What should be in an SEO audit

There are any number of individuals and companies out there willing to sell you on-going search engine optimisation and guarantee you positions. So what should you do as an owner of a website to decide who is capable of making your website work harder for you?

A good start is to begin gently with an SEO audit of your website. The aim being to test what needs doing and where the best spend of your time and money is.

This article isn’t comprehensive but will give you an overview of what you need to look out for when seeking to improve the search rankings of your website.

First see your site how search engines do

This means crawling your site or using a Google emulator to understand what a search engine sees when it indexes your site. With this information you can see what the search engine can see, what impediments there are and therefore identify what to fix.

 

New Umbraco website for Diocese of Lincoln

Nvisage are pleased to have recently won the new website development project for the Diocese of Lincoln. the site will be developed on the Umbraco open-source CMS platform which Nvisage specialises in.

The new website will also use a responsive design to enable it to be viewed in an optimal manner on any tablet or smartphone device.

Other functionality will include dynamically updated pages for every one of the 600+ parishes with parish details and information on forthcoming events.

The Umbraco CMS has been chosen for a number of reasons but chief amongst them:

  • it is very easy to user by non-technical administrators
  • it is an excellent platform for growth as it is an open architecture which can be developed in any direction
  • it is a secure and scalable platform
  • it allows us to develop a members area easily and cost effectively

New website launched for start-up loans company

We have just finished and launched the website design and development for www.yesgrowth.com a new entrant into the b2b loans market for the SME business sector.

Nvisage specialise in website design and development for start-ups and Yes Growth is a typical client.  They have a great offering and a ready market but a new approach compared to existing providers. This required a bespoke approach to developing the website and an agile project management methodology as much of the approach is untested.

A key example is the online loans application process which, in part, integrates with the Experian web service to run an initial credit checking that contributes to the client’s credit rating. Much as Experian is one of the main providers of this service and is a massive business, their integration process has challenges with documentation and setup. It is a testament to the ability and experience of the Nvisage web development team that the service was eventually integrated seamlessly.

The loan application process is a bespoke development and is matched with an implementation of the Umbraco Content Management System (CMS) to enable YesGrowth to manage all promotional content on the site.

If you are a new business then get in touch with Clinton or Martin for a friendly no-cost consultation. We will advise on how to use the web best effect to promote and grow your business. We are a successful integrated in-house team of web consultants, usability experts, designers, developers and marketers.

Umbraco website development in Brighton, Sussex

As established Brighton based umbraco website developers and designers, we have extensive experience in designing and developing umbraco websites for a range of clients across the private, public and not for profit sectors.

A typical commercial umbraco development – Dealogic

Dealogic is a software company providing information platforms to investment banks to help improve their performance. We were originally approached to tender for a SharePoint based website. However we believe this to be a poor choice for website content management and advised to develop upon an umbraco platform instead.

Why umbraco?

To start with the choices were limited to a net platform to enable the in-house IT team to maintain the site. At Nvisage, we have had experience of a wide range of .net CMS platforms from open source to proprietary and without doubt umbraco is the best choice. In fact, for any project that we are able to we will choose umbraco over other open-source or proprietary platforms of any programming language.

Umbraco provides an excellent framework for developing sites on with few barriers or limitations. Other developers of open source platforms such as WordPress or Joomla may dismiss it as not having enough ready made modules. However, this is not a disadvantage as the modules that are available are of a high quality and being .net you have access to a vast array of professional libraries and components.

Yes it can be true that you can develop a site quicker and cheaper with an alternative CMS with ready made components but this in itself has its own problems. the ease of doing this leads many developers with weak skills to be able to overstate their abilities, whereas umbraco tends to be developed by a more professional strand of developer. Purely because more knowledge is required to create the finished product.

And that’s where we come in

Nvisage are a full service Brighton based web agency and have been professional website developers in microsoft technologies since 1997. More recently, after many other development pathways such as being the UK’s leading Ektron developer for many years; we have chosen to base our mid-high range website development on umbraco. Our clients love its ease of use and our developers love its flexibility and scalability. We have developed a wide range of professional websites on umbraco including Dealogic, Waterloo Group, Waterloo Homes and The Curo Group.

How can we help you?

If you have an umbraco site or are thinking of developing in umbraco we would be happy to have a no obligation chat over the phone or face to face. Give us a call on 0845 094 3331 or email Clinton Porter today.

 

New client wins: three new Housing association website redesigns.

We are very happy to have won three new clients and all in the social housing sector. We are now under way on the following housing association website redesigns:

  • Trent & Dove Housing.
  • East Midlands Housing group (Actually 5 sites for their group)
  • Family Housing association (Wales)

This is an excellent opportunity to build on our experience and knowledge having worked with a number of housing associations over the last 4 years and takes the number of projects in this sector to 12.

There will also be further roll-outs of our property housing module – arguably the best social housing portal in the UK that is fully Rightmove compatible and built from the ground up to be mobile responsive and so work on any device.

 

Essex 4×4 offroad event punch hunt

Essex Offroad is putting on its inaugral punch hunt at its Essex Regiment Way venue in Chelmsford Essex. If you’ve never attended a punch hunt it is one of the most fun ways to spend time in your 4X4. It is a 4X4 offroad event for standard and modified 4×4 vehicles and is aimed at novice to experienced drivers.

  • The date: 17th November 2013
  • 60 punches
  • scrutineering and sign on 9am
  • driver’s briefing: 1015
  • lunch break: 1230
  • cost: £35 pre-book; £40 on the day
  • prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • free jet wash
  • on-site toilets and refreshments
  • to pre-register; call 01277 352245; or OR EMAIL US
  • see our facebook page

The inaugural Essex offroad 4×4 punch hunt at:

Essex Offroad
Essex Regiment Way
Chelmsford
Essex CM3 3PZ
01277 352256

Channel Shift strategy case study

Channel shift in the social housing sector

Moat is a major housing association operating in the South East of England, and Nvisage have been working with them since 2010 to develop their website into a self-service platform.

Key to their channel shift strategy is to focus upon the two areas that will make a difference:

Reducing the calls and face to face time spent with customers on:

  1. dealing with rent payments and issues
  2. dealing with issues around reporting repairs

The approach

The key approach is to improve the ability for residents to undertake these two activities as easily as possible online and to up-skill their audience to enable them to feel comfortable to self-serve online.

Whilst many back office systems offer an online offering they universally suffer tfrom the same problems:

  1. as this is a bolt on rather than integrated into a web experience it is invariably a poor quality user experience
  2. it is not designed for multiple on-line devices such as mobile
  3. it does not enable single sign on with a range of other applications and processes

We have developed a dedicated resident’s area which is a single sign on portal designed entirely around the needs and user experience of the consumer. It is NOT designed around the technology.

Key areas that we are jointly focusing upon with Moat to improve migration from personal to digital automated self-service now are:

  1. making the sign-on and sign-in process as simple as possible to reduce the barriers to entry
  2. teaching the audiences of moat how to use the digital channels and providing access to the website via mobile devices such as tablets where they do not have access

If you would like to understand more about how self-service online can help you develop your channel shift strategy call Clinton Porter our Channel Shift Director for a chat.

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Channel shift in the social housing sector

Channel shift is recognised as being the movement from high cost customer transactions such as face to face and call centres to lower cost automated systems such as self-service on the web, automatic voice recognition systems, SMS on mobile phones and interactive television.

Nvisage are specialists in channel shift and have extensive experience of working with a range of private, public and not for profit organisations to achieve savings using more efficient and effective on-live self-service processes.

Key to effective channel shift is to understand:

  1. the profile of your audience and what tools they are likely to use
  2. where you can generate most benefit from a shift

Example of channel shift in social housing

We work extensively across the social housing sector with a range of organisation types to help them migrate their services online and to  create channel shift strategies. An example is Moat who run over 20,000 homes across the South East of England. The strategy here is to focus upon making progress with the few things that can make the biggest difference.

Rather than implement a wide range of major changes Moat understand that the key to a successful channel shift strategy is to focus upon a narrow area, get this right and build upon it. They have identified that their key high contact case load is always around paying rent and reporting repairs. Read the on-going channel shift case study here.

To find out more about Channel Shift and how you can use your digital assets to work harder for you you contact Clinton Porter our Channel Shift Director for more information.

 

 

Responsive website design and development for housing association

You may not have realised that in the UK, housing associations are not government departments but are in fact ran and funded by private, not for profit organisations. These organisations are tasked with providing low-cost social housing for people who find themselves without a home and for people in search of shared ownership properties.

As a leading developer of responsive websites for housing associations, Nvisage have engaged in extensive research into what people need and want when visiting their housing association via the web. We ran extensive multi-source research with different stake-holders that included resident workshops, user testing and feedback sessions.

What stood out was ‘less is more’. To create the best User Journey people want intuitive, easy to use navigation and decisive call to actions with clear accessibility.

Curo Housing Association group Website

The research also showed that the majority of web users that accessed housing associations online wanted to use the website to search for properties in their area. And that users in this demographic favoured mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets over desktop computers.

When thinking about search functionality, we decided a custom property search needed to be developed. This widget needed to display all the properties on the system in a custom way and provide full compatibility with the Rightmove website and also the housing associations’ property management tools.

The ‘rise of the tablet’ should not be news to most of us when we consider how many of us use them daily. In 2012 tablet sales were equal to 63% of the laptops. At its current growth the tablet market is projected to surpass laptop sales by the end of year, a staggering 230 million are due to be sold world-wide in 2013.

Considering this phenomena it won’t surprise you that when Nvisage developed new websites for the housing associations Southern Housing GroupTalk 2 Waterloo and Moat Housing Association all of the sites were developed with Responsive web design (RWD) in mind. Using this fluid grid method provides the optimum viewing experience for end users by responding to what device is being used and scaling the content accordingly and displaying it correctly.

Also given the experience Nvisage have of Responsive website design and development for housing associations when Curo Group Housing Association, one of the West Country’s leading Housing Associations required a single integrated website to replace five previous websites, Nvisage were chosen to help.

To find out more about the User Experience Research we have been doing with Housing Associations, visit the Nvisage website where you can read more in our Showcase section.

optimising for a London based interior designer website

This blog is an example of how to optimise for a small business website. In this case a London based interior designer. Of course it could be any business website the steps are the same.

The first step is to identify how people are finding the services and products you offer. Two key tools for this are Wordtracker and the Google adwords research tool. By using these tools you can identify the popularity and the competitiveness of phrases that a businesses customer’s are using to find those services that the business offers.

In the case of this example Mil Ce Associates a newly established interior design studio in London, key phrases for them would include: residential interior designer London, commercial interior designer London  etc.

However, these are quite competitive phrases so to get early results you should look at what your niche phrases are and focus on those. In this case the business has a unique product which is a fixed price London interior design service which, for example, can deliver a complete design package for a room for £500.

By focusing upon the niche phrases you will gain two advantages:

  1. you will get results in Google quicker as there is less competition
  2. your traffic will be much more targeted as these phrases being more niche, are closer to the peak of the buying pyramid