Category:

Habits for InboxZero

November 3rd, 2021 by

We’ve all experienced dreading the return to work because of the big, red number that looms over your email inbox. It can seem like a never ending battle to try and get your inbox down to a manageable amount, but for many, it’s a daily occurrence that that number returns to 0. But is an empty inbox really that good, and how can you implement it?

What is InboxZero?

InboxZero is a term coined by Merlin Mann, a blogger that is known for his rigorous approach to email management, including keeping his inbox at 0 unread emails. He focuses on productivity – with the notion that it isn’t about the actual number of emails we have, rather the time spent by our brains within that inbox. 

From this, Merlin identified five actions to take for each new email: delete, delegate, respond, defer and do.

  • Delete – Emails that you can delete or unsubscribe to are an instant win
  • Delegate – Anything that you don’t need to handle yourself should be delegated to a colleague
  • Respond – If you need a response in order to work on the task, respond and then forget about the email until you have received a response
  • Do – If it’s a task that can be done in a matter of minutes – do it
  • Defer – If it’s a task only you can do but will take longer than a few minutes, defer it to a later time or date 

Why Practice InboxZero? 

Nowadays our emails are everywhere – available on our smartphones and even our watches. Everytime we finish a task (or respond to an email), we get a small dose of Dopamine – due to the satisfaction of ticking a task off. However, this human need for accomplishment can be severely impacted by the constant flurry of emails, which can set off hormonal changes and raise stress levels. 

Here at Ballyhoo, we try to actively maintain InboxZero – to stay on top of our customer service but also ensure that our mental health is not negatively impacted by technology. 

Gmail & InboxZero 

Gmail has some great features that support InboxZero. 

Email Templates 

The quicker you respond to an email, the quicker it’s gone from your inbox. Using template responses allows you to write emails and save for a later date, so that you can use them time and time again – cutting down how long it takes you to respond to emails.

Predictive Text Suggestions

Gmail now uses AI to predict what you are going to type, and shows suggestions as you type. You can easily add these suggestions to your email by pressing the Tab button – making it quicker to formulate email responses and get that all important Inbox Zero.

Suggested response buttons also appear at the bottom of incoming emails – allowing you to quickly compose emails and respond to them.

Snooze

Another handy tool from Gmail is the snooze button. You can press this button on an email, and choose a time for it to reappear in your inbox – until then it will disappear! This allows you to forget about the email until a later time or date. 

Delegating Emails 

This feature goes hand in hand with Inbox Zero’s ‘Delegate’ action. Gmail allows you to assign emails to your fellow team members, by granting them access to your inbox. They can then read, send and delete emails for you – helping you to get to Inbox Zero quicker. 

Schedule Send 

A new feature from Gmail – you can now write up your email and schedule it to be sent at a later time or date. This is great if you have some time to reply to emails, but don’t want to deal with a response just yet.

Coloured Stars 

The coloured star feature allows you to visually identify what action each email requires. For example, you could have Red for urgent items, Purple for awaiting reply, and Orange for follow up. 

Filters

Filters are a great way to organise your email inbox. When you receive an email, it will automatically go into a specified folder, which you can deal with at a later date. For example, here at Ballyhoo we have filters set up for incoming invoices, which are dealt with when the team has dedicated time for accounting. 

Filters don’t just work on folders – you can also set up filters to automatically forward emails to other team members – ticking off the ‘Delegate’ action of Inbox Zero. 

What’s more, you can set up filters that will automatically pull emails with your stars into the right folders too. 

Google Workspace Resellers 

We are Google Partners and Google Workspace Resellers – meaning that we can manage your account for your business, including offering support and work transformation. This takes the stress out of your team having to manage this by themselves. 

If you’re interested in having us help you with email management, contact us now. 

Stay Ahead of the Competition

December 3rd, 2020 by

Ballyhoo are still here to support you

First things first, we hope you are managing to stay safe and healthy.

We want to let you know that Ballyhoo are still here to support you in your online journey. Fortunately, we are in a position that allows us to continue operating as normal (more or less), which means we are able to continue to deliver the high-level of service and support that you have come to expect from us.

We’ve all had to adapt to these new times, but many businesses have had to completely rethink their models in order to continue operating. At the very least, they’ve had to accelerate their online growth.

How can you ride this wave too?

Prepare for an increase in online transactions

Many of your websites perform critical business functions and, now more than ever, are likely to be your customers’ primary point of contact.

The ongoing pandemic has forced more and more people to turn to the Internet for services that they would normally do in person: shopping; online fitness classes; medical appointments; booking tables in restaurants (when they are allowed to open); ordering takeaways; and everything in between.

The world has been transitioning online at a steady pace over the last decade or so with more and more services becoming available online. However, the recent situation has rapidly accelerated the evolution of online services and many organisations are scrambling to adopt new practices.

Your competitors are marching forward, don’t get lost in their shadow.

We can’t see this changing any time soon. Even when things go back to normal (whatever that may be), we believe that many of the services that have moved online will stay there and become the new preferred method of interaction.

It’s important that businesses don’t just ride it out and wait for things to go back to normal. Now is the time to update your online practices and ensure that your website caters to your customers so that you can continue to thrive for years to come and tackle anything that is thrown at you head on.

We can help

This might sound daunting, but don’t worry, we are here to support you. If you have any issues at all, want to discuss bringing your website up to speed or just want some help to review your online practices, please send an email to support@ballyhoo.co.uk or complete the form below.

Contact us

Send us a quick message and we’ll get right back to you.

    We aim to respond to all messages within 1 working day.

    Don’t Forget the Small Print!

    November 3rd, 2020 by

    When was the last time you updated your website’s legal documents?

    No doubt you added some T&Cs and privacy policy pages when your website first launched, hopefully you’ve been keeping them updated with your current company information and any changes in legislation. 

    It’s certainly not the sexy side of web design, but it’s important. Keeping the legal stuff on your website up-to-date may seem like an onerous task but it inevitably has to be done to protect your interests, as well as give your customers confidence in your products and services.

    Some definitions

    Website Terms & Conditions

    These set out the parameters of the usage of your website, outline who you are as an entity, can form the basis of a contract of sale and protect intellectual property and information. The T&Cs required depend on the nature of your website and are best tailored to your specific circumstances.

    Privacy Policy

    Transparency when it comes to the data collected and stored about individuals is a key part of any website. Your Privacy Policy is where you will outline how and when you handle data and protect people’s privacy, including details of the cookies you store. All privacy policies should now be GDPR-compliant.

    Terms of Business

    Whether you are B2B or B2C, outlining the way you do business and the rights and obligations of all involved parties is wise. Including these terms on your website means prospective clients can see what you’d be like to work with, and current clients have a quick point of reference.

    Regulations

    Are you regulated by a professional body? Many organisations, such as the Financial Conduct Authority, require set terms to be plainly stated on your website. Many qualifications and memberships also require statements to be published outlining the standards you adhere to.

    What to keep in mind

    • If you operate internationally you may need to have separate documents for each region as well as provide translated versions.
    • Failing to keep details up-to-date on documents and web pages could invalidate any claims or recourse that you pursue. So, that address change needs to be updated everywhere.
    • Depending on the nature of your website or business there could be very specific rules you need to follow, it is always wise to consult a legal professional to ensure you’ve covered all the bases.
    • Any documents you decide to add to your website should be converted to HTML so that they can be accessible and easily read by anyone. Formatting is important to get right so we do recommend that web professionals like ourselves add important wording and documents.

    What next?

    We recommend an audit of your small print to ensure everything is up to date. At the very least check the following are correct:

    • Legal name
    • Registered address
    • Company number
    • Website URL
    • Email address
    • Phone number

    If you originally downloaded your terms and policies from a legal services website we advise checking to see if there are any updates to the version, or perhaps new policies that better match your current circumstances. Websites like Simply Docs, for example, have a vast array of website documents for specific trades and scenarios, which they keep up-to-date in line with current legislation.

    Disclaimer: Now for a little small print of our own… Do not act upon any information on this website without first seeking advice from a qualified legal professional. Ballyhoo accepts no liability for your actions nor do we directly endorse any website linked to from our own. Phew.

    Invest in Your Website. Now.

    April 20th, 2020 by

    The title of this post might sound very self-serving but it comes from a place of genuine concern.

    All those little jobs you’d love to do if you have time? The blog posts you said you’d write, the logo you wanted to revamp, the leads you said you’d catch up with. The new website you said you’d love if only you had the time to give it the attention it deserves.

    It may seem counterintuitive at a time of great uncertainty to spend but please trust us when we say that any investment you make now will ensure that you come out on the other side fighting.

    While your competitors shrink away from the challenge, you need to look for ways to innovate and make your mark. Whether it’s simply increasing your Google Ads budget at a time when other businesses are reducing theirs or bringing your website fully up-to-date to make use of new technologies, you have a chance to strike ahead. Life has given us all lemons so let’s make some !#&%$@ lemonade.

    Just Keep Swimming

    Our business was in its infancy during the 2008 financial crisis but we witnessed first-hand how it affected a whole range of industries. Long-established businesses were put to the test – those who were open to new tech and recognised the need to “just keep swimming” came through it. Those that battened down the hatches didn’t; they sadly fell further and further behind until they could no longer keep up with their competitors and struggled to ever make up the ground lost.

    The web is too fast-paced to sit on your laurels at the best of times. During the worst of times, you can use the downtime you might be facing in other areas of your business to look inwardly and identify what needs to be done to put yourself in a strong position for when life gets back to “normal” and the economy inevitably recovers.

    Life has given us all lemons so let’s make some !#&%$@ lemonade.

    It may not seem like it right now but you have an opportunity, please don’t squander it. You’ve been given the gift of time; a commodity business-owners rarely have.

    Ballyhoo’s List of Key Dates and Events for Your Social Media and Editorial Calendars

    January 10th, 2019 by

    It seems like there is a day for everything these days. Some promote awareness for some very serious and worthy causes, while some just provide an excuse to eat cake or drink beer. Either way, these observational dates provide marketers with the opportunity to support a deserving movement or get involved with some fun and frivolity.

    But with the ever-growing list of observational days and events how can we keep track of what’s happening when? Well, from now on, the 1st of January every year will be known as “Ballyhoo’s List of Key Dates and Events for your Social Media and PR Calendars” day.

    Here we will provide a growing list of observational dates and events to help you plan your content for the coming year. Although we like to think we are, we are not perfect, so if we’ve missed any important dates, or you think we have got something wrong, we’d love to hear from you in the comments. So, without further ado, here is Ballyhoo’s List of Key Dates and Events for your Social Media and PR Calendars…

    January 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 JanuaryNew Year’s DayYes
    12 JanuaryKiss a Ginger DayYes
    17 JanuaryBig Energy Saving Week beginsVariable
    19 JanuaryNational Popcorn Day (US)Yes
    21 JanuaryMartin Luther King Jr Day (US)
    National Hugging Day
    Yes
    Yes
    25 JanuaryBurns NightYes

    February 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 February Chinese New YearNo
    4 FebruaryWorld Cancer DayYes
    9 FebruaryNational Pizza Day (US)Yes
    13 FebruaryThe Super BowlNo
    14 FebruaryValentine’s DayYes
    15 FebruarySingles Awareness DayYes
    17 FebruaryRandom Acts of Kindness DayYes

    March 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 MarchShrove Tuesday/Pancake DayNo
    1 MarchSt David’s Day Yes
    3 MarchWorld Hearing Day Yes
    3 MarchWorld Book Day First Thursday in March
    8 MarchInternational Women’s Day Yes
    9 MarchNational No Smoking Day No
    10 MarchWorld Kidney DayNo
    16 MarchYoung Carers Action DayTBC
    17 MarchSt Patrick’s Day Yes
    18 MarchGlobal Recycling Day Yes
    18 MarchRed Nose Day/Comic ReliefNo
    20 MarchFirst Day of Spring/Spring Equinox Yes
    21 MarchWorld Poetry Day Yes
    22 MarchWorld Water Day Yes
    26 MarchPurple Day (Epilepsy Awareness)Yes
    27 MarchMother’s Day (UK)No
    27 MarchClocks Go ForwardNo

    April 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 AprilApril Fools Day Yes
    2 AprilWorld Autism Awareness Day
    International Children’s Book Day
    Yes
    Yes
    7 AprilWorld Health DayNo
    15 AprilGood FridayNo
    17 AprilEaster SundayNo
    18 AprilEaster MondayNo
    23 AprilSt George’s Day Yes
    26 AprilWorld Intellectual Property Day Yes

    May 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 MayBig Asthma Bake Sale MonthYes
    2 MayBank HolidayNo
    4 MayStar Wars DayYes
    12 MayInternational Nurses’ DayYes
    14 MayWorld Fair Trade Day2nd Saturday in May
    15 MayChildren’s Day (UK)No
    15 MayInternational Day of Families
    FA Cup Final
    Yes
    May or June
    23 MaySam’s BirthdayYes
    26 MayBallyhoo’s BirthdayYes
    30 MayCricket World CupNext in 2023

    June 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 JuneInternational Children’s Day (observed by ~50 countries) Yes
    3 JunePlatinum Jubilee Bank HolidayNo
    5 JuneWorld Environment Day Yes
    14 JuneDiabetes Awareness Week Begins (TBC) No
    15 JuneNational Beer Day Yes
    19 JuneFather’s Day No
    21 JuneWorld Music Day
    Summer Solstice
    Yes
    Between June 20-22
    24 JuneTake Your Dog to Work Day No
    27 JuneWimbledon BeginsNo

    July 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    7 JulyWorld Chocolate DayYes
    14 JulyBritish Open BeginsNo
    17 JulyWorld Emoji DayYes
    29 JulyInternational Tiger DayYes
    30 JulyWorld Friendship DayYes

    August 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 AugustYorkshire DayYes 
    6 AugustEdinburgh International Festival Begins No
    8 AugustInternational Cat Day Yes
    13 AugustNational Prosecco Day
    International Left-Handers Day
    Yes
    Yes
    19 AugustWorld Photo Day Yes
    27 AugustNotting Hill Carnival Begins No
    29 AugustAugust Bank Holiday No

    September 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    4 SeptemberInternational Bacon Day1st Saturday in September
    5 SeptemberInternational Day of CharityYes
    10 SeptemberWorld Suicide Prevention DayYes
    13 SeptemberRoald Dahl DayYes
    14 SeptemberInternational Coding Week BeginsNo
    18 SeptemberLondon Fashion Week beginsNo
    19 SeptemberInternational Talk Like A Pirate DayYes
    17 SeptemberGreat British Beach Clean Week beginsNo
    17 SeptemberOktoberfest beginsNo
    20 SeptemberRecycle Week begins
    International Week of Happiness at Work begins
    No
    No
    23 SeptemberAutumnal equinoxNo
    25 SeptemberWorlds Biggest Coffee Morning Yes

    October 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 OctoberWorld Vegetarian DayYes
    3 OctoberLondon Marathonusually held in April
    5 OctoberWorld Teachers’ DayYes
    7 October World Dyslexia Day No
    9 OctoberWorld Post DayYes
    10 OctoberWorld Mental Health DayYes
    11 OctoberNational Coming Out DayYes
    13 OctoberNational No Bra DayYes
    15 OctoberGlobal Hand Washing DayYes
    16 OctoberWorld Food DayYes
    20 OctoberConflict Resolution DayNo
    30 OctoberClocks go backNo
    31 OctoberHalloweenYes

    November 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    1 NovemberWorld Vegan DayYes
    3 NovemberNational Stress Awareness DayYes
    5 NovemberGuy Fawkes/Bonfire NightNo
    13 NovemberWorld Kindness Day Yes
    14 NovemberWorld Diabetes DayYes
    20 NovemberWorld Children’s Day (observed by ~28 countries)Yes
    25 NovemberBlack FridayNo
    28 NovemberCyber MondayNo
    30 NovemberSt Andrew’s DayYes

    December 2022

    DateEventSame date next year?
    3 DecemberInternational Day of Persons with DisabilitiesYes
    9 DecemberChristmas Jumper DayNo
    21 DecemberWinter solsticeNo
    25 DecemberChristmas DayYes
    26 DecemberBoxing DayYes
    31 DecemberNew Years EveYes

    And that’s a wrap. Hopefully, Ballyhoo’s List of Key Dates and Events for your Social Media and PR Calendars 2022 will give you some good ideas for your social media channels and blogs. As I said, we are not perfect, so if we have missed any, or there are any that you think we should add, then please let us know in the comments below.

    How We Introduced Team Development Days

    May 9th, 2018 by

    In Q3 2017, I decided to introduce what I call “team development days” to Ballyhoo, giving us a regular outlet to impart and get feedback on key company strategy and performance, and ultimately create a stronger team dynamic.

    To give a bit of background to this, in May 2016 I had my first child and subsequently took a year off on maternity leave. Coming back to work was always going to be a bit of a shock to the system, but a lot had changed in my year off, including the introduction of two new staff members. My role had also changed shape, with a bigger focus on developing the company and operational management.

    Following a whirlwind couple of months and yet another new member of staff joining the team, I felt we needed a space away from the everyday to bond as an effective team and make sure everyone is on the same page about where this company is going and how we’re going to get there.

    We’ve now held three team development days. I consider them to be hugely beneficial to our business so please read on to find out more and how you can incorporate them into your own strategy.

    What is a Team Development Day?

    The aim of a team development day is to foster personal and team development and encourage everyone to be a stakeholder in the future of the company.

    A day of discussion, self-evaluation and 1:1 meetings help us to establish how we can be better team members and make progress. It’s a chance to step away from project work and the daily grind to remember why we are here and why we love (or at least like!) our jobs and our industry.

    The Basics

    Frequency

    Team development days can take place as often as you require but I recommend quarterly as a good frequency. There’s enough time between days for real progress to be made yet they’re not far enough apart for everyone to forget what we were trying to focus on last time or lose momentum.

    Location

    Don’t hold them at your office if you can help it, being in a space away from our daily work stations helps the team to open up and not get distracted by any current work-related stresses or to-dos. If you have an enclosed meeting room large enough then this could be suitable as it’s unlikely your whole team spends a lot of time in there, if not hire a local meeting room or even a private venue.

    Refreshments

    At lunchtime, we have some downtime to order in a couple of pizzas and have a few beverages. It’s easy to get bogged down in work, and we don’t have many opportunities throughout the year to just gather together and have a chat. We keep the room well-stocked with snacks and drinks throughout the day too.

    House Rules

    It may take a few tries to hone the process and learn what you need to allow (or not) to get the most out of your team. However, some simple rules to follow… no phone calls, no emails, no client meetings; turn the out-of-office on and dress comfortably.

    Structure

    Team development day is built around a number of key areas, with an agenda to follow so everyone has an overview of what’s trying to be achieved. However, we do allow wiggle room to go with the flow if we need more time on something as we don’t want to stifle innovation.

    Visioning

    Visioning is a process whereby we evaluate where the business stands today and where we want it to be. Imagine that in a year’s time you are describing how successful the company has been to a journalist, then imagine the same thing but now in 5 years’ time. What do we want to have achieved? By painting a picture of where we want to be, we can then work backwards and figure out how to get there. We also take this opportunity to recognise successes, what we’ve achieved since the last team day in terms of clients won and projects completed, as well as be open about any challenges the company currently faces, including a high-level overview of our finances and target performance.

    Discussion

    Empowering the team to weigh-in on company strategy, points of interest and any challenges we are facing is an essential part of the day. We then use their feedback (there are no bad ideas) to map out a plan of action for the coming months and assign or delegate responsibility so we can make real progress before the next team development day.

    Some of the discussion topics we’ve covered so far are outlined below, each to be discussed in turn throughout the day with a timer set for twenty minutes each. If we’re still going strong when the alarm sounds, we get a grace period of ten minutes to wrap things up.

    InnovationCommunicationBranding
    New TechnologyCustomer ServiceProductivity
    CSRWorking EnvironmentDesign Systems
    In-House ProjectsHome WorkingSoftware
    MarketingAccessibilityFile Management

    Employee Reviews

    As a small company with less than ten staff, we have been able to incorporate our usual quarterly 1:1 employee reviews, although these have changed format slightly so they fit better within the ethos of team development day. They are still an important part of the day, allowing staff the opportunity to have a frank discussion with management, albeit with more onus on the employee to shape the conversation and identify areas for improvement or acknowledgement.

    Self-Evaluation

    While 1:1 reviews are taking place this is often an opportunity for the team to take some time on their own to take an inward look at how to improve themselves professionally and identify any areas to explore further. Personal progress is important – not only for Ballyhoo as a company but also for our team’s future. We hope that during your time with Ballyhoo you can honestly say you’ve come out the other end better at both your job and being a member of a team.

    Guest Speakers

    Something we’ve only done once so far, but would like to do again in future, is invite a guest speaker to present to the team. In this case, a business development advisor presented the results of the team carrying out a Belbin Team Roles exercise prior to the day, explaining how the strengths and allowable weaknesses of each of our roles can help us form a successful team.

    Outcomes

    As mentioned earlier, after team development day we map out a plan of action for the coming months and assign responsibility for each task with the aim of making discernible progress before we meet again.

    By allowing ourselves time to think bigger and gain input from the team, the following are examples of what we’ve managed to achieve so far:

    • Implement key new software packages, improving communication, project management and customer support.
    • Launch two new services, GDPR Website Audits and Consultancy
    • Participate in two ERDF-funded business development programmes
    • Initiate more regular management strategy meetings
    • Identify opportunities impart our knowledge and expand our network

    Why Should I Trust Your Website?

    April 18th, 2018 by

    When we talk about trust in websites, we could be referring to any number of things. Typically, website users are taught to look for a number of tell-tale signs as to whether or not the website they are using is safe (or trustworthy).

    Safe and Secure

    At the top of the list is usually the “padlock”. Does the website show a padlock in the left hand corner of the address bar? If it doesn’t, it is likely that any data you provide is not encrypted and could be intercepted. Checking for a padlock is good advice, the padlock shows that the site you are using has a valid SSL certificate and that it is secure. In some cases Google is starting to exclude sites that do not have an SSL certificate from its search results and, in other cases, is warning searchers that the site it is sending them to might be insecure.

    Word of Mouth

    Another sign that promotes trust within a website is reviews. Reviews show visitors how other users have found the experience of working with this organisation. Reviews validate the business and can give people confidence that the product or service they are about to purchase or order will be as described, the quality will be as they expect it to be, it will actually be delivered and what the companies customer service department is like.

    It’s All Well and Good Ticking the Boxes…

    All the usual methods of earning trust from an online visitor are absolutely necessary. These are the things that people are taught to look out for and if you don’t have at least an SSL certificate, then you are likely losing out on valuable traffic and conversions. However, it’s all well and good taking these steps to gain the trust of your visitors, but if your website is poorly designed, hard to use, frustrating, or generally not very pretty to look at, your customers still won’t trust you.

    A website, whether it sells a product, a service or is there to provide information, is just like a physical store, if its not appealing to your audience, then it will lose business.

    Think of it this way; it’s Friday night, you’ve had a busy week and you want to treat the family to a take away. You check out Tripadvisor to see what’s good in the area and the local Chinese has great reviews. Everyone is raving about the food and how great the service is and you can see that they have a great food hygiene rating. So, you hop in the car and make your way over. When you get there, there are a couple of dodgy looking characters hanging around outside, it puts you off slightly, but you squeeze past and make your way inside. As you open the door, a rancid smell smacks you in the face. You proceed to the counter wading your way through, what looks like, rat droppings and when you get there the hygiene of the person impatiently waiting to take your order seems questionable. Are you still going to place your order? Or are you going to try the other place a few doors down, that looks a bit newer and seems much nicer?

    If the answer is “I’m going to try the nicer looking place down the road”, then read on. If not, then take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and consider getting some help.

    Decide for yourself…

    Take a look at these two sites:

    Exhibit A.

    Exhibit B.

    Exhibit A is the website of a company that provides holiday courses for children. Exhibit B provides… exactly the same thing, in exactly the same areas. Neither of the websites have official reviews, but Exhibit B does have some testimonials. They both have a valid SSL certificate and show the secure padlock (at least on the booking/payment page). Which one would you feel safer handing your details over to? The answer is Exhibit B, and if you disagree, then take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and consider getting some help.

    Example 2

    You are in the market for some home-brewing equipment, these two websites sell exactly the same products, for roughly the same prices:

    Exhibit A.

    Exhibit B.

    Which one do you buy from? Exhibit A, right? It’s much nicer, seems more trustworthy and is generally more pleasing on the eye. What if I told you that it isn’t secure and doesn’t have the padlock in the address bar? Did you even notice, or just make your decision on how the site looks? (It does, by the way, so don’t bother checking, I’m just trying to prove a point).

    What is the Point I am Trying to Prove?

    My point is, if your website is secure and has trusted reviews, but doesn’t look as good as your competitors, then you are going to lose business.

    If your website looks great but isn’t secure, you will be losing out on business too and you should definitely consider upgrading your hosting, especially if you want to comply with (and you 100% should) the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into play on 25th May 2018.

    If your website isn’t secure and looks terrible, then you need to take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror and consider getting some help!


    All You Need to Know About UX Research

    March 5th, 2018 by

    Research is a crucial aspect in any industry that offers products, services and/or applications. As user experience (UX) designers, we should ask questions, take notes, learn everything about our target audience and then repeatedly test our work during the design process to ensure we create something that is fit for purpose.

    UX research helps us to accept or reject our hypotheses and find similarities across our target audience members. Moreover, recognising their needs, goals and mental models, research helps the designer to understand and endorses their decisions.

    A Deeper Insight

    UX research or design research includes a variety of analytical methods used to add context and vision to the design process. Research in UX is not exclusive to its field, however, it usually transforms from other forms of research. Thus, UX designers and practitioners use many techniques from market researchers, academics and others, while there is research unique to the UX world as well.

    We can divide UX research methods into two different categories of quantitative and qualitative:

    Quantitative Research

    Quantitative research is the form of research that we use to measure aspects numerically. For example, you should ask questions such as: “How many people clicked on this element?” or “What percentage of users are able to find call to action?” This helps us to understand what is happening on a website or app.

    Qualitative Research

    Qualitative research, on the other hand, is also known as “soft research”. It quite simply helps us to understand why people do the things they do. The common question here is; why did users not see or interact with the call to action and what else did people notice on the page instead?

    Useful Methodologies

    There are different types of UX research ranging from in-person interviews to unmoderated A/B tests which originate from observation, understanding and analysis.

    Observation

    Observing the world is the first step in the research process. Inexperienced researchers need to learn how to see the world around them.

    You may think that observation is a simple task but in reality, it can be very subjective. Hence why the good designer always takes notes so that they can find interesting trends across diverse groups.

    Understanding

    Understanding is very similar to observation, it is something that we do all of the time in our daily lives. We try to understand our families, friends and colleagues, and sometimes we even try to find the point of debate or unfamiliar concepts. However, for UX designers, understanding is more related to mental models rather than disagreements.

    Analysis

    Finally, we must look at the analysis, this is where we must delve deeper into our research as it can be very informative and valuable for the design. However, in order to derive an insight from the research in the design, it should be analysed and presented to a larger team. Analysis helps UX researchers to discover trends and find solutions while making recommendations on how to improve.

    How Can We Help?

    Ballyhoo have all the skills needed to help identify and improve UX issues and can work with you to improve your user interaction and experience. We are passionate about web design and have been working with companies big and small for nearly a decade to produce high-quality websites with a focus on design, function and accessibility.

    If you’d like to discuss things further or find out more information, then please feel free to contact us on 0121 295 5352, email to hello@ballyhoo.co.uk or fill out the contact form on our contact page.

    Using Twitter Effectively for Your Business

    February 8th, 2018 by

    With millions of account holders actively using Twitter each month, it is essential that you are aware of how you can use this platform to your advantage in order to achieve more recognition for your business. There are many different rules and practices you could use to do this, so we thought it’d be a good idea to show you some of our favourite, easy to implement techniques that can help you boost your Twitter following.

    First Things First

    First things first, you must create a plan and determine your goals. To do this, you should ask yourself (or your client); “what do I want to achieve from my twitter campaign?”. A clear objective must be determined before you can carry out your plan otherwise you will be working towards nothing. Do you want to improve interaction? Gain recognition for your brand? Generate sales? Or perhaps you just want to promote your service. Whatever it is, set your goals and daily or weekly objectives to ensure your engagement is consistent.

    Need help creating a plan? Contact Ballyhoo today

    The Basics

    Etiquette

    Twitter is the perfect place to get in touch with professionals, journalists and potential clients, as well as family and friends. Therefore, it is important that what you tweet is short and informative. Not only will this prompt users to click on your link or get in touch, they can comment or mention you on their own Twitter profiles, helping you gain recognition from their followers. So, always make sure you reply politely!

    Retweeting

    In terms of retweeting, it is important that you only retweet relevant, on-trend tweets from third party Twitter profiles. However, be careful with what you retweet; only retweet tweets that fit in with your strategy.

    How to Use it for Business

    Twitter is one of the best social media platforms all businesses should be regularly updating. If used correctly as a team, you will be able to:

    Using it as a Team

    By involving everyone, you will be able to show that your team holds a wide range of expertise, interest and personalities. This will humanise your brand which will, in turn, make more people feel like they already know and trust you, meaning they will more likely want to work with you.

    At the end of each tweet your company posts, each individual member should sign it off at the end with their name so people know who it’s from. Different searchers will relate to different members of your team, so it is important that everyone is involved to get that relationship started.

    If you are concerned about all of your team members having access to one account, it is important that you research social platforms that allow you to see previous tweets and scheduled tweets or contact experienced marketers to do it for you. That way, you will be able to see if someone else has already posted during that particular day. If they have, you could perhaps schedule yours for the next (unless it is time sensitive, then we suggest you just go for it).

    Follow Us on Twitter Today!

    Hashtags

    While hashtags may sound cliché, they can be used to promote your tweets and help people discover your content. If you include #webdesign, for example, anyone searching or subscribing to that term will see your post. Therefore, we suggest adding at least three hashtags, definitely no more than five, to each post to strengthen your chances.

    Please also keep in mind that you cannot use spaces in your hashtags so don’t put too many words together otherwise people won’t be able to read it. Stick to about two or three.

    Twitter Analytics

    Twitter has its own tracking software that allows users to monitor their data and see how many interactions, impressions, profile visits, tweets, mentions and followers they’ve gained or lost. This helps you identify whether your strategy is working or needs a rethink.

    Monitoring your statistics is very important if you want to grow your brand and gain recognition through Twitter. We suggest that you look into this or contact us for advice on how to use this effectively, we’re more than happy to help and will create strategies that will enhance your performance.

    Other Business Tips

    How Can We Help?

    We understand that you and your business are unique so we’ll tailor an online marketing package just for you based on a number of tried and tested methods. We take a flexible approach that allows us to explore which marketing activities work best to achieve our ultimate goal of increasing the number of visits to your website, raise your Twitter following and improve your bounce and conversion rates.

    We will be more than happy to help you with social media and can offer services that will best suit your needs.

    Get in Touch with Ballyhoo Today

    Four Simple Ways to Revamp Your Office

    January 26th, 2018 by

    There’s nothing worse than working in an office 40 hours a week where the walls are dull, the atmosphere is gloomy and everything is very bland and boring. A few years ago, we decided to liven up our office to ensure our team felt happy and content in their workplace – and we’ve not looked back since.

    Here are some of the ideas we implemented to achieve this:

    Vibrant Colours

    The first thing we did when revamping our office was add some vibrant colours that also incorporated colours from our branding. We purchased green and teal pillows, folders and storage cubes and created our own Ballyhoo mugs. This not only added some vibrancy to our office, but it also added a more personal touch, we made it our own.

    Plants

    To go with these new purchases, we thought it would be a good idea to scatter some plants throughout the office as a symbol that they would grow and flourish with the company.

    As well as this, plants will help purify the air in your office as they absorb harmful gases and replace it with fresh oxygen, meaning productivity levels and worker mentality may improve because your team will be breathing in fresher air. We certainly saw a difference.

    Artwork

    Adding artwork was an easy way to add some colour to our bland white walls, we decided to create our own artwork by purchasing big frames, brown paper and glitter card, as well as printing a picture of the British Isles. We wanted to create pieces that really fit within our company, that would be nice to look at and would impress those who walked into the room.

    Giant Company Logo Stamp

    The final step when revamping our office is actually our favourite. We decided to paint our logo on one of the walls in the office, which was harder than you may think.

    First, we had to blow up the Ballyhoo logo, ensuring it was not too big or too small, and we then had to print it out and create our own stencils. It is possible to buy vinyl stickers and have companies professionally apply them if you do not want to do this yourselves, but this can be quite costly.

    Once we had our stencils ready, it was time to find paint that perfectly matched our branding. This did take a few trial and error samples, but once we found our suited three colours, we began painting. A day or two later our masterpiece was created and it still looks very professional and eye-catching, if we do say so ourselves.

    Inspiring Others

    Our customisation in the office was not only popular with our team, but also amongst the staff members of the Innovation Centre who loved the idea. In fact, they were so inspired that they decided to redo their paintwork across the building and place inspirational quotes on a number of walls.

    Will you be following in our footsteps?

    So there you have it, four simple ideas on how you can liven up your office and set the example for your office building. If you do follow any of our ideas, be sure to tweet us at @ballyhooltd or contact us for some more information by clicking on the button below.

    Contact Us