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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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