South Wales UPVC Ltd. are wale’s longest running double glazing firm, established in 1990, they have since become marketing leaders in their industry. The company started 25 years ago, and only offered double-glazed windows and doors to their customers. Now, in 2016 South Wales UPVC Ltd. have been going from strength to strength and have expanded their services and now offer expert conservatory and porch installation.

Having worked with Designer Websites before they were more than confident in our abilities to create exactly what they require from a website.  South Wales UPVC Ltd needed a website that could effortlessly reflect the quality of their products.

As Always, the team at Designer Websites created a stunning website that is not only responsive and user friendly, it reflects the standard of their work with ease. Their new home page has a minimal and particularly easy to navigate. With South Wales UPVC Ltd. being a welsh company they felt it was important to maintain their welsh identity, so opted for the White, Green and Red colour scheme which remains prominent throughout their new website.  

Word of mouth advertising and reviews are an incredibly valuable source of information for potential customers of South Wales UPVC Ltd. So to let people see just how outstanding this company is we have provided links to their trust pilot page so people can easily see their reviews and we have updated their enquiry form to make it quicker and easier for people to get in touch, or get a quote from desktop and mobile.

If you would like to see what our designers have done with this website, visit http://www.southwalesupvc.co.uk/ now.

Facebook Ad Images

Earlier this week, Facebook changed their guidelines regarding ad images. The images that accompany Facebook ads were previously allowed up to 20% text coverage, meaning that up to one-fifth of your promotional image could consist of written text; however, Facebook's Guide for using text in ad images now states that their "preferred image style" contains "little to no text". Advertisers must now strip most if not all text out of their ad images if they wish to continue reaching the largest possible audience.

This change came into effect on Tuesday the 22nd of March, but you'd be forgiven for missing the memo - there seems to have been no official announcement from Facebook, and the alteration appears to have gone unnoticed by mostof the online publications who would usually cover this sort of thing. Even the people paying to advertise on Facebook were not notified of this change, meaning that many people will have seen their ad reach plummet over the last day or two.

If you're concerned that this change may have affected your company's ads, here's a quick primer on the updated guidelines and how to comply with them:

OK, Low, Medium or High?

As of Tuesday, text coverage is now defined by four different categories. The category into which your Facebook ad falls will determine a) how many people you'll be able to reach, and b) how much the ad will cost to run.
  • OK: These ad images contain little or no text. A photograph overlaid with your company logo will probably fall into this category as long as there's no other text present.

  • Low: These ad images contain some text. Ad images with one or two lines of text will fall into this category; while these ads will probably reach fewer people than ads in the OK category, you may decide that the image text is so important that you're willing to sacrifice a portion of your impressions in order to deliver your full message.

  • Medium: These ad images contain a lot of text. Placing text in several different parts of your ad image will probably land your ad in this category. Facebook will still show these ads, but they are likely to reach a very small number of people under the new guidelines.

  • High: These ad images contain too much text. Facebook will not show an ad like this (unless the ad image is covered by the list of Exceptions - more on that in a moment).
Here's the infographic that Facebook have released to help advertisers understand the new guidelines.

Facebook Ad Image Guidelines
Image from facebook.com

Exceptions to the new rules

Facebook have stated that certain types of image will be exempt from these stricter image saturation guidelines. If any of the following apply to your ad, you can probably disregard everything we've said so far:
  • Book or album covers
  • Posters promoting concerts, music festivals, comedy shows, sporting events and films
  • Text-based businesses (e.g. calligraphers)
  • Screenshots of apps and games
  • Legal text
  • Infographics
  • Pictures of products (where the entire product is visible - no zooming in on a specific area)
Unfortunately, this list of exceptions does not cover logos, watermarks, or numbers - all of these things count towards the total amount of text in your image.

What should I do now?

If you're already running any adverts on Facebook, we strongly recommend that you log into your account and check the images that you've used alongside those ads. Pay close attention to the number of impressions your ad has achieved over the last few days - if that number has dropped since Tuesday, there's a good chance that your ad images no longer comply with Facebook's preferred style. Even if your impressions have remained stable, it's probably a good idea to swap any text-heavy images for images containing little or no text, just to be on the safe side.

Going forward, you will need to make sure that any new Facebook ads you create place are accompanied by images containing as little text as possible. You can still use text in the ad itself - just try to keep it out of the image or your campaign may not reach the audience you're targeting.

If you would like our social media experts to assist with your company's Facebook ads, please contact Designer Websites today - we can help you to create a compelling advert that reaches the largest possible audience.
UPDATE (12th Dec 2016): Google recently announced that HTTP websites that collect sensitive data (e.g. passwords, payment details) will soon be flagged as 'not secure' when someone attempts to view them on the Google Chrome web browser. This means that, if your website requires users to enter login details and/or personal information, it is now even more important that you follow the advice given below and secure your site by upgrading to HTTPS. Failure to do so ASAP may lead to a sharp decrease in site traffic as Chrome begins to warn people away from your site.

Why Convert Your Website to HTTPS?

There’s lots of chatter on the internet, and particularly within the SEO community, about implementing site-wide HTTPS for websites, and you may be wondering why. In the first instance, website owners are making the shift predominantly because Google have (relatively recently) suggested that, because HTTPS is inherently more secure for internet users, they have added this as a ranking factor within their SERP algorithms. There are other reasons, of course (chiefly the added security), but most website owners whose websites were not previously secured by an SSL are having to think about the switch simply to stay ahead of the competition.

We’ve been building secure websites for ecommerce for over a decade; this is normal practice when handling transaction and customer details, but not so much for basic brochure-style websites. However, we recently converted a brochure-only website for one customer to a more secure HTTPS website; take a look at composite decking suppliers TimberTech.

Timbertech are among the first of our customers to switch to a site-wide HTTPS website, and we’re very closely monitoring their rankings to see if this has any effect on the SERPs. We anticipate carrying out this task for a great many of our customers over the coming months, and we think that if you have not already done so, then you should seriously start thinking about doing this for your website. Here are two reasons why:

1. A more secure browsing experience for your users.

All data sent via HTTPS is encrypted, meaning that it cannot be read by anyone but the intended recipient. As mentioned, we always use the HTTPS protocol at the checkout stage of our ecommerce websites, thus ensuring that each customer's payment details and personal information are handled securely. However, many non-ecommerce site owners are now opting to switch to HTTPS too, and it's not hard to see why: even if no payment information is sent via your site, it can still give users extra peace of mind to know that any other sensitive information they enter (email addresses, telephone numbers, login details, etc.) will be safely encrypted by your website.

2. Potentially higher Google rankings.

The primary aim of any search engine is to deliver the best possible results to the end user, and since online security is a major concern for many web users right now, companies like Google and Bing are always looking for new ways to identify secure, high-quality websites.

Google announced some time ago that HTTPS had been incorporated into their algorithm as a "lightweight" ranking signal, potentially giving HTTPS websites a slight advantage over standard HTTP sites in the search engine's results. We've seen a lot of debate over how much difference HTTPS can actually make to a site's rankings, but while it would be foolish to suggest that HTTPS is some kind of miracle solution, it seems fairly safe to say that converting to HTTPS can at least make a small difference to a site's organic search positions. This blog post from ahrefs.com suggests that HTTPS, when implemented properly, does correlate with higher search rankings.

However, that brings us to an important point: if you're going to make the leap from HTTP to HTTPS, it's important to ensure that it's done properly. Among other things, you will need to implement the proper redirects throughout your site, and make sure that there is a single canonical version of each URL.

If you'd like the Designer Websites team to help you upgrade your site from HTTP to HTTPS, please get in touch - we will ensure that the changeover is handled properly, giving you the best possible chance of achieving higher rankings and meeting the expectations of your users.

A few days ago, we found out that Google would be removing all PPC ads from the right-hand side of the search results page; an announcement that has since sparked widespread debate amongst SEOs. The search results page now has 4 paid ads displayed at the top of the page, which means that it takes longer for users to reach the stream of organic results than it would have previously. While Google have attempted to compensate somewhat by adding a greater number of organic listings below these ads, with 9 blue links being displayed, there is still  a great deal of concern from those who rely on organic rankings.

Previously, side adds would have been more obvious to viewers due to their positioning aside from organic results, which helped to highlight the fact that they were ads. Reserving them for within the list of organic searches means that they viewer has to look through these ads, making it more likely that they will get clicked. This has come as an unwelcome change to many SEO professionals, who are concerned that Google is prioritising its commercial gain over the experience of its users. Results that would once have appeared near the top of the page, have now been pushed closer to the middle, giving an almost entirely new meaning to the prospect of coming out 'on top' in organic rankings. 

Naturally, there are both positive and negative aspects to these changes with regards to the user, which will depend largely on how aware the specific individual would have been of paid results previously. The more street-wise internet users may be irritated by the fact that they now have to scroll through even more paid results, while those who pay little attention to ad markers may even find the new layout refreshing in comparison to the somewhat cluttered appearance of the previous format. The users least affected by this will be those who conduct their searches largely by mobile devices, on which side ads were not present prior to these changes. 

This change has also led to much debate amongst paid search marketers, who fear that the loss of side ads will drive up the price of PPC campaigns, as the competition for the top position becomes more intense.However, some have been quick to dismiss these fears, due to the fact that these ads were already accounting for a low percentage of the total click volume. Wordstream founder Larry Kim also notes that all ads will now be able to use additional add-ons such as sitelink, location and call-out extensions, allowing them to take up a larger area, and providing them with a chance to stand out amongst their competitors. Additionally, he also drew attention to the fact that desktop now account for less than half of all searches, suggesting that perhaps these changes would have had a gradual impact over time regardless, as people gradually migrate from desktop to mobiles.

Whether you view these changes as a positive progression towards better quality ads, or see them as an inconvenience which serves as proof of Google's prioritisation of financial gain over user experience, there is no doubt that you will have to adapt your approach to suit these new developments. As with any updates and alterations in the world of SEO, it is doubtful that the affects of these changes will be felt straight away, however, it is important that people start to examine new strategies straight away to avoid being left behind.

To find out how we can help to improve your visibility in search engine results, or assist you in targeting the right audience with your Google ads, get in touch today.
eTrader provide high-quality ecommerce websites for garment decorators who wish to market and sell their products online. Not only has this service helped countless clothing companies to find their feet on the world wide web, it has also allowed many other businesses to supplement their main revenue stream by selling a range of garments via eTrader affiliate websites.

Being a primarily web-based business, eTrader naturally wanted to ensure that their own website was giving visitors the best possible impression. That's why they asked the Designer Websites team to help them update their site with a brand new design and some improved functionality for potential clients.

eTrader's new website has just gone live, and we're all extremely pleased with the finished job. In this blog post, we'd like to briefly talk about some of the improvements that have been made...

A new look and a responsive design

eTrader's old website had begun to look a little dated, but far more importantly, the site was not optimised for mobile devices. This meant that anyone viewing the eTrader site on a smartphone or tablet would have found it difficult to navigate the website as easily as a desktop user.

The new eTrader website is an entirely different story. The site's new blue and white colour scheme looks fresh and modern. bringing the eTrader brand right up to date; furthermore, the responsive, mobile-friendly design allows the site to fully accommodate the needs of mobile/tablet users, adjusting to fit screens of any size.

Improved application form

The old eTrader website was designed as a simple brochure site: interested parties could get in touch via telephone, email, or a simple online contact form, but the site did not allow users to specify any details about the service required. When building the new and improved eTrader site, we created an in-depth signup form that allows you to determine practically every detail of your eTrader website online, including:
  • Package required (The Trader, The Garment Decorator, or The Affiliate)
  • Domain name
  • Website layout and design
  • Email accounts
  • Associated social media pages
This feature makes it far easier to apply for a website, and we feel that this will really help to drive more enquiries for the eTrader team.

Visit www.etraderwebsites.co.uk to take a closer look at our latest work.
Jump Factory Website
 
Jump Factory is a brand new trampoline park that's set to open in Basingstoke next month. Situated in a converted warehouse, the park will consist of more than 80 trampolines, plus other installations like a half pipe and a giant airbag.
 
Trampoline parks are all the rage right now, appealing to everyone from mums and babies to trained athletes looking to sharpen their skills. At time of writing, Jump Factory's grand opening is still more than a month away, but thanks to the assistance of our social media specialists, the park is already attracting a lot of attention online:
 
Jump Factory Headlines
 
Amazingly, Jump Factory's Facebook page has already racked up more than 2,200 likes - not bad for a business that's yet to even open!
 
As you can probably imagine, the Jump Factory team are expecting a lot of demand when they open their doors on the 29th of February (leap day, appropriately enough), and so they asked us to design and build a top-quality website that would make it easy for potential customers to learn about the park and book visits online.
 
And, as usual, the Designer Websites team were more than up to the challenge! The Jump Factory website went live earlier this week, and we're pleased to report that early bookings are already flooding in. Jump Factory's website features a colourful, dynamic design that aims to appeal to serious jumpers as well as to families in search of a fun day out; the site is also fully responsive, making it easier for the people of Basingstoke to book their jumping sessions via smartphone or tablet.
 

Late last year, Twitter announced that it would be experimenting with changes to the order in which tweets appear, sorting them by ‘relevance’ as opposed to the traditional reverse chronological order. It also made changes to the much used ‘favourite’ button, replacing it with a heart symbol to represent ‘likes’. Both of these changes sparked huge debate amongst Twitter users, but nothing seems to have caused as much controversy as the social network’s latest announcement regarding changes to the defining 140 character limit.

As part of these changes, users would be able to post tweets of up to 10,000 characters, potentially transforming the Twitter experience as we know it. Known for short, snappy thoughts and insights, many people fear that expanding the limit by such an extraordinary amount could completely alter the core principal of a tweet, eradicating the defining feature which sets it apart from other platforms. With fears regarding loss of individuality and spam posts, many have been quick to criticize the reported plans, however, it is far too early to gauge what kind of impact (if any) this change will have.

While it’s only natural for social media to react with a ‘the sky is falling’ mentality upon hearing what, at first, sounds like a complete overhaul of the traditional Twitter format,  on closer inspection, the changes seem far less drastic than sensationalized headlines make them sound. Fears regarding spam and ‘clogged’ feeds for example, are apparently misplaced, due to the fact these longer tweets would appear in an unexpanded format, prompting readers to ‘click for more’. In fact, it is possible that this new, longer format could even do something to ease twitter spam, by removing the need for Tweetstorms in ‘rant’ situations. As opposed to being forced to scroll through endless snippets of an individual’s 1 of 7 Twitter rant, it would instead, give you the choice as to whether or not you would like to continue reading.

Overall, the process doesn’t seem like a move intended to completely alter Twitter in its current form, although it does seem like another step towards making Twitter a more inclusive experience. It would likely remove the need for third party tools such as ‘TwitLonger’, and would give you less need to click out to other sites in order to view additional content. In the same way as Twitter Cards allow you to view images, play audio/video and sign up for mailing lists etc. from within Twitter, it is possible this new format would allow you to blog/share views directly to the social network, removing the need to link from another blogging platform or article. 

While those who have managed to perfect their impactful yet concise tweeting method will see this as an alteration which somehow devalues the purpose of the platform, it is likely from the sound of early plans that the social network, at least visually, will appear in the same format that it always has. Although the way in which people use Twitter may alter over time in response to these changes, most would agree that a 10,000  character limit won’t mean essays of emojis and life-stories pervading your feed. Whether people will stick to the ‘standard’ tweet or not is impossible to tell, but it will be interesting to monitor how this development will impact the way in which digital marketing experts and casual users approach the platform. 


Whether you’re looking to promote a new product or share your latest blog, email marketing is a great way to encourage customers to visit your website. Unlike social media, email has a far more ‘permanent’ nature, due to the fact that users must actively dismiss posts as opposed to simply overlooking or bypassing them. In order to ignore or ‘opt out’ of a particular message, users must delete the item from their inbox, making this a great way to catch and hold the attention of customers.

It’s all very well having gained a list of emails, but it’s what you do with this information afterwards that will really create a lasting impact for your brand. By acquiring this information, you have established a bond of trust between yourself and your customers/audience, and it is important to ensure that this sense of trust is implemented correctly. Emails should provide useful, engaging content for your customers, and should reflect the services advertised when you encouraged them to sign up in the first place. This refers not only to content of your emails, but more importantly your subject line, which could mean the difference between someone opening your email or sending it straight to their junk folder!

In order to help you get the best from your email marketing campaigns, we’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts in order to help you provoke interest from your readers, and avoid being categorized as spam. 

Devices to Avoid

Spammy Text
Over-use of ‘sales’ language as well as the excessive use of capital letters and/or punctuation can trigger spam filters, which means that the intended recipient will miss out on the content of your email altogether. Even if a message with a poor quality subject line manages to make it to its intended destination, words like ‘free’, as well as unnecessary exclamation marks and other potential triggers could cause the message to seem useless or untrustworthy to the reader, leading them to disregard and delete the email without even viewing its content.

Poor Personalization 
When used correctly, personalisation can be a great addition to the subject line of your email, but it's important to avoid unnecessary/template style personalisation in order to improve the impact of your campaign. Subject lines which name the recipient can often be off-putting as opposed to engaging, creating no real value and chipping away at your precious character count.

Overly-long Titles 
Due to the large volume of emails being received by audience members, it is of great importance to provide straightforward and easy-to-comprehend information for them to digest. Long-winded and overly descriptive titles take too long to read and react to, making them unappealing for the average recipient. Due to the multitude of emails which will undoubtedly surround yours, it’s important to make your email stand out. The title should of course, provide some clue as to the content, but this should be seen as more of a gateway as opposed to an exact outline. 

Techniques to Implement

Appropriate and Intelligent Use of Punctuation 
While excessive use of punctuation marks and symbols can harm the impact of your line, using these sparingly and effectively can attract the eye of the viewer and encourage them to click on your email. The best example of this would be the use of question marks; a proven way to provoke interest in your reader. Not only do questions cause them to wonder how the information provided affects them, it also arouses a general sense of curiosity regarding the subjects mentioned. 

Target Your Audience
As mentioned previously, poor personalisation can do more harm than good to your campaign, but if used correctly, it can attract the desired response without seeming gimmicky or desperate. Effective subject line personalisation encompasses a range of approaches, from location targeting to demographic-led language. For example, offers or suggestions which relate to the recipients specific locale are sure to gain a better response than those which give more general information. This step could also relate to the language you use and the subjects you choose to emphasise, based on your audience demographic. 

Use Witty, Engaging and Inviting Language
Having considered the previous point regarding audience awareness, you can then decide what type of language is best suited to target your chosen demographic. Conversational elements are usually a good choice, as they avoid seeming cold and robotic. It can also be impactful to pair this with humour, although as always, you should consider whether or not this is an appropriate angle for your recipients.

Controversy is also a great way to get people clicking on your emails, as it provokes an emotional response from the reader, causing them to question the statement while reflecting on their personal reaction to this information. It is important, however, to use this tactic with caution, as it can sometimes be frustrating for readers who find there is no valuable pay off for their action.  

While we have noted that ‘sales’ language can be detrimental to your efforts, appropriate calls to action can, in fact, be beneficial when used correctly. This involves techniques such as invoking scarcity, which could range from advertising a ‘limited time’ offer to stating that a product is low in stock or is selling out quickly. Customers feel compelled to act due to a fear of missing out, prompted by the suggestion that they must act quickly to gain the advertised benefits.

Experiment with Length and Numbers 
As mentioned in the ‘devices to avoid’ section of this post, overly-long titles can cause the reader to switch of immediately. Using uncharacteristically short titles could be an interesting tactic to consider, as they will stand out visually in a cluster of emails, and will also provoke a need to reveal additional information. For those looking to apply a more conventional approach, 50 characters or under is a good figure to stick to.

Numbers could also be a great addition to your subject copy, as they offer something visually unusual for your brain to analyse and become attracted to. In the context of lists, they also work just as well as they do in blog post titles, by appealing to the human brain’s desire for short and easy-to-comprehend information. 

Test
As is the case with most marketing techniques, the best way to gage which subject lines are working for you is by measuring the responses they receive. This can be assessed in a variety of ways, from viewing how many of the emails sent out were opened, to the quantity of voucher codes redeemed as part of an offer circulated via email. When using services such as MailChimp for example, you will be able to use subject line research tools to get ideas, and try AB testing your subjects to see which performs best and meets your desired aims.



When used correctly, subject lines can massively impact the efficiency of your email marketing campaigns, first by getting them noticed in an inbox, and then by getting the recipient to click on them. Like any other online marketing strategy, you may have to try a few different approaches before you find what works best for you, but in time you should find yourself writing eye-catching and engaging subject lines with ease. Just remember to keep your copy clear, concise, and free of errors, whilst also following the guidelines mentioned above.  

For more Online Marketing tips and SEO news, follow Designer Websites on Twitter!


We recently designed a new website for cleaning at height specialists, Seers, who were looking to better target their height services in order to improve search rankings and expand their online presence. 

Seers offer a range of high level cleaning and maintenance services, from graffiti removal and bird spike installation, to standard gutter and window cleaning. Their team has decades of experience in the industry, and covers a vast number of buildings, such as warehouses, hospitals and office buildings (just to name a few). They also cover a wide catchment area, carrying out jobs throughout South Wales and South West England. 

In order to specifically target their cleaning at height services, Seers decided to commission a website that made full use of this term, in order to compete for a better position in search results. Although their variety of additional services are also included on the site, and are easy to locate in the drop down menu, the homepage copy is optimized to place a greater emphasis on height level cleaning, in order to fully encapsulate this phrase. 

As well is improving the SEO for cleaning at height, the new website also has improved functionality and visual appeal, making the site easy to navigate and engaging for visitors. Thanks to the image-heavy design, viewers are able to experience the full extent of the services offered by Seers, getting more of a feel for the type of work they carry out. The photographs also validate their experience in the field, by providing a visual record of past projects. 

At the bottom of the page, there is a prominent array of recognizable logos from high profile clients such as Pinewood and Marriott, which also helps to validate their experience in the field, by demonstrating their ability to carry out work for reputable companies.

The new website is also fully responsive, which means that it will be easy to navigate on mobile phones and other portable devices. This means that customers searching for their services are likely to have a positive experience once they have landed on the site, which in turn will also improve their search rankings by reducing their bounce rate.

View the brand new Seers website. 

If you would like more information about our web design services, please get in touch with us here.
twitter cards blog

If you run an ecommerce site, a blog or have an app you want to promote, Twitter Cards can be a great way to get around the 140 character limit imposed by a standard tweet. Much like add extensions on Google, Twitter Cards allow you to add enhanced details to your tweets, which could potentially lead to valuable actions for your business if used correctly.

Whether you want to focus on an image, a product or want to encourage someone to sign up for a service (to name just a few), there are 7 types of cards to choose from to best suit your desired results. These are tailored to suit the type of media promoted (be it text, image, video or sound clip), and to provide the intended audience with the information required to make them click. This means that as well as providing an improved visual experience for the viewer, the cards also allow them to interact with your posts easily from within Twitter.

For example, if your goal is to promote a particular item and make people decide on a purchase quickly, then a product card would likely be your best option. This includes a title, a thumbnail image, and a description of up to 200 words, as well as other details such as price and availability. These inject the online shopping experience directly into the viewer’s Twitter feed, allowing them to consider the purchase right there and then.

You are also able to measure the response to your cards easily, thanks to the accompanying analytics used to measure impressions and engagement with you cards. Just go to Ads, Analytics and then choose Twitter Cards, to see how well your cards have been doing. A range of metrics will display the number of impressions and clicks, along with other performance statistics, and will also let you see how well the cards have been doing over a given period of time. 

The analytics section also allows you to find out who your key ‘influencers’ are, which essentially shows which tweets had the most impact on the impressions your card received, along with the handle/persona attached to this. This function could be particularly useful to companies and individuals who have worked with bloggers for example, as it could demonstrate whether or not the product or service you attempted to promote through them is actually having the desired impact. It could also show who is already engaging with you brand, and could present potentially successful partnership opportunities in the future. 

If you think that Twitter Cards could be a useful edition to your digital marketing strategy, then there are three things you should consider in order to gain the most advantage from them: 

Test it Out

Once your developer has added the appropriate meta tags to the page you want your cards to pull information from, you can run the URL against the validator tool to test them. This allows you to preview the card, and make sure that you’re happy with the format.

If you’re just starting out with Twitter cards, or you’re unsure about which style would work best for a specific purpose, then it may be worth trying out several card types before choosing the one you will stick to. Check the analytics to see which type is performing better and driving more engagement, then make the transition to this type permanently if you are seeing consistently positive results from it.

Pin it!

If a card you have tweeted yourself has provided you with a great level of engagement or has had a particularly positive impact for you, then it is well worth pinning this tweet so that it appears at the very top of your feed.

By putting this at the top of your page, you are not only showing you or your company at your best, but are also creating an opportunity for the tweet to gain even more attention. This also allows you to prioritise your aims and messages, so that the most relevant piece of information is the first thing to be seen by your audience. This also works in terms of landing pages, as you will naturally want to direct your viewers to well-optimized and/or high-converting pages. 

Make Engaging Copy

Apart from website and lead generation cards, all card types appear in the Twitter stream in an unexpanded format by default. This means that the user must click if they want to see more of the content, by selecting the ‘view summary’ option. 

In order to make users click and view the full card, you will need to ensure that the copy itself is engaging and intriguing, in order to spark the viewer’s curiosity. The more compelling the caption, the more likely it is that people will want to find out more.


Twitter Cards are a fantastic way to offer your followers more information about your website, and when used correctly, can help to drive valuable traffic and conversions. The best part, is that they offer you a lot of freedom to try out and measure different strategies, in order to produce the best results over time. Experiment, and see what works for you, while maintaining the quality of your copy and landing pages – no Twitter Card can make up for poor content!

Follow Designer Websites on Twitter for more advice and regular updates.


When someone first suggested that you should get a blog, you weren’t really too keen on the idea. But eventually, after a lot of nagging, you came around to the idea. You thought it wouldn’t be too much work – after all, how much time do you really need to dedicate to a blog anyway? In fact, you were quite surprised by how easy it was to update your blog at first; you even began looking forward to writing the posts. 

Then one day, an important task came up when you were right in the middle of writing. ‘It can wait until later,’ you thought. ‘The blog isn’t my top priority anyway.’ Eventually, you were spending less and less time on your blog, going from one post a week to one a month, until you were spending virtually no time on it whatsoever. Neglected, and without any fresh content to sustain it, the blog soon became a distant memory, inactive and unloved.


So don’t neglect your blog any longer, use these three techniques to ensure it stays fresh and healthy:

Create a schedule

Be sure to make time for your blog. Decide ahead of time when you’re going to post and what the content will be; this will give you a plan to work from and something to stick to, so you can easily manage your other tasks around it. Thinking of topics in advance will also mean that you’re not stuck for something to write when you do get down to it, minimising the risk of writer’s block!

Think of your audience

It’s important to keep customers and readers engaged with useful content, so do your best to consider their needs and expectations when planning your blog posts. Think: what would the people who visit your website and/or use your services want to read? What would make them want to engage with your post?

Stay current

The easiest way to source fresh content and keep your blog up-to-date is by looking for important news that’s relevant to your field, or by scouting out trending topics that may be of interest to your readers. Try to make sure that what you’re posting is as original and as high-quality as possible; regurgitating content that already exists elsewhere could make people lose interest.


Here’s the bottom line: if you’re going to add a blog to your website, be sure to utilise it to its full potential. Post regularly, and post well; don’t ignore your blog for months on end, revisiting it only to post the odd bit of company news or an annual Christmas message to your clients. Your blog needs attention and love – if you don’t update it regularly, then it will not only fail to serve its intended purpose, it may actually cause your search rankings to drop. Why? Because if you haven’t updated your blog since last year, Google and its users might think you’ve abandoned your website entirely!


access training

Recently we were approached by Access Training Academies, a trade qualification course provider who were interested in improving the usability and search engine performance of their website.

Access Training offer some of the best trade courses in the UK, giving students the opportunity to gain practical experience in a large number of fields, ranging from plumbing to plastering. With state of the art facilities, and a concentrated 1-8 tutor to student ratio, Access Training are able to offer an efficient and highly successful set of teaching programmes to their candidates. 

Hoping to reach out to potential students and aid their location of suitable courses once they had reached their website, Access Training asked us to improve the site's visual and technical aspects, thereby increasing its overall performance and quality.They began, by deciding that they wanted to make the site fully accessible to people who were using devices other than a desktop computer to search for their courses. We achieved this by ensuring that the new design was fully responsive across a number of portable devices, allowing excellent navigation regardless of screen size.

This user friendly nature has been extended throughout all aspects of the site, and is particularly noticeable in the new 'course finder' wizard, which allows visitors to find suitable courses with ease and efficiency. This is directly related to the site's improved copy, which has been condensed to provide easy comprehension and better search engine performance by targeting specific keywords. We've already seen some improvements in their Google rankings since the site went live, and we are sure that this is something that will see continued improvement over time.

Visit the new Access Training Academies website now, or get in touch to find out more about our services.

Bespoke website design

Here at Designer Websites, we offer a bespoke web design and development service that provides our clients with unique and highly functional websites. Our work is scalable and fine-tuned to each client's needs, and every website we create is designed to offer the best possible user experience.

Whether your aim is to generate a strong and memorable brand identity for your new company online, or to offer unique functionality to your customers, there are myriad benefits that come from investing in a bespoke website.

One question we're often asked by clients who are thinking of commissioning a bespoke website is...

"What makes a bespoke website better than a template-type site that's based on a pre-built system?"

On first impression, pre-built solutions can seem like a great idea for businesses who are just starting out online. Accessible and affordable, they are the 'quick fix' of the web design world - there are lots of shortcuts one can take to get a website up and running in a short time, allowing the user to build their design based on a set of ready-made foundations.

While the popularity of pre-built systems is undeniable, what we'd like to do in this article is highlight some of the drawbacks - drawbacks that arguably far outweigh the benefits.

Read on to learn why a bespoke web design will deliver a more sustainable, professional advantage to you and your business in the long term.

Exclusivity and Customisation

As mentioned above, a template on a pre-built system can seem like a perfectly adequate choice for your website at first, especially as you can often choose from thousands of available designs to make the finished site feel unique. The fact that it's pre-made also means that you can test your site to see how it will look for the user once you have uploaded all the content. There is very little design or development time required, and therefore the cost should be very low indeed. In fact, many of these DIY-type solutions allow you to build a site yourself (even if you would need to be relatively web-savvy to achieve this).

Sounds OK so far, right? So what are the drawbacks?

A Unique Design...?

Some of these pre-built website solutions offer thousands of different template designs, with new ones becoming available every day. But there are hundreds of millions of websites online, and over time, those templates become less unique as more people choose to use them.

Of course, many of the templates can be tweaked with different colours, images, and so on, making them more specific to your company and your requirements. But you can only go as far as the template will allow you.

With many pre-built systems, you can use a totally bespoke design on top of the platform, which will give you some uniqueness for a while (though, again, only within the constraints of the system's capabilities). The problem is, these systems are designed to be easy to replicate, and the code structure is always the same - so your design will not be unique for as long as you might like.

If you use a decent designer to create a template on top of a pre-built system, then you may well end up paying over the odds for what is fundamentally a template system - and all without gaining any of the benefits of a bespoke website. It's important to be caution here: these web designers may say they're selling you a 'bespoke website' (they may even believe it themselves), but in fact it's only a bespoke design within the rigid structure of a template system.

Moreover, we often see companies charging ridiculous fees for what is simply a design - work that's made relatively easy for the designer by the confinements of a pre-built system. This is not a bespoke website.

Responsive vs Emulated Responsive

A truly responsive web design starts with the user interface (UI) designer, who should spend time creating separate designs for each device type - i.e. mobiles, tablets and desktop PCs. The designer will carefully think about the user journey on a smartphone, for example, excluding sections and including the most relevant areas, making the point of the website more appropriate for that type of user in that situation. It may be a totally different layout to that seen on a desktop monitor. Along with this comes the usual menu style changes and resizing of images, etc.

An emulated responsive design, often employed by pre-built solutions or templates, is one where the system makes automated calculations based on the size of the screen and changes the style of the menu and resizes elements like images and fonts on the screen. So it's the same design/layout, but adapted to the screen size.

Emulated responsive is better than not having a responsive design at all, but this does not give the user the best experience, and does not sell your business or your products in the best way.

Bespoke, truly responsive websites are naturally far better than emulated responsive sites, so be sure of what your web designer is offering you - ask them if it's 'true responsive' or just emulated.

Expertise

Problems can arise when you ask your web designer 'can we make it do this? and the answer is often an intake of air and - surprise, surprise - either 'no' or 'we can do it for the cost of a small car'!

The reason for this is that they are not proper software developers (although don't tell them that because they probably think they are) and fundamentally, they did not develop the system. They have merely placed the design on top of an existing system, so it's actually pretty tough for them to do what you are asking without outsourcing to a software development company.

A truly bespoke website will be modern, totally unique, scalable, delivered by the people responsible for the coding and not just the design, and fundamentally if you need a change it is often very easy and quick, but most importantly very doable!

Truly bespoke websites are delivered by companies with a combination of professional software engineers, user interface developers and highly skilled web-specific designers. These tend to be far more stable companies and not your fly-by-night very small design-only firms, so an additional benefit is that you don't have to worry about your website disappearing one day!

Some large companies take the view that pre-built solutions are a very fast way of making easy money, and therefore still deliver them. Sadly, these tend to be the companies who charge the same as a bespoke development company would for a truly bespoke website, but instead they deliver to you a pre-built template system at an extortionate price! It's a very fast way to make money if you can sleep at night with this kind of business model...

So are bespoke websites more expensive? Well, they most definitely should be, because they require highly skilled and experienced people to develop them, but, quite often they are not more expensive at all! In our experience, they are sadly often cheaper than the pre-built templates systems, because some unscrupulous companies charge a great deal for placing a design on top of a pre-built solution.

Code Age & Technology

One of the biggest problems with pre-built solutions is that they cost the founding company a great deal of cash to develop, as they try to create a one-size-fits-all type solution. This then leads to them needing to sell that solution over and over for many years to claw back their costs. In turn, this often means that the pre-built solution being sold to you is 5 to 10 years old (or worse) based on old technologies and techniques, albeit its existence in an ever-changing technological world!

A bespoke website will be developed with the very latest technologies, available online techniques and scripting functionality, and there is significant benefit to this online, not least of which is the search engine optimisation benefits.

Expansion and Optimisation

One of the most significant limitations posed by template systems is the inability to expand and improve your website over time. If you want to say integrate your Sage accounts, your ERP system, CRM or barcoding system, etc, this can often be made overly-complicated or even impossible!

Plugins are often available within open source pre-built solutions, which are intended to offer the user the ability to extend the possibilities set out in a template, these can soon prove to be unreliable, insufficient, bug riddled and even highly insecure. Developed by third parties, these plug-ins could not only clash when used in combination with other plug-ins, but also with general system updates across the template platform. This puts the user in a lose/lose situation, due to the fact that while an update may affect the freedom granted by these additions, neglecting to conform to system updates could increase the chances of your site's security being compromised (actually a common problem with templates). These plugins can not only compromise security and reliability but are often not optimised and therefore contain unnecessary code, making the system sluggish and unresponsive.

As far as online optimisation is concerned, your website should be light, fast and responsive to the user, making it easy to use. You want to offer your customers a speedy and useful journey through your website, and this too is what the likes of Google want. They don't care about you or your business, they only care that the website they are affectively recommending is providing a useful experience. After-all, if they constantly linked to slow and poor quality websites, then we'd all stop using them to search for things on the internet right?

The problem with a one-size-fits-all system, is that it lends itself to providing quick and easy solutions, meaning that you don't need to be very skilled or experienced to provide one, again meaning that the site will not be properly optimised. These systems contain lots of bolt-on's and plugins to handle newer technologies that didn't exist when it was created 10 years ago, which just adds to the slowness and the bulkiness. Add to this the inherent security issues which arise with these systems, and you have to wonder why they sell so well.

Support and Security

As I have already mentioned above, template websites can cause serious problems when it comes to security, simply due to the fact that they present an attractive target for hackers. If you own a bespoke website, then hackers would need to target it specifically and run lots of tools to find out where the admin area is, where the database is stored, etc. This makes the process far more time consuming, and therefore less appealing. Template websites tend to have the same admin login area, the same database location and the same codebase etc, so they are very easy to hack. As part of a wider network of replicated sites, they form a super easy target once a vulnerability has been identified.

No website is safe from a really good hacker, all you can do is provide as much security as possible and make it more time consuming for them; if a good hacker wants your information they'll get it! If they can get into military instalments or FBI systems, then they can most definitely get into your website if they really want to. The point is, why would they waste their time trying to get into a relatively secure and obfuscated website, when all these template type sites exist on the internet? These pre-built solutions make it easy for them, and the designers developing them actually know very little about the technical security of a website in the first place.

In fact, an inherent security issue is posed by the fact that many of these systems are open source, and provide free plugins. If you want a widget within your website to perform a specific task, you can simply look online to see if someone has created a plugin for it. Often you will find it has been done and most of the time these will be fine, but how would you or your designer know if that plugin had some backdoor access type code hidden within it, or keyboard tracking, or a million other security risks? Bear in mind that your designer didn't write the code, and more than likely wouldn't understand it even if they did try to read it.

Another disadvantage of using a template is the lack of support when things do go wrong, like some of the issues I have mentioned above. If you discover a problem with your website, without the proper expertise it can be very difficult to diagnose and fix.

So, in summary, a bespoke website will have the following benefits:

  • Truly bespoke design - not easily replicated
  • A true responsive design - not emulated
  • A proper development and design team for support and assistance
  • More modern and technologically advanced code
  • True scalability and the ability to integrate any online technology as it becomes available
  • Security from common vulnerabilities
  • Importantly, an optimised solution that is light, fast and responsive
  • And lastly...value for money! We're not simply pushing a design onto a pre-built solution and then charging you the price of a small car for doing so!

We're happy to answer any questions you may have on this subject, if you do have any further enquires, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Request a Website Design Quote

In the lead up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Sage Pay released some interesting statistics and information concerning the way in which consumers would be shopping this year, highlighting the psychological motivations which urge people to buy into the frenzied purchase of Christmas bargains.  In collaboration with Professor Vince Mitchell and psychologist Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, they gave us an interesting insight into the psychological reasoning behind the spending habits of the British public, a few of which we will discuss in further detail below:

Fear of Missing Out: Triggering Primal Impulses

With Sage predicting £1.7 billion to be spent this year, it’s clear that the increase in Christmas sales is not simply due to the fact that everyone’s feeling a little more charitable during the festive season. ‘Fear of Missing Out’ is an important factor in urging people to part with their money in cases where they would normally abstain from buying, which plays on our primal hunter-gatherer instinct to prioritize our survival of over that of others. While the conscious, logical mind knows that the prospect of getting a brand new television over the next person is far from being a life or death situation, 39% of shoppers said that the concept of getting the best deal was what urged them to buy. Consequently, 60% of shoppers admitted that they later regretted buying a bargain due to lack of need or use for the product, which demonstrates just how easy it is to play on people’s instincts in order to override the voice of reason which would usually prevent them from taking action.

Types of Customers: Why One Size Doesn’t Fit All

While there are some shared instincts inbuilt into every human, there are also many individual personality traits which retailers should consider in order to target certain types of shoppers. Dr Chamorro-Premusic split these into a list of categories, which highlight the recognizable characteristics presented by certain types of spenders:

 

  • The Hyper-Maximisers: Have a detached relationship with their money, spending it on things they need rather than want. Furthermore, they put a great deal of energy into finding the best deal and being careful with their money.

  • Old School Savers: Careful with their money and unlikely to splash out, they are put at a disadvantage by their slow adoption of technology.

  • Old School Spenders: Impulsive and carefree with money, focusing more on the short-term than the long-term. They are more likely to pay in cash.

  • Click and Collectors: More likely to spend on utilitarian needs rather than hedonistic wants, although such purchases are not typically price-sensitive. More likely to use technology for convenience rather than saving money.

  • Carefree Clickers: Use technology in their purchases for the experience’s sake rather than to save money, and are more likely to splash out on a treat than on essentials.

  • Cash Flashers: less likely to go cashless; their relationship with the cash they spend is both conspicuous and carefree.

  • Sanctioned Indulgers: Members of this group are careful with their money, but tend to spend it on indulgences and associate it with emotional benefits. They are not particularly open to new financial technologies.

  • Hunter-Gatherers: Risk-averse savers and budgeters who use the latest gadgets to help them in this quest. They are likely to enjoy this process of hunting for bargains and use technology to save money.

 

Online Ease: Why Cyber Monday is Likely to Outperform Black Friday

With Sage predicting £828 million to be spent on Cyber Monday this year, it’s interesting to consider how the popularity of online shopping could cause the in-store Black Friday deals to become somewhat obsolete. Apparently 71% of us prefer shopping online simply out of convenience, but it also seems to be an environment in which we are more willing to make larger purchases and spend impulsively. 43% of UK shoppers said they experienced feelings of guilt when handing over cash; a process which is eliminated by the ease of online transactions. Professor Mitchell noted that “in the online world, the reality of things such as money can get distorted, removing the guilt we associate with face-to-face spending”. With many of the negative experiences associated with in-store shopping removed, it is hardly surprising that online sales are progressively out-performing those seen on the high street.

In conclusion, Sage noted that while the Christmas shopping scramble is an important time for retailers, they should also remember to consider long term loyalty when targeting their customers. While impulse inspiring deals can prove to be profitable short-term, a universal model won’t keep customers coming back. Retailers should be catering to different types of customers by selling and promoting in different ways, in order to alleviate feelings of remorse and secure a sense of loyalty. Business should also keep in mind their capabilities and resources before attempting to keep up with larger corporations, in order to ensure that any action taken is good for their business as opposed to being detrimental to their reputation.

All information provided by http://www.sagepay.co.uk/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sageuk


IDS are a security company based in Cardiff who specialise in providing professional security and fire protection systems throughout the UK. With decades of experience in the field, the team are able to oversee the design, installation and maintenance of a variety of security systems, ranging from CCTV and access control to fire alarms. In addition to these services, they also offer 24/7 call-out and monitoring to their customers every day of the year. 

Despite being an established company with a thorough knowledge of their trade, IDS recognised that their website was not performing well enough in search engine results, which is what led them to contact Designer Websites. After careful consideration, our team set about improving the website in order to ensure that it was a great reflection of the company's products and services, which could easily be reached by potential customers. 

The new IDS website has a more professional look, with content that makes efficient use of meta tags and copy to ensure that the company will rank well in search results. The site also has an improved focus on local search terms, allowing them to effectively target and increase their business prospects within Cardiff and the surrounding area. In addition to these improvements, we also added a blog to allow IDS to share their latest news and insights, providing them with an enriched means of communicating with both new and existing customers.

You can view the new website we created for IDS here

For more information about the range of website optimization services we offer, click here, or follow this link to send us your questions and ask for a quote.