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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How we work and Deliver at 2Create360: Web Site

How we work


The way we work defines what we produce. That is why we work within a framework that ensures high quality. These guiding principles are built on years of experience and best practice within the industry. If you choose to work with us, these will be the principles we follow.

Work collaboratively


At 2Create360 we work collaboratively, both with our clients and each other. Designer, developer, project manager, client and other stakeholders in a project should be actively engaged with each other and the project. Effective websites cannot be produced in isolation.

Design with data


Design is subjective. What one person loves, another hates. Therefore the only way of being sure of the most effective design is to test and test often.
We should be gathering data at every step of the web design process, from initial research through to design and usability testing. This data should be informing our design, rather than it being at the whim of personal opinion or company politics.

Build through iteration


Developing a website should be an iterative process. A website should pass through a cycle of development, testing and refinement many times before launch. Where possible we should launch early with a minimal viable product and refine that as we observe real users interacting with the site.

Work from user needs


The design process should always begin with identifying users and their needs. Early in the process user stories should be created and customer journeys explored. These should be used as the basis for all decisions about the direction of the final deliverable. If a feature or piece of content does not meet a users need, a strong case needs to be made for its inclusion.

Business objectives focused


Although user needs should drive a project, this needs to be within the context of the business objectives. Clearly defined business objectives should be established up front. They should be translated into measurable key performance indicators that are continually tracked. If a feature cannot be justified in terms of return on investment, it shouldn’t be built just because there is a user-based desire for it.

User experience extends beyond the website


 2Create360recognises that the user experience extends beyond the website. We therefore consider it important to map the entire user journey and consider the website within the context of social media, mobile and offline touch points.

Our work should be accessible


We believe that websites should be accessible to the broadest possible audience. This means websites should be accessible to users with physical or cognitive impairments, but also users on older technology, with poor connectivity or using alternative devices. We believe this should be achieved not through multiple sites or applications, but using progressive enhancements and techniques such as responsive design.

We are client centric


We believe it is not enough to provide our clients with an effective website. We also need to create a websites that our clients love. Our clients have to work with their websites long term so it is important that they are passionate about it. We achieve this by ensuring the process of creating a website is enjoyable and that our clients feel a sense of ownership over the final result.

Always educating


Our role is not just to build websites. It is also to educate our clients about digital best practice. It is our job to empower our clients through education and equip them to run their own online presence. Alongside this we are also committed to educating the broader web community and promoting best practice whenever possible.

Keep looking ahead


Finally, we are committed to keeping our clients informed about new innovations. New developments in best practice continually appear and we see it as our role to remain at the forefront of these changes.

That said, 2Create360 does not believe in applying cutting edge techniques to client projects. New techniques need time to mature before being applied to business critical systems. Although we look to the horizon we are focused on what can be safely implemented today.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Search Engine Optimization and Why it Matters


SEO. Sure, you’ve heard about it. The ambiguous, ever-changing process of improving a website’s visibility in search engine results and earning traffic. That was a mouthful. As a business owner, it’s important to know what SEO can do for you. Do it well, and it could be what takes your business to the next level. Do it poorly, and people will have to use the Yellow Pages to find your business.
Before we get to the juicier stuff about SEO and how it can benefit your business, let’s cover the basics.

How SEO works


Google and other search engines use “robots” (often called “spiders” or “crawlers”) to gather and store the information from each page of your website. When someone searches for a term online, those search engines process all of the information they’ve gotten from all the sites they’ve “crawled”. Then they present a list of results with the most relevant sites listed first.
Google’s search algorithms analyse the quality and relevance of your site’s information. If the material is top notch and the technical aspects of your website are clean, your website’s ranking will typically be pretty high. Of course, other components play a role in your website’s overall rank. But understanding what Google rewards and penalises is critical.

The parts of SEO

If you’re a beginner, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation – and it means just that. It’s a practice used to grow visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. To rank highly you need to make sure your website is technically sound. You also need to publish creative, unique and valuable content on your website to make it stand out. Let’s break it down.
Technical elements of on-page SEO include:
*list not exhaustive
  • making sure all key pages can be indexed
  • managing redirects and domain migrations
  • optimising title tags and descriptions
  • including primary keyword in header tags, on-page content, image filenames and alt text
  • listing clean and short URLs (breadcrumb structure is advised – example: www.yoursite.com/topic/sub-topic/title-of-page)
  • optimising for mobile
Creative and strategic elements include:
*list not exhaustive
  • conducting proper keyword research to understand what people are searching online relative to your business
  • developing quality content (editorial, graphics, video, podcast, etc.) to answer questions that your audience might be asking relative to your business
  • using rich snippet formats to be more visible in search results
  • understanding where your audience falls along the sales funnel and building content to answers those questions

SEO is not a “set it and forget it” programme

Once all the nuts and bolts are figured out – wait, no – the nuts and bolts won’t ever be fully figured out, because SEO is constantly evolving. Search algorithms are regularly updated to make the web experience more intuitive and sophisticated. It’s important to understand how these changes affect your website. By doing so, you can be better prepared to manage the consequences – good or bad.