• The holiday season upon us!

    The holiday season upon us!

    Hurrah, its the summer holidays!

    The kids are off school for 6 weeks and the Western world slows down a little.

    Not a bad thing in my book. One or two weeks off to enjoy being a family, enjoy it guys!

    Happy holidays 🙂

    Though spare a thought for those that will actually be working even harder so their colleagues can go away.

    And what a nice photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash. Always loving good photography.

  • The best way to tender a website and find the right agency partnership

    I have always hated tendering and have made a conscious decision for Crush Design to reject the vast majority of invitations to do so.

    As a client surely this should be a worry if you are planning to tender out your website project.

    Crush Design is a highly reputable agency with an excellent client base and track record in delivering market leading websites. We could be the perfect agency but by tendering your project you automatically exclude us from the process. And I know that we are one of many high quality agencies that will not tender.

    This begs two questions;

    1. Why don’t we tender

    Tenders really only help you find agencies that are good at tendering (which we are not)
    Tenders favour those good at selling (which we are not)
    Tenders remove any opportunity to test and build trust with your future agency as everything is done at arms length (trust and partnership is key to our service)

    All this means that clients that tender their projects are likely to end up with an anonymous agency they don’t know much about, who are very convincing, bureaucratic or both.

    2. How do you go about finding the right agency?

    The first problem with tenders is that they are usually written by someone with no experience of planning and/or building websites.
    The second problem with tenders is that they are usually judged by people with no experience of planning and/or building websites.
    The third problem with tenders is that, in helping you select the wrong agency, they are a huge drain on resource for both sides (writing proposals is incredibly time consuming as is reading them all)

    Compound these problem with the probability that the tender is the basis for signing over a big project with a brand new supplier and you may be able to understand my reservation.

    Can I ask that we stop this farcical process and try this.

    Do your homework first and identify just two agencies to focus on. Decide by their reputation, quality of work, list of clients, and any other desktop means of research. Give them an initial telephone call, explain the overview of the project and judge them by their response.

    By putting in this effort and focusing on just two you will both save everyone a lot of time and endear yourself to the agencies in question

    Once you are happy with the two agencies engage with both of them to help you write your website brief / specification. My advice is offer them a consultancy budget, need only be small but it shows the two agencies that you are committed to the project. In return they should be happy to commit the time you need help you write the perfect brief, not motivated by the small budget, but by the 50/50 chance of winning such a high quality client.

    As far a judging the project, I am afraid you are on your own there, but you will have two website specifications and tenders co-written by professionals with whom you will have spent some the time to better understand them and their agency. As oppose to multiple responses written in isolation by strangers.

    Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

  • Protecting against ransomware – 3 golden rules

    Protecting against ransomware – 3 golden rules

    There are lots of stories in the press about RANSONWARE. Excuse the capitals and bold but the urge to sensationalise the story is contagious.

    To be a fair it is a big deal, but why all the fuss now? And do any of the stories / journalists actually tell you what to do?

    Ransomware has always been a huge problem, but until now having a million plus family computers hijacked is not much of a story, but when the NHS was hit, or a power station gets affected the journalists wake up and engage CAPS LOCK for the big news story.

    The change is down to the shift in these criminals targeting companies rather than individuals, because that is where the money is.

    And it will get worse for us business owners;

    • There was a 3 fold increase in ransomware attacks in 2016.
    • Every 40 seconds, a company gets hit with ransomware, up from every 2 minutes in 2016.

    So here are the three golden rules I run my company by

    1. All staff with computers / laptops are told – do not trust anything online where you are not absolutely clear about the origin and legitimacy. Be especially suspicious of all emails with a link, or anything attached, assume the worst. Avoid clicking on anything on websites that you do not 100% trust.
    2. Make sure your Microsoft updates are up-to-date. This is so important, these are not Microsoft marketing gimmicks but genuine security patches to stop the spread of viruses and ransoware
    3. Back everything up. Assume you are going get hit, think about the impact, then go and back up everything important.

    To quote one of my developers “Careless clicking costs lives!”

    You have been warned!

    Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash

  • Are you making the most of your website’s blog and news section?

    Every one of our clients wants a news or blog section on their website, and so they should!

    There are major advantages to these if you manage them right. For example, B2B companies enjoy 67% more leads when they use a blog than when they don’t. It gives a reason for potential customers to spend time on your website and get a feel for the type of company you are.

    Also, Google rates your website on its content and how often it’s updated. In short, the more valuable content you publish, the quicker you will get to the top of Google rankings organically.

    On the downside, a neglected blog can do more damage than good, making your site look out of date.

    So, you must keep your blog up-to-date. But writing interesting articles requires time and a lot of effort, both of which are often in short supply.

    Even at Crush we are occasionally guilty of failing to post a blog from time to time when client deadlines dampen our writing inspiration.

    So whether you are unsure of what to write or a pro that is short on time here are a few tips to make the blog-writing task a little less challenging.

    What do I publish?

    There is a simple rule in content marketing called the rule of thirds. The rule divides content into three categories; personality, promotional and industry content.

    “Personality content” is content that highlights your business’ personality. It can be stories about your employees, what the company has been up to and your corporate social responsibilities.

    “Promotional content” is content that promotes your company’s products and services. Be careful – this should not be a sales pitch. A good example is a recent article we published called “5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a PPC Expert”. Crush published this because we have a Search Marketing team who specialise in PPC, and we wanted to promote this.

    By “industry content” we mean industry news, facts, figures and general valuable content.

    The idea is that you try and publish the same amount of content for each category.

    How often should I publish?

    There is no golden rule here, depends or how competitive your sector is. If possible a couple of articles a month and if you can post an article a week that’s even better. But ‘to lose one month may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.’

    How long should my post be?

    Again, there is no rule. Not all posts need to be the same length
    Readers spend an average of 37 seconds reading a blog post or news article, yet the longer posts generate 9x more leads than the shorter ones.

    Even more undecided?

    If you have truly valuable content that will keep readers interested, then go long. Try and be the exception to the 37 seconds rule!

    Anything else?

    Yes, always include imagery if you can. Images make a post, especially a longer one, more appealing to read.
    If you don’t have a photo to hand stock photography is a good option.

    Click here for a list of 7 places to find free, legal images.

    We can help

    Are you concerned your digital marketing effort is falling short?

    Crush offer an easy pick-and-mix marketing package approach to support our clients’ marketing needs.
    You choose what you want;
    • Blog writing
    • Website updates
    • SEO / PPC / Adwords / Analytics
    • Email marketing
    • Social Media
    And leave the rest to us!

    Contact us for more information.

  • Check out our new badge for Google awesomeness

    Great news, Crush Design is now officially a Google Partner!

    When I set out on this path I did not realise just how difficult getting this certification would be. Surely it was just a case of passing a couple of exams and ‘Bob’s your Uncle’ but it does require more than that.

    We have proven that not only do we know the theory, but we have had to prove our expertise on real live projects.

    A big thank you to Leo in our team for making this happen!

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