So that was 2014! Pretty good year if you ask me. I know some of you struggled, particularly in the retail sector but others thrived and there seems to be a general optimism for 2015. About bloody time!
When I look back at the businesses I worked with this year a number of things stand out:
All sites this year were built on the Squarespace platform , I haven't built a new WordPress site since 2013. Not only are they great to look at, scale beautifully on Mobile and are easy for the business owner to update and use, not one of you has had to deal with an outage or a hack - this is huge!
The whole "managed" website idea, which can initially turn people off because they don't have full control is actually perfect for small business owners who don't have in-house tech resource. If you're still futzing with servers, updating plugins and responding to ever more prevalent security alerts - you might want to think about changing.
So we're all pretty familiar with blogging nowadays, but what I'm thoroughly enjoying is how everybody has their head around the use of Imagery. Whether you're sourcing from the creative commons or getting creative yourself with iPhones and digital cameras, content is looking better than ever and of course that helps spread your message through your social networks.
What I'm perhaps most excited about is the development of video. I know a few of you have it on your Q1 Ed. cal for next year but I've got to give a shout out to Keith at Greenstate Insurance and Winky at Schatan Optical Gallery for buckling down and learning how to do this. Like everything, video is not difficult, but it takes time to learn and to find your voice. For pure ease of information delivery and SEO value, you can't beat it - just watch this short video on who is covered to drive your car - and watch out for the rooster!
Outsourcing the boring but essential bits
We all know how hard it can be to actually create good content in the first place, but the whole image sourcing, adding of alt tags, proper meta descriptions, correct formatting and then sharing etc can be a pain in the butt. Fortunately there are resources like Nicole Paulus over at Nico New Media who has been doing this for years and is great at her job. She's now working with several people on this list and I know she makes their lives so much easier.
If you'd like to focus on the creative aspect and leave the formatting and delivery to Nicole get in touch with her. Also, she's a fantastic writer, if you're not a natural wordsmith Nicole is a great resource for getting your ideas into well written SEO copy - check out this latest newsletter she wrote for Casa Victoria
Finally - about the Unicorn
It's the classic cobbler's children have no shoes thing, but for three years I have been growing this business without a defined brand or logo. However, next year I will be developing my visual identity and defining my product offer on the website. I had had an idea for a logo and sent it out to the list for feedback and while the younger online crowd loved it, the more traditional physical location business owners thought it was lame!
As I explained to a few of you - the color palette comes from the Scottish flag - The Saltire - which represents my background and heritage. Blue is also a great color for a consulting business as it is seen as a very trustworthy color (and it's pretty masculine too!)
I like the circle approach as I think it will work well as a 50 by 50 pixel icon plus I like how the text works around the central image. Below is a second iteration from a designer friend of mine in Berlin, Maja. I like where it's going and I think a few more tweaks of the font and actual wording and we'll be pretty close.
As for the Unicorn, well, the Unicorn is the national animal of Scotland - bizarre but true - but in addition to that, amongst the digital marketing community a Unicorn is someone who possesses both Marketing and Technology skill sets, which would sum up my business pretty well.
But perhaps more importantly - it's a frickin' Unicorn! And I think that's cool.
So - that's it for 2014, I wish you and your families a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. I will see you all in January and we'll continue to build on the great work you have done in the last 12 months.