On Friday 24th September, we held a coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer, as part of their World’s Biggest Coffee Morning fundraising campaign. We would like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who helped us raise the wonderful total of £300 for the cause.
Special thanks go to:
* Nespresso for providing cups and sugar sachets
* Olga Lacigova and Susie Ruston for baking cakes
* The local Macmillan Fundraising team in Hammersmith
And of course, everyone who took the time to join us and raise money for such a worthy cause.
We are getting closer to our coffee morning in support of Macmillan Cancer’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. Taking place on Friday 24th September, you can now see full details here: Notting Hill Web Design Coffee Morning.
Please try to pop-in, even for a few minutes. It is such a worthy cause plus we will have lots of tempting refreshments on offer.
See you there!
Another week, another Twitter PR disaster. By now, no doubt you’ll have heard about the whole Gillian McKeith debacle: if not, you can find a useful summary on the Guardian website.
There is nothing the usually benign (though swift to become a baying horde) citizens of Twitter-like less than duplicity. McKeith’s big mistake was not in trying to defend an unpopular view: Twitter is populated with many millions of users doing just that every day, both for comedic and more sinister purposes.
Her mistake was in subsequently trying to cover up her comments. That she did so ineffectually barely matters: even if all trace had been eradicated from her own website; even if her dissenters hadn’t been carefully taking screenshots and retweeting for future evidence, McKeith is clearly unaware that these days, almost all web presence is aggregated, mirrored, and pushed out in countless places across the Internet.
Forget the Wayback machine: these days Twitter has its own archive. Furthermore, many folks link up their Facebook and Twitter profiles, and perhaps throw LinkedIn to the mix, too, meaning that your words are spread far beyond a single website. Then there are sites which collect all tweets on a certain subject and replicate them – without so much as a by your leave.
In short, your Twitter status updates, and all web content should be thought of as a permanent record. That’s why, if you are representing your business online, you should exhibit the utmost transparency and honesty – and furthermore, you should think carefully about which members of your business you trust to do the same.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep on saying it: social media is a fantastic tool for business promotion, but for heaven’s sake be careful what you write.
The news that the new government has revised plans to roll out broadband by 2012 may affect small businesses and their online marketing. We’ve mentioned before on this blog our anticipation of the greater functionality that all businesses will be able to include on websites once the whole country is enjoying a fast connection… well, if you had great plans for an all-singing, all-dancing site, better put them to one side. The target is now 2015.
One remarkable fact that comes from the reports of the new government’s back-down is that as well as the two million homes in the UK who cannot get speeds as high as 2Mbps, about 160,000 households still cannot get any form of broadband at all. These are homes in remote and rural areas, who were presumably without a power of any sort not terribly long ago, but it is certainly worth remembering that you may still have customers on dial-up… if they have internet access at all. Others may be accessing via cyber cafes and community centers, meaning hurried visits as the clock ticks away on a paid-for slot.
The low-tech solution? If you happen to have rich content such as videos or Flash, offer a pared-down site with the essentials on it too. Plus, you might want to give a phone number you can be contacted on, alongside your email address. Two million households represent a lot of potential customers, and they will be grateful for your concessions.
Here’s proof, if it were needed, of Twitter’s ever-increasing omnipotence: babies can now tweet from the womb. Yes, back in February, we reported that dogs can tweet: in our estimation, this is a step further into the realm of… well, the rather ridiculous.
The Kickbee is a fabric band that the pregnant mother can wear while relaxing on the sofa. Dad at work? No problem – with every kick of the fetus, he’ll get a little alert on Twitter to remind him of what is growing back home. Just take a look at the video above for a graphic representation.
So, what’s next? Tweeting from beyond the grave? You know, somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if someone came up with that next.
It’s common knowledge that a good Google ranking can make or break a business, so it’s no surprise that companies regularly get into a lather when they don’t get the results they believe they deserve.
The European Commission Competition Chief, Joaquin Almunia, is currently investigating the claims of three firms who claim that Google, far from sticking to the objective algorithms it is so well-known for basing its results on, is deliberately downgrading them.
The aggrieved companies are Foundem, a price comparison site, ejustice.fr, a French legal search engine, and – most interesting perhaps, given the rivalry between the two companies – Ciao, which is owned by Microsoft.
While we would agree that Google is not always blameless in its various activities, we’d be willing to bet that they will be found innocent on this one. Their algorithms are so complex that we could foresee a situation where sites were accidentally penalized, sure. Plus, Google does also automatically blacklist sites which adhere to any one of several practices it frowns upon, all of which fall under the banner of ‘black hat’ SEO. Might these sites have fallen foul of the sometimes labyrinthine guidelines?
Whatever the case, we’ve seen many a website owner who was convinced that Google had a personal grudge against his site. In every case, it turned out not to be so.
One of our many services for small businesses is checking that your site has nothing in place that might mitigate against your Google rankings. If you are thinking you have a lot in common with Foundem, justice, and Ciao, why not give us a ring and we’ll see if we can get to the bottom of it for you.
Getting sites to the top of Google rankings is a serious business – so serious that it’s easy to forget that the company also has a fun side. This week, the BBC showed us a video and images of Google’s new offices in Zurich. Fancy making an entrance to your staff canteen? The slide from the second floor is just the thing. If that’s not quite your scene, there’s also a fireman’s pole.
As with the other Google offices around the world, a sense of fun, luxury, and comfort pervades the offices. In return, of course, Google expects commitment and creativity – and it probably gets it. What other workplace is going to be worth leaving this for?.
We’ve all enjoyed poring over the details and dreaming of our very own phone booths made from repurposed ski-lift compartments. But in the meantime, we’ll get back to the hard work of optimizing your website for Google.
Images are taken from the BBC website, where you can also watch a video tour of the premises.
You may currently be preoccupied with thinking about how you’re going to optimize your website for the oncoming mobile web explosion. Well, if you want a break from that, we’ve got news for you – it looks like we’re also in line for a massive rise in Internet-via-TV.
Announcements this week point towards a new generation of a set-top box, allowing for Internet access directly through the TV, without a computer. Presumably, this will lead not only to programme-watching on demand but a blurring between TV and online advertising. There’s every possibility for an ad to give a link, inviting the viewer to switch modes and visit a website for time-restricted special offers, for example.
While mobile Internet users present the challenge of making your website navigable, attractive, clear and comprehensible on a small screen, TV Internet will, of course, bring the opposite issues – especially with the current trend of ever-larger plasma screens. Resolution may also be different.
Project Canvas, the BBC’s name for the new set-top box, isn’t expected to launch until next year, but it’s definitely worth thinking about it now.
If you sell internationally, it’s definitely worth reading the technology section of the daily papers. For example, did you know that many websites, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, not to mention the all-important Google, are blocked in China?
That’s been the case for quite a while, but recent news stories have also alerted us to similar and less-predictable restrictions in Turkey and Pakistan. On the other hand, the Finnish government has apparently decreed that broadband Internet access is a human right, and are promising every citizen super-fast access by 2015. Currently, almost 100% of the population is already connected at a more normal speed.
Why is it worth knowing these things? Well, obviously, if you sell to Turkey, say, you won’t want to waste your efforts on a viral marketing campaign on YouTube. Similarly, there’s little point in optimizing your Chinese web pages for Google. On the other hand, if many of your customers are from Scandinavia, you can have a lot of fun designing fairly weighty websites with as much video or Flash content as you like – it won’t clog up their capacious broadband.
Apart from anything else, it’s fascinating to see how each country restricts or enables access to the 20th century’s greatest invention – and your international strategy will be a whole lot more likely to bear fruit.
Sell online? Your customer base just increased by almost two million.
Well, all right, not “just”, but, according to The Guardian, Internet users rose by 5%, or 1.9 million, to 38.8 million over the last year to May. This boost in numbers reflects new sectors of the population becoming familiar with an online environment, with the largest rise coming in the 50-65 year old demographic.
Other growing sectors include females between the ages of 12 and 20 and a substantial rise in men of all ages.
So, if you sell products or services that appeal to these profiles, you may well be reaping the benefits. If you don’t… might now be the time to start? Having said that, it seems to us that these figures really just represent previously ill-represented sectors coming online. Eventually, the Internet will be so pervasive that to talk about who is on it will be meaningless: we all will be.
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