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Look out Mystic Meg! Bamboo Mcr’s got hold of a crystal ball, and we can see…

Smart Technology

First things first, everything is going to get a lot smarter. We aren’t just talking about Bamboo’s brilliant website building skills (ahem), but about the entire breed of technical devices out there on the market.

As predictions go, you might feel like it’s a pretty safe bet to assume technology is going to get a bit more quick witted. Technology has consistently become smarter since we started putting together techy stuff to make even better techy stuff. It’s the kind of horse you’d bet on to get a sure-fire win.

But, what we think will specifically make tech even smarter in 2018 is the internet of things (IoT). Now, the internet of things may sound like a loopy science project or a deep space mission, but what the internet of things means is connected objects that can exchange and collect information via the internet – think Amazon Echo, Apple’s Siri or your fridge that suggests you might want to make an omelette with the egg and cheddar combo on your shelf.

We are obviously right at the start of the IoT movement, but experts are predicting that 2018 will be the year of IoT and where we’ll start to see real changes to our lives. IoT is going to create a completely connected world where all devices and products will form mass networks that communicate with each other and form integrated services and data troves. The internet of things will basically become the backbone for all our consumer goods.

The movement is so huge and set to tip over into our every waking moment that in 30 years or so, we’ll actually look back at the likes of Amazon Echo and have a little giggle about how quaint our IoT systems were, kind of like how we look at the 80s bricks that were apparently mobile phones or existential life before Google.

Two huge IoT examples set to change our lives are smart homes and smart cities. Most of us are already familiar with smart homes – thermostats, lighting and security systems that you can regulate with your phone, or fridges that predict food running out, and fire sensors that contact emergency services when triggered. Smart cities are also set to revolutionise our urban lives by freely exchanging live data as we go about our days. IoT cities have the potential to reduce traffic congestion, noise, crime, and pollution.

User Experience

User experience or UX design has been coming up on the rear for a very long time. User Experience has always been important, with 88% of users less likely to return to a website if they’ve had a bad experience. A UX designer’s principal role is to make your journey from A to B as smooth and pleasant as possible. As technology gets smarter and more connected, seamlessly smooth user experience across multiple channels, devices and systems will become even more important.

UX designers are also the real Mystic Megs of the digital world, because a huge part of their job is to predict how people will want to use a system and how that might change over time, which is a crucial asset in the quickly evolving technology sector.

So, what will this mean for our digital spaces in 2018? Time saving nudge features, voice-activated experiences, augmented reality, and modern passwords such as biometric activation, are all being excitedly whispered about along the UX grapevine.

Social Media

No we aren’t going to predict social media happening, that ship has long since sailed past the billionth duck face selfie. What we are going to predict for 2018 is that social media channels are going to become even more integrated and connected, just like user experience and smart technology.

Social channels are already merging their identities to eat up their competitors and keep their valued users. Instagram stories copied Snapchat, LinkedIn news looks very similar to the Twittersphere newsreel and Facebook is now a video tidal wave, akin to the original video titan, Youtube.

Social media will also continue to eat up traditional T.V viewing. Since the birth of Youtube, Netflix and On Demand streaming, the young’uns and the tech savvy have switched off their family tellies and flocked to their portable devices to stream from the internet wherever they want and to their hearts content. It’s very similar to the previous shift from CD to mp3, everything is getting more online, connected and instantly accessible.

TV channels and television producers have been tracking this colossal shift and have done what all savvy business people are now doing – they integrate the competition. Most television boxes now have the option to watch programmed television or go onto on-demand viewing, because it’s set to become the mainstream way of watching our most bingeworthy television programs.

The Future’s bright

So what’s in store for Bamboo in 2018?

Drum roll please!…… We are very excited to reveal our plans for a brand spanking new website, scheduled to be live and kicking early this year. Since our move to Manchester city centre, we felt like a new look was in order, it also gave us the chance to integrate lots of snazzy new user experience and design features as well as a Manchester bee inspired logo!

We are also going to continue to eat cake and live our very own coworking experiment in Ziferblat Edge street. Working in the northern quarter and being around friendly and creative people has definitely brought about some surprising opportunities. We’ve found new clients, friends and even branched out into photography and video creation.

All we can say is, roll on 2018 and let’s hope it builds on the brilliant year we had in 2017!


If you ever want a chat with us about our uncanny crystal ball skills or maybe even how we build great looking functional and modern websites, we are always available via phone, email or even for a cup of tea at Ziferblat Edge Street!

 

Why Google Rankings strategies matter

Your site is up and running, it’s looking sleek and shiny, ready for the whole world to see. You sit at your computer waiting for the thousands of visits and leads that are going to come knocking on your digital window.

So why have the weeks gone by and you’re yet to receive the tidal wave of requests you expected, and your views are struggling to hit the 100 per week mark?

First things first, you are not alone, many companies navigate through the choppy waters of website traffic and have no idea how to bring the boat into port in unchartered territory.

Google is effectively the gate keeper of high search rankings and organic traffic. Meeting Google ranking requirements is one of the most important things for high website traffic, and ultimately lead generation.

What then is the magic Google recipe to put you above all your competitors and become the cream of the Google ranking crop?

Tell me the truth

One of the most important and relatively easiest ways is with quality content. Writing engaging and relevant information on your website which is often refreshed (i.e. with a blog) is a sure-fire way to see your Google rankings rise.

People react most to genuine content that hits a Zeitgeist or speaks to their values. Which means that no amount of hyperlinking or SEO can replace interesting content that attracts your core audience. You can even attract long-tail traffic, which is basically attracting visitors that are interested in what you do but weren’t specifically looking for you.

A good example of this is if a restaurant, which has a website and blog, posts weekly trend setting recipes. A person might research a recipe that is on the blog and stumble across the post, like what they see, look at the whole website and decided to visit the restaurant.

SEO my heart out

Another way is through SEO, a term which is being bandied about a lot and is being propelled as the new way to write content. Away from the marketing jargon, SEO is just writing compelling content for your brand which contains words that people are likely to search for when they are looking for what you do.

It’s important though, to firstly write quality content and to secondly concentrate on SEO. The worst mistake a lot of websites do is to try and drive content by solely concentrating on searchable words, this often created conceited and jumbled up sentences which tends to lead to high traffic but also very high bounce rates.

SEO works when you can’t tell the searchable words are there. They should never be the gravitational pull in a sentence but should instead sit calmly behind the scenes in a genuine piece of writing.

Meta-morphosis

It’s also not just about the words you write for the whole world to see, it’s also important to get your back-end in order. All I mean by back-end, is the page settings in your editor suite, where you can view each of your pages and write meta-tags or searchable terms which help Google understand what your site does, raised your profile and directs the right traffic towards it.

It is also important to do this for pictures and videos. Google is basically a very complex algorithm and reacts to data (a colossal 20 petabytes per day). If Google processes a picture or video without a back-end description it is basically invisible to Google and won’t help your rankings.

Social Space

Social media also has a big part to play, because it can help drive more traffic to your website. Having various social media accounts for your company effectively shines a stronger beacon towards your website by picking up visitors from a wider angle.

You are quite literally providing more opportunities to be searched for on the internet, and Google likes knowing that traffic is coming to your website from multiple sources. A bit like the popular high school kid, who decides whether you’re worth their attention based on how many friends you have.

Picking which social media platform is right for you is also important. If you’re a design company, Pinterest and Instagram are probably the way to go, if you’re a street food company Instagram and Snapchat will probably get you genuine engagement, where a data analyst organisation will probably look to Twitter and LinkedIn as a more appropriate route.

The key strategy with social media is to get your branding streamlined and to constantly generate compelling content which will, if all things go to plan, drive increased traffic to your website and give you a healthy boost on Google.

Rising Star

In the end, raising your Google ranking can feel a bit like a shooting star, some days your rankings soar and some days you are left scratching your head and wondering what changed from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Don’t lose faith though, the best sign that your google ranking strategy is working is that the long-term pattern is one of growth and that you are enjoying writing your content. Sometimes that can be a reader’s individual feedback, an average increase in session duration or a few more contacts via your website or social media accounts than last month.

Whenever I write for myself or for companies I always stick to a genuine voice and write about what is genuinely interesting to the core audience, and then I back it up with metatags and SEO. Just like in real life, when you are faking it, people can tell, and tend to back away. The need for genuine conversation reaches all corners of our life, including the internet and our websites.


Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

Why coders are today’s rock stars

Every decade we have a ‘cool’ job gang. And every decade there are a set of people that go from working behind the scenes to rocking our professional world overnight.

This decade is the age of the coders. Gone are the socially inept stereotypes and in its place, are hip tech-savvy individuals working for futuristic Google-esque companies and changing the world as they code.

Tech is now seen as cool and as a by-product the people that have kept it afloat are the rock stars of this shiny new world. Coding trendy new apps, inventing social media, birthing websites, working with governments, or developing ground breaking software has transformed the classically introverted coders to completely different social creatures and given them public relevance.

Coders were the belly of the digital beast, but have long since walked out of their computer filled backrooms and onto the media stage. Coders are now talking about their achievements and are rightly seen as an integral part of the future of digital.

Code of Fire

It comes as no surprise really. The internet is built by and dependent on coders, as is all software, most modern technology, and is used in music and modern art.

When what someone does becomes so crucially important across our entire lives they have much more room to fulfil their potential. In turn, this attracts more rising stars and helps make the industry even more ground-breaking.

Art and science is also becoming very blurred. The omnipresence of technology means that the new generation will have a much deeper interest and knowledge of basic tech and code and will use that to create, invent and innovate.

Even now, artists actively use creative software tools and web developers learn how to use the arts to create inspiring digital platforms. And because this generation’s coders are the first to pioneer the marriage between creativity and technology, they naturally become the Johnny Cash of code.

Here comes the sun

Coders were working underground for decades partly because it took society a long time to realise that coders aren’t strange people typing a string of incomprehensive letters and numbers.

Our access to technology has raised our awareness of code and its importance in our daily lives. This naturally peeked our interest in who makes our smartphone apps or how a website is built and makes us want to know much more about coders. We have that same thirst for celebs, and which makes them systematically cooler than the average joe.

Because technology is revolutionising our daily lives, it is also creating social and pioneering movements just like rock and roll did and still does. Being the first of a mass movement makes you ground breaking. Hackathons, big data and the internet of things are all trendy buzz words for a reason.

The idea of ‘geek’ is also finally being turned on its head. Scientists, tech inventors, mathematicians and coders are finally having their day in the sun because of the technological advancements they are creating and the digital movements they are pioneering.


Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.