Website Development

Google Search Console

How To Use Google Search Console To Improve Your SEO

Whether you are an SEO beginner and need simple SEO tactics or are a seasoned pro, Google Search Console has to be regarded as one of the most effective and powerful SEO tools you have available, and better than that, it is free.

Of course, there are many SEO and marketing tools that can be paid for, and some of them are regarded as ‘must-have’ by a large proportion of SEO experts, but anyone who doesn’t use Google Search Console, is missing a trick.

To clarify any confusion, Google Search Console was previously called ‘Google Webmaster Tools‘ so you may have heard of, or even used it when it had its old name.

Its main role is to help monitor how your website appears in the search engine results on Google, and if there are any problems, to help you identify and sort them.

Those errors can come under many categories and require different actions which can include fixing broken backlinks, submitting sitemaps, or correcting technical errors that have arisen on your website.

As for SEO, Google Search Console offer huge opportunities for you to fix or optimise your website, and here are some of the ways that it enables you to do so.

Using Email

7 Benefits Of Using Email in Your Marketing Plan

If you are not using email marketing as part of your marketing and sale strategies, then we have one simple question to ask you, ‘Why not?’.

Hopefully, the reason is that you simply were not aware of the benefits of email marketing, rather than not believing it can work. We assure you email marketing does work, and in fact, it works wonderfully well for businesses, large and small, and at a global or a local level.

To reassure you if you have doubts, or to educate you if you have not seen what the benefits of email marketing are, here are seven of the most significant which can make the biggest difference to your digital marketing campaign.

Simple To Implement

Of all the online marketing tools or strategies that you might wish to start, email marketing is one of the easiest. At its very simplest all you need is two email addresses, yours, and the person you wish to email.

As a business you’ll obviously want to do it professionally,  so you will use an autoresponder service that allows you to set up your campaigns, run them and measure them, and it does so via one single log in.

Campaigns Can Be Set Up In Advance

The autoresponder service which we just mentioned is one that allows you to create a series of emails and have them delivered at a time and date which is predetermined by you.

What that means is that in a single afternoon you could create all the emails you wish to send, but instead of you having to physically press ‘Send’ for each and every one to go out to your subscribers, the autoresponder does it for you automatically.

That means you could be earning requests for information or sales from the emails you send out, literally whilst you are asleep.

Web Design Tools

Best Web Design Tools Of 2019

The number of active websites on the internet is ever increasing, and there’s a rapidly growing demand for specialists in web design and web development in the modern world. It’s therefore important to current designers to be able to work as efficiently as possible to handle the workload that comes their way.

Luckily, there are a lot of website design tools out there that are designed to help make a designers life easier. I’ve crawled the web and consulted some of best web designers in the world, found on Slinky Directory, to find the best web design tools and I bring them to you in this article. Whether you’re creating a brand new website, or redesigning a website, the best website design tools of 2019 include:

Adobe Dreamweaver

Although it isn’t cheap, you should definitely consider adding Adobe Dreamweaver to you website design toolbox. It’s one of the most powerful design tools out there, and it essentially brings everything together into one place to allow those without a lot of coding experience to put their own website together.

Since you don’t have to have a lot of coding knowledge to use Dreamweaver, it has become a favourite among amateur website designers throughout the world. And, on top of everything else, it also makes it particularly easy to produce responsive designs, which are absolutely essential in the modern world.

eCommerce Plugins

What Are The Best eCommerce Plugins For WordPress?

WordPress is, without a doubt, one of the most versatile website builders and content management systems available. It’s great for everything from personal websites to massive eCommerce stores, largely because of its customizability and the huge range of plugins it offers.

If you’re thinking about creating an online store, experienced digital agencies such as slinky.digital will tell you that you should consider using WordPress. If you do decide to use WordPress, then you should look closely at some of the eCommerce plugins available to entrepreneurs around the world.

I’ve done some research and come up with a list of the best eCommerce plugins for WordPress. They include:

WooCommerce

If you ask anyone who knows anything about WordPress eCommerce, they will tell you that WooCommerce is the best plugin on the market – and it’s completely free to get started!

WooCommerce powers almost 10% of all eCommerce website, and an unproportional number of the most popular sites. It offers a huge range of free features, with premium extensions to expand your store’s functionality.

Since WooCommerce is owned by the same company as WordPress, it integrates perfectly with WordPress website designs. It is very well managed, offers beautiful themes, and lets you add as many products as you want.

ECommerce Store

Choosing a Niche For Your ECommerce Store

If you have decided to open an eCommerce store, is it going to be a general store or a niche store? If you are unsure what the difference is, it’s simply that a general store will sell to any market, and a niche store will focus on selling products which relate a specific subject.

An example of a general eCommerce business could be one that sells t-shirts, caps and other printed goods across all sorts of subjects such as pets, sports, types of employment and hobbies. A niche eCommerce store which also sells t-shirts etc will only sell them if they are within the niche the business targets, such as dog lovers, golfers, teachers or camping enthusiasts, for example.

The main benefit of starting an eCommerce business which targets a specific niche, rather than across general markets, is you can very easily identify those who have an interest in your niche. You will also find that people within a niche can be very passionate about it, and often buy everything they can which relates to it. This will not be the case if your products are more generally targeted.

Web Design

Web Design Tips to Help Your Business Succeed

In many cases the web design of yesterday are now thought to be inefficient because they clutter up the website and give visitors so many options that they see leaving the website as an easier option. In 2016, the emphasis is on de-cluttering the look and feel of the website and only offering one or two options.

At the same time, websites must be responsive so that users of touch-screen iPhones and tablets can still access them and do all they want to on the website with their device. According to professional web designers, to achieve this some of the features we have become used to in website design are gradually disappearing or changing to improve the user experience. Here are some tips to help your business succeed with a modern, responsive web design.

Leave out the navigation bar

While many users are used to seeing the navigation bar down the left side of the page, the modern web page omits this. Tests have shown that visitors rarely click on it. They read what is on the first page and if they don’t find what they want, they leave.

A navigation bar is an unwanted distraction when all you need can be placed on that front page.  And you can have a full page spread without the navigation bar taking up room. In addition, that extra space often makes the website design pop. It’s like seeing a full page ad in a magazine compared with a three-quarter page ad.

Throw out free stock images

Stock images are the images that everyone uses because they are free. Rather than using those, images that are unique to your website are better. Visuals play an important part in attracting people to a website. If yours are top quality and unique, then you’ll be ahead of the pack. And if you commission them especially then you will be at the top.

start-an-ecommerce-store

What You Need to Do to Start an Ecommerce Store

Many businesses both large and small are consulting digital agencies such as Slinky in order to make use of the Internet to enlarge their business and increase their bottom line. Even sole traders can start up an ecommerce store from which to sell their product or advertise their services. In fact, a great many people have found success in doing this. If you are thinking about starting up such a project, here are some tips on what you need to do.

  • Create a plan. This will include several components such as deciding what to sell, finding out where to access it, working out how you will differ from the competition, locating your target market and getting the legalities and store policies into place.
  • Setting it up. There are many things to decide in this step. Will your store have phone support? What domain and plan will you use? What will be the name of your store? Will you use drop-shipping or have stored inventory and if the latter, where will you store it? Selling digital goods saves a lot of problems with storing and packaging. You need to create a special bank account and decide on your merchant account so that people can pay you. PayPal makes it easy, but they do take a percentage of each transaction.
  • Decide on your website details. It is essential to make your website easy to navigate, with all the important details highly visible. Make sure it is responsive so that people using iPhones and iPads can use it easily. A content management system (CMS) like WordPress will make it easy for you to add and edit content instead of relying on – and paying for – a website designer to do it each time. You will need to write the product descriptions, including all the relevant information to help customers make their choice. You also need to write your privacy policy and get an SSL certificate to protect customer’s credit card details. Get a marketing plan and to learn how to measure results with analytics.

Components of Your eCommerce Store

6 Necessary Components of Your eCommerce Store

Once you have made a decision to start up an eCommerce store, there are several components that you will find essential whether you are going to choose a full service web design agency or a cheap web design company. In fact, it is wise to find out all about what you need even before the final decision is made.

For a start, some things – e.g. the shopping cart – will cost you, so you need to know whether or not you can afford them. That said, there are many ways of reducing costs; one of them is to use free services or a free trial period for when you first start up. That will allow you to have extra to spend on advertising.

So here are 7 necessary elements that your eCommerce store will need to get started: –

  • Since so many shoppers these days use their iPhones to shop, your website needs a responsive website interface by an expert such as Slinky. This means that button and other icons that they need to click on must have lots of space around them – enough for their finger to do the clicking rather than a tiny arrow from the cursor. You also need to choose the shopping cart with mobile functionality in mind. More about responsive here

Logo Design

Basic Principles of Logo Design

If your company needs a logo it is a sure bet that you want it to be unique, distinct, easily recognisable, practical, appropriate – and to have that wow factor that is difficult to explain, but you know when you see it. This is not so easy to do as it may sound, even for a good web designer with a great deal of experience. It takes discussion with the client and research of the company and of the general history of the business it represents, not to mention finding out what ideas, if any, have already been thought of.

However, there are certain basic principles of logo design that must not be forgotten in the general scramble to offer something that is different, but effective.

  • Simplicity – logo design that is overdrawn will not translate well to all media and when it must be really small will become blurry and indistinct. Look at some of the most well-known logo designs and you will see that the shapes and colours are really simple – think Nike and Apple for example.
  • Memorable – following closely behind simplicity, the design must be memorable. In fact a simple design is usually a memorable one because a single shape is easier to remember than something more complicated that has several elements. Being appropriate is part of it memorability.

Ecommerce Website

How to Create Your Own Ecommerce Website

If you have a desire to sell goods online then you’ve most likely considered how you will build your e-commerce website. There is no doubt that shopping cart websites are complex. They require not only a high quality, functional and usable layout and design, but also a secure and well thought out back end as well, in order to facilitate the financial transactions that will take place on the site.

An e-commerce website should be well planned, with every aspect of the site having a purpose and contribution to the overall goal of converting your website visitors into buyers of your products. There are now many options when it comes to building a shopping website. You can use an open source piece of software, you can pay a web developer to build your entire site from scratch, or, in the case of very small e-commerce sites, you can even simply use Paypal to build a simple shopping cart. The size of your website and your budget will determine which path you take.

Other important factors to keep in mind as you plan the design and functionality of your website include the following:

Your domain name: this will be your branding opportunity so make sure you decide on a domain name that you are happy with and feel represents your products well.

web typography

Serious Thinking About Web Typography

For those of you who have never had the occasion to learn how all this “font” or web typography stuff got started in the first place, 37Signals has a great post up about The Art of Computer Typography. It’s a great little history lesson on how hacker guru Donald Knuth basically brought typography to the computer age the way Moses brought the commandments down from the mountain.

It’s good to appreciate how your website’s font pairing setup can make the difference between visitors staying and leaving. There is something wonderful in the way a page full of well-laid-out, well-kerned type makes the reading experience easier for everyone. And of course, it wards you away from those dreadful yellow-on-red pages with Comic Sans text.

careless employees

Who Is The Least Secure Employee In Your Web Company?

Dark Reading has a thought-provoking post up about the popular buzzphrase “insider threat”, and, to the point, how it really doesn’t make sense as a term. The post advocates for a more fine-grained approach:

  • rogue employees – This is actually the darkest prospect, and yet entrepreneurs fear it the most while it actually happens the least.
  • security loss through incompetence – now we’re talking!
  • just plain leaks – through, for instance, trusting a third party and then their incompetence exposed you to risk.
  • outside attacker penetrating inside – really, every outside threat aims to become an inside threat.

Experience has proved out time and again, that under-trained or careless employees are the greatest threat vector. For every “Hollywood hacker” trying to get into your site, there’s a hundred receptionists setting their password to “1234”, a hundred associates using a malware-infected Windows PC to send mail, a hundred security guards who aren’t watching what they should, and a hundred coders who left a gaping exposure to XSS in your web page. It’s ridiculous to treat malicious attackers and mistakes all the same way.

Windows 8

Kiss Flash and Silverlight Goodbye on Windows 8

Did you ever think you’d live to see the day when you’d read this headline? Here, wait, let’s hear it in OSNews’ own words first:

“The world’s most popular operating system will not be receptive to Flash, and Microsoft openly stating Flash is history pretty much means that as a platform for the web, it’s done. Flash may still serve a purpose in other ways, but the Flash most of us know and hate – that’s gone.”

Wha… ? Done? Gone? Flash? DOA? Belly-up? Bereft of life, resting in peace?

Yes, the MSDN developer website seems pretty sure about this. HTML5 is where it’s at now. Throw away those O’Reilly Actionscript manuals and beef up on your HTML5. Meanwhile, Apple Insider can barely keep the gloating out of its coverage of the story.

The hilarious irony in all of this? Linux, the platform the Adobe despised the most, is now the only platform that will give the time of day to Adobe. So, ah, Adobe, do you suppose Firefox Ubuntu users can expect their Flash plugin update on time for a change?

Instaview: Instagram to the Macs

InstaviewIconIt’s time to reveal what we’ve been working on these last few months, but first a little background. Instagram, an app available for iPhone is in the words of its creators at Burbn, “a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends.” The number of people who have adopted this service as their favorite way to share photos has been nothing short of amazing. A recent article puts its userbase at 5 million.

We too have enjoyed using the app over the last several months and have decided to provide a way for Instagram users to view these photos with a native Mac application.

Instaview allows you to easily set up one or more windows which will each show an Instagram photo stream. You can choose from several picture frames styles to showcase each photo stream. An overlay appears when you mouse over each stream window, allowing you to see more information about the photo being displayed. At that point you’re a click away from viewing who has liked or commented on the photo, further information about the Instagrammer, the ability to like the photo, follow the contributor or add your own comment. Our badging feature lets you know when new photos are available for viewing. Finally, each window can also become its own slideshow which will cycle through its stream’s photos.

online business

Running your online business like a rock star?

An interesting pocket of web design is found on Naldz Graphics, with a gallery of 40 websites of rock bands. Now, the point of this post is “look at designs, be inspired in your own designs” and in fact some of these might work better for businesses other than a band.

We asked our own resident rock ‘n’ roll expert (he has a Frank Zappa poster in his cubicle) to rate how these designs work for a band as a business case.

Here’s some of the verdicts: