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The Business Show 2013!

The Business Show 2013!

At Who Needs Design, we’ve recently had the pleasure of attending the UK’s biggest annual exhibition for businesses wishing to start-up or expand.

The Business Show 2013, hosted by the ExCel Centre in London last Thursday and Friday, was a brilliant opportunity to have snap-shot meetings with hundreds of different company representatives and attend workshops and talks including business advice from keynote speaker, James Caan!

Although we were unfortunate enough to miss Mr Dragon’s Den himself, there were plenty of other enlightening seminars which were of particular interest to us (including Facebook and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)) once we had eventually managed to navigate through the snake-like queue encompassing half of the ExCel’s 600 metre boulevard!

 

Some key points following the seminars we attended:

Facebook

“50% of Facebook users value their friends’ recommendations as important when choosing products and services”      Felicity McCarthy, Facebook

With 33 million UK users using a variety of multimedia platforms (including mobile phones, computers and tablets), Facebook provides businesses with a massive opportunity to access a larger volume of people than ever before! Facebook enables businesses to adopt a more authentic approach that is unique, bespoke and personal through their news feeds. This has the potential to generate huge online awareness and interest through customer relationships and word of mouth. Remember to keep your updates snappy and succinct as people will only look at the first 92 characters before deciding whether your post is worth reading!

Search Engine Optimisation

“It is really important to get yourself on page 1 of Google!”      SEO Desk

Print media is in rapid decline compared to media that is available to view online. Research has found that 9/10 households search for products and services on the internet with 95% of users only clicking on the results produced on page 1 of Google! The key to getting yourself on page 1 of Google is keywords: DO NOT KEYWORD STUFF!!! Google Penguin has an over-optimisation penalty which reprimands poor quality content and could see your website taking a nosedive in Google’s search results! The ideal target is now approximately 30% for target keywords!

 

At Who Needs Design, we believe strongly in boosting local business and helping grow our economy. If you would like to talk about any of the above with us in more detail then please give us a call – our advice is and always will be free.


Facebook – the ‘tier’ is (almost) here

Facebook – the ‘tier’ is (almost) here

Facebook-Replies-3-The-Social-ClinicFor once, Facebook is making a change for the better to their social media service!

As of July 10th, everyone should be able to activate a tiered conversation system, which will no doubt help to sort those lengthy conversations that take place on your timelines.

Being late to the party and noticing a lengthy conversation to catch up on will become a concern of the past, with the service categorising spin-off conversations separately so that the conversation remains relevant to your latest status.

But not being one for ignoring the other conversations; you can easily open the sub categories that stem from another comment, if you feel inclined to read the whole conversation. Albeit, at least now we can easily see how far the conversation in goes, and more importantly in which direction!

So, what do you think?

We’re really looking forward to this change. Not only will it enable us and all of our clients to accurately keep track of feedback, but this will help a great deal towards many of those important marketing purposes. Saving time, viewing accuracy, and visual relevancy are just some of the things to look forward to!

But just remember, for all of those interested, that unless your page has 10,000+ followers, you’ll need to activate this feature from your preferences!

(Source: http://www.indiatimes.com/technology/internet/facebook-introduces-tiered-comments-for-pages-68644.html)


Just how valuable is your Mobile Site?

Just how valuable is your Mobile Site?

Yesterday I was talking to a friend who asked me to refer him to a specific type of restaurant that was local. Now, I don’t often have trouble recalling the area or the surroundings, but I cannot for the life of me remember street addresses, or even street names for that matter!

So as you can imagine I’m not very helpful when it comes to locating those fabulous restaurants. But then again, I don’t recall going out of my way to find it myself either. What I do remember was the moment I unlocked my Smartphone, accessed the Internet and browsed for said restaurant.

Additionally, come to think of it, I don’t just locate restaurants on my Smartphone, but I also locate roughly 90% of places I’m not sure about, whether it relates to entertainment, offices or places for visiting at the weekends…and I’m not the only person either.

I found my situation coincidental recently as I came across a very informative article online about the level of Smartphone users, or more specifically their level of demand for a top Mobile Website, which I believe myself and many of you reading this blog will truly relate to.

After all, isn’t it really off-putting when you decide to quickly access the Internet on your phone for details on a company or location, only to find that their website provides very small fonts and a layout that would otherwise be fine for your sizeable laptop or computer screen, providing it wasn’t squished into your much smaller mobile screen?

Well, the article I’m talking about (provided by Adweek – specialists and enthusiasts on the television, press and technology fronts) gave some understandable figures:

  • 72% of consumers believed it was important for brands to possess a mobile friendly site
  • 96% admit they have come across non mobile friendly websites
  • 79% would double-back onto their search engine if the chosen site wasn’t mobile friendly
  • 67% of consumers would stick around, and even spend, on a mobile friendly website
  • Additionally, related figures pointed strongly towards the need for quick, easy and obvious action buttons and services integrated into their website

(Adweek.com – http://tinyurl.com/8pya3ca)
(Interviews of 1088 US consumers aged 25-54)

Now, those figures are very transferable to consumers here in the UK. You only have to look around and see people accessing Smartphones for much of their information needs.

Additionally, data like this is a real outline of the importance on your brand having a mobile friendly website, and hopefully many readers will join me in agreement with these figures. I will admit to being part of that category that double-back to the search engine or only trust a mobile friendly site for purchases. However, an important question might be ‘are you one of those people?’, or even more important ‘are your customers?’.

To find out more about how you can get started on your fully integrated and ‘easy to use’ mobile site, take a look at the Who Needs Design Mobile Site section via our website! – www.whoneedsdesign.com


4G is on its way, for everyone, by ‘Everything, Everywhere’!

4G is on its way, for everyone, by ‘Everything, Everywhere’!

How many of us use our clever, aptly named ‘Smart-Phones’, or our handy Tablet PC’s, to connect to, and browse the web, every day?

Accessing the Internet through our Smart Phones and Tablets has become a way of life for a large number percentage of the UK population, not to mention for everyone around the world, made capable by what is known as ‘3G’ or the third generation mobile telecom tech.

Being such an important service, the main focus is on reliability of signal and the download speeds, making browsing dependant on being both fast and accessible. However, this isn’t always the case, especially when you’re away from areas harbouring a strong signal.

Well expect those days to soon be a very rare situation, after the news that today that OFCOM have agreed to allow the network provider ‘Everything, Everywhere’ to roll out the very popular 4G service in the UK. But what exactly is different in the ‘4G’ of mobile telecom tech and why should we applaud this decision?

Currently, 3G has its limits in processing data, from quantities and speeds that make said data available to your devices. Whilst the service was a revelation a few years ago, technology has swiftly moved on, in fact, maybe too quickly for some countries. Allowing devices of today to play more complex games, take part in clearer conference calls, access high quality videos and other various content on the web, all of this needs a more enhanced and capable broadband service, which is where the 4th Generation now improves the way of life.

So when can we expect 4G to be available?
Keep an eye out later this year, as more details should be released in the coming weeks and months (Source: everythingeverwhere.com). The only possible catch to this is that you may have to be a current Orange or T-Mobile customer to experience these super-fast services, as EE are the current owners of these brands. Expect 4G services to be provided by others sometime in 2013.

And just to add our own expertise to this story of the day, why is the introduction of 4G important to your online marketing aspirations?

The answer reflects our point of demand for faster broadband speeds in relation to content and downloads; there is now an ever growing number of consumers who engage with brands online for a reason, which is where the business lives.

As technology moves on, so does the way brands and businesses engage with their audiences. If you feel that your online presence needs to come full circle or you’re just not too sure about the whole situation, Who Needs Design specialise in providing our clients with the most understandable and useful advice on how you can enhance your business in the vast online world!


Pinterest – Love to Hate?

Pinterest – Love to Hate?

Another little bite of info, and a lovingly produced infographic to go with it.

http://mashable.com/2012/08/14/pinterest-love-hate/

An exploration of how Pinterest, since it now opened up its doors and stopped you having to be invited to the site (hence the 60% usage in America as it took ages for a UK invite system to work) people have started putting it under the microscope.

What exactly does it do? Well, for creatives like me its a mood board, a Facebook wall, with the ability to actually be usable and not just contain endless posts of ‘x has just liked this’. Its great for when I showcase to clients the sort of things they wish their new site or marketing material to look like. It allows me or them to ‘pin’ some things we find, feedback and gain answers, without the old fashioned large mood boards or books that require lots of cutting and sticking.

But currently every site needs, well according to ‘everyone’, to be able to make money. Does a site really need a purpose like that? Only time will tell if what is actually a great designers tool will become more of a commercial enterprise (Facebook anyone) but here’s one designer hoping it wont!


The Rise of Gated ‘Social’ Communities

The Rise of Gated ‘Social’ Communities

Was reading a useful article on Flipboard (great app for the ipad/iphone/android for all news gatherers out there) and came across this article on gated communities and online news and social creation.

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how-online-reading-is-changing-and-how-to-cope.php

It’s a massive move away from such sites as Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger and even Twitter, as with those you are able to edit content by default and post whatever you deem fit. There seems to be a push towards being asked to contribute, so as to promote quality and rigorously correct material.

Some may see this as a way for less litigation and legal wranglings over social networking (lets not forget the case of the Twitter user promising to ‘blow up the airport’ which was finally overturned by the courts a few weeks ago) but also its like Pinterest has done.

By restricting users you can gain a seemingly more content aware site, where users are checking up on each others material, and from an academic standpoint at least, there is much more focus on correct content.


Online brochures save paper, and they look twice as impressive!

Online brochures save paper, and they look twice as impressive!

Whilst collecting a few brochures relating to a recent project we started to realise how interesting and full of information these simple things can really be. Packed inside you can find almost everything about that topic or business you’re interested in reading about, and with all the customisation techniques that make your brochure stand out you can really impress your reader.

Although, don’t you just find it really annoying when all of these brochures you’ve collected just happen to pile up?

Sure, they may be of some use again at any given time, but they count as clutter and become outdated after a while, leading to the new copy finding it’s way into your hands soon enough. It becomes a cycle of sorts after a while.

Well, have you ever come across those cool looking online adaptations of brochures; the ones that appear as an image from the website or link of the distributor and even become interactive, allowing you to turn the page with your mouse pad or finger as if you were actually holding the brochure?

We’ve recently designed some of these for a couple of clients and they truly love the idea. The feedback generally points to the idea of “a modern alternative that saves waste” and “impresses the reader beyond the conventional appearance”.  For an idea of what we’ve produced check this out – http://www.whoneedsdesign.com/brochure-design.php.

So what are the overall benefits of an online brochure?

  • Saves waste
  • No expensive distribution costs
  • No expensive, high colour print costs
  • Engages the modern day customer
  • Improves your own reputation

…And if you feel your brochures need more than just a creative touch, by going that one step further and becoming interactive with the online audience, give us a call and we can design some of these impressive bespoke online brochures for you!


The power of Branding – It’s more than just a logo!

The power of Branding – It’s more than just a logo!

Here at Who Needs Design one of our favourite services is getting the chance to work with all those interesting businesses out there and creating brilliant branding to further enhance them. We’ve recently been presented with a few branding projects and the mechanics of it all are very intriguing…or maybe that’s just us?

But often enough our clients seem surprised at the overall benefits, both long term and short term, which Branding often presents, yet remain overlooked.

Branding in fact is more than what meets the eye. It often just appears as a logo or image associated to your business, but not everyone realises that, with the right amount of understanding and creativity, your brand can be a catalyst in many different functions.

For instance, the colours of your branding aren’t just there for show. They are implemented through timely selection to create the right moods and behaviours in your customers, giving both a specific feeling to encourage associating with your business and brand, and also to create a deeper, memorable feeling that can be recalled upon recognition of those colours or similar products/services. Think about it – how often do you come across a need and associate that need with the most memorable brand you’ve seen before? This is where colours play a major role.

Additionally, the style of what is included in the brand also influences opinion. For example, if you are an artistic, creative product/service, you want people to see that side of you through innovative/stylish fonts and images, not something ‘boring’ and ‘corporate’. Again, styles provide a long term effect in relation to memory, since we remember those brands that intrigue us and ones that play on our minds.

Or on the other hand, if your target market is professionals, they want to see trust and clarity in a brand. However, this can be ‘innovative’ in its own way – a challenge we enjoy as designers but also as business enthusiasts!

There are a whole host of factors that go into effective Branding, and effective Branding is the only type we believe in.

If you feel your start up business now needs an identity of its own carrying these benefits, or if you feel that your current Branding just isn’t doing its job, why not give the Who Needs Design team a call and we can arrange one of our FREE consultations, where we’ll happily talk about your business to gain an understanding so that we can start constructing the best Branding that will hopefully create the wave that takes your business to the next level!


Net-Works

Net-Works

Whether you’re a small one man band or a company on a fairly big scale, I’m sure everyone has felt the recession and the implications to sales that have come along with it. This in turn has led to constant reductions in marketing budgets and efforts, making the ability to get your name out to potential business very tough.

Whether you’re finding this problem yourself or if this is a worry that’s in your mind as a new start up, Who Needs Design strongly believe that Networking is a definite solution, as we’ve come to remember thanks to the latest Business Week activities in the Yorkshire and Humberside region.

Now, not everyone has given networking much thought. Networking is any event which brings several businesses and their representatives together under one roof for a period of time, usually alongside a guest speaker or in the form of a weekly meeting, with the opportunity to speak to other businesses that may have an interest in what exactly you could do for them.

In a nutshell, Networking allows businesses to come together, unlike they normally would, to gain new contacts, enhance brand reputation and improve business on a personal level. Many argue that face-to-face business is the most effective method, and it doesn’t get more effective than Networking.

Whilst these events sometimes ask for a fee, you can guarantee that it is a small price to pay for the short and long term advantages that are there for you to grasp with both hands.

Again, it is a great way for ‘start-up’ businesses to build an initial contact base, and for an established businesses (which we like to include ourselves in now too!) you can always learn something new.

And whether you bring business to them or just refer them to someone else, you can often rely on them doing the same once they’ve spoken to you and got to know about your business.

We definitely recommend having a look for any groups that provide this service, or just any up-coming events you may want to visit.

For example, check out the global, yet local, BNI. Their experience and member lists are very extensive and highly useful for any business.

On the other hand, there are likely to be a few local organisations that provide similar opportunities. Overall, the effort of taking some time out of your schedule for the events is a very worthwhile activity…and probably the best advantage of all – it gives you an excuse to get out of the office!


Cookie?  … yes, please!

Cookie? … yes, please!

 

You’ve possibly heard in the news all sorts of controversy about ‘cookies’ on websites and how the law affecting them is changing.

To most of us, Cookies are tasty treats that come in bags of 5 from the Bakery Section in Supermarket
s. But to a Web Designer, they are even more important. And now they should be to you too.Nearly every website on the internet today uses Cookies – and we would put money on it that your website does too. However, as of 26th of May the law has changed, meaning that you now have to seek the user’s permission before using them. Not compliant? There are said to be some fairly hefty fines.

What are ‘Cookies’?
Cookies are small pieces of information that are stored by your browser on your computer’s hard drive. The information collected by most Cookies does not personally identify an individual, however, they are often used as a mechanism for websites to remember things that a website browser has done there in the past; For example, clicking on particular buttons, logging in, or having read pages on that site.

Popular programmes such as Google Analytics leave behind these Cookies so that website owners can see how many people have visited their sites and what content on there is most popular. Generally, Cookies are used to enhance the user’s experience and are not malicious at all.

So what’s changed?
From now on, websites that wish to use Cookies have to expressly ask the user’s permission to do so. This can, unfortunately, lead to a clunky user experience but is now required by law. For an example of best practice, have a look at the top of the Armed Forces Day website at: http://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/ .

The legislation comes from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in response to the EU’s e-Privacy Directive which came into force on 26th of May in the UK, so from now on your site needs to be compliant with the ICO regulations. Visit http://www.ico.gov.uk/ for more information.

Not sure what’s best?
This area is a minefield of regulations, breaking news and revelations. At Who Needs Design, we’ll be following it closely, so if you’re not sure if your website is compliant or if it needs to be, then give us a call (01472 730051) and we’ll be happy to offer help and advice.