christmas social media, social media for christmas

With December well underway and Christmas rapidly approaching like an unstoppable festive asteroid, the time to give your digital content a seasonal overhaul is overdue.

After all, you’ve probably already decorated your home with all the festive trimmings, so it’s only fair that your social media presence gets the same treatment.

But just how do you encapsulate the palpable ambience of Christmastime within the confines of a single social media page? Where to begin?! Won’t somebody think of the children?!!

Hold your horses there, fella. Take a hearty sip of eggnog and calm it down – we’ve got you covered right here.

Trim up your social media for Christmas with our five top tips for Christmas social media.

 

Tips for Christmas Social Media

Step into Christmas by stepping up your social media game this yuletide and ensure your followers have themselves a merry little Christmas experience whenever they view your page.

 

christmas social media, social media for christmas

 

Seasonal Imagery

It’s long been said that a picture is worth a thousand words so, by that rationale, a quality social media image can save you a whole lot of ad copy.

Think of your social media profile as your digital shop window. What self-respecting shop would let December come and go without decorating their storefront in festive furnishings?

Start by sprucing up your profile and cover images with a healthy dose of red and a festive font. This is an easy way to inject a bit of obvious Christmas spirit into your branding without having to completely overhaul your existing assets.

You may also want to include other Christmas visuals – such as snowflakes, baubles, holly, etc. – in your cover image to further hammer home the point with festive fervour. The Christmas flavour will provide a welcome change for regular followers while also make for a memorable first impression to new visitors.

This is also a great avenue to advertise any festive products or services you may offer. Meanwhile, this is also a good opportunity to incorporate and highlight any seasonal offers you may be running over the Christmas period.

Which brings us nicely to our next entry…

 

Festive Offers

If you’re running seasonal offers over the festive period, congratulations – you’re showing your customers that you value their business and repaying their brand loyalty at a time of the year where it counts. If not, shame on you and it may be time to rethink your festive strategy.

Christmas is a time of year where the public is expecting their brand loyalty to be rewarded with sales and cut-price goods/services. What’s more, chances are, your competitors are probably going to be doing the same, so it’s a necessity if you want to keep up.

So, assuming you are indeed running some offers over the Christmas period, where better to highlight such offers than on your corresponding social media page? Make it overtly obvious by pinning it to the top of your page and/or boosting your offer post and you can’t go wrong.

Additionally, it’s also possible to customise posts to include specific background colours and themes, which is a simple yet effective way to also get your social posts in the festive spirit. The combination of the two is a sure-fire way to get your audience’s attention.

 

Spirit of Giving

As we all know, Christmas is the time for giving, peace on earth and goodwill to all. Why not soak up the yuletide ambience and take that festive message to heart by running a Christmas competition?

With gift-giving such an integral part of the Christmas experience, it’s only fitting that your brand follows suit and play Santa Claus to one or more of your followers.

A simple yet effective way of inciting social engagement, giveaways are like a hard-working postman – they never fail to deliver.

Whether it’s the allure of an attractive prize or the simplicity of the entry process, running a social media competition at Christmas is a fool-proof tactic that will only further endear you to your audience.

 

Santa’s Workshop

A great way to humanise your brand/company while still providing some excellent and engaging content for your audience is to give your followers a peek behind the curtain at what goes on behind the scenes.

Christmastime is the perfect period to provide such insight into daily operations, as it typically entails a happier office, a joyous atmosphere and – presuming Christmas decorations are out in force – an overall scenery that looks a lot more upbeat than at other times of the year.

Whether it’s a team lunch, exchanging Secret Santa gifts or simply showing off some of the best (and worst) Christmas jumpers to pass through your office doors, why not record any festive fun you might be having in the office during this time?

It all makes for great content, showing that your company is more than just a faceless logo and one that has a very human heart at the core.

 

Yule Blog

Blogs are a great way of attracting web traffic to your site, so why not pen fresh, festive-themed blogs and share your Christmas content on social media?

Christmas-themed articles are some of the most reliable and consistent content in terms of performance during December and some of the best is that which revolves around useful tips and advice over the festive period; e.g. “How to Save Money on Your Christmas Travel”.

While it might take a little thought to get there, if you can take the overall Christmas concept and connect your goods or services to the festive period, you’re on to a winner. Once you do, pen it, publish it and share away!

Run a gardening company? How about a blog on festive garden decorations? Operating a ladder business? What about tips for hanging Christmas lights? Offering web services? Why not write a blog on Christmas social media tips… wait a minute!

 

For more advice on social media for Christmas or additional Christmas social media tips, why not drop us a line today? Call us direct on 01446 339050 or click the button below to get in touch online now.

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festive playlist, Christmas playlist, Christmas tunes, Christmas songs

 

With the calendar now well into December, it’s officially acceptable to fill your car with Christmas tunes and crank up the volume to a chassis-shaking, bell-jingling 11+.

To help you get your yuletide off to a flier, we’ve put together a festive playlist to get you in the Christmas spirit faster than Phil Mitchell at a free bar.

Chosen by the various members of DW team, this varied collection is a mixed bag of Christmas classics, festive favourites and holiday anomalies – and we mean varied…

If variety is the spice of life, consider this playlist to be a melodic lamb madras. Tuck in!

 

festive playlist, Christmas playlist, Christmas tunes, Christmas songs

 

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey

Making its debut in 1994, it’s hard to believe that Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year – all the more reason to add it your playlist and play it loud and proud!

A festive favourite for many, Miss Carey’s anthemic December tune is so popular that it even broke Spotify’s global single-day streaming record on Christmas Eve Last year, clocking up almost 11 million streams!

Festive Fact

Since its release, the song has been covered by countless artists, including everyone from Arianna Grande and Shania Twain to My Chemical Romance and Bowling for Soup.

 

“Christmas in Hollis” – Run DMC

An altogether different yet equally awesome addition to the playlist, 1987’s “Christmas in Hollis” proved that the festive airwaves are strictly reserved for radio-friendly pop music.

This tinsel-tastic track by New York rappers, Run DMC, originally appeared on a benefit album in aid of the Special Olympics. Solidifying its status as a Christmas classic, “Christmas in Hollis” even makes a memorable appearance in the opening five minutes of Die Hard – which definitely IS a Christmas film!

Festive Fact

Despite being directed by an NYU film student, the video for "Christmas in Hollis" went on to win Rolling Stone's 1987 “Best Video of the Year” award, incredibly edging out Michael Jackson's music video for “Bad” directed by Martin Scorsese.

 

“Mistletoe” – Justin Beiber

Justin Beiber traded his cap for a Christmas hat back in 2011 with this reggae-inspired holiday tune. By January 1st 2012, the track had reached an impressive 722k downloads, selling more copies in a calendar year than any previous holiday song in digital history.

Included on Beiber’s Christmas album, “Under the Mistletoe”, the song helped the album shoot straight to #1 on the Billboard 200 in the US. As a result, Beibs became the first artist to record three #1 albums before the age of 18.

Festive Fact

Prior to its official release, Beiber debuted the track live in front of over 45k screaming fans Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Stadium on October 6th. Despite the fact it was over two and a half months before Christmas, the crowd lapped it up!

 

“Things I Want” – Tenacious D and Sum 41

When it comes to warm and fuzzy Christmas songs, it’s fair to say that Tenacious D and Sum 41 are two bands that aren’t the first that spring to mind. Luckily, this tune from 2001 is neither warm nor fuzzy, instead offering breakneck festive fun in a 3-minute joyride.

Brushing aside the typical paint-by-numbers approach of seasonal song-writing, “Things I Want” is a yule-tirade of demands from Jack Black to St Nick, ranging from a time machine and a robot pelican to Pamela Anderson’s speedo top and a statue of Moby.

Festive Fact

Jack Black would return for another crack at the Christmas collaboration in 2010, teaming up with comedy actor, Jason Segel, to cover David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” mash-up.

 

“Stop the Cavalry” – Jona Lewie

Hitting the airwaves in 1980, “Stop the Cavalry” was never intended to be a Christmas song; however, the line “Wish I was at home for Christmas” led management to change course and take the festive approach.

In hindsight, Jona Lewie will be glad they did. The song has become a yuletide mainstay and, according to Lewie himself, the song’s royalties account for 50% of his annual income.

Festive Fact

Upon its release, “Stop the Cavalry” reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart. It was kept off the top spot by two reissued John Lennon tracks following his untimely death that same month.

 

“Proper Crimbo” – Bo’ Selecta

The brainchild of Leigh Francis, “Proper Crimbo” hit the airwaves almost two decades ago in 2003 and, while the cast of characters in the video may show its age, the song itself hasn’t lost any of its catchiness.

A true ear-worm in every sense, the song itself reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart back in December ’03. While it remained in the charts for nine weeks, it’s remained in our hearts ever since!

Festive Fact

Leigh Francis would return to the music charts ten years later in 2013, this time behind the legendary tasche of Keith Lemon with the fittingly titled “I Wanna Go On You”.

 

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – Brenda Lee

Despite turning 61-years-old this December 1958’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” isn’t showing any signs of age and is a firm favourite of many during the festive period.

Incredibly, Brenda Lee recorded the song when she was just 13-years-old. While the song was largely unsuccessful upon its release, it’s gone on to snowball into an absolute staple.

The track was also memorably included in 1990s Christmas classic, Home Alone, further cementing its status as a solid-gold Christmas classic.

Festive Fact

Famously covered by Kim Wilde and Mel Smith for Comic Relief in 1987, the cover version actually peaked higher than the original, reaching #3 in the UK Singles Chart to the original’s #6.

 

“Mr Hankey” – South Park

For anyone growing up in the ‘90s, South Park was a true phenomenon, blending outrageous cartoon antics with expletive-riddled adult comedy in one ridiculous package. This song is no different…

Released in 1997, “Mr Hankey, the Christmas Poo” brings a whole new meaning to the term “yule log”. Howdy ho, everybody!

Festive Fact

The following year, South Park would have another crack at the music charts with “Chocolate Salty Balls”, as sung by Chef (aka Isaac Hayes). Incredibly, Chef’s contribution went on to #1 in the UK Singles Chart in December ’98.

 

“Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues

What wintry playlist would be complete without being graced with the unmistakable opening piano notes of Shane MacGowan’s 1987 classic, “Fairytale of New York”?

A true iron-clad staple of the Christmas period, the song has endured year-after-year and has remained timeless since its debut. In fact, following its re-release in 2005, the song has made an appearance in the UK Top 20 every December since!

Festive Fact

MacGowan, himself actually born on Christmas Day, apparently wrote the song as part of a bet with Elvis Costello. It’s fair to say that MacGowan probably won that bet and has been laughing all the way to the bank every Christmas since!

 

“Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” – The Darkness

Rounding out the list in style is 2003’s the crotch-hugging, lycra-clad classic from The Darkness. Filled with trademark falsetto singing, outrageous outfits and face-melting guitar solos, it’s everything you could want it to be and more.

Channelling the festive tunes of ‘70s glam-rockers Slade and Wizzard, Justin Hawkins and Co. go all out in their festive foray into snowy song-writing with more cheeky lyrics than your average track from The Cheeky Girls. A true Christmas crowd-pleaser!

Festive Fact

Despite being hotly-tipped to be Christmas #1, “Christmas Time” by The Darkness was pipped at the post by a depressing cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” by Gary Jules. According to Music Week, they were beaten by just 5k copies.

 

 

So, there you have it – 10 festive favourites from the DW team to help you get in the Christmas mood and kickstart your own Christmas playlist. Merry Christmas from everyone here at Designer Websites!

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If you are in charge of a Facebook page, at the helm of an Instagram account or managing a Twitter profile for your business, you are probably already acquainted with the ins and outs of social media.

Likewise, sitting behind the wheel of a company’s social media will mean you are also probably well-acquainted with the cocktail of frustrations that come with it, accompanied by a seemingly endless “happy hour” of headaches.

From fluctuating engagement figures and inexplicable unfollows to negative comments and spam, the various vexations of social media management can be a common complaint for anyone looking to bolster their brand’s social standing.

In order to help lighten the load and improve your social standing, picking your spots is a key factor. Read on, as we explore the best time to post on social media to ensure your posts and pages gain traction and don’t fall behind.

 

 best time to post on social media uk, post on social media for business, schedule posts on social media

 

Timing is Everything

Social media can be a harsh mistress that’s also high maintenance. Constantly changing and ever-evolving, the online realm of digital networking can be a tough beast to tame.

However, with that being said, there are certain behaviours and user patterns that have helped identify the best times to post on social media (at least in theory).

To help you get a handle on your social media struggles, here are a few tips on when to post to get the highest engagement and garner the most eyeballs.

 

best time to post on social media uk, post on social media for business, schedule posts on social media

 

Time is Money

If you’re posting on social media for business purposes, it’s logical to engage with your following when most people are going to be available to see your posts and interact with them.

Naturally, posting at 03:00 a.m. will probably not see too good of a return, so don’t be surprised if such a post falls short like Homer Simpson at Springfield Gorge.

So, when are most people free to interact? Let’s find out…

 

Let’s Do Lunch

During office hours, a post nestled neatly in the middle of the working day to coincide with lunchtimes is a smart choice.

Many of us turn to our phones as a means of distraction during our lunch hours, whether its to catch up with the world, interact with friends or simply distance ourselves from the morning workload.

As such, a well-timed post that arrives during the hours of 11:00 and 14:00 to cover the varied lunchtime window can increase your likelihood of success dramatically.

This interval covers a wide margin of lunchtime windows, including those who take an early lunch and those who leave it late; however, it’s better to post earlier and cover the whole spectrum than leave it late and risk missing part of your demo.

 

Evening All

Outside of lunchtime, the next logical part of the day where people are free to relax, unwind and scroll aimlessly through reams and reams of social media posts is, of course, the evening.

With work in the rear-view mirror, the brief reprieve of the post-work downtime provides the working Brit with a few hours respite and the social media manager with a prime posting window.

For the clocking-off commuters, anywhere after 17:00 is a good place to start catching those idle thumbs during a home-bound public transport journey.

Meanwhile, catching your audience at home later in the evening when they are likely to be actively seeking entertainment is another great way to reach your audience.

Engagement figures tend to taper off as the night wears on so try to keep your evening post between the hours of 17:00 and 20:00.

 

All in a Day's Work

As for the best days to post, the midweek frequently records the highest engagement figures and Wednesday in particular commonly emerges as a standout day.

Additionally, Sunday is also a prime candidate for pinnacle posting performance. The so-called day of rest, sees many of us reach for our phones in search of boredom avoidance.

Meanwhile, those that have made the most of their Saturdays will be looking to recover on the Sunday with a schedule to suit

For a lot of Brits, the road to recovery means lazing around scrolling through social media. Make the most of this social media upswing by scheduling your post to coincide.

  

best time to post on social media uk, post on social media for business, schedule posts on social media

 

Trial and Error

While the above info is a great base to build upon in terms of social media engagement, it’s important to remember that this info is merely a guide and not an exact science.

The truth is, there is no hard and fast rule to social media posting and engagement figures can be dependent on a whole host of factors, from the quality of the post to the content of the media you attach.

Even a quick Google search on optimal social media times will spit back a mixed bag of results, at times featuring completely contradictory advice from what you read elsewhere.

As such, the best way to approach social media posting is with a trial and error mindset. Keep track of your posts, interpret the results and find out what works for you and your business.

 

Know Your Audience

When you’re scheduling your social media posts, try to bear in mind your target audience and think about their work patterns and living habits. This can have a big effect on engagement figures.

For example, a brand that targets stay-at-home mums is likely to have a drastically different posting schedule than a page that’s aimed at an audience that works 9-5.

While it may seem obvious, you should time your posts to coincide with periods when your audience is likely to be online in order to ensure your posts reach the most people, get the most exposure and achieve the most engagement.

The better you know your audience, the better you can cater to their needs and adjust your content and posting times accordingly. Do your homework and get inside the mind of your target demo and you won’t go far wrong.

 

For more social media tips or to enquire about the social media marketing services on offer here 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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blog ideas, content ideas

 

For bloggers and online content providers, originality is the perfect way to attract visitors, engage your audience and keep the hits coming.

Unfortunately, creating original content on a continuous basis is a big ask and maintaining a cycle of fresh blogs week after week after week can be a tough slog for anyone.

Even the brightest of marketing sparks can hit the ideas wall from time to time, especially if the site in question has been producing content for a considerable amount of time.

So, how do you overcome this hurdle? We’re glad you asked!

Join us as we dive into the open waters of blog generation and explore some of the most effective ways to generate fresh blog content.

 

 

Brainstorming

The first port of call for any marketing mind running low on inspiration, a group brainstorming session can be just the impetus needed to reinvigorate your blog with fresh ideas.

As the old saying goes, many hands make light work and that is very much applicable to blog content. After all, two heads are better than one (although too many clichés spoil the broth).

Clichés notwithstanding, the fact remains: opening up the floor to the rest of the team and spitballing ideas with your colleagues can result in pure gold.

A new perspective can be just the spark you need to reignite your creative embers and not only keep your content fire burning but once again set it ablaze.

 

Straight to the Source

As simple as it sounds, what better way to get a handle on what your audience really wants than by asking them outright?

Consumer feedback is a great way to gain first-hand insight into what your target demographic likes and dislikes in a clear and concise manner.

Surveys, polls and social media monitoring are all excellent ways to get a handle on exactly what your audience is interested in and what they want to see more of.

To ensure a higher response rate from your audience, you may want to incentivise such an activity by incorporating a prize element to further grease the participatory wheels.

Meanwhile, it’s also worth noting that people are far more likely to be brutally honest in their feedback if they feel it can be done in a nameless, faceless fashion.

Providing your audience with a means of delivering their opinions in an anonymous manner could help ensure that such feedback remains uncut, uncensored and unrestricted – warts and all.

 

Explore Comments

As mentioned in the previous section, social media is a great window into the minds of your audience; however, you don’t even need to run a poll or survey to gain that feedback.

Simply exploring the comments section of your social media posts can be a great way to inspire blog content for the future.

Similarly, a post that has gained significant traction on your social media channels and recorded sizeable engagement figures is a bright neon sign of public interest.

Expanding on a popular post to incorporate its subject matter into a blog can be a simple yet effective way of providing content that’s sure to appeal to your audience.

 

Past Blogs

Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” However, in the case of blog content, historical repetition isn’t always a bad thing…

Retracing old ground by providing an updated version of old blog entries can be a great way to breathe life into a particular topic and provide new content at the same time.

For example, if you run a fashion blog and your “Fashion Tips for Summer 2019” had more hits than Mike Tyson’s punch bag, there’s nothing wrong with revisiting this topic with a blog on “Fashion Tips for Summer 2020”.

Naturally, this method is primarily useful for blogs that have previously performed well; there’s no use in revisiting an old blog that tanked. Meanwhile, it also tends to work better for blogs that are date specific.

 

Expand on Subheadings

As seen in the entry above, revisiting old content isn’t a sin punishable by digital exile and banishment to the realm of forgotten bloggers.

In fact, past blogs can provide more than just singular blog-spiration, they can provide a portal to a whole world of content – if you know where to look.

Subheadings (such as H2s and H3s) included in previous blogs can provide serious food for thought when viewed in isolation, with enough meat on the bone to feed an entire blog of its own.

For example, a blog titled “Tips for Starting a New Job” may include a section on appropriate work attire. That subject alone has legs to run on its own, so why not explore it further with a blog on “Dressing for Success in the Workplace”?

If you can gain inspiration for at least one blog topic from every old blog, you’ll soon have yourself a sizeable list of ideas that can help fuel your content calendar long into the distant future.

 

For more content writing tips and blog advice or to enquire about our own content marketing and copywriting services, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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Whether you run an SME or a large, multi-site business, when it comes to public interaction and brand awareness, a solid social media presence is undoubtedly a must.

That being said, content saturation has made it increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd and it’s all too easy for a post or blog to become buried and lost in the shuffle.

As a result, providing useful, interesting and topical content for your audience has never been more vital.

So, how do you make your content break away from the pack and stand tall? With a social media calendar, of course!

 

social media calendar

 

Cold, Hard Stats

The Digital 2019 report from social media superheroes WeAreSocial and Hootsuite reports that there are just under 3.5 billion active social media users across the globe.

To put that into context, there are estimated to be 7.7 billion people in the whole world, meaning almost half the entire Earth’s population is actively on social media.

From a domestic perspective, the Office of National Statistics notes that 71% of adult women in the UK use social media, while 64% of adult men are also said to do the same.

Together, the collective figure for social media users in the UK is said to be 67%, equating to an impressive 45 million social media users in total.

Needless to say, if your social media game isn’t up to scratch, you’re doing your business a serious disservice. Luckily, that’s where we come in!

 

Do Your Homework

Imagine a greetings card company overlooking Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to market their goods or run a promotion – wouldn’t happen. Similarly, such an instance shouldn’t happen to you and your business.

When creating a social media calendar, it’s important to identify any dates that are relevant to your business and your target demographic. Think of the audience you are catering for; their likes, dislikes, wants and needs; and the kind of content that would appeal to them.

Run a fancy-dress shop? Miss Halloween at your peril. Do you own a curry house? National Curry Week should be etched in stone. Manage an Irish bar? You better have St Patrick’s Day tattooed to your soul!

 

Get Ahead of the Curve

Once you’ve identified the key dates that are relevant and applicable to your business, it’s time to fasten those thinking caps on firmly and get to work with creating ideas on what to post.

A last-minute rush job is easy to spot from a country mile away and, at times, can be toe-curlingly obvious for all to see. As such, planning what to post on your page can be just as important as knowing the suitable dates that speak to your business.

Think logically about what your business offers, which associated events will appeal to your audience and create something helpful, entertaining or engaging around it to pique interest and further elevate your standing with your followers.

 

Consistent Content Schedule

In addition to the key dates in your calendar, it’s important to prop these dates up with consistent content around it. Don’t just wait for National Pizza Day to post about your pizza place, provide regular content year-round to keep your followers engaged and maintain their fandom.

Regimented posting is important in not only retaining followers but also conveying legitimacy. A brand that posts sporadically at random intervals can come across as amateur and be detrimental to your page, as well as creating an equally negative impression for your brand.

Meanwhile, a prolonged drought in content can also give the negative impression that the business/page is no longer active and in operation. Naturally, this can have a particularly damning effect on your business as a result, so avoid prolonged radio silence at all costs.

 

Two Heads Are Better Than One

When it comes to supplying engaging output for your social media channels, creating content gold on your own can be an extremely tough task, particularly if you plan on providing content on a continuous and recurring basis.

The pressure to provide quality output can also have a detrimental impact on the frequency and slow down the overall process. As such, this is one area where communication can be the difference-maker and welcoming outside suggestions can increase your chances of content alchemy tenfold.

Brainstorming is a great way to spit-ball ideas with fellow staff and build on any thoughts you or your colleagues may have. A single seed planted by one person can quickly germinate into a whole tree of content when you open it up to the floor, so don’t be afraid to ask for outside input.

 

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

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

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

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

 

video content for business, video content ideas

 

Typical Video Content for Businesses

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

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

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

 

Helpful Tips/Tutorials

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

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

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

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

 

Expert Interviews 

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

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

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

 

Behind the Scenes

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

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

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

 

Product Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

 

How It’s Made

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

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

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

 

video content for business, video content ideas

Video Content Ideas

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

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

 

Product Reveals

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

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

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

 

Teaser Videos

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

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

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

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

 

Competitions

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

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

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

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

 

Promotional Activities

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

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

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

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

 

Team Building

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

outdated seo, seo techniques

 

Exact-Match Domains (EMDs)

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

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

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

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

 

Exact-Match Anchor Text

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dedicated Pages for Keyword Variations

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

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

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

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

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

 

Writing for Bots

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Irrelevant Links

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

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

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

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

 

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

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When it comes to keeping your finger on the pulse, there are certain facts about SEO that every business manager should know.

SEO is hugely important when it comes to a company’s digital performance and plays a massive role in ensuring a business' online presence is exactly where it should be.

Don’t let your business become MIA. Become a SERP VIP with this handy rundown of SEO facts every business manager should know.

 

seo facts, facts about seo 

 

Key SEO Facts

The world of SEO can be a complex one to navigate, particularly if you aren’t necessarily an expert in the field. Luckily, you don’t need to understand the intricacies of SEO to make it in the world of business, but it does help to know the basics.

If you’re a business manager looking to sharpen your SEO skills, here are a few key pointers that are well worth keeping in your mental back pocket for a rainy day.

  

Quality Matters

While content may indeed be king, it is definitely possible to have too much of a good thing. Churning out content can risk a dip in quality, watering down the overall effectiveness as a result.

In addition to ranking higher in search engines, quality content can strengthen customer relationships greatly, leading your followers to actively seek out your posts.

Conversely, poor quality content can have the opposite effect and put people off, sometimes damaging customer relationships irreparably. As such, it’s important to exercise quality over quantity.

Some of the best content often tends to be evergreen, unique and authoritative, which can, in turn, open your site up to a world of in-roads from elsewhere. Which leads us nicely into our second point…

 

Link Building

Creating original, authoritative content that provides a unique, informed perspective can attract other content providers to link back to you as a source. This will give your site more credibility in the eyes of Google and allow you to rank higher in the SERP as a result.

Similarly, developing relationships with other sites for mutual linking purposes can prove to be extremely beneficial, providing much of the same results. Like any business, synergistic relationships are a key to success and SEO links are no different.

Think of your site as a restaurant: the more recommendations you get from customers, peers and industry stalwarts, the better your reputation is and the more trusted and established successful your brand becomes as a result.

 

Internal Links

In addition to external links, linking internally to other pages within your own site can also be a great way to improve site traffic and secure conversions.

Wowing your patron with a stunning steak dinner only to direct them to the pancake house across the street for dessert makes no business sense. The same principle can be applied to web links.

If you’ve hooked your visitor with the content on one page, they’re far more likely to visit another page on your site. Strengthen that relationship with internal links to other relevant topics of interest to make the most of your audience while you have their attention.

 

Everything in Moderation

While it may seem logical to implant relevant SEO keywords wherever possible to enhance your Google rankings for that term, you might want to rethink that strategy.

It is possible to oversaturate your site with keywords and make your site too keyword heavy. This is commonly known as keyword stuffing – a black-hat SEO technique that’s a Google no-no.

Cramming each page with SEO terms and keywords not only seems spammy to Google but can also leave the content almost unreadable to the user. Remember, nobody wants to be force-fed spam, no matter how it’s served up.

Keep your keyword placement natural and logical. If you have a feeling your text may sound a little spammy, read it back and see for yourself. If it passes the self-read test, you’re probably in the clear.

 

The Bigger Picture

While images may look great and act as an eye-catching way of grabbing the reader’s attention, the pictures themselves have no bearing on SEO.

Search engines only monitor the text present on the page, making the content of the images largely irrelevant from an SEO POV. Even if your image contains text – e.g. a banner image containing all of your relevant keywords – Google’s bots won’t be able to detect them.

However, that being said, the ALT tags used in the back-end allow you to remedy this issue. Make good use of the image ALT tags by using them to describe the image, including relevant keywords where possible.

 

Get Mobile

Smartphones have changed the world in terms of how we live our daily lives. From information and social interaction to shopping and entertainment, the power is quite literally in the palms of our hands.

More and more of us are using phones and tablets as a web browsing tool, with many preferring it to the traditional method of a laptop or desktop computer.

As such, incorporating mobile-friendly functionality to your online presence is a must and disregarding such an approach is virtual insanity.

Ensure your site has a responsive design that’s optimised for mobile use and capable of being used by someone searching online using their phone.

 

Analyse This

Einstein is believed to have once said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.

If you continue to plough on with your existing SEO tactics without identifying whether or not your efforts are successful, you can expect more of the same with little or no improvement. Worse still, misinterpretation of results can have an actively negative effect on performance.

If knowledge is power then lack of knowledge can leave you weak and vulnerable. As such, accurate analysis of SEO tactics is vital when it comes to maximising performance and incorporating necessary changes.

The ability to know when you just don’t know can also be a great trait to have. If SEO isn’t your cup of tea, hiring an SEO expert can be a smart move.  After all, understanding is one thing, implementing can be an entirely different ball game.

 

 

So, there you have it, seven magnificent SEO facts every business manager should know, laid out in all their glory. Now you’re up to speed, there really is no excuse for falling behind with linkless, immobile content that’s overflowing with keywords and empty ALT tags – you’ve been warned!

 

That being said, if you’re interested in learning more SEO tips or would like to find out more about the SEO services we offer at Designer Websites, why not give us a call today? Drop us a line on 01446 339050 or click the link below to get in touch online.

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Part of the ever-expanding Greensquares family, DeckPlus is the newest brand to hit the UK composite decking market.

Offering a wide selection of decking products – ranging from premium, capped composite decking to affordable, eco-friendly hollow deck boards – the company were looking to create a fresh site that reflected this exciting new brand.

After laying down the gauntlet to our web designers, we quickly got to work creating a fresh, new site for his fresh, new brand.

 

 

web design, web designers, SEO experts

 

A One-Stop-Shop

Combining their existing TimberTech products with their all-new DeckPlus branded boards, the desired outcome of the project was conceptualised as an online amalgamation of decking solutions, providing the ultimate one-stop-shop for decking design.

The result was DeckPlus.co.uk – a true home for all things composite decking.

The DeckPlus website provides a welcome online home for the DeckPlus brand, while also acting as a worthy second-home for the company’s TimberTech range, in addition to the pre-existing TimberTech site.

 

A Modern Site for Modern Products

As part of the brief, we were asked to provide DeckPlus with a site that reflects their modern products.

Our team of expert designers were more than capable of living up to the challenge and were eager to create a site that accurately reflects the new brand’s contemporary flair, while also providing the necessary capabilities of an effective decking site.

Logically laid out in a prioritised order, each webpage is packed with all the user-friendly functionality you would expect from a professional site, blending helpful information with simple processes and easy navigation.

Topped off with a clean, crisp oceanic colour scheme, the aesthetic appearance of the site is modern yet inherently easy on the eye, with an occasional infusion of orange-brown as a tip of the cap to the company logo.

 

User-Friendly Functionality

From a functionality standpoint, we created an uncomplicated layout that provides seamless usability on all devices, working just as well on a mobile or tablet as it does on a laptop or desktop.

For further ease of use, the site is specifically designed to allow you to refine your decking search by a variety of chosen criteria: from colour and price to decking type and product range.

What’s more, the simple navigation bar positioned at the top of each page allows you to effortlessly transition from one page to the next, without the hassle or fuss of searching high and low for the relevant tab.

The site also features a company blog page to keep users up to date with all the latest goings-on in the company, as well as the wonderful world of outdoor decking.

 

Optimised Web Copy

DeckPlus offers a myriad of stunning designs and a variety of decking materials at a range of prices to suit all budgets. As a result, the site houses a vast online catalogue of these products and sub-categories, all requiring unique copy for each and every page.

This necessitated bespoke web copy for the entire site. Each page needed captivating copy that still included the all-important fundamentals: the essential top-line information, supplementing by the detailed nitty-gritty, before rounding off with the bottom line of price.

Meanwhile, each page was also painstakingly optimised by our SEO experts to give the site a running start when it was made live. This has helped to ensure the correct pages rank for the relevant industry terms and product descriptors in the search engine results, ultimately boosting the likelihood of conversions.

 

For more information on our web design and copywriting services, why not get in touch today? Call now on 01446 339050 or click the button below to get a quote online now.

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It’s long been said that “content is king” in the modern world of online marketing. It’s no secret – Bill Gates famously made that statement way back in 1996.

Since then, it’s become a facepalm-inducing catchphrase for high-ranking bigwigs the world over, right up there with other classic business BS like “low-hanging fruit”, “moving the needle” and “peeling the onion”.

However, unlike the needle-moving, onion-peeling fruit-grabbers of the world, the “content is king” mantra is actually backed by some pretty solid substance.

Quality content that’s both informative and engaging is a winner on all levels: increasing leads, enhancing brand awareness and strengthening customer relationships, ultimately boosting revenue as a result.

That being said, if content is king, then quality writers are akin to royal advisors, entrusted with providing the king with a healthy supply of quality insight, accurate information and razor-sharp wit.

However, quality writers are hard to find – especially ones that are more gooder!

As such, companies often take one of two routes: hiring in-house writers or drafting in external ringers through outsourcing. Both offer their own pros and cons, but which is better?

 

sourcing content,in house content,outsourcing content 

 

Differences Between In-House and Outsourcing

While both options ultimately offer the same end-result, the fundamental difference between the two is as follows.

Outsourcing involves hiring a third-party that’s independent of the business to provide content for your company. Meanwhile, in-house production (aka insourcing) involves a dedicated team or specified individuals on staff who are assigned to the task of writing content.

Depending on your company’s approach to content marketing, you may be more familiar with one than the other; however, it’s well worth getting acquainted with both. You never know when you may need to flip the script and rely on the road less travelled.

 

Benefits of In-House Content

 Perhaps the biggest benefit of having an on-site team of content staff is their loyalty and connection to the company. An employed team of contributors that are a genuine part of the brand will likely care far more about the company than a team of non-partisan outsiders.

This affinity for the brand often results in a relationship that’s inimitable in an agency setting, leading the workers to be more motivated to positively contribute as a result. This contribution can also be incentivised further by the possibility of rewards, bonuses or even potential promotion.

Meanwhile, a team of on-site staff will also have an in-depth knowledge of your company goals, values and services, effectively streamlining the whole content creating process – from briefing to proofing – while also providing a better level of content contextualisation.

Additionally, a team of on-site workers will answer to one boss and be both governable and supervised, undistracted by other clients’ demands and deadlines. If you need some content done by a certain time, no other tasks will take precedent over yours.

That being said, hiring staff that are inexperienced or underqualified in the pursuit of saving money can be a fruitless labour that does more damage than good. If you are going to invest in an in-house team, don’t cut corners and hire the best candidate, not the cheapest.

 

Benefits of Outsourcing Content

While in-house content can be great for familiarity, outsourcing can be the perfect way to provide a fresh perspective from someone outside of the office bubble. This can often result in new and exciting ideas, a novel approach and a fresh tone of voice that is both engaging and notably different from an in-house team.

Meanwhile, outsourcing also provides you with a team of widely experienced professionals that don’t need any training, coaching or development. From a budgetary POV, this can be extremely useful; not only does it give you access to an entire team of on-demand professionals but it also allows you to fluctuate the workload depending on budget constraints.

Speaking of budget, outsourcing can also be a great option for those companies working to tighter purse strings, that may not have the financial resources to hire full-time content staff. Meanwhile, some businesses may not require such a high volume of content to necessitate a dedicated staff member or team, making outsourcing a cost-effective alternative.

However, while it can be more financially beneficial for businesses that don’t require a high-frequency of work, the phrase “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys” is also very applicable here. While it’s always important not to overpay, content writing is very much a business where you get what you pay for and this is one area you won’t want to penny-pinch.

 

Best of Both Worlds

Even if you do opt for the in-house approach, you may find yourself in a situation where additional workload, unforeseen tasks and looming deadlines can see you snowed under in no time. Should this be the case, outsourcing can be a great safety net to have.

A blended approach can be extremely useful, offering the best of both worlds. As such, it may be worth having a trustworthy source in mind for third-party content, should busy periods warrant an extra pair of hands.

What’s more, a cocktail of in-house/outsourced content can be a truly symbiotic relationship that serves to boost both methods. External content can motivate in-house staff and vice versa, creating a healthy competition of sorts.

After all, as they say, you’re only as good as your competition and it’s a lot easier to run fast when you’re being chased. Creating an environment where you’re not restricted to one option can be the perfect sweet spot for a thriving creative environment.

 

For more information on content sourcing or content services from 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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