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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Here we are again, the end of another busy week and there's plenty to report on! Amazon has rolled out a new fleet of Echo products, Google has rolled out its latest core update and we had a smashing coffee morning here in the office to support Macmillan! Let's dive into the details...

Google turns 21 years old!

This time 21 years ago, Google was emerging into the world, an infant search engine with unbelievable growth ahead. It's hard to believe that Google's creators had no idea how quickly they would monopolise the world of internet search. Here we are, September 27th exactly 21 years later and Google has become the most popular search engine worldwide! To mark the occasion, BBC Newsround shared 21 unusual facts about Google, we thought we'd share a few of our favourites with you here.

  • The first Google server was kept in a custom case made of Lego!
  • 15% of the searches made every day on Google have never been searched before.
  • Google has tonnes of little tricks that you might not know about. For example, when you Google the word 'askew' it makes all of your search results crooked (give it a try!)

Amazon release a range of new Echo products

This photograph was taken from www.theverge.com

Amazon have been very busy developing a new range of Echo products, all of which debuted this week! What's obvious from this product launch is that Amazon wants us to be able to take Alexa with us wherever we go. 

Alongside a new high-end Echo speaker, an Echo with an impressive smart display, and Echo Dot with an LED display, Amazon introduced a range of Echo products designed for use while you're out and about. The new Echo Buds are sure to be a contender with Apple's Airbuds, they're designed to reduce ambient noise and can access Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant depending on what phone you have. Handy!

Some of the new Echo products definitely fall into the category - Experimental Tech. For all you tech-savvy spectacle wearers, the Echo Frames might be of interest to you. The frames are designed to carry your normal prescription lenses but have Alexa built into the frame. When you ask Alexa a question, the frames use special speakers to project the response down into your ears so that others around you can't hear it. We're interested to see how consumers react to these, although so far responses seem good! 

Another original product is the Echo Loop. This is another way Amazon is allowing you to keep Alexa with you at all times. The Echo Loop is a small device that you can wear like a ring, it has a button you can press to access your Assistant, and you can even use it to receive and answer calls. So far, the experience of using the Echo Loop has been described as, like whispering secrets to Alexa and having her respond. Some may find this creepy, some may think it's ingenious, we'll leave you to decide. 

Google rolled out its core update

The September 2019 core update started rolling out this week. These core updates alter how Google ranks websites and how it determines what the most relevant content for each query is. You might see some changes in your website ranking, but Google provides advice on how to improve your ranking if your site is hit.

You can read it here >

Macmillan Coffee Morning

Ok, we had to give this an honourable mention. This morning we had a Macmillan coffee morning! The whole team put on a great spread, people baked and contributed a ton of delicious treats and we've raised over £100! 

To keep up with updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

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USAS website preview

Headquartered in Florida, USAS is an internationally-recognised accreditation body that helps certification companies to provide digital certification services.

Organisations looking to achieve ISO 9001 certification (for example) normally have to go through a lengthy process that involves a lot of meetings and consultation sessions with an accredited certification provider.

But a USAS-accredited provider can deliver certification services entirely digitally, saving time and resources on all sides. USAS have already taken 25 auditors off the road, saving 185 metric tonnes of CO2e per year.

 

How Did We Help USAS?

USAS asked the Designer Websites team to create an attractive, professional-looking website that would make clear the many advantages of digital certification.

We worked closely with the client to meet their requirements, and we think that the finished website makes a very persuasive case for certification bodies to go digital!

Visit www.usas-info.com now to see our latest work for yourself.

Need a website for your business? Designer Websites can help - request a free web design quote today!

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The world of business social media can often best be described very much as pay-to-play, with high-profile brands and large-scale organisations commonly having the financial advantage over their smaller contemporaries.

However, a bulging chequebook and gargantuan profit margin don’t mean that large businesses can simply walk all over their modest opposition. When it comes to social media, there are a variety of ways SMEs can fight back against their Goliathan competition.

So, grab that social media slingshot and prepare to lock and load with knowledge, as we take aim and fire back with this guide to social media for SMEs.

 

 social media sme

 

Social Media SME Tips

In a sphere where phrases like “content is king” pop up more often than a bad penny glued to a spring, genuinely insightful social media advice can be hard to find.

Instead, many so-called experts rely on hardly revelatory stock answers as their contribution, commonly advising you to “provide great content” in order to up your social media game.

Not only are gems like this extremely obvious and lazy, it doesn’t take an expert to deliver such a message. In fact, pretty much anyone with a Facebook account could tell you that quality content spurs the best interaction.

Luckily, we’ve made a conscious effort to avoid such social mediocrity. Instead, we’ve taken the road less travelled and delved deep into our bag of tricks to provide you with some helpful insights and insider tips for your SME social media strategy.

 

Choose Wisely

Before we go anywhere else with this, let’s start at the start and focus on your chosen social media platform – a fundamental factor that can have a profound impact on your social media success in itself.

Often overlooked, this part of the process is commonly bypassed by those eager to create a social media presence, with autopilot taking over and the desire to get up and running overriding a sensible, systematic approach.

The best content in the world delivered to the wrong audience achieves nothing and benefits no-one. If your audience predominantly uses one platform over another, make sure your brand is represented on that platform.

If you’re unsure exactly which platform (if any) is preferable to your core target audience, take the time to identify your target demographic. Find out where they reside online and which social media platforms they commonly gravitate towards.

Similarly, choose a platform that benefits your brand, services and content. A clothing store that posts visual content and images is going to benefit far more from an Instagram presence than it would Twitter.

Think of it as having a great show on the wrong TV channel. After all, would Breaking Bad have become such a global success had it not migrated to Netflix? The same principle applies to social media.

 

Be Consistent

While your individual mood may fluctuate throughout the day, it’s important to keep your business loyal to its online personality. Even if your cat was run over that very afternoon, posting emo poetry memes on an otherwise witty and jovial account is not the way to go.

Similarly, it’s also important to maintain consistency between social platforms. A “cheeky chappy” approach on Twitter juxtaposed with a strait-laced tone on Facebook creates a notable disconnect between accounts and an internal branding conflict.

Maintaining a consistent and authentic tone of voice on your social media can be key in creating a stable and memorable brand attitude. Meanwhile, it can also help provide assurance that all accounts are legit.

This theme of consistency also extends to your appearance too. If you use multiple social media platforms, aim to use the same images, logos and colour scheme in your profiles to strengthen the visual connection between accounts.

 

sme social media strategy

 

Stay Focused

Juggling multiple social media platforms can be difficult and time-consuming. If you’re attempting to man multiple accounts, a busy schedule can quickly result in favouritism and leave others to fall by the wayside.

To avoid such neglect and unintentional social media bias, focus your efforts on one or two platforms and keep them up to date and maintained. A dormant account that’s rarely updated can lead your audience to think you’re out of business or the account isn’t legit.

Alternatively, you may want to link accounts so that the same content is released across multiple social media channels at once. This a great way to kill two birds with one stone and maintain a broad presence without focusing on each account individually.

Most platforms can be linked if you do enough digging; e.g. Twitter and Instagram can easily be connected to Facebook, while both can also be linked together. A quick Google search can report back a tonne of step-by-step guides unique to your chosen platforms.

Additionally, if you don’t have time to post live regularly, you may want to consider scheduling your posts in advance. Popular tools, such as Hootsuite, allow you to create posts ahead of time and plan exactly when you want them to go out.

 

Engage Your Audience

While social media is a fantastic tool that can help boost sales, increase revenue and financially benefit your business, using it solely for this purpose can have an adverse effect on your social media presence.

As such, it’s important to know the difference between engaging and selling. Constantly giving your audience the hard sell can be detrimental to your following, pushing your audience further away rather than strengthening their relationship with your brand.

While the bottom line of business is almost universally to make money, try to steer away from overly salesy posts, at least on a frequency basis. Instead, aim to provide content that’s either informative or entertaining.

When employing this approach, it’s also important not to lose sight of your tone and tenor. Keep your posts in-line with your brand. An overly humorous approach may not befit a serious business, while a dull tone of voice won’t fit a youthfully exuberant brand.

Visuals are also innately eye-catching, easily digestible and can quickly grab the attention of your audience as they scroll through their news feeds. Incorporate fitting hi-res visuals in your posts can help you stand out in an oversaturated social space.

 

social media for smes

 

Be Responsive

When it comes to building relationships between your brand and your followers, one of the best ways to do so is to simply take a responsive approach to interaction. This is where SMEs have the edge over large enterprises.

Like any other relationship, social media followers want to feel valued by the brands they love and reciprocal appreciation can go a long way. Simply responding to comments can make all the difference and make an individual follower feel like they truly matter to the brand.

For those really looking to make an impact on social media, building personal relationships with your followers can go beyond a generic “thank you” response. A personalised yet professional DM from a business account can strengthen a relationship considerably.

Responsive engagement can also be a great avenue for market research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in response to a statement and continue the conversation further. In addition to providing genuine feedback, it can make your followers feel like their opinion matter and is truly valued.

While it may take considerable time and effort to interact with all of those that engage with your social media content, going the extra mile won’t be overlooked and your brand will stand out notably as a result.

 

For more social media SME advice or SME social media strategy tips, why not drop us a line direct? Call now on 01446 339050 or click the button below and let us help you achieve social media supremacy today.

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As we approach the end of September, the tech world doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Google has been rolling out some more exciting features, Huawei has released its next instalment of flagship phones and Apple's iOS13 is here! Let's take a look at the news highlights of the week...

Huawei Mate 30 Phones Launch Without Google Apps

This photo was taken from bbc.co.uk

So, let's start with some (potentially not good) news for Huawei users. It looks like their latest smartphones, the Mate 30 Pros, are launching without many of the pre-installed Google apps that Android users have come to expect. The apps missing include YouTube, Google Maps and Gmail amongst others.

As if that wasn't offputting enough, the phones don't have access to the Google Play store and instead rely on Huawei's equivalent app store, Huawei App Gallery. But will users tolerate this? Well, it's pretty safe to assume that these phones aren't going to appeal to everyone.

There might be a few die-hard Huawei users who are willing to tolerate the lack of Google services, but it's unlikely that these phones will be as popular as previous models.  Huawei is hoping the new hardware including four professional cameras will draw in the punters. We'll have to wait and see!

Google Search Introduces 'Key Moments' For Videos in Search

This picture was taken from searchengineland.com

It looks like Google have introduced another feature to help users find what they're looking for in YouTube videos quickly. The name of this feature? 'In this video' a tool that breaks videos up into useful chunks and highlights them on a timeline so the user can skip to the most relevant parts.

If you want this feature to work on your own video content, you need to make sure you're adding timestamps in the description of your videos. But why bother? Well, Google is all about getting content to the user in the quickest and most convenient way, so it's fairly safe to assume that videos with timestamps will rank higher than those without. We'll have to keep you updated on that though.

iOS 13.0 is Here

This photo was taken from theverge.com

You might remember from last week's roundup that Apple revealed a bunch of new products, but this week, the software update went live! iOS 13.0 is here and ready to download... but... it's not without faults. In fact, there are so many faults with iOS 13.0 that people are questioning if they've released it by mistake. Some of the key new features include dark mode and a new photo app, it's just a shame that they're accompanied by a bunch of bugs. Fear not though iOS 13.1 is just around the corner. 

If you want to see a full list of the new iOS 13 features, click here >

Amazon To Order 100,000 Electric Delivery Vans

This photo was taken from theverge.com

This story seems very fitting in the wake of the global Climate Strike taking place today! In a bid to reduce the carbon footprint of Amazon, Jeff Bezos has supposedly ordered 100,000 of these electric delivery vans from Rivian. This announcement formed part of Besos' plan to combat climate change.

You may not have heard of Rivian before, but they've been releasing electric vehicles under the radar for some time now! The first of their vehicles, an electric pickup truck, was released just under a year ago, but it sounds like we could be seeing a lot more from them in the coming years. 

It's great to see such a huge and influential company taking steps towards a greener service this week. It's easy to imagine the vast carbon footprint Amazon has at the moment when you consider just how many Amazon parcels get delivered in a single day (somewhere in the region of 20 million). Let's hope that this is a step in the right direction that will inspire other companies to consider their environmental impact too! 

To keep up with updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

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What a week it's been in the technology world. Huge announcements and changes have been delivered by the biggest names in the industry which are sure cause quite a stir. If you've missed any of this week's news, Designer Websites has you covered! 

 

Apple Reveals New Products at 2019 Event 

To many, September marks the end of summer and the beginning of colder, wetter months. To others, September only means one thing. iPhones. Over the last few years, technology enthusiasts have become accustomed to finding out what the latest and greatest products Apple have in store for the world during the month of Septemeber, and this year's been no different. 

This week saw Apple's head honchos take the stage for yet another instalment of yearly product and service announcements. And they didn't disappoint. In no particular order, here are the five biggest takeaways from this year's Apple event:

  1. Apple TV Plus, the company's streaming service, launches November 1st costing $4.99 per month. Apple is offering a year-long free subscription when you purchase a new Apple product.
  2. The 7th gen iPad has a new 10.2-inch display. The premium-level iPad is set to launch with an A10 Bionic processor and Smart Connector.
  3. Apple Watch Series 5 releases with an always-on retina display. The latest iteration of the world's favourite smartwatch delivers an overdue feature which Apple fans have been crying out for since its introduction in 2015. The new watch also offers menstrual cycle tracking and brings back ceramic and titanium faces.
  4. iPhone 11 offers more than the XR in every way possible. Apple's new 'budget' smartphone delivers more than its predecessor with a 6.1-inch LCD display, new A13 Bionic processor and GPU.
  5. iPhone 11 Pro & iPhone 11 Pro Max bring a new three-camera system to the iPhone. Complete with telephoto, ultra-wide and regular lenses, the new iPhone camera is capable of shooting in 4K at 60fps and has the ability to record different subjects through each lens. Both phones feature the same A13 chip as the standard iPhone 11 and come in four colours. 

(Image: Apple)

 

Google to treat nofollow links as 'hints'

One of the biggest shakeups in the SEO world occurred this past Tuesday and search engine giants Google, announced changes to the ways that nofollow links will be treated.

In the past, links to content with the rel="nofollow" attribute would not be recognised by Google within its search algorithms. That is set to change, with Google stating that it is time for link attributes to "evolve". Two new attributes for sponsored (paid-for) links and user-generated content (UGC) will be introduced to give Google a better understanding of links and use them to help index and rank content. Something that will surely make SEOs all over the world re-think their strategy. 

 

(Image: Google)

 

Spotify now lets you share music to Snapchat

Spotify has announced it is adding the ability to share your music with a snap on Snapchat. This may come as a surprise to some people due to the feature being available on other high-profile apps already, such as Instagram. Nevertheless, the feature is on its way, so long as Snapchat is installed on the same device you're using Spotify on.

When selected, Snapchat will automatically create a snap that displays song information and album art for a particular track. This can then be sent to your Snapchat friends or to your story. A cool addition with this feature allows you to start listening to any track that has been sent to you with a quick swipe up.

 

To keep up with further news and updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow Designer Websites on Twitter!

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For amateur and professional bloggers alike, the art of SEO is one that must be practised and perfected in order to ensure your content performs to its fullest potential.

That being said, to the untrained, non-SEO aficionado, the optimising content for search engines can seem like a daunting task.

Luckily, it can be a lot easier than you would think; optimised blogs that are ready, willing and able to perform aren't just reserved for those that have a computer science degree.

 

seo basics, seo for bloggers

 

SEO for Bloggers

Neglecting to implement the SEO basics can act as the ultimate anchor that’s guaranteed to drag your content down the pecking order.

To help your blog soar to the SERP heights it deserves, try implementing these simple SEO basics into your content and turn your underperforming blog into a Search Engine Optimus Prime.

 

Need for Site Speed

If your idea of reducing cookie size is to bite it in half, chances are you won’t know how to minify HTML or make AJAX cacheable either.

Luckily, there are simple ways to help boost the speed of your blog page and perhaps the easiest of these is to optimise your images.

Most bloggers will be well-aware of the benefits of imagery within a blog and include them accordingly, so optimising these images is vital.

Compressing the image file can work wonders, as can appropriate resizing; however, be sure to scale outside of HTML.

Finally, name the file appropriately and make the most of the Alt Text, ideally using relevant keywords in both.

 

Beverly Hills Copy

Reading copy online can be notably different to reading in print, particularly when it comes to article length.

While a chunk of text on a page may seem manageable, seeing a long, scrollable block of text can be off-putting, often leading the visitor to either skim-read or potentially not read your blog at all.

As such, quality copywriting is key and layout is never more important. To sum it up in a sentence, don’t waffle, be engaging and make the most of space by breaking up your text.

In addition to improving the quality and readability of your content, top-notch copy will also keep readers engaged in your blog for longer.

The resulting “time on page” and “session duration” stats will ultimately lead Google to the conclusion that you’re producing Grade A content (which hopefully is true!) and reward you accordingly with a better ranking.

 

Back-Link to the Future

How many times have you fallen down the YouTube rabbit hole, watching countless related videos only to wind up a million miles away from where you started? Such is the power of related content.

Internal linking is your blog’s very own rabbit hole, allowing your readers to easily navigate from the original blog to topics of relative interest with ease. Best of all, it keeps your readers engaged with your content for longer and, most importantly, keeps them on your site.

It’s also an inherently easy way to share link equity around your site; however, this shouldn’t be taken as an opportunity to shoe-horn in as many links as possible. Aim to keep your links as relevant as possible to the original post, ideally linking related anchor text within the body of the blog.

For example, a blog on a motoring site about legal tread depth would be perfect to link from an article about changing a tyre. Conversely, it’s probably not the best blog to link to from a blog about fashion.

 

Clash of the Titles

While it may seem obvious, it’s worth covering all the same – optimising your meta titles is vital when it comes to SEO.

If you’re targeting specific keywords, it’s a wise move to include your most relevant one in the title itself. If you’re writing a blog around the subject of the Atkins diet, there’s no reason that phrase shouldn’t be the title itself.

While the headers to become less impactful as you go down the line (H1s to H2s to H3s, etc.), incorporating keywords into your main headings and titles can reap many rewards.

It’s also important to remember that excessively long titles will become truncated, leading to what is, essentially, half a title.

Aim to keep your titles under 60 characters to ensure your blog title makes the cut without taking a cut.

 

URL-Raiser

Much like the title of the blog, another easy way to make your blog SEO friendly is to optimise the URL.

A URL that’s excessively long and/or full of random numbers, letters and symbols does no favours to anyone: from the person reading it to the person writing it and search engine bots in between.

A keyword-rich URL that’s concise, accurate and readable is key. This can help enhance visibility and social sharing, while it can also contribute to better SEO performance due to the fact that URLs are commonly used as anchor text via copy and pasting.

A link to sampleblog.net/URL-advice is pretty self-explanatory, even if the title of the blog itself is not present, increasing the user experience as a result. Conversely, ambiguous URLs can be off-putting, deterring clicks as a result.

 

 

For more SEO tips and blog writing advice, check out our SEO blogs for further details. Alternatively, why not drop us a line and find out all about our professional SEO services at Designer Websites? Call now on 01446 339050 or click the button below to get in touch online.

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Another week has come and gone with huge announcements from the world's biggest tech companies including Apple, Facebook and YouTube. So, without further ado, let's jump in! 

Apple Music now available on the web

Starting in beta this week, Apple Music users will now be able to stream their favourite tracks straight from a browser without having to install iTunes or a separate Apple Music app. The new web interface is available as a public beta for subscribers at http://beta.music.apple.com/.

When launching the interface, users will immediately see the similarities between the new standalone Music app that Apple is launching with macOS Catalina later this year. Apple has stated that it should work in all browsers, across all devices, including Chrome OS, Windows 10 and Androids.

The beta site excludes some features that users may be used to, including the flagship Beats 1 live broadcast, original music videos and smart playlists. Apple says it will be adding more features over time, however. The new site moves Apple on par with its biggest competitor Spotify, which became the first platform to hit 100m paid subscribers this year.

Image: Theverge.com

Facebook Dating launches in the US

This week, social media giant Facebook announced that it's launching its dating service in the US, with plans to expand the new feature to Europe by early 2020. Facebook's dating service is currently available in 19 countries which includes Singapore, Mexico and Canada. Eventually, Facebook plans to release the service on a global scale.

Facebook will begin to integrate features from Instagram, the Facebook-owned app which was purchased in 2012. This move is planned in the hope that more users in their late teens and 20's will try the service, providing them with the ability to add recent Instagram posts to their dating profiles. They can also add one of their Instagram followers as their 'Secret Crush', that lets them select up to nine Facebook friends they're interested in romantically. By the close of the year, Facebook plans to bring both Facebook and Instagram stories to the dating service, allowing users to posts photos and videos to their profiles that disappear after 24 hours.  

 

Image: newsroom.fb.com

YouTube launches a new hub for fashion & beauty

YouTube, the Google-owned video site, launched a new hub for fashion and beauty content; YouTube.com/Fashion

Derek Blasberg, director of YouTube Fashion and Beauty said this week, "The aim for /Fashion is to create an ultimate destination for style content that bridges both our fabulous endemic creator community and the more traditional worlds of fashion and beauty. My hope is that anyone looking for all things style will now have a place to come and be inspired by what they see."

The new hub will feature videos from various YouTube creators, livestreams of runways shows and collaborations with world-renown brands such as Dior and Louis Vuitton. YouTube stated that the number of fashion and beauty channels on the site grew more than six times between 2014 and 2018 and generated billions of views last year. 

 

Image: Pixabay.com

To keep up with further news and updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow Designer Websites on Twitter! See you next week. 

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The world of online marketing has changed a lot over the last decade. Consumer habits have changed with every passing year and technological advances have altered the way we consume media and information dramatically.

As a result, certain marketing techniques have become virtually obsolete, particularly when it comes to SEO. By contrast, video has become increasingly popular in recent years and this trend doesn’t look to change any time soon.

There’s no denying it, video content is king, so you better learn how to bend the knee!

 

video content for business, video content ideas

 

Typical Video Content for Businesses

When it comes to online marketing, video content for businesses is a lot like protein for bodybuilders.

Avoiding video isn’t just foolish, it’s essentially starving your company of a vital nutrient it needs to grow and perform to its fullest potential.

For many SMEs, some of the most common video content comes in the form of the following:

 

Helpful Tips/Tutorials

There’s a reason why they used to call the internet the “information superhighway”.

The first port of call for anyone looking to find out anything, the internet is the #1 destination for those seeking a solution to a problem, query or conundrum.

Providing answers, walkthroughs and guides on how to do things is a sure-fire way to get brownie points with your customers.

What’s more, actions speak louder than words; the power of video wins over text any day.

 

Expert Interviews 

Calling on company experts with specialist knowledge of a particular field can be great for providing useful, topical content to your customers.

This added value can further endear your brand to the consumer, strengthening the relationship as a result.

An engaging alternative to this is to conduct a Q&A using customer questions as the basis for the topics, allowing you to get to the root of what the public really wants to know.

 

Behind the Scenes

Providing a peek behind the curtain into your business can be a fantastic way to let your customers and clientele get a feel for the people behind the brand.

Creative offices are particularly interesting when it comes to these kinds of videos, providing a unique insight into the quirky environments where day-to-day business is conducted.

This can extend to include additional content like staff introductions and mini personality profiles from key players in the company.

 

Product Reviews

If you’re considering using a service or buying a product, chances are you’ve looked at online reviews for guidance at some point.

From a content creator’s perspective, this can translate brilliantly into video and transform customer feedback into a personable, sincere testimonial.

You don’t even have to stick to the customer testimonial route either. There’s nothing stopping you from reviewing products relative to your business as well.

In fact, providing expert insight and opinion on related products can be extremely helpful and useful to the consumer.

Unboxing videos have also become hugely popular in recent years, so why not jump on the bandwagon and ride the wave while the tide is high?

 

How It’s Made

Whether it’s a physical product, an online service or something else entirely, providing background info on how something came to be can serves two purposes.

In addition to providing your customers with insight into the process, it also acts a great way to showcase your skills and show-off exactly why your company is good at what it does.

When it comes to creative tasks and large-scale projects, time lapse videos are perfect, providing an impressive overview of the journey in a perfectly digestible manner.

 

video content for business, video content ideas

Video Content Ideas

While the former suggestions are great for creating video content you can churn out on a regular basis, none of these topics are really reinventing the wheel or breaking new ground in terms of creativity.

If you’re really looking to gain some momentum and build some excitement through your video content, why not consider exploring some of the following options to really give your business a shot in the arm.

 

Product Reveals

If your company is launching a new product, offering a new service or unveiling a new innovation, a reveal video is the perfect way to go about it.

Reveal videos allow you to create a buzz behind your newest addition and get it off to a running start with the fanfare to suit.

Product reveals also allow you to demonstrate how it works right off the bat and showcase the features and benefits of this exciting new addition.

 

Teaser Videos

Much like a product reveal, a teaser video is the perfect way to pique interest without giving away any of the details.

Subtle hints and glimpses into your main announcement, drip-fed in an enigmatic fashion can be the perfect way to whet the appetite of your audience prior to a big announcement.

Inherently short in length and even shorter on details, teaser videos provide the perfect weapon to provoke intrigue and expand the reach ahead of your actual announcement.

Best of all, this allows you to get additional content out of one reveal, providing ready-made ammunition for awesome video content.

 

Competitions

From the very young to the very old and everywhere in between, it’s a trait that’s virtually universal – everyone loves a freebie.

Competitions make for great content. Better still, they make for great shareable content, expanding your reach with little effort at all.

Creating a competition announcement or laying down a challenge in video form makes for effective video content.

Better still, you can also film the results to get even more content out of the very same competition.

 

Promotional Activities

If your business is planning on engaging in unique, fun or colourful promotional activity, getting such actions on film should be a top priority.

Whether it’s a pop-up stand in a local shopping mall or a branded vehicle in a major parade, promotional activities, big or small, show that your company is so much more than MS Office and invoices.

Interacting with the public through such activities can do wonders for brand awareness and help shape the public’s opinion of your overall business.

Failing to record any promotional activity is a waste of Grade A content and a regret that is virtually impossible to rectify once the moment has past.

 

Team Building

Much like promotional activities, team building exercises can translate well into excellent content, particularly when it comes to reinforcing a brand image and strengthening your company’s relationship with its customers/clients.

After all, a business is only as strong as the people behind it and showing the human side of your company can be a great way to humanise your brand. It also shows that the company values its employees which, once again, does wonders for the appeal of the brand.

As such, getting it on video can be a great way to provide unique content while also positively reinforcing your brand in the public eye.

 

 

If you’re interested in professional video solutions for your business, why not drop us a line? At Designer Websites, we offer a variety of video options, from company showreels to drone filming, so contact us today! Call now on 01446 339050 or click the link below to get in touch online.

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It's been a short week for us here at Designer Websites as we all enjoyed a long weekend for August bank holiday. However, the SEO, PPC & technology worlds never stand still and plenty of exciting things have been happening this week! Let's take a look...

Competitor ads appear on local business profiles

This week people started noticing Google ads appearing in local business profiles. Up until now, businesses have had a perception of ownership or exclusivity on their business profiles, but of course - like everything else that appears in search results - business profiles are owned by Google. Here's an example of what these ads look like:

Photo from searchengineland.com

Here you can see a business profile for a Chrysler store in California. Below all of the contact options, you can see an ad for Valley Hi Toyota, a different car dealership that's over an hour away from the Chrysler dealer.

Will this be helpful for users? In a way, yes, especially when you're doing something more mundane than buying a new car. Let's say you're trying to find a Chinese restaurant for your Friday night takeaway, perhaps the one you select is closed tonight, but Google advertises one that's open - it will save users time and they might even like the new restaurant more! 

For business owners, this feature is likely to be more of a nuisance and, so far, the SEO community agrees. Google is essentially drawing potential customers away from your business as they view your business profile. Worse still, businesses can't pay to remove the ads so they're here to stay. 

Can humans keep up with AI?

Alibaba's Jack Ma and Tesla's founder Elon Musk took to the stage at an event in Shanghai to share their views on the potential future impact of artificial intelligence. Despite being two of the most influential leaders in the technology community, their predictions for the impact of AI couldn't have been any more different.

Photo from bbc.co.uk

Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma was 'quite optimistic' about the future of AI and suggested it's nothing to be scared of. Musk's response, 'I don't know man, that's like famous last words'. Musk believes that humans are simply the 'boot loader for digital super-intelligence', in layman's terms, a simple catalyst for its creation that will eventually be no longer needed. To avoid this fate, Musk suggests that we need to find a way to connect our brains to the computers so we can "go along for the ride with AI".

Despite their conflicting opinion on this topic, the two businessmen did agree that one of the biggest issues we face worldwide is population collapse. As more thing become automated and people starting to use more of their time for pleasure, both men predict a severe decline in population. They suggested that using AI to help people live longer and healthier lives could be part of the solution. 

Google tests content highlighting

Google have confirmed they are testing a new feature that will take users directly to the most relevant information on a page, depending on their query. Yep, Google is finding even more ways to serve users the information they want as quickly as possible, and we're not mad at it! Google originally introduced this feature on mobile, but it's now being trialled on desktop too.

Photo taken from searchengineland.com

So, here's how it works. Certain queries will show a featured snippet, the content of which is pulled from a source that Google considers highly-authoritative on the topic. When a user clicks the website shown in the snippet, Google with move the view down to the passage featured in the snippet to show users the most relevant content. 

 

Photo from searchengineland.com

This should provide an extra stream of traffic to well-optimised content as more chunks of it appear in search results. The best way for SEOs to stay on top of this is to keep an eye on whether their websites are doing this in Google search and rearrange or replace ads/call to actions in a more appropriate location on the page.

To keep up with further news and updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow Designer Websites on Twitter! See you next week. 

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The world of SEO is a lot like the world of fashion: if you want to stay relevant, you’ve got to keep up with the latest trends.

For SEO specialists, that means staying abreast of the latest Google algorithm updates and failing to do so can see you fall behind as a result. What’s more, continuing to use outdated SEO techniques can not only be ineffectual, it can even result in you being penalised as a result.

While the list of ageing SEO tactics grows with each passing year and every additional algorithm update, there are still a few old-school SEO techniques that continue crop up, despite their ineffectiveness.

Here are a handful of the most common outdated SEO offenders still prevalent in 2019.

 

outdated seo, seo techniques

 

Exact-Match Domains (EMDs)

Exact-match domains are essentially examples of websites where the web address itself is rich in keywords and describes what the site itself does.

For example, a business that focuses on student housing in Cardiff may have opted for a domain like studenthousingcardiff.co.uk. Think of it as the Ronseal effect – it does exactly what it says on the tin.

EMDs were once deemed to be a fool-proof SEO tactic, allowing sites to scale the SERPs like Sly Stallone in Cliffhanger. However, their effectiveness has since plummeted and the popularity of EMDs has fallen dramatically… like John Lithgow in Cliffhanger.

Nineties movie references aside, EMDs today are more of a deterrent than an SEO tool, appearing spammy and illegitimate to both Google and Joe Public alike. This can, in turn, hinder conversions and make link building more difficult.

 

Exact-Match Anchor Text

Exact-match anchor text is hyperlinked text that matches the exact desired keyword or phrase of the page. While sparing use can be…well, useful, overuse can be extremely detrimental to your site.

Exact-match anchor text can be seen by Google as a tell-tale sign of deliberate link building and, as such, can be deemed to be search engine manipulation, resulting in your page/site being penalised.

To avoid incurring a penalty, try to create natural links related to the anchor phrase by either opting for a partial match or an unmatched linkable phrase.

For example, if the exact match keyword is “Halloween costumes”, a partial match could be the phrase “Check out our range of Halloween costumes”.

Meanwhile, a safer bet would be to link the phrase “Check out our variety of spooky fancy dress options” – relevant yet completely unmatched.

 

Dedicated Pages for Keyword Variations

While the old-school method of targeting a single keyword on a specific page may have worked in a by-gone era, Google’s ever-evolving algorithm has luckily put this process to bed and tucked it in tight.

Thanks to the increasingly clever semantics of Google’s Knowledge Graph, the search engine is now able to take into account relative words and phrases that correspond to the search term.

The arrival of RankBrain – Google’s cutting-edge AI system – allowed it to understand the user intent even further, providing even more relevancy and accuracy in the search results.

If you have created singular pages for keyword variations in the past, keeping such superfluous content can be an issue and actually hinder your positioning in the SERPs.

If possible, merge the content and remove the surplus pages, placing their desired relevant keywords in positions of prominence within the surviving page.

 

Writing for Bots

Another classic way of attempting to boost Google rankings is to tailor your content to appeal to Google bots, keyword stuffing and shoe-horning phrases in wherever they will fit (and even where they won’t).

For example, once upon a time, a blog targeting the keyword term “writing for bots” may have looked like this:

“Writing for bots is great for SEO. If you’re thinking of writing for bots, check out our guide on writing for bots to help you uncover the secrets of writing for bots.”

Thankfully, this form of content manipulation has been largely eradicated, allowing the content itself to flow naturally and freely in a far more logical and readable way.

Think of it as the digital equivalent of forcing an impressive phrase into your French oral exam. While it may tick the box in terms of application, the phrase itself can be extremely out of place contextually and stick out like a sore thumb in practice.

Bottom line: write for the individual reading it, not the bot combing it, to ensure your content is extraordinaire and not a whole lotta bof.

 

Irrelevant Links

Google is continuously updating its system to keep spam to an absolute minimum, with algorithm changes constantly evolving the way it processes our search requests.

In the pursuit of backlinks, some SEO strategists will opt to link to any content regardless of quality, provided it garners reciprocated backlinks to their site. Nowadays, if this happens to enter spam territory, it could spell trouble.

Relevant backlinks that are relative to your target demographic, your business or your market, providing useful user information can help improve your SEO standing.

Conversely, off-topic, irrelevant links that have nothing to do with your content can have an adverse effect and attract penalties from Officer Google.

 

For more information on outdated SEO techniques and the best tips for today, why not check out our other SEO blogs? Alternatively, drop us a line on 01446 339050 or use the button below to get in touch online.

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Another week and another DW Roundup blog where we take a look at all of the biggest news from the worlds of SEO, PPC, digital marketing and tech! It's been another busy week for announcements and releases so let's dive straight in.

 

Apple releases its 'Apple Card'

This week saw the public release of Apple's latest contribution to the tech world in the form of their 'Apple Card', the company's attempt to join the credit card market. Currently available in the US only, Apple Card's Vice President Jennifer Bailey stated that the tech giants are 'thrilled with the overwhelming interest in Apple Card and its positive reception." Apple also announced that they will be extending its 3% Daily Cash (cashback) to further apps and merchants, this is currently only available through Uber, Uber Eats, Apple Stores and Apple services such as iTunes. 

Following the announcement, however, a storm certainly started to stir across social media when Apple warned the public to keep their Apple Cards away from leather and clothes. If not, they run the risk of their shiny new credit card becoming permanently discoloured. To combat the potential aesthetic damage that may occur as a result of the Apple Card coming into contact with other metal items and materials such as denim, Apple has advised storing the card in a container made of soft material, just not leather. Will this have an impact on the number of people who apply for the Apple Card? Only time will tell. 

Image: Apple

 

Google redesigns its Play Store

Another tech giant, Google, has this week announced an incoming redesign of its Play Store. So, what's the biggest change? The removal of the colourful green header in favour or a cleaner and brighter whiter style. Similar to Apple's App Store, the new Google Play Store contains separate tabs for categories such as apps, books, games and TV shows. The tab bar now appears on the bottom for phones and in a sidebar on tablets and Chrome OS devices and icons now portray a more 'rounded' look, which offers a similar style to that of iOS. 

Image: The Verge

 

More indexing issues for Google? Surely not...

We're afraid so! After Google announced last week that they had resolved the indexing issues that they were faced with, it seems as if that was very short-lived. It appears Google is once again having issues indexing new content, an obvious problem for content creators like us! It is unclear how widespread the troubles are at this point, but Danny Sullivan from Google validated the issues on Twitter stating, "yes, I believe there might be some issues.” Yet another twist in the problems faced by tech giants.

 

Image: Google

 

To keep up with further news and updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow Designer Websites on Twitter!

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