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 threw his 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 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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SafetyLiftinGear, a Bristol-based company that specialises in the sale of quality lifting equipment approached us here at Designer Websites way back in 2013 to help create an ecommerce website that was capable of selling their vast product range to both trade customers and the general public. Since then the website has experienced huge success, receiving new features and redesigns from time to time that has helped to make it what it is today. Enabling the company to sell on a national and international scale. 

As the business continues to grow, so does their popularity, which has resulted in huge demand for their products. This has led to their latest digital milestone of creating a brand-new Dutch-focused website for their products to be sold directly in the Netherlands, where again we have lent a helping hand. The new website now offers greater accessibility to SLG's products for the lucrative Dutch market.

How did we help?

The new Dutch SLG website has the same great look and feel of their existing website. Something that their customer base knows, loves and feels comfortable with using. It was vitally important to not disrupt the positive user experience and functionality that their users were used to. As a result, our mission was to replicate the existing site as best we can, but to ensure the fit for the new language was right. This required redesigns that catered for updated text and page layouts. In addition to the design tweaks, we also integrated a new native payment system (SISOW), enabling swift and secure transactions for their Dutch customers.

You can visit the new Dutch SafetyLiftinGear site here - https://www.safetyliftingear.nl/ 

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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Another week has come and gone and a host of tech updates have been dropped, along with huge news from one of the world’s leading social media platforms. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

iOS 13.2 is released with a new batch of Emojis

The latest software release from Apple sees the introduction of this year’s Emoji update. A total number of 398 new Emojis have been released which includes the usual new animals, foods and hand gestures. The biggest addition to this year’s collection of Emojis, however, is the disability and gender-neutral options, along with a new way to select skin tones.

(Image: Emojipedia)

 

Apple release 3rd gen AirPods

This week saw the release of the AirPods Pro, the third generation of Apple’s wireless earbuds. Coming in at a whopping £250, the latest rendition offers several features that their predecessor does not.

Firstly, the new AirPods look different. I mean, how else are people going to know you don’t have the old AirPods right? The new earbuds are slightly smaller and now come with flexible, silicone ear tips for a more secure, sealed in-ear fit. Three different sizes of these tips come in the box. Aesthetic differences aside, the AirPods Pro have built-in microphones that detect external sound which then gets cancelled out, offering the highly-rumoured noise cancellation feature. Along with noise cancellation, Transparency Mode lets users hear noise from their surroundings while wearing the AirPods, activated by new force sensors. The new “Adaptive EQ” feature automatically tunes music to the shape of your ear.

Just like the second-gen AirPods, the AirPods Pro support wireless charging and hands-free voice commands. However, the new AirPods are both sweat and water-resistant, perfect for those rainy, outdoor runs and sweaty gym sessions.

 

Twitter implements a ban on political ads

In an announcement made this week by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the social media platform will stop selling adverts concerning candidates for office, elections or political issues such as immigration and climate change. In a series of tweets, Dorsey unveiled the incoming policy changes which will take effect next month. He stated that the reach of political messages should be “earned” by getting people to follow an account or share a tweet rather than being “bought” through advertising.

The change in policy comes as the debate over political messages on social media platforms heats up ahead of the 2020 US elections. Twitter’s social media mammoth counterpart Facebook has been widely criticised over allowing politicians to lie in ads on its platform, with executives defending their policy through a means of safeguarding free speech.

 

Follow @Designer_Webs on Twitter for more tech news and insight!

 

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Clear Choice Stairlifts is a new and exciting brand that emerged onto the mobility equipment market back in 2018. The company began its life as a stairlift installation company working on a contractual basis, but since then have gone on to become an independent brand of their own.

They offer a range of professional stairlifts as well as comprehensive installation and maintenance services - the whole package for people who need a bit of extra help moving around their homes and gardens freely.

Working solely with market-leading stairlift providers Handicare, the Clear Choice team wanted a website that would showcase their mobility products and services in a professional manner. The site needed to reflect the tone of the Handicare brand, echo their outstanding reputation, but also represent Clear Choice as a brand in their own right.

It was noted that many of their potential clients are likely to be elderly and may struggle to use a site that was unnecessarily complicated. Therefore, it was important that we created a website that was simple and user-friendly while still delivering all of the necessary information.

What did we do?

When Clear Choice approached us, they didn’t have an existing website or online presence so we really had a blank canvas to work with! We spoke extensively with the client to make sure we had a good understanding of their business and the products they offer. Then we got to work…

To get things moving, our copywriters wrote fully optimised website copy to capture traffic for brand and industry-specific terms and phrases. This would ensure that anyone wanting to add a Handicare stairlift to their home was highly likely to come across Clear Choice Stairlifts in the Google search results.

The new website is fully responsive which means clients can browse Clear Choice on any device, so whether they use a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop, the Clear Choice website will provide an impeccable user experience.

We also set up a YouTube channel and published a range of videos showcasing their products and services, which are also embedded throughout the new website. We knew videos would be especially beneficial to their clientele because they provide a quick, simple and visual way for users to digest information. Customers can also see each of the Handicare stairlifts in action before making a purchase.

When customers are ready to discuss their options, they can simply complete the enquiry form on the website, and then it’s over to the Clear Choice team to work their magic to help the client move freely around their home again. We’re confident that this new website will help Clear Choice Stairlifts build a happy and highly-relevant customer base in no time at all!

Check out the new Clear Choice Stairlifts website here.

If you think that your business would benefit from a bespoke website, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’ll provide you with a free, no-obligation web design quote.

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Creating a website that accurately reflects a company message, mood or image can be profoundly important when it comes to public perception of a brand.

That much is fairly obvious and it doesn’t take a genius the level of Leonardo Einstein to tell you that.

However, did you know that the very colours you use on said website can have a profound impact as well? It’s true – just ask Albert Da Vinci!

Don’t be left red-faced with an off-colour website. Leave the competition green with envy and get it right as we serve up these colourful tips on a silver platter.

 

colour and web design

 

Importance of Colour in Web Design

A tonal misfire can be an instant turn-off for users and it’s no exaggeration to say that poor colouration can effectively deter custom and hinder business as a result.

For example, basic design knowledge will tell you that solid black text on a navy background will ultimately make the copy virtually unreadable – a digital sin if there ever was. Shame! Shame!

Similarly, placing white text on a bright yellow background is enough to sear corneas to the point of snowblindness, which I think we can all agree is not good for user experience.

Worse still, basic mistakes like this make a site immediately appear amateur which, in turn, makes your business seem second-rate as a result, ultimately impacting conversions.

If the web content itself is the leading man, the colour scheme deserves an Oscar for “Best Supporting Actor”. As such, getting it right is paramount.

 

Colour and Brand Association

Colour and branding go hand-in-hand like beer and pizza (don’t judge) and effective use of a shade can make that colour instantly associated with a brand.

In fact, according to a study by the University of Loyola (sadly, that’s “Loyola” – not “Crayola”) found that colour can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense too. Can you imagine the McDonald’s M in emerald green? Or picture the Coca-Cola logo emblazoned in purple and yellow?

A lot of time and effort goes into establishing brand colours and so too should the colours you use in your website design.

Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg, who simply chose blue because he’s colourblind (#FactOfTheDay).

 

Colour and Web Design

Colours have long been associated with a wide range of moods, feelings and emotions; for example, purple is often used to represent prestige and sophistication, while yellow is typical for happiness and optimism.

The same applies to websites. For example, the combination of greens, blues and whites is typical for tech sites, while bright and vibrant, high contrasting colours are often used for professional websites.

 

Colours and Services

In fact, this trend is so common that consumers can often subconsciously determine the nature of a business by the colours alone. As such, sometimes the colours can virtually pick themselves.

We asked company design expert, Jenna Francis, who had these pearls of wisdom to add:

“At Designer Websites, we’ve created hundreds of sites for a wide range of clients and have seen first-hand that colour plays a huge role in reinforcing the products and services on offer.

For example, we work with a number of lawncare businesses whose sites naturally look great with earthy tones, like darker greens, light browns and soft greys – colours you associate with the garden.

Meanwhile, we created a site for a company that sells sunrooms and verandas. Their site is a combination of sunny colours – like bright oranges, sky blues and shadowy greys – to reinforce their summery products.”

 

For more web design tips or to enquire about the web design services available 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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Tech news roundup

How time flies! Another week has zipped by, and it's time once again for our Friday roundup of key tech stories from the past few days.

BERT helps Google to deliver more relevant search results

Google Search processes more than 5 billion searches per day, and a fair number of those (roughly 15% according to Google themselves) use queries that the search engine has never seen before. So how does The Big G deliver an accurate answer when it's completely unfamiliar with the question?

Well, we haven't yet reached the point where computers can understand word strings in the same way humans can, but Google announced this week that they'd taken a great big step towards that goal. BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is a neural network-based technology that helps Google Search to "process words in relation to all the other words in a sentence, rather than one by one in order".

What this means is that, in theory, Google will no longer overlook the importance of a word like 'to' in the query '2019 brazil traveller to usa need a visa'. On its own, the word 'to' may seem unimportant, but it has a big impact on the meaning of that search term as a whole. This is one example of how BERT will help Google Search to deliver more relevant answers.

This change will supposedly impact the Google results shown for 1 in 10 English-language searches. Read Google's own blog post on BERT here.

Pixel 4 has arrived

In other Google-related news, the company's latest smartphone - Pixel 4 - is now available.

Pixel 4's key selling points include:

  • Google assistant
  • Motion sense
  • Improved camera

Not to mention the very colourful advert, which you can view on Twitter.

The news - brought to you by Facebook

Finally, some US users spotted a new feature in the Facebook app this week. Facebook News will feature content from publishers like BuzzFeed News and The Wall Street Journal, some - but not all - of whom will be paid for their participation.

The shiny new Facebook News tab will be curated by human editors, and users can personalise the tab to make sure they're only seeing stories that interest them. This feature hasn't rolled out in the UK yet - it's not even widespread in America at the moment - but we could be seeing it on our phones before long.

Follow @Designer_Webs on Twitter for more tech news and insight!

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Our working relationship with recruitment specialist Ricky Martin goes all the way back to 2012, when he became the eighth winner of BBC One's The Apprentice.

Since then, Ricky has continued to go from success to success - just last year, he became the first Apprentice winner to hit the £1 million profit milestone - and it's been great to share that journey with him.

Our latest collaboration with Ricky is recruiterricky.com, a brand new website that showcases his achievements and areas of expertise.

Ricky's social media feeds are a prominent feature of the new site's design, making it easy for users to see what the man himself has been saying on Twitter and other platforms.

There's also a video page that incorporates a number of clips from Ricky's YouTube channel. If you want to hear his advice on everything from perfecting your CV to staying calm in a job interview, visit recruiterricky.com/videos and get ready to learn!

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Tech news roundup

Another working week is almost over, but before we switch off our computers and crank up our Friday night playlist, there's just time for a quick roundup of some interesting tech / SEO stories from the past few days...

Google rolls out new 'Search by photos' feature

Eagle-eyed Google users spotted a new feature in the company's mobile search results this week. Certain local search terms - such as pizza in Cardiff - now deliver a 'Search by photos' section that looks like this:

This section doesn't appear to have any fixed position, and it only seems to show up for queries with clear local intent (e.g. 'Italian restaurants in Chester' or 'wedding dress shops near me'). Nevertheless, this new addition to the SERP could present a great opportunity for local businesses to flaunt their visual appeal and engage with potential customers nearby.

Pinterest releases slimmed-down mobile app

On Monday, Pinterest launched a 'Lite' version of their mobile application. Where the standard iOS Pinterest app takes up approximately 143 MB, Pinterest Lite weighs in at just 1.4 MB - that's less than 1% of the main app's size!

Pinterest Lite is now available to Android users in the following territories:

  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Peru

The 'Lite' app's primary aim is to make Pinterest more accessible to users in these emerging markets.

Google Maps offers additional assistance for visually-impaired users

Google Maps can be very useful when you need directions, but the tool's usefulness is somewhat limited if you're unable to see the directions it provides.

However, that may not be the case for much longer. Visually-impaired Google Maps users in Japan and the USA can now access detailed voice guidance to help them reach their destination safely and efficiently.

Google have released this video showing the improved guidance in action:

Follow @Designer_Webs on Twitter for more tech news and insight!

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According to WordPress statistics, over 70 million blog posts are produced each month on WordPress alone. Based on those gargantuan stats, it’s fair to say that competition is pretty high in the world of online content.

With so much content produced every single day, it’s all too easy for a mediocre blog to quickly become buried under the rubble – only the very best content can stay above ground.

That being said, there are a few simple rules that you can apply to your content in order to keep it unique and engaging. Check out these content writing tips from the masters...

 

content writing tips, writing tips famous authors

 

Content Writing Tips from Literary Icons

When it comes to content writing advice, a simple Google search will fire back an endless list of results from a myriad of “experts” and “specialists”, usually accompanied by unfamiliar names and unrecognisable faces.

Why take the word of someone you’ve never heard of when you could sit under the learning tree of the biggest names in literary history?

Get the most out of your blog writing by channelling your inner Hemingway and following these steadfast tips from the very best.

 

Rules Are Made to be Broken

Elmore Leonard once quipped “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it”. From a content standpoint, this can be an extremely valuable lesson to learn.

If strictly adhering to conventional writing techniques makes your content sound boring, don’t be afraid to bend the rules and play around with your wording.

Content that lacks natural flow can become laboured and quickly result in the reader navigating elsewhere. Let the content speak for itself: if you have to sacrifice writing technique for the purpose of rhythm and tone, so be it.

Keep in mind the audience that you’re writing for and mould your content accordingly. A conversational tone can be far more effective (and fitting) in a light-hearted blog than one that rigidly follows the codes and conventions of the Queen’s speech.

It’s worth remembering that this advice also comes from the same man who wrote “10 Rules of Writing” for The New York Times, proving that even the very best like to colour outside of the lines from time to time.

 

Don’t Be Too Wordy

In a 1906 letter to his eventual fiancé, Louie Burrows, D.H. Lawrence laid out some pearls of writing wisdom to his would-be lover after reading an essay of hers on the subject of art.

In the letter, Lawrence reminds Louie to “be careful of [her] adjectives”, reminding her that “there is so much more force in a rapid style”. Roughly translated in 21st-century lingo, what Mr Lawrence was so elegantly trying to say to his betrothed was simply this - “don’t waffle”.

If you too are guilty of waffling, Lawrence advises to “look at your piece and see how many three-lined sentences could be comfortably expressed in one line”. Remaining concise without losing the point is a key factor in maintaining reader retention.

Coincidentally, Lawrence also goes on to say in that very same letter “don’t use hackneyed adjectives” and instead to “try to be terse and in some measure original” – which brings us nicely to our next point…

 

Don’t Rely on Clichés

George Orwell once said, “Never use a figure of speech you are used to seeing in print”.

While Orwell may be best known for his novels and works of fiction, that piece of advice can just as easily be applied to anyone looking to create written content online.

In fact, Orwell’s rule is a fantastic tip for any writer looking to engage their audience in a unique and memorable way, while also providing a great opportunity to inject a bit of personality into your content.

Tired tropes and overused phrasing can become instant fodder for eye-rolling. Try to stray away from clichés and mix it up in order to keep your audience engaged and interested.

Enjoyable reading translates to longer page dwelling times which has a positive effect on SEO, as well as the user experience.

So, don’t be afraid to drop the clichés like a bad habit and avoid them like the plague.

…D’oh!

 

For more content writing tips or to explore the professional content creation services at Designer Websites, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online using the button below.

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For many businesses, professional copywriting services can be a Godsend. Providing sleek, readable copy that speaks volumes to your customers, a professional copywriter has the ability to raise the game of a brand exponentially.

A professional presentation can lend unrivalled credibility to a business, providing instant integrity and boosting customer confidence. Meanwhile, the alternative route can be the complete opposite, raising red flags and act as an immediate customer-repellent.

Professional copywriting is the tailor-made tuxedo of web content, while a DIY job represents a pre-owned hand-me-down. While both may get the job done, one will undoubtedly fit far better and leave a more memorable lasting impression to onlookers.

Like most things in life, the more you invest, the more you get in return. Professional content writing is no different – and here’s exactly why…

 

 benefits of professional content writing

 

Why Hire a Professional Copywriter?

Despite being a valuable skill that’s honed through years of practice, copywriting often gets held to a different professional standard than most specialisms, with many individuals opting to pen their own content unqualified.

To put that into context, that would be like a bride and groom sacking off a professional wedding singer in favour of their Uncle Steve on the basis that he sings in the shower. While undoubtedly the cheaper option, it’s also a real recipe for disaster (sorry, Steve).

The results of non-professional content writing can be dull at best and dire at worst, ranging from spelling mistakes and grammatical incorrections to verbose meanderings and unintelligible nonsense.

If you’re considering penning your own copy for your business, here are a few reasons why you might want to hire a professional copywriter to do your bidding instead.

 

Language

Any professional copywriter worth their salt will have a firm grasp of the English language so tight it could rival a boa constrictor on a budget.

Armed with a vast vocabulary and a mental spellcheck that requires no word processor, a pro will be able to turn the dullest of subjects into a textual feast for the eyes – error-free, well-structured and as engaging as a diamond ring.

A good copywriter will also be well-versed in the art of proofing and have an expert eye for faults and flaws. This should help to ensure that your finished copy is not only enticing and interesting to read but also grammatically correct with unwavering punctuation.

 

Research

Professional copywriters are often tasked with lending their wordsmithery to subjects outside their sphere of knowledge. As such, efficient and accurate research skills are paramount.

The benefit of this is that any statements made in your copy will, more often than not, be backed up with credible sources as evidence. Meanwhile, this process may also uncover additional details for inclusion that you may have overlooked out of familiarity.

If curiosity killed the cat, then a professional copywriter may need to have eyes in the back of their head for their own safety, because a healthy curiosity is key part of the job. A curious mind and thorough research skills, coupled with the ability to communicate the results is the perfect combination for golden content.

 

Perspective

If you’ve been part of a project from the get-go and are deeply rooted in the thick of it, it can be hard to see the wood through the trees. Hiring a professional copywriter can allow your company to take a step back and paint the bigger picture.

A fresh pair of eyes from an outsider’s perspective can be invaluable in providing accurate and unbiased content.

While a pro will naturally be able to create the message your brand is going for, they will also be able to highlight areas you may have overlooked through familiarity.

 

Engagement

One of the biggest perks of professional content creation is the ability to attract, entice and engage your target audience – an extremely important skill. Case in point: headline copy.

Research has shown that as much as 80% of people will read a headline but not the body of the article. Loosely, translated: a rubbish headline can leave the rest of your text untouched.

Imagine if The Ritz had an exterior that was dirty, decrepit and covered in graffiti. No matter how good the inside was, chances are, you wouldn’t venture past the front gate.

The same principle applies to headlines. A polished copywriter will be able to craft an attention-grabbing headline that’ll pique interest in a single glance.

 

Optimisation

With Google algorithm updates taking place multiple times a year, keeping on top of SEO best practices can be a near-impossible task for anyone not 100% focused on the task at hand.

A professional copywriter will be able to pen SEO copy effortlessly and optimising content will be second-nature, ensuring your pages are ranking as well as being perfectly readable.

In the long run, this can be the difference between being seen and your services

 

Professional Copywriting Services

Taking everything else out of the equation, professional content creation takes time, dedication and consistency – three things that are hard to commit to and maintain when your attention and expertise are needed elsewhere.

Even if you sell the greatest products/services in the universe, poor communication and clunky content can tarnish your brand instantly. Give your business the best chance of success with professional content from a pro.

 

For more information on our professional copywriting services, why not drop us a line today to find out more? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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