Wordpress website experts based in the UK.

General

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General

Website Handovers – Do’s and Don’ts

So this is it, the big day!

Your website that you have lovingly crafted with the help of your trusty web development team is about to go live.

Any minute now, the training wheels will be coming off and this business investment will be turned over to you to control.

 

Do’s and Don’ts for a Smooth Handover

DO: Ensure the developer has a backup of the site

Upon handover, most web developers will keep a copy of the website that is handed over in order to ensure that they’ve fulfilled their payment criteria.

This is a great asset for you because you know that should something go wrong – you are able to effectively ‘reset’ things to how they were when you first got let loose on the website.

Make sure that your developer does have this backup and see how long they are going to keep hold of it for (some developers will only keep this for say 30 days) and also enquire about potential costs to restore the site from backup should the worst happen and the site gets corrupted or irrecoverably damaged.

 

DO: Ensure that there is some kind of follow up support available from the developer
It’s obvious that most issues with using and updating your website will happen immediately after the website is released.

In much the same way that most road accidents happen quite soon after you pass your test and go for a drive on your own, once the training wheels are off everything seems different and you will often forget some of the training that you probably did before the website was released to you.

That’s why it’s important to have some support once the site is released – and why we released the free 30 days support we offer to anyone who’s website we build.

In this time, those niggly questions which allow you to get the most from your site can get answered, and you can get used to using your website on your own knowing there is some support there should you need it.

Make sure your web developer offers some kind of support – even if it’s paid support – you will need it especially in the early stages.

 

DON’T: Go changing everything now that you can

Content management is a beautiful thing.

But I can tell you from experience it can be a curse when as a developer, you spend hours crafting a well thought-out and effective website, only to see giant red and yellow wording appear across the middle of the homepage just after releasing the website to the owner (true story).

If you are going to make changes, make ‘tweaks’ – alter wording, add new pages, that kind of thing as any developer worth their salt would have set the website up to achieve the results you are looking for – if not immediately then in the near future.

Of course, it’s your website and you can do what you want with it, but try and do it in the spirit of the website you’ve paid for an expert to create.

I wouldn’t go and fit a set of monster truck wheels to my new Lexus just because I have the right tool – it’s not going to help the car do anything more and would probably cause more issues in the long run.

 

DON’T: Change anything unless you’ve taken a quick backup of the item you are about to amend

One of the most common customer service queries we receive is the “I’ve changed something on XX page and it’s not worked out too well and I have changed my mind and want to change it back. Please can you help?” query.

There is a simple way to combat this which will save you £100’s – before you look to change the content of a page or post (for example), take a copy. S

imply highlight all of the content (click and drag or press Ctrl+A/ Cmd+A) and paste it into a non-rich text editor – something like Notepad on a PC (textmate on Mac).

These types of editor will not add any formatting tags into the content and so will leave it as it was when you copied it out of the website – unlike Microsoft word for instance.

Now, when you edit the page and something goes wrong, you can simply copy and paste from your mini backup and try again.

 

DO: Use your marketing prowess to get some initial visitors to the website.

‘Build it and they will come’ is a phrase once used often – it’s now totally out-dated.

Websites now are being built at a phenomenal rate and are harder to find than ever – so you will need to generate some traffic to your website especially in the early stages.

Whether that be by adding the new address to a business card, letting your existing customers know that you’ve got a/ re-released your website, telling family and friends – whatever it takes, you need to work hard to generate that initial traffic because you need to show Google just how effective that site is whilst it’s initial boost is active (it’s widely accepted that Google boosts new websites initially in order to get an initial feel for how it is setup to handle the potential traffic to it. From this info, it decides it’s initial ranking…).

Make the most of it!

 

Summary

Getting the website to release is only part of the job.

The work really starts when the site is released, but by making sure you have the right support and backups in place, you alleviate some of the worries you will have in the early stages of managing your own website.

Then, by making the most of any initial Google uncertainty (boost) in the early stages, you are able to help positively effect the traffic to the site in future and will be laying some solid foundations for the future growth of the website.

That future growth should be considered and in the style of the rest of the site to avoid it’s appearance being negatively effected, so take some time to plan changes and try and ‘tweak’ rather than wholesale change where you can.

With great power comes great responsibility – Enjoy your journey onto the web!

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General

What is Split Testing?

We’ve been asked a few times recently to explain the concept of split testing and why someone would consider it.

Here we’ll delve into the murky world of systematic visual changes and tracking…

Have you ever wanted to work out what works best for your clients? What images or content instigates the most responses from your clients?

Well that’s where split testing comes in.

Split testing is a way to refer to the practice of sending one version of something to a segment of a target market and sending another version of it to another segment.

Each segment should be proportional and ideally representative of the whole target market to ensure that the results are worth listening to and the feedback will tell you which version of the content (or which set of differences) has been more successful – providing you valuable information going forward.

If that’s a mouthful which is difficult to understand, let’s break it down a bit more:

 

Proportional Representation

For anyone that has studied data analysis or statistics, this should be easy.

A ‘proportional’ segment of a target market (in this instance) would be a segment which is big enough to be considered representative of the whole market.

So, if we had a case study of 100 individuals that we wanted to understand which stimuli instigated the biggest response, it would be silly to consider the response of a single individual. The segment would be considered too small.

Ideally, you would want to record the responses from all 100 individuals in 2 categories – a 50:50 split.

That’s easy in this example because we know that the target market is 100 people and it’s quite a manageable number.

In reality, when you are working with much bigger numbers, you:

  • wouldn’t know the actual size of the whole target market and
  • be able to record the reactions of every individual within the target market.

So, you have to use a ‘best guess’ scenario.

In our example, we could consider the responses of say 20 of the 50 people in each segment as representative, because 20 would constitute a large chunk (40%) of the overall tracked market.

It’s more manageable to be able to get 20 responses than 50 and the sample is much bigger than working with the response given by a single individual.

In a real-world situation, you could be working with samples of 100, 1,000 or 10,000 for example, which will give you good feedback on what really works in the situation you are trying to test.

You can’t improve things you don’t test and measure.

By split testing, you gain valuable feedback which you can use to influence future decisions – for the betterment of the campaign(s).

 

What sort of things can I test with split testing?

There are all sorts of scenarios where split testing could be beneficial.

However, we will work with digital marketing relevant examples – which are generally based around getting a reaction or some sort of engagement from your target market.

This could be testing the subject line of an email campaign, to see how much of an impact that makes on the open rate of the email, or tracking the content or layout of a web page to see which entices visitors to engage more – either by sharing, commenting, bookmarking or filling out a contact form for example.

You can even test different types of call to action to see which type or text generates more contact requests for instance.

 

How do I split test something?

In its most basic form you would simply identify your target market, interact with half of it in one way and interact with the other half in a different way and record the outcomes.

However, things aren’t always that straight forward. Fortunately, marketing tools are making it easier for people to carry out split testing and here are 3 useful tools to help you:

1. Email Marketing – Mailchimp

Mailchimp is the undisputed king of email marketing for small business. Available for free, Mailchimp gives you access to a whole host of powerful marketing tools which will help you make the most of your email marketing for your business or venture. These include (but are not limited to):

 

2. Web content / Layout – WordPress

When using WordPress, it’s easy to implement split testing with plugins. A free one we’ve started using is:

  • https://simplepagetester.com/ which allows content to be displayed to X number of visitors in one fashion, then the same content (or different content depending on what’s being tested) to be displayed to another X number of visitors. The information is then able to be used to confirm which format works best for the target market of the page.

 

3. Online Ads – Google Adwords

Ultra important because it actually can save / make you £1000’s, split testing the effectiveness of your Google Adwords ads is essential to maximizing the ROI of your campaigns.

By split testing your ads, you compare them and chose the most effective* in order to then compose new ads and compare those against the previous winners – constantly looking to improve the results of the ads.

*most effective can be measured in a variety of ways. It may be most clicks, least cost per click, best customer lifetime value as a result of the click or a million other things.

Split Testing Summary

Split testing is a powerful marketing technique to be used to improve the effectiveness of your marketing overall and in specific areas.

It can take some time, so should be included within your overall marketing strategy rather than as a standalone project, because each item split tested should then be split tested again against new, improved versions to constantly improve content and its results.

Marketing tools such as Mailchimp are making access to this kind of technique ever more available and if you are not using this to improve your results, you can bet your competitors are and will soon be leaving you behind if they are not already.

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General, Website Design

Essential Rules to Keep Your Logo Design Brilliant – Part 3 – Image/Text/Both

This post is part 3 of our logo design series.

I recommend you look at part 2 first so you know what elements we’ve already covered.

It’s very important for your brand to establish if you need a text only logo, an image only or a text and image logo very early on.

Some well-known brands such as Toyota, Louis Vuitton, Sony, Chanel have based their entire image on the fact that they have some well-designed lettering in their logo, or have a great ‘icon’ as their logo.

                

Having both text and image can be difficult in a logo as you come across layout issues – letter-headed paper or websites for example would often favour a ‘longer’ type logo layout than ‘square’ – whereas t-shirt printing and print media generally could go either way.

This leads me into my next pertinent point…

 

Media

You need to consider the media that your logo is likely to appear on.

There is a multitude of different types of media and it could be a consideration as to what types of media are important to your brand (in terms of marketing) and working out some design constraints from that.

 

An Example – School Advertising

Let’s put this into an example – imagine we have a school (or academy).

Advertising for schools is important – they don’t have big budgets generally and, although it’s not often the same type of advertising as a retail outlet for example, it is there to help reiterate the values of the school.

What I am trying to get at is that the media that this school’s logo is to appear on is limited. Without putting huge amounts of thought into it, the list I come up with is:

  • School building signage
  • School uniforms and clothing
  • School bags
  • School brochures

So, we have a couple of different types of media to consider here: Print (brochures, signage) and Embroidery (school bags, uniform).

Now, if we were never going to use this logo on embroidery, or embroidered clothing wasn’t part of our consideration, we could use tiny text and gradients.

Both of which are no-no’s in the world of embroidery – due to the physical constraints of being able to sew small enough.

Since we ARE going to be using it in this example, we need to ensure that the logo works well on embroidered clothing – as quite possibly our #2 consideration (after #1: the values communicated through the logo).

So our logo would need to ideally NOT contain any gradients, or if it does it needs to work well as a solid colour and it would need to not be too intricate.

This is just a simple example to understand that the media and your marketing plan play a huge part in the considerations of logo design.

In part 4, we’ll understand the reasons that size matters in logo design and continue this logo consideration mini series.

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General, Website Design

Essential Rules to Keep Your Logo Design Brilliant

We all see logos hundreds of times a day.

Whether it be a logo that represents a brand or business, or an event or even a person – logo’s are everywhere.

Logos are hugely important in marketing and a poorly designed logo can cost £1000’s or even millions to rectify, in terms of both the actual design and communicating the design change to your target market(s).

 

What makes a great logo?

I would describe a logo as a visual representation of the company, presented in such a way as to be understood and remembered.

Without a logo, people don’t have a visual point of reference for you or your business and it’s important that you provide them with that.

It’s an opportunity to be remembered and also to communicate subliminally what your business is about – in terms of it’s purpose and the experience it’s offering to it’s customers.

Have a look at the following logos and see if you can work out what the company offers and see if you can imagine what the customer experience of that company would be like…..

Easy huh?

I would say each of these brands clearly communicates the experience I would expect to get from them – some in a more obvious way than others (Thomson for instance).

The Vans logo deliberately looks a little ‘old skool’ – because their brand is all about nostalgia and being ‘classic.’

Fun Kids and the Georgia National Fair both are fun, bright and interesting – just like their fairs.

Rolex is a more ‘refined’ look and the colours relate the ‘the gentry’ and wealth.

The Cadbury logo is actually depicting the stirring of a chocolate pot but has been overlaid with the purple colour that is now associated with the company (especially after the drumming Gorilla advertising campaign).

The Thomson logo actually depicts the journey of a would-be passenger as well as a smiling/ winking face.

 

So why do some people get it all wrong?

There is a variety of reasons that people get logo design wrong, and it’s really easy to mess up!

There are a lot of considerations to think about and even more interpretations from others all around the world.

Sometimes business owners get emotionally attached to logos during the design phase, which is great if it’s a good concept, but terrible if it’s flawed.

It’s difficult to narrow down, but we’ve compiled a number of points we use as a reference when we design logos, and thought we’d share this valuable information with you to help you through this tricky design process.

We’ll continue in Part 2 of this series by exploring the meaning behind a logo and understanding how important that is to the success or failure of the design.

See you there!

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General

Maintenance – BNI 12/4/16

Our Maintenance services today.

How many of you can ‘hand-on-heart’ say you have been into your WordPress or Magento websites recently to see if there are any updates that need performing on your site?

We are experiencing a level of hacking and malicious web attacks which is much higher than at any time in living memory.

Previously it was WordPress sites which were the target but now it seems to be Magento sites, and those updates, little as they may seem, often fill security holes on your websites.

We offer a service whereby we will go in regularly and update our client’s websites to help protect them from this spate of attacks.

We remember so you don’t have to.

Let us know if you or anyone you know would like us to take care of this for you.

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General

The 3 ‘P’s – BNI 5/4/16

Today I’d like to talk about the ‘build’ category of services.

We build websites.

It’s our core business and expertise, and something we love to do.

When we look at a website build, we take into consideration the “3 P’s” :

  1. Purpose – What is the purpose of the website and who is its intended target audience?
  2. Platform – What is the most appropriate platform for this type of website and what are its limitations?
  3. People – What are the people who will be running and maintaining the website like?

Once we understand these concepts, then we are in a good place to make a recommendation as to the most appropriate look for the site, the best platform to build a new site on and crucially, what support the person or business is going to need post-launch.

So if you know anyone who could do with a review of their website in light of the 3 P’s, then please – we’d love to hear from them.

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General

Builders Special – BNI 12/04/16

We are running a builders special offer.

Notoriously, builders’ websites have been something created by well-wishing friends and family members because they themselves are too busy and / or not overly concerned.

As a result, their business looks shoddy or not as professional as it should and the website is not as beneficial to the business as it should.

Now though, for £750, we will deliver a bespoke designed 5 page WordPress site with the following pages:

  • Homepage
  • About Us
  • Services
  • Previous Work / Testimonials
  • Contact Us

Comes with all security configuration and legal pages too.

So, do you know any builders who haven’t updated their website for a while? Or have had their current site for a couple of years? IF so, we’d love to speak with them.

That’s Anthony from Showcase. Putting businesses in the limelight.

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General

Example of web enhancement – BNI – 29/03/16

Just this bank holiday weekend, I was in front of my pc working on the website of a well-known TV magician, creating an automated sales funnel.

When a user goes to his site and requests more information, they are emailed half an hour later with some attachments and a link to provide further information.

They press the link and provide more contact details, plus the venue and the date and the system automagically checks his google calendar to see if the date is free. If yes, then half hour later they are emailed to say “yes, the date is free but spaces fill up quickly so pay a deposit and I’ll book the day for you”, if “no” then they are emailed to say sorry I’m not available but I know someone that is – pay a deposit and I’ll book them for you and put you in touch.

Its great because, although the user thinks they’ve been having a multi-email conversation with him, he’s never heard of them until they are booked into his diary and a deposit is paid.

Could this be something you or someone you know could use?

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General

Website Enhancements – BNI 22/03/16

Enhancing existing websites is one of our favourite things. By website enhancements, I mean anything from fixing things which have broken or changed over time to adding new features. We can carry out a range of changes from little tweaks to more substantial developments.

(Notes added for the benefit of our online readers)
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Here are some specific examples of Website Enhancements:

  • Things not working as they should, such as contact forms and broken pages
  • Things not working as desired in terms of a process – logging in happens on the wrong page
  • Wanting to add new pages to a website
  • Performance enhancements such as speed improvement and reduction of errors
  • Implementation of new functionality, like adding a blog function to an existing website

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It doesn’t have to cost the earth to get things looking or working the way you want. These investments will almost always provide interest and returns from your target markets and you will get a longer life of product too, as we can potentially improve other things whilst we are working on the site.

Is there anyone you know who could do with some website enhancements?

Talk to us about WordPress, CMS and Magento development. We also tackle bespoke builds.

(Note for online readers)
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We can tackle bespoke builds, website performance enhancements and bug fixes in a range of platforms – we are not limited to wordpress although this is a preference. We not only have a vast amount of experience in-house, but we also have built up a substantial network of website developers who we can rely on and manage to resolve issues and deliver projects. If in doubt, contact us and in the unlikely event we can’t help meet your requirements, we will be able to point you in the right direction of somebody who can.
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If so, please put them in touch and we’ll give their target market something to shout about rather than letting them continue to miss out.

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General, Jargon Busting

“White Label” explained?

We’ve referred to ‘white label’ across the website and some of you who have seen it may be wondering ‘what on earth is that’?

Many years ago, this referred to the practice of pre-allocating music on vinyl to certain DJ’s and producers to try and provoke interest in a track. You can find out more here.

We use the term ‘White Label’ to refer to the practice of building and maintaining websites for our clients, who resell these to their clients. Some may say that this is ‘sneaky’ or ‘underhand’ but why?

Sure, many clients don’t realize that the website is produced by another supplier. But would that be a problem if they did? I don’t know about you, but I know that Sainsbury’s and Tesco don’t have the facilities to produce biscuits, but I still buy their own brand biscuits. In truth, it’s a matter of convenience.  Whilst I’m doing the weekly shop, I can’t help but pick up a delectable packet of biscuitty goodness because it saves me looking around elsewhere and ultimately saves me time. It addresses my pain and helps improve my customer experience. Everyone is a winner.

For us, this means that our clients’ clients are receiving the benefits of our vast experience and our client is reaping the rewards in both terms of making a markup on the service and being able to provide this service to their clients. Its a win/win/win situation as we work with our clients to help them provide these services and ensure they are benefiting from them and obviously it’s great for us as our clients are selling our services.

Problems with White-labelling

There are very few problems with white-labelling overall. I think that the only times I have ever been upset to find out that a product or service I have purchased has been done so on a white-label basis is when I’ve realized that I could have gotten the same product cheaper by going direct.

Some companies worry that their brand is exposed or at risk if they outsource their work. Whilst it is true in theory that you are at the mercy of the ‘supplier’, it is obviously in the best interests of the supplier to maintain brand integrity and a positive relationship with their client for fear of losing future referrals and sales of their product / service.

Key to successful white labelling

The key to white labelling successfully is to deliver a great end user experience, even well past the actual sale of the product or service. By taking this approach, even if your client does get wind that you are white-labeling something, then it doesn’t matter because of the fantastic experience they had purchasing it.

Often, there is a complex set of systems in place to help resellers provide white-label services to the end users. In my experience, even if you can work out that something you’ve bought is white-labelled, you are probably grateful for the efforts that have gone into getting you that service so easily.

Issues arise when you white-label something and sell it to users and the experience post sale is less than perfect. That’s when clients become disgruntled and start looking about for alternatives. This goes especially for aftercare. If the product in question was a website and the client had a technical issue with the website post-sale, as long as the issue was resolved quickly and thoroughly, it doesn’t matter if it was your business or another that resolved it.

Want to try white-labelling?

As we’ve alluded to through this article and across our website, we work hard to provide white-label website services to our clients. Our efforts are focused on providing the best experience to both the end user (our clients’ clients) and the ‘middle-man’ (our client) – to help ensure longevity of the service and the relationship with our client.

If you’d like more information on how we can help you provide white labelled website services to your clients, why not contact us and discuss your concerns and address any questions you may have.