It's the end of another busy week for us here at Designer Websites, and it looks like the rest of the tech and marketing world have been up to their eyeballs too! Once again there are a bunch of things on our radar that we'd love to share with you this week; from a double resignation at Google to 2020 website preparations. Intrigued? Just keep reading...

Photo from https://www.theverge.com/

Spotify Wrapped Takes the Internet by Storm

If you've ventured on social media anytime this week you might have seen images like this popping up all over the place. Well, that's because we've come around to the Spotify wrapped time of year, where listeners get an in-depth overview of their musical habits. That's right, those guilty pleasures and Disney-sing-alongs and Karaoke classics are about to be showcased for all to see! This year, Spotify has made their roundups social media-friendly, much to the disappointment of Apple Music users, who haven't been treated to these luxuries!

Google Co-Founders Step Down

It looks like some big changes to the Google management structure are beginning to take shape. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, currently CEO and President of Alphabet, are to step aside leaving Google CEO Sundar Pichai to take the reigns for Alphabet too. They've said they will remain in the company as active shareholders and board members!

Freshen Up Your SEO Strategy

The year is coming to a close and we're starting to see reminders that now is a great time for reflecting and adjusting your SEO strategy. 

If you've been focusing on building engagement on socials, writing engaging blogs or optimising your site content, it might be time to switch things up a bit! Why not dedicate some time to build some valuable backlinks, or pursue adding eye-catching video content to your site?

Start to plan your business goals for 2020 and consider how you can tweak your current strategy to suit them! Our SEO team always recommend at this time of year is a dose of healthy competitor analysis.

Take a look around competitor sites, find out what they've been doing, who's linking to them and make sure you haven't missed an opportunity to reach new audiences. You might notice your competitors holding festive competitions at this time of year, which is something your audience can really share and engage with!

Here are a few pointers to help you refresh your SEO strategy:

  • Check your existing site content and add extra information where you can. This will give returning users a little extra to read!
  • Consider adding videos to your marketing plan, a splash of eye-catching multimedia can really boost engagement
  • Build your social media following. Have you tried a Facebook boosted post this year?
  • Review your internal links and consider adding new ones, this will help Google better understand the layout of your site and potentially boost rankings!

These are just a few ideas to get you started, keep checking back to see our helpful SEO based blogs throughout the year. We'll see you next week for another DW roundup. Have a lovely weekend!

 

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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Yet another week has gone by and yet again... lots has happened! Here's our weekly round-up of the latest and greatest marketing and tech news of the week. 

Instagram's hidden likes

If you haven't already heard, Instagram is rolling out a new feature in the hope of making Instagram a more mentally friendly place! The new change means users won't be able to see the total number of likes on each other's posts. This is all part of Instagram's movement towards de-incentivising the platform.

At the moment, Instagram is testing this feature so we're yet to see what kind of impact this will have. Instagram reports that feedback has been good so far though, so watch this space!

Google tests a new feature that corrects your pronunciation

It was announced this week that Google plans to launch a new feature to help people check and correct their pronunciation of new and unfamiliar words. All you'll need to do is speak into your microphone, then, Google will use its AI technology to analyse your pronunciation and provide helpful feedback. Perfect for people learning a new language!

Search Console training series

For digital marketers looking to brush up their Search Console knowledge, Google is planning to release a new series of videos to walk you through the platform step by step. We know that Google has (and is continuing to make) some pretty significant changes to the format and features of Search Console, so this will be really beneficial for marketers everywhere.

So far, we can only see the trailer... but we'll definitely be checking back to watch the episodes as Google starts to roll them out!

Exciting tech releases

It's no surprise that with Christmas quickly approaching, big tech companies are rolling out new and attractive tech an alarming rate! This week alone, Apple released a new 16-inch MacBook Pro, Motorola released a new Razr (which looks deceivingly like the original model we all know and love), and Disney+ launched.

That's right, you can now find hundreds of Disney TV shows and films all in one place... 

So, if like us, you're going to spend the entire weekend binge-watching Disney movies then we'll see you next week for another round-up!

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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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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Welcome to the latest instalment of our weekly DW Roundup blog, where we catch up on all of the latest and greatest news from around the tech world! It's been a busy week this week in terms of news and announcements, so let's get straight into it...

Google adds bulk review management to GMB listings 

In an attempt to help businesses save time, Google has added a new feature to Google My Business, which allows a business that has multiple listings to see their reviews on one single page. This can be seen by visiting the reviews section at https://business.google.com/reviews. The announcement given by Google is as follows; "Businesses can view reviews for multiple listings at once. With bulk reviews, you’ll be able to view, reply to, and flag reviews for multiple listings from one place.”

This is a very useful update for businesses that manage more than one location or listing. This allows you to quickly view all of the reviews under your GMB account, without the need of clicking into each individual listing to see its reviews. 

 

Twitter testing feature that allows users to follow topics of interest

Shortly, Twitter will allow its users to follow interests, the same way they would follow accounts. When the new feature goes live, users will be able to follow specific topics such as television shows, sports teams and celebrities, with a selection of tweets about the topic inserted alongside tweets in the timeline. 

Topics will be curated by Twitter, with tweets being identified through machine learning rather than editorial curation. For now, only sports-related interests can be followed by users. This feature represents Twitter's attempt to help users find the best content on the platform even if they don't know which accounts to follow. Users will also be able to mute topics that they do not wish to follow (perfect for avoiding spoilers for your favourite tv show). Other features that Twitter plans to incorporate include searchable DM's, the ability to re-order photos in a tweet after they've been attached and support for Apple's Live Photos.

 

Instagram face filters now available for everyone

The tool used by Facebook to create augmented reality effects, Spark AR, is now open for anyone who wishes to make custom face filters and other effects for Instagram Stories. The tool was previously limited to just approved creators, but the latest update allows anyone to create and upload their AR filters to Instagram. This has led to Instagram adding an Effect Gallery tab on artists' profiles, allowing them to display their creations to other users.

(Image: www.theverge.com)

 

Google shares more details on its recent indexing issues 

Over the past few months, Google has experienced several issues with indexing. Whether it's new context not getting indexed, or old content being dropped as a result of part of the index being lost. All of this has led to Google releasing a blog post, discussing their indexing problems, how it fixed them and the lessons it has learnt.

Going forward, Google has stated three key decisions it has made for communicating about indexing issues:

  1. Explore more ways to quickly share information within Search Console about widespread bugs and have that information serve as the main point of reference for webmasters to check.
  2. Post more promptly to Search Console data anomalies page. 
  3. Continue to tweet as quickly as possible about issues to quickly reassure webmasters Google are aware and that the issue in on their end.

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

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Welcome to the second instalment of our weekly DW Roundup! For those of you that didn't see our previous Roundup, this is a weekly blog post that you can follow every Friday to find out the latest and greatest news in the digital marketing, PPC, SEO and tech worlds. So, what's been happening this week? Let's find out. 

Hotel Reservations and AR Navigation Coming to Google Maps

If you're someone who loves to travel then this announcement is sure to excite you! Google Maps is starting to roll out new features that allow you to book your flights & hotel reservations directly through the Google Maps app. Store all of your information in one,  easy-to-access platform so that you're not fiddling between apps as you check-in at the airport or head to your hotel.

The reservations tab will show you all the information about your upcoming reservations and can even be accessed while you're offline! Incredibly handy if, for example,  you want to check your hotel reservation details while you're on your flight.

(Image from searchengineland.com)

As if this wasn't cool enough, Google is also bringing the beta version of their augmented reality walking navigation feature "Live View" to Android and IOS devices. If your phone supports ARCore or ARkit software then keep your eyes peeled for this! The arrows and directions are laid directly over your view of the real world, making it even easier than ever to find your way. 

Search Marketing is Becoming More 'Human'

According to PPC expert, Mark Irvine,  digital marketers should be working towards a more real-time marketing strategy. What does this mean? Irvine explained by demonstrating the effects of trending on Twitter: 

(A slide from Irvine's SMX presentation, found on searchengineland.com)

As you can see, within one hour of trending on Twitter, Google searches had doubled and after 6 hours they'd increased fivefold. Irvine makes a strong argument suggesting that users 'discover on socials and search on Google'. Based on Irvine's findings, he suggests that after years of perfecting page copy and posting perfect images across social media, perhaps a more human-to-human approach is better. This means we should be keeping up to date with social trends and customer insights more than ever!

Google Had Indexing Issues

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Google was having indexing problems that meant new content wasn't being shown in search results. This was most noticeable in news results, where no amount of refreshing was pulling recent stories through. Articles were stunted at around 3 am Thursday morning. Luckily, Google confirmed that they'd resolved this problem, so all of your new content should be indexed as normal! Hooray!

To keep up with further news and updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow us on Twitter and check back next week!

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Each year, Google hosts its I/O keynote event where they share their upcoming innovative hardware and software updates with the world. This year, the keynote was held at the Shoreline Amphitheatre of Mountain View, California and yet again, Google unveiled a whole host of changes and updates across their product line and operating systems.

Introduction  

The event kicked off with speaker Sundar Pichai reiterating Google’s mission to ‘organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ and how this translates into what Google does and what they’re trying to do. He mentions that Google has transformed from a company that helps with finances to a company that ‘helps you get things done’, and how they are achieving this new rhetoric with the help of their new products and services. Sundar moves on to say that building a more helpful Google starts with search, the core aspect of Google, and demonstrates some of the changes coming to search, starting with more detailed news and podcast results. Sundar claims that what’s most helpful and understanding in the world is ‘visual information’, which leads onto the first major highlight of the event!

Visual information – AR in search

The first innovative feature shown off was the inclusion of augmented reality right into search results. Now, you can get 3D models within search results that can be brought into the real world with the help of your device’s camera. Google’s AR and Google Lens VP Aparna Chennapragada demonstrated the new feature to watching crowd where she brought to life a human muscle, a pair of shoes and a terrifying great white shark! These 3D models aren’t just to play with however, they can be used to help with shopping (seeing how a pair of shoes look with a particular outfit), or with education (seeing how a certain muscle flexes and extends). Google has partnered up with many organisations such as NASA and New Balance to integrate these AR images into your results.

A smarter Google Lens

Google Lens is the AI assistant that works with your smartphone camera provide users with ‘visual answers to visual questions.’ Google has made improvements to the Google Lens so that it can now leverage Google’s extensive amount of data to help you choose what to eat at a restaurant for example, simply by pointing your smartphone’s camera at the menu. Here, Google Lens will display the most popular dishes, images of what they look like and customer reviews. It can even help with splitting the bill! Further demonstrations are shown in the integration of Google Lens with Translate. Here, Aparna demonstrates how Google Lens can help with translations of unfamiliar text with providing not just text translations but with audio, highlighting each word as it’s read out to give you more context on what the text means.

Assistant becomes more helpful

Thanks to developments within recurrent neural networks, Google has been able to create new speech recognition and language understanding models to make Assistant perform locally on your smartphone. This has resulted in speech procession at near zero latency and transcription in real time, even completely offline. The new and improved Assistant will now understand your questions and queries and provide you with answers up to 10-times faster. Multitasking across several apps is now possible with Continued Conversation, where you can make a number of requests in a row without the need to say “Hey Google” every time. The Assistant will now use what it learns about you to better understand the context of what you say and offer more personalised suggestions as it learns your daily routine and preferences in entertainment, style and food. A new ‘Driving Mode’ will also provide hands-free assistance when you’re navigating the roads with Maps or Waze.

Duplex can now use the Internet

Google introduced Duplex to the world last year in extraordinary fashion, in which Google Assistant was able to make phone calls for you to perform services like book a table at a restaurant or a hair appointment. This year, Google announced that Duplex has learned to use the Internet! Demonstrated on stage where we see Assistant book a rental car, Duplex will filter through the booking site, entering all of your details as it navigates – there goes the ‘I am not a robot’ defence!

Auto-delete Google’s data collection

With the recent hysteria and spotlight over privacy and data, Google has made an attempt to curb the user’s worries by allowing them to micro-manage what data Google holds. Coming in the not so distant future to Location History and Web & App Activity is the new ability to select a time limit for how long you want your activity data to be saved (3-18 months) and any data older than the selected time will be automatically deleted from your account.

New low-budget Pixels

Despite the popularity of the Google Pixel range, Google realised that the pure Android smartphones ended up being priced above the affordable levels that made so many customers fall in love with the Nexus phones many years ago. As a result, Google is going back to its Nexus roots with new low budget Pixel devices. In addition to the new devices, Pixel owners will also benefit from the new features such as the anticipated AR directions in Google Maps, robocall screening and enhanced battery life.

Google Home and Nest combine

One of the final announcements of the event saw the introduction of the new Google Nest device, which sees the power of the Google Home and Nest combine. Here, your Google and Nest accounts will combine to give you greater control and security over your smart home devices. As part of this merger, the Google Home Hub has now become Google Nest Hub.

And there it is! All of the major announcements from this year’s Google I/O event! For more information and details, visit the official site dedicated to the event here - https://events.google.com/io/schedule/events/

seo tips 2019

For any business that relies heavily on web content and online activity, the importance of SEO cannot be overstated.

Poor SEO can make even the most engaging content underperform and, in some cases, seem virtually invisible to the outside world.

Think of it as painting the world’s most beautiful picture…on the underside of a chair. Regardless of how brilliant it may be, what good is it if no-one can see it?

On the other hand, top-notch SEO tactics can see your website soar, clocking up more traffic than the M25 in rush hour – so its well worth keeping abreast of the trends.

Luckily, here at Designer Websites, we have a few handy hints and tips to ensure your content doesn’t get lost in the shuffle this year, allowing your site to get the love and attention it deserves.

 

Google Algorithm for SEO

When it comes to SEO performance, much of your site’s success hinges on the Google algorithm – Google’s way of determining how to rank web pages. If your content plays nicely with the GA, the higher in the rankings you will be; if it doesn’t – sayonara.

To make matters even more complicated, the guys and gals at Google HQ love to keep us on our toes by throwing the odd SEO curve ball our way. In fact, for SEO strategists, it's fair to say that Google has thrown more spanners in the works than an angry mechanic on the verge of a meltdown.

Over the course of a year, it’s not unusual for G-Team to make over 500 changes to the Google algorithm, proving that their algorithm is a dancer and a damn hard one to keep up with on the digital dance floor.

Typically, 2019 is no different. That’s where we come in…

  

seo tips 2019

 

What is the Best SEO Strategy for 2019?

With so many changes to the algorithm throughout the year, creating content that abides by the wants and needs of Google can be like trying to appease a hysterically crying baby.

Does it need its content changed; does it want to be fed with more delicious keywords; or shall I just throw the laptop in the car, take it for a drive around the block and hope it goes to sleep?

Before you completely lose your mind to an SEO migraine, take a handful of these healthy hints to help you shake off the stress and stay ahead of the curve.

 

1. Back to basics

There are a number of tech-savvy ways you can optimise your website to perform at a high level, from adding breadcrumbs and prioritising pages in your site navigation to implementing tracking and making your site mobile friendly.

However, when it comes incorporating SEO friendly content to your site – such as blog posts, web copy and product descriptions – there are a few simple tactics that can have a profound effect on performance, without the need for an IT degree.

Before you tackle the nitty gritty, make sure the following basics have become second nature.

 

Keywords and phrases

Keywords and phrases are naturally the starting point for most SEO strategists. Once you’ve uncovered the best performing keywords for your subject, be sure to incorporate these organically into your copy, including your titles, headings and alt text when relevant.

Interlink with anchor texts

It’s also a good idea to interlink web pages within your site using anchor texts. Links are a crucial factor when it comes to page rankings; internal links to other pages on your site can help spread link equity and prolong site view times.

Optimising images

Compressing and optimising images within your pages can also increase your site speed. Slow loading times can have a negative effect on conversions and, by proxy, a negative effect on SEO. The quicker the site speed, the more likely you are to retain your visitor.

 

2. Fit for re-purpose

If your back catalogue of content runs deeper than the Coronation Street archive, you could be sitting on a goldmine of useful blogs and copy. After all, why let all that history go to waste – especially if the content is still relevant.

Recycling content can be a great way to make the most of what you already have. Updating pre-existing copy to include new keywords and updated information can instantly make it relevant again, enhancing the performance as a result.

Alternatively, you could repackage your text in the form of a video – which brings us nicely to our next top tip…

 

3. Video killed the SEO star

For content providers, video is the ultimate ace up the sleeve for SEO in 2019 and beyond. If you’re not already a dab hand with a digital camera or a wizard with Adobe Premiere Pro, now is the time to knuckle down and sharpen those skills.

According to veteran tech kings, Cisco, online video is set to grow exponentially in the coming years, with projections indicating that video will account for over 80% of all consumer IP traffic by 2022. In light of that info, neglecting video wouldn’t just be bringing a knife to a gunfight, it’s veritable content suicide.

Bulletproof your content by integrating video across your site, while you can also bolster existing videos by updating the titles and descriptions to ensure they remain SEO relevant. Meanwhile, optimising audio/video quality can enhance the user experience, further endearing your site to the gods of SEO.

 

4. SERPs up, man!

Whether you’re penning something completely new or attempting to breathe life into old content, Google itself can be a great resource for keywords and phrases.

If you’re looking to rank for a particular term, Google it and check out the search engine results page in the “People also ask” box for insight on things to include in your content.

Similarly, keep an eye on the “Searches related to…” results at the bottom of the page. Both are great ways to cherry pick a few golden terms for H1s and H2s.

Think of it as a being sat next to the smart kid during a particularly tough test; all the answers are there for the taking, it’s up to you if you take a look and use them.

 

5. Go evergreen with authority

According to Worldometers, well over 4 million blogs were posted via WordPress.com on the day this very blog was written. Multiply that by 365 and that’s a whole lotta content to compete with in 2019.

Needless to say, online content is quickly become an extremely crowded arena, suffering from the effects of over-saturation.

The dramatic rise in content competition has naturally hindered performance, while changes to social media have also seen sharing figures drop dramatically in recent years. However, you can avoid these pitfalls by actively taking your content in a different direction.

Evergreen content is essentially content that maintains its relevance over time, immune from becoming dated (a fact ironically stated in a blog titled “SEO Tips for 2019”). Keep your content from becoming yesterday’s news and tomorrow’s garbage by creating authoritative content that lasts.

Quality evergreen content based on research and reference has been proven to gain backlinks, building traction over time and ranking higher as result. Originality backed by linked references could well be your ticket to the big time.

 

So, there you have it – five simple ways to ensure your SEO content in 2019 is A-OK, not DOA.

For more information on how to become an SEO VIP, click here or hit the button below to get in touch.

Contact Us!

 

Creating high-quality video content can hugely improve your audience engagement, boost your Google ranking and increase sales. In this blog, we discuss why incorporating video into your website is important if you want to appeal to a modern market and compete with other brands online.

The Online Buying Experience

When looking at the current consumer market, there has been a dramatic shift towards people shopping online rather than heading to their local high street stores to shop. Why? Because shopping online offers an entirely different browsing and purchasing experience that is often more convenient. Customers can:

  • Shop from the comfort of their home & at any time of the day
  • Quickly and easily compare similar products from different brands or suppliers
  • Access honest reviews from other customers who purchased the same product

But one thing online shopping doesn’t allow consumers to do is see the product in real life. That’s why videos are an invaluable tool for digital marketers and something that customers expect to see when they shop online. When people intend to buy something, particularly something of high value, they want to know that it’s exactly what they're looking for before parting with their money. Research shows that after watching a video about a certain product, people were much more likely to buy it than if they hadn’t watched a video. Why is that?

Videos not only showcase a product or service, but they also present information in a way that is engaging, easy to share and most importantly, easy to digest. Videos enable you to:

  • Offer customers a 360° & up-close experience
  • Demonstrate how the product or service works
  • Highlight & talk about the technical elements
  • Show how your product or service is better than others

Let’s take a look at an example of a video that showcases a product/service effectively:

This is a video that we created for one of our clients, Sweets in the City, to advertise their Letterbox Treats product. So, why is this video effective?

  1. It shows people the name of the brand & product name clearly
  2. It demonstrates exactly how to order and personalise your order online
  3. It shows the complete product & how it will be delivered to you

After watching this video, the potential customer has everything they need to make an informed decision about their purchase.

Another great way that video can be utilised in digital marketing is in explaining and providing information in a visual way that sometimes words and text cannot convey in an engaging manner. In the video below, we provide information on 'composite decking vs plastic decking' for UK composite decking supplier TimberTechUK.

Here you can see a comparison of the two types of decking board with important information spoken in a voiceover. Providing a combination of both visual and audio elements that make what would be standard text information, a lot more interesting to take in and understand.

SEO Video Benefits

While creating videos to advertise products can greatly increase sales, this is not the only way that video can improve your business.

Search engines like Google consider videos to be ‘high-quality content’. Used correctly, videos can dramatically boost your rankings. When bots crawl your site and come across this ‘high-quality’ content, you can expect that your site will receive a ranking boost, moving you closer to that all important #1 position. Some examples of videos that add lots of value to your site include interviews with experts, reviews or gifs - to name a few.

Google often shows a selection of video results (a video pack) close to the top of page one in response to a particular search term or query. That’s because Google wants to give its users the best possible experience, and some users will find a video response most useful.

For example; someone searching ‘how to change a tyre?’ might want to see somebody changing a tyre and talking them through the process rather than reading a long article or trying to piece together a series of images. To get maximum SEO benefits from your video content, you should:

  • Ensure your video is high-quality and relevant to your business/product
  • Target relevant keywords in your video title
  • Write a detailed meta-description that also incorporates relevant keywords

Social Media

In recent years we have seen a huge increase in the number of social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, incorporating new and interesting ways to share video content. Learning how to harness the potential of features such as; Live videos, stories and Instagram TV etc. will be key to long-lasting customer engagement in the future.

Sharing entertaining video content on social media platforms can also broaden your customer outreach exponentially. We’ve all seen a funny or interesting video online and tagged our friends or shared it with our own followers. Think about how this same principle can be applied to your digital marketing efforts - create original, eye-catching and entertaining content with your product, service or brand at the centre.

How can we help?

If it isn’t already apparent, incorporating video into your digital marketing efforts is very important if you want to remain successful in the current climate. At Designer Websites, we offer a number of services that will help you bring your brand to life including, videography, drone footage, 360ۤ° video and street view.

Click the buttons below to have a look at these services in more detail, or give us a call on 01446 339050 and we'll be happy to discuss your ideas & give you a quote - free of charge!

Videography >                                   Drone Footage >                               360° video & street view >

 

Top .NET and Ecommerce Developers

We at Designer Websites are very proud to announce that we've been featured in not one but two lists of the UK's very best web developers. Clutch, who describe themselves as a 'data-driven field guide to business buying decisions', included Designer Websites Ltd in the following lists:

As ecommerce specialists, we were particularly pleased to learn that we'd made Clutch's list of the UK's leading ecommerce developers. Our experienced designers and developers work hard to provide high-quality ecommerce solutions that are tailored to each individual client, and it feels great to be recognised for the quality of the work we do.

Visit our Ecommerce Web Design page to find out more about the bespoke ecommerce solutions we provide here at Designer Websites.

More Useful Links:

UPDATE 30/01/18: We have also been named among Clutch's Top UK Inbound Marketing Agencies!

Built by our clients for our clients, Designer Websites' new meeting / training room is finally ready!

We've been struggling for some time with a single small meeting room, so we decided to reshuffle our premises somewhat to create a new room that's perfect for meetings, presentations, and training sessions. Work on the room is now complete, and as you can see, the results look great!

Meeting Room

Practically everything you see in the photo above was provided by one of our clients. These are businesses with whom we've worked very closely over the years, and we thought that explaining 'who did what' would make a great talking point within the meetings we'll be having in this space.

Who did what?

The first thing we did when renovating the room was install a luxury vinyl floor from Floormaker, long-time clients of ours who supply all kinds of high-quality flooring to homes and businesses throughout the UK. Here's what the stripped-back room looked like once the floor was down:

Meeting Room Floor

Then came the task of plastering and painting the new meeting room, which we split between ourselves. We also took care of hanging the blinds, rewiring the electrics, and sorting out the radiators.

After that, we turned to our friends at ABC Designs, signage specialists based right here in South Wales. They created a sign similar to the one in our main office, along with some entrance signs, door vinyls, and car park signs - all of which, in our opinion, looks absolutely awesome!

Meeting Room Signage

We also commissioned Printmet to build us a bespoke meeting room table (with a parquet insert from Floormaker, who we mentioned before) and a bespoke TV stand, which we designed specifically for the new room.

Meeting Room Table

Then came the pièce de résistance: a quirky, modern-looking partition with a hidden door. This was designed by the brilliant Modelmakers Ltd, who normally specialise in architectural and exhibition models but clearly have a bright future in this sort of work! We already had an idea of what we wanted, so after a few design concepts and discussions with the guys from Modelmakers, a plan was agreed upon and they installed this unique wall in no time.

Partition with Hidden Door

And with that, our new meeting room was finished!

New Meeting Room 2

Our meeting room has gone from being boring and run-of-the-mill to being exceptionally cool and contemporary, and everyone here at DW absolutely loves it. None of this could have been achieved without the help of our brilliant clients, so if you are ever looking for a superb signage company, an amazing model maker, a fantastic bespoke metal furniture supplier, or a high-calibre flooring company, you know who to call!

We are delighted to announce an exclusive offer from SagePay to friends of Designer Websites, where you can get your first three months completely free! 

SagePay will offer secure, easy to use and flexible online payment systems for your business. Thanks to our partnership with SagePay they have kindly created an offer where customers and friends of Designer Websites who sign up to SagePay through our custom SagePay partners will get their first three months completely free.  

Note this offer is only available to New SagePay customers. 

 

Last week we told you about the launch of 'Formula Dragon' - a competition launched by SVG Promotions Limited to attempt to get Welsh citizens involved in motor racing. Formula Dragon aims to make race car driving accessible to anyone over the age of 16 with a spare £30. This fantastic competition also provides scope for individuals to become professional race car mechanics and technicians. 

Designer Websites are proud sponsors of Formula Dragon because we think it's a fantastic opportunity to make motor racing more accessible to Welsh citizens and we're keen to see how the work of SVG Promotions Limited impacts motor racing in Wales. 

If you fancy yourself as a race car driver, if you love formula one of if you'd quite simply love the opportunity to give it a go, then enter on the Formula Dragon Website and for just £30 you'll be entered into the competition to win an opportunity of a lifetime. Ultimately any successful competitors will compete in the British Touring Car Championship backed by a Welsh team. 

Below are a couple of videos from the launch to provide you with more information, but in essence, the message of Formula Dragon is : a chance to drive a real race car for just £30!

 

 

 

Today Designer Websites attended the launch of Formula Dragon, an exciting new motor sport competition designed to promote and nurture motor sport in Wales with the aim of producing quality BTCC drivers, mechanics and technicians.

Formula Dragon is a motor sport competition open to every resident of Wales who are aged between 16 and 50. The aim is to make motor sport accessible to all members of the public, and provide the opportunity for Welsh citizens to become racing drivers, mechanics or technicians within three levels of UK motor racing.  Any successful competitors will compete in the British Touring Car Championship supported by a team of Welsh drivers.

Designer Websites is a sponsor of Formula Dragon, and we jumped on the opportunity to back such a unique cause after being involved with the initial website design. To promote motor sport in Wales and make racing accessible to the public is a niche idea which we think will provide a fantastic opportunity for Welsh people and we’re pleased to have our name on the sponsors list.

The launch was held at the Liberty Hotel in Swansea and an enthusiastic and informative talk was given by members of SVG Promotions Limited, the company behind the Formula Dragon competition. SVG Promotions Limited are responsible for the hit program “So You Want to Be an F1 Driver” aired on Channel Five, Sky Sports and ITV’s Men and Motors, and are hoping to emulate this success with Formula Dragon.

It was great to hear their visions for the future and their intentions to raise awareness of road safety amongst young people in Wales. We had an exciting and interesting day at the launch and can’t wait to see what Formula Dragon holds for the future of motor racing in Wales.