your calendar events, your notifications, information about the weather and smart home controls can be managed directly from your lock screen with Google's Ambient Mode.

The catch... Ambient only works when your phone is plugged in, so you'll have to keep your charger handy if you want to make the most of it!

At the moment, it looks like Google is only giving a select number of devices access to this feature including Nokia phones, Xiaomi phones, Lenovo's Smart Tab M8 and more. Hopefully, with Ambient mode's deep integration into Android, we can expect to see it roll out across most devices in the coming months. 

Do you think this could replace your Google Home, your Amazon Echo? Let us know your thoughts.

twitter heading

Twitter Deactivating Inactive Accounts

When was the last time you logged onto Twitter? If it was 6 months ago (or longer) then you could be in for a shock!!

Twitter has announced that it will be deactivating old accounts to free up usernames and 'clean up' the platform. 

As you can imagine, the idea of deleting inactive accounts has caused a bit of an outrage, particularly amongst people who have lost a loved one. Currently, Twitter doesn't have a way to memorialise the accounts of deceased users, which can make preserving these accounts a little tricky. 

Luckily, Twitter has said they'll delay this process until they've come up with a solution to these concerns. After all, many people hold on to the twitter conversations and exchanges they had with a loved one long after they pass, so it's nice to see Twitter making allowances for this. 

Cocoon

Image from www.standard.co.uk

Cocoon App Created By Ex-Facebook Employee

Just when you thought there couldn't be any more social media platforms, a new app called Cocoon emerges!

Upon initial inspection, Cocoon looks like a hybrid of WhatsApp and Facebook newsfeed. Cocoon offers a space where you can share messages, make video calls, see people's locations and much much more. 

Sachin Monga, who co-founded Cocoon, worked at Facebook prior to setting up this new social business venture, and says that the app has become her 'home on her phone'!

We think this is an interesting concept, and could be a simple way to filter out all the spammy news articles, old school friends and annoying acquaintances that most of us are used to seeing all over our Facebook & Instagram feeds. Would you be willing to give it a try? 

So, that concludes our roundup for this week! So, will you be giving the new Ambient Mode or Cocoon a try? Or will you be logging back into your long-abandoned Twitter account to save it from being re-commissioned? However you're spending your weekend, we hope it's a good one and we'll see you next week for another DW roundup!

blog ideas, content ideas

 

For bloggers and online content providers, originality is the perfect way to attract visitors, engage your audience and keep the hits coming.

Unfortunately, creating original content on a continuous basis is a big ask and maintaining a cycle of fresh blogs week after week after week can be a tough slog for anyone.

Even the brightest of marketing sparks can hit the ideas wall from time to time, especially if the site in question has been producing content for a considerable amount of time.

So, how do you overcome this hurdle? We’re glad you asked!

Join us as we dive into the open waters of blog generation and explore some of the most effective ways to generate fresh blog content.

 

 

Brainstorming

The first port of call for any marketing mind running low on inspiration, a group brainstorming session can be just the impetus needed to reinvigorate your blog with fresh ideas.

As the old saying goes, many hands make light work and that is very much applicable to blog content. After all, two heads are better than one (although too many clichés spoil the broth).

Clichés notwithstanding, the fact remains: opening up the floor to the rest of the team and spitballing ideas with your colleagues can result in pure gold.

A new perspective can be just the spark you need to reignite your creative embers and not only keep your content fire burning but once again set it ablaze.

 

Straight to the Source

As simple as it sounds, what better way to get a handle on what your audience really wants than by asking them outright?

Consumer feedback is a great way to gain first-hand insight into what your target demographic likes and dislikes in a clear and concise manner.

Surveys, polls and social media monitoring are all excellent ways to get a handle on exactly what your audience is interested in and what they want to see more of.

To ensure a higher response rate from your audience, you may want to incentivise such an activity by incorporating a prize element to further grease the participatory wheels.

Meanwhile, it’s also worth noting that people are far more likely to be brutally honest in their feedback if they feel it can be done in a nameless, faceless fashion.

Providing your audience with a means of delivering their opinions in an anonymous manner could help ensure that such feedback remains uncut, uncensored and unrestricted – warts and all.

 

Explore Comments

As mentioned in the previous section, social media is a great window into the minds of your audience; however, you don’t even need to run a poll or survey to gain that feedback.

Simply exploring the comments section of your social media posts can be a great way to inspire blog content for the future.

Similarly, a post that has gained significant traction on your social media channels and recorded sizeable engagement figures is a bright neon sign of public interest.

Expanding on a popular post to incorporate its subject matter into a blog can be a simple yet effective way of providing content that’s sure to appeal to your audience.

 

Past Blogs

Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” However, in the case of blog content, historical repetition isn’t always a bad thing…

Retracing old ground by providing an updated version of old blog entries can be a great way to breathe life into a particular topic and provide new content at the same time.

For example, if you run a fashion blog and your “Fashion Tips for Summer 2019” had more hits than Mike Tyson’s punch bag, there’s nothing wrong with revisiting this topic with a blog on “Fashion Tips for Summer 2020”.

Naturally, this method is primarily useful for blogs that have previously performed well; there’s no use in revisiting an old blog that tanked. Meanwhile, it also tends to work better for blogs that are date specific.

 

Expand on Subheadings

As seen in the entry above, revisiting old content isn’t a sin punishable by digital exile and banishment to the realm of forgotten bloggers.

In fact, past blogs can provide more than just singular blog-spiration, they can provide a portal to a whole world of content – if you know where to look.

Subheadings (such as H2s and H3s) included in previous blogs can provide serious food for thought when viewed in isolation, with enough meat on the bone to feed an entire blog of its own.

For example, a blog titled “Tips for Starting a New Job” may include a section on appropriate work attire. That subject alone has legs to run on its own, so why not explore it further with a blog on “Dressing for Success in the Workplace”?

If you can gain inspiration for at least one blog topic from every old blog, you’ll soon have yourself a sizeable list of ideas that can help fuel your content calendar long into the distant future.

 

For more content writing tips and blog advice or to enquire about our own content marketing and copywriting services, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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Yet another week has gone by and yet again... lots has happened! Here's our weekly round-up of the latest and greatest marketing and tech news of the week. 

Instagram's hidden likes

If you haven't already heard, Instagram is rolling out a new feature in the hope of making Instagram a more mentally friendly place! The new change means users won't be able to see the total number of likes on each other's posts. This is all part of Instagram's movement towards de-incentivising the platform.

At the moment, Instagram is testing this feature so we're yet to see what kind of impact this will have. Instagram reports that feedback has been good so far though, so watch this space!

Google tests a new feature that corrects your pronunciation

It was announced this week that Google plans to launch a new feature to help people check and correct their pronunciation of new and unfamiliar words. All you'll need to do is speak into your microphone, then, Google will use its AI technology to analyse your pronunciation and provide helpful feedback. Perfect for people learning a new language!

Search Console training series

For digital marketers looking to brush up their Search Console knowledge, Google is planning to release a new series of videos to walk you through the platform step by step. We know that Google has (and is continuing to make) some pretty significant changes to the format and features of Search Console, so this will be really beneficial for marketers everywhere.

So far, we can only see the trailer... but we'll definitely be checking back to watch the episodes as Google starts to roll them out!

Exciting tech releases

It's no surprise that with Christmas quickly approaching, big tech companies are rolling out new and attractive tech an alarming rate! This week alone, Apple released a new 16-inch MacBook Pro, Motorola released a new Razr (which looks deceivingly like the original model we all know and love), and Disney+ launched.

That's right, you can now find hundreds of Disney TV shows and films all in one place... 

So, if like us, you're going to spend the entire weekend binge-watching Disney movies then we'll see you next week for another round-up!

Whether you run an SME or a large, multi-site business, when it comes to public interaction and brand awareness, a solid social media presence is undoubtedly a must.

That being said, content saturation has made it increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd and it’s all too easy for a post or blog to become buried and lost in the shuffle.

As a result, providing useful, interesting and topical content for your audience has never been more vital.

So, how do you make your content break away from the pack and stand tall? With a social media calendar, of course!

 

social media calendar

 

Cold, Hard Stats

The Digital 2019 report from social media superheroes WeAreSocial and Hootsuite reports that there are just under 3.5 billion active social media users across the globe.

To put that into context, there are estimated to be 7.7 billion people in the whole world, meaning almost half the entire Earth’s population is actively on social media.

From a domestic perspective, the Office of National Statistics notes that 71% of adult women in the UK use social media, while 64% of adult men are also said to do the same.

Together, the collective figure for social media users in the UK is said to be 67%, equating to an impressive 45 million social media users in total.

Needless to say, if your social media game isn’t up to scratch, you’re doing your business a serious disservice. Luckily, that’s where we come in!

 

Do Your Homework

Imagine a greetings card company overlooking Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to market their goods or run a promotion – wouldn’t happen. Similarly, such an instance shouldn’t happen to you and your business.

When creating a social media calendar, it’s important to identify any dates that are relevant to your business and your target demographic. Think of the audience you are catering for; their likes, dislikes, wants and needs; and the kind of content that would appeal to them.

Run a fancy-dress shop? Miss Halloween at your peril. Do you own a curry house? National Curry Week should be etched in stone. Manage an Irish bar? You better have St Patrick’s Day tattooed to your soul!

 

Get Ahead of the Curve

Once you’ve identified the key dates that are relevant and applicable to your business, it’s time to fasten those thinking caps on firmly and get to work with creating ideas on what to post.

A last-minute rush job is easy to spot from a country mile away and, at times, can be toe-curlingly obvious for all to see. As such, planning what to post on your page can be just as important as knowing the suitable dates that speak to your business.

Think logically about what your business offers, which associated events will appeal to your audience and create something helpful, entertaining or engaging around it to pique interest and further elevate your standing with your followers.

 

Consistent Content Schedule

In addition to the key dates in your calendar, it’s important to prop these dates up with consistent content around it. Don’t just wait for National Pizza Day to post about your pizza place, provide regular content year-round to keep your followers engaged and maintain their fandom.

Regimented posting is important in not only retaining followers but also conveying legitimacy. A brand that posts sporadically at random intervals can come across as amateur and be detrimental to your page, as well as creating an equally negative impression for your brand.

Meanwhile, a prolonged drought in content can also give the negative impression that the business/page is no longer active and in operation. Naturally, this can have a particularly damning effect on your business as a result, so avoid prolonged radio silence at all costs.

 

Two Heads Are Better Than One

When it comes to supplying engaging output for your social media channels, creating content gold on your own can be an extremely tough task, particularly if you plan on providing content on a continuous and recurring basis.

The pressure to provide quality output can also have a detrimental impact on the frequency and slow down the overall process. As such, this is one area where communication can be the difference-maker and welcoming outside suggestions can increase your chances of content alchemy tenfold.

Brainstorming is a great way to spit-ball ideas with fellow staff and build on any thoughts you or your colleagues may have. A single seed planted by one person can quickly germinate into a whole tree of content when you open it up to the floor, so don’t be afraid to ask for outside input.

 

For more social media tips or to find out more about the social media services at Designer Websites, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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