Don’t get left behind by the mobile revolution

In the fast moving world of web marketing and design it is often a struggle for businesses and organisations to work out which latest industry innovations are game-changers and which are merely desirable extras.

If you think optimising your website for mobile falls in the latter category then it is time to think again. This year it is predicted that smartphones and tablets will supersede desktops as the most commonly used devices to access the web in the US, a trend that is being mirrored in the UK. And last month, Google finally confirmed what industry analysts have been predicting for some time, namely that they will be penalising websites that are not mobile-friendly in search rankings.

So what are the issues with websites that are not optimised for mobile?

Tablets and Smartphones all feature browsers that allow the user to surf the internet, but due to the limited screen space available a standard desktop site simply does not fit. Most smartphone and tablet users will have experienced the frustration of having to scroll repeatedly across or up and down a site, zooming in and out to find the function they are looking for while the rest of the content is rendered invisible. This is exacerbated, particularly for smartphone users, by the lack of a mouse to hover over certain functions such as drop-down menus.

Simply making a desktop site mobile compatible is not a complete solution either. Most users will abandon a search if a site takes more than 5 seconds to load, and the average sized website already pushes that patience threshold to the limit. Factor in larger sites, sites that feature lots of images and variations in network coverage and you are likely to leave your audience – and potential customers – frustrated. With a myriad of online companies offering different advice and off-the-shelf packages it can be difficult to tell which is the best route to take.

At Optix Solutions we pride ourselves on getting to know our customers’ businesses and then, and only then, designing bespoke online marketing and web design solutions that truly meet specific needs and budgets.

There are inevitably short-term cost implications in gearing your website up to make the most of mobile, but the benefits of ensuring clients and customers can access your site via the platform of their choice make it an investment well worth making in the longer-term.

If you are still in any doubt about the importance and growth of mobile, just take a look at these two contrasting picture of crowds gathered in St Peter's Square, Rome, for the announcement of the last two popes:

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What is the Google Penguin 2.0 Update?

What on earth is Google’s Penguin Update and why should I be worried? The answer is that you shouldn’t be. As long as you haven’t been involved in any “Black Hat” SEO tactics you have nothing to worry about and you might even find that your site’s rankings improve. However if you, or anyone working on your behalf has built paid links in the past or used any other techniques designed to unfairly manipulative search results you may need to take action fast.

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What Is Google Penguin 2.0?

Google first launched its Penguin Update in April 2012 with the aim of preventing sites from ranking well on the back of activities which go against their Guidelines. Most of the sites targeted had “unnatural” links pointing towards them as a result of unscrupulous SEO companies attempting to boost the rankings of sites by building quick and easy low-quality links. A second major update (following several small tweaks) has just rolled out and we are expecting it to have a big impact.

Those affected can expect to see their rankings fall dramatically for either specific keywords or across the board. This will result in a drop in traffic which will be difficult to recover from. As Penguin is algorithmic you won’t receive a notification via Google Webmaster Tools as you would with a manually applied penalty.

What Are We Doing About It?

Optix have always focused on creating great content rather than trying to push lesser content up the rankings with paid links. As a result most of our clients can rest assured that this update won’t have a negative impact on them. In fact they may find that their rankings improve as their competitors’ fall.

We are monitoring the situation and checking our client’s sites to see if any historical activity could cause a problem. By auditing our client’s backlink profiles we are able to take preventative measures on behalf of any clients whose previous employees or agencies might have been tempted to risk their long term traffic for quick gains.

If you’re worried about your site or want to know more give us a ring on 01392 667766.


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5 things you should always consider when filming a video

How to film a video

With video ads increasing purchase intent by 97%, and brand association by 139%, there is no doubt that now is the time for businesses to start participating in the use of video. When it comes to using video, content is key to the success of your video. Get it right and even the shortest of videos can inspire, engage, and even convey emotions in your audience. After all, look what happened when ‘Dollar Shave Club’ went viral back in early 2012…that’s right a whopping 12,000 visitors signed up for the service within 48 hours of the video going live on YouTube. CEO Michael Dubin said the company saw significant growth after they released the video, which now has more than ten million views on YouTube. Dubin said “We certainly saw an enormous amount of traction after the video. It actually crashed our site for a few hours.”

Getting Started

With the right content, there is no reason why you can’t carry out your own filming, so in order to get you started we have put together 5 tips to help get that ball rolling…

  1. Scene selection: When it comes to filming make sure you choose your scene carefully; if you are inside, check there are no objects in the background that could distract from what you are filming. If you are outside then try to pick a scenic location, free from any congestion in the background.
  2. Background noise: This is potentially one of the most crucial factors when it comes to filming. Always listen for background noise before you start filming, as any noise such as car vehicles, planes flying over-head or road works will seriously interfere with any voice presentation in the video.
  3. Get creative: In order to make your video as interesting as possible make sure you experiment by taking a variety of different ‘shots’. For example you may want to film what the presenter is talking about or the surroundings that they are in.
  4. Quality lighting: If you are indoors make sure you select artificial lighting that will effectively illuminate the object/area/individual that you are filming. Try not to film where there is a light source such as a window behind the object as this will make it dark. If you are outdoors then you will be limited on how much control you have over the light, but time of day and using reflector boards will help with light regulation.
  5. Don’t rush it: At the beginning and end of each shot make sure you hold the camera in position and record for a few seconds without any noise or movement, as this will make it easier to edit the video later on.

Do you have any questions about filming? Please comment below!

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Thomas Haynes joins Optix Digital Marketing Team

This week we’re extremely excited to be welcoming Thomas Haynes to the Optix Digital Marketing stable.

Thomas has been working in the search marketing industry for over six years and the portfolio of companies he’s worked with reads like a who’s who in blue-chip names. Amongst others, Thomas has worked with the likes of HSBC, Disney, M&S, Tesco, Bentley and Oxfam. We’re extremely excited to have Thomas bringing his knowledge to our already exciting and growing digital team. The experience he has in this field will benefit our client’s enormously.

For more information on how our digital marketing team can help your business grow, give them a buzz on 01392 667766

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Is Social Media accessible to all?

Social Media Exeter, Devon This week the Optix team took a morning out of their diaries to brainstorm ideas for two clients, the Exeter Deaf Academy and newly formed CloudED. The brainstorm was filled with the usual energy and enthusiasm, with the team coming up with many innovative ways of achieving the organisation’s goals.

The great thing about these brainstorms is that not only do they generate ideas, but they often raise a number of questions. These brainstorms allow the team to step away from their schedules and really ask the questions how and why? Why are we looking to develop this technology? How are we going to make social media work for that organisation? Why should they be looking to optimise for mobile?

The time away from their desks creates perspective and can often allow for new concepts to be introduced. This week the key question discussed was ‘Is social media accessible to all?‘ This question was raised when the team considered how Exeter Deaf Academy could utilise social media to engage with both the deaf and hearing communities. The Academy faces a difficult job of trying to avoid alienating either group through their social media practice.

Trying to engage with target audiences that don’t necessarily have different preferences but instead have fundamentally different ways of engaging with media, is a complex concept to find appropriate solutions to. The Academy is determined to open up its communications with the wider hearing community but still retain its identity and affinity with the deaf community.

This is a challenge and clearly requires the Academy to introduce a balanced strategy that engages with both key groups. The way it is achieved? Through using a variety of content that aligns with the relative strengths and weaknesses of different levels of sensory perception. It became clear that visual content would not only be important for engaging effectively with the deaf community, but also would present opportunities to introduce the hearing community to the amazing work done at the Academy.

Our work with the Academy will hopefully lead to much wider and deeper appreciation of what is achieved there. We’ll keep you posted with how things progress in the coming months.

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Using Twitter for Business

Young businessman drawing social media communication concept. Isolated on white.At first glance Twitter may not seem like the best tool for marketing, but scratch beneath the surface of obscure hashtags and people compelled to tell the world what they’ve been eating and you’ll find it’s a powerful way of promoting a business. Below are a few tips to help you get started or adapt your existing account on this social networking site.

Initially you need to evaluate whether Twitter is the platform for you. Your time is valuable and you need to make best use of it. The Social Media Networks have differences in their audience and functionality. Use Twitter’s search tool https://twitter.com/search to check out key search terms for your business – including your business name, your competitors, the products/services you offer and your area. If your search proves fruitful and you can see that your time on Twitter will be well spent, then off we go!

  • Your username – make sure it’s as close to your Business name as you can, think of people searching to find you. Keep it short and straightforward, using as few characters as you can without turning it into gobbledegook!
  • Make sure you populate the details Twitter asks for, especially your website’s URL. This will show on your account page and provide an easy link back to your own content.
  • Your bio – when someone takes the time to check you out, they’ll want to know what you do and why they should follow you. Make sure you make the most of the 160 characters with a well-crafted description that represents your company.
  • Avatar – choose a picture that represents you. People respond to people; therefore a photo is likely to be better received although it is acceptable to use a logo. The choice is yours.
  • Background – Twitter allows you to customise your background, giving you scope to upload an image or a logo and add to the information about your Business.
  • Who to follow – your initial research into whether Twitter was the right platform for you should have highlighted a few accounts to follow. Look for business connections, suppliers, clients and supportive, influential connections within your area or location. It will take a while for people to start following you, so don’t go overboard on following hundreds of accounts. The ideal is to try and strike a balance between follower/following, therefore you will need to gradually build the number of accounts you follow.
  • Tweeting – now you’re ready to join the conversation and start tweeting. As a rule of thumb, try and keep the length of your tweets to 120 characters. This, along with your concise username, will assist your followers in supporting you with retweets and mentions.
  • What to say – to begin with you will need to introduce yourself, although not just a quick ‘hello world’. Let people know who you are and what you do but please remember the golden rule – Twitter is not a place for direct sales, it is a platform for building relationships and developing your customer base. Be personable, friendly and approachable.
  • The 20/80 rule – you will build your follower base by being both informative and interesting. Only 20% of your tweets should be directly about you and your services/products. The remaining 80% should be used to point people to interesting relevant content in your industry or location, stimulate engagement and conversation, join in conversations with fellow tweeters, and also retweeting and sharing content from followers and those you wish to support in your Social Media Community.
  • Tweet with caution and common sense – it’s important to set the right tone. While Twitter can, and should, be fun tweets are archived, therefore it’s wise not to share anything unprofessional that may come back to haunt you later on.
  • Building a following – this is something that will come with time and good content. By following the right people and providing something of value through your tweets, people will start following you. By following the 20/80 rule you will be well on the way to increasing your followers – just remember it’s all about quality rather than quantity. 10 followers who are supportive and engaging are far better than 100 who do not interact at all. Make sure you publicise your presence on Twitter via email signature, button on your website, your Twitter name added to all offline marketing and anywhere else you can think of!
  • Manners – don’t forget to be polite, thank people for following you, retweeting you or mentioning you. Congratulate people on achievements.

This is just the beginning. Having grasped the fundamentals, there are many ways in which you can make a strategic use of Twitter’s opportunities and potential. Just remember Twitter doesn’t have to be taxing. Here at Optix we offer full Strategy Development and support and/or an on-going curricula of social media training. We can help you get up to speed with the platforms that are relevant to your business and make the most from them. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions or provide more information, just contact us.

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