Web Design & Search agency near Tunbridge Wells (UK). The blogger, the MD, loves modded and modding Jap Cars, Dirty Electro House & all things Design and Search orientated!
Hogtronix have taken the plunge after nearly 8 years trading and have invested in a state of the art ‘local’ high powered dedicated, firewalled server.
To the majority of people reading this it’ll probably beg the question ‘so what?’. The importance of local UK hosting (this server is hosted just off the M3 in Hampshire) is that it results in faster load times for sites we host (about 200) and speed of load = higher search engine positions on the likes of Google.
The server we’ve invested in also has a very tough firewall meaning the likelihood of hacks is very much limited, plus the server is monitored 24/7/365 anyway for any suspicious activity.
UK hosted clients will be gradually moved to this server across the course of the next 6 months and we are fortunate that the hosted environment (server room) also runs servers for Tesco and Waitrose…
Our chosen service provider also have their own fibreoptic infrastructure meaning we are also no longer reliant on BT cabling for our websites infrastructure.
This is our support ticket to Heart Internet after having our industry grade reseller email server down all day. Previously our support ticket had been answered to suggest we were being impatient to ask, after 3 hours of downtime, where our email server had gone!:
Oh great, now your status page say’s ‘UPDATE 14:30 - We are currently performing final integrity tests to ensure that this server is stable once it is back online, and hope to re-enable it within the next few hours. ’ So, that’s the whole working day with no email in or out then? Very professional. I admire the way you are able to break the news that we could still have hours yet with no email in such a way that makes it sound like you’re almost heroic. Well, thanks for persevering on our behalf.
And it’s all great and good ensuring you don’t lose emails on the server but what about non-exchange set-ups that have had all their clients emails returned back to their clients…we’ve lost all of those messages and our clients think we’ve done a bunk!!! Let’s just hope I hadn’t won another lottery in Nigeria.
Surely you guys should have some contingency in place for events like this? A day offline is ridiculous. Very poor service. We’re going dedicated with Peer1. Please get emails working so we can send our notice to quit!
First glimpse of work in progress…the new Hogtronix website coming soon!
Just back from a tradeshow at London Earls Court and have to say, what a load of old tosh some SEO ‘agencies’ talk. No wonder there is so much confusion over the technology. Coming soon on the new Hogtronix website will be a free iphone app to help interpret some if the un necessary industry jargon. Stay tuned.
It constantly never fails to amaze us at our Tunbridge Wells HQ just how many clients from all over Europe seem to think that a website is a ‘luxury item’ which only needs addressing after the Christmas party arrangements, choice of soap in the lavatories etc. Businesses who are very high profile and for whom we and others respect, have no self respect all too often when it comes to an online prescence. In fact, many still haven’t even addressed their online presence.
At a time when forward facing businesses are not going beyond just having a website and are embracing Social Media as a means to attract, attain and retain clients, others are still so ‘old school’ that they don’t understand what all the fuss is about.
We’ll help explain. In years gone by, there were limited ways to be found by prospective clients. Ad in the Yellow Pages was normally the main route to market for many, and of course those who had a High Street premises had walk in’s. But what about Tertiary businesses - those who provide a service rather than selling a product as such, how did they manage? Word of mouth was always important, as was local newspaper advertising. With the advent of the Internet and Social Media in particular, one can now manage one’s own exposure to a large degree through tools like Twitter, Facebook, and of course Tumblr.
An investment in a website is an investment in the future. In it’s purest form, a website adds value to your business. A good looking, functional website also adds an indirect and intangible benefit by showing your company as professional, modern, and approachable. Those who say ‘we’ve no need for a website’ are speaking for themselves, not their clients. Websites don’t have to sell goods or services. They can be there to provide information to would be clients looking to engage. They may offer directions to the office, ways a client can pay their bills owed to you, a showcase of previous work, or even something interactive whereby the users gain the benefit and not necessarily the site owner.
At Hogtronix, we build sites to ideally last around 2 years. They’ll last longer of course, it’s not like they’ll rust, but 2 years is a sufficient amount of time to consider a spruce and to show your client base that you’re still actively interested in online trade and communicating. But please, if we convince you that you need a professionally designed website - don’t forget to check your email regularly as well!
We’ve seen a couple of instances lately whereby clients have been banned by Google. You’ll know you’re banned because if you type site:www.yourdomain.com into the Google search and nothing is shown as a result…you aren’t listed.
However, all is not all lost if this has happened to you. Sometimes, you could be the victim of an innocent mix up (as was the case with one of our clients). If you’ve just purchased a domain that’s been used before, the previous owner may have had some ‘baggage’ which has dragged the URL down. For example, if they’d been buying links or something else unethical and if Google spotted it, it could reflect on your website not now showing.
So what happens if you do get banned? Our recommendation is to firstly try and found out why. If you haven’t just bought the domain name, what else has happened lately? Have you linked to any external websites? It could be that the site you’ve linked to is ‘dodgy’ and you linking to them is effectively a vote for them. If you haven’t linked, it may be worth looking at your site as a normal user would. It may be that you have a trojan virus on the site. These get uploaded invisibly by nasty websites and if the trojan is recognised and spotted, it could lead to Google banning you for the sake of their own site visitors. You want to either crash your site and re-upload, or weed the pesky trojan out of your code.
Once you have identified your issue, you need to go to Google with cap in hand. We suggest registering your domain inside Google webmaster tools. It’s worth doing this anyway because Google will let you know what they know about you in here and if you take your SEO and search engine positions seriously, the information Google will share with you is priceless.
Within Webmaster tools, you can add a ‘verification meta tag’. You simply need to get your webmaster to insert this meta tag inside your homepage of yourwebsite. Once done, log back into webmaster tools and confirm this has been done. They then know you are associated with that website and you can request ‘reinclusion’ in their index.
To be reinserted, you need to tell Google what you know about your exclusion and what you have done to rectify it. All being well, Google will look upon your responsible efforts and re-include you. If you have done something silly - don’t hide it. Own up, say sorry, and learn from the experience…but don’t panic (yet!)
This will sound a bit odd coming from a Web Design and Marketing company but we are firm believers in not just stopping at a slick website (designed by us of course!) but to go one step further and ensure all mediums are exploited (i.e. Business Card Printing, Leaflets, Envelopes, Brochure wear, Sign written cars etc etc…)
The way we figure it, is that all mediums ideally need to work together to give the best Brand Identity exposure for a business. A website is great, but there are so many opportunities to exploit your business offline as well. At Hogtronix, we have a sign written Fiat 500 which gets driven around Tunbridge Wells on a daily basis. Great exposure for us, and since we had it sign written, hits to our website from direct traffic has increased by around 5%. We also ensure that every invoice or client proposal we send in the post, is sent in a printed envelope with our brand all over it. Again, we figure quite a few people will get to see or handle the envelope before it’s delivered and it’s all good exposure for us.
Think of the hoardings at a big football match. They don’t really have a direct call to action but they raise brand awareness. I can remember the England game from a week ago had a Mars advert for example (we’re not suggesting you go as far as sponsoring England, but you get the idea!?)
So, once you’ve established a great website brand - stand on the rooftops and shout about it. The hard work is just starting…
When I worked in the City for Barclays, we occasionally played a game called buzzword bingo’. A group of us (who were all junior in terms of seniority) would agree a set of our own ‘buzz words’ prior to a major departmental meeting (which tended to be long and rather boring). Phrases like ‘generic’ and ‘off the wall’, ‘think outside the box’ and ‘talking the walk, not walking the talk’ (or was it the other way round?) were all typical phrases. Then, when we’d hear the phrase(s) mentioned in meetings, we’d get given points.
I became quite good at Buzzword bingo. I got to know what certain members of staff would say, or I could provoke them into saying, and more recently, and now as business owner of Hogtronix, an East Sussex based Web Design agency (near Tunbridge Wells), I’m starting to think of buzzword bingo again. My key phrase now would be ‘our customers won’t understand’. A phrase doled out at virtually every single client meeting I attend recently.
The phrase relates, in context, to statements made by our clients, about their clients. i.e. if we suggest having top jQuery funky navigation which looks neat and is simple to use, we’d expect ‘our customers won’t understand’ to be mouthed by our client. Perhaps a way of saying THEY don’t understand. Truth is, people know more about the Internet and how to get around it than we give them credit for. Statistics show that users are growing more mature in their use of the web and ‘silver surfers’ are now prevalent whereby a few years ago they’d maybe not be quite so active on the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and of course Tumblr.
What OUR clients need to understand though, is that they don’t exclusively own THEIR clients. In other words, their clients will not just have a Broadband service solely to view our clients website. Chances are they use Internet Banking, looking at porn or check out what’s on the TV from time to time. In other words, when, as web designers, we build a website for OUR clients, we are building the site with the assumption that end users aren’t totally stupid. Of course, they’re some that can’t find their way out of a open paperbag, but we can’t help those poor souls. But we are advocates of trying to push the boundaries a bit more. So what if your users have never used a navigation structure like that before. What happened to Great British sense of adventure or being first to market?
Our customers just don’t understand.
It’s about time Hogtronix jumped onto Tumblr having been active ‘Twitter’ users for a couple of years now. We’re a small Web Design agency based near Tunbridge Wells, in the U.K. Expect regular Blog posts from our MD on anything from Search Related Internet marketing, Web Design, inspiration, Fast Cars and Music…