LEO Online Trading Voucher Changes – Finally some good news for small business

I hope this post finds everybody safe and well.

The last number of weeks have been a very challenging time for many businesses and there has been little in the way of good news. This week the Local Enterprise Office have announced some significant changes to one of their business support schemes that is very good news and we feel worth sharing at this time.

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WordPress 5.4 has arrived. Please form an “Adderley” queue

On Tuesday (March 31st), WordPress 5.4 was released. This release is called Adderley after American Jazz musician Nat Adderley. Enhanced page options, improved presentation and speed seem to be the major enhancements in this release.

A number of new Gutenberg blocks are now available – social icons and buttons. Colour enhancements have also been added around gradients in buttons and toolbars. There are also claims of UI improvements and enhanced speed while editing. Version 5.4 also helps with a number of privacy issues also.

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COVID-19 – Challenging times for business in Ireland

These are tough times and an a personal level I hope this message finds you all well. As business owners we’re all expecting certain challenges but nothing could have prepared business across Ireland (and the world) for the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. This is a really testing time for all of us and indeed some businesses may not survive through this, and the ones that do survive will most likely take a hit over the coming months.

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Buzzword Bingo

One of the most important tasks in my job is to speak to clients in a language that they can understand. We techie nerds need to understand the lingo of how a website runs, we don’t need to overload our clients with too much unnecessary jargon. I thought I’d write a blog to explain some of the buzz words you may hear from web designers.

Hosting

For a website to be visible on the internet, it must be hosted on a web server. Think of hosting as the process of housing your website on the internet. We have accounts with some of the top hosting companies in Ireland and will look after the hosting for you.

Server

A server can mean 2 things in relation to the web

  • A server is the computer on the internet that hosts your website (Windows, Linux etc.)
  • A server is the software that runs on a computer that processes requests and responses to your website. Think of it as a container for your website.

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Free Logo Anybody?

If you didn’t have enough reasons to work with us on your next project (proven track record, quality, value for money etc.) here’s one more for you. For the remainder of this month we are offering a free logo design for websites and apps. We will provide you with 3 proof designs and you can select your favourite.

A logo is an important tool in building your brand – it’s far more than just an image on top of your website or on your stationary. Very often your logo is the first thing that your potential customers will see of your business so it absolutely needs to make a strong first impression. It should let your customers know that your business is professional and that your company can be trusted to deliver the products / services required.

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I still haven’t found what I’m looking for – The importance of SEO

The internet is a vast collection of websites, pages, files and resources scattered around millions of web servers around the world. In the mid 90’s many companies tried with different levels of success to index the internet and make it possible to search for websites and pages. By the turn of the millennium one clear winner emerged and not surprisingly they have become one of the biggest companies in the world. In fact they have had such an immense impact on the world, their name has become a verb! I am of course talking about Google.

Google have become, for many, the front door to the internet. It’s a place where people come to begin their voyage of discovery. It is reputable and it can’t be fooled. It goes without saying that if you’re in business, it is very desirable to be on top of the search results for your chosen keywords and this is why SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is so important.

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Appy New Year!

First of all we’d like to wish a very happy 2020 to all of our clients, friends and anybody reading this blog. 2019 was a great year and we’re excited by upcoming projects in 2020. One of the projects we’re looking forward to in early 2020 is a mobile app for a Gorey based business – and we thought we’d take this opportunity to describe the benefits of an app to your business or organisation.

For the purposes of this article, we will be discussing only native apps here. See our post on the differences between native apps and mobile apps for more context.

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A Website is for life – not just for Christmas

They live an unloved existence in the shadows. Forgotten by their owners & creators, scoffed at by visitors. They were once the golden child, shiny, bright and new – admired and showcased. But now they go unnoticed, uncared for and abandoned. These are the orphaned websites.

An orphaned website is one which is in need of maintenance but the owner struggles to find somebody to carry this out. Every month we get a number of queries in from website owners who set up their site with a different web designer or an online website creator and they’re looking for our help to make changes to the site. Unfortunately we don’t take on this business, our websites are built to a certain standard that not all web designers follow so we politely decline maintenance request contracts from customers who have sourced their websites elsewhere.

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Why go bespoke?

WordPress is a very powerful platform for creating and managing websites. When clients come to us looking for help in setting up a website, for 90% of cases WordPress fits the bill (business website with contact forms, blog, online shop etc.). The remainder are in scope for a bespoke solution – their requirements can’t be satisfied with an off the shelf solution like WordPress.

Most web designers can’t facilitate this group as they don’t have the web development skills. See our article here on the differences between web designers and developers. We are both designers and developers which means that we can create something beautiful but has bespoke functionality around your requirements.

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Would you like fries with that? The dangers of online website builders

This post is mostly cantered about why I don’t like online website builders. Am I biased? Of course I am! Is a part of me jealous of these companies? Sure. Is the technology impressive? Absolutely. Am I a website snob? Maybe ….

That said, I genuinely don’t believe these solutions are good for most businesses for a number of reasons that I’ll outline here. But first we must go back in time to 2006.

I established ClearSoft in 2006 and had visions of developing a product that would provide an affordable set of tools for non-technical people to create a website from nothing. This system would be web based and while it would work for sports clubs, community organisations and personal sites – it was specifically aimed at small business. Sound familiar?

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