Author Archives: Victoria

About Victoria

Website builder, Marketer, Google Analytics enthusiast. See more here : About Victoria & Clare Associates

Clare Associates Is Watching You – and that’s a good thing!

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Just so you know,  Google Analytics is installed on this website.  Google Analytics is a free website visitor analytics system which we use routinely on most of the websites that we work with.  It logs information like :

    We can see aggregated, non-personal data

    We can see aggregated, non-personal data

  • what searches were run that brought searchers to this site?
  • which posts did people look at?
  • what other sites linked people to this one?
  • what operating systems, browsers, screen resolutions, network locations did those people use?

We do this because we use Analytics all the time.  I find the data it gives me fascinating.  I love Analytics with an unhealthy passion.  And given that I’m sitting here typing all this stuff in, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to know a little about you, dear reader!

Personal data that you haven't given permission to collect- such as your preference in salad dressing, is not recorded.

Personal data that you haven’t given permission to collect- such as your preference in salad dressing, is not recorded.

Analytics does not record:

  • the name, email address, inside leg measurement or preferred salad dressing of the person using the computer to look at this.
  • Anything that your machine/network isn’t set up to disclose routinely.

Analytics does make a guess at your location, and I can see some very pretty maps showing where it thinks you all live. Because I live in Britain, Google kindly puts me right in the middle of the maps it shows me.  This makes me feel very important.  A lot of you seem to be using networks that say you are in Britain too.  You are in the centre of the world, like me!  But where, in our central little island, do you live?  I can see a map of that too! But oddly, it tells me that many of our visitors come from Billericay.  This seems odd.  We are based in Cornwall.  We have no customers in Billericay.  So who are all these Billericay people?

And in fact, the geographical guessing system is far from perfect.   My ISP, Zen Internet, is obviously not dispensing particularly accurate data about the location of its customers.  I know my location, and I can tell that Analytics is guessing my location to be either Crawley or London.  There are visits from Plymouth and Truro, which would be closer, but when I break down the reports for those locations, I can see that they are not me, since I do not typically visit our website by googling for my own name.

The geographic sensing has improved though.  There were several years when I connected to the internet via Claranet,  when Google geosensing was adamant that I lived in Germany, to the point where I had to override defaults to get a version of Google that wasn’t in German.

By looking at which pages and blog posts people visit (and which are less popular!) I can understand what sort of information is likely to be of use to our website visitors.  I can look at whether people arrive at the website and then go away straight away, and what sort of people are more likely to stop for a while and have a good rummage. I can look at which pages get lots of visitors, and which are mostly ignored.

Website visitor analytics offer a brilliant way for the people who build and own websites to understand what the visitors are wanting, without having to intrude and demand time and effort to explain directly.

Knowing how people use a website, what they searched for, which pages they visited and in what order,  helps the website owner either to help people find stuff they want more quickly and easily, or make it clearer that that isn’t what they do.

This makes the web better and more useable for everyone.  Analytics is a really important and honestly, not particularly intrusive tool that can help make the world a less irritating place.

21st Century Marketing Review for Devon Holiday Cottage Business

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otrsc report coverOld Tavistock Railway Station was converted to a set of three award-winning holiday cottages in 2008. On the face of it, the owners had already adopted 21st century marketing techniques – their website was attractive and they were using Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising. However, they were not getting the results they expected, so they called us in to conduct a 21st Century Marketing Review.

We were able to identify why the business’s pay-per-click campaigns were both ineffective and expensive. We then built new, better-targeted AdWords campaigns (with built-in conversion tracking, fully researched keywords and new ad copy) and have kept optimising and improving those campaigns.

otrsc combinedWe used Google Analytics and years of experience of optimising websites to recommend subtle changes that would improve the experience of visitors to the site. Finally, we conducted a detailed review of all of the accommodation listings sites that Old Tavistock was registered with and advised which were likely to offer the best value for money.

Online Shop development for Marianna G Swimwear

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Marianna.G is an exclusive swimwear brand launching their first collection in 2013. We created their original site, working with their chosen designer, using WordPress as a content management system, with a heavily customised page layout to fit their simple and beautiful brand.

To add powerful ecommerce functionality in a way that was affordable for a new business trying to achieve an exclusive look within a budget, we used the WordPress plugin Woocommerce – again, customising the default layout to fit the desired elegant look and feel, including custom programming in PHP to achieve the desired features and layout.

The site takes payment using the Worldpay payment service provider and also via Paypal, and has a tiered system of delivery charges depending on where in the world the shopper is located.

You can see it here:

Copyright and linking to copyright content: do you know the risks?

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I don’t know if this post is really really obvious or not at all obvious.  Maybe not at all obvious, from the sheer quantity of copyrighted images, music, books and video flying around the web in places where the copyright owner has not authorised them to be.

I’m leaving entirely aside the morality of, say, ripping film off DVD and putting it on Youtube, or using a pirated copy of your music as a background for your own home movie. I’m not  arguing on morality: we are in a position where the law is trying to catch up with technology and this inevitably creates odd and irritating situations.

I have many times had to explain to business owners that no, we can’t just take copies of photos off other people’s websites and use them on their commercial website, and that doing this affects other people’s livelihood – and is a risk.  Many people just do not realise that by using other people’s content, or linking to illegal material they are running a risk and potentially exposing their families to risk too. Continue reading

New website and social media presence for Garden Studios Business.

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shieldsstudiosTo launch their new garden studios product, Shields Buildings decided to launch a new Shields Studios brand. We created a simple site that put the emphasis on the product. An important feature of the product was the large windows, allowing the studio owner to see the view, so we played on this idea by creating a blog featuring ‘Superviews’ around the Southwest.

shieldsstudios-socialThis blog was designed for the business owner to update with regular photos,
which are automatically crossposted to Facebook and Twitter. This allows the business to have at least a basic social media presence with minimal extra effort needed. The content was manually crossposted to Google Plus.

Friends don’t let friends use Internet Explorer 6

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IE6 is 10 years old.  TEN!   And it was never very good.  If YOU or any of your family or friends are using IE6, please consider using software that isn’t approaching puberty? It’s safer!  It’s better!  It’s all round the Right Thing to Do!

I have someone reporting a site not displaying quite right in IE6. I don’t consider this an error.  I consider this to be a form of public service.

Ski Stuff – Ski Clothing hire website launched December 2008.

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Ski Stuff, a brand new ski clothes hire company based in Modbury in South Devon is an online business – people, particularly families and school groups, who are going on skiing holidays can hire ski clothes and boots – allowing a considerable saving over buying skiing outfits for growing kids. ski-stuff

As a new business very dependent on internet enquiries, it was critical that the website should be easy to manage and search engine friendly.

We built a custom website with a password protected administration system designed specifically for Ski Stuff, and provided a personal training session focussing on both how to use the site management tools, and on search engine friendly copywriting.  It took a little while to take off, but with hard work and persistence now performs very strongly.

New Website for Air Southwest May 2008

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We designed a new website with a custom-built content management system aswfor the South Wests’s regional airline, and worked with the booking system providers, Air Kiosk, to apply the new brand throughout the airline’s booking pages.  We worked with the airline’s branding agency to ensure that the online brand was consistent with offline materials, while still conforming to web standards and offering the best search engine performance. .

We also created a system to allow users to quickly, easily and securely buy additional baggage vouchers online, and print them off.


Launceston Area Parish Wildlife Group – wildlife sightings recording and management system launched 2008

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The Launceston Area Parish Wildlife Group website is a lottery-funded project created using thepeacockcontent management system Drupal.   The Group had been collecting paper records and assembling an Access database of wildlife sightings, and had been given funding to transform this data collection work into an online collection and reporting system.

By using Drupal, we were able to give volunteers within the group considerable ability to produce custom reports and enter and manage data, without custom-building everything (which would have been prohibitively expensive).  We chose Drupal for this project, because it offers a powerful solution to data processing and also has an excellent built-in system of user management, with multiple tiers to allow different levels of access to different groups.

We also used Drupal to create a multi-user gallery system for photos of local wildlife.

New Website for Lower Hearson Holiday Cottages : August 2003

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Lower Hearson holiday cottages in North Devon needed a website to be created for them.Lower Hearson Holiday Cottages

They were looking for a website designer that would understand their business model, and be prepared to give them the support they needed in the long term.  The owners of the holiday cottages did not want to become internet experts : instead, they wanted to be able to call on people who would advise them appopriately.

We helped them get suitable photography, and guided them towards creating content that would attract searchers to their website.  Although Lower Hearson Farm is not far from the coast, it’s a farm/rural location rather than a seaside one, and the site owners wanted to make the best of this peaceful setting.

We built a custom-built website which included a simple content management system to allow them to update and change pages.  We provided a personal, hands-on training session (with take-away quick reference sheet) to help them use this.