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

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

How did we help?

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

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

If you’re in need of a new website for your business, Designer Websites can help - request a free web design quote today!

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

iOS 13.2 is released with a new batch of Emojis

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

(Image: Emojipedia)

 

Apple release 3rd gen AirPods

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

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

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

 

Twitter implements a ban on political ads

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

What did we do?

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the new Clear Choice Stairlifts website here.

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

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

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

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

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

 

colour and web design

 

Importance of Colour in Web Design

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

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

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

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

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

 

Colour and Brand Association

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

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

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

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

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

 

Colour and Web Design

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

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

 

Colours and Services

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

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

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

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

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

 

For more web design tips or to enquire about the web design services available at Designer Websites, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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Tech news roundup

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

BERT helps Google to deliver more relevant search results

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

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

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

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

Pixel 4 has arrived

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

Pixel 4's key selling points include:

  • Google assistant
  • Motion sense
  • Improved camera

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

The news - brought to you by Facebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tech news roundup

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

Google rolls out new 'Search by photos' feature

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

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

Pinterest releases slimmed-down mobile app

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

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

  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Peru

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

Google Maps offers additional assistance for visually-impaired users

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

content writing tips, writing tips famous authors

 

Content Writing Tips from Literary Icons

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

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

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

 

Rules Are Made to be Broken

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

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

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

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

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

 

Don’t Be Too Wordy

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

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

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

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

 

Don’t Rely on Clichés

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

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

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

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

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

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

…D’oh!

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 benefits of professional content writing

 

Why Hire a Professional Copywriter?

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

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

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

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

 

Language

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

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

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

 

Research

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

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

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

 

Perspective

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

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

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

 

Engagement

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

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

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

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

 

Optimisation

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

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

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

 

Professional Copywriting Services

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

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

 

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

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

Google turns 21 years old!

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

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

Amazon release a range of new Echo products

This photograph was taken from www.theverge.com

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

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

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

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

Google rolled out its core update

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

You can read it here >

Macmillan Coffee Morning

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

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

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USAS website preview

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

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

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

 

How Did We Help USAS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 social media sme

 

Social Media SME Tips

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

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

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

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

 

Choose Wisely

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Be Consistent

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

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

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

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

 

sme social media strategy

 

Stay Focused

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

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

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

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

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

 

Engage Your Audience

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

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

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

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

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

 

social media for smes

 

Be Responsive

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Huawei Mate 30 Phones Launch Without Google Apps

This photo was taken from bbc.co.uk

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

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

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

Google Search Introduces 'Key Moments' For Videos in Search

This picture was taken from searchengineland.com

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

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

iOS 13.0 is Here

This photo was taken from theverge.com

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

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

Amazon To Order 100,000 Electric Delivery Vans

This photo was taken from theverge.com

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

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

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

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

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

 

Apple Reveals New Products at 2019 Event 

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

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

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

(Image: Apple)

 

Google to treat nofollow links as 'hints'

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

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

 

(Image: Google)

 

Spotify now lets you share music to Snapchat

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

seo basics, seo for bloggers

 

SEO for Bloggers

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

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

 

Need for Site Speed

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

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

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

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

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

 

Beverly Hills Copy

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

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

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

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

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

 

Back-Link to the Future

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

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

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

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

 

Clash of the Titles

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

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

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

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

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

 

URL-Raiser

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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