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July 7, 2014

Are your website presence and search rankings heading south? Panda 4.0 could be the reason.

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Have you noticed a drop-off in traffic to your website?  Or, when you search for your site, the result rankings are less than impressive – particularly in the last month or so?  Are you worried that as a result, you could be losing valuable website business – and ultimately contact with your current and prospective client base?

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The reason could be down to Google’s latest algorithm update, Panda 4.0.  This algorithm determines which pages will feature in search results as well as ranking positions based on content quality and relevance of a website.  This is all part of Google’s efforts to push poor quality websites with spam content right down the search rankings.  Which on the face of it is a good thing!

Unfortunately, Panda 4.0 – along with other recent algorithm changes – has affected many sites that are clearly not spam but still don’t manage to pass Google’s ‘quality filter’.  All of these sites experienced a deep decline in visibility as well as a steep drop in SEO rankings.  In extreme cases, they’ve needed to be completely redesigned to continue to work.

Here are some good basic principles that will help you stay on the right side of Google Algorithm updates:

  • Content is king – make sure you write great content and that any data included is from a trustworthy source.
  • Remove any low-quality or duplicated content – is the amount of useful information a little thin on the ground, or will the reader gain real value from what you choose to share?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine reader interest, or does the site generate content by guessing what might rank well in search engines?
  • Are there any spelling mistakes or other errors? A lot of spam will contain spelling or syntax errors.
  • Are the images relevant to the content?  If not, they should be.
  • Improve your technical SEO – do the words on the page match the ‘keywords’ in the search query?
  • Revamp internal linking structures and navigation paths to ensure the user is able to easily travel through your website without being bombarded with advertising banners or third party offers.
  • Create more mobile friendly pages or go responsive.
  • Avoid dealing with any risky affiliate marketing set ups and remove any rogue risky pages and subdomains.
  • Make sure your site is optimised for loading speed – slower loading is associated with the more ‘bloated’ spam pages present within ‘low quality’ websites

If you have noticed that things aren’t what they were when you review your latest analytics reports – then take a tip from the Google Webmaster Central Blog.  Keep the points outlined above in mind as you focus on developing high-quality content, merge and develop content on ‘thinner’ pages and remove any low-quality content that may be the cause of your dropping search rankings.

July 3, 2014

The Sunday Times Festival of Education: A roaring success

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Having had the day marked in our calendars for a long time (mainly with a view to the deadlines we had to reach on the projects we were working on for it!) it was with great pleasure that we spent the day at The Sunday Times Festival of Education on Friday 20 June. It was a really wonderful day, full of energy, thought, fun, sights, sounds and surprises. If you haven’t heard about the Festival then where have you been?!

With keynote speakers such  as Michael Gove, Simon Mayo and Baroness Estelle Morris as well as events ranging from scuba diving to cooking with Paul Rankin to a driving taster session with Mercedes Benz World or testing your running speed against Usain Bolt’s record time, it strikes the perfect balance between a fun festival and a serious place to clock up some CPD points and engage with leading educational thinkers.

Congratulations to Summerhouse Education, Wellington College and The Sunday Times, and to everyone involved, for a fantastic event. The event will run again in 2015, so bookmark www.festivalofeducation.com now to keep up to date. See you there!

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June 27, 2014

Welcome back Claire!

Filed under: General,Miscellaneous — Tags: , — Katherine @ 12:37 pm

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Claire_Intern_amdOur delightful intern Claire Archibald has come back to help us out for a couple of weeks – which is just great! We very much enjoy the fact that we can give someone who is just starting out some agency experience. We also love the fact that we have her efficient assistance with jobs that always seem to stay on our ‘would like to get done some day‘ list!

We’ve asked Claire to share a little about herself here:

If you weren’t studying English at University, what would you be doing?
 I had a dental nurse training opportunity but decided to go to university instead – so probably that!

What is your favourite book?
The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. He managed to give the reader an interesting insight into the world of an autistic boy.

Who is your favourite author?
J.K. Rowling – she has the most amazing imagination!

What is your favourite advert at the moment?
Probably the Innocent smoothie advert, loved the way they showed how the mangos were each hand-turned for a few days to get the ultimate flavour. They managed to show what could be a potential boring process in a light-hearted yet simple way. Which actually also matches their brand very well.

What is the best part about doing an internship at Mzuri Design?
The range of experience I’m getting from working with everyone and the different jobs I’m getting involved in. I’m also able to start to identify what really interests me, which allows me to start to think about how I may want to develop my future career.

June 26, 2014

Cyber attack: is your website safe?

Filed under: General,Websites — Tags: , , , — zoe @ 11:04 am

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Blog-Image-cyber-attack-imageFollowing the recent spate of cyber attack warnings in the media we wanted to keep you up to date on best practice with regard to your website.

TIP 1: UPDATE YOUR CMS PASSWORDS
We have no reason to believe that your website is at any greater risk as a result of these threats, however, it is always prudent to ensure that your content management system t forget, if we help you manage your site, do let us know of any changes you make to your passwords!).

TIP 2: BACK-UP
In addition, we recommend that you keep a regular back-up of your CMS data. You may have back up facilities as part of your  hosting package but it is worth noting that any backup provided by a web hosting company is typically only useful in the event of server failure, not a hacked site. In addition, many web hosting companies will take no responsibility for your site at all, whether it is lost as a result of hacking or server failure. If you would like more information about our off site back-up services please do get in touch.

TIP 3: LIMIT ACCESS TO SELECTED IP ADDRESSES
To further protect your website it is also possible to lock down your CMS further by only allowing access from certain IP addresses. This option will prevent you from updating your website from any IP address other than the fixed one(s) i.e. via mobile but will provide a greater level of protection. If you would like to discuss this option further please do call us on 01428 722990.

GET IN TOUCH
In short, there are steps you can take to ensure your website is as protected as possible and if you would like to explore any of these, we are here to help. Please call Zoë on 01428 722990 or email zoe@mzuridesign.co.uk.

June 25, 2014

Need a website in a week? No problem!

Filed under: General,Websites — Katherine @ 10:07 am

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We all know that unmistakeable feeling of too much to do and too little time, and when we sense that a client is feeling that way, that is when we particularly relish stepping in to help them achieve their objectives with as little fuss and bother as possible.

One example is the recent website launch for growing company, Summerhouse Education. As a successful events company, specialising in events for the education sector, Summerhouse Education came to us not only to build their website, but also to plan and write the content to ease the pressure on their own team at a very busy time as they put together the final details of the wonderful Sunday Times Festival of Education at Wellington College, amongst other events.

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We were only too pleased to help and managed the planning, content, image selection, build and launch in just over a week. Timely and hassle free for the client and fun (and intense!) for us. There is nothing like working to a deadline. We loved working on this project alongside the other exciting work we do for them and look forward to embracing the next challenge! See their new site and the fabulous work they do at www.summerhouseeducation.com

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June 23, 2014

Royal Mail Delivery – Insight for Ecommerce Businesses

Filed under: Ecommerce,General — Tags: , , — Katherine @ 1:12 pm

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In case you didn’t receive a piece of direct mail from The Royal Mail recently, I thought I’d share their insight into online shopper’s buying behaviour. It gives only a tiny snapshot, but I found it interesting.

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For further information you can download their Delivery Matters online shopper report here.

Happy reading.

 

 

June 17, 2014

New website for Thompson’s Galleries

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We are used to being presented with a challenge but this project is one we are particularly proud of.

When we were first asked to work with Thompson’s Galleries it was to develop a stand alone website for their contemporary gallery in The Kings Road. Mid-way through the project it became clear that, for a variety of reasons, it would be prudent to alter the brief to create one website that included all three galleries in the group. Not a problem!

The challenge, however, was in obtaining usable content from the existing sites in order to populate the new website effectively. The volume and variety of content and images accumulated over several years of exhibitions and sales across three successful galleries was significant but we rose to the challenge by coding a bespoke programme that not only gathered the necessary data but also imported it seamlessly into our content management system, populating the site automatically. Not only did the client have a site  fully populated with historical content within a very few days but also avoided additional delays and costs as a result of the import.

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Our content management system (CMS) is the key to the success of this site, allowing staff from all three galleries to log in simultaneously to easily and intuitively upload new and edit existing content and images. The CMS allows the client full control of the site as well as the facility to make changes to the site themselves whenever they wish.

The design of the site has also been extended to develop a series of easy to use HTML email newsletter templates in the same style to develop brand consistency and awareness.

So far the site has been a huge hit with great feedback from both the client and a number of site visitors (though we may be skewing the analytics slightly with our constant visits to look at the lovely pieces they have for sale!)

Meg Thompson, our client, commented, ‘Working with the Mzuri team was a pleasure. No task too big or problematic! They were efficient and professional throughout the project and we were grateful to have such a understanding team. I had strict ideas of what I liked, Mzuri developed these ideas and we are thrilled with the result. Many thanks!’

 

 

 

June 10, 2014

UND at Gallery Muse: an exhibition of work by Nici Bungey

Filed under: General,Websites — Tags: , , , , , , , — zoe @ 5:05 pm

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In a recent exhibition, entitled UND at Gallery Muse in Petersfield, artist Nici Bungey showed a collection of her most recent works.

As we have worked with both Nici and Gallery Muse, this exhibition was one we were all very enthused about.

Nici works largely with paper and is fascinated by its rawness and by exploring the dialogue between spaces, edges, shapes, form and colour in her work.

Luckily, even though Nici’s work is a constantly changing dialogue between her, the piece and the audience, her website (which we developed with her) is still a perfect frame for her pieces both old and new.

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If you’d like to see some of Nici’s work why not visit www.nicibungey.com

May 20, 2014

A new look for Nikki Szabo…

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Nikki Szabo, talented designer and producer of hand painted fabrics, recently launched their new website as a result of a successful collaboration between Nikki Szabo, website developer Sam Joyce and the Mzuri Design team.    We’ve had the pleasure of working with Nikki and Glynis Szabo  since January 2010 – most recently working on  Nikki Szabo’s Paintbox collection launch  earlier this month – and were delighted to be asked to get involved in the development of her new website.

The brief was to create a fresh, high-end look on a responsive website platform which incorporated certain elements of her old site.  We needed to ensure the look, feel and functionality would adapt easily to the broadening portfolio of beautiful fabric collections on offer, increasing client demands and resulting business growth.

 

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The new Nikki Szabo website  has been brought up to date with photography by Mark Langridge  that perfectly showcases her beautifully designed fabrics at their best.  The responsive design, with its collapsible navigation as well as changing image and layout formats,  creates the perfect look for the website across desktops and devices of all shapes and sizes.

The Nikki Szabo team are delighted with the outcome and that makes the Mzuri Design team just as happy!

 

 

 

 

May 16, 2014

Putting your best foot forward!

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — lara @ 2:07 pm

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Thousands of colourful bra-wearing power walkers took over central London last Saturday night to complete the gruelling 26.2 mile Moonwalk Marathon all in the aid of charity. Walk the Walk is a charity not only dedicated to raising money for vital breast cancer causes, but also encouraging men and women to take control of their own wellbeing by becoming fitter and healthier whilst having fun. Which can’t be a bad thing!

Amongst these intrepid moonwalkers was our very own Nicky Cole, from Mad About Book-Keeping – by day she is our financial guru and by night, a power walker extraordinaire. A veteran moonwalker, having completed the same challenge back in 2012, Nicky decided to take part again with her husband Steve and friend Faye. It has to be said that despite the chilly temperatures and the slow midnight start due to the huge numbers taking part, all three looked surprisingly fresh after completing the whole circuit under a very healthy 9 hours. Nicky shared the secret of her staying power – “a very welcome hot chocolate at mile 22 which was the highlight of the night!”

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Nicky has not only achieved her target of completing the Moonwalk Marathon, but surpassed her original fundraising target of £200 by hitting £383 – and bringing the group’s fundraising efforts to a very respectable £892. Well done Nicky, Steve and Faye!

If you would like to help Nicky raise more for this worthy cause and help them hit a £1,000 target, it’s not too late to donate, just click here to visit Nicky’s Moonwalk page.

So Nicky…. only 358 more training days until the 2015 Moonwalk Marathon!

 

 

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