Websites, online, digital, copywriting…year in reflection
November 14, 2018 | Posted in: Articles & News, Flex Marketing news
As 2018 draws to an end, I thought it would be a good time to share the huge variety of work I have been involved in this year. Often when I meet someone for the first time, they ask me what sorts of things I do – sometimes it’s hard to know where to start because the needs of my clients are so diverse…I do all sorts! For the benefit of those that only know a slice of what I do, here are some of the things I spent time doing in 2018…
This year seems to have been the year of website rebuilds, with another one on the horizon in the New Year. A couple of my clients have had long-standing websites that were due for a revamp and I have been project managing the process for them. This is mainly driven by some changes to how search engines work now in rewarding websites for good content and structure. Not only is it important for a site to be optimised for mobile phones and a variety of screen sizes, ensuring the location of a business is top of mind in a website build is also key. Search engines like Google are increasingly pushing listings in rankings further up if they can link the website to the user’s current location on their mobile device. It’s all about relevance – practically speaking we are all more likely to use a vet near home if we need one, we don’t want to see search results for vets in the other end of the country, or worse, overseas!
There’s also been a significant change this year with a couple of search engines penalising sites in their scoring (which determines how far up search results they come) if they don’t have an SSL certificate (i.e. your site should have https: at the beginning of the URL…”s” means “secure”). If your website does not have this certification, then a message will show to the user saying that the site is not recognised as secure. It’s a straight forward process getting your website host to install one for you – there is an annual charge for this, just like there is for hosting or domain names.
On top of these things, there has also been a big change in website design/style over the past few years. There has been a move away from small images that can create a cluttered look, to larger images with a cleaner aesthetic. The rigid navigation menus as a way to find your way around a site have been simplified and now websites use more scrolling and dynamic content that will allow you to follow the path that interests you most. Often there are multiple stakeholders visiting a website, so it’s helpful if each audience can clearly see where they need to “dive in” for the content that is most relevant to them. These days, web companies will generally design for a mobile phone first and then adapt that to a desktop variation – reason being that mobile phones have now overtaken desktops as the primary way users access the internet. Obviously that usage varies by sector, however as an average that is certainly the case.
So, in project managing these website builds there is a lot to think about on behalf of my clients, particularly when it comes to ensuring they retain or improve their visibility in online search results. Did you know that the average ‘life’ of a website is now only about 3-4 years? Sad after all the hard work that goes into creating them, but true – technology is changing so rapidly, if you don’t move with it, it’s easy to get left behind and this reflects (usually badly) on your brand.
I’ve continued to support clients with their electronic direct mail (EDMs, newsletters etc.) communicating to their customers and contacts on a regular basis according to their business situation and marketing plan. And in one case, I’ve helped a client integrate my ‘go to’ email marketing tool (Mailchimp) with their CRM system to meet their goal of keeping data centralised so that they have a holistic view.
There have also been some interesting graphic design projects, including creating large scale signage for a couple of trade expos – nothing like seeing a photograph of the completed stand set up after the significant work that goes into these things!
And I am creating more online content than ever before doing plenty of copywriting…from website articles (blogs) to regular social media posts, I am helping clients create presence online amongst their networks of contacts, customers and prospective customers. Whether it is copywriting or editing (or even proof reading!), my love of writing reminds me I am in the right line of work! This year I edited Hayes Knight’s client magazine again – it was the 6th magazine I have helped them produced – if you haven’t had a read already, click here.
I hope you have had a year full of variety and interesting projects too – I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store!