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30 Jan

Posted by Lorna Casswell

A few months ago, in October 2013, three of the developers at STAR Digital were awarded Magento Certified Developer status. Magento certification is no easy feat to achieve, and being awarded it is representative of the amount of Magento experience and knowledge the STAR Digital team has. In order to achieve Magento certification, developers have to study the principles of the Magento ecommerce architecture and evidence their competence by taking an exam under strict supervised conditions at an approved exam centre. Jake, Scott and Callum, the first of our developers to sit the exams, all have years’ worth of Magento experience between them, and yet they all studied for months before taking the exam. At STAR Digital we know how important it is for everyone to keep pushing themse...

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29 Jan

Posted by Lorna Casswell

This week Google awarded us Google Partner status. The Partner badge below is only given to agencies, or online marketers, who meet certain criteria such as following Google best practice when creating and managing AdWords accounts, providing high customer service levels and passing a minimum of two Google AdWords exams. At STAR we really value the relationships we have with our clients, and we follow Google best practice when it comes to managing PPC accounts, and receiving Partner status is confirmation that Google thinks we’re getting it right. It was in the autumn of 2013 when Google launched its new certification programme for agencies and online marketers: Google Partners. Google Partners replaces the old AdWords certification programme. This change means agencies now not ...

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23 Jan

Posted by Lorna Casswell

Following on from our post on Thursday, where we looked back at the digital marketing challenges we faced in 2013, we’re now looking ahead to this year. We think 2014 will be about continuing to target people on the go, and on the ever-increasing array of social channels. We think personalisation is going to become key, if it’s not already, and we’re sure content will continue to be king. We’ve explored each of our predictions in more detail below. We’ve considered what they mean to you and your business, and why considering them will drive your conversions up. Mobile If you’re not already considering mobile searchers, then you’re missing a major trick. The number of people searching on Google, reading emails and using APPs on mobile devices is increasing every m...

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21 Jan

Posted by Roger Martin

Here at the STAR Digital HQ in Northampton, the marketing and design teams have been having a big debate about responsive web design. The creative team has been up to now ‘designing’ responsive views on paper as part of the creative process, but the marketers and the account handlers are beginning to feed back some real life observations from their clients on the challenges of a responsive web ‘design’ process. Setting a client expectation on responsive tied to a creative design has left some clients expecting pixel perfect representation on all mobile devices. This is just not practical. Also, involving the client in a ‘design’ process for mobile also leads to design over function, ergo you end up forgetting the principles of usability and get a compromised mobile exp...

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16 Jan

Posted by Lorna Casswell

2013 was another year full of change and challenges within digital marketing. Google made our lives as SEOs trickier, mobile usage continued to soar and content marketing really came into its own. In this blog post we review the online marketing changes we faced in 2013, and what we can take from them, so they can successfully form part of your digital marketing strategy in the coming year. Everyone Needs a Content Strategy 2013 appeared to be the year for content marketing. Businesses reported a 300% increase in ROI on content marketing, and companies dedicated even more of their marketing budgets towards content creation, development and distribution. With numbers like that, content marketing shouldn’t be ignored. Having a good content marketing strategy in place can help ...

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14 Jan

Posted by Roger Martin

Just uploaded a video via tweet using the Twitter web page and noticed this neat little video icon next to the tweet. So I clicked on it and guess what? The video plays in the right hand bar - that is so cool. (Also works for linked photos too.) nice one Twitter, think of the marketing opportunities for brands with TV ads, Voxpops etc.. [caption id="attachment_509" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The new Twitter Interface Embraces Rich Media[/caption]

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28 Dec

Posted by Roger Martin

Well we just had a double helping of snow in the UK, and with it being the lead in to Christmas it coincided with a particularly busy time in the ecommerce world. I thought it would be interesting to see what impact this had on traditional supermarkets with ecommerce retail operations, and in particular Sainsbury's and Waitrose (Ocado). The marketing that these brands performed via email in the lead up to the Christmas period was based around pre-ordering and guaranteeing your delivery slot for the week prior to Christmas. I would imagine from an operational standpoint that this would enable them to do the following; Inject extra cash into the business Pre-plan deliveries and staffing Ensure stock availability and shelf life Seems I was wrong. It would appear that ev...

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20 Dec

Posted by Roger Martin

We are very proud to be associated with the Charitarian, a Chinese based CSR magazine and organisation that is helping companies looking to trade ethcially in China. One of the guys that runs this operation is Rob Pearson, who is incidentally the managing director of CIC in Burslem, the packaging and 3D modelling specialists, and a huge fan of digital publishing. It was while we were chatting before his recent trip to China, he has 3 offices over there, that he asked me what we could do to improve the accessiblity/availablity and awareness of the Charitarian magazine. Star Digital currently provide the Charitarian with a customised Wordpress Blog and a Page Flip 3D emagazine format, both of which have proved successful, but we hit on the idea of an iPhone and iPad app version ...

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12 Dec

Posted by Roger Martin

The team at Star Digital have recently been crazy with enquiries for iPhone and iPad app development following the successful launch of the MK Electric app and the impending Charitarian magazine app. Over a cup of tea and rare chance for all of the team to get some thinking time we discussed the forthcoming impact on web statistics now that iPhone is mainstream and decided to do a bit of digging. What we found surprised us all. For the iPhone in the last week we've seen that it represents 6.8% of all traffic to the STAR Digital website, with approx 3% of that coming via the use of search! And this on a B2B site, albeit a technically focussed one. So we got to thinking about ecommerce sites, and we looked at the Aggressive Health Shop as an example. We knew this site worked in ...

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02 Dec

Posted by Roger Martin

Today we were accepted onto the reseller programme for the excellent One Step Checkout for Magento developed to make the checkout process in Magento really simple. We first implemented it in Mike Nash's Aggressive Health Shop and we quickly found it was a key to increased conversions from checkout to sale. The abandonment rate dropped and orders flowed freely. As Cardsave and Sagepay partners we had been looking for a Magento checkout tool that would give our customers the most seamless solution, and now we've found it. We plan to implement the tool in all future Magento implementations for our clients to add value to their Magento stores. Give us a shout if you'd like to know more about this great tool!

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02 Dec

Posted by Roger Martin

We recently teamed up with the creative team at Quest Construction Marketing to develop a Joomla web site for our client Fire Design Solutions. The goal was to create an eye catching web site aimed at the architectural market promoting the Fire Design Solutions sister company FDS Consult, a specialist fire safety consultancy. To create the required look we had to base each page in the site on a different background image and float the content above it. The result is a very different look and feel, but with full CMS control from the Joomla back end making editing truly WYSIWYG. Other nifty tools employed in the build included Yoo Tools accordions to present more complex data in a user friendly way, and some cool AJAX controls on the meet the team page. Take a look for yourself, ...

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30 Nov

Posted by Roger Martin

We are on the verge of something of a digital publishing revolution with the advent of the iPad and the cheaper Android tablet's entering the market and creating a new channel for publishers and savvy direct marketers. It's possible that the way a fair segment of people view publications could be about to undergo a paradigm shift from paper to tablet. It won't be immediate, but fact that Rupert Murdoch is backing it heavily with the paywall initiative, and with the number of quality publications announcing plans to leverage the channel there is no doubt that this is going to be a growth sector through 2011. From our perspective, and owning the Page Flip brand, we look at these shifts with great interest. We recently completed a publishing app for the iPad and iPhone for a major US...

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