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Most businesses nowadays have a website – it’s an easy way of allowing existing and potential clients to see what they do and get in touch. However, few website’s are built with longevity in mind, meaning that content, images and menu’s get old and don’t attract visitors to continually visit the website for news and updates. When updates should be made, it is an extra expense for the business and something that takes longer and is more difficult than if it had been thought about during the initial development.

We always recommend a content management system when building new or refreshing existing websites for our clients. So, what’s the benefits?


  • Everything is done online through an admin username and password – meaning it can be done from anywhere with a web connection and you don’t have to worry about connecting into servers or doing anything technical
  • You don’t need to be a programmer to update the content. In fact, if you’re comfortable typing a document in Word, you’ll be more than able to update content in a cms
  • It’s not just text that you can update – you can upload and edit images, video and audio to put straight on your website
  • There is no cost for you to maintain the content on the website
  • Fresh content encourages users to return to your website and keep up to date

There are literally hundreds of popular content management systems available, and they all differ slightly in features and interface. For example, some are better at handling regularly updated content such as a blog, while others are more concentrated towards content pages.

We have worked with some of the most popular systems and cherry pick the solution that best fits our client’s needs.

Take a look at some of the websites we’ve done recently:



To find out more about how a content management system could help you maintain your current website or to talk about developing a new website for your company, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Yup, you’ve got a successful business and have now followed the hype, jumped onto the online bandwagon and set up a website. This may have just been a check box exercise – after all, a website’s handy to have, or maybe you had dreams, desires and goals for your online presence?

Come ‘go live’ day you feel both trepidation in case something goes wrong, then a huge sigh of relief as everything works and your business bursts into action online. Will the investment of both time and money into your website pay off or will your shiny new site go unnoticed and unloved?

Your website should be your most effective marketing, lead generation and sales channel by a huge margin. You know the benefits of being online so I won’t go on about them, but what actually happens when you launch?

Well, unless you’re extremely lucky, you’re not the only person in the world offering your products and services. Your competition are all out there as well (or soon going to be) so you need to stay ahead of the game.

This is where online marketing comes into play – a little bit of love for your website will help it exceed expectations and be a valuable asset.

So, how do you do it? SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. Now, you may have just cringed when I said that – there are so many myths going around about it, scare stories and confusion.

What it boils down to is ensuring your website appears as close to the top of the results pages in a search engine for a users search term.
In reality, very few people will ever access your website directly by typing your full web address into their computer – but will use a search engine (like Google, Bing or Yahoo) to search for your brand name, or even just a product or service you might sell.

The search engine will then present the user with what it thinks are the most relevant results for that search query. Therefore, it’s important that you let search engines know what search terms your site would be a good match for, and the search engine will work out how good a match.

What it really boils down to…
  • Having great, well written, regularly updated content on your site
  • Correct ‘semantic markup’ – that’s how your pages are coded. You’ll never see this, but all-important search engines will and making their lives easier can only be a good thing.
  • Links back to your site from others – the bigger the site linking back to you the better

There’s a lot of factors behind SEO, but get these three right and you’re going to do yourself a lot of favours.

SEO isn’t a quick fix or easy answer, it will take a bit of time, however it’s more a case of thinking differently rather than learning new skills or baffling yourself with new information.

What you can do to help your own SEO…

  • Keep in mind the sort of terms users would be searching for that would apply to your site and use them throughout your website
  • When adding pages, make sure the content’s easily readable, contains these key terms (and variations of them) and is really informative and useful
  • When writing content, link key phrases and words in it to relevant pages of your site
  • If your website platform allows you to, include these key phrases in page titles, meta descriptions and keywords. These are generally able to be set on a per-page basis and this feature should be part of your initial spec list.

Getting the basics right yourself isn’t difficult, however if you have a website already that’s not quite hitting the mark or your site just needs a bit of a refresh and some TLC come and talk to us.

We’re able to help improve your existing web presence by improving your site structure, helping you pick a keyword list and managing the implementation of your SEO strategy.

H1 Design will even provide reporting so you can see who’s using your website – how many visitors you get, where they’re located and what they do on your website. This allows you to see real business benefits to all the work we carry out.

Using this information as well as our marketing knowledge and experience, we can help turn around your online presence and ensure your website is a valuable business asset.

A couple of sites we’ve been working on lately are Turtlegates – Expanding Safety Barriers and Permatex – Automotive and Industrial Adhesives.



Jamie Sterling – H1 Design

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Mar/10

17

Blogging Tips



  1. Allow and encourage comments

    Allows a rapport to be set up with your user base, and may lead to more visitors and links to your articles

    Blogs are intended to be a two-way communication tool for both the author and the reader


  2. Give the option to add to Facebook, Twitter, etc

    Social media is a great advantage, as it allows your users to post your article and a link to their profile for all of their contacts to see, driving up visitors and interest.


  3. Categorise and tag posts

    You should get into a practice of creating and using categories to organize articles on your blog. This allows your users to jump to specific sections and areas that interest them.

    Tagging your own posts, and allowing your users to tag posts, also aids Search Engine Optimization and gives your users the ability to view popular topics without searching or having to navigate heavily around the blog.


  4. Automate posting to Facebook, Twitter, etc

    If you encourage your current customer base to join your social networking pages, you can use this as a tool to keep them updated as well as finding new business through their contacts.

    There are a number of ways to automatically publish new articles directly from your blog to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.


  5. Allow people to subscribe via email or RSS readers

    It is unlikely that your readers will constantly return to your website to check for new articles. Instead, you should provide them with a way to be automaticall updated when you post to your blog.

    RSS feeds, and associated software programs, allow you to do just that.


  6. Make posts useful but personal

  7. Somone who posts a tutorial or free advice and knows what they’re talking about are more likely to be contacted over someone who doesn’t.


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Mar/10

17

Focus on… Blog Jargon

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Whether you’re new to blogging or already writing articles online, you’ll no doubt have heard a abundance of jargon terms which made you lift an eyebrow.

Don’t worry – you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of common blogging terms along with plain English descriptions


Technorati

An Internet search engine specifically for blogs. It works by looking at the tags or keywords which authors place on their blogs. Each blog is also rated on the popularity and authority by looking at the number of inbound links, similarly to Google. (http://www.technorati.com/)


Tag Could

A visual representation of specific keywords (tags), or sometimes all of the content on a website. Important or common tags are usually displayed in a stronger typeface or larger font size. The tags are commonly linked to a search page for the specific word, allowing users to find popular articles without typing in a search query.


Blogosphere

The virtual community of blogs on the internet, inter-connected by links to and from each blog website. When people talk of the ‘Blogosphere’, they are referring to opinion and trending topics across the vast number of blogs on the Internet.


Permalink

A permanent link to an article on a blog, which remains unchanged indefinitely. As such, they are commonly used by other websites or blogs linking to an article on a specific blog. Such links invariably contain the date or time from when the article was created, as such information identifies the article more specifically than just a title.


CMS

A Content Management System is a piece of software which can be installed on a web server, allowing the administrator to manage and control a large, dynamic collection of material. There are several CMS applications which have been developed specifically for blogging purposes.


RSS / Atom

Feed formats used to publish frequently updated works, such as blog entries, in a standardized format. These feeds allow readers of blogs to ‘subscribe’ to the blog using an RSS or feed reader, updating them automatically of new articles without having to visit the website continually.


Trackback

A method for an author of a post to request a notification when someone links to one if their articles. This allows blogs and their authors to communicate with each other. Linking between blogs is useful as it means conversations spanning several blogs can be easily followed by readers.


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Mar/10

15

Funny Pictures Mar 09

Dec/09

21

Focus on… Exhibitions

Create exhibitions that work

If you have the right exhibition event, with the right target customers, the right message and the right people manning the stand, then exhibitions offer a fantastic sales opportunity. Being able to identify these elements and put them into place is the challenge

Here is some advice when embarking on your next exhibition

  • An exhibition should be memorable and evoke a wish to visit
  • Focus your design and concept on your target audience
  • Use images from your marketing literature to maintain brand consistency and message
  • What you offer should be clear and interesting to the attendees. (Make it clear what product or service you are offering)
  • Your stand should allow the attendee to experience the brand and shouldn’t be a sales pitch
  • Even if your stand is small, make sure there is adequate lighting. For large space stands, don’t rely on expo hall to provide sufficient light
  • Text should always be large enough to see from a distance and positioned so its not blocked by people standing or stand fixtures such as tables and chairs
  • And finally. Make sure you have a system (paper or electronic) to capture customer details and enquiries.

Brian is our resident font of knowledge on everything relating to exhibitions. For the past 20 years he has been involved with designing, creating and managing a wide variety of different sized stands and can walk you through everything you need to do from start to finish.

Want to know more? Give us a call today to talk through your options.

Dec/09

16

Effective Briefs

At the start of the year there is always a flurry of marketing activity. Naturally, every company wants to have the best possible start and push ahead with marketing campaigns to promote their products and services. So here are a few pointers to make sure that you develop a great brief for us creatives to work with.

  • Give a general overview of your current situation and what objectives you want to achieve
  • Set realistic sales and profit targets. This will also drive how much you’re willing to spend marketing your products and services.
  • Determine who your key customer target types are. Be as specific as possible. It may be that different messages will apply to different customer types.
  • Any marketing campaign should be benefits driven.
  • The easiest way to do this is to take your product features and add ‘which means that’ to turn them into benefits.
  • Find the one benefit that is most motivating for your target customers. This allows the campaign to have a focus. (One main benefit might only be applicable to a specific type of customer, so always think about the individual customer types when writing the brief)
  • Explain how a customer can achieve this benefit. Think about the product or service and imagine you’re the customer – how do you think / feel about it? Look for any valuable insights.
  • How would you sell this product to a friend who is part of the target market? Try and explain in one meaningful sentence why the product or service will be beneficial.
  • Don’t focus on a creative concept or try and write headlines and copy. Focus on giving good information and allow H1 to use their experience to deliver a workable and creative campaign.
  • Don’t fill the brief with technical information. This will come later.
  • Write down all the words that make the product unique. Then try to construct sentences out of all the words you’ve written down.
  • Google your competitors. You might find information you haven’t thought about or focus you on what makes your products and services unique.

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Dec/09

16

DDS Exhibition

H1 Expo

We’ve been working with Totem to create an exhibition that would promote their print at home ticketing solutions. After being well received in both Birmingham and Las Vegas, the company has had in excess of 150 quality leads. Their unique and key benefit is that their system will bolt on to existing hardware, so customers don’t need the huge capital outlay to replace what they already have.

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Dec/09

11

Funny Pictures Dec 09

That's what Christmas shopping does!

That's what Christmas shopping does!

Compelling reason

Compelling reason

It works!

It works!

It's not coal you get...

It's not coal you get...

If birds could talk

If birds could talk

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Dec/09

4

Christmas Cards

santas How about this for a novel Christmas card. The Santas can either spell out your company name or the name of your customers. The cards are printed digitally so each individual card can be personalised. Interested? All we need is a spreadsheet of customers names and we can have the cards back to you within 5 working days.

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