web design

Web Design for You

Having a new website built is often an important aspect of developing new business online. Key features of a good web design company are that they offer flexible choices, with the end user in mind throughout. The whole purpose of a website is to generate interest in your products and services, so it is important that the website is designed well in order to reflect the needs of the end user. Web design is always changing and evolving, so choose a good web designer who will listen to your requirements and build to your specification.
SEO for business

Sorting Out Your Social Media

Social media is becoming increasingly important to businesses, allowing a unique opportunity to truly interact with customers and prospective clients alike. Many businesses are not sure where to begin, so end up making a bit of a mess with it all - it can be really beneficial to take on the services of a dedicated social media agency who can deal with the ins and outs of social media management for you. A good agency should offer excellent social media services bedford to help you manage your accounts with ease.

How to Choose a Good Website Design Agency

Choosing your website designer is surprisingly important, and often a little tricky.  There are hundreds of people out there who claim to build amazing websites, so how can you tell which ones to choose?

  1. They will want to know about you!  If a company are happy to get on and design a website whilst knowing nothing about your company, your goals, aspirations, even what you do, then they won’t do a great job.  It is important for the designers to know all about your organisation so they know how best to build the site.
  2. They have a portfolio to check out – look at the past work of the designer.  Do you like the sites they have done?  Do they have good reviews from past clients testifying to their good work?  If not available to view online, you should certainly ask questions.  They should be singing from the rooftops about their amazing work!
  3. Are you able to get in contact easily?  If your agency or designer is never on the phone or able to reply to emails, then steer clear!  Designing a website is a collaborative effort and requires a lot of back-and-forth between agency and client.  If you are unable to get hold of them easily, then it doesn’t bode well for their communciations!
  4. What is their own site like?  Do they have a rock solid website of their own?  If not, how can they do a decent job on yours?

Now you have some pro tips, go forth and hire an amazing designer (us for example).

The Difference Between Web Design and Web Development

Web design and web development are pretty much interchangeable in today’s language, with most poeple thinking they are one in the same.  These terms actually reference two completely different aspects of the website building process, requiring two completely different skill sets.  What is the difference between design and development?

In essence, web design refers to both the aesthetic portion of the website and it’s usability. Web designers use various design programs such as Adobe Photoshop to create the layout and other visual elements of the website. Web Developers on the other hand, take a website design and actually make a functioning website from it. Web developers use HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and other programming languages to bring to life the design files.

Web designers must always begin by considering a client’s website objectives and then move on to an Information Architecture (IA) to set a website’s information hierarchy and help guide the design process. Next, web designers can start creating wireframes and finally move to the design stage. Web designers may use several basic design principles to achieve an aesthetically pleasing layout which also offers excellent user experience.

Web developers, sometimes called programmers, take the design created and build a fully functioning website. To put it (very) simply, think of the design as a non-interactive “picture” of a website. Developers take that design and break it up into it’s components. They then either use just HTML or a more dynamic approach incorporating programming languages such as PHP to develop the various website pages. More advanced web developers may choose to utilize a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla in order to streamline development and allow clients an easy way to maintain and update their website.

Making Sure Your Site Looks the Part

When you own a website, you will doubtless want your site to appeal to a wide range of people, be useful and functional as well as looking nice so people enjoy it.  There are things you can do to make sure you give your readers or customers the best experience possible while on your site.

Firstly, check all your web URLs make sense.  You want to avoid having random numbers, letter and symbols in there, as this can look a bit spammy and irrelevant.  It also does your SEO some good to have reasonable URLs which are grammatically correct and feature the keyword for the page.

Next, check your readability on a range of different screen sizes.  Is the font large enough, clear enough?  Does the background make it hard to read?  These should be taken into consideration before launching your site, as the readers will want to be able to understand what you are saying!

Which Website Platform Is Best For My Business Needs?

Choosing a website platform isn’t particularly tricky – each of the main ones offers slightly different benefits to the user.  Here’s our handy guide to help you understand the world of web platforms.

WordPress

WordPress is the most popular web design platform, mostly because it offers really beautiful looks alongside functionality like no other.  It has millions of plugins to use which add to the user experience and make your website more attractive.  It is easy to customise and we can build custom goods for this platform.  Facilities to add ecommerce elements for basic selling, which makes this a great site for anyone!

Magento

Magento is a powerful ecommerce platform, which can be tricky to build with but creates really great, easy to use shopping sites.  With built in functions for managing stock, invoicing and taking secure payment, it is our first choice for anyone hoping to run a crazy successful online shop.

OpenCart

Similarly to Magento, OpenCart is primarily an ecommerce platform, but a little easier on the developer.  It can create simple yet effective ecommerce shopping sites with some added functionality as you would find in WordPress. A good option for beginner salespeople.

Of course, when you take on a professional agency to design your website, you can be sure that they will choose the best fit for your business – we always advise our clients in order to get the best out of their new site.

Backlinks: Why Do I Need Them and What Are They?

Backlinks are any external links to your website from another.  These are useful because google and other search engines use them as “votes” to signal the quality and relevance of a website to a certain keyword.

It is possible to build up a nice collection of backlinks through publishing high quality content, with interesting and relevant information about your products or brand, which other websites can get excited about and share widely.

Some SEO agencies will use unethical or blackhat techniques to build up a link network for their clients, but this is a risky strategy – if search engines detect that a site has gone from virtually no backlinks to suddenly having thousands, then it is clear that the agency has bought a load of links which may not be high quality or relevant.  It is not simply about numbers when it comes to links!

Getting Ahead After a Google Penalty

If you’ve ever gotten into a Google penalty situation with your website, you’ll know it can seriously affect your website’s rankings on the search engine.  Depending on the type of penalty, you are able to get out of them by making a few small changes to the way you do things.

Panda: Google’s first major algorithm update, back in 2011.  The purpose of this was to get as much of the spammy, poor quality sites around down to the bottom of the pile, allowing decent sites to make headway up the ranks.  By penalising sites for things like keyword stuffing, poor quality backlinks and over optimised anchor text, Google sent out a clear message that these blackhat techniques needed to stop.  In order to get out of a panda penalty, it is vital you check your backlinks and get rid of any crappy ones.  Also remove any irrelevant keyword stuffed areas, duplicate content and links from irrelevant blogs.

Penguin: In 2012, Google did another major update, this time focussing more on the content of sites.  They looked out for duplicate content, spam comments, bad links and relevancy of content.  People were penalised for masses of duplication across sites (sometimes merely accidental, other times deliberate).  Sites which bought links and guest post links on irrelevant blogs and feeds also got into bother.

Making the Most of the Plugins on WordPress

Most start up websites are ideally created using the highly popular platform of WordPress.  One of the reasons it is so popular is because it has literally millions of plugins available which add amazing functionality to your site.  The problem with there being so many to choose from, is knowing which ones are likely to be useful.  Here are a few of our faves.

  1. Hummingbird: hummingbird essentially allows your site to load way quicker than it would normally.  We all hate waiting for sites to load, and by minifying, compressing and merging your cache, it really helps to make your site lightning quick.
  2. Defender: as WordPress is so popular with users, it is also a popular target for hackers.  Keeping your security up to scratch is important, and the Defender plugin does this tenfold.  Defender basically scans your site for vulnerabilities and lets you know if it finds anything and allows you to fix it all with one click.  You can schedule scans and it even has a free trial.
  3. Jetpack: A whole array of great tools for you here!  Security, performance, content tools and visitor engagement features in one handy plugin.  It has some other cool features like social sharing, related posts and spam-free comments with a lightweight mobile friendly theme option too.

Creation of a Modern Website

Having a site that executes a methodology in a state of harmony with that of your business, has turned into a key piece of business advancement today. Be that as it may, the concentrate is not any more exclusively on putting over the items and administrations a business offers, yet additionally on their introduction style. The business needs to keep up its compatibility on both on the web and disconnected stages.

Make It Responsive. With a group of people that is dependably in a hurry, the odds of a site being seen on a regular desktop are less. A site that is exclusively intended for desktops turns into a torment to access on the cell phones. A responsive plan guarantees that when your site is gotten to on a cell phone, it conveys similar functionalities in as effective a way as it does while being seen on the desktop.

With more than 20% of web perusing done on cell phones, you would prefer not to pass up a major opportunity for your crowd and potential clients in light of the fact that your business site didn’t offer the correct invitation to take action functionalities to its watchers.

Another factor that you should deal with while picking a topic or a layout for your site is its ‘retina preparation’. It ought to have the capacity to help high determination pictures that are suited for these.

Should You Just Build Your Own Site?

There are a number of so called “do it yourself” online web builders out on the internet enabling business people to create their own business websites quickly and easily.  We wonder if it is worth your time though…

Firstly, although they might seem amazing, most online web building tools are fairly limited when it comes to design ideas.  There might be a number of templates to choose from, but other than that, there’s not a great deal of scope to make sure your website is unique and stands out.  Web designers and agencies can create totally unique, custom websites specifically tailored to your business, which means you can have a greater say on how you want it to look and function.

Once you have your site basically built, it is important to share your new website with the world.  If you are using an online builder, you’ll probably end up with a web address along the lines of webbuilder.com/yourbusinessname.  This isn’t ideal as it looks pretty unprofessional…if you were to get a web designer on board, they would secure you your own domain name, so you could have yourbusinessname.co.uk on your business cards!

The Basics of SEO – How To Become Wildy Successful Online!

Ok so the title is a bit much, but we are passionate about SEO!  SEO or “Search Engine Optimisation” to give it it’s full name, is a process used to get websites to rank higher up on search engine results lists.  Doesn’t sound like much, but in reality it is a fact that 80% of people NEVER LOOK AT THE SECOND PAGE OF GOOGLE!  Which is why it is important to be at least on the first page…

SEO works by using Google’s angorithms to get your site to move higher up the list.  You have a number of keywords which your site is ranking for, and Google checks over your site and its contents to see how relevant and useful your site is.  The higher quality your content is, the better it fares.

Social media can play a small part in this cycle.  By increasing the social likes and shares, you effectively are showing that your site is relevant to Google.

It is important to build up your links to your site carefully.  Since Google released it’s penguin and panda updates, sites are being heavily penalised for having naff links (in days gone by, it was an SEO tactic to have as many links as possible pointing to your site, because more links meant better reliability to Google.  Then they realised that many of these links were just spammy and not really giving any benefit to the sites, so Google changed the algorithms to penalise these types!).