BarkWeb - End of year review 2018
As 2018 comes to an end, it is at this time each year we like to reflect on what we have achieved as a business, how we have evolved over the year and the changes we have experienced in our industry.
New clients we have welcomed to BarkWeb this year include; East Sussex Highways, Easy Pallets, Precision Cutting, Measure Monitor Control, Kingswood Court Nursing Home, Smart 6 and Russell Cawberry, as well as local firms, Bear’s House Nursery, Call a Cab 746746, John Whippy, Carlton Property Management, Kingston Morehen and DB Kitchens to name but a few.
We’ve also redesigned many websites for long standing clients who required a refreshed modern and seamless mobile responsive design to provide a great user experience for their customers. Websites we have redesigned this year include; the Leaderboard Group, incorporating three golf club websites The Oxfordshire, Dale Hill and Sandford Springs, as well as new websites for Eastbourne Ambulance Community First Responders, Rosan Reeves Auctions, The Conference People, DB Domestics and Greenacre Waste Management.
In our design department, Hayden Carnegie, our UX Designer, has really got into the flow of AdobeXD this year which continues to prove its usefulness as a design tool and as a way of providing accurate pre-build designs for both front and back end systems. The ability to send interactive prototypes have sped up our workflow. Hayden said, “This year has been an interesting one, we have seen the release of Material 2.0 (https://material.io/). Adobe XD CC became available for free increasing the amount of people starting off their design careers. CSS Grid has really come into the world of design as support for older browsers is slowly dwindling out. I enjoyed attending UX Brighton 2018 in November to learn more about #ResearchOps and the fact that England ended up in the semi finals of the world cup!”
Judging by the rumble on the internet in this industry, Hayden is predicting that next year we will see:
- More voice command orientated design
- An overwhelming amount of SVG Animations
- More horizontal scroll elements, such as news posts, product reels
- Web speed will be a massive factor not only to SEO but to design, it will most likely end up making websites even more minimal
- More video, whether that be live video or more ads
- A massive challenge with fold-able displays, both in terms of design and build
- More gestures on the web for touch devices
In early autumn, a big move for us was when we officially launched our new tangent company, Jolojo. It’s been a long time in the making after three-man years of dedicated development and technical skill put into the creation of our 4th generation CMS platform, and this time we made it headless! We are super proud of the launch of Jolojo and being able to channel and drive our technical expertise, knowledge and passion through a platform that really does deliver an exceptional and unique service. Managing Director, Julian Perrott said, ‘Utilising and leaning on our 20 years of industry experience and more importantly our understanding what both developers and ‘at the coal face’ users want and need - It’s super exciting to be able to deliver a product that is bang up to date which is immediately generating interest with minimal marketing effort. 2019 will be Big for BarkWeb and Jolojo.’ Find out more at www.jolojo.com.
Optimise & Promote
In our digital marketing team, we have seen an increase in client requirements for adapting to changes occurring in Google, such as, Chrome security warnings affecting non-HTTPS sites, a huge emphasis on mobile speed and page speed affecting both SERPs and user experience, and finally Google’s roll out of the mobile-first index. Promotional campaigns have matured with new ways of tracking behaviour across devices, attributing leads and sales to specific channels, and experimenting with digital marketing strategies within the new Google Marketing platforms. Besides Google AdWords becoming Google Ads, a big change this year was launching Responsive Search Ads and an even bigger emphasis on machine learning advertising, which we predict will be massive in 2019. Our core offering remains providing clients with the basic digital marketing tools to promote their website, for example, setting up and managing of SEO, paid search, display (Doubleclick) and/or YouTube promotional campaigns, as well as a variety of marketing techniques, such as remarketing. We continue to provide clients with clear progress reports at regular and natural intervals during their marketing campaign to ensure we are achieving a successful ROI that works within their overall marketing goals.
Ben Keeley, our Digital Marketing Manager, said, “There’s been a massive increase in competition on Google, more and more businesses are embracing digital marketing as a core element of their marketing strategy. This creates a lot of noise online and it’s never been more important to cut through that noise in a clear, and decisive way, connecting with prospects at the right moment where converting them into a lead or sale is most likely. The basic tools have remained the same, but the skill involved in creating successful marketing campaigns has become more and more advanced. Machine learning is supposed to take away some of the headache, but in all honesty from what I’ve seen the “machines” aren’t quite learning fast enough for clients who need an ever-greater return on their investment, more rapidly than ever before. As far as I’ve seen, the human element has never been more essential in running effective digital marketing campaigns and experimentation, through failure and success, is now the necessity for most campaigns that don’t have budget unlimited. It’s an exciting, tough, but highly rewarding time for any business that can work out that effective marketing mix. If I was to sum up digital marketing in a catchphrase it would be ‘go hard or go home’. Be clever with your marketing, look for the right targets within your budgetary requirements and hit it as hard as you can.”
Over the summer we redesigned and launched the BarkWeb website, which gave us a new streamlined approach to the services we offer whilst remaining a bespoke website company and offering the same sound guaranteed services to our growing client base (see www.barkweb.co.uk). But, it won’t stay the same for very long as we love to keep things fluid, changing and evolving, experimenting and innovating when we can.
In the community
Julian spent 9 months as an Enterprise Advisor for Gildredge House free school in Eastbourne, where the focus was on helping the careers lead at the school develop, evolve and embed career education as laid out by the Gatsby benchmarks.
In November we took part in the East Sussex Open Doors event for the second year and welcomed students from Heathfield Community College, Bexhill College and Peacehaven Community School. We engaged with a total of 42 students who listened to talks by MD, Julian and spent time with the BarkWeb team in each area of design, develop, optimise and promote. That is a total of 84 hours of student engagement, lots of digital seeds sown and hopefully a better awareness of the creative and digital industry and work opportunities available to them in the future. We had some great feedback from the schools and colleges and look forward to doing it all again next year.
Skills East Sussex – Digital and Creative Task group
Julian continues to Chair the Digital and Creative task group of Skills East Sussex which meets quarterly. This is a highly active task group that is looking at - the skills difference between employer requirements and students experience, apprenticeships and what we can do get increase their uptake, advise for schools on curriculum content and embedding careers advice, the new T-Level qualifications, from the perspective of the creative and digital sector employers, training providers and educators. More information at https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/business/eastsussex/selep/ses/ses/
Celebrating 20 Years of BarkWeb in 2019!
Next year we will be celebrating 20 years of BarkWeb. From humble beginnings to the mighty team we have today, we have worked tirelessly over the past two decades and are super proud to have had such a positive impact on so many businesses. We’ve seen many monumental changes in the industry in this time and we continue to look forward to the future with as much positivity and excitement as we have had for it since our start.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we look forward to connecting with new and old clients alike in 2019!
From the BarkWeb Team.