Author Archives: Chief Imagineer

The Balance Between Creativity & Optimisation

designing-websites-with-seoWhen it comes to creating a new website it’s common for the web designers and SEO experts to work together in some capacity, however, they both tend to have different ideas when it comes to deciding what is more important.

The majority of web designers will be concerned about the look and style of the site and they can often place concern for rankings and the techniques used in SEO secondary to this, according to Grapefruit Marketing ( On the flip side of that the SEO experts’ priorities are to make sure the on-page optimisation is everything is should be, and that the designers don’t make their lives difficult when it comes to implementing their SEO techniques, therefore a fine balance has to be found. The fact of the matter is that a website can look amazing but if the correct SEO techniques are not used then the website cannot be appreciated therefore form which means that form and function has to be combined.

For a website to work well a working relationship has to be formed between the designers and SEO experts where both parties understand and appreciate the work that the other is doing. This means that the website must look great but it must also make good use of SEO techniques to receive the attention that it rightly deserves. What this means is that both have to make excellent use of their best practices to ensure that they are offering the best service possible whilst giving the website the best chance to work successfully.

When it comes to web design there are vital practices that they must follow in order to help create a balance. Web designers have to think about the mobile approach which will help to create a website that is simple to use for SEO experts who are trying to provide the seo services London companies need. Designing a site that loads quickly, usually quicker than 10 seconds will ensure that it’s better than average and the use of search suggestions in within-site search and if possible convert every search into navigation. The websites have to be easily digestible and understandable for users and using the latest web standards will ensure it’s up to date.

For SEO experts, making life easy for the web designers will require following best practices. It’s important to use key words intelligently and research keywords that are mobile specific whilst marketing tools such as video content, infographics and the proper integration with social media platforms like Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn can help to increase quality links. Choosing reputable sources will ensure that relevant and high-quality links are created whilst using social media and integrating it into your website will help to improve user experience.

Combining form and function is crucial for those practical design agencies who want to commit to their clients by offering the best practices of both web design and SEO. This means that the balance between the web designers and SEO experts will be a lot easier resulting in happy customers. Both web designers and SEO experts are important to each other which is why bringing form and function together is one is extremely important.

Choosing a Digital Designer

good-desingersThe world of digital design can seem like a pretty intimidating place for the novice. There are millions of providers out there that range from the obviously amateur with ridiculously cheap pricing and as equally as ridiculous a website in terms of garish and/or rather scary design. So the question is, how do you choose someone who’s going to deliver the kind of great design you’re looking for? Well here we tell you.

A World of Possibilities – If You Choose Carefully

The first thing to appreciate is that there is a vast difference between the cream of the crop and the less-capable of the digital design community. Like any industry there are people who proclaim to be professional when they are in fact anything but. Equally however for every cowboy there is there are ten dedicated web designers or app developers who love what they do.

Signs of a Consummate Professional

They know what the latest trends and technologies are
The digital design agency that you speak with should know all about what’s hot in the design world right now. This should actually be immediately apparent from their portfolio. If you can’t find their portfolio from their own website then this may be indicative of an issue.

They speak in English, rather than techno babble
To foster a great working relationship you need to have a good rapport with your digital designer or design team. This then means being able to communicate and one sure fire way of a complete communicative breakdown is if your designer talks in something that seems English, but has far more gigabytes, pixels and tech words than you care for. A sign of a great web or app designer is one that is able to communicate without talking in jargon.

They are full of inspired ideas
Your website should serve as your twenty four hour salesperson and as such it should work hard for you round the clock. Your digital designer should be full of ideas as to how you can connect with your audience virtually, how you may benefit from certain features that helps to convert visitors into purchasing customers, or at least start them on the road to soon becoming so.

They listen to your every word
Being attentive should begin from the very first phone call, if you feel that anything is a little lacklustre with their responses or approach to your enquiry then you should probably move on to another company who will treat you with the attention that you deserve.

They always call, email or delivery when they say that they will
There may be numerous points, even prior to committing to a project, that you’ll be expecting your potential digital designer to get in touch. Whether it’s for them sending you some mock ups, general ideas or pieces of information. If they fall at the first hurdle with late responses then you should find another design team.

The best digital designer is the one that perfectly fits your needs
Digital designers and agencies differ drastically from one to another. Where one may be perfect for the start-up business looking for a simplistic brochure website they may not be as suited to a project for a complex system that involves thousands of users and both backend and front end systems.

Hopefully this guide has firmly set you on the path to choosing a digital designer that will do you and your business justice. We know ourselves how passionate a digital design agency and the designers within it can be about what can be achieved in today’s day and age.

Boosting Creative Confidence

Coaching CreativityMost people who opt for the creative path are drawn by the pleasure of creating art, the fulfillment of creative expression. They’re seeking the excitement and thrill of creating work that comes from their heart or speaks from their soul. Since the financial aspects of creating art are notoriously unreliable, it’s the joy to be found in the creative process that inspires many artists to spend their precious time on the creation of new work.

But what about when it stops being fun?

What about the darker side of creativity: The self-doubts and confidence crises. The tension and uncertainty of the middle stages, when you’ve actually created more questions than answers. The slump, when the gloss of the shiny new idea has faded, and you’re ploughing through the less glamourous work of uninspired yet essential tasks, the mundane reality of creative output. How can you maintain the steadfast resolve that’s so essential in finishing a project?

Any creative journey will be a roller-coaster ride – and would it be as satisfying if it was facile and unchallenging? But if you can anticipate the lows before they appear, there are steps you can take to prepare for them. They may still cause the inevitable wobbles, but they’ll be less likely to throw you off track or stall your project completely.

One time-honoured way to arm yourself against the ‘dips’ is to have some sort of support network – whether by way of some structured creativity coaching, or by surrounding yourself with like-minded and inspiring individuals.

Many of the world’s greatest artists and achievers were blessed with mentors, patrons or champions of their work. Just a single person who believes in what you’re doing can make that crucial difference when you begin to doubt. But if you’ve yet to be adopted by a brilliant mentor, it’s still possible to find or create similar support via a network of encouraging friends or peers. You can go to events where the energy and message will inspire you to stick to your creative guns. You can immerse yourself in the books, blogs, videos and podcasts of people who are creating great work in the world, enjoying the success or acclaim that you aspire to. With the leveling effects of the internet, you can easily connect with people and communities who believe in what you’re trying to achieve.

Surrounding yourself with like-minded achievers will help you to see what’s possible, which will refuel your creative dreams and restore your confidence. But there’s another bonus in mixing in these circles of success and achievement – you also get to tap into their experience. You can benefit from their hard-won lessons, so you don’t need to make the same mistakes. You can save yourself time and heartache by learning from others who have gone where you want to go.

So, the next time self-doubt threatens to derail your creative project, seek out the groups, books or personalities that uplift and inspire you. Even better, take steps before the lows take hold by building a supportive and encouraging network of people, influences that will boost your creative confidence and build a strong foundation of courage and self-esteem.

There’s a theory in success circles that you are the sum of the people you spend your time with. In this virtual age, it’s easier than ever to access and surround yourself with the right people – the ones who can guide you and support you in living your creative dreams.

What’s In a Design?

Web DesignIn today’s world it is undoubtedly essential to have a web presence; research consistently shows that businesses without a website are considered as untrustworthy following an unsuccessful user search for them online. And it seems that no business is unblemished when found lacking in the website department; even local businesses and small trades men will miss out on the 3 out of 5 Smartphone users who search for local services (ReachLocal), and that’s before we start looking at search engine optimisation of whatever web presence a business may have online.

However, simply ‘being online’ is by no means enough and moreover, being online with a poorly designed website can be even worse than having no website at all. So here we tackle that all important question of just what is in a design and moreover, what damage can a bad design do?

Bad Design Can Be Worse Than No Design At All

Bad Web Design = Poor User Experience
At the very heart of web design is the user’s experience. Guiding your visitor from first click to conversion can be nigh on impossible if your design is ineffective. This can then lead to, at best, confusion, and at worst, high bounce rates that see the majority of your users leaving to never return.

The Latest Web Tools Could Be Causing Problems
Recently there has been a rise in the number of online tools that allow small and medium business owners to create their own websites. Whilst this sounds like a cost effective and empowering situation, the actual landscape of the websites created with such tools may be suffering untold loss of business.

There are many reasons behind this, not least that web design is based on solid design principles that guide users to the business owner’s conversion goals (such as contacting the company or purchasing a product). More than this however business owners lack the complex knowledge behind ensuring a website is search engine friendly and optimised for mobile users.

One final issue that applies to such tools is that the websites that they produce suffer from incredibly slow load times, which brings us on nicely to our next point.

Load Times
The importance of load times is just one of the many elements that prove that it’s not enough to have beautiful form, but that is essential to have effective function. After 4 seconds if your website hasn’t loaded, you’ll lose 25% of your visitors (Kissmetrics 2013).

Ensuring Your Design Works For You

Test Your Design With Analytics
First and foremost you need to gain a clear idea of how your current web presence is performing. A tool such as Google Analytics is therefore essential, with key metrics to check being:
– Page bounce rates (how many people are exiting your website from certain pages?)
– Visitor duration (How long are your visitors staying on each page?)
– User flow (How do your users move through your website? Are they even reaching your key conversion pages?)

Consult A Professional
Whilst Google Analytics can serve as the base for your website analysis, it is no way a substitute for professional advice. Of course, it is possible to create good website design yourself, if you approach it right, but digital marketing agencies who are worth their salt will offer free feedback upon your current web presence, and help you establish what issues you are facing and what resolutions are available.