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  • Why you should NEVER use “Under Construction” pages

    Rule number one: It’s bad practice to use an “Under Construction” page!

    Do you see Amazon.com, Google.com, Apple.com, Marvel.com or any other established company doing it? No! It’s basically sending a message to your competition saying “we don’t have it together or the budget to have a working website”.  Never fear – here are some great tips so you can avoid this bad practice.

    An early (think Netscape days and gifs here!) practice throughout the history of the internet and web design has been to use ‘under construction’ pages.

    It’s 2017 folks, we’ve evolved, and the bottom line is that “Under Construction” is bad for business.

    Customers

    In many cases your website is the first contact your potential customers have with you.

    You have promised but not delivered. They followed a link expecting information, only to be disappointed.

    It looks like you can’t be bothered.

    An obviously incomplete website could indicate a business that is disorganised – even a business about to go under.

    Page Under Construction

    Some sort of graphic involving roadworks – an old favourite on Under Construction pages

    Under construction pages tend to stay that way a long time, if not forever, and most people will not check back soon, if at all.

    Even the phrase Under Construction is negative – apart from being a little pompous and unhelpful in its language.

    There are better ways to say it.

    Website under construction…

    Under construction pages – or ‘re-design’ or ‘we’ll be back in two weeks’ or any variation – should never be used on your website. Typically, they’re used when a website is still being built, has been taken down for a re-design or on sections that haven’t quite been finished. We’re not alone in thinking this is bad practice – there are countless designers out there that share our feelings, not to mention the people searching the web and coming across these useless, frustrating and completely valueless pages.

    Your website is important

    In many cases, your website is the first point of contact for people. If you came across an unfinished website, what would that say to you? Would you want to come back and do business with that organisation? Probably not. And a first impression of an unfinished website that causes frustration and annoyance isn’t what you want your company to be associated with!

    And frustration is what will happen if you use construction pages. By providing a link to a webpage, you have promised to deliver something, usually information. A construction page delivers nothing but disappointment and frustration. A happy, returning and valuable customer is not one that is disappointed or frustrated. Don’t forget that you haven’t delivered on your promise either.

    Under construction = bad for SEO

    Under construction pages have no content on them. That means your website isn’t giving Google any content, and Google ranks websites based on their content. It most definitely does not rank or index under construction pages as complete web pages. This is bad for your website!

    For a website that has never been live, this isn’t such a problem because it never had a Google rank in the first place. However, websites that have good SEO and Google search rank but get taken down for re-design, replacing content-rich pages with under construction ones, can suffer enormously and slip down Google’s rank. They can even get removed from Google’s index!

    This is because Google’s search algorithm notices when content has changed, moved or disappeared and over time it changes the website’s rank. For websites that are constantly tweaking their content to reflect hot Keywords, this is great because they’ll steadily get moved up the ranks. For websites that are putting up pages with ‘under construction’ on them it’s not so great, as they are most likely going to be ignored by Google and moved down the ranks. This is a process that is difficult to reverse because getting Google to change its mind is very hard…

    Ways to avoid using under construction pages

    There are some very simple ways to avoid this bad practice:

    • If your website isn’t ready, don’t make it live!
    • The same goes for webpages, if it’s not ready then don’t put it on your website
    • Make good use of staging servers – they let you see how your website will look for real
    • If you feel the need to put something in place of content then give contact details or provide a small amount of brief information – something is better than nothing
    • You could signpost people to other sections of your website
    • Focus on what you already have and not what is missing
    • If you’re getting a re-design, then just wait until the re-design is finished before replacing the old one.

    At the end of the day, a website is constantly under construction. You should always be adding to, tweaking and changing your website’s content. People don’t need to be told that you’re doing this…!

    Give your website a boost

    Does your website need improvement? We may be able help, contact us today for a free consultation.

    WEB DESIGN

    Need to know more?

    At The Barbary Company, we use staging servers to construct new websites. When your website is ready, we simply flick a switch and your new website is live. If you are looking for inspiration for your new website or thinking about a redesign, why don’t you check out our portfolio? We’ve designed a real variety of websites for a range of industries and we never use under construction pages!

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  • Rebranding – The Right Approach and Process

    Rebranding… whether you’re going into it excited or looking at it as an unfortunate, but necessary, step you need to be ready for a difficult process. But difficult doesn’t mean impossible…

    Why Consider Rebranding?

    There are many of reasons you might consider rebranding, but here are some of the most common situations:

    • Repositioning Your Brand in an Existing Market – Businesses evolve. Maybe you started out thinking you’d like to take your brand in one direction, but after spending time in the market, you think a different area has better potential. To pivot to these new opportunities, you might need to rebrand your business to better fit the market.  A common example of this is rebranding is to promote a more “upmarket” image.
    • Moving into a New Market – If you’re moving into a completely new market, you may need to rebrand your business to strategically meet these new customers.
      It could be cultural differences or you may just want to differentiate your brand between two different markets. No matter what it is, this is a common scenario for initiating a rebrand.
    • Legal or Image Problems – Have you ever heard of Andersen Consulting? They’re perhaps best known for their role in the Enron scandal. But nowadays, you won’t find Anderson Consulting conducting business. Why’s that? Because they completed rebranded their operations to “Accenture” in order to avoid the stink of Enron.
      Hopefully, this example doesn’t fit your situation. But the unfortunate fact is that sometimes you’ll hit legal or image snags that require rebranding to successfully navigate. Whether you accidentally chose a copyrighted business name or ran into unsolvable image problems, you’ll need to rebrand.

    How to Prepare for Rebranding

    Rebranding is not something you want to jump into without the proper preparation. Before making any changes, here’s what you should consider and prepare:
    Figure Out Why You’re Rebranding and If It’s Absolutely Necessary
    Whether you’re rebranding for one of the reasons I listed above or another situation, now is the time to truly consider whether:
    You’re rebranding for the right reasons
    Rebranding is truly the best solution to your problem
    Make sure you know exactly why you’re doing a rebrand and how rebranding will solve the problem you’re facing.
    Only then should you move into developing the plan for your new brand.
    Figure Out Your New Brand
    If you’re certain a rebrand is necessary, you’re ready to develop your new brand. I won’t go into all the details because developing a brand identity requires a whole post of its own.
    But here are the basic questions you need to be able to answer:
    What values do I want my new brand to communicate?
    Which audiences do I want my new brand to reach?
    What makes my new brand unique?
    How does my new brand communicate with my target audience?
    Because digging much deeper moves outside the scope of this post, here’s some further reading if you need help developing your new brand:

    How to Build Your Personal Branding

    The Marketer’s Guide to Developing a Strong Corporate and Brand Identity
    Once you have your new brand identity figured out, you’re ready to start shifting into rebranding mode. But before you start changing things, there’s one more preparation step you need to complete:

    Create an Inventory of All Your Brand Assets

    Before you start changing things around, you need to actually keep track of everything that needs to be changed. To that end, it helps to create an inventory of all your current brand assets which need to be updated. This inventory will help you immensely in the next section of this post.
    These can include internal digital assets like logos, eBooks, and featured blog images. But they also include external digital assets like social media accounts, as well as any physical assets at your disposal.
    Once you have everything inventoried, you’re ready to start executing your rebranding strategy. Here’s how to do it…

    How to Execute Your Rebranding – Updating Assets

    No one said rebranding was easy. Successfully executing your rebrand requires updating a whole slew of assets. I’ll cover the various digital, SEO, and physical assets that you will need to update to execute your rebrand with minimal fuss. Let’s go through them in order…
    Update All of Your Digital Assets
    Your digital assets are things like your website, domain name, social media accounts, and email marketing efforts. Here’s what you need to update:
    Domain Name – This is the big one. If your rebrand involves changing your domain name, you’ll need to register your new domain name and transfer all content over.
    Website Design – Rebranding usually involves a completely new look to differentiate yourself from your old brand. You’ll need to both secure this new design as well as set it up on your site.
    Social Media Accounts – You’ll need to either secure new usernames for your brand and/or change existing accounts or pages to your new brand.
    Social Media Graphics – You’ll need all new cover graphics and profile pictures for all of your social accounts.
    Email Marketing – You’ll need to update all the branding in your email marketing software, as well as any newsletter assets that you regularly use. This is especially important to comply with spam regulations.
    Promotional Materials – Any existing marketing materials you wish to continue using will need to be updated to your new branding. Here are some examples of materials you’ll need to update:

    • PDFs
    • eBooks
    • Content upgrades

    Email Addresses – You need to set up email addresses for your new brand and redirect old mail to the proper new address. For example, you need to set up “yourname@oldbrand.com” to forward emails to “yourname@newbrand.com”.
    Don’t Waste Your SEO Efforts – Rebranding SEO Considerations
    You probably put a lot of time and effort into search engine optimization for your old brand. It would be a huge mistake to let all that energy go to waste. That’s why you need to pay careful attention to SEO when you execute your rebrand. Here are the things you’ll want to consider:
    Set Up 301 Redirects – Setting up proper 301 redirects to send readers (and search engine robots) from your old domain to your new domain is massively important to maintaining your SEO traffic. Check out this post for a general guide on migrating WordPress content to a new domain.
    Inbound Links – All those inbound links you built? Yeah, they’re now pointing to your old brand. And while existing links should redirect readers to your new brand if you set up 301 redirects, it can be confusing to readers when they’re sent to a website other than the one they clicked on.
    So this one will take some work – you need to commit to outreach to all your major backlinks. Ask them to kindly update their links to your new brand to avoid any confusion for their readers.
    You won’t be able to fix 100% of your backlinks, but you want to change as many as humanly possible.
    Directory Listings – Similar to inbound links, you also need to reach out to all the directories listing your business/site and ask them to update your listing to reflect your rebranding. Again, don’t expect 100% success, but try to knock out as many as possible.
    Google Search Console – This one is pretty easy to do, but you’ll need to create a new Google Search Console property to reflect your new brand.
    Google Analytics – Similar to creating a new Search Console property, you’ll also need to update your Google Analytics account to your new brand to ensure you can accurately track your website’s performance.
    Update References / Internal Links – Sorry, this one is a bit of a pain. But it is important, especially if you have a large archive of blog posts. You need to update all of your internal links to point to your new domain. You’ll also need to update any references to your brand in old blog posts to avoid confusing your readers.
    Assuming you’re using WordPress, you can use the Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin to easily update all of your internal links. Updating unlinked references will require either running a database query, using Google search operators, or manually combing through old posts.
    Update Your Physical / Legal Assets
    Okay, this may not apply to all businesses. If you run your business 100% digitally, there may be little to update. But if you’re involved in any type of offline marketing/networking, you likely will need to update some of your physical assets as part of your rebranding. There are also some legal considerations you might face.
    Here are some items to consider:

    Business Cards

    – You’ll need to update business cards for both yourself and all of your staff members (if any).
    Other Stationery – If you use other branded stationery beyond business cards, you need to update all of those items as well.
    Business Registration – If you need to change your official business name as part of the rebranding process, you may need to update your business registration with the government. This depends entirely on how your business is currently structured.
    Tax Information – Again, depending on how your business is structured, you may or may not need to update your tax information with the government. Consider it and consult an expert to determine whether or not you need to complete this step for your exact situation.
    Update W-9s – If you’ve issued W-9s to other companies as part of receiving payment, you’ll need to update those documents to reflect your new business name (if you’ve officially changed the legal standing of your brand).
    Promote Your Rebranding to Push Awareness of Your New Brand

    Once you’ve updated all of your brand assets to reflect your new brand, it’s time for the next step:
    Pushing acceptance for your new brand.
    People may have known your old brand, but that knowledge goes out the window when you rebrand…unless you properly promote your new brand.
    To do this effectively, you may need to shell out some money. But there are also some free methods you can employ. Let’s go through them…
    Distribute a Press Release
    Step one is to write and distribute a press release announcing your rebranding. Try to get it distributed as widely as a possible. Not only will you have a chance of directly reaching your readers, but you’ll also have a chance to reach them in the SERPs when they search for either your new or old brand.
    Leverage Your Social Media Following
    Once your rebrand goes live, push this information hard on social media. Most social media networks allow making a post “sticky.” Take advantage of this to make a sticky post notifying followers of your rebranding.
    Send an Announcement to Your Email List
    Take advantage of your email list to broadcast an announcement to all of your subscribers. Inform them of the change and any other relevant information. You can even send out some emails leading up to your rebranding so readers aren’t surprised by the change.
    Write a Blog Post Announcing the Change
    This is a simple, but necessary, method. Write a post announcing the change and introducing your new brand. You’ll be able to reach your blog followers directly. But this blog post will also have a secondary effect of ranking another rebranding announcement in the SERPs. Confused readers will be able to find this post through Google.

    Add a Notification to Your Front Page

    Adding a notification to your front page is a great way to catch redirected users who may be confused why they’re on a different website than they’re used to. Two simple ways of notifying users are lightbox popups or notification bars, both of which are easy to implement in WordPress.
    Here’s an example of Elegant Themes using a notification bar to announce a new product release:
    rebranding-notification-bar
    You can do something similar to announce your rebranding.
    Run Remarketing Ads for Your Old Website’s Audience
    This one isn’t free, but if you’re willing to spend some money, you can run remarketing ads to people who previously visited your website. You can run these ads on both Facebook and Google to inform people of the change and get them acquainted with your new brand.

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  • Special Offer in honor of Veteran’s Day!

    In honor of Veterans day, The Barbary Co offering a special promo for our friends, family, and of course, veterans. We’re offering half off all web, seo, social media and marketing services! Turn your business from slow to steady with our tools & expertise in as little as 30 days – Contact Us to learn more!

    Special Offer

     

     

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  • SF Beer Passport

    We’re proud of the design we did for Broke Ass Stuart’s San Francisco Beer Passport!

    Get your copy here! And read more from Broke Ass Stuart here:

    beer-passport

    How does the SF Beer Passport work? I’m glad you asked. You start by buying one here. Then inside are coupons to 30 different bars. Take the coupon to the bar and exchange it for a beer. It’s almost like magic.

    For those not so good at the maths, that breaks down to a $1 beer at 30 of the best bars around San Francisco. Yes, I know, it’s incredible! But there are only 200 of these passports so you better get yours asap. The coupons expire on December 31st 2016.

     

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  • TheBarbaryCo

    New Brand Look for 2016

    As designers, we enjoy creating fresh looks for our clients. This also includes freshening up our own look on occasion as well. Take a peek at our new business cards.
    (more…)

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  • Shop Marvel

    In March of 2015, The Barbary Co consulted on UX Design, and handled all Front End Development for the Marvel Online store using the Disney E-Commerce platform. Check out a few Marvel Shop screenshots, or take it for a spin yourself at Shop.Marvel.com
    (more…)

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