Mobile First Indexing

This week, I’ve been getting regular emails from Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) to let me know that my own sites and those of my clients that I’ve added to the console have been switched to “Mobile-first” indexing.

Mobile-first Indexing

What this basically means is that the results in Google searches will show content primarily from the mobile version of your website….IF you have one! If you do or your website is fully responsive and adaptable to mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets then you need do nothing for the most part.

If however your website is currently setup any the following ways, you may need to act to avoid the loss of ranking and possible drop in the search results:

  • No Mobile version,
  • No Responsive version,
  • A Mobile version that doesn’t have the same quality, comprehensive content and tags as your main site,
  • An old Mobile version on a separate domain, ie – m.mysite.com.

The first thing you need to do is test to see if your site has a mobile friendly version or if the main site is mobile friendly. You can do that with Google’s own tool here:

search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

If all is well with that then you need not worry. If your site is shown to be not mobile friendly though you may need to make it so to avoid issues. Here are the options:

  • Rebuild the site with a fully responsive design (best, future proofed option),
  • Add a Mobile friendly plugin (If your site is WordPress or CMS based).

Here’s some further reading on the subject of Mobile-first Indexing:

Google – webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/03/rolling-out-mobile-first-indexing.html

Yoast – yoast.com/5-things-about-mobile-first-indexing/

Please get in touch if you need further advice.

Leon

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Photoshop CC Essential Basics Online Course

I’ve created a 9 Lesson online course in Photoshop CC basics for Photoshop beginners who would like to know how to do basic image editing. It’s suitable for:

  • Photographers,
  • Business Owners,
  • Marketing People,
  • Graphic Designers,
  • Web Designers,
  • Photoshop Hobbyists.

Requirements:

  • Basic computing ability,
  • A decent, modern Desktop or Laptop computer,
  • A cloud subscription to Photoshop CC (or the free months trial).

Topics Covered include:

  1. Where and how to get Photoshop,
  2. Photoshop Configuration,
  3. The Photoshop Interface,
  4. How to Open images,
  5. How to Crop images,
  6. How to Resize images,
  7. How to Add Text to an image,
  8. How to Save an image,
  9. How to Save Optimised images for the Web.

There’s also a Quiz at the end to test your new found knowledge!

The course is a total of 40 mins long and only €79 + VAT.

TAKE THE COURSE

GDPR & Websites

The General Data Protection Regulation or “GDPR” deadline day of 25th May 2018 is getting closer and we’re all going to die. The Data Apocalypse is nigh.. You may have seen one or two or 10,000 news articles about it recently? Anyway, I’ve done some research and attended workshops in an effort to try make sense of it all for mine and my own companies’s benefit and I’m happy to share the basics I’ve learned here with you, hopefully in a simplified and jargon free way.

What’s it all about?

Basically on the 25th May 2018, new legislation is being introduced across Europe to protect private individual’s data a lot more. If companies don’t comply they may be liable for hefty fines.

What do you have to do as a company?

You need to do some research firstly, ideally a local workshop or a solicitor if you have one to get familiar with the guidelines and how they relate to your own business specifically. Here are several things to look at in your business and consider:

  • What Data do you currently have and collect on your clients?
  • Why do you collect that Data?
  • Do you really need to collect all or any of it?
  • How do you collect Data?
  • How do you store the Data? Is it stored securely?
  • Who has access to the Data exactly?
  • Where do you store Data? Is it stored/transferred abroad, outside Europe?
  • Do you share Data with 3rd parties?
  • Do 3rd party companies store your data? ?If so, who and where exactly and are they compliant themselves?
  • Do you have the facilities to process Data requests from clients?
  • Can you securely delete or update Data you hold?
  • Do you have a Data breach plan?
  • Does everyone in your organisation know the rules around Data?

What do you have to do with your website?

Websites are the front line for many companies and range from basic sites that ask for and accept no data or cookies from visitors up to large, data heavy E-commerce sites with Online Payments, Member Sections, Logins, Newsletter Subscriptions etc..

Here are some of the things you should really do on your website BEFORE the 25th:

  • Add a Privacy Policy page or update your current one
  • Add a Privacy popup that requires explicit, recorded consent.. Or
  • Add a required Privacy/Terms tick box on any forms that submit data to you such as Contact Forms, Newsletter signups etc..
  • Make sure any Newsletter subscription processes require the users explicit, recorded consent and is double opt in
  • Make sure data transfer to and from your website is encrypted by installing an SSL certificate
  • Make sure the software that powers your website, if any, is kept up to date and secure.

Despite the hype, there’s no need to panic. If you do the basic, common sense things around your clients data and remain Transparent, Secure and Accountable if things go wrong, you’ll be fine. “FINE” not “Fined…

Leon

More information for Companies and Organisations:

GDPRAndYou.ie/Organisations/

More information for Private Individuals:

GDPRAndYou.ie/Individuals/

General Data Protection Information:

www.DataProtection.ie

 

Design Brief Worksheet Template

Using a properly thought out Design Spec can help you find better clients, clients with more money to spend and better, more interesting projects.

Prompted by a regular stream of Reverb Studios clients over the years who weren’t quite sure what they wanted in a new website or other design project and in response to me asking them for more guidance just pointed to a competitors website, or worst still a very long list of totally different competitor websites, and expected me to take it from there, I recently decided to do some research on how best to extract the maximum amount of detailed information from a client before starting any new design project.

The benefits to this are as follows as I see it:

  • You can avoid that initial, face-to-face, time (and money) sapping meeting with a client where no one is really prepared or knows what they want or what needs doing.
  • You get to see if a client is a good fit for you and your services and vice versa, whether the client can actually be served by you at all.
  • You get an idea of how serious and defined a client is about their business and their business goals. Asking them to sit down and think about their business and goals is something of value to them if they havn’t done it before.
  • By asking them for their budget, you separate the kind of clients who want something for nothing or everything in the world for very little investment from those who are prepared to put their money where their mouths are and get something of real value in return.
  • You get to come across as a professional who is serious and detailed about how they do things.
  • It gives much needed focus to a project that both sides can greatly benefit from.

Following my research across several articles, some marketing and design classes I’ve completed in recent years, my recent design degree and drawing from my now 15 years in a design related business, I drafted and built the following Design Brief Worksheet and put it in digital form:

Reverb Studios Design Brief Worksheet

Please use the form to think about your own business’s current performance, goals, use it to hire my own services or adapt it for your own use.

Leon

Reverb Studios Design 10 Years Old Today!

On this day, 11th of the 11th, exactly 10 years ago I registered the business name “Reverb Studios” with the Companies Registration Office having finally realised that the Photoshop and Web Design hobbies I’d had for a couple of years might actually have some potential to provide a full time job. I’d only just moved to Leitrim a couple of years before and hadn’t been able to find a job in my field which at the time would have been Electronics/Engineering so in my ample spare time I messed around on the computer, teaching myself Photoshop, Dreamweaver, HTML/CSS, Music Editing and other programs that I still use regularly today.

I had registered a small PC Repair business the year before and got a few jobs per week fixing people’s computers. Mostly virus removal, optimisation and hardware upgrades but I didn’t enjoy it all that much and income was minimal. I built a few websites for myself, then friends and family who in turn recommended me to friends of theirs and before I knew it really, I was a web designer and my web design services were in demand! Luckily, around that time it was beginning to dawn on people that marketing your business on the web as well as offline was becoming a bit of a necessity so there seemed to be plenty of work. I got some mentoring and funding from the local enterprise board in Leitrim, wrote a business plan (at their suggestion) and basically professionalised my skills and offering and got started in earnest.

Since then I’ve gradually increased my clients list and income year on year and I’m glad to say that today I have a well known and respected business with over 120 repeat clients and have become recognised locally as an expert in both WordPress Web design and Photoshop as well as general IT solutions.

I plan to be in business for another 10 years at least and to continue expanding my skillset, services and client base and hopefully expand employee numbers or partner with other companies at some stage.

The moral of my story is that it’s absolutely possible to make a career out of a hobby or something you love doing and to achieve that on your own steam starting with no experience or qualifications. All it takes is some common sense, hard work, good organisation and great communication.

Leon – Reverb Studios

 

Multi Language Website Translations

I can now offer foreign language translations of your website to appeal to either international markets or local foreign national communities. Most major modern languages can be catered for and translations are done by native speaking people and not machine translated.

I can add the translated content to your site and also install language switcher buttons/flags on your website front end to make switching language easy for visitors. Keywords are also translated so you have the chance of being found in foreign language markets thus potentially increasing your business reach.

Website Translations

Prices start from about €200/€300 per language for a small brochure (sub 5 page) website translation.

Here are some examples of dual language websites I’ve built:

www.ActivityIreland.com

www.LinnaneFinancial.ie

NB: Your website must run on a modern content management system such as WordPress to enable easy translation editing and functionality.

Photoshop Mentoring and Training Leitrim

For anyone in or around Leitrim who’d like to learn the basics of using Photoshop whether it be for personal/hobby use or to improve job prospects etc, I may be hireable under Leitrim LEO’s mentoring program on which I’ve provided mentoring for years now. I can also quote for mentoring outside of that too though.

I’ve found over the years that there’s a major lack of real world Photoshop or general advanced software training in Northwest Ireland. All you ever see is social media, start your own business, taxation, etc training. The kind of stuff most people should easily pickup themselves these days. What about people already established in their businesses and looking to move to the next level in certain areas?

The kind of people who would typically benefit from Photoshop training are:

  • Graphic Designers,
  • Web Developers,
  • Artists,
  • Photographers
  • etc..

I’ve been using Photoshop since about 2003 for personal and business use and have recently gained Adobe Expert status. I can mentor/teach basic use and some advanced techniques such as: Photo Restoration, Photo Editing, Photo Colorisation and more.

PS – I’m hoping to run a 2 day Photoshop training workshop in Carrick-on-Shannon early in 2015 so sign up for my newsletter to keep updated about this. I am also hoping to have an online Photoshop course as well.

Leon