Blog

Lanetech’s blog includes short articles on website design and development, Internet services, SEO and social media. Some of the articles are based around common questions that our clients ask us, and some are just for fun. We hope you find the blog helpful!

Queens Baton Relay at Horizon Scotland!

Queens Baton Relay batonbearers

Meet the Forres Queens Baton Relay Batonbearers!

From 14 June to 23 July the Queen’s Baton Relay is travelling the length and breadth of Scotland, inviting everyone to be a part of the celebrations and countdown to the XX Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow. Today, the Queen’s Baton Relay took a pit stop at Horizon Scotland, where our office is located, before it moved on through Forres. To follow the baton visit the Queen’s Baton Relay website or visit Twitter at @Batonrelay2014.

Pre-order your .uk now!

.uk domain

At 08:00hrs on 10 June (2014), a new domain name will become available — .uk

The change follows in the footsteps of other countries such as France (.fr) and Germany (.de). The main benefits are: building trust — according to Nominet, 81% of people prefer .uk domains when searching or buying online; and a shorter, snappier domain name that puts focus on the website name. Existing domains such as co.uk and org.uk will continue to operate as they’ve done before. Registering a .uk version of your existing domain name will ensure that another individual or business doesn’t eventually nab it!

Please do get in touch if you are a Lanetech customer and would like to pre-order (or order) a .uk domain. In the meantime, our web services provider has produced the following helpful information about .uks:

Key dates

  • The reservation period for existing customers who already have a .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .net.uk, .ltd.uk or .plc.uk runs up until 07:59hrs on 10 June 2019.
  • Domains registered before 23.59hrs on 28 October will have rights to the equivalent new .uk domain, provided there was no other corresponding .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .ltd.uk, .plc.uk or .net.uk registered.
  • All .co.uk domains registered after 28 October 2013 and before the new .uk domains are launched will also have rights to the .uk equivalent, as long as there is no clash with any existing domains in the following situations: Where there are two or more domains with the same website name, the .co.uk will be offered the .uk equivalent. Where there is no .co.uk, the .org.uk will be offered the new .uk equivalent. Where there is no .co.uk or .org.uk the .me.uk will be offered the new .uk equivalent.

Right to reserve

  • New registrations of .co.uk domains made before 08:00hrs on 10 June 2014 (provided that no other equivalent .org.uk, .me.uk, .net.uk, ltd.uk or .plc.uk exists) will get the rights to the new .uk domain.
  • After launch on 10 June 2014 any new registrations within the .uk family (e.g. in .co.uk, .org.uk etc.) no longer get automatic rights to register the new .uk domain. So these new .uk domains become available for anyone to register.
  • Anyone wanting a new .uk domain, where there are no existing domains with rights, will simply be able to register the new .uk domain.

For more information, please see the officicial.uk launch website.

Fighting the battle against email blacklisting!

Email iconLanetech is pleased to now offer our clients requiring a more robust email solution the option to upgrade the email account provided as part of our web hosting service, to an account with more features and benefits through Rackspace UK, a highly regarded IT business, for just £3.00 + VAT per month per email account (paid annually).

The key benefits of the Rackspace account are:

  • Less spam: the spam filtering system eliminates 98% of spam
  • Less chance of your email being blocked due to blacklisting (see below)
  • Robust email virus protection
  • 100% uptime guarantee: in other words, your email account will always be accessible via the Internet.

With the standard email solution, some of our clients very occasionally experience (bounce back) messages saying that their mail was not delivered. This is because the IP address of the email server has been blacklisted, usually because of spamming from other companies (or agents) using the same server. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable on a shared server given the very high level of spam generated on a daily basis and the problem is time-consuming to resolve. However, Rackspace use a server for email only (i.e. not websites), and employ stricter policies, both of which greatly reduce the likelihood of your email not being delivered due to blacklisting.

Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss upgrading your email account.

simmons gallery blog

Simmons Gallery new blog goes live!

We are pleased to announce that a new blog for Simmons Gallery, set up by Lanetech, has gone live!

Simmons Gallery is an online business trading historical and modern medals. The business owners wanted a blog to complement their website, which was designed and developed by Lanetech last year. Lanetech sourced a smart, simple theme for blogs from WordPress and styled and configured it to match the design of the Simmons Gallery website, as the most cost-effective and secure solution. The theme design is responsive: it automatically adapts to the size of screen that the user is accessing the website on, meaning that the blog will look good and read well across desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Responsive design is becoming more and more popular because mobile Internet usage is exploding; rather than tiny text and buttons, and the need to constantly zoom in and out of content, responsive design automatically resizes content to keep it readable and navigable, improving the user experience.

We are always happy to be contacted to discuss ideas and prices for a new website or a website refresh — phone 01309 678149 or email info@lanetech.co.uk. Our team is dedicated to delivering high quality results at competitive prices!

highland blindcraft homepage

Highland Blindcraft’s new website goes live!

We are delighted to announce that the new website for Highland Blindcraft in Inverness, developed by Lanetech, has gone live!

Highland Blindcraft is a bed and mattress manufacturer that offers supported employment to visually impaired and disabled people. The new website was built using WordPress Content Management System and WooCommerce eCommerce Toolkit to allow visitors to make purchases online. The website uses high quality photography and video to showcase the range of hand crafted beds and mattresses, and the highly skilled Highland Blindcraft team, which includes blind, visually impaired and disabled people. Features include a responsive design that reads well on mobile devices; special offers flagged on the homepage; a homepage image slider; and related products displayed on individual product pages (for upselling).

Please do get in touch if you are considering updating your website. Our websites are built to the latest standards using the latest techniques.

3 quick WordPress SEO tips

We were recently asked about WordPress search engine optimisation (SEO)… Generally, WordPress is considered to be well set up for SEO ‘out of the box’, although there are a number of plugins available that will improve SEO such as WordPress SEO by Yoast. Here we focus on the importance of writing good content and optimising that content for SEO. Optimising images for better SEO is covered in a previous post and I recommend reading  Google’s guide for SEO best practices.

  1. Pick good keywords or phrases. Perhaps the most important SEO factor after creating good content is good keyword research. Keywords are what users type into the search box for their search query. Picking good keywords or keyphrases is an exercise in balancing relevance and volume. Relevance refers to keywords related to your organisation. Volume refers to how many people search for that keyword. Ideally, you want keywords with moderate search traffic.
  2. Write good content and use those keywords. Providing well-written quality content is the most important factor when it comes to SEO success. Be sure to use a keyword(s) once or twice in each post, assuming they are relevant, and use your keyword or keyphrase in the post title. Best practices include using page headings (H1, H2, H3 etc.) correctly to make it easier for search engines to ‘see’ the main topics.
  3. Things to avoid! Duplicate or near-duplicate versions of your content across your site; keyword stuffing — focus on the reader not the search engine; embedding text in images for textual content (users may want to copy it and search engines can’t read it).

Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss SEO with us. Our websites are built to the latest standards using the latest techniques and with SEO in mind.

Facebook turns 10

Find us on Facebook logoFacebook is celebrating its 10th birthday this week. The social network is worth around £91 billion and is used by 1.2 billion people – according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek that’s almost half the world’s Internet-connected people! Interestingly, the demographic is changing: recent reports indicate a drop in the number of younger users, as they take to new platforms like Snapchat and WhatsApp, and a surge in the number of older users. Recently, Facebook has successfully positioned itself as a mobile company with the majority of its users active on mobile and the majority of its total ad revenue coming from mobile advertising.

While the question of whether Facebook has a future is divisive, it remains the largest social network and should be part of your marketing mix in 2014! Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss social media marketing.

Tips for marketing your business with Instagram

Screen grab of National Geographic Instagram page

National Geographic on Instagram

Instagram is an online photo- and video- sharing social networking service. It’s a fun (and free!) platform to generate customer engagement and build brand awareness. Like any other social network, Instagram is based around finding people to follow and having people follow you. I’m following bunnymama – check it out – so cute! Instagram has been around for over 3 years and is very popular: over 150 million users. For this reason, businesses are increasingly using Instagram. Here are 5 quick tips to get started:

  1. Tag posts with hashtags. A hashtags is a word or phrase prefixed by a # sign. Posting content that is appealing to your target market tagged with relevant hashtags can greatly increase awareness of your business – think of hashtags as keywords for SEO. — According to Instagram, the top hashtag of 2013 was #love … yawn.
  2. Mix photos and videos. Don’t make all your posts about business! Balance fun/beautiful/highly personal photos and videos with pictures related to your business. This gives followers insight into life outside of work and an element of human connection.
  3. Connect your account to Facebook. Facebook owns Instagram, so not surprisingly the two platforms are very connected; it is easy to pull in or share your Instagram posts on Facebook to grow exposure.
  4. Foster relationships. Engagement and communication is key to a successful social media presence. So, if a follower has a genuine question or comment, reply to them. Likewise, follow back those that are interesting or relevant etc. and ‘like’ or comment on their posts.
  5. Analyse key metrics. Statigram is an analytics tool for measuring total number of likes received, most liked photos, follower growth charts and more. As with Google Analytics, the insights can help you optimise Instagram for business.

For detailed information, see the Instagram for Business blog! Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss social media marketing.

4 quick tips for optimising images for the Web and better SEO

Our clients sometimes ask us to update images on their website, as part of our web hosting service. More often that not, we need to optimise the image for the web and for SEO. However, the majority of our clients update images on their website themselves using our content management system (CMS) and so we thought these quick tips might be helpful:

  1. Change the image resolution to 72dpi: page-loading time is an important factor in search rankings, as providers want searchers (especially mobile searchers) to have the best experience possible. This means that a slow site may be penalised. Optimising your images can therefore improve performance. While high definition displays are becoming more common, web-ready images are normally 72dpi (not 300dpi!). However, very soon you will want to…
  2. Cater for high-resolution displays: images at 72dpi will look blurry on high-resolution devices, such as a Retina display. You may have noticed that images on your website aren’t as sharp as other elements when viewed on the latest Apple devices. There are several approaches to this issue: if you are a Lanetech client, please do get in touch to find out if one of these solutions is right for you!
  3. Use keywords in the file name: search engines see images by looking at file names, among other factors, so try to be descriptive and reflective of keywords when you name your images (don’t go overboard though! 3 to 4 words max) and use dashes to separate each word in the phrase. The image name my-new-rabbit.jpg is much more useful to Google than DSC5709.jpg.
  4. Use the correct file extension: the two most popular image formats for the web are JPG and PNG. Generally speaking, use a JPG for photographic images and a PNG for less complex images or where you need transparency. Remember to crop out excess white space to help make your web images load faster. You may need to experiment a little to get the best trade off between quality and file size.

Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss SEO with us. Our websites are built to the latest standards using the latest techniques and with SEO in mind.

Marketing your business online with Yell.com

Yell logoWe recently updated our listing on Yell.com – one of the UK’s local business search engines – after noticing the prominence of Yell in search results on Google. Which we think is the result of Google providing easier access to other local search providers in its own search results after complaints it was blocking competitors. The link to Yell brings up relevant search results on Yell.com. You can opt for a free advert or a paid (Prominence) advert. A paid advert should ensure that you appear higher up Yell.com search results and includes monitoring where calls and clicks are coming from. According to Yell.com, potential customers looking for local businesses and services visit Yell online 10.7 million times a month. This pales in comparison to the billions of searches per day on Google; we will let you know if our investment to advertise on Yell.com was worth it!

Also, a reminder that we strongly recommend setting up Google Places for Business, which is free and in our opinion an essential part of any local campaign – see our earlier blog! Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss local search engine optimisation (SEO) services.

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