Are you really Driving Your Business? Or are you a passenger just going along for the ride?
Because the landscape of business promotion and marketing is always changing, so you need to adapt to those changes to be able to stay relevant within your industry!
What am I talking about? Well think back to late last year when I told you about RankBrain.....Google's Artificial Intelligence (AI) system for search engine positioning evaluation.
Since then it's got much more efficient in it's processes because it has the ability to learn as it goes along. Consequently Google is now applying more importance to it's recommendations! It's purpose could best be described as the "translator", because it instructs the algorithm what to think about the content....with a view to making the search results more relevant to the user.
RankBrain has the ability to "humanise" the assessment, and is able to interpret the "intent" behind a user's query rather than just give a result based on matching words. Therefore you need to be delivering high quality relevant information by means of supplying answers, recommendations, and solutions to users' queries.
What we have now is three areas in the SEO process.....RankBrain, Content, and Links. When I say links I mean the number of quality backlinks on high authority sites that are pointing to yours.
So what is a "high authority" website? Essentially I'm referring to sites like Governmental, Educational, national newspapers, international news portals, multinational corporations etc. We're talking major league players here.....not a useless backlink on your mate's website for Jock Strap repairs that he made using a DIY sitebuilder. Links of that nature will see you dropping like a stone because you're grouping yourself in the same category as nonentities.
While we're on the subject of links, do NOT exchange mutual links with business colleagues. Reciprocal linking will get you both canned in double quick time as it looks like you're trying to cheat the system. This is not 2005! The only backlink worth having is one that you've earned on a high profile website! Quality not quantity is what counts, exactly the same as with the content that you publish on your site.
You cannot cheat your way to the top of search engines! Anybody who tries to convince you that they can guarantee high search engine positioning is just misleading you. Simply because you're now dealing with a system that has an artificial intelligence! Think of it as a robot in some respects. It has the ability to learn as it goes along, and is able to ascertain exactly what users are looking for in terms of their "intent". At that point it instructs the Google algorithms on how to make the relevant assessment.
RankBrain is geared to reward websites that deliver high quality content and offer a mobile friendly experience. Without both you have no hope whatsoever if your business is competing in a large, competitive business market like property, vehicles, tourism etc. Conversely, the knock-on effect of delivering a great experience on those factors, means there is more likelihood of you earning links on a high authority site which will help you even more.
Once again.....there is no "magic bullet". There are no shortcuts that can be taken! There is no way of cheating! It takes time and commitment to build up an extensive content base of high quality articles on your site that actually deliver value to users! I've been doing this for years, and I'm still doing it now. Hence our permanent placement at top spot on Google for "Web Design Spain".
Ask yourself why the businesses offering additional "SEO services" don't have the level of dominance that we have? After all, we don't even offer SEO services! The reason, quite simply, is that we practice what we preach by continually delivering quality unique content. And we then market it via Social Media! There is no mystery whatoever.....we just do what we advise you to do.
Now all this has nothing to do with Web Design (which is what we do), but it has everything to do with the promotional and marketing initiatives that are an integral part of your business (which is what you do).
There's no reason why any of you can't achieve the positioning that we have. We all use the same software, and nothing has been done technically on our site that hasn't been done on yours. The only difference is the content......or more specifically, the quality of the content, and what we do with it.
What do we do? If you're reading this article, there's your answer! We continually publish quality unique content that delivers value, which is then marketed across all Social Media channels! We hope you'll find these articles to be of help to you, but ultimately it's up to you whether you choose to act on them.
If you do, you'll need to do it on a permanent and ongoing basis. It's hard, and sometimes I wonder whether anybody even reads the articles! But what motivates me is I know who does read them.....and that's Google! I make sure they index it within an hour, and then it's one more star to add to my report card.
This sort of initiative can be classed as just one aspect of driving your business! And you know the old saying....."If you're not driving your business, then you'll be driven out of business".
I'm in the Driving Seat! I've always been in the Driving Seat! Are you?
As we get older, we tend to look back and think that life was better in the past! It was certainly simpler then that's for sure.
But time moves on for all of us and the only option that we have is to go with the flow! There's no pause button to lock our life into one moment in time!
And never is this more true than with technology.....it just keeps advancing. I know that some people tend to resent change in these areas.....but ask yourself, would you like to go back to the pre-mobile era of basic flip-up phones? Ten years ago we could never have dreamed that we'd be walking around with the internet, and in many cases our business, right in the palm of our hands. These sort of advancements require change, as older technologies and applications are gradually replaced by more efficient versions. You're getting the benefits of these developments every day....in everything you do.
The same principle applies to the software applications that power websites and servers. They all get better, quicker, more efficient, and more secure. And I want to touch on just one aspect of that.....PHP. PHP is a widely used scripting language for web applications that powers most of the sites that you visit every day. Including your own!
Those of you on older sites are aware of the upgrade to PHP 5.6 this month which could render some of these obsolete sites as unuseable. We are able to relocate these sites to alternative hosts that are still running older PHP versions, so the sites will still be able to run. But all you're doing is hitting the pause button and trying to lock yourself into a moment in time that's now gone. And it's not just the time that's gone......it's the security and efficiency as well. Security always has to be the predominant factor in the equation.
As we've touched on PHP, let's examine how it's improved over the years by looking at the graph below. This only relates to speed, but you'll get an idea of the groundbreaking improvements that have been made.
We originally started on the PHP 4 series, and then started moving incrementally through the PHP 5 versions.
By 2008 we were on PHP 5.2.....and due to the advancements it made, the time had dropped to 4.2 seconds.
In 2012 we upgraded onto PHP 5.3, and the time went down to 2.9 seconds.
In 2014 we moved to PHP 5.4....which dropped the time down to 2.18 seconds.
Last year it was time for PHP 5.5 which resulted in yet another drop to 2.03 seconds.
June 2016 and it's time for PHP 5.6, as PHP 5.5 is end of line. And we're now below the two second mark at 1.92 seconds.
Compare the times from 2006 (over 12 seconds) to 2016 (under 2 seconds)......that's an incredible difference in speed. And also in efficiency, because it uses less server CPU and memory doing it, while being totally up to date on security.
The next PHP upgrade after this will be PHP 7.......and that will be at the start of 2019. Current tests seem to suggest that it will cut the PHP 5.6 time by 50%, and come in at under a second to run that task. Now that is amazing, and it just shows how far we've come!
So why would anybody want to run on old, outdated, and insecure versions of PHP? Every version of PHP below 5.6 is now a serious security risk, and every website running on obsolete software is also a serious security risk. Put the two together and you've got the perfect storm!
If you have a current and viable business, with your website being an integral part of it.......can you seriously afford to take the risk of Living in The Past?
Security is the most important aspect of any internet based application. Bar none! Just because you haven't experienced bad things.....bad things do happen, and it's getting worse. Every day we battle with various attempted security breaches at both server and site level. If they're particularly serious then we let clients know.
It doesn't help that despite numerous security advisories, some clients knowingly continue to run obsolete and insecure software. Unfortunately there's only so much we can do in these situations because vulnerabilities actually exist......so it's only a matter of time before somebody exploits them. That's an absolute fact.
If you're on current software (which 99% of our clients are) then the risk is greatly reduced. It doesn't mean you're impervious to intrusion by any means, but the odds in your favour are a lot better. But what do you do if somebody wants you taken out of commission for either business or personal reasons?
Now this is where it gets interesting......because recently, two sites have gone through a period of sustained and premeditated hacking attempts. And one of them was ours! Yes.....I'm talking about this site!
In our case, somebody (for whatever reason) bombarded the site with intrusion attempts. And despite everything being locked down tight, they got in. We were onto it virtually instantly and dealt with it, but the results could have been catastrophic.
So it was at that point we had to rethink our options. We immediately put in a commercial website firewall application along with a number of other security related initiatives......which for obvious reasons we can't elaborate on. Since then all has been well, but we're expecting a repeat at any time, and no doubt this will be at an even higher level of expertise.
The second incident occurred very recently......and it was directed at one of our lady clients. Somebody who's been with us for many years and has a very successful business. Her attacks were perpetrated over a longer period and at a much higher volume than ours. It sent her bandwidth usage through the roof resulting in her site going offline for a short period.
We then set up the same security system as we'd done on ours, but we even had to take the unprecedented step of blocking transmissions from a number of countries. Yes.....it was that bad. I'm pleased to report that since then everything is back to normal.....however, as in the case of our site, we're monitoring any traffic to her site very carefully.
So why were we, and our client, attacked in this manner?
The common denominator is we've both been in our respective business sectors for nearly 20 years and are very well established. It could well be the case that we're the dominant entities in our markets......and if either of us were taken out of commission then others could potentially stand to gain from it. Neither of us have any problems with any person (client or otherwise) past or present, and neither of us have any bad business relationships with competitors or associates. So there's absolutely nothing conclusive to go on.
The fact remains that two of us with current and secure software were taken out of commission in a clinical, systematic, and sustained manner. This was no script kiddy or opportunist behind it.....this was a pro who no doubt was being paid to get the desired result. Disruption was minimal in both cases as we were on it fast......but it just goes to show that even when even when all your web applications are up to date, a pro can still get to you. If you're running obsolete software then the result will not be a short disruption, it'll be a trainwreck......but that's your choice.
The cold, hard truth is that even if all applications are up to date and all normal security processes are in place, you're still vulnerable. Not vulnerable in relation to the amateur hackers (like obsolete sites are), but you are most definitely vulnerable to the pros. And it doesn't cost much for somebody to hire a pro to do this sort of job! Both my client and I are fairly sure this is what happened in our cases......and we may not be in the clear yet, as only time will tell.
My feeling on this whole business is that now I would never run a site of mine without having the commercial firewall (and other initiatives) in place. Our property was violated....the site felt "dirty" afterwards so we replaced it entirely. If you've ever had a car stolen and returned then it's the same feeling, and I don't want to be in that position again. Should any clients want to have the same level of protection put in place to secure their site, and the way things are these days I would certainly consider it, just contact us at
It seems that the Next Big Thing is on the way.....and it's called AMP! Which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages!
In Google's words “The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an open source initiative that embodies the vision that publishers can create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.” Read more HERE!
So what they want is a mobile experience with virtually an instant page load! This is achieved by adhering to a limited set of technical functionality that is defined and governed by the open source AMP specifications. AMP files will then take advantage of various technical and architectural approaches that prioritize speed to provide a faster experience for users. So this is an additional aspect solely relating to mobile devices that potentially could be included with the current web frameworks that we use.
Will AMP affect you? Yes....it'll affect all of us! Because it appears that Google will be putting a heavy emphasis on AMP pages when delivering search results on mobile devices. It doesn't mean that your current mobile compatible site is now obsolete, that's not the case. It just means that if there's an additional AMP version available then you're likely to see a better result on the search listings to reflect your use of the new technology. And obviously your users will get a much better experience while using the site compared to the current mobile format.
This initiative is still in it's infancy, and we're watching closely for further developments and clarification of standards before fully committing to this aspect. As far as we can ascertain at the moment, it's likely to involve the building of AMP pages alongside the existing site structure. But whether this will be backwards compatible to current mobile sites is unclear. If it is, then hopefully we would be able to offer the option of an AMP upgrade to current clients.
This isn't anything you need to think about at the moment, as development of the project is still ongoing. What we're doing here (as always) is keeping you ahead of the curve on forthcoming technical initiatives which will affect you and your business. And I think you know by now.....technology doesn't stand still. So neither can we!
We all know that over the last decade the technology that we use has advanced beyond anything we ever imagined!
But along with this increased sophistication comes increased danger. I'm talking about cyber crime!
Now before you dismiss this as another paranoid rant about something that's not relevant to you, just take a look at this......because what you see there is happening right now: Live Cyber Attack Monitoring Service.
I've seen attacks in excess of 5 million per day taking place, it's literally a battlefield......and you're in the middle of it. Every day!
What can we do to protect ourselves? Firstly you need to understand that we can never be 100% impervious to cyber attacks, because if governments and giant multinational corporations can be taken down, then what hope do we have?
But realistically the elite level operators who commit acts of that magnitude are not interested in you and I......they want the big fish! And invariably they get them......as nearly 300 million records were leaked and over $1 billion were stolen in 2015.
The lower levels of hackers would certainly be interested in us though. To some it's just a game (and there are online games going on where they score points for defacing sites)......or to some it's personally motivated. By that I mean people with a grudge, or competitors who would like nothing better than to take you out of the game.
What makes it more dangerous is that the entry level for attackers has now been lowered considerably. You don't need to have any skills or knowledge whatsoever, you just pay for access to one of these online cyber attack service portals and you simply click a few buttons. The cost is minimal for basic services, but the more you pay then potentially the more mayhem you can create. Yes.....we now live in a world where you can go online and order whatever services you want in order to commit internet crime.
All we can do is take the necessary precautions......and take security seriously! The server software is always kept current, and whatever security measures we can deploy are always in place for your protection. But that counts for very little if your site software has become end of line and has had no security updates for some time. Because someone could potentially get access without raising any alarms, and the first you'll know about it is if your site gets defaced or thousands of e-mails get sent out supposedly coming from you. Obviously the content contained in those e-mails is not going to be pleasant, and will no doubt result in your domain name getting blacklisted right across the internet.
I would strongly recommend that you don't go down this path of outdated site software.....it's not going to end well. It will result in complete disruption, loss of business, and a degree of diminished client confidence.
As far as our clients are concerned, we always make people aware if they're in that situation, as we believe in complete transparency and keeping people informed. But ultimately what they choose to do is up to them.
I would suggest you now go back and check the Live Cyber Attack Monitoring Service and see how the daily figure has risen since you started reading this article. And if you're knowingly running outdated site software, then go and check your site to make sure that you haven't become Just Another Victim!
Remember the old record players from the past when a record would get stuck.....and one part would keep on repeating endlessly? Well that's me that is! Simply because I've been endlessly repeating for many years that quality content on a website is the key factor in getting good search engine positioning.
In fact I even demonstrated it with the tests in the article Is Content Still King? Plus, the continued dominance of this site on Google Searches is a fairly clear indication that my ideas, if implemented correctly, will produce results.
However.....that's still not enough for some people! They insist on clinging onto a belief that what the man in the pub told them, or what info some spammy SEO company has sent them, is actually true. Well it's not! And after years of battling with people who insist on recounting third party BS, my good friends at Google have at last come to my aid.
Good friends? Well I've never made any secret about it....I love Google! They've introduced superb applications to us at no cost (GMail being one), transformed mobile computing into what we see today, and are always innovating and advancing the technology. Compare that to the dubious practices of other major companies over the years who have made billions by delivering substandard and inherently flawed applications at totally unrealistic price points.
From my point of view, the best aspect is that Google have run the cheaters out of town. Because years ago some "businesses" made a lot of money by cheating their clients' sites into good positioning. They knew full well that it was a blinkered short term strategy that would eventually result in these sites disappearing from Google permanently. But money talks! In later years these people have rebranded themselves as link cleanup and reputation management companies where they're now making even money by cleaning up the mess they created in the first place. You couldn't make this up could you?
Anyway, Google has now come to my rescue by releasing their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines for everybody to analyse. But be aware it's 160 pages long......so I've highlighted the critical points for you.
1. Page Quality: The keyphrase is E-A-T......which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness!
Your site should have a “satisfying amount” of high-quality main content, and be authoritative, trustworthy, and informed about the relevant subject matter. The site should have a good reputation, along with about us, contact, and customer service information clearly displayed. Google also states that pages will be considered low-quality if they are created “without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill".
2. YMYL (Your Money Or Your Life) Pages and Expert Content. This means that if you're writing on a subject then you need to demonstrate that you're an expert on it. Do you know your business? You're the only one who can answer that......and if you do, then you need to demonstrate it.
3. Supplementary Content: Google emphasise the importance of supplementary content, such as sidebar info and links to other related articles. I've always told people this, so I'm glad to see them come out and confirm it after all this time.
4. Page Design: Let's make this clear.....Google doesn't care if your site is blue or red, and it doesn't care if your images have little twirly effects if you put your mouse on them. You may care......but Google and your users don't. What Google (and users) want is a functional, streamlined, intuitive page that is easy to navigate with main content front and centre. Google values functionality over beauty.
5. Mobile optimisation: It goes without saying that if your site is not mobile responsive today you may as well not even bother doing anything else, because you're not even in the game.
6. Trust: Websites should be trustworthy! What constitutes trustworthy? SSL certificate, linking to credible, relevant sources to substantiate what you're saying, and building a good interaction for your content with social media particularly Google Plus. That way you're establishing yourself as an expert in your field. So it's not just the site that needs to be established....it's YOU!
7. User Experience: Are you meeting the needs of your visitors? They want clear information.......so are you providing it? Users want to be able to find content that is relevant to them.....so are you making it easy for them? If people visit your site and give up trying to get information within a few seconds because you've insisted on some ludicrous system of navigation, it sends Google a clear message that it's not meeting users' expectations. Which means Google will class you as a low quality site.
However, if they stay on the site and navigate to different pages because they find the content of value, that sends a positive signal to Google and will help your rankings. What a user wants from the site may not match your vision of what it should be.....but if you prioritise your choices over theirs then don't expect to get good positioning on search engines.
8. Satisfying Content: For content to satisfy a user’s needs, the Guidelines state that the content must be “fully satisfying for mobile user,” require minimal effort to locate, and provide value to the reader. Does yours?
9. Fails To Meet Content: This is where your information is sparse, copied from other sources, unrelated to the query, filled with incorrect facts, or needs supporting information to validate it's claims. If this occurs then you lose trust and credibility with Google and users.
10. Keywords: Use them sparingly and only when necessary in content! If you start keyword jamming you're going to be penalised. This isn't 2005.
To summarise.....you need high quality, expert content! Simple as that! And if you create pages which demonstrate high levels of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness within your area of business then you will reap the rewards!
Now that Google have openly published their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (they've never done it before) you should look back over the articles that I've published over the years and compare them. If you do that, you'll see that what I have been saying on every aspect of SEO for many years has now been officially confirmed by Google.
So now, officially, I am no longer a stuck record! Strange but True!
Let's talk FACTS! The reality is that there are many good web designers in Spain who you could choose for your new website, and there's also some who may deliver a less than stellar experience. So how do you know who to choose? Well in my case, I'll actually suggest the ones I know who are totally professional. Like us, they've been around a long time, and have an excellent reputation. We're quite open about this, and despite the fact we're all doing the same thing, we're generally using different platforms and systems to do it.
It may be the case that one of them would be a better fit for you than us.....and if so we'll give you all their details. No designer can be all things to all men, so beware of any that claim that they are. Simply because a project emanating from a knowledge base that is one mile wide and only one inch deep is never going to deliver the experience that a specialist can.
It's in your interest to check any potential designer's work, and always take up references from existing professional clients. Any experienced Pro will have a lot of them, not just one or two from a couple of very low key projects. You can see some of ours HERE!
Now whether you know this or not, it's a fact that you're going to need ongoing help and support after you've taken delivery of your website. If you get a site from a "sell it and forget it" type of operation then I guarantee that it's not going to end well.
I know because of the number of people who get referred to me when a serious situation occurs with their current designer.
It can get very messy indeed involving loss of money, loss of site, loss of domain name etc.....so do your research. If you make a purchasing decision based on the cheapest you can find, and without practicing due diligence, then be aware there could be a trainwreck up ahead. And you're going to be in it!
We've always felt that the level of after sales service and ongoing support that we provide is outstanding. And our clients think so too! After all, we have over 500 of them.....and there has to be a reason for that. Here's some facts for you to consider:
1. A client contacted us with a problem on Xmas Day. They got a two minute response and five minute resolution. FACT!
2. Contact your current web designer at 11PM on a Saturday night and see how long before you get a response. If you're a client of ours it'll be 5 minutes. FACT!
3. Unlike many others who only run reseller accounts from web hosting providers, we run our own Dedicated Servers in London and Chicago. Essentially, we are the host, there's nobody else involved apart from the on-site technicians within the respective datacentres. The only people on our servers are our web design clients with the sites that we built.
We don't provide web hosting to outsiders simply because we don't want anything introduced onto the server that could have a negative effect on our business clients' sites. Yes.....we turn away hosting business on virtually a weekly basis so we can have a clean house. FACT!
4. Every site has a remote monitoring system connected to it. So if a site fails to load we'll have a notification within 5 minutes.....and we react immediately to get it running again. If your site is running on a reseller account with another designer then you'll be the first one to notice it.....and maybe it's been down for days and you didn't know?
At that point you'll need to contact your designer and wait for them to respond to your mail. Unfortunately it doesn't end there, because then they have to wait for their hosting provider to respond to their support ticket. Timescale? Your guess is as good as mine on that......but it certainly won't be the five minute action that we provide. FACT!
5. Site backups? Most people don't think twice about this, and if you're one of those, you'd better start now because your business may depend on it. Our system is that we use the commercial R1Soft Backup platform. This makes 10 incremental backups over the course of a month: At 1AM on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the application copies all your data to a remote server. So think of it like the Windows restore points on your PC......the site can be rolled back to a previous date.
That system takes considerable investment in both time and money to operate, plus we have to pay for the additional 1TB storage space that it needs. But that's what we do, and it's there for your protection! FACT!
6. Every site has an additional database backup every night at midnight. This actually gets stored in a secured folder under our WebSpain domain name account so it's instantly accessible by us at anytime. That's a database restore in minutes! FACT!
7. Every site that we build has security updates applied to it through the lifetime of that particular version. As a rough guide, each version will run for about 3 years before it becomes end of line. During that time we could have updated it up to 25 times to keep it as secure as possible. Cost to the client? Zero! We do it because that's the professional way things should be done. We do not compromise on Security! FACT!
8. We monitor server logs and security alerts throughout the day. If there's any potential malicious activity occurring then we'll know all about it, and take appropriate action. If you are hosted on somebody else's reseller account they'll never even see these notifications because they don't have root access. So our level of vigilance is considerably higher than most! FACT!
9. Sometimes E-mails can't be delivered because there's a problem on the recipient's server! We let you know if this happens, so no more disappearing mails and possible loss of business. We cover all of that as part of our service! FACT!
10. We do not sub-contract any of our work to third parties......never have and never will. In rare circumstances we do bring in a specialist coder if you have bespoke requirements relating to XML property imports, but we'll put him in contact with you direct. You pay him, and unlike many others, we don't add any additional charge to that. Everything we do is completely transparent! FACT!
There's actually many other elements to our service that you'll never know about until you become a client. But you'll see that some of them are mentioned in What The People Say by our clients. The point here is that with us, the response, interest, and level of personal service don't cease to exist after purchase. If anything, it gets better. We've got many clients who've been with us for over 10 years now, and in our industry that's pretty remarkable. What does that tell you?
If you're comparing web designers......then compare on a like for like basis! We've listed above some of the things that we bring to the table.....so go ahead and check how many of those aspects that other web designers actually deliver!
It comes down to this: Back in 1998 my goal was to build a business that would last a lifetime.....rather than some cowboy outfit that wouldn't even last a lunchtime. And in that respect I've succeeded.....because WebSpain will outlive me for sure! Now that's a FACT......and who else can say that?
So who's the Best Web Designer in Spain? If you search on Google they seem to think it's us! But Google are wrong......we're not!
And I'll tell you who else it isn't.....the man in the pub! I'm sure you know the type: Been everywhere, done everything, knows everything, and in a former life was allegedly a mover and a shaker in big business. Use people like this at your own risk......we've seen the aftermath of these trainwrecks and it's not a pretty sight.
The reality is that if you think using professionals is expensive, just wait till you go down the amateur route. I would advise you to do your research carefully, and look for a longterm, proven, and verifiable track record in the industry. And it goes without saying that you need to take up references. These are some of ours: WebSpain Clients......and all the other pros will be able to show you something similar.
So who is the best? First we need to establish how the industry works. Generally the pros will specialise in a particular application or framework. Essentially, we're all doing the same thing but with different systems and on different platforms. We've worked solely with Joomla (and it's predecessor Mambo) since 2001, while others may be working with WordPress or Drupal, or perhaps they do bespoke sites with their own systems. And there are some who only work in specific business areas.....like Real Estate for example.
As you can see, there is a major specialisation and segmentation occurring here, and that makes comparisons very difficult. This specialisation doesn't occur with the man in the pub of course! He'll throw anything together with anything that comes to hand that happens to be free.....and you'll pay for the dubious privilege of being his guinea pig. Your choice!
What about Review Sites? You'll see these all over the internet, particularly for web hosts. These are not real review sites, they're paid ads.....and you can pay for any of the positions. Obviously if you want number one then that's the most expensive option, and the price then drops incrementally for the lower slots. We were approached a couple of years ago for a "Spain Web Designer Review" fiasco. Our position is we've never paid a penny for advertising in 18 years, so we're not going to start now! Particularly in a deceptive way like that.
To anybody who's considering working with a web designer, I'd suggest that you search on Google and speak to a few of them. Get a feel for who they are and how they do things. You need to find one that's a good "fit" for YOU! Remember that it's not about them.....it's about YOU.
So who is the best web designer in Spain?
We may be the best web designer for some people, but given the specialisation and fragmentation I listed above, it's not possible to be all things to all men! Unless you're the man in the pub of course! That guy is multi talentless on all levels.
The simple answer to this question is there isn't one! There's only the web designer that's best for YOU! It may be us.....or it may be somebody else. But one thing I can guarantee is that the "somebody else" is never going to be the man in the pub!
What I want to do in this article is hopefully give you some ideas on how you can make your life so much easier......while being much more efficient. I know that some of the options may not be what you want to hear.....because the older we get, the more resistant we become to change. But over the years I've made these changes, and it's made a big difference in the way I work.
1. Stop using Windows! Though if you happen to take some perverse pleasure in paying for an operating system that compels you to battle with your computer in an endless cycle of computer crashes, registry errors, defragging hard drives, and battling viruses and Trojans......then ignore this!
Me, I can live without all that angst.....and I have done for 10 years by using Linux. None of those scenarios ever occur, it just works. And even better, the operating system is free forever.
I know some of you will say......I'm too used to Windows! Actually you're not! Because if you own an Android phone, a Tablet, or a Chromebook, you're already using Linux! Android is a Linux based system. The servers that run your websites are Linux, 95% of the world's supercomputers run Linux, and even NASA and the International Space Station run on Linux!
Seeing a pattern here?
2. This one actually goes hand in hand with my first point. If you stop using Windows then you can kiss Outlook goodbye.
But if you're one of those masochistic types who feel that they can't live without the misery-inducing trauma of a Windows system.....then just get rid of Outlook. You wouldn't believe the number of clients I've seen over the years lose all their data because they insisted on clinging to this application. And you also need to be worried about Ransomware (where you have to pay €350+ to get your computer unlocked), along with malware sending out thousands of hardcore mails.....in your name.
So that's your credibility gone, along with your domain getting blacklisted all over the internet of course. There's better options!
3. Internet Explorer....and whatever this ludicrous new Windows 10 browser is called! Stop using them! I've seen enough virus infestations and browser hijacks over the years that can be traced back to IE to know that you don't go there. There's better options!
3. We all use E-Mail......it's a critical tool for us. So why are some of you still storing it on your computers via something like Outlook? This isn't 2005....we now live in the mobile era so you need to be platform and computer independent. Instant access to all your data wherever you are and whatever device you use is now a critical part of moderrn business. The key to all this? GMail.
Hands down it's the best tool for the job! If you use the Chrome browser (which is what I recommend) then you have so many extensions available that allow you to tweak it to exactly what you want. And remember you can set up your business mail address as an alias, so as far as everybody is concerned it actually came from your private mail account. The power of having every e-mail you've ever sent, along with full contact details of all your clients in the palm of your hand is a revelation.
You don't need to be detached from your business communications and all your data.....just use Gmail.
4. Of course when you store all your data within GMail contacts it becomes accessible via other mobile applications......in particular, Whatsapp! Free calls to anybody in the world opens up a whole new world of business opportunities, so make sure you get both Whatsapp and Skype details from all new contacts. You now have an easy way to keep lines of communication open for business, and remember that if you don't do it......your competitors will.
5. This one is common sense.....but I doubt many of you reading this article actually do it! And it's backup the data on your PC's every week! Plug in external USB, copy the data from your documents folder, then disconnect from the PC. Do not leave it connected. In my 28 years in IT I've known businesses go under because they failed to listen to this advice.....so take this very seriously.
Now here's the bottom line! You can continue to pay for commercial software that complicates your life.....or you can use free open source applications that will make your life easier. The mobile era has completely changed the game! But have you changed with it......or are you still clinging to the way you've always worked?
My way of thinking is if you're still stuck in the 2005 way of doing things, then maybe it's time to move on?
Do you remember Jackanory? Most of us will I'm sure......but did you know that you can still enjoy stories of total fantasy like we heard when we were children?
Because Once Upon a Time the internet was invented, and story tellers finally had a platform to make themselves heard.
And even better, it was a safe place where they could hide behind a keyboard or change identity when they got found out. So let's recap some of the best "wondrous stories" from recent years.....predictably most relate to SEO!
We will get you the number one position on Google.
Nobody can guarantee anything......all you can do is influence.
We will get you ranked on the first page of Google.
As above.....though this could be possible by getting you found for some ludicrous search string that nobody would ever use. In which case it's of no use to you whatsoever. For example, if you're an Estate Agent on the Costa del Sol, do you think getting a high ranking for a term such as "Pink villa in Calle Centro Marbella with a rock garden of gnomes holding fishing rods" is really going to be a game changer?
(Within an hour of posting that ludicrous search string I had the Google number one position for it. So do you see how easy it is to get high rankings for ridiculous terms? Getting them for key search phrases is a different matter of course).
Your website can't be found on search engines!
So how did they find you? Crystal Ball? Ouija Board? The Voices in their Head?
We know Google’s Algorithims.
Nobody does.....not even the senior executives at Google.
We know people at Google, so we can get you to the top of the list.
I know somebody in the RAF.....but that doesn't get me a free plane.
The more pages of content you have, the better.
Content is critical, but it's the quality that counts not the quantity.
We'll build 10,000 backlinks to your site!
Backlinks are still relevant today......but not quantity of links, only quality of links! So 10,000 backlinks on things like Bolivian jock strap repairers or seedy Korean link farms are actually going to harm you.....because you'll be seen to be keeping bad company. Be very careful when it comes to sites that link to you.
We've tested your site, it has thousands of errors, so you're doomed unless we fix it!
If your site had thousands of errors it wouldn't even load. What these people do is run an automated program that analyses all the processes within the site.....then send you a report that everything is wrong. Run one of these tests on Wikipedia and you'll get a similar result.....so why is it they end up on virtually every internet search that you make? One reason only......and that's content.
We'll optimise your MetaTags to get good positioning!
Meta keyword tags are hidden key words contained at the top of web pages. Years ago they were part of the evaluation because search engine algorithms were very basic. This is no longer the case, and Google doesn't even look at Meta keyword tags in it's indexing process. We still include them out of habit, but their relevance is now zero.
We have 250 in-house experts ready to work on your project.
Basically this can be translated to "We'll take any old job.....irrespective of whether we can do it. Then we'll sub-contract it out to somebody else....who hopefully knows a bit more than we do". This happens a lot....particularly with agencies who claim to do everything. We don't sub-contract anything out to third parties because we only work within our specialist area.
A bloke in the pub said........
I lose the will to live hearing this one! If you're going to recount what somebody has said then I need to see what prior accreditation they bring to the table. Are they world renowned industry influencers? Larry Page or Sergey Brin at Google perhaps? Mark Zuckerberg at FaceBook maybe? No.....he's more likely to be the bloke who cleans your swimming pool. Now I'm sure he does a good job of that, but he's no more qualified to offer advice in my field than I am in his.
Show me a verifiable track record of success in web technologies and I'm all ears. Heresay and verbal claims of prior greatness carry as much weight with me as they would with a court of law.
Your website will never need upgrading or updating!
This one is the most ludicrous of the lot. Really, words fail me on this.....it's totally surreal that people could be so gullible and naive! OK.....try and get your head around the concept of buying something that never ages. Because what they're claiming is that you could buy some software today that will somehow morph itself into different entities to take advantage of new technology that gets introduced as the years go on. Presumably it will automatically patch itself to close security loopholes as well.....before those vulnerabilities even exist.
If you feel there may be some merit in the statements that they're making then you need to go to your nearest car dealer and ask to buy a model that will never age or deteriorate. One that will run on any fuel source that's ever going to be introduced in the future! But just make sure that if hover cars are ever introduced then it already has the capacity to float through the air. After all.....you wouldn't want to be caught out would you?
So the message here is just be aware that not everything is what it seems to be on the internet! Talk is cheap! Some "businesses" tend to make everything as technical and complicated as possible in order to put up a smokescreen around the actual reality of the situation. Blinding you with science in effect.
We've always taken the reverse approach where we advise and then give a real world analogy to illustrate what we mean. We're totally transparent, and more often than not, what we say differs greatly from what others say. But we deal in reality, nothing else. Reality may not be what you want to face, because many people still believe in this mythical "Magic Bullet" of SEO, but reality is what it is.
So when you come across spurious claims regarding anything that is web related, just stop and think whether you would invest in any other product or service in the real world based on some of the assertions that these people are making? Evaluate internet based activity as a related aspect of your everyday life where the same rules apply.....not as some parallel universe where logic and common sense have been completely thrown overboard.
As 2016 goes on, keep your eye out for more "Wondrous Stories" appearing. And if you want to Live Happily Ever After......don't waste your time with fantasy!