In amidst the recent climate change politics, it’s easy to feel disheartened about the steps being taken to combat one of humanities biggest issues. However, it is empowering to know that even as an individual, you can help the world by making small changes to your lifestyle. Even considering changing your search engine is one small step towards an eco-friendly world. 

Throughout the world, people are continuously searching for a more sustainable and eco-friendly way to live. There are more people recycling now than ever before, more people cutting back on their electricity usage, more cars that do not require fossil fuels and more people changing their diet to become eco-friendlier. A survey conducted by survey monkey also found that 35% of people are more likely to buy an eco-friendly product, even if it means spending more than a non-eco-friendly alternative. 

It only makes sense that with the constant use of the internet, people are beginning to wonder if there is a way to help the environment while they surf the net. Here’s where eco-friendly search engines step in. So, to help you in your quest to help the world, here are two of the best eco-friendly search engines you can use to help the environment one search at a time. 

Ecosia

Launched in 2009, Ecosia pride themselves on being an eco-friendly search engine who work to combat deforestation one search at a time. By searching the internet with Ecosia, every search you make contributes to planting new trees around the globe. You even get a little tree counter at the top of your page while you search to show how many trees you have contributed towards planting. Amazingly, they have already managed plant over 7 million new trees and that number is rising every 6 seconds.
Ecosia Eco-Friendly Search Engine

Ecosia manage to do this through contributing 80% of their profit from search adverts revenue towards tree planting programs. The tree planting programs they currently support are in Madagascar, Indonesia, Burkina Faso and Peru but Ecosia is always looking for more tree planting programs to support and encourages the public to submit ideas about which new projects they can support. 

You can read more about the Ecosia search engine and their projects by clicking here.

Blackle

If you’re not prepared to stop using google yet, Blackle is powered by Google Custom Search and vouches to save energy every time you search. With a black background and a dimmed-out-white font, this search engine ensures a much smaller amount of energy is used whenever you browse the internet. At this present moment, Blackle claims to have saved 6,137,418.533 watt hours since its launch date back in 2007. Their key mantra is that ‘every little bit counts’, which is true when it comes to using eco-friendly search engines. 

Blackle Eco-Friendly Search Engine

However, the efficiency of Blackle has long been debated, with some studies claiming that white backgrounds on certain computer screens are actually more energy saving than a black background. Nonetheless, supporting a search engine that is trying its best to be eco-friendly is a step in the right direction. 

To read more about Blackle and to try out the search engine, just click here. 

If you're interested in launching a campaign on one of these eco-friendly search engines, get in touch with our SEO experts today to find out how they can help. 



This month, Facebook rolled out its newest feature named Messenger Day - the newest way to share online video. This feature allows Facebook users to upload video or photos, decorate them with stickers and filters, share it with all of their friends, and then watch as it disappears after 24 hours. Although it is perhaps a not-very-subtle copy of the also incredibly popular Snapchat, it is clear that this feature is sure to be used by at least a healthy portion of Facebook's 1.23 billion monthly active users. This can almost be guaranteed, as nearly all of those users have been prepped for this moment by their frequent use of online video through other apps and platforms. Due to Snapchat's popularity and the introduction of Instagram Stories, the use of online video is rapidly growing.

facebook messenger day
Image Source: newsroom.fb.com

Over the past year, users have watched as Instagram absorbed Snapchat's quick online video format and made it their newest feature on the platform. Admittedly, users were not so happy about the update at first, but as time has passed, the Instagram Stories feature is being used more and more. The same will likely happen with Facebook Messenger Day, which will be being used by a community of people who are very much accustomed to online video nowadays. Since one of the leading social media giants has now implemented an easy method of making online videos, it seems apparent that, if your content strategy did not utilise online video before, it certainly should do so now.

For those feeling a bit sceptical about using online video as part of their content marketing strategy, here are five reasons that should change your mind: 

1. Online videos used in content marketing capture your consumer’s attention more effectively. 

If you think about the last purchase you made, how did you find out about that product? Were you convinced by a video advert or an article you read? There's a good chance that your answer will be the video because, as humans, we tend to react better to visual stimulation than to words on a page. If we witness other consumers enjoying a product, it is much more likely to convince us to buy it than if we simply read the specs. 

social media logos

2. The use of online videos for content marketing improves your SEO.

One of the most important aspects of online marketing is improving your SEO, and according to Martech, adding online video to your website can multiply your chance of achieving a page 1 Google result by 53! Even more impressively, videos on retail sites keep visitors there for 2 minutes longer and convert 30% more of them into paying customers. It's hard to argue with such impressive statistics.

SEO

3. Online video is one of the most powerful ways to tap into your consumer’s emotions. 

It is well known amongst marketers that appealing to human emotion is one of the best ways to attract attention. Just think about how ingrained in our lives emotional adverts become - the John Lewis advert, for example, is eagerly awaited every Christmas time. Online video is a quick and easy way to appeal to your consumer’s emotions while staying within a relatively tight budget. 

Companies no longer have to spend thousands on a polished advert for the television, as they can now be made in seconds with the use of online video. The beauty of this is that companies do not need to get it perfect the first time around; multiple videos can be sent to your client base in a matter of a few days. 

4. Using online video provides you with clear feedback on what you’re doing well.

Incorporating online video into your content marketing strategy makes it easier to gain information on how well your content is received by your target market. Most online video platforms will provide you with feedback on how many times the video was watched, the click-through rate, and the drop off points. All of this information is incredibly useful when it comes to taking the next step with your content marketing. If you have a clear understanding of what your target market is looking for, you can create your content marketing strategy with this at its core. 

Digital Marketing

5. Most importantly, video converts more customers.

71% of marketers say that video conversion rates outperform other marketing content. A study conducted by Vidyard revealed that over one-third of large companies produce more than 100 marketing videos annually, with over 70% of respondents claiming that video performs better than other content for producing conversions.

Furthermore - according to Hubspot - 64% of users are far more likely to buy a product after watching a video, and including a video on a landing page can increase conversions by as much as 80%. Pretty impressive, right? 

Considering online video is a cheap, quick and easy method of content marketing, the fact that it seems to bring in so many sales is a welcome surprise. Taking 20 minutes out of your day to post some online videos about the company and your products could generate more sales than you ever thought possible. It certainly seems that online video is a trick you do not want to miss in 2017!

If you want to add online video to your content marketing strategy, our SEO experts here at Designer Websites will be more than happy to help with this. Simply get in touch today!

Online Booking Systems

Here at Designer Websites, we've created online booking systems for a wide variety of clients. Examples of the solutions we've developed include:

💊 Appointment booking systems for health clinics 
🔧 Boiler installation booking systems for plumbers / heating engineers 
😊 Visitor booking systems for leisure centres
⛷️ Equipment booking systems for ski holiday providers
⚖️ Consultation booking systems for legal practitioners

With all of these projects and more under our belt, we have a very strong understanding of what makes a good online booking system. Here are the five things that we consider to be most important:

A smooth, speedy user interface

Like any online application, an e-booking system should make the user's experience as pleasant and as painless as possible by loading quickly and functioning flawlessly. Your customers don't want to sit around twiddling their thumbs as they wait for a list of available timeslots to appear; nor will they enjoy trying to work out what to do next when your date selector doesn't load properly and the day they want to book isn't visible. Aim to get both your booking system and your website as a whole operating smoothly, with no glitches, no hiccups, and minimal load times.

A user-friendly date selection system

Make it as easy as possible for users to identify and select their preferred date and time. Many online booking systems utilise a month-by-month calendar layout, which is great because it's a format with which most people are familiar. However, whether you use the calendar style or not, you need to ensure that your customers can easily specify:
  • Their preferred date (or date range if, for instance, they're booking a holiday)

  • Their preferred time (if applicable)

  • The duration of their appointment

  • The type of appointment they're booking (if you offer a range of different services)
If users find it difficult to make these selections, they may well abandon your website and take their business elsewhere.

A clear breakdown of charges

Before asking for any payment details, you should provide each user with a cost summary that clarifies:
  • How much is owed
  • When this amount must be paid
In some cases, the full amount will need to be paid up front in order to confirm the booking; in other cases, the user may have to put down a deposit or booking fee to reserve their timeslot, with the remainder of the cost to be paid in person on the day of the appointment. Some hotels take credit card details upon reservation, but do not collect any money at all until check-in. However you have chosen to do it, it's important to make things crystal-clear to each customer before asking them to enter their payment information.

A simple and secure payment system

When your booking system includes an online payment step, the rules are just the same as on an ecommerce website: make the payment process as straightforward and as secure as possible. Consider using a popular online payment system like PayPal, as this will allow many of your customers to simply enter an email address and password instead of typing in their entire credit card number. Don't demand any personal information that you don't actually need - the longer the form, the more likely that a customer will give up before completing it. And, most importantly of all, make ABSOLUTELY sure that all payments are processed securely (under HTTPS rather than HTTP).

A detailed confirmation email

Once a customer has completed a booking on your website, you should immediately dispatch a confirmation email containing all the key details of their appointment (e.g. date, time, location, outstanding costs that you're expecting them to settle on the day). You should also endeavour to make it nice and easy to change appointment details in the event of an error; for example, if somebody requested a 2pm appointment when they actually wanted a 4pm appointment, you now need to give them an easy way of correcting their booking, whether by contacting a member of your team or by manually editing their appointment details online.

So, what makes a good online booking system? In short: clarity, simplicity, efficiency, and ease of use. If your business needs a new website with a fully-integrated online booking system, get in touch with Designer Websites now to request a quotation!

Our SEO team at Jump Factory Basingstoke

This week, some of the SEO team at Designer Websites took a trip down to Jump Factory in Basingstoke, for a bit of fun, and to see how the company is getting on since we’re now helping them with their online marketing efforts.

We’ve worked with Jump Factory on their website since before the indoor trampoline park opened its doors, so going to visit the park in person was something we've wanted to do for a while now. So, the team travelled down from Penarth to Basingstoke on Wednesday, and found that jumping about on a trampoline was actually a great way to stretch their legs after a two-hour journey in a car.

jump factory indoor trampoline park
The indoor trampoline park even celebrated their 100,000th jumper just last week! 

Since Designer Websites joined forces with Jump Factory, we have worked to create a user friendly, dynamic and fully optimised website ensuring the company stays at the forefront of their target market. We officially started working on their “Jump Online” campaign back in January and since this time, we’ve witnessed the indoor trampoline park’s traffic make a big jump online, and watched as their customer base has significantly increased over the past couple of months. 

Due to their high-ranking website and active social media presence, Jump Factory have been able to really jump online, travelling up the SERPS and progressing with increasing success each month. Since we began our SEO work, Jump Factory is now gaining double the visitors on their website and has had a huge boost in bookings. To find out more about the work we do with Jump Factory, you can read all about it here in our case study

At the indoor trampoline park, the team took part in basketball tournaments and dodgeball tournaments to make full use of all the parks activities. The girls won in basketball due to Laura’s skillful shots, but the boys stole back the crown in the dodgeball tournament. It was clear that you can be fully grown and still have fun on the trampolines!
jump factory basketball lanes
The team even took on the famous ‘Walk the Wall’ section, which is frequented by parkour experts and gymnasts. It’s safe to say that the team did not realise quite how big the wall was and sadly, realised they were not quite up to the parkour standard. At least they’re better at helping companies jump online than they are at jumping on trampolines!

walk the wall at jump factory

This trip was a great team building activity and it was wonderful to see the parks popularity since they have managed to jump online.

If you’re interested in helping your own business jump online, then our SEO experts are here to help – get in touch today!
Beer Pong Shop Website
 
Invented in America sometime in the mid-20th century, beer pong is a drinking game that has achieved international popularity in recent years - it's become a staple fixture of student house parties, and it's not hard to see why! While avid players have come up with countless different variants, the basic rules of beer pong are very simple and incredibly easy to pick up: all you have to do is throw a ping-pong ball at your opponent's formation of cups, and if the ball goes in, they have to drink that cup's contents (usually beer). Empty cups are removed from the game, and play continues until one player runs out of cups.
 
This deceptively straightforward premise has spawned a whole industry: you can now compete in beer pong tournaments, hang out with your friend at beer pong bars, and purchase all kinds of beer pong products and accessories to help you play. All of which brings us to Designer Websites' latest project: www.beer-pong.co.uk, an ecommerce website dedicated entirely to beer pong!
 
The Beer Pong UK website has a fun, modern design and a layout that's as simple as the game itself. From one page, beer pong fans can browse beer pong sets, brush up on the rules, and download handy printables (including a tournament bracket and a 'how to play' guide). The website also has a 'Drinking Game Ideas' blog in case you need any inspiration for your next big party!
 
We're very pleased with the finished version of this new website, and its responsive design means that you can buy your beer pong gear via smartphone or tablet just as easily as you can on your PC. Visit the Beer Pong UK site now to take a look at our latest work, or contact Designer Websites if you need a quote for your own online project.