4D Digital are delighted to launch the new website for Wiltshire-based company Industrial Mergers & Acquisitions (IMA). IMA are a team of consultants working with acquisitions and mergers in the energy and industrial sector.
4D Digital have worked with IMA within a short timescale to provide branding, website, email, social media setup and printed materials, supporting the company launch in May 2020.
Improved website build times
Using the latest WordPress framework enabled a fast development time, thus keeping down project costs. The framework has superb content management and straightforward integration with external providers such as MailChimp and Google Analytics.
We look forward to working with IMA, offering ongoing support and experience in helping their business grow.
WordPress continues it’s growth as the most popular website CMS and blogging platform, and here we look at the most popular and effective ecommerce plugins available.
Updated May 2020
With the ongoing government restrictions due to COVID-19, the ability for businesses to sell online is clearly gaining in importance. With over 14 years experience in helping clients move into ecommerce, we would like to help businesses should they wish to make the step to sell online. We are offering free phone call consultations, simply call our office on 01249 561010 to arrange a callback or video meeting.
By far the leading ecommerce plugin for WordPress, with over 29% of market share according to Datanyze most recent report, WooCommerce is still the leading solution for selling online with the framework. It’s a go-to platform for 4D Digital, and we have extensive experience in developing and extending it’s capabilities.
With a large selection of extensions, WooCommerce can cover most website needs and it’s huge contributor base means that any security updates are monitored and released with good regularity.
Easy Digital Downloads
As it’s name implies, Easy Digital Downloads offers a solution for those who are looking to sell download files such as music, articles or eBooks. With an easy set up, website owners can relatively quickly have their very own digital sales platform running.
With the basic plugin free, the premium very of Easy Digital Downloads offers extended functionality regarding email marketing and payment gateway integration.
BigCommerce is a standalone ecommerce software solution that has gained popularity in recent years. Many would argue that it’s checkout experience is superior to WooCommerce. Now that the WordPress plugin for BigCommerce has moved out of beta, this is going to be a serious option for WordPress retailers in 2019.
The short answer: Yes, with now 1 billion active users TikTok is labelled as the fastest growing social media app of all time. The app was originally known as Musically, which was used to create short lip sync videos. However over the past 2 years this has developed this further into an advanced video editing tool.
How could it benefit your business?
TikTok is a great marketing tool for business, as it’s easy to gain exposure from relevant hashtags and target audiences. Statistics state that 41% of the market are ages between 16 – 24, which is to do with the growth of ‘Generation Z’. Although this may not be your ideal demographic, it does leave 59% of the market open for targeting your current audience.
Just like any other social media apps that you may already be using, you can follow other users, like and comment on content, and share that content to other platforms.
Video Boosts Conversions and Sales
As many of us know video content can make you some serious profit. Now that there is a rise in influencers, many individuals are charging anywhere from £100 to £2,000 per promotional video post.
Video is showing great ROI and statistically 83% of businesses have said that it has benefited their current growth. The other great benefit of video is that it doesn’t have to be the perfect edit. Some of the most viral videos have been recorded on a mobile phone and even most devices record in 1080p or higher!
Videos less than two minutes get the most engagement because they are short, eye catching and have the clearest message.
How do I start using the app?
To download TikTok you will need to go to the App Store or Google Play Store.
Fill out your business information, email, phone username etc
Complete your bio information – add a short business description
Add your profile picture or logo
Go to click the “•••” and click ‘pro version’ to add your analytics
Start creating videos!
Once you hit 1000 followers you will be able to live stream
How can you promote your business on TikTok?
The best way for your business to stand out is to create fun content. If you are able give advice, show creativity or start challenges you will definitely get noticed on the platform.
It’s very common for businesses to launch a hashtag challenge in order to get their content trending.
Business Example: Last year a hashtag was trending on TikTok called “#businesscheck”. The concept was to explain or show the process of your product or service in 15 seconds.
Multiple businesses got exposure to millions of new people, made more connections and increased overall revenue from one viral video. By simply promoting the video online and adding relevant hashtags, it allowed businesses to tap into their desired target audience.
It seemed inevitable, and sure enough advertising is now possible on TikTok. There are four ways your business can target users:
Infeed Native Content: Similar to snapchat, this video will appear in users home feeds, you can promote app downloads or link clicks.
Brand Takeovers: Brands can take over the tiktok platform for the day by promoting banners, images, links to landing pages.
Hashtag Challenges: Instead of following others trends, you business can set the challenge and promote a hashtag to go viral!
Branded Lenses: Create your own branded lens or filter that users will want to use, and link it back to your page.
For our third offer of 2018 #blogmas, we’re offering the chance to have a Free Local SEO Assessment. This report looks at how your website ranks for a given set of keywords, in your area. Local search results can be a useful tool to gain traffic and enquiries.
All we ask it that you use our contact page to get in touch before the end of January and within 2/3 working days we’ll send you a report to let you know what could be improved and those aspects that are being done well.
Local search results are a great way to market your business through Google or other search engines. Many businesses are suited to local marketing, and with a Local SEO Assessment we guide you through the latest techniques.
In recent months, social media signals have had more importance in Google’s search results. Some experts believe social posts are now one of the top ranking signals for your website.
Why is social media important?
Social media is important not only to individuals but also small businesses. If you utilise it correctly, it will create many opportunities for you to grow and connect better with your target audience.
Did you know that Facebook has an estimated 2.7 billion people using it every day. They have one of the largest databases across on social applications, also owning Whats App, Instagram and Messenger.
Increases brand awareness
With nearly half of the world’s population using some form of social media, it is now becoming a natural place to share & promote your brand. Social media advertising now gives you a way to target your audience effectively and achieve worth while results.
Values & authenticity
Social media brings real value to your community with content, images, offers and discounts. It now gives you the ability to build real relations with your customers, whilst also allowing you to give someone back to them.
Increases Website Traffic
Whilst posting content is beneficial to your followers, you can redirect your traffic straight to your website. Links from social media to your website are developing as strong ranking signals for SEO. Did you know that your twitter and instagram links can be found in the search results?
Online advertisement is one of the most popular ways to generate leads in 2019. It displays valuable data that gives your better insight in your customer behaviour using analytics. Facebook is one of the most cost effective forms of online advertisement and it also provides one of the largest databases.
Whilst ad targeting is popular, it can also be easily spent if small businesses don’t know how to optimise their ads correctly.
Why should you post content?
Content on social media is what makes up the internet. Just like a website, if we didn’t have quality content, we wouldn’t have a working web.
Images & video
Social media started very basic, it used to always be messages and captions updating friends on their daily life. However updated quickly because it gave businesses and users the chance to show their skills through images and video.
32% of marketers say that images are the best form of content, and this is why the photography industry has grown drastically over the past years. Companies are finding it easier pick up a camera and generate their own unique style of content to display their audience.
Video is now continuing to grow in industry, driving customers away from still visuals and directing them to something authentic. Video is also introducing other areas such as augmented reality, 3D photos and drone footage.
Grow a following
Having an audience on social media gives you a better representation of customer loyalty. It demonstrates who wants to continue following your content and also who will return again as a regular customer.
Followers have also given brands trust and strong authority across the web, giving them higher success and growth rate in the long run. Marketers also believe that having a strong follower increases brand awareness by 91%!
As the New Year festivities fade and we all head back to work, inevitably thoughts can turn to plans for 2019 and how to progress your business. One of the main factors in a sales and marketing strategy has to be to optimise your company’s online presence. We might well be a bit biased – but there are a number of ways we can help you and we’ve outlined some options below.
Most companies and organisations will have a website in place, so mainly we’re looking at a website redesign. Unless branding and logo have changed, typically a second, third- or fourth-generation website just needs to be refreshed, with perhaps a look again at the focus of the content. Responsive design is often a key, to ensure focus is given to mobile and tablet view. Depending on the industry sector, over half of traffic to a website will be on mobile. This also guides us into making sure the content is as clear as possible, with key action points as a focus.
Website Audits & Consultancy
From our basic website audit to a more in-depth consultancy role, we try to use our experience to help you ensure your website or mobile app is delivering the results you need. Focus is given to planning improvements and then measuring the performance over coming months and years.
Digital marketing, which includes a wide variety of areas such as SEO, Social Media and PPC campaigns, is the method of marketing your website or app online. With such choice of channels to use, it’s key nowadays to ensure the most effective route is used, and most importantly, to measure the success of the campaign. With analytics and insights metrics available to measure the finest detail of traffic source and flow, it’s possible to accurately show any return on the investment.
2019 and beyond
If you feel that any of the options we outline above may be of use please contact us, we’re always happy to chat through any enquiry. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading some of our #blogmas articles this year, and wish everyone good fortune in 2019.
When ASOS issued a profit warning just prior to Christmas due to poor online sales in November, many feared that this year was going to be a tough period for eCommerce retailers. With Black Friday falling in that November period, did this mean that other retailers would reflect the performance of one of the UK’s leading eCommerce lights? Was the Brexit effect having a tangible effect on sales and profits?
A good indicator of general retail performance is always how early stores, in the high street and online, switch into the sales period. Long gone are the days of sales starting on Boxing Day. Even in stronger economic times of a few years ago, many online retailers (Amazon in particular), would launch massive promotional campaigns on Christmas Day itself. No sooner had presents been opened than we were busily seeking bargain replacements!
But with some of the big guns such as Next and John Lewis holding off launching sales some confidence grew that the general economic concerns weren’t hitting online sales as much as predicted.
Reports from Next and John Lewis however, have both showed good online sales over the period. Next overall sales were up 1.5% on 2017, but online sales were up a whopping 15.2%, taking many ecommerce analysts by surprise. John Lewis’ figures were up 4.5% in the week to 29th December, but as no separate online figures were released, it’s less easy to assess.
So what can we learn? That online sales, done well, are forging ahead despite uncertainties in the economy and high street concerns.
SEO has already been adjusted in 2018 with the new ‘medic’ core update. But now as we move into 2019 we can expect to see some new influential changes to the algorithm.
Why will there be changes in 2019?
As humans we continue to grow with technology and any changes in modern movements. The search engines will have to maintain that standard, and there are two ways this could be affected – advancements in technology like artificial intelligence, and voice recognition and commands through website search.
What will be the next focus for SEO?
Although the core of SEO will stay the same, here are a few things to consider.
In 2018 voice commands systems such as Siri and Alexa have been on the rise. Google may consider putting this as a ranking factor for websites.
You may want to take a look at your website and see how secure it is overall. We already know that HTTP’s is a ranking factor, but we may have to increase this in the future with threats of cyber hacking and spamming.
80% of the UK population now owns a mobile phone that they use for internet purposes. Any websites that are not mobile friendly or don’t use responsive designs will be in the lower ranks.
When you’re searching for a keyword or phrase online might have noticed a snippet of information pop up. This will be used for educational purposes so that users can see and find the answers more efficiently.
Star Ranked Data
Data online that contains a star ranking (1 to 5) will be valued more than normal links. Google will look at users website feedback and may prioritise 5 star links.
Will SEO trends change drastically?
The short answer is no. However, many new SEO trends are likely to pop up, so heres what we need to stay focused on.
The SEO Do’s:
• Continue building high PR links through mentions in top ranking and relevant websites
• Focus on keywords that matter and don’t neglect long tail phrases
• Expand your visual content and remember to use alt text and tags
• Helpful content is a must. Remember it’s quality over quantity
• Make a responsive web design that is perfect on all devices
For our first offer of this years #blogmas series, we’re offering the chance to have your website audited for free.
All we ask it that you use our contact page to email and let us know the website address before the 1st of January (not long we know so be quick) and within 2/3 working days we’ll send you an audit report to let you know what could be improved and those aspects that are being done well.
As we normally charge £99 + VAT for this it’s worth getting in touch. Our basic Website Audit includes checks such as site speed, responsive design, content and user experience.
Should you ever wish us to provide a more detailed analysis we also offer our Enhanced Web Audit service for £399 + VAT. This includes all the aspects of the basic Website Audit, but also looks further into usability, browser testing and competitor analysis.
In the first of our 12 Blogs of Christmas we have a look back at 2018 and pick out our top five website trends from 2018. These are website and app design and functionality that we’ve seen grow through the year, and may just give a pointer as to where we need to look in 2019. So if these are the top trends – are they the best way to enhance your website and make the most of your online presence? Not necessarily, and we give our verdict on each.
We’re sure you must have experienced the popup welcome when visiting a new website – ‘Can we help?’. Usually on the bottom right of the screen, these advice-offering widgets often feature thumbnail photos of the support person and their name. Nine times out of ten these are automated ChatBots, trained by Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning to automatically respond with guidance to common visitor requests. The suspicion is that these bots can be helpful, but tend to become an annoyance when continuing to appear on further browsing of the website. So are these ChatBots an annoying passing fad, or can they offer real value to your website visitors? Well, we think they are here to stay and will play a growing part in our web experiences over the next decade. A bit annoying currently, but when it becomes difficult to tell the difference between the bot and a real person then the value of a ChatBot really kicks in. Companies who’ve invested the time in ‘training’ these automated helpers will be a step ahead of their competition.
Verdict: Needs to be used with care currently, but a good investment for the future.
2. Original Illustrations
Website frameworks offer a fantastic way of helping clients get projects up and running quickly, and keeping maintenance costs low. One of the drawbacks though is that website styles, layouts and typography can become very similar unless time is invested in making the project stand out from the crowd. This is where original illustrations have taken a role in adding a wonderful bespoke element to the best of the web.
Verdict: We think illustration can make a real difference, and is well worth the additional initial cost.
3. Data Visualisation
Having worked this year on a large Data Visualisation Portal, we’re perhaps a little biased in thinking that Data Visualisation has been a growing trend for 2018. However, the growth of infographics, mapping and data charting can only help users get the information they are looking for and is a great example of new techniques pushing the boundaries of user interaction. Coding tools including ChartJS, more advanced software such as Tableau, and mapping frameworks similar to MapBox make this a fascinating area to work in.
Verdict: We may be biased, but new techniques make this an exciting field to be involved with.
Microinteractions are those subtle, almost imperceptible, effects that occur when buttons change when you hover over them, or images fade in when scrolling down a page. Although often seen as a ‘nice touch’ that gives a website an added design element, these microinteractions can really help guide and prompt the user through a website path. More advanced interactions can show detailed animation and even morphing of images and text. Developments with the use of SVG images and typography in modern browsers have enabled web developers to let their imagination run free.
Verdict: Becoming a key design element and if used carefully can help guide the user and create a unique style for a website.
5. Progressive Web Apps
Progressive Web Apps or PWAs, are websites which have increased functionality that enables them to give a more app-like experience to the user. On mobile they can give the similar performance of a native iOS or Android app, but run from a website or web app. The huge benefit to client and developer is that the PWA uses only one codebase or set of files, keeping development and maintenance costs much lower than would be needed to maintain separate native and web applications.
Other features which are typical of a PWA are the ability to work offline with locally stored data until a data connection is available, access to device hardware such as camera and geolocation. Our blog post from earlier this year outlined in more detail the rise of the website PWA.
Verdict: The future of the the web and mobile app.
Top 5 Summary
These are the top five web trends that we’ve picked out from 2018, and maybe give some insight into what to look for in 2019. If we were running a top ten then just missing out on the charts were: Content Marketing, Responsive Design (yes, still), Reactive Design and Push Notifications. There’s another blog post in the making!