2020 Vision: How tech shapes the future of web design

This was posted on June 21st, 2019
Technology is shaping the future of web design

We are at the point in the twenty-first century when technology has probably invaded everything we do.  The internet is everywhere.  Locating us as we travel. Counting our steps as we run.  Delivering our news to us before we get out of bed.  Still, the internet is nothing without the tech to access it with.  Unless you have found a way to browse in thin air.

As marketers we are aware of this technology.  Companies like Email on Acid have the inbox testing feature designed for to view an email marketing campaign on various handsets before it is sent.  Different technologies render marketing materials in different ways.  So, it stands to reason that, at least in part, the future of web design lies in the tech at the consumer end.

Let’s be frank about this.  Tech is in control here.  A customer will spend their money primarily on the gadgets and gizmos and expect the apps and internet to be optimised for that device.  Not the other way around.  The eight second attention span will still apply.  By that I mean, if your websites aren’t optimised for the brand new fandangleberry, they will bounce to a website that is.

Unless your website is worth throwing £1000’s of device away for of course.

What challenges are coming for the web designers?  How is tech going to shape the future of web design?

Foldable mobile phones

Samsung have often let the way with pioneering mobile technology, and this year has been no different.  The Galaxy Fold is both tablet and smartphone, folding in and out depending upon what it the user wants it for.  Of course, the device already renders websites perfectly, despite going from a slim and sexy handset into a walloping great tablet instantaneously.  The tech literally shapeshifts the future of web design, and its potential.

With other brands already trying to follow up with their own version of the Fold, this tech could present some interesting challenges and goals for web design.  These new devices will provide designers with a new field in UI design.  One that hasn’t yet been fully explored by either web designers or users. 

Tech virtual reality AR VR


You could be forgiven for overlooking virtual and augmented reality.  They are almost exclusively linked to gaming as it stands.  With VR headsets you are able to wander through the frozen or dragon scorched wastes of Skyrim, or drive formula one cars.  Whereas VR creates and entire world AR overlays digital elements to your real world.  It might feel like a novel way to play games, and you might raise an eyebrow at the idea of them shaping the future of web design.

But remember, Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo were once novel devices to play games on.  Now they pretty much do anything a mobile phone would do.

With the rise of both AR and VR, websites could capitalise on the immersive appeal of this breakthrough technology.  Designing for a surrounding sphere of vision will create new and exciting challenges for the web designers looking to increase website engagement.

Heavier websites 8 second attention span

5G networks

With the internet available almost at the speed of thought, these rapid connections will open doors for web designers to create futuristic mobile designs that can respond.  The expected download speed of 5G networks is in the region of 1 Gbps.  This will change the way we optimise websites for mobiles.

Currently heavier sites struggle to race against that 8 second attention span we worry so much about.  With that, everything has to be stripped and lightened so that interesting and “cool” features have to be reconsidered.  Entire websites have been reconfigured for the expressway of information that the mobile age has thrust upon us.  This means certain interactive features are just not available for mobile users.

The increased speed means that these interactive and stylish elements can once again be incorporated as they can be rendered faster. 

Evolution of tech future web design

The future of web design is smart

As the introduction of this article alludes to, we are learning to co-exist with technology.  In fact, we are almost becoming cyborgs.  Years ago, it was only computers that web designers had to consider.  Then it was mobile phones.  Now it could pretty much be anything.  Like those coffee machines in swanky hotels that have the BBC news website going over the screen.  Thing is, everything is getting smart.

By that I mean things like smart watches.

Smart shoes.  Smart toilets.

Nothing is sacred in the smart revolution.

So, if you are the sort of web designer that is involved with making apps then the rise in smart devices will certainly up the stakes.  The human reliance upon technology has become so enveloping that it has become part of our evolution.  As such smart gadgets are only going to become more prevalent as the fascination with technology grows.

Inevitable web design video

Revolutionary video and animation tools

Let’s flog a dead horse for a moment. 

Did you know videos and animations increase prospect engagement? 


Then let me direct you to a thousand or so articles that will tell you different.  The thing is, animation and video has become easier with the technology available, as well as the app-based services you can find on the internet.

Video has almost become inevitable with web design recently.  Let’s not forget the prevalence of video on social media.  Social media sites are spending disgusting money to ensure the efficiency of video is entirely optimised.  And now companies like Adobe are making animation easier even for those who have all the tech-savviness of a baby armadillo.

With this sort of tech readily available, web designers of all levels will be making use of eye-catching animation.  With this, more websites will capture that fleeting attention span that we are so used to designing websites for.

Future of web design is anticipated

Wrapping up the future of web design.

Technology will always advance.  We have been worried and excited about it since Mary Shelley penned Frankenstein at the turn of the 19th century.  As always, we will look at the developments made with a mixture of fear and awestruck admiration.  No matter how often we think that technology can’t advance any more, we will be proven wrong.

With such advances, the future of web design is not only assured, but jitterily anticipated.

Think of the scope that technology will always provide web designers with opportunities to advance and create.  What a beautiful mess we will be in trying to build such an interactive future.

If there is anything you wish to add, then please comment below.

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Digital Shakespeares: How to write awesome website copy

This was posted on June 3rd, 2019

To write, or not to write, that is the question.  Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to hire a copywriter for an outrageous fortune.  Or, to take arms against a sea of troubles, and write the website copy yourself.  Awesome website copy doesn’t take Shakespeare.  In fact, such flourishing language would do you more harm than good online.

Do you not remember the pain of GCSE English?

Luckily, in the twenty-first century, people want things simple.  They don’t want to waste the entirety of their eight second attention span trying to translate your point.  With that in mind, perhaps I should have begun this blog another way.

Oh well, it is too late now.

When it comes to building websites, people are more interested in having all the flashes and bangs of brand-new technology than they are writing the copy.  Some people are even convinced that they won’t be read.  I sit in an office with people who are happier to hand the crafting of text over to me than to try their hand.

That is fine by me.  But, if you’re on a budget, or your business is suffering under the crush of industry, then you might not have the resources to outsource.  It might be time to roll up those sleeves and lick the end of your quills.

Here is how to write that awesome website copy.

Awesome website copy inane babble

Write a plan to write

Unless you want your website to read like a stream of inane babble, it is best to start off by knowing what you want to say.  What is the message of your website?  Do you know what point you’re trying to make?

Often the aim of a website is to convince a prospect to invest in your product or service.  However, an unstructured stream of consciousness is not going to achieve that.  You can’t write awesome website copy without knowing what objectives you’re trying to fulfil.

So, plan.

Especially if you have a specific demographic in mind.

Have it printed in front of you so that you can see where everything leads.  Under each page, write a brief sentence describing what this page wants to achieve.  Does it simply want to educate or inform your prospects about your services?  Are you offering free advice?  Is the page intended to bring people onto your mailing list.

By forearming yourself with a plan, you can structure your website for optimal engagement.

Lists aren't memorable

Focus on the benefits

Perhaps, the temptation to write a list of products and their prices is great.  It would be easy to do. It wouldn’t be time consuming.  But it would not be awesome website copy.  You would be creating a list.  Like the one your mum writes before going shopping.

There are two problems with this.

Firstly, lists are boring to read.  One list doesn’t stand out from another.  There is a reason that we carry the shopping list with us when we go to buy our paella ingredients.  Lists just aren’t memorable.

Secondly, writing such a list is all about you. It is all about what your company does.  You need to write your customers into the website. 

Remember, potential digital Shakespeare, your buyer persona is your hero.

If you’re an ecommerce site that intends to sell shoes, you need to remember one important thing. 

You’re not selling shoes.

You’re selling comfort.  Your prospects want a secure fit and striking design.  Shoes can be bought anywhere.  But your shoes?  What benefit is there to your prospect?  As Brian Clark eloquently asserts:  stress benefits, not features.

Awesome website copy is scanable

We like a scannable read from time to time

Now this might seem like it goes against the afore-ranted sermon about lists – but here goes.  You need to make sure your web copy is scannable.  You know, a bit like a list.

But, entirely different.

Big clear punchy headings are useful for leads when they are looking through your website.  Your product or service might offer thirty-gazillion features.  Yet, your prospect might only be interested in one or two of them.

The last thing that you want is for the prospect to have to trawl through reams of text looking for the portion that is relevant.  Lay your awesome website copy out so that, if needs be, your prospect can scroll through to the elements that make them feel all warm and fuzzy.

They might be in the market right now for a service like yours.  They also might have another ten websites to get through whilst they shop around.  It is best to make their job easier for them.

People read blogs scan websites

Awesome website copy isn’t clever

This point is going to hurt to write.  It might even hurt the more creative of you to read.  However, the copy for a website needs to be as simple as possible.

If you’re the sort of writer who wants to inscribe their website with marvellous haikus and alliterative paragraphs written in the iambic pentameter, then your day is going to be long and unproductive.  Your website needs to be direct.  To the point.  Delivered in a nice easy conversational tone.  Getting clever with your prospects will do you no favours.

Says the blogger who began this article butchering Hamlet’s soliloquy.

However, therein marks the difference between a blog and a website.  People read blogs to keep informed about things going on in their industry.  People sip their tea and get involved with the text that a blog provides because it is educational.  The truth echoes our previous point.  People scan websites. 

Think of the last website you read every word of.

Is there one?

Probably not.

Clever language might be a signifier for all that stored up literary potential that you’re harbouring, but it isn’t going to impress someone who just wants to know what your services truly entail.  Furthermore, whilst you’re omitting verbose flowery language from your awesome website copy, you should ensure that you’re removing any complicated jargon.

Especially if your less-savvy prospects aren’t going to understand what your hyper-active-triple-java-core-processor really does for your coffee machine.

Tippex edit by hand highlighters

Re-write that awesome website copy

Do you remember that time when you wrote a website in one sitting and it was perfect? 

I didn’t think you would.  Under the assumption you have undergone some form of education in your life, you will know that you never submit your first draft.

Your website needs to read well and sound good.  So, you are going to have to edit and redraft. 

Print off all your website copy and sit down with it.  Get your highlighters, your red pens, or your Tippex and edit by hand.  The issue with editing on screen is that you end up getting lazy with it.  Your eyes glide over mistakes and you can miss the odd typo or badly phrased sentence.

For the same reason you should also ask a colleague to read through your work.  There might be an issue in your awesome website copy that you didn’t pick up on. 

Restraint stamina website copy

Wrapping it all up

Writing a blog is more enjoyable than the prospect of writing the text for another website.  You can be a little freer with the copy.  The intent is to engage the reader to want to continue going through the article.  Often the blog topics aren’t exactly the sort of thing the next Stephen King would relish crafting.  However, you have a little more licence and can afford some flourish with a blog post.

But that doesn’t mean writing a website is easy.

On the contrary, demonstrating the restraint and patience that it takes to write a website is a difficult skill in itself.  In fact, writing a website is a work of stamina.

And coffee.

Lots of it.

Don’t be disheartened.  Once you are in the rhythm of writing you will cover a lot of ground quickly.  And if you want to have a bit of fun in your first draft – do it.  It might just be the thing that gets you through writing an entire website of copy. 

You can always prune the bush when it is fully grown.

(As far as metaphors go that was bad).

If there is anything you feel I have left out of this article, or something that you wish to add then please don’t hesitate to comment.  It will certainly help anyone else researching this topic.

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5 Signs That You Need A New Website

This was posted on May 17th, 2019
You need a new website

There was a time when you would look at a website and think you were standing in the future.  It couldn’t get better.  You would never need a new website, because this did everything.  Alright, you couldn’t use the phone whilst you were looking at it.  And, you could watch a series of Game of Thrones whilst you waited for it to download anything.

These were the days before LimeWire.

Am I showing my age yet?

Since then our interactions with the internet have reached stratospheric proportions.  We can walk the earth and literally pluck the internet out of the sky.  Those telephone bricks we used to carry around with us have slimmed down, and we spend more time browsing the internet than we do phoning or texting.

So, if your website can be reached from a field, and a foreign country (and probably parts of outer space) surely it will never need renewing.

Will it?

How do you know when you need a new website?

1. My Nan runs faster than your website

Focus.  Are you paying attention?  According to Al Gomez I have your 8-second attention span to beat.  Microsoft said it, so it must be true.

Despite other people telling us that the 8 second attention span is a myth, what it signifies is still applicable.  We have become so reliant on an express delivery system of information and entertainment, that if it isn’t served up to us near-instantaneously, then we search elsewhere.  This is what technology has done to our lifestyle.

And it isn’t only the user that has grown impatient.  Speed affects your rankings with Google.  The biggest search engine will favour the faster websites.  In short, a slow website is seriously damaging to your brand.  It might just be time to admit you need a new website.

Online Technology Evolved

2. Simple website edits are costing too much

When websites were first conceived you would have needed a degree in programming, or to have been fluent in HTML just so you could add a single page to your website.  Way before online technology evolved, it seemed that only horrifically qualified, enigmatic hermits were able to create anything.

Needless to say, things have got a whole lot easier.

To do basic changes to your website in the twenty-first century, there are content management systems that enables anyone to make changes.  If you are having to hard code new content, then you need a new website.

Google is your friend

3.  Google has you listed…somewhere…perhaps

Google is good.  Google is your friend.  Without a shadow of a doubt it is the most used search engine on the internet.  In fact, its name has become the verb synonymous with using a search engine.  We don’t just search.  We google. 

That’s how important it is.

So, if your website is not ranking very highly on Google, then your website is going to need a complete overhaul.  Your SEO is important.  Moreover, if your content is optimised and you are still having the same problem, then it is a nice early sign that you need a new website.

SEO is a sensitive and delicate animal to try and appease.  An out-dated website is unlikely to have the stamina to satiate its voracious appetite.

You need a new website slow

4. It looks rubbish on mobile

By this point in the twenty-first century you would expect this point to be so moot and redundant that we wouldn’t still be writing about it.  However, there are still websites out there that are not optimised for the mobile experience. 

Look at your own site on a mobile.  If just looking at it makes you feel nauseous, brings on a fluid rush of vertigo, or pains you in some way then you need a new website.  Remember the eight second attention span, but also remember the user experience.

If your user has to continually attempt to resize your website on their phone, you need a new one.  If a cassette game on a Commodore 64 loads quicker than your website does on mobile, you need a new one.

Glittering Unicorn

5. It simply looks old and battered

Sometimes the best way to judge whether or not you need a new website, is to just look at it.  Is this a product you are proud of?  I mean, it might be like that bloated sofa in your sitting room.  It just about does its job, and you love the familiarity of it.  But then, if you were to bring someone new to the house you would throw a massive blanket over it. 

It may just be that it no longer fits your brand.  Perhaps, as your industry has evolved, your company has had to move away from the branding your website presents.  There are many reasons why you now cringe at your homepage.  That’s fine, nothing was built to last forever.

Trust yourself, trust your instincts.  Back yourself, and your instincts up with a bit of research.  However, you know your position within your industry better than anyone.

Wrapping up

It is a shame that websites weren’t built to last forever.  We will always need to update or rebuild.  That goes for everyone, whether you are a global conglomerate, or a local business for local people.

But redesigning and building a new website is an exciting time.  It means you can play with your brand, look at new ideas, see what is popular in the industry.  You can bring your brand marching into the twenty-first century with a glittering unicorn of a website.  Believe me, if it improves your user’s experience, it is worth the expense.

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Is your website reaching the locals?

This was posted on May 7th, 2019

Is your website reaching the localsIt doesn’t hurt to dream big.  Imagining everyone from Xanadu to the Outer Hebrides browsing through your site isn’t ridiculous.  It’s positive.  And, it’s completely natural.  We all imagine what would happen when our babies learn to fly.  But, in your fantasies of a global takeover, is your website reaching the local area?

There is an almost amusing irony here.  Despite the wonderful worldwide web’s reaching capabilities, marketing to your next-door neighbour seems to be a challenge.

For some businesses this isn’t necessarily a problem, but there are a lot of businesses that would benefit greatly from a presence in their local area.  It might not benefit a plumber from Peckham to have a rampant Rwandan audience for example.  In fact, websites that represent bricks and mortar stores, businesses with limited delivery area, or tradespersons need to be geared towards serving their immediate locale.

So, how do you ensure your website is reaching the locals?


All great adventures begin with SEO

We are all aware of SEO.  It doesn’t need a canned introduction.  We know that if we want to be found on the internet, whether it be by Google or Bing, then SEO is paramount to success.  However, it might shock you at how often there are problems.  Even basic geotagging in the metadata is often over looked.

As Joshua Hardwick eloquently points out, “there are two distinct sets of search results” when someone performs a local search on Google.  There are the organic results.  But, above them, there are also the “snack pack” results.  Don’t know what I mean? 

Then search: “restaurants near me”.

Restaurants near me

The top section.  That’s your snack pack.  Those attractive pictures, next to all those stars, and a map pointing straight at you.  Why wouldn’t you want to be there?  Saying that, since 40% of clicks actually go to the organic results, why wouldn’t you want to be there either?

If you are unable to properly optimise your site for SEO then outsource.  It is worth the money. 


Local business proud institution

Landmarks and local trust marks

Having a page saying “Hey I am from Northampton” isn’t enough to sell yourself to the local area.  Many local businesses are proud institutions in a community they adore.  These are the people that would easily become an advocate for you local brand.  So it is best to start speaking their language.

By that I don’t suggest entire paragraphs in Irvine Welsh style phonetics and every sentence ending with “y’know wha’ I mean?’  Use the website to celebrate parts of the community that they will recognise.  Local landmarks, or heroes draw a lot of traffic to websites.

Use names and logos that mean something to the people of your local area.


Create local content for local people

Similar to the previous point, your content needs to be localised.   Writing in superb English with all the participles un-dangled, and your commas all Oxford-ed is lovely and all; but it doesn’t say local.  It is an argument I have made before.  It is important that you are speaking your customers language.

If you happen to slip into mild local slang, that isn’t going to do you any harm.  Be aware, however, that if your website is written for a slightly wider area than just your town, it is best not to make the language indiscernible from gibberish.


Let the community decide

I wonder what would happen if, when I had finished my website, I went on Facebook and wrote something this:

“Hey y’all, just finished my website!  Anyone fancy looking at it.  I want it to have a local feel.”

Prediction.  Loads of people will leave thumbs-up or hearts, a few people will share, and a good many people will comment.  

You see, people like to be helpful.  At least in the public forum, and especially when you have offered them the opportunity to give criticism and feedback.  The bonus of this is, you have instantly attracted people to your website and begun to appeal to your local area.

And immediately they will feel part of it too.


Where a business is based

Wrapping up

As the introduction alludes, this might not be entirely appropriate for your eCommerce conglomerate that has aeroplanes humming on the landing strips ready.  It might not even be applicable if you are sending products via email, in the form of voucher or software.  But it doesn’t hurt to think about your local area.

Surprisingly enough, a lot of people do care about where a business is from.  I, for one, am asked all the time.  Sometimes it is just for customers to try and find some common ground whilst they are talking to us, let us know that “oh yeah – I drove through it once”.  

For small businesses they probably feel more connected to their local area, and your focus on the “local” may just increase your website enquiries.


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Website Essentials for Success for 2019

This was posted on January 14th, 2019

We’re always well-attuned to it being January at in.house.media, because it’s a time for reflection and looking forward to what we expect to be the key trends in website design and development for the next twelve months.

This year is no different, so without further ado, here’s what we believe to be the most important factors to take into account if you’re having a new website designed or your existing site refurbished.


Mobile-readiness (there’s no excuse now)

Mobile internet browsing overtook the desktop equivalent long ago, but reports now suggest that there were 3.7 billion global mobile internet users at the start of January 2018.

Whichever way you swing it, that’s a colossal number, yet there are still a frightening number of business websites out there that perform abysmally on mobile devices.

If you have neglected this topic thus far, 2019 has to be the year where you finally invest some money in your website and ensure it’s fully mobile-ready. And that means a responsive design that automatically resizes itself to best fit any-sized screen.

You won’t spend a more important penny this year, we promise.


Super speed

A speedy website is certainly pleasing from a user’s perspective, but there’s two reasons the speed of your website will be ultra-important this year:

  • You have just three seconds (or less) to interact with potential customers online.
  • Google now rewards the speediness of your site in search rankings.

Ok, granted, number 1 has long been the case, but with the internet now simply an intrinsic part of everyday life, slow websites stick out like a sore thumb, and if yours limps along, those potential customers will head elsewhere – quickly.

As for Google, their Speed Update went live last summer, and they’re now prioritising rankings for websites that load fast for the very reason explained in the last paragraph.


Flat design

How do you make sure a website loads quickly and appears nicely no matter the size of the screen? You rely on plenty of white space and a flat design – that’s how!

Much like the modern interpretation of smartphone operating systems, today’s websites now feature buttons, text and images that are clean, minimalist and complete with crisp edges. There’s no bevelling, embossing or fancy shimmering effects to speak of, just contrasting bright colours and sans-serif fonts.

It’s modern, pleasing on the eye and absolutely the best way to show off your brand online. If your website is starting to look like an old version of the iPhone operating system, it’s time to find a modern designer.


More video content

There’s one form of web content that is ‘stickier’ then the rest (and by that we’re not suggesting it oozes out of your screen onto your keyboard).

Video remains a brilliant way to engage people who land on your website, but it has long been viewed as too expensive and time-consuming to produce.

Until now!

Video content can be created on a shoestring thanks to smartphones with 4K recording capabilities and the rise of YouTube stars who don’t have a truck full of gear and crew to make their videos. This doesn’t mean yours can be shoddy – they still need polish and a great deal of planning to be effective – but it does mean there’s virtually no excuse not to invest some of your budget and time in video this year.


Wrapping up

We’re excited about web design in 2019. Are you ready to make a mark digitally this year?

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Your website is too noisy: here’s why

This was posted on December 13th, 2018


We’ve all visited a website at some stage that has immediately confused us.

Where should you head next? Why can’t you find the one thing you wanted to read, download or watch? Why does the menu have so many options?

What on earth is going on?

A noisy website is an instant turn-off. If it doesn’t direct the user towards the most obvious goal via the most obvious route, they’ll head elsewhere – quickly.

What if your business website is like that? In fact, when was the last time you checked its usability?

It’s time to put your customer hat on and suss out whether or not your website is suffering from the following examples of needless noise:


There’s just too much content

Sure, Google wants to see plenty of original, engaging and varied content on your website if it’s going to rank highly, but that doesn’t mean you have to fill every piece of white space with text, images or video.

It’s the opposite, in fact. White space should be your goal – as much of it as possible. You’ll need your logo, company name, navigation, header image, title, intro text, some bullets and additional images – but spend time working out which of those things are essential.

Some examples of what you might not require include:

  • your tagline;
  • a secondary navigation;
  • your Twitter feed;
  • popular, recent and featured blog posts; and
  • accreditation and award logos.


The menu is too fancy/wordy/big

Take a look at your website’s menu. If you had no idea what your company did, does it immediately steer you in the direction of pages that will reveal the answer?

Home, About Us, Products, Blog, Contact; that’s probably all you need – and it’s important you use those kinds of words. Swapping ‘About Us’ for ‘Meet the dudes’ might feel like a good idea at the time, but it’ll probably be irritating to strangers and will have needlessly extended the length of your menu bar.

Be careful with sub menus, too. What looks like a perfectly formed navigation bar can quickly fall into disrepair and noise when expanded if the options within are too voluminous.


There’s no priority for content

‘Above the fold’ is a term borrowed from the newspaper industry that refers to the viewable content on the front page of a newspaper when it’s folded over. And, as you’d expect, it needs to be the most important news story of the day in order for passers-by to grab a copy.

Placing content above the fold in web design is equally important, and noisy websites often suffer from the fact that there has been no strategy put into the placement of page elements.

Your company name, logo, navigation, USP and a call-to-action (CTA) should all be immediately viewable – not a bunch of things people are unlikely to interact or engage with.


You’re using sliders

Now, this will spark some debate, because there are web designers out there who love using sliders, and there are plenty who don’t.

A slider is a series of images (usually accompanied by text) that whizz by at the top of a web page. We don’t think they’re needed and, rather than encouraging people to stay on the website longer, will probably either go completely unnoticed or irritate users.

You shouldn’t need several scrolling header images to tell the story of your business and its products. One engaging, unique piece of imagery or a photograph at the top of the site is all you need. You have an entire website on which to place additional visual content.


Wrapping up

We’ve only scratched the surface above, but if your website exhibits any of the noise we’ve identified, it’s time to go back to the drawing board!

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What is Google AMP? Do I need it?

This was posted on August 21st, 2018


Nope, we’re not referring to an electric guitar’s best friend – ‘AMP’ in this context refers to Accelerated Mobile Pages, and it’s essentially a way to create super-fast websites for mobile devices.

AMP was created by Google and is, consequently, heavily endorsed by the internet giant. Thankfully, it’s an open standard that can be used by any web developer in order to create a great mobile browsing experience for users.

On 24th February 2016, Google integrated AMP listings into its mobile search results, which means it has also become an important element of search engine optimisation (SEO).


Great… but what is it?

If you integrate Google AMP into your website, the pages will appear to load instantly on smartphones.

Without boring you with the minute technical details, AMP is a framework that enables web pages to be served ‘pre-loaded’. It does this by delivering websites from servers known as caching servers, which automatically load the content in the background before it appears on the user’s screen.

The result is near instantaneous, regardless of the type of content – be it text, static images, animation or video. What’s most impressive is that you’ll always receive the latest version of the page, and it’s just as quick no matter what device you’re using.

You can spot AMP-enabled pages on Google if you know where to look. They’re identified by a small grey symbol next to the website name that looks like a lightning bolt.


Why your website should be using AMP

Google AMP has been hotly debated in tech circles, but it presents some clear benefits for businesses and content creators:

  • It’s great for SEO. As mentioned, Google is behind AMP and showing no signs of ditching it any time soon. The fact they’ve reserved precious space on listings to display the AMP icon gives you some idea how important it is to them. As always, we don’t know exactly how it fits into their algorithm, but it will undoubtedly play a key role in ranking.
  • It’s super-fast. Try it: access a page with one of those icons and then one without – the difference in speed is startling. And we all want a fast, smooth web experience.
  • You’ll be included in the AMP cache. If your website uses AMP, it’ll be cached on Google servers. Beyond increasing page speed, that will take the load off your own servers (it might even reduce the cost) and again assist with SEO.


Why might AMP be a bad idea?

Despite the advantages above, AMP isn’t for everyone, and there’s definitely a significant group of techies out there who wish it doesn’t exist.

Here’s why:

  • It can limit the capabilities of your website. AMP is a framework, which means you have to work from a defined set of rules in order to benefit. That might prevent you from developing desired areas of the site, and the rules can change at any time.
  • You’ll be under the watchful eye of big brother. Google has ultimate control over AMP, regardless of the fact it’s an open standard. Your site will also be residing on their caching servers and injected with their tracking code. We’re not suggesting their untrustworthy, but do you want that level of scrutiny on your business website?
  • It might get pulled. Google are well and truly behind it now, but what if they make a sudden about turn and pull AMP? They’ve done that kind of thing before.


Is AMP right for my business?

This is a tough question to answer, because it depends on how complex your site is, the type of content you’re serving and the size and profile of your audience.

If you’re not fussed about Google’s tracking code and you feel the SEO benefits could make a significant difference to your rankings, it might be worth exploring.

Contact us today to discuss AMP – we’ll help you make the right decision.

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The Final Edition

This was posted on June 22nd, 2018


It’s time to get the tissues out, because the Yellow Pages will print its final edition in January 2019.

After 51 years, the once indispensable household telephone directory will be no more, giving way instead to its digital sibling, Yell.com.

Fittingly, Brighton will be the last place in which the Yellow Pages will be delivered by hand – the location where it was first published in 1966. But what does this mean for businesses?


Why does this matter?

If you’re shaking your head and muttering “so what?”, this news is more important than you might think. For starters, it’s telling that the final edition will still be printed at very high volume – 23 million copies, to be exact.

For over half a decade, the venerable telephone directory has been a staple of UK households, and business owners who assume its demise will have no effect on enquiries might be in for a shock.

Whether or not your business receives leads via the Yellow Pages is actually irrelevant, because the termination of the print edition is yet another signal for consumers that they’d better head online if they need to buy something.

No one asks if you have a website any more if you’re running a business – it’s simply assumed, therefore if you’ve let your online presence slip due to a healthy influx of enquiries or word-of-mouth referrals, it might be time to give it a refresh.

The death of the paper-based Yellow Pages is a timely reminder about the importance of a stellar digital presence, but here’s three more:


  1. It provides tools to build profitable customer relationships

By integrating your website with online chat, email marketing and social media platforms, you can create an online presence that builds confidence and trust with your customers.

These tools are only of any use if you have a website, and people expect to be able to interact with them. Is your website a fully interactive, engaging place, or is it nothing more than a digital brochure?


  1. It never closes

If you operate in the retail sector, you’re not alone in feeling slightly rueful every time you lock up each night. After all, if those doors could stay open 24/7, you’d sell more stuff!

Websites don’t close; they’re salespeople for whom you don’t need to grant lunch breaks or annual leave. Your website will work tirelessly for you – if you integrate an ecommerce system that customers can use to purchase your wares whenever they wish.


  1. It can turn on a sixpence

Need to change your business model, introduce a new product line or completely revise the way you market a particular service? With a website, you can pivot with ease.

Sure, it might need a few design changes, text additions or amendments to the visitor journey, but it’s so easy to do that if you have the right help and support on board.

Focus more of your sales and marketing effort online, and you’ll never live in fear of backing your business strategy into a corner from which you can’t emerge.


Wrapping up

You know a website is essential for your business, but it’s easy to forget just how big a role it plays. After all, you have it designed, built and launched, and then it simply sits there, gathering digital dust.

The Yellow Pages is bidding us farewell, but the news should inspire us all to ensure our online game is as strong as it can be in the digital economy!

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