Thursday, 5 May 2011

Web Branding's 3rd Interview welcomes Tom from Steel Ink Design in Sheffield

We say hello to Tom Merrill the founder of Steel Ink Design, a graphic design company based in Sheffield. This is the 3rd interview of the Web Branding Series, 2011.






Firstly Tom, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today.

No problem.

From checking out your website and your facebook page I can see you have a great collection of work. What work have you undertaken in the past that you would say best demonstrates what Steel Ink Design is all about?

I recently completed some work for a Sheffield based events company. They’re always on the look out for the next big thing in the promotion world in order to effectively reach their target audience. So I created a very simple flyer that contained nothing but a QR code. The whole concept was based around the idea of intrigue getting the better of you. The flyers were strategically placed around locations where they knew their target audience ‘hung out’ to entice them into scanning the code.If you want to find out who the company is, well, you’ll just have to keep your eyes peeled for one of the flyers and scan the QR code yourself!






I understand that you’ve recently set up your own business, Steel Ink Design. What advice would you give to any of our readers out there that are thinking about going alone? Any tips for getting motivated, inspired, creative?

I think it’s important to build up a library of design books and example work that you admire. There are always times when I’m working on a project and it seems as though it’s not progressing at all. I look through design books, get ideas, and see how other designers tackled similar issues. Then I go back to the work another time (I often leave projects 24 hours before looking at them again) and it almost seems blindingly obvious as to what I need to do after a break from thinking about it. Suddenly everything becomes clear and makes sense.

Whilst in the process of setting the company up, I found SENTA, the Sheffield Enterprise Agency to be invaluable. They’re a completely free government funded organisation. I received a lot of useful business support from the Sheffield Enterprise Agency, support that otherwise wouldn’t have been available to me. I’d recommend joining SENTA to anyone who is thinking of starting his or her own business in Sheffield.


I see from your website that you’re a freelance graphic designer and a landscape architect. Is there much cross over between these two jobs and would you like to combine the two in the future?

I trained at university as a landscape architect, but during that time I found that my passion lies within graphic design. Landscape Architecture is extremely important in terms of how we shape our environment but often the work produced in this discipline is poorly presented. Funding for landscape projects often lies on the landscape architects presentation to the client, and so the way in which their ideas are portrayed graphically is hugely important. So yes, I believe there is a strong crossover between the two disciplines and one that is often not fully exploited.







We see you’re also based in this great city of Sheffield, do you see Sheffield as a pioneer city for all things creative? Like for instance the new brand ‘Designed in Sheffield’ which hopes to bring more creative jobs into the area.

I think Sheffield is a great place for all kinds design, especially with its rich steel heritage. I know a lot of different creative’s based in Sheffield and they all enjoy working here. The thing that I love about Sheffield is the fact that it’s got everything a big city should have, as well as being so close to the peak district. It’s perfect for encouraging all kinds of different and varied design.


I can see you’ve spent some time working on the interior design of a nightclub in Sheffield, please tell us some more about this.

I’ve always loved music and clubbing and the electric atmosphere that comes with it, so it was a real honour for me when I was approached by the legendary Sheffield nightclub called Niche to be part of their ‘rebirth’ in 2009 after nearly five years since the original venue closed. I was always aware of the immense pressure to deliver on this particular project;the club had such a strong following within the city, and indeed the rest of the UK. Over the previous 20 years or so, it had become somewhat of a musical phenomenon leading the way at the forefront of one of the UK’s biggest underground music scenes. It even received a gold disc for sales in excess of 100,000 copies of both the ‘Ministry of Sound and Niche present The Sound of Bassline’ albums, so the pressure was on!
















The main room was designed to have a distinctly underground and dark feel, yet still retain a fresh and exciting vibe to bring Niche firmly into the modern era. It was extremely important that this room set the right image for a venue that would play host to the fast moving and ever changing face of the underground music scene that Niche was so famous for creating. The second room was designed around the idea of an ‘original Niche replica’. It was to host Niche anthems and original speed garage classics so it was important that it reflected many of the memorable qualities of the original Niche all-nighter venue. I worked closely with the people behind the Niche brand, often visiting the original building on Sidney Street to get a taste of the true intrinsic underground value of the venue that made it what it was. I was there on the opening night and the feedback from the clubbers was amazing, many of them saying that ‘they were back home’. That made all the hard work worthwhile.
















Do you have any little pearls of wisdom from the design world that might help our audience? Neat websites, shortcuts, helpful software etc.

I think that the most important thing that any designer can do is to keep your eyes open. Design is everywhere and you should try to look at the detail in everyday items. Try to analyse everyday objects that have obviously been designed by someone. There are good and bad examples everywhere of design everywhere and understanding the difference between these is extremely important.


What would be your dream project for Steel Ink Design to land? Re-designing the 2012 Olympics logo springs to mind! Absolutely anything!

Right now while Steel Ink Design is still relatively young, I think rather than an individual project, it would be great to be able to collaborate on a project with some of the designers that inspire me. If I were to have to pick one, at the moment it would be Matt Pyke of Universal Everything. I’ve been inspired by some of the work that he’s created recently, and I admire the way that he works. I think that everyone can learn something from working with other like-minded designers.


What do you see as the next big thing around the corner in the world of graphic design?

I thinkiPads(and other similar tablets) will start to play a bigger role in everyday life. Not just for the graphic designer and the way in which a designer works on projects, but also in the way that information and design is delivered to users. I don’t think they’re quite there yet in terms of taking over, but they’re starting the advance quickly. I can see them eventually replacing laptops as an all in one computer. So for me, it’s very important to start thinking about how graphic design projects can make use of new technology to effectively reach and make a greater impact on the end user.






Finally, many thanks for being part of our 2011 interview series, if you have any final thoughts, plugs, links etc. please feel free…

Thanks for interviewing me. You can have a look at my latest work on my website and social networking pages.


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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Grow your business with the correct use of Technology



In essence technology allows any business to work in a smarter and faster way. An intuitive and natural flow of information in and around your business is key to success.

It is certainly common to find many companies that rely heavily on technology but are only in first gear when it comes to reaching their maximum potential.

The first step towards cranking up through the gears is to consider your existing technological framework.

How well does information flow through your organisation?

We can compare this to a motorway; do you have all 4 lanes open with flowing traffic or, as is more commonly the case a large amount of road works and only one lane open with crawling traffic. The later example will normally result in productivity issues and a crippling of functionality.

Most businesses are well aware of their short comings, will confirm their heavy reliance on technology but do not know how to clear all their road works. A common problem can be a lack of IT knowledge at the very top of companies. The decision makers don't understand the technology and the IT department's whizz kids will do what they're asked..Catch 22! Most company leaders will understand the basics of technology but not grasp the overarching potential of a fluid technology strategy

Technology gives us options, it gives us the ability to

* quickly analyse data,
* look for trends,
* highlight potential problems,
* provide efficient web development and
* create customisable reports at the click of a mouse.

For so long, it has involved working well into the night to prepare that report for the morning meeting, now it can be done in a matter of seconds.

Regularly, some simple steps can help any business gain a marked increase in productivity. You should consider whether you are taking full advantage of the vast range of technologies available today with a comparatively low initial outlay;

* Does your website look dated and risk giving an impression of your business below what you believe is correct?
* Are you still using the ageing client database system that you bought in the 90's?...
* Do you even have a client database?

When considering any upgrade to your IT infrastructure, it is important to take advice from someone who has the ability to make recommendations to suit all aspects of your business. You may be amazed to discover just how many of your day to day tasks could be completely removed by having a review of the systems that you currently have in place.

An efficient client database for example built with modern technologies for example, can carry out a huge range of procedures to show a real difference in productivity.

* Invoices can be printed,
* emailed or faxed at the touch of a button with minimal data entry,
* no manual calculations and
* an audit trail automatically stored.
* Workflows can be designed around your own requirements with tasks allocated to specific staff members or teams.
* Other advantages are provided with client information being stored in one location to allow a low maintenance backup routine.

The biggest advantage however, is the cost involved.

Thanks to open source software, web development is truely powerful, the technology is now available to commission bespoke client databases, web design or software development and never have to pay any costs for any of the software used.

The only bills that you would ever receive are for the initial production and a small maintenance requirement which could potentially be performed in-house.

Total SEO Services

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Build Links for Free with Social Monkee!


Total SEO Services would like to promote a fantastic service from Social Monkee - a completely free tool that you can use to automatically create several backlinks to your site every day!

Just follow the link to Social Monkee, register with them and you will be able to start building links every day.

All links are do-follow links and so will be a big help to any SEO Campaign

Social Monkee has options to upgrade to a paid service to build more links - try for free as long as you want though.

www.socialmonkee.com

Build Backlinks for Free!


Web Branding would like to introduce you to Social Monkee - a completely free tool for automatically building 20 backlinks or more every day!

Just follow the link to Social Monkee, sign up and start building links - It's as simple as that.

Social Monkee has options to upgrade to a paid service to build more links - try for free as long as you want though.

www.socialmonkee.com

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Our Latest New Website




Web Branding is pleased to announce our latest new website - www.beatthatrate.com. A revolutionary new website aimed at ensuring that their customers can achieve the best price available for a wide range of products and services.
Whether you are looking to raise finance for a special purchase or are just looking to reduce the cost of your house insurance, we can put you in touch with a friendly adviser. Take a look through the services offered by browsing the menu at the top of the page.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Web Branding Website Competition WINNER

Congratulations are in order for Nicola Shipley who came out as the winner in the Web Branding Website Design Competition.

Many thanks for all the entries. It went down to the public vote and after we had recieved nearly 500 votes, Nicola's design for the Peakford Ford Owners Group came out on top.

Well Done to all out Competitors..

Here's a sneak preview of the newly designed website that should be up and running next week.



We have secured the domain www.peakford.co.uk and you'll be able to check out this website soon



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Friday, 11 February 2011

Web Branding speak to Brian Patterson from MangoCo in Northern Virginia, USA

Welcome to the second Web Branding interview of this 2011 Series.


Today I am happy to be joined by Brian Patterson.

He is a Partner at MangoCo, a design and seo firm based in Northern Virginia, USA. MangoCo deals in Search Engine Optimisation, Reputation Management, and Unique Web Design and has a strong track record for achieving top rankings.



First off, many thanks for agreeing to this interview, and let’s begin with a brief introduction about yourself and MangoCo. 


Thanks for the inviting me to participate in the interview series. My background is a mixed bag of IT consulting, project management, and search engine optimization.  I’ve consulted on projects ranging from an enterprise system roll-out at a Top Secret government agency to building a celebrity gossip blog for a client that showcases the most interesting celeb tweets.  My focus these days is primarily on SEO and Online Reputation Management.

And how long have you been at the SEO game? What’s been the biggest change since you’ve been dealing with Search Engine Optimisation?

I’ve been doing SEO for about four years now.  Compared to some other SEO professionals, I’m just a baby in the industry, and they are right. However, 4 years in an online industry is also an eternity in terms of evolution.  The biggest macro change that has impacted me is the shift by the algorithms towards stronger domains. 

When I first started, it was fairly easy to get content on brand new sites to rank well fairly quickly. However, the updates over time seem to have shifted a lot of trust to ‘authority domains’ – aged domains with strong links that Google can really trust. Often times these domains many not have as good of an article to fulfil the query as a newer site, but Google is ranking them higher because it trusts them more.  This shift has changed the way we go about doing SEO, with almost no focus on ‘quick results’ for any sort of competitive keywords

On a side note, we’ll soon be launching a site with details on how we go about building authority sites/domains, so stay tuned and we’ll be sure to share the details here when its live.



If you had to make 3 predictions about the future of SEO in the coming few years, what changes do you see having most impact on how SEO is carried out?

Prediction 1:   Bing’s market share will continue to grow, and here why:  Facebook is seeping its way into every aspect of our online lives and activities.  From the Like button to Facebook Connect, many of us interact with Facebook on a daily basis OFF of the Facebook website.  Microsoft relationship with Facebook allows Bing to crawl it to see what people are ‘Liking’ on the web.  This gives Bing the unique opportunity to adjust their ranking algorithms based on social activity that Google cannot see.  I can imagine a marketing campaign with Bing touting how they can personalize the search experience just for you. >

Prediction 2:  Brands will focus more on Reputation Management, and Google will find more ways to combat Brands focusing on this; Its typical cat and mouse.  I recently wrote this post over at SEOmoz about how we helped a client combat the issue where Google was recommending their brand name plus the word ‘scam’ in Google Suggest.

Since reputation management is on my mind lately, my prediction is as Google becomes aware that more brands are doing this, they’ll find ways to combat it and surface true user feedback in the algorithm (for branded searches).

Bonus prediction:  I also think the algorithm’s bias towards negative suggestions will decrease as a way to get brands to not spend as much time manipulating the algorithm because of reputation management problems.

Prediction 3:  Content farms aren’t going anywhere!  Everyone is complaining about how Google is just full of spam and junk courtesy of Demand Media and the like, but Matt Cutts just posted today about how the results back then were actually a lot worse, and he has proof.  I think eHow and similar sites will still stay around, because they do have their place.  For quick, short answers, they actually do the trick quite often.


What’s your Business Philosophy?

At MangoCo, our primary focus is on developing recurring revenue streams.  Currently 60% of our income is through client work, while 40% of our income is through web properties and web tools that we develop and monetize.  We have large authority sites like Mac Help site Maciverse, mid-sized but growing community sites like My Five Fingers, and tiny niche sites that we are experimenting with like the Best Hair Straightener Guide.  As you can see, we put our hands in a lot of pots.  Over time, we hope to build our sites and projects to be a larger percentage of our overall portfolio.



What are your top tips for keeping up to date with all the breaking SEO news?

I’m a big RSS guy.  I follow over 60 SEO related blogs, and I hate unread counts, so I generally read everything in my Google Reader account throughout the day.    I think this keeps me fairly up to date, but I also follow a bunch of SEO’s on Twitter to catch any interesting conversations or breaking news.

If you had to choose one process as the single most important aspect of an SEO campaign, what would this do?

Hmmmm…. That’s a tough question because there really are so many critical pieces.  If I had to pick one though, I guess it would be keyword research.  It’s critical to know your targets.

What is your opinion on CMS Website platforms such as Joomla, Drupal, Mambo etc from an SEO point of view?

You left out my favourite – WordPress!  I’ve used all of the others you listed, but I’ve found that WP’s ease-of-use coupled with the ability to tweak everything for SEO makes it hands down my favourite CMS for most websites.  I haven’t used Joomla in a few years, but I remember at the point I was using it that it was terrible for SEO – there was so much duplicate content generated if you wanted to use the pretty URL option.  And, if you didn’t, you had long strings of variables in your URLs.  I didn’t like either of those options!



How do you see Google Realtime Search affecting SEO campaigns and do you think this will rival Twitter Search?


I don’t know that a lot of people use Google’s realtime search, I know I don’t and I don’t pay much attention to it either.  If I need to search something in realtime, which I admin is not too often, I use Twitter’s search.

If you had to name two of the biggest challenges that you have had to overcome when optimising a website over the last year, what would these be?

Page load time is always a big challenge when we are brought in after a website is already developed.  It can be a hastle to get large companies to make changes to their website that affect the underlying architecture.  It takes time and effort to identify what the culprit is of a slow loading website and then even more time and effort to develop a plan an execute on it.  While we have done this a bunch, I much prefer link building!

The second problem we seem to hit fairly often is where client doesn’t want to create any new content, and doesn’t want to pay to have it professionally created, either.  This is tough because obviously fresh, interesting content generates links on its own.  Additionally, if we are going out and building a lot of links, we like to hide that spike behind content creation.  Our thought process here is that the search engines won’t see that spike as “ah ha, SEOs are working on this site”, but rather see it as “ah ha, this site is creating lots of new content, and new links are flowing in because of it”.

Are there any gems of SEO wisdom or advice that you would like to share with our readers?

I would say – think creatively!  There are a number of clever and creative ways to get good, strong links.  While the popular methods do work, such as widgets, badges, infographics, etc… there are many other ways to get strong links.  To get your juices flowing, here is one idea we used in the past:

We found a link acquisition target that was a typical blog run by one guy.  We noticed he was sorta vain and liked posting pictures of himself.  So, we hired a caricaturist on oDesk for $15 to do a caricature of him.  We sent it to him along with a way to link back to us.  Easy and unique, right?  When you are going after harder-to-get links, it pays to use your thinking cap.

And lastly if you have any final thoughts/ plugs, please feel free..

Thanks again for the opportunity.  If you’re interested, you can follow me on the Twitter:  @brianpatterson

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Sheffield Gardening.co.uk - Unveiling our Latest Client

We are very proud to unveil our latest project: Joe Bond Gardens at www.sheffieldgardening.co.uk

We have been working with Joe over the past couple of months designing, building and providing SEO for the new website.



“With over 10 years experience creating designs for National Trust owned properties and other landmark gardens, Joe Bond's reputation for providing innovative and contemporary Garden Designs throughout Sheffield and Derbyshire is difficult to match.”


Whether you are considering a simple garden clearance or a complete redesign, Joe Bond Gardens are happy to provide recommendations to suit your budget. Please visit Sheffield Gardening today



Total SEO Services

Joe Bond Gardens - Unveiling our Latest Web Project

We are very proud to unveil our latest project: Joe Bond Gardens at www.sheffieldgardening.co.uk

We have been working with Joe over the past couple of months designing, building and providing SEO for the new website.



“With over 10 years experience creating designs for National Trust owned properties and other landmark gardens, Joe Bond's reputation for providing innovative and contemporary Garden Designs throughout Sheffield and Derbyshire is difficult to match.”


Whether you are considering a simple garden clearance or a complete redesign, Joe Bond Gardens are happy to provide recommendations to suit your budget. Please visit Sheffield Gardening today

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Monday, 7 February 2011

Lesser known SEO Techniques to give your website a Boost...


Generally when you talk to someone working within the SEO profession, any optimisation strategy that they're following will be heavily focused on acquiring backlinks.

This common issue is generally caused by the misconception that backlinks are the best way of achieving those prestigious number one positions, whereas in actual fact the best way to gain these positions is by addressing numerous factors together.

Yes, backlinks are very important within Google's ranking algorithm, but they cannot achieve positioning on their own. Other important factors include page optimisation, relevant copy, internal linking, the domain name and the following smaller, yet effective techniques:

Page speed...

Google announced last year that year that it's algorithm would now consider the page loading speed of websites, giving optimisers another way of impressing Google when they crawl their website. A website can be optimised to load faster by compressing images, removing unnecessary JavaScript code, optimising the CSS and cleaning up HTML code.

Optimising images...

Similar to page speed, adding alt tags to images might not have as much of an impact as some of key SEO techniques, but it can help to make a difference. By placing alt tags on images, you're effectively telling Google what the images are about, as when crawling, Google is unable to read them.

Creating a blog...

By adding a blog onto your domain you're giving yourself a hugely impactful resource for linking and also generating much more copy. Regular posts from your blog can help to increase the rate that Google crawls your website, provide more linking power to your pages and help to tell Google that you're experts within your field with the additional copy.

These SEO Services are great for giving your website a boost, helping to make it easier for Google to identify what your website is about and increasing your chances of achieving those top search engine positions.



Paul Rogers - Marketing and Web Development Manager of Big Game Hunters, an Oxfordshire-based retailer of Trampolines and Playhouses.

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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Web Branding Interview Series 2011 - We Talk with Luke at Vivoo Creative

This is the first Interview in our 2011 Interview Series, I’m happy to be joined by Luke from Vivoo Creative based in Nottingham. They deal in all things creative and online marketing.



First off, thanks for agreeing to this brain picking session!

Please can you give a brief introduction about yourself & your company: When was Vivoo Creative formed and how?


Hi! My name is Luke and I own Vivoo Creative which is generally myself but I employ in-house on a contract basis for larger projects.

Vivoo Creative was formed in March 2010 before this I generally worked in-house at other design and digital agencies, I am self-taught in what I do, I left school with 1 GCSE (in Drama) but at 15 stumbled upon myspace and gained an interest in HTML, through the years I was a Chef so creativity was generally in my blood, while I was working as a Chef thanks to Google and Youtube and my own dedication I taught myself website design and development and have gone on to SEO, UX, Social Media, and email marketing… eventually I left catering to take on Web Design and Development full-time.

How’d the name come about?

Absolut random, I try to be as different and unique as I can be within my designs so I figured why not do the same for the name? Originally it was just Vivoo but I decided to change it to Vivoo Creative so it at least signified something! It’s great when I get enquiries as the first thing that is asked is ‘is it viv-ow or viv-oo’? After discussing the name of the business I think it puts the potential client at ease and they get to know you a little!




I see from your Blog you’re in the process of refurbishing your studio, what’s the key to a great working environment? Any tips for our readers on how you gain that creative inspiration?

I’m glad you asked me this, I have worked at too many agencies which are just too dull and ‘call centre like’, Grey walls and florescent celling lights, what’s that about?

This is the creative industry so surely the environment you work in must be creative too! Full of colour, and fun within a motivated and interesting environment, with Mood boards on the wall or your own work, so you can look up and say… I did that!

Actually I do something called sketch boarding, it’s not only a good way to plan out your website for usability but it also gets you away from the computer I recommend anyone doing this if you are freelance or a team.



Another thing I try to do is my own stock photography, after reading a blog post a few months ago I build a few light tents, this is another thing I think everyone get involved in and have input in a working environment, me personally I do it to get my own shots and get away from the computer, though it can be time consuming!

People get creative inspiration from all sorts of things, above is just my approach, sometimes I wake up at 2am with an idea for a project I’m working on so I think in general inspiration comes from the mind!

What’s your Business Philosophy?

To be a unique input into the creative industry.

It seems you’ve just enjoyed a prosperous 2010, what’s the biggest lesson(s) you learnt about your industry last year?

Usability is a massive key for any project, even for the smallest projects always plan in detail! It’s worth the extra 2/3 days, I’m not a master at UX but I can understand why there is masters in usability.

Also, make sure you client knows who the designer is, I made the mistake once in just saying yes to I can design it like this for you, yes I can do it like that, and that was the last time I let that happen… don’t let them take over, they hire you because you know how to create, for some reason a lot of clients still don’t get this, I’ve lost clients previously because I have stopped them from trying to be the designer but that was my choice. The way I see it you wouldn’t tell a builder how to build a house, you hire them to build it,  just like we are hired to build and design websites!

And this is just a bit of advice to people starting out as I hear of this mistake every week, I have worked with a lot of agencies who outsource to me, sometimes they will ask for concepts (just like some clients do) before any payment is made or even before you even have the project in hand, I tell you now, it doesn’t matter if they are an agency, private client or the queen of England, say no to spec work.



And the biggest challenge of 2010?


Motivation, don’t get me wrong I absolutely love what I do, but working long hours by yourself really can take its toll! To overcome this I used to go out every day and do stuff, generally go for a pint in the evening if I’m honest! Or sometimes If I’m not doing dev or design work I would go and take my laptop some place and do admin stuff. Only having people on Twitter, Facebook and IM doesn’t count and it can take you out of the real world!


With the ever increasing rate of tech advances, what do you find is the most challenging aspect of keeping up with the ever evolving online world?


Dealing with Project Management, Admin, Accounts, Server Management, Clients, Marketing, social media, and of course the initial design and development work is what I have to look after on a day to day basis so trying to keep on top of the current trends and technology is somewhat impossible, I do try my very best to keep in the loop, but with all this other stuff going on and with there be improvements in technology every day it can be very difficult to have time to sit back and read a blog post, watch a video or have a chat about HTML5 or something!


Where do you see the web design industry in the future?

Very little flash…. HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery is the future oh and no internet explorer if we are lucky.


2011 is set to be yet another year of dramatic change in the online world. What do you predict will be really big this coming year?

Hopefully the death of Internet Explorer, but if not we can dream right?

And lastly, a BIG THANKS, if you have any final thoughts/ plugs, please feel free..


Referring to one of my answers Google UX sketch boarding, it’s interesting!

Twitter www.twitter.com/vivoocreative

Personal twitter - www.twitter.com/himynameislukie (follow at own risk)

Website www.vivoocreative.co.uk





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Wednesday, 19 January 2011

What To Look Out For in 2011 - Internet Trends

2011 - Yet Another Year of High Speed Change Online




















Last year saw a remarkable growth in Social Media, the increase in users on the main social network platforms showed no signs of slowing up. SEO Services are constantly changing to keep up with more sophisticated algorithms and Online Media continues to rapidly evolve.

All signs are pointing to the fact that search engines must pay more attention to the vast amount of social data out there. Social signals such as ‘Like’ buttons may become a key factor in determining the relevancy and popularity of the results we see.

At present, popular Tweets are being instantly indexed, a tell tale sign of what’s to come. This revelation will see the new sponsored Tweets become even more valuable to SEO Services. Real-time search will undoubtedly come into its own this year and become more of an established feature on Google results pages.

We may likely see the end of the PageRank and a new hybrid version that can calculate quality and relevancy to determine value. This may even bring about a decline of duplicate and regurgitated content in the name of rank.

With Smart phones and tablets more affordable than ever, this will mean that keeping in touch on the many social forums will continue to grow. 2011 will see a marked increase in mobile search and yet another influx of even more impressive apps. The application boom will not only feature within the mobile market but also web apps will play a key role as HTML 5 is steadily rolled out to the masses.

A sleek and better looking internet will adorn the New Year as the wonders of the new html and CSS3 will finally give HTML 4 a long needed overhaul. Media rich sites no longer need to rely on third party applications. We as the user will see an end to the excessive messages of ‘To view this content download/ update this player’.

Online Video’s have also followed a pattern of expansion with ever more websites favouring this format to inform users about their wares. Better broadband speeds coupled with cheaper video recording devices and ever more user friendly editing software means the future is set in video format.
Get ready to start hearing the term ‘Video SEO’ a whole lot more.

The slow demise of TV as we know it will make way for the rise of Internet TV, with the likes of Google and Apple keen to corner this market.

Search Engine Optimisation is also a changing playing field. The art of optimising your online content has become much more main stream.

A few years ago if you followed the laws of SEO to the book, anyone half computer literate would be able to see noticeable results. The approach of ‘painting by numbers’ may very well be on the way out, as Social Media takes a more prominent position. As Algorithms become more sophisticated in 2011, this will surely ruffle a few feathers within the SEO community. More innovative and creative SEO techniques shall spring up, many echoing the core elements of marketing.

2011 has certainly the makings for yet another year of fast paced technological advances.

I’ll close with the thoughts of an article I recently read where the author made the very insightful simile of how internet years closely resemble that of dog years, 7 years of advancements in 1 year! 



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Monday, 10 January 2011

The New LookB4UBook Website - Our Latest Client

We are proud to Showcase our latest project:


We have been working closely with the team at LookB4UBook over the past few months to rebuild their site.


"LookB4UBook Uniquely showcases holiday cottages in the most sought after locations across the UK, providing a personal approach to selecting the perfect holiday accommodation by taking you on an engaging property video tour."

The website incorporates the following features:

·         Database Driven Content
·         E-commerce Site
·         Compatible with Mobile Devices – iPads / iPhones etc.
·         Clear User Navigation and Login Accounts
·         Dynamic HTML accessible on all browsers
·         Social Media Integration

LookB4UBook are currently offering Free Video Production as part of their introductory offer.
If you are in the market of renting out holiday cottages or know of anyone who could benefit from this great service, get in touch with the LookB4UBook team.

The LookB4UBook platform is a great way of promoting your properties Online:

Why not Check Out LookB4UBook Today

Total SEO Services

LookB4UBook - Our Latest Website Client

We are proud to Showcase our latest project:



We have been working closely with the team at LookB4UBook over the past few months to rebuild their site.


"LookB4UBook Uniquely showcases holiday cottages in the most sought after locations across the UK, providing a personal approach to selecting the perfect holiday accommodation by taking you on an engaging property video tour."

The website incorporates the following features:

·         Database Driven Content
·         E-commerce Site
·         Compatible with Mobile Devices – iPads / iPhones etc.
·         Clear User Navigation and Login Accounts
·         Dynamic HTML accessible on all browsers
·         Social Media Integration

LookB4UBook are currently offering Free Video Production as part of their introductory offer.
If you are in the market of renting out holiday cottages or know of anyone who could benefit from this great service, get in touch with the LookB4UBook team.

The LookB4UBook platform is a great way of promoting your properties Online:

Why not check out LookB4UBook today..

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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

SEO Landing Page Power - How to Harness the Power of a Landing Page


An SEO Landing Page is a very important tool to implement well in the name of Internet Marketing. A common occurrence is for online businesses to spend money on producing adverts, informative reviews and social media campaigns all linking back to their site.

Now here's the thing, the o so common mistake: the link will often just point back to a homepage.

Ok, I hear you say, well that makes sense; should be the obvious place for a business to direct their customers. But this isn't really the case. A homepage's job is to welcome a customer to a business and offer up a wide variety of choices available, anything from that week's top deals to finding the location of a business.

Homepages will inherently have many choices visible on one page to cater for all needs of any visitor.

BUT..

and it's a big one, this is not the main aim of an advert, is it?

The idea of giving a person mixed signals and a variety of choices after an advert would leave the individual somewhat confused. A good advert should leave the viewer with an absolute clear idea about:

what is being promoted
how they can benefit, and
What should be their next Action

Now, many internet banner ads or social media posts cannot display or relay this amount of information..cue: The SEO Landing Page. The sole aim of this page is to complement the preceding advert.

The advert represents an appointment booking but the seo page is the equivalent of a sit down meeting with a client. The latter is much more informative, convincing and likelier to end in a sale.

So we've convincingly put across the argument for the use of a specific SEO landing page for each individual advert. Now here's some pointers to help make an effective and worthwhile landing page.

Use a Video
Online videos are now the most popular pastime on the internet. Take advantage of this trend and put your advert in a short and sharp video that succinctly puts your important point across.

Instant Play
Your video should take prominence of place on your page and importantly, start playing automatically as soon as the page is opening

Good Copy
Another crucial part of a successful landing page is to provide well written and convincing prose. The video will win your customers attention and the content's job is to convince the customer to take action.


A well designed and structured SEO Landing Page can often be the deciding factor as to whether an online marketing campaign succeeds of fails.

Total SEO Services

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Website Design Competition - VOTING

We have now commenced the voting stage of our Website Design Competition.

We didn't receive a great deal of entries in the end, but many thanks for all our entries.
Please see the 4 contenders below for the website prize.

To register your votes please click on your favourite entry at the top right hand side of our blog.


Please feel free to link to this page to get your friends voting for the winner.

We put back the final submission date to the 31st Dec 2010 so now the final deadline for the winner to be decided by will be the 15th Feb.

Best of Luck to all our Entrants


Entry 1


Sponsor My Talent by Mahmood Choudhury

Mahmood writes:

“My name is Mahmood Choudhury and this is my entry for the website design competition. I have designed the page below. Basically, what it does is to connect talented people to potential sponsors, tools and resources to help them get their projects and dreams off the ground.”

Entry 2

The Love Farm by John & Tom

 
“The big picture in the middle of the site will continually change and we want the picture on the bottom left to actually be a video of John and I talking about what we are doing etc.  The pictures in place at the mo were the only ones I could lay my hands on!

It is a nice simple design, which reflects what our company is trying to achieve and the values we are working to.  We are not looking for a complicated site, but one that is easy to navigate.”

Entry 3

Bray Wanderers AFC by Alan Power


 
Alan submitted a potential design for Football Club

Entry 4

Peakford – Ford Owners Group by Nicola Shipley


 “The website will be a Ford enthusiast club website (I hope). My inspiration is my boyfriend’s obsession with Ford cars, he and his friends want to be part of clubs but all the relevant clubs are down south so I figured I would create one for him. We currently have 12 members but haven't advertised other than car stickers and as much as I love him I can only do so much web building. I would love for this to get off the ground for him. We already own the web address.”



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