Extra Hours of Design

No complaints so please don’t read this as a moan just a vent 😉

Is it a by-product of design in the modern age that’s watered down by online bidding and overseas outsourcing, but margins are less and clients are looking to pay a lot less for a lot more so when constant contract work is available you take it especially in the current economic climate.

Getting the contract work on a guaranteed long term scale is great but then when new clients and old all come online at the same time wanting work yesterday it means working evenings and the scorn of the wife :-O

Mustn’t grumble it’s all good just thought I’d blog for a change rather than tweet.



SEO is great but not at the expense of the Brand?

Okay, to cut a long story short I’m a designer, I specialise in design predominantly branding but also over the years now code, build content managed websites along with the more traditional marketing. I also offer full SEO solutions.

In a conversation the other day with an SEO ‘specialist’ I was interested by his approach? To gloss over a situation he works in-house for a web company who predominantly run in-house projects but he does get involved with the odd customer but never delves into any other form of marketing but online.

The opinion was that the only thing that should be considered at the start of a web project is the SEO and all other elements should fit that.

My argument being that if that were so we would end up with a design industry comparable to a template era as there would be a finite design layout that Google liked the most, that be the layout that has the largest SEO footprint, the result being the one that everyone would use.

I then brought up the what about design question to which it was simple you just make that fit the SEO, okay I can see his thinking but that’s okay if you work inside a bubble of a brand that has been built that way from its conception?

So I broached the question … A large corporate comes along with a strong internationally recognised brand accompanied by it strict brand bible wanting a new website, good accessibility, and of course great SEO, me being a designer sees this as simple, I produce the design to the best of my ability within the brief taking into account elements of Optimisation with the SEO being added to its upmost once the design is signed off.

His opinion was no, start with the SEO and do the design as best you can within the optimisation framework as that’s what’s important?

Brand > Design > Optimisation

Optimisation > Design > Brand

Just a quick summary of an interesting chat which I’m sure happens a lot these day but it does raise interesting questions?

Who is right? I would argue myself but in a rapidly changing online landscape is the SEO Guru the man to lead?

Walking down the high street now seeing empty shops in still busy towns I agree with some is a sign of e commerce and online savings, I know shop owners who have closed down as they could not compete online or off with web wholesalers.

Getting you products online is key to success now, getting found is a fundamental part of this, but once there the design has to engage, and is a brand that in the past stuck so rigidly to its brand bible now okay to be forced to be flexible?

John Whalvin
Creative Director


Don’t submit your website to any search engines

There was a time when the belief was to submit to search engines, following the free submit link on Google and slowly but surely inputting every address and description, when the truth is just linking the sites from an already listed website is enough. Google when crawling starts at the beginning and ends at the end following every link it comes accross to it’s conclusion and if your site is linked from others it will get crawled. The crawlers don’t stop to jump over to brand new existing site just because a free submit occured, read link below for more:




Google – What is going to change? Google Caffeine?

There are no details that have been released as of yet but there are online “bytes” that the following factors might play an increasing role in Google’s next index:

  • Your website speed: slow loading websites may suffer by not getting high rankings on Google, this has been rumoured for some time and does make a lot of sense, a sort of bad site cull if you will.
  • Existing Broken links: broken links are a bugbear anyway and should not exist, this might have a negative impact of the position but should be cleaned up as a matter of course anyway, especially prevalent with re-edited and redesigned sites using existing type with embedded links.
  • Links with Bad neighbourhoods: Linking with spammers is not great for your rankings in Google’s already. This will get increasingly worse so pay attention to who you are linking with, We get emailed daily with link requests which go straight in the trash, relevant links form non-spammers only, stick to who you know.
  • The build quality of your website: Google’s new setup will take a closer look at the overall quality of your site, this is pretty obvious when you take into account all current factors, the better the build the better the crawl, the better the crawl the better the position, clean your code.


  • Remove all spam elements from your web pages.
  • Check and clean up your website design and the navigation.
  • Get links from social bookmark websites, these are becoming increasingly important, keep your staff sweet and get them to link in too.
  • Check your links, remove all outbound links to any site you think may be spammers or unsavoury, if your not sure, remove!



Micro / Satellite sites

2 days, 2 meetings and 4 micro sites or are they?

The idea that buying multiple domain names us not a new one, placing optimised sites behind those domain names to help business is not a new one but what is the best method?

I was asked yesterday to go ahead and start work on a large site for an existing client, there current site us doing fine but larger businesses are dominating the search engines with multiple landing pages from multiple sites under not only different domain names but different brands but all feeding a sole business. A duplication of the existing site is now afoot, different images, rewritten text and a cms system, the other is a 4 page site just picking at s niche Market but for the same result.

The 2 today are to be created under different domains and new brands but feeding a sole provider although both will be small 4 page sites.

I would argue that the creation of this style of site could harm the Internet long term but I would also argue that if i am not searching for them then will never find them therefore not a worry and as long as my concious is clear that the quality and standard of the final business offering in the chain is up to standard then surely there is no issue?