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Winners Web & Graphic Design
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6 Reasons for you to maintain your website

Its a must to create and maintain the habit of looking after your website. This applies both to adding new content and to the way your website is built. Here are 6 great and important reasons why.


1. Boost your SEO (Search engine optimization)

Having an up-to-date website benefits your website security and ranking because Google searches for relevant content – and fresh relevant content is the key. If there are billions of websites on the internet how on earth will you ever be found without feeding your site with the appropriate content. If you keep your website regularly updated with great content, you could potentially become a ‘go-to’ website for Google and other related search websites.

Why would visitors go to your website if there is nothing new, relevant or interesting there? Doesn’t make sense. Another point worth remembering is to remember to write with your search terms or key words in mind. Google loves that. Updating your website with fresh relevant content draws attention to it from not just regular return visitors but search engines too. A new look every so often is good. Even Google are in the habit of changing their logo which draws attention and educates visitors at the same time.



2. Security

It may not seem very interesting or important but it is the most important. Websites get hacked on a daily basis and a website that is not maintained makes it a very easy target for spamming or advertising things you wouldn’t want to advertise on your website. New holes and exploits are constantly found which is why it is important to make sure your website coding is maintained. It is wrong to build a website and just leave it there. Its important to make arrangements for the future of your website maintenance, security and rebuilds.



3. Responsive web design

With the advancement of technology, the use of desktop computers is falling, whilst mobile apps and tablets is rising. It is therefore important that your website can be seen clearly on all devices. Aspects such as screen resolution and navigation differ on each device. If your website is not optimised in the relevant way your website may display great on one device and incorrectly or not at all on others.



4. Networking

A website is an investment and a great networking tool at your service but there is no point going out to network, handing out your business card to a potential new customer only for them to visit and find everything out of date on your website. How likely are they to visit it a second time around?Your visitors need to know that you are organised and passionate about your website as this reflects on your business as a whole.



5. Performance tracking

Using your website to its fullest potential includes tracking performance. If you have just finished running an advertising campaign you can use Google Analytics (which is totally free) to track the activity on your website for the relevant period to determine the interest or response of that campaign. It will help you shape future campaigning. When used and maintained effectively a website is an invaluable tool. Learn more about Google Analytics here Google analytics



6. Communication

Websites are now seen as ways of connecting with a company. Customers rarely phone businesses to ask about products or services and are more likely to look online for companies they think are worth buying from. This is an extremely important factor in today’s market. A website alive with activity should be the main goal as well as providing many ways to get in touch or simply developing a community of customers.

Aiming to get online reviews should be part of your strategy as many people like to read them before they buy products and with the continuing growth of social media and websites like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon customers recommend willingly.
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6 Ways to improve your wordpress website security

Keep your software up to date

Ensure you are using the most up to date version of WordPress, currently 4.6.1. If using an older version, you should upgrade immediately.You may use a free tool like Sucuri’s Site Check to check whether your site is secure. If action is needed thereafter an expert can check your website and advise on what is needed to resolve the issue. It is vitally important to keep any other themes, plugins etc up-to-date too. Attackers continually target popular website software, and therefore programs need to be updated to patch security holes. Its advisable to stay up to date with hacking threats and use the information you find to put fresh precautions in place when and where necessary. By default, WordPress will apply security updates, but plugins and themes need to be updated regularly by you or your website administrator.


Use strong passwords

Strong passwords are a must. Attackers can use software that use brute force to crack passwords. To protect against this passwords should be complex and not obvious to guess. Use information that contains uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and other special characters. It is best for passwords to be at least 10 or more characters long. Restricting IP access and limiting login attempts is also advised. You may also double the number of credentials needed to login to reduce the number of password guesses which in turn, makes the attacker’s work harder.


Use a reputable and secure host

It cannot be stressed enough but a reputable web hosting company is extremely important. Choose a host that offers ongoing technical support whenever necessary. It should also be a security focused company focused on keeping your website secure and also offer a back up service to make it easy to restore your website if your site is hacked. Do not just rely on their back up but back up your own site regularly too. You should maintain backups of all of your website files and database in case your site becomes inaccessible or your data is lost and your host is not able to produce the version copy you need.


Encrypt your login pages

If you use SSL encryption on your login pages it allows sensitive information such as credit card numbers and login credentials to be transmitted securely. All information added to a page is encrypted, making it’s meaningless to any third party who might see it.


Keep your website clean

Every database, theme or plugin on your website is another possible point of entry for attackers. You should therefore remove any files, databases, etc from your website that are not in use. If you keep your file structure organized it will help you keep track of changes and make it easier to remove old files.


Secure your server

Ensure that all WordPress files and folders have proper permissions and ownership; this basic step is often not performed. Applying these controls can stop the attackers ability to upload malicious files and execute code that can compromise not only your website but your server too.
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What makes people run away shortly after visiting your website? And what can be done about it?

It’s not easy to create a fantastically good looking website with the best user experience and because of this most websites have some problem or another. You can do yourself a favour though and avoid some things. Here are a few that cause visitors to run.


Slow page load times

Don’t make your customers wait! They don’t like waiting and most already pay for a good home broadband connection and will be damned if your slow loading website is causing trouble for them. If they really want or need to visit your website then they might wait, but if they just clicked a link on impulse then they are more likely to leave.


Senseless navigation

The user experience has to be kept at the forefront of your mind when it comes to your website and bad navigation is like shooting yourself in both feet. Navigation needs to be as seamless and straight forward as possible. Flash-based websites tend to be among the very worst of sinners. Heaven help us if you are still using a flash based website. Visitors might hang around, much in the same way that people slow down on motorways to stare at car crashes but they will be off again once recovered from the shock.


Key information has gone walkies

I visited an online bookshop recently to find out how much a certain book would cost me. After a few seconds of hunting around I realised that there were no details regarding the cost of the particular book that I wanted. Well there was no way I was going to click the ‘buy now’ button just to see how much the book costs. I just purchased the book from Amazon instead. Make sure your key information isn’t missing.


Old Website Updates

Your visitors like to see an up to date ‘news’ or ‘blog’ section on your website and active social media accounts This indicates some signs of life and that you haven’t gone out of business. If the last ‘news’ or blog was from ‘January 2005’ then I doubt they will be hanging around long.


Excessive scrolling and flashing

People are browsing your website, they are not in a nightclub which is the only place where they will tolerate lots of flashing lights. Grabbing the attention of your visitors is important but there are ways and means. Don’t be desperate? The same applies to music. Music is suitable for some websites but ensure that it complements the tone of your website and actually stops playing at some point.


Narrow sites

Why on earth would a website be designed for 800px monitors. We are no longer in the year 2002. A full screen modern look is more appealing, fresh and with built in responsiveness creates a market for you of purchasers buying using their mobile phones. Mobile phone purchases have now overtaken desktop purchases, something to bear in mind.


Left-aligned sites

Again – we have long past the year 2002 so there is no need for this. It just does not look right. Very scary to be an ongoing thing in the year 2017.


Poor grammar

Poor grammar and typos are a no, no and do not send the right message to your visitors. You should be paying attention to detail. If you’re not bothered about that kind of thing then what kind of message does it give out? That is not the way to go.


Colour clashes

Incorrect colour combination makes it difficult to read text. And if you cannot read anything why stick around when you can scoot. A qualified web designer will be versed in the knowledge in colour harmony and colour theory. Putting this skill to task can save you loosing visitors, sales and unnecessary headaches.


Services unclear

Visitors need to be able to tell what a company does within seconds. If you prefer to keep what you do top secret then that is fine but what’s the point? If visitors can’t find things easily and quickly then they will look elsewhere.


If you feel its time for a re-design of your current website or you are thinking about building your first one give me a call. Maybe you just want some key elements changed or a regular blog written and posted. Either way Winners Web & Graphic Design is at your service. 07956 836 679
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5 Reasons You Should Outsource Your Website Content Writing

1. Blogging is a must

Its not optional — Its just that simple. if you have a business and you also have a website its not optional. If you do nothing to your website after it has been built it will most certainly generate little or no traffic. therefore you need lots of useful and relevant content. Having a highly ranked blog that’s also popular, and trustworthy is important to gaining business and staying ahead of your competition.

2. Fresh eyes are better than tired ones

Most Business Managers just do not have the time to produce their own website content, but even if they do, a fresh pair of eyes is a god send. When you are too close to your own website, services or products you can be prone to overlook serious flaws which ultimately lead to bigger problems further down the line. Writing website content is a specialized service and should be left to those who have the expertise. Great content should grab the reader from the title and keep them engaged to the very end and then include a call to action. This is good for you, good for your brand and also your customers.

3. Not everyone is cut out to be a writer

If you are finding it hard to keep your website updated with regular content or you find writing un-enjoyable, tedious or boring you should outsource to someone who can help you. Winners Web & Graphic Design use a simple process of research, write, edit and proofread so that articles are ready to be published immediately. This is emailed to the client for checking/authorisation before publishing. Free plagiarism checks are included with each article that is produced.

4. Right message at the right time.

Its important to put out web content at the right time. When something happens that affects your service, target market or your community, airing your voice at the right time gives you authority, and a better connection to your customers. Your content can easily go viral if you get this right.

5. More opportunities for exposure

Content writers strive to give their audience concise, appealing and valuable information. This requires research and great writing skill using a mix of media. Therefore using a content writer can get a social media strategy working and maintained for you. A presence on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn is important if you want to drive more traffic to your content by stimulating likes and shares. Winners Web & Graphic Design can post regularly across all your profiles and target those most likely to engage with and share your content. This will help to develop you or your business as an authority.

Gain and maintain visibility by Google by outsourcing to Winners Web & Graphic Design. Lets take the stress out of the situation for you, by bringing experience, professionalism and passion to your website content. I work with you to interpret the nature of your business in appropriate words and messages for the internet.

Make contact today and lets get started, 07956 836 679



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Rebateszone, provider of discount prices and coupon codes at thousands of top online stores has rated Winners Web & Graphic Design as no.33 on their list of “the best top 50 design blogs”. Rebateszone help consumers save up to 30% on retail items from Papa Johns, Converse, H&M, Zavvi, Dorothy Perkins, Marisota, CyberLink and thousands more. It boasts over 4 million members and over 5 million coupons and deals. Big numbers, big names.

The recognition was unexpected so a big thank you goes out to Rebateszone. Thank you for recognising what is being achieved by Winners Web & Graphic Design, other design based companies and the contribution made to its clients and the community. Its truly feels rewarding to be recognised by you. We still have a whole lot more to do. The Top 50 Design Blogs article can be found here Happy reading.
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It can be very exciting once you have launched your new website.  As a proud business owner you stand back and in awe and anticipation at this exciting new baby of yours.

Then you go back to running your business, safe in the knowledge that your new website is doing what you want it to and keeping your existing and potential clients, involved.

Why then, would you need to look at getting yourself a new website?

To start with, when did you last look at your website with an objective, honest eye?  Try looking at  your website as your customers see it? Perhaps it’s now time to do just that and see if your site is still doing what is it supposed to

Here are a few pointers to help you determine why you might just need to bite the bullet and give your website a new look.

1. Your competitors are finding ways to make their websites better    
     and you should be doing the same.

2. If you’re not up to date with the latest website features, you could
    be missing out on a lot of potential new clients.  It’s very important
    to have the latest website features.

3. If the copyright in your footer is not current it is a sure sign you
    haven’t been giving your website enough attention. Visitors will also
    see the copyright date and assume your website has been
    neglected or that you are no longer trading.

4. If your news or blog is dated it does not give visitors a good
    impression of your business. Case studies for projects done in the
    1990s will need to be removed as well as information ex employees
    and obsolete products? How fresh and up to date is your website?

5. If your website is made entirely from flash then its game over, at
    least until you address this major issue and build with HTML5. Until
    then your visitors will face issues with Apple mobile devices to
    problems with search engine visibility.  Flash is a thing of the past
    and will not do you any favours.

6. If you can’t find your database then you need to ask yourself where
    is your contact information is actually going? If you cannot  access
    or make use of it you’re missing a great marketing opportunity!

7. Do you still have an ugly animated intro page? In the past, many
    sites featured a welcome page that took for ever to load. It may
    look clever, but today’s customer wants information and products
    fast.  They are not going to hang around and will simply leave your
   website.  Apple mobile devices (iPad, iPhone) no longer recognise
   Flash meaning anyone accessing your site with these devices will
   have issues.

8. If the content on your site is static you will not have an easy time
    updating your website with current product/service information,
    company news or press releases? Ideally you want your
    customers/visitors to come back to you and therefore a content
    management system (CMS) and a company blog are what you will
    need. A CMS allows your business to quickly and easily add and
    update content on the fly, ensuring your content is always current.

9. If you have a visible hit counter that shows the number of visits to
    your site I am begging you, Please, please, please, remove it
    immediately. This is something out of the dark ages and has to go

10. Serious businesses integrate their social sites to their website.
       Have you?  Facebook has grown to over 800 million active users
       and YouTube is arguably the second largest search engine on the
       Web. It is the third most visited site on the Web, according to
       Alexa and SimilarWeb. Recent information released by Google
       has shown that more and more users are using YouTube as a
       search engine.   Twitter and Pinterest are also huge so you really
       have no excuse to not be actively engaged in these markets.

I can go on and on but these are just a few reasons why you need a new website.  it’s not just about having a great looking website. It’s about having a site which your customers can easily access wherever and however they prefer.    It should give them the information they want quickly. It should build brand loyalty and give you a competitive edge.
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How To Enjoy Christmas, Stress Free

They say that Christmas is a time for giving and family get togethers, but it can have its pressures too.

The list can seem never ending, the decorations to hang, the tree to decorate, presents to buy and wrap, friends and family to visit or invite over and food to buy and cook. As good as it can be Christmas time does put a strain on families.  

You can ensure that this Christmas is a day to remember for the right reasons.

 Here are some simple tips:

• Plan the day well in advance and delegate jobs that need to be done. Instead of slaving away for hours on your own feeling like people have taken advantage of you you may suggest that all visitors bring a dish to share.  This is an intimate way of sharing and is great for sharing recipe ideas with each other.

• Discuss plans with family and friends including children who will be sharing Christmas with you, so that you can share ideas and wishes for the day. This should increase the likely hood of coming up with a celebration which includes things for everyone.

• Contact family that you may have fallen out with during the year and tell them you are looking forward to seeing them during the festive period.  You may also arrange to meet before Christmas to try and resolve outstanding issues.  This is a great way to end a year and begin a new one.

• Children can get overexcited on such an occasion so plan a lovely long walk for some fresh air and change of scene.  

• Know your limits and don’t drink too much. Drinking excessively is never a good idea. Alcohol can make you feel overconfident which may make you more likely to take risks when driving, creating dangerous situations for yourself and other people around you. Losing your licence, receiving a fine of up to £5,000 fine,  sentencing of up to six months in prison is what you can expect if found guilty of drink driving. 

• Have a good fun filled timetable for Christmas Day so that people do not get bored. Karaoke, table topics, card games and quiz games get people interacting with each other. Try to make sure you won't be spending too much time with difficult people or someone you don’t get on with. 
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6 Positive Ways to ease into your day with a calm attitude.

How many of us can truly say we are morning people? How many of us can jump out of bed before the alarm sounds feeling fully energised and happy? Not many of us, that's for sure, especially if it is the morning after you have been out partying with your friends.

Even when you don't go out for the evening, and you go to bed at a sensible time, you may find yourself tossing and turning with a thousands thoughts racing through your mind, and keeping you from some much needed sleep.

Here are some simple tips to try and  make your mornings more of a positive experience:

1: Let the light in!

If you sleep well, but find it difficult to wake up in the morning, then try to go to sleep at night with your curtains half open. This way, you will be filling your bedroom with natural morning light as the sun rises. This sends a signal to your brain to start producing more adrenaline. By the time your alarm clock sounds off, you will already be half-awake, and getting up will be less of a shock to your system.

2: Make bedtime earlier

If you find yourself filling your evenings with pointless stuff, like surfing the net or endlessly scrolling Facebook, then set your bedtime for up to an hour earlier than normal. As long as you schedule in your recommended 7 hours of sleep per night, you may well find yourself altering your sleeping habits so that your rise with your natural body clock rather than with the alarm clock.

3: Breakfast like a king

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and when you think about the word 'breakfast', it is exactly what it is – to break a fast! Your body goes into repair at night while you are sleeping, and it uses a lot of essential nutrients to maintain and repair essential bodily functions. A healthy breakfast would be something with a good balance of protein and carbohydrates, so scrambled or boiled eggs and toast, or a bowl of natural Greek yoghurt with some fresh or frozen berries would be better that something too sugary, such as cereals or toast and jam.  The protein in your breakfast will keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel, and will keep your energy levels up until lunch time.

4: Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier

Give yourself more time to wake up properly in the morning. Avoiding the fluster of having to jump right out of bed as soon as the alarm sounds. By giving yourself a few extra minutes to gently wake up, stretch and ease yourself out of bed will help to keep your stress levels down in the mornings.

5: Recite a motivational quote each morning

Keep a list of motivational quotes by your bedside. Each morning choose a different one to recite before you get out of bed. Think about this quote as you busy yourself with your morning routine and you will find yourself feeling ready and raring to go!

6: Wake up to the smell of fresh brewed coffee

We may be a nation of tea drinkers, but there is nothing like waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee! Make your first cup of the day the best it can be – buy the absolutely best coffee you can afford and keep this for your mornings only. Caffeine is a stimulant that works directly on your central nervous system, it will wake you up and increase your blood flow. A good cup of quality coffee will help you to focus on tasks that require special attention, process information, and solve problems with a clear head.




DIY SEO for Beginners

At one time in the not too distant past, SEO, or search engine optimization, was left to the specialists who appeared to be some sort of internet wizards to the common man. However, these days more and more small business owners and entrepreneurs are taking their business online by themselves, without the help of an expert. But how do we know we are doing it right?

It is great to know that we have plenty of opportunities to make money online, but there is more to marketing your business on the internet than having a pretty website. Without even a little knowledge of SEO, your website will be as noticeable as a needle in a haystack.

What is SEO, and why is it important to me?

SEO helps your website to show up and get ranked in internet searches. When a person goes online to find out about something, they will type into the search engine what it is they are looking for – you may have done this thousands of times yourself. If you wanted to find a new collar for your dog, or to find reviews for a hotel, you will type in words that are relevant to your search - we call these 'keywords'. 

As website owners, we use specific keywords that are relevant to our niche or business sector so that our website can be discovered by potential new customers or service users. If we sold celebration cakes for example, we would try to rank in search engines for words we know our customers will be looking for, and typing into their search engines.

Hmm, this all sounds complicated. Can I really do this by myself?

Of course you can! Anyone can. Don't worry that you will need to know how to code or understand any computer language such as HTML, there is nothing like that needed. You simply need to know how to use the right words in your website content that will attract visitors.

Use your words carefully

Your website should be full of interesting content that your visitors will enjoy reading, and you should try to keep your blog posts and web pages up to date with fresh content to keep your customers coming back for more. If you write naturally about your topic, and write as if you were having a conversation with a real person, this will come over better to your readers. Your keywords will be naturally woven into your text, and search engines will love you for it!

Try not to force your keywords into your content too often. If your writing is stuffed with keywords, the search engines will see it as spam, and you may not get ranked at all. It is best to write as naturally as possible, you don't want your content to look clumsy, and mention a keyword no more than three or four times per post.

Include images

They say a picture says a thousand words, so you can break up your text with a great picture, cartoon, or infographic, to get your message over better. Don't forget to tag your images so your keyword appears in any label or description that comes up when a mouse is rolled over.

Mix it up

Another key to ranking well with search engines is to use different forms of media. If your website is simply pages of text, it may not rank nearly as well as a website with eye-catching images, infographics, interesting videos or audio bites. If your site has an interesting mix of media, then you can also show up in search pages for a video as well as your keywords within an article or blog.

Hook up with social media sites

Your will get much more exposure and better rankings if your website is integrated with your social media platforms. It is a well known fact that your site will rank better with Google if you also integrate and share your fresh content and blog posts with Google+ for example, so the extra effort your put into social media is well worth it.

It takes time to rank well on search engines, so even when you understand how to make your website SEO friendly, and you start to do it right, don't expect to hit no:1 on page 1 on day one!

Yes you can be your own SEO expert! Give your site some time to mature and grow, and your rankings will gradually rise over time. 


Why WordPress is the way to go with your blog

Blogging has always been popular with many thousands of people, but it is becoming even more important than ever from a business point of view. Having a quality blog is not only another way to bring in traffic, but it is also a great boost to your credibility as a business. 

Contrary to belief, it is not rocket science to create and maintain a blog. You don't need any special skills such as computer coding, and you don't even need to be a prolific writer either!

WordPress all the way

One of the most popular blogging platforms in the world is WordPress, and it is so popular for a good reason. If you have ever had a browse around the internet to find out more about setting up a blog, you may well have heard of terms such as 'FTP' and 'PHP', and probably felt like you were listening to a different language, but with WordPress you don't have to worry about the technical aspects of blog management. They really have worked hard to simplify everything for you, so in most cases you can simply sign up and start blogging without any headaches.

Decide between WordPress.com or WordPress.org

Wondering which is right for you? Here is what you need to know:
You can choose a fully hosted service with WordPress.com, or go with a self-hosted version available at WordPress.org.

WordPress.com: This is the simplest option where you just sign up and start to work on your content. All the technical aspects such as premium hosting, backups and security updates are taken care of for you. With this option you can upgrade to a custom domain, so you can tie it in with your business, like MyTrendyShoes.co.uk for example.

There are lots of themes to choose from, so you can give your blog the right feel, or you can customise the design to fit in with your own business colour schemes or style.

You can integrate your blog with your social media sites, so if you already have a Facebook page or Twitter account, it is really easy to link these in. 

WordPress.org: If you are a bit more tech-savvy and don't mind rolling up your sleeves and diving in, you can host your blog yourself. This means it will be your responsibility to update your security  and perform your own site backups.

You have the freedom to build your own blog with PHP and CSS, install social media sharing plugins and install custom themes. 

There are support forums for both versions, so if you ever get stuck, help is at hand.

What is best for a beginner?

For inexperienced bloggers, or people with little time or technical experience, then WordPress.com is the best route to choose. It is by far the simplest and most straightforward method to quickly launch your blog. All you need to do is to register your account, verify it via email, set your username and password, and away you go!

Start off small

If you are really worried about making a mistake, or are not very confident about the whole thing, then start off with a basic plan. This is a free site for your blog, and sometimes it is all you need if you are a sole trader or entrepreneur just starting out.

You can always upgrade your site to premium or business, depending on your need for storage space and level of customization you want. If you plan on uploading a lot of photograph and video, you may find a basic level blog too limiting for you.

Whatever your needs now or in the future, WordPress has the flexibility and choice that makes them such a good option for your first business blog.



Choosing an Inspiring Design for your website or blog

It doesn't matter if you are planning your first site, or if you are considering a re-design of your existing one, choosing the best design and colour scheme for your site can be very overwhelming!

Before you decide, make up a mood board

Mood boards are commonly used by home decorators and style make-over specialists, so they are a great tool for us to use when deciding on a colour scheme for our new site. They are used to gage the likes and dislikes of clients, and help the designer to create the right mood setting for the website. 

To create your own mood board, gather together some photographs, images and colour samples you like and put these samples together on a board or even a table. Rearrange, add and take away elements that you like or dislike. Eventually what you will end up with is a colour scheme that will create an atmosphere for your site, and a colour palate to work with. 

Make it relevant

Choosing the right colour scheme and style is essential to your website's credibility. You should develop your theme – including your choice of font – with clarity in mind. Ultimately your layout and font style and size should be easily readable, and complementary.

For a business website you should try to choose inspiring colours that will fit in with your particular business niche or sector. Keep this in mind while you are forming your mood board. Try to keep your personal tastes out of the equation if they are too far removed from the niche you are involved in. You may like pink flowers and lace personally, but it probably wouldn't project the right image as a theme for your tax and accountancy website.

Imitate but don't copy

Sometimes it is helpful to take a close look at the websites of other businesses in your niche market. The most popular sites will usually have some sort of common theme running through them, and it shouldn't be too difficult to pick out what makes them so good. For example, are the top ranking sites in your field using styles that are simple, uncluttered and easy on the eye? Do they use a lot of visuals images on their home page or blog posts? Are they using no more than three colour combinations? 

You can use the same ideas that the top sites are using, but remember to tailor your design to suit your business. Steer clear of building a replica site that at first glance would mirror one of your rivals sites. Using identical design layouts or colour combinations can lead to customer confusion, and may upset your rival enough for them to take action against you.

Screen colours may vary

You may be tempted to create your mood board or choose your colour palette using Photoshop, but remember that Photoshop will show some colours in a slightly different light to how it would really appear on your website. Certain colours look far more vibrant in Photoshop, so if you were to pick a shade of eye catching red, it may look far more muted on your homepage.

Complementation, contrast, and vibrancy

How we see colours in relationship with others is called complementation. A visually appealing colour combination could consist of two colours that are on the opposite end of the colour spectrum, such as black and white for example. Colours that complement each other gives the eye a happy medium to rest in, rather than straining to make sense of a combination that appears confusing and messy. 

Contrast is all about choosing colours that reduce eye strain and helps the reader to focus on your page, so this directly affects the colour of your background behind your text, and how easily readable you make your content. You wouldn't mix a red background with orange text – that would be too painful for anyone to read, and your visitors wouldn't stay for long at all.

Vibrancy is like your mood setting. Bright colour choices will energize your web visitor, and can really be stimulating for when you want to produce an emotional response in your reader. Darker themes will put your visitor more at ease, and will encourage them to focus more on details.

So you can see – there is a lot more to coming up with a theme and colour scheme for your blog or website. Take some time out to consider your choices and how they will impact your web visitors before you decide.
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Choosing an Inspiring Design for your website or blog

It doesn't matter if you are planning your first site, or if you are considering a re-design of your existing one, choosing the best design and colour scheme for your site can be very overwhelming!

Before you decide, make up a mood board

Mood boards are commonly used by home decorators and style make-over specialists, so they are a great tool for us to use when deciding on a colour scheme for our new site. They are used to gage the likes and dislikes of clients, and help the designer to create the right mood setting for the website. 

To create your own mood board, gather together some photographs, images and colour samples you like and put these samples together on a board or even a table. Rearrange, add and take away elements that you like or dislike. Eventually what you will end up with is a colour scheme that will create an atmosphere for your site, and a colour palate to work with. 

Make it relevant

Choosing the right colour scheme and style is essential to your website's credibility. You should develop your theme – including your choice of font – with clarity in mind. Ultimately your layout and font style and size should be easily readable, and complementary.

For a business website you should try to choose inspiring colours that will fit in with your particular business niche or sector. Keep this in mind while you are forming your mood board. Try to keep your personal tastes out of the equation if they are too far removed from the niche you are involved in. You may like pink flowers and lace personally, but it probably wouldn't project the right image as a theme for your tax and accountancy website.

Imitate but don't copy

Sometimes it is helpful to take a close look at the websites of other businesses in your niche market. The most popular sites will usually have some sort of common theme running through them, and it shouldn't be too difficult to pick out what makes them so good. For example, are the top ranking sites in your field using styles that are simple, uncluttered and easy on the eye? Do they use a lot of visuals images on their home page or blog posts? Are they using no more than three colour combinations? 

You can use the same ideas that the top sites are using, but remember to tailor your design to suit your business. Steer clear of building a replica site that at first glance would mirror one of your rivals sites. Using identical design layouts or colour combinations can lead to customer confusion, and may upset your rival enough for them to take action against you.

Screen colours may vary

You may be tempted to create your mood board or choose your colour palette using Photoshop, but remember that Photoshop will show some colours in a slightly different light to how it would really appear on your website. Certain colours look far more vibrant in Photoshop, so if you were to pick a shade of eye catching red, it may look far more muted on your homepage.

Complementation, contrast, and vibrancy

How we see colours in relationship with others is called complementation. A visually appealing colour combination could consist of two colours that are on the opposite end of the colour spectrum, such as black and white for example. Colours that complement each other gives the eye a happy medium to rest in, rather than straining to make sense of a combination that appears confusing and messy. 

Contrast is all about choosing colours that reduce eye strain and helps the reader to focus on your page, so this directly affects the colour of your background behind your text, and how easily readable you make your content. You wouldn't mix a red background with orange text – that would be too painful for anyone to read, and your visitors wouldn't stay for long at all.

Vibrancy is like your mood setting. Bright colour choices will energize your web visitor, and can really be stimulating for when you want to produce an emotional response in your reader. Darker themes will put your visitor more at ease, and will encourage them to focus more on details.

So you can see – there is a lot more to coming up with a theme and colour scheme for your blog or website. Take some time out to consider your choices and how they will impact your web visitors before you decide.
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Ways to get creative with Freebies and Giveaways

People love to get free stuff, especially if it is impressive, useful or has a high perceived value. You can take advantage of people's desires by offering creative freebies that will be memorable, and will help to encourage your web visitors to return. 

Just as McDonald's restaurants make great use of giving away free toys in their Happy Meals, which encourages families to come back again and again, you can offer your customers something that will create a buzz, and will leave them impressed. 

Source inexpensive business merchandise

There are a whole range of business merchandise manufacturers on the internet, and it has become quite a competitive marketplace, so there are plenty of bargains to be had by savvy companies looking for interesting and creative gifts to give away that can be personalised with your company brand.

When choosing merchandise to give as freebies, then you should offer something that is associated with your business wherever possible, and make it useful too! For example, if you sell ranges of art supplies to schools, artists and creative groups, then offering free pencil sharpeners with every order would certainly encourage more people to buy from you than another supplier who offers nothing. 

Pampering treats will always be appreciated

If your business offers services that you cannot easily associate free merchandise with, then why not go down the luxury route and offer your clients some quality chocolate treats to pamper them with. Even if they don't eat the chocolates themselves, the though is impressive, and they can pass the chocolates on to someone else to enjoy.

Build community spirit

When you are building a business that will focus on your local community, then push that aspect of it. If you are planning to run an open day, or appear at a local organised event such as a town fair or annual celebration, then get other local businesses on side. 

Food is always a winner, so organise a local baker  to make you some themed cupcakes to give away, or some free chocolate samples from a local chocolatier. If you are promoting something healthy, and you have a local farmers market or supplier, then why not see if you can get them to donate some free apples for you to hand out. 

It may be possible to work with another local business that would compliment your own. You could give out free samples of their pressed juices in exchange for them handing out one of your leaflets with every purchase made.

Go Digital

Your company may operate in a field where you do no not produce or sell any physical products. You may be offering business consulting services, counselling, yoga, or meditation. In this case you could create some free e-books, guides, or mini-courses to offer your clients when they sign up to your business newsletter.

For example if you are running an holistic therapy clinic, then a free guide to mindfulness would be something of great interest to your clients, and would carry a high perception of value for them.

If you are good at writing informative content, then you can easily put this together yourself, or you can hire a freelance writer to create these products for you for a very reasonable price.

Discount codes and coupons

A great way to get your customer to come back to your website is to offer a discount code for money off their next shop, or a percentage discount off a new product or service you are offering. You can discount codes and vouchers as an incentive for new customers to shop with you, or include them with the customer receipt after they have made a purchase.

If you have a physical shop, you can design a printable coupon to display on your website. Your customers can download and print these off to bring into your shop and use as part payment. Likewise, if you are running a cafe or restaurant, your printable voucher can be for a free drink, or a free starter with any main course ordered from the menu.

Try not to be too blatant

With gift giving, it is always best to be subtle. Your customers will appreciate a tote bag or mouse mat where your logo is placed discreetly in one corner of the product rather than front and centre. Always try to think about freebies and giveaways as a gift for your clients rather than a blatant promotional item. Your customers will respect you for it.

We hope you found these tips useful, and you can incorporate some into your promotional campaigns and brand-building exercises. 
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