Another Great Year

2018 has been another great year for the Rade team. Here’s a taster of a few of the projects we’ve been able to get our teeth into…

We’ve built a data capture app that accurately records data out in the field, for the early identification of both animal and human health issues. The app connects with a diagnostic testing device for the collection of time-stamped, geo-tagged data. The app, as demonstrated at the Agri-Tech East conference, enables the management and analysis of that data with user-friendly display.

When you are a manufacturer with thousands of products, you want your website to showcase that extensive range. We’ve built a complex site that enables customers to find exactly the component they need by having access to datasheets and 3D models. Equally important, the website is easy to manage, enabling staff to concentrate their time on growing the business.

As part of a Pan-European project, another Rade site promotes the effective sharing of scientific research, market and data sources. We've also rolled-out seven new country-specific sites for a machinery manufacturer. It’s this ability to collaborate and share resources to a huge audience which demonstrates the value of a well-designed site.

Once again we made the front page of the Farmers Weekly, this time with the PGRO's Pea & Bean Guide - described as an 'essential arable farming app'. As well as up to date agronomy and variety guides, the app is capable of submitting and recording crop reports of pests and diseases.

Along with interesting web projects for new customers, we’ve revamped a number of sites for existing clients and added new web tools for extra functionality. From simple face-lifts to comprehensive reviews, our primary aims are:

a) mobile-friendly sites that better engage with your customers and
b) sites that are easy to manage.

Our IT team has been out and about working at some interesting premises and venues. The number of customers with regular support contracts continues to grow - there really is a diverse range of businesses in and around Suffolk.

Our wireless broadband network now connects properties in 74 villages across east Suffolk. Recently, Suffolk Coastal awarded us a contract as part of their Enabling Broadband project, which aims to improve access to broadband for people living in the areas outside BT's fibre plans.

We have other exciting on-going projects planned for 2019 – just watch this space and get in touch if you have a project which could benefit from our involvement.

The 5 Most Common SEO Mistakes

Webmasters go through lots of different steps to try and achieve good SEO for their website, and one of the key factors in any website's SEO is the content. Blogs are great ways of keeping your customers up-to-date with what’s going on in your company, which helps with engagement and in turn helps maintain a good relationship. However, their best use is to help boost your SEO.

Read on for the easy-to-miss mistakes to avoid that almost every blogger or content marketer makes.

Commercialised Page Copy

One of the mistakes that is often overlooked by content writers is that they are so keen on improving their SEO, they start writing their blogs for search engines and not for their readers. A key word or phrase in every single line is going to start to sound commercialised. It’s important to structure your content so that readers are kept engaged and interested, whilst making sure that there’s enough SEO friendly keywords and terms to help with your rankings – but don’t ‘overstuff’ the article – Google isn’t daft!

Make sure the content is checked and checked again. Poor grammar can harm your rankings, so grammar correction tools such as Grammarly can help you make sure everything’s in order.

Internal Links

When people talk about optimising their SEO, internal linking is a subject that’s often overlooked. Internal linking helps your users navigate throughout the website easily and opens up more page crawling opportunities for deep lying URLs. Correctly distributing your internal links on high value pages to others can help distribute authority evenly throughout your site.

Unoptimised Keyword Structure

Keyword research is one of the most important steps you need to take when forming your site's content, as everything that goes into your site should ideally be linked by keywords and phrases that ultimately connect with your main objective.

Remember, filling up your content with just keywords can interrupt your readers experience and may leave the content feeling very commercialised and lacking in feel. Your keyword density being too high can sometimes qualify your content as spam, so keep an eye on this.

Images and Videos

Remember that our number 1 priority is visitor experience so include images. However, concentrating on your text to make sure it’s perfect is all well and good, but that doesn’t mean that your images and videos in your content should go un-addressed. File formats and sizes that are unoptimised are common mistakes that hinder SEO performance.

Image alt text should always be able to rank in a target keyword search. This is where your keyword research again comes into play. Your alt text is also important, as this is what is displayed by Google when the image can’t be shown (this is also used with screen readers, so make it short, descriptive and effective.)

Content Promotion

The simplest, yet most important phase of all is the promotion of your content. You may have slaved away for weeks to get the most perfect piece of content for your site, but if no one sees it, then what’s the point?

Simple steps to promote your content correctly:

  • Paid advertisement campaigns on Social Media. These are becoming more and more popular and rightly so; they’re a great way to directly display your content to your target audience.
  • Influential person exploitation. Exploiting someone is usually a negative term, however if there are people of influential standing in your business (or even a third-party company) who can share your content then people are more likely to trust their recommendations.
  • Content format. Maybe consider creating a video summary or infographic of your content, as they are much easier to share and view.

Good SEO is always going to be a target, whether you’re a greengrocer starting up a new company or a multi-million-dollar business, it’s the first thing on your list.

With competition in the digital world being higher than ever, webmasters are trying new, sometimes complicated methods to try and better their opponents. However, when it comes down to it, the simple (and often forgotten) ways are still the best.

If you’d like to know more, feel free to give us a call on 01502 478000.

Very Close to 'THE' Most Flexible Website

With the increasing demand of high quality, modern and interactive features for corporate websites, you need to be 100% confident that the system you choose is the best one for you.

Traditionally, most websites are built on a template system, which means it’s nice and simple to edit the content of the page, however if the position of something on the page itself needs changing, that’s where you may run into a more complex issue. You’ll probably have to revert to your developer who’ll then either edit the template or create a new one entirely. Naturally, this costs you valuable time and most likely, some money.

At Rade, we’ve taken a different view; we use a framework system which sits on top of Umbraco - our open source CMS of choice. By using a framework system such as ours, pages are built with modules and components. These are all pre-built and pre-styled to fit with your brand.

You can then create as many customised, personal, easy-to-use pages as you like and add them into the website as you please. For example, should you want a Twitter feed in the top right-hand corner of your homepage, all you would have to do is copy in the relevant code and toggle the placement location settings in the CMS and you’re done – no hassle, no developer and ready as quickly as you can create it

A few weeks down the line and you want this removed or its position changed, all you need to do is take another visit to the CMS and alter the relevant settings, or indeed, remove it completely. Were you still using a template, the process would take a lot longer, involve a developer and cost you time and money; surely it’s better to implement your personal changes yourself? Makes sense doesn’t it?

Our frameworks allow you to be creative and experimental, without the baggage that comes with templates and other programming systems. Creating pages is easy and customising them is even easier; it makes the entire system an absolute breeze to work with.

To make things even easier for you, we even have 3 different fixed-price budget level packages which utilise the system.

So you see… you CAN have your cake and eat it!

The Demise of the Slider?

Ever since social media has embarked on it's global technological takeover, commercial websites have had to re-double their efforts to compete. Basic static informative layout is a thing of the past and more exciting and visually appealing websites were created with amongst other things, the introduction of sliders.

A slider (or carousel) is a set of large images placed at the top of the front page of the website. These then automatically interchange with one another after a set period of time to the next slide in the sequence. These seem like a great idea; you can incorporate different segments of info into one space and it adds a cool moving feature to your website. However, many observations and reports regarding website traffic and UX suggest that sliders may actually be having a negative effect on your website.

Slowing down the site: Although only one image is shown at a time, the website still has to load all the slides before the page is fully loaded. Remember that these are probably going to be the largest images in your website, all sat on top of each other with coding to make them interchange after a certain amount of time. This is a lot of information for your already busy website to process so naturally it is going to slow the site down, especially when it then has to be modified for mobile use as well.

Often ignored: Reports show that people visiting the website unconsciously ignore the sliders at the top of the homepage. Their brain automatically processes them as ‘adverts’ and tells you to ignore them. This is a concept known as ‘Banner Blindness’ which sounds bizarre, but completely true!

Right/ Wrong Info: When visitors come to a website it’s very rare that they are there to enjoy the view. They come looking for specific information to answer the query they have. Should they come to the page and see the first slider and it’s the information they are looking for, great! However, they can now only read it for ten seconds before it disappears. They’ll then have to click back or try to manually find the page that information is on. Guess what… we’re all lazy so that’s not going to happen! Oddly, this works exactly the same way if it’s the wrong information. The slides will always be there for too long, or not long enough.

Option Overload: IF people stay around long enough to see all the slides, they are greeted by a number of different options and locations of the website they can travel to

  • · Which one do they choose?
  • · What if they’ve forgotten what’s on the second slide?

There’s simply too many options loaded together in a short space of time.

Design Laziness: Ultimately, there will always be pro’s and con’s of any feature you use in your website and everyone will have a different opinion on it. From a designers point-of-view, they’ll always be stuck in the middle of different departments all wanting to get their message out and shout the loudest. The easiest route to appease them all of course is to have a slider where everyone can have a piece of the pie – but latest analysis is showing that this is a kop-out. Decent SEO will rank all their pages for proper keyword terms in any case so that’s one problem solved!

Think about your brand, think about the message, THE ONE SINGLE message that defines your brand and what you’re trying to say and use that, and nothing else.

Do away with your slider and it may ultimately contribute to the success of your website.

Full steam ahead

Back in 1996, a partnership called Rade Internet was formed. Jump forward 20 years and there’s just as much enthusiasm for building innovative IT solutions to help businesses do more, faster.

Here is just some of the work we have been proud to produce this year.

Our Think BioRisk app for AHDB was launched at the Pig & Poultry Fair. It’s designed to test your ability to identify biosecurity risks and features interactive videos demonstrating both good practice and common mistakes.

Nick DimblebyWe created an eye-catching new website for Nick Dimbleby that showcases his photography on all screen sizes. Just as important, it’s easy for Nick to update the site with his latest work. We produced Nick’s first website in 2003 but we now display his work in a timeline stretching back to the 1990s.

Working with local design agency Spring, we launched a new web system for Suffolk Chamber, bringing together five local chamber areas under one roof. The website integrates with the Chamber’s back office system to manage bookings and member services through a password protected portal.

Now in its ninth year, we have added further functionality to the AHDB Dairy Breeding+ website. Created to provide an online genetics resource for the dairy industry, updates include with a wizard-style tool to find the best matched bulls to a farmer’s herd.

OPICO - Sky AgricultureRade has also built a group of websites for OPICO and their brands of agricultural machinery. The platform allows all the sites to be managed through a single admin area, with functionality such as the dealer finder and download centre shared across the sites.

Telling the Blythburgh story, about the people, the pigs and the butchers, we’ve recently launched a new website. As well as a mobile-friendly facelift, the new site makes it easier for visitors to find stockists and restaurants where Blythburgh Free Range Pork is on the menu.

We’re working with a growing number of companies on their online marketing. We use a broad approach that covers on-site search optimisation and off-site brand awareness activities, creating a package that best suits the client in terms of time and budget.

Meanwhile our IT team have been out and about working in some interesting places and for some great Suffolk events – the Suffolk Show, the Henham Steam Rally and BBC Springwatch at Minsmere. Our wireless broadband network continues to expand and now stretches 20 miles inland from our original coastal range.

We have some exciting new projects lined up for January, including the launch of a 5-website project for a client we have been working with since way back in 1996.

We look forward to working with you in 2017 and wish you a happy and prosperous new year.

Suffolk Chamber website


Our primary goal when creating the new website for the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce was to improve usability to benefit both the Chamber team and their members. We have built a content managed website that is easy to use, infinitely scalable and integrates with the Chamber’s existing back office system.

We worked closely with Spring, the Southwold design agency, who provided branding and design for the project.

“We wanted our new look to better reflect the success story that we have become over recent years and to allow businesses to easily access the wide range of services we now offer, as well as the opportunity for our members to use our interactive area to promote their own news, events and special offers,” explains Amanda Ankin, Head of Chamber Services.

The powerful new site brings together five local chambers under one roof, while allowing them to maintain their own identity. It also delivers a range of online services, via a password-protected portal.

“Rade, through their professionalism and diligence, helped ensure that the website met and exceeded our objectives” Amanda continues. “It was a pleasure working with the Rade team and we especially appreciated their thoroughness, problem-solving abilities and all-round high levels of customer service.”

Find out more by reading our case study and visiting the Suffolk Chamber website.

Let us find a solution to your web problems by giving us a call on 01502 478000 

Ready for 2016

As we head towards our 20th anniversary, Rade’s web and IT teams have been working on a number of exciting projects, some to be launched in the coming months. Here’s our pick of the highlights of 2015.

Smorgasbord
There has been a huge variety in 2015’s web projects. From website facelifts to improve the way that services are showcased and news is shared to a complex all-in-one web and order fulfilment system. New sites have designed to better demonstrate capabilities and the scope of international work. We’ve brushed up on our Chinese and added another five pubs to our website system for Adnams.

Spineless Si
Once more, we were asked to help install a 100Mb internet connection for BBC’s Spring Watch extravaganza; once again hosted at RSPB Minsmere. We were happy to make sure everyone could keep up with the antics of Spineless Si. We have also installed a new wifi network at Trinity Park, offering better communications for the Suffolk Show and business exhibitions throughout the year.

Front page news
We made the front cover of Farmers Weekly – Beef and Lamb Lite, with its latest market prices, and the Practical Pig training tool in animal husbandry were 2 of the 11 ‘Must-Have Apps for Livestock Farmers’ featured. New apps we are working on include tools for Biosecurity training and pest identification and reporting.

Rural Broadband
Therese Coffey MP visited to see first-hand how we are helping connect the ‘last 5%’ to superfast broadband. Amongst the customers benefiting from our wireless broadband services are holiday parks, shops, a school, farms, small businesses and hotels. We are also connecting businesses on industrial estates in Leiston and Lowestoft.

Green Award
Receiving praise for our community engagement and progress in reducing our carbon emissions, we were awarded the Suffolk Carbon Charter. Suffolk is aiming to create the Greenest County and we’re pleased to be playing our part. We’ve also upgraded several of our IT clients’ servers to modern, eco-friendly systems that offer more power and greater efficiency.

Holiday Wifi
With the majority of Brits ranking good wifi as a holiday essential, we have been busy upgrading the wifi capabilities of hotels, campsites and holiday parks. From simple repairs to installing entire computer networks, our IT team is helping a growing number of people to improve their communications, streamline their work and make it more secure.

Coming up soon
We have new websites in production which couldn’t be more different if we tried! At the heart of them all is our desire to deliver a long term solution that gives your business the very best platform for your online marketing.

  • An understanding of your audience
  • Great design and innovative functionality
  • Thorough testing and secure hosting
  • Friendly, on-going support

Thank you for helping make 2015 a success, we look forward to working with you next year.

Design key to new website

WRENmediaWRENmedia’s new website, designed and built by Rade Digital, emphasises their skills as global communications specialists. For over 20 years, WRENmedia have been in the business of making science accessible to audiences around the world.

Strong imagery forms an important part of the new design, making the site visually engaging and helping to highlight the range of activities WRENmedia undertake: transforming heavy reports into digestible documents plus providing advice and training on communication and PR strategies to build bridges between scientists and journalists.

The new website showcases how WRENmedia help to convey the value of their clients’ work to donors, policymakers and farmers. It is vitally important work, supporting the development of integrated, sustainable solutions to problems such as hunger, poverty, malnutrition and deforestation.

Easy to update and mobile-friendly, news and case studies can be added to the website whenever needed; social media integration ensures the latest tweets are posted on the site. Built on the Umbraco content management system, the new website makes sure key messages are quickly and clearly communicated.

"All of us at WRENmedia are delighted with the new website, which is clear, easy-to-use and looks great. We have received lots of compliments from our clients already” says Jessica Summer, editor and designer. “A big thanks to Steve and Charles for all their support throughout the process - we felt that they understood what we wanted from the finished site. Also, no question or query was too small when we were figuring out how to use it!"

To learn more about Rade’s responsive, content managed websites and how they can help your business make an impact, speak to Charles Robinson on 01502 478000.

To App or not

App or mobilePeople are interacting all the time, using mobile devices to do just about anything and everything - keeping stats of their lifestyle, keeping up with the news, keeping up with their friends, organising their social life, buying, selling. The list is endless. We benefit from ‘click to call’ features, maps which use GPS to give us instant directions, share functionality so we can spread the word quickly… and now people are even interacting through watches!

Mobile is growing at an alarming rate - right about now PCs are starting to get the ‘cut down’ version of the site which historically belonged in the mobile arena.

You can’t afford not to be mobile these days, so you take the plunge and make the big decision to ‘go mobile’...  Great stuff! Thing is, it’s quite an operation whatever you do, so surely it would be good to get it right!

 

How do they work?

Mobile websites:

  • load pages in a browser in the same way as your big desktop computer
  • need to be accessed over an active internet connection, wi-fi, 4G, 3G ‘all the time’
  • can show you the absolute latest data/content, refreshed on demand

Apps:

  • are downloaded onto your tablet/phone and can operate without requiring an internet connection
  • may need internet access to update information but have the option of retaining the data for use at a later time when, maybe, you don’t have a connection

Which is better?

 Mobile website pros

 Mobile website cons

 Immediate content delivery*

 Constantly requires an internet connection

 Broader device accessibility

 User has to ‘work’ to find your page

 Cost-effective (as an extension of an existing site)

 Hard to personalise the experience

 Cross-platform

 

 ‘Easily’ found through a search engine

 

 Frequent update friendly

 

 

 App pros

 App cons

 Can be used anywhere

 Different requirements for each platform (Android / iOS / Blackberry etc)

 No constant internet connection required

 Higher initial investment

 You get a piece of real estate on the users device

 Code upgrades have to be published via the relevant store

 Once installed, the user has single tap entry

 Code has to be passed as ‘fit for function’ by the relevant store – this can take time

 Better customer engagement

 

 Send geo-targeted or time related push notifications

 

 Make better use of phone functionality -camera, GPS

 

 Readily and easily personalise the experience

 

*Some of our apps are on content managed systems. This ensures that the customer can update content readily.

But here’s the thing; you don’t really have to choose. It’s not an A or B or A vs B conundrum any more. Without doubt, smaller businesses have completely different needs to larger ones so it’s down to what suits you and the budget you’ve allowed.

Sites and apps are capable of different things so let’s play them to their strengths…

In summary

Use both if you can:
1. If you want to be found, make sure that your site is mobile-friendly. Chances are that people are looking (not necessarily for you!) using a mobile device.

2. Once you’ve interacted with them, don’t let them simply wander off into the abyss. Offer your visitors a way of staying in touch, becoming friends and personalising their experience through an app. After all, it resides on their device, they don’t have to come looking for you and you can get in touch with them at any point – sounds good doesn’t it?

Posted by Steve Rooke

Front cover of Farmers Weekly

Appy-Hour at Rade! We are delighted that the Farmers Weekly has featured two of our apps in their list of 11 Must-Have Apps for Livestock Farmers. It was great to see the Beef and Lamb Lite [iOS] [Android] app featured on the front cover.

Furthermore, for both apps the user reviews are really positive. One farmer says he now uses AHDB’s Beef & Lamb Lite 80% of the time for checking market data and local trade. The app also gives him fast-track access to the Better Returns Programme guides, no matter where he is on the farm.

Another farmer is finding AHDB Pork’s Practical Pig app [iOS] [Android] useful for training staff. He says it’s easy to operate and a useful way for staff to learn basic information as part of his farm induction programme.

Speak to Charles to find out what Rade can do for you.

With more farming apps are in production, we’re looking forward to more front page exposure!