Friday, 13 December 2013

Design Portfolio of Recent Websites

The most recent web sites we have delivered to our clients were designed and built with WordPress, a Content Management System (CMS) that enables our clients to easily update their own website content, should they so wish. The following are all Wordpress-based websites.

Sightline Doors primarily installs stunning large glass doors made to order. Each glass door can be up to 6m x 3m for spectacular uninterrupted views. Other products available include architectural glass, curved glass doors and balustrades plus the SunSeeker Doors range www.sightlinedoors.co.uk This was a direct referral from www.sunseekerdoors.co.uk whose website we redesigned two years ago.

We have recently delivered a website for Estacchini Architects to showcase their work, which includes both residential and commercial design projects www.estacchiniarchitects.co.uk This client approached The BPc for a website as a direct result of liking the website we developed for a another local architect www.brunskilldesign.co.uk three years ago.

Ultratec Ltd wanted to update their out-of-date website to a CMS system and ensure that it was optimised. Working together with them on the content, the result can be viewed at www.ultratec.co.uk launched a few weeks ago; we were recommended to them by another of our clients www.bidstendersproposals.co.uk who also worked on the written content.

Eyekon Consultants recently developed a new business plan to focus on their Human Resources (HR) services and wanted to thoroughly modernise the small starter site that we had published for them several years ago. The new website has a clean, modern feel www.eyekonconsultants.co.uk and can be developed further to include the company's other consultancy services.
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Thanks to all our clients who have used our website services, our logo design services (including Eyekon & Sightline Doors, above) and our SEO/social media servies. We especially appreciate the recommendations that have referred new clients to us. (Somewhat embarrassingly, we have yet to redevelop our own website, which was last revamped in 2005... Watch this space in 2014!)


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Boosting your Website traffic with blogs and other links

A new client found this advice useful, recently, so here it is for all to share:

(Client: "What are spammy links?")
Google defines ‘spammy’ links as being of low value to human traffic - for example, a page of information about life after death that included a link to website about dish-washers would seem to be a link purely intended for search engines to find, in order to boost the perceived popularity of a site. One or two may happen and will be probably ignored but if Google detects a pattern of these, they will blacklist the recipient website. Be wary of ‘links specialists’ who 'guarantee' page 1 listings in Google and definitely avoid mass linking deals (e.g. 1000 links for £10).

(Client: "Should I write a blog with links to my website?")
A blog is an excellent information tool for generating information that wouldn’t otherwise be on a website. The blog should have value in its own right, not just be a feeder site for your website (surprise! Google doesn’t like this either). Perhaps the blog could cover a number of related topics and guest bloggers could be encouraged to add diversity. (see 'nofollow' links post)

The BPc has a number of clients in divers business sectors and is able to guest-write for each, occasionally cross-referring, where appropriate. If this service may be of interest to you, please get in touch.

email The BPc

Friday, 1 November 2013

DIY SEO - remember to keep up with Google's guidelines

Although Google maintains that their guidelines remain the same as ever, there have been many interpretations over the years that used to be accepted but are now punishable by long periods in the cooler or even a virtual death.

If your company was ill-advised or given SEO advice more than about 18 months ago, the chances are that the goal-posts may have shifted a little. You need a review of your website content and linking strategy. You can perform your own review.

First, familiarise yourself with the terms Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and Rattlesnake (no, not really, I just made that last one up; I've no idea why these names have been chosen).
  • PANDA essentially relates to the quality of the website content
  • PENGUIN relates to the quality of in-links to a website
  • HUMMINGBIRD relates to keyword search terms
Google reckons that Hummingbird shouldn't have a direct impact on SEO but you may want to review the way you present your page content for readability by humans.

Concentrating only on improving your website ranking under current guidelines, we recommend reviewing the following optimisation tasks.

SEO: Quality Content on Website Pages

For each of the important pages on your website, chose a keyword or short key-phrase that describes the most important message that page is going to deliver. For some of the tasks, you may have to view the website source code.
  • Ensure that this is included in the page title and meta-description.
    If it is also part of the url, great!
  • Ensure that the keyword is included in the first paragraph
  • Ensure that the keyword is also included in a sub-heading
  • If possible, the written page should contain at least 300 words
  • Include the keyword once or twice per 100 written words
  • If you can include an image, remember to include an alt-tag
  • Remember to use relevant anchor-text links to other pages
None of this is new, therefore you should perform an optimisation check on your content, even if you've just had it done and especially if you are currently having your website re-designed.

SEO: Quality in-links to your Website Pages

There is a difference between links back to your website for humans and links purely for search engine numbers. Similarly, links from paid advertising are acceptable but paid links that do not make it clear to people that it's a paid-for link are unacceptable and will bring on the wrath of the mighty Google. We believe that it's OK to:
  • be listed in business directories, particularly those that allocate a page or paragraph to you
  • post an article, blog or comment about your specialist subject that includes a link to the relevant page of your website for further information
  • be listed on similar websites, for example if you provide a relevant product or service
In other words, if a reader might find the link useful, then Google is happy to allow it otherwise why is it there? Just for Search Engine numbers?


Other posts have additional information: DIY SEO Review.

It's impossible to cover 'how to' in a short, readable article but, as ever, if you find this overwhelming and you want to talk it through or have us do it for you, please get in touch...
Contact The BPc



Monday, 21 October 2013

SEO Review of your website - DIY guide

When asked to undertake a brief review of a new website from an SEO viewpoint, we usually just examine just the home page in any great depth, with a quick glance at two or three of the other pages. Here is a guide to a doing a brief review of your own website.

Ensure that your content complies with Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Looking at the presented page, it should be easy to distinguish colours and there should be a reference to cookies, if applicable. (Link to Legal Compliance post)

  • Determine your keywords per page and include them in the content
  • You should have at least 300 words of well-written text on the page

Keywords are search phrases that describe the product or service that is detailed on the page. They should occur naturally within the page content, as over-stuffing the text will have a detrimental effect. The home page should give an overview of your products or services and provide keyword links, within the content, to other pages with additional information.

Most browsers have the facility to let you see the code behind the page, usually by using right-click and choosing 'view source code' whilst on the website page.
Each page should have:

  • a unique <title> approx 56 characters, with keyword(s)
  • a unique meta-description, up to 160 characters, which is displayed in search engine results
  • one <h1> header per page, with main keyword(s) for the page
  • at least one <h2> sub-header with keyword(s) for the ensuing content
  • possibly some <h3> sub-headers of lower importance than <h2>
  • one relevant keyword link from within the content to each of the major secondary pages

You need to optimise images, too.

Each website would benefit from having a sitemap.xml file uploaded. You can check its existence by going to yourwebsite.suffix/sitemap.xml (replacing the example with your real url, of course). If you need to create one, you can find free software on-line or, if you are using a CMS system, it may be included in the package.

Google Analytics is a good way to track information so, even if you don't think you need it now, it is still a good idea to include it. To check if it is already there, look for UA- in the source code. It should be near the top, before the </head> command.

We hope you found this useful. Contact us if you have any questions.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Where To Find Google Analytics Traffic Sources Data

If you have upgraded – or, indeed, have been upgraded – to the New Google Analytics, you may be thinking how hard Google is working to enhance your Google experience.

Alternatively, you may have spent a couple of frustrating hours trying to find out what happened to the information relating to your website’s traffic sources. Maybe there was some clue somewhere but I missed it.

Searching Google Analytics Help and searching the internet brought no joy. If you stumble across this, I hope it will be of some use so that you can breathe a sigh of relief and treat yourself to a cappuccino.

WHERE TO FIND GOOGLE ANALYTICS TRAFFIC SOURCES (October 2013)

  1. In the left column, go to Acquisition and All Traffic.
  2. Set the Primary Dimension to Medium if you want to group traffic as organic, cost per click, referral and none (direct?)
  3. Then, if you want to see referrals in detail, click on Referral from the list then set the Secondary dimension to Source.

Once you have done this, you will begin to understand all the other options available to you.

Example:

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Google Punishes...

A local businessman has been asking us what he can do about Google.

Apparently, he used a link-building company to promote his new website and has ranked well until this month. Google has now informed him that there are a number of 'spammy' links that violate their guidelines and he must sort it out or suffer the consequences.

It began on August 29th:


The website owner noted that over 1,000 of the links were from the link-building company and asked for them to be removed, which they did. He re-submitted the website to Google for consideration and, on September 12th, received a response:


Disaster! This is the subsequent response on September 19th:


It isn't clear if this still refers to inbound links or whether Google thinks the website content lacks quality. However, the Manual Actions page states: Unnatural links to your site



There is a link to https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2700611 which says

In total, there are 145 links and the website owner has asked for advice regarding identification of the bad links as the link-builder is denying responsibility for creating any bad links. Is this small website such a threat to somebody that, perhaps, there was some deliberate bad linking from a competitor?

Two weeks ago, the website owner contacted the first 10 identified bad links with a 50% response rate. He will have to disavow the other 50% then contact the next 10 and so on, repeating the requests for those that won't comply. It could take quite some time. And what if new bad links appear? It's another weekly maintenance job for the website owner.

But, wait a moment! The original sinning site with over 1,000 links that were removed in early September is still listed under Webmaster Tools, unchanged, as having over 1,000 inbound links ... yet we checked that the links were definitely no longer on that website so why does Google still attribute them?

Update: January 2014
Google drip-feeds the link information to the client, thus prolonging the process. When the website owner thinks he's done everything he can and submits a reconsideration request, Google produces the next batch of links that they don't like.

I've looked at the two most recent links; one was on a genuine blog that contained links to more than one product on his internet shop and the other was a directory.

The directory wants people to pay for their entries but it seems that they have trawled the internet and included 'free' entries to bulk their search results. The links from this particular directory do seem to violate Google's guidelines, even if the website owner is unaware of its very existence. The way other directories, e.g. Yell, work around this is to launch all external website links from a 'Visit website' button using a 'rel=nofollow' instruction.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

How to Increase Your Twitter 'Followers'


If you wish to use Twitter for social interaction or as a valuable marketing tool, you may find something of interest in this blog post.

Building Your Followers (social)

blue 'tweet' birdImagine Twitter is a pub, bar or café that you've wandered into. Look around and see who you might want to chat with or perhaps you can overhear an interesting conversation you'd like to join. Interaction on Twitter is easier than real life - here are some ways to find some followers.

First, find some 'proper' people to follow, not the celebs that Twitter suggests when you first sign up. Many people use their location on their bio so you can search for your locality, e.g. Herts or Hitchin. You can also search using a football team or other keywords, such as Spurs or Doctor Who. People who you follow sometimes follow back.

Your tweets should be interesting to other people - give them something they want and if you can't think of anything, comment on a topical item.

You may find an interesting hash-tag link, sometimes these are trending or someone you follow may post one. If you join in a hash-tag game or re-tweet or 'favourite' an interesting tweet, people of similar interests may follow you.

Engage with people. Reply to their tweets. This often results in followers.

Building Your Followers (business)

Allocate half an hour each week to building your list of followers organically, searching for accounts to follow in your business catchment area and in related industries - including your competitors!

Review your followers and decide which accounts to follow back. If the number of accounts you follow becomes unmanageable, set up a list or lists for the tweets you are most keen to read (more detail below).

Ensure that your tweets are tweet-worthy, e.g. interesting / informative. Don't just promote your goods or service without interacting with your audience - you wouldn't dream of doing that in a face-to-face situation.

Similarly, read the tweets of those you follow and remember to use reply and/or re-tweet, as appropriate.

Tweet at least every week (preferably every day). Remember that if someone doesn't see your tweet at the time, they are unlikely to see it at all. And don't send too many tweets all at once - it will dominate your followers' timelines and potentially result in some un-follows. Use Twitter to announce news and offers, with links to your website pages.

Best advice: the more you put in to Twitter, the more you gain.

Using Lists

If you wish to follow specific accounts that are getting lost amongst the general tweets, create a List (or lists) and associate selected accounts with the list, e.g. major competitors, main clients. Lists may be public or private and you don't have to be following the accounts that you put in the lists.


Twitter.com/BPcUK

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Google Finally Sorted?

Panda banishes the Black Hat

Since Google's Panda fiasco earlier this year, websites using 'black hat' practices soared to the top of search results, dislodging those websites who had played by the rules. Google denied this and SEO specialists had to keep a steely nerve but we began to doubt ourselves, wondering if we should consider competing at a 'grey hat' level or just give up altogether.

It's impossible to go against one's integrity - like stealing something just because somebody won't give it to you... In fact, Google's ears must have been on fire with the amount of venom filling numerous conversations around the UK (if not the world) about their algorithms and sweeps.

But now, Google seems to have finally caught up and punished the sites that enjoyed flaunting their guidelines. The 'good' sites are, once again, vying for the better positions on the top pages. Our clients were nail-biting but they kept the faith and have received their just reward: Google has removed the 'baddies' (for a while, anyway) and our clients have bounced back to the higher pages of relevant search results.

Today, a client called just to say 'Well done and thank you'. Makes it all worthwhile!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Facebook Again - Who can see my stuff? Public/Private Posts

Recently, we noticed (and decided not to ignore) a helpful hint from FaceBook, pointing to a padlock icon (top-right of FB screen). Click on this icon and one of the options is 'Who can see my stuff?'

This sets the defaults for your Facebook posts which can be over-ridden for each individual post. Previously, many people had set this to friends-of-friends, which is is no longer on the initial options list - the default is now Public! To reset to friends-of-friends, use the drop-down list from Public and select Custom. Another drop-down list will enable you to select friends of friends - or to choose your preferred setting.

While you are there, take a look at the other stuff, such as 'Who can contact me?' and set as required. Of course, when FB updates, it sometimes resets settings...

You can Like our page at www.facebook.com/TheBPcUK :-)

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Stop Facebook Pestering Your Contacts!

Do you know if your contacts are receiving emails from Facebook, ostensibly on your behalf, saying that you want to be their friend on Facebook?

Not only is this an embarrassment for you, it is irritating for your contacts - especially those that have no desire to be on Facebook.

Following extensive searching, we have found where Facebook has hidden the page that enables you to take control and stop pestering your contacts. Sign in to your account and go to https://www.facebook.com/invite_history.php.

I have just used the 'Select All' and 'Delete Selected' options so, hopefully, this will stop! However, I don't trust Facebook to leave it there so I'll re-visit this page periodically and go through the process again, as necessary.

Good Luck!
Bee Primrose.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Optimisation & Website Images

wodland primrosesNot only do our services include creating websites that you can update yourself, if that is your preference, but we also help you to understand SEO, should you wish to do that for yourself too.

Recently, we've been helping a client to optimise the page content of his website, with particular attention to images, as they are a powerful aid to product sales.

Here are the basics:
    English marigold
    Red tulip
  1. Research/decide the best search terms for your overall website and for each of the main pages. Ideally, incorporate these keywords into the website/page url BUT don’t rush to change existing urls because there may be links to them indexed within search engines that you won’t want to lose! If you change any urls, ensure that 301-redirects (or similar) are set up by your web team.
     
  2. Ensure that the identified keywords are used in the meta-title of each page, the meta descriptions, the H1/H2 tags (there should be only one H1 tag per page) and the first 100 words of body copy.
     
  3. Images should have unique descriptive alt-tags and image titles It is also good practice to give image files descriptive file names (e.g. springflowers.jpg not image04.jpg). Images should be optimised for compact file size without losing clarity and they have associated height/width dimensions for faster loading.

We have no direct influence over organic search results, including Google images. Google indexes the images by selecting keywords from the surrounding text on the page.

As ever, should you require our services, let us know: bee@thebpc.org.uk

Friday, 12 April 2013

How to Set your Default Browser in Windows 7

I like using Google Chrome as my browser but it uses up too much memory if I have more than a dozen tabs open (and I frequently have 3 or 4 times that!) which slows everything down, so I switched back to Firefox.

Having done that, I later clicked on a link in an email and it opened up Chrome. I'd forgotten to re-set the default browser. If you decide to change your default browser, this is what to do:

First, ensure that you have downloaded the browser of your choice:

Chrome download choose the download for your computer (windows, mac, linux)
Firefox download then scroll down to English (British) and choose the download for your computer (windows, mac, linux)

Next, set the default browser. These are the instructions for Windows 7:
 - click on the start menu and type "default programs" in the search box
 - this will display a screen with the option 'Set your default programs'
 - click this option, Firefox and/or Chrome should be found in a list on the left.
 - choose one then click 'Set this program as default'.

Bee Primrose.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Social Media: No time (or inclination)?

I noticed this tweet today: "Do you run a small business and don't have time to 'do' Social Media?"

A concise message, to the point. Can learn from this? (not too proud to learn from our competitors!) One click took me from Twitter to FaceBook where there was another link... which went to a page that said, in capital letters (paraphrased below to 'protect' the originator and also avoid duplicate content):

YOUR COMPETITORS ARE USING SOCIAL MEDIA BUT YOU DON'T HAVE THE TIME TO LEARN WHAT IT IS OR HOW TO USE IT - WE WILL TAKE THE STRESS BY MANAGING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FOR YOU WHILE YOU FOCUS ON RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS. (Click to find out how)

Another click? Finally, we get to read the crucial 4th message... and it was good. It just took too long to get to it.

So, if you would like The BPc to manage your social media while you focus on running your business, email or call us. Thanks!



Thursday, 28 February 2013

Blogging and Sharing on FaceBook and Twitter

You have a plan to write two Blogger posts a month (1 hour), two FaceBook Page posts a week (15 minutes) and a couple of tweets every other day (two minutes). 

The most productive way of doing this is as follows:

Once a month, write both blogs and set them to post when you want them to with Blogger's Schedule facility.

You can set up a third party feed that will automatically post the blog link to FaceBook but, unless the posts need to be published at the same time on both media, you have more flexibility when you add posts manually.

We suggest that twice a month, sometime after each blog post is published, you go to your FaceBook Business Page and schedule the next four posts using the Activity Log - one can include a link to the most recent blog post, perhaps another may link to a page on your website.

While you are on your Page, it's a good opportunity to interact with followers, 'Like' some pages and post some information on relevant 'Liked' pages.

If you log in to both FaceBook and Twitter at the same time, you can set up FB posts to automatically tweet by entering www.facebook.com/twitter and linking the two accounts. That takes care of a few of your monthly tweets.

If you are an avid Linked-In user, you can set it up to feed through to Twitter. If not, you need to become a regular Twitter user - for best results, always keep a tab open with your Twitter account and follow these 10 Twitter tips.

Of course, if you need help, that's what we're here for.

p.s. Links:
You can Like The BPc business page on Facebook and Follow Bee Primrose on Twitter.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Emergency - our website is down!

An SEO client's website suddenly disappeared without warning.

Investigation showed that, although a hosting invoice was issued and paid to September 2013, the hosting company decided to drop the service in December 2012. The client received no warning before and no messages afterwards.

While they are resolving the issue with that hosting company, we have, overnight, transferred the domain and hosting to another company and managed to upload all the pages with most of the content. Unfortunately, it's taking a while for the client to re-source some photographs from the original website developer but, in the meantime, potential customers can visit A White Rolls Royce, even if they can't view their luxury wedding cars for the next couple of days - the company is still going strong!