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“With PC sales declining 14% in Q1 of 2013, digital marketers should move half their budget to mobile now!”

This headline from econsultancy screamed from my inbox this week.

Is this just a knee jerk reaction?  Many commercial PC users still would not dream of using mobile devices for market research, reports, proposals, plans and technical work.

Nevertheless, the rush to mobile is well and truly on and there is now a plethora of online mobile web toolkits. Some of these are free and easy to get started. So what’s stopping us selling this kind of low cost service on to our clients ? Here are four very important reasons

1. Duplication

It’s easy to set up a duplicate mobile website using a well-advertised tool like Dudamobile - but if you have a content-managed website that you update frequently - you suddenly find you have twice the work on your hands!

2. SEO

One of the simplest rules of search engine optimisation (SEO) is - keep it simple. That means you should try and focus all your content onto one website. If you set up microsites or separate blogs it simply dilutes your page ranking. Social media should always feed into your main website. So it’s clear that setting up a separate site for mobile will damage your overall internet visibilty.

3. There is a better solution - Responsive Design

It stands to reason that the best solution is going to be a single URL that presents content that is appropriate any device. This approach is called ‘Responsive Design’ and it’s fast becoming the preferred solution in the industry. A site that uses responsive design only needs to be built once - you don't need to build a web version, a mobile version and a tablet version separately and this saves time and money in the long run.

The eZ Publish Content Management System (CMS) has a toolkit that supports responsive design. We're building our first eZ Publish-based responsive design website right now! Look out for the launch. In the meantime - watch the video below about eZ Publish's responsive design capabilities or call us if you’ve got questions about any of these vital issues. We'll be happy to give our advice.

 
 

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Cote D'Azur Business Network Logo

Andre Bottin and Dave Cooper are hosting the first meeting of the Côte d'Azur Business Network which will be at Nice's le Café de la Place,  11 Place Garibaldi - tonight, Friday 5th April at 7:30pm.

The network imports informal, 'English-style' networking to businesses on the Côte d'Azur. Andre says;

"Côte d'Azur Business Network is a free, informal and independent group for French Riviera-based businesses to network with the aim of exchanging services, leads, additional revenue streams and support. The group is for you if your company has a location in the Côte d'Azur and is or intending to doing business internationally. This is the group with no name badges, no elevator pitches, no business card thrusting, no meeting agendas. Do you like this idea? Come and join us!! Companies can be of any size (ie just you if you're a sole trader!). We aim to meet once a month, in different towns to allow different people to attend."

You can join the network's open Linked In group online.

  

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Sally Davidson graphic designer

We have completely refreshed our logo and introduced some bright colour. The design has been rolled out across our French and UK websites.

The new identity was created by our design associate Sally Davidson, who is available to advise on all our clients' design requirements. Her experience covers all aspects of branding. Sally has a great eye for colour, style and emotional impact.

With three eZ Publish websites under her belt, including this one, she is now fully conversant with requirements for the eZ Publish Content Management system.

Sally says:

"It's been a great learning experience working with EAB's website development team. I look forward to the imminent launch of my first eZ Publish site for an EAB client, Victoria Fine Art."

Read Sally's profile here.

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EAB est international

At the recent China Britain Business Council event in Cambridge, I was delighted to discover that the Council has just opened an office in Xi'an – where we have a Representative Office headed by Andy Caiger.

There are barriers to doing business with China: because of visa restrictions enforced by our immigration-averse government, the British are being forced to go abroad to arrange meetings with Chinese prospects. This puts Brits at a real competitive disadvantage - unless they have offices in China or other EU countries (like us). 

On the plus side, growth is gathering pace with an increasing urban population – and I discovered that the Chinese may well become world leaders in digital marketing integration with offline retail!

Overall it was a very worthwhile event which has the potential to open up many opportunities. Salut!

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I am looking forward to the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) Chinese New Year Business Seminar, Lecture and Reception, Cambridge, 12 Feb 2013.

There are massive opportunities for EU and UK companies in the development of 300 new eco-cities – or 'Smart Cities' as they are known in China.

This means a lot to me because our French office is located near to the ‘Eco-Valley’ of la Plaine du Var (see www.ecovallee-plaineduvar.fr) - an area of Southern France earmarked for sustainable development. I'm hoping to get some insights on the ecological goals of China to share with my network partners at Union Pour L’Entreprise des Alpes-Maritimes (UPE06).

With our China Online services I believe we are uniquely connected to move on this huge market opportunity. If you have insights in doing business in China or just want to exchange thoughts please contact me or hook up with me at Cambridge.

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Andre Bottin, EAB MD

If you are looking to discover more about the future for UK trade with China, then I’ll see you at this event at University of Cambridge on February 12:

The China-Britain Business Council Chinese New Year Business Seminar, Lecture and Reception

I'm interested in the UK/China relationship at the highest levels and hope to hear something good from Sir David Brewer, Chairman of the China-Britain Business Council that might affect our representative office in Xi’an.

In January 2013 we launched our EAB China Online service. Our aim is to provide rapid translation of UK and EU e-commerce websites and turn business opportunities into functioning web solutions in China.

Find out more about the event and book online.

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EAB China Online is a new service from EAB specially for UK and EU businesses that want to take advantage of the trend for online selling in China.

The web development team operates from Xi’an and is led by our chief China representative Andy Caiger, supported by a group of bright young Chinese graduates with e-commerce experience.

We believe we have got something extra for companies that want to access the world’s largest market for online selling. Forecasts indicate that the Chinese market will grow to $176 billion by 2014!

Internet in China

Here are four things you may not know about the internet in China:

  1. Tencent QQ, the most popular online chat and social networking software in China
    You cannot easily get access to Youtube, Twitter or Facebook in China.
  2. The most popular search engine is Baidu.
  3. Tencent QQ with 784 million active user accounts is a cross between AOL, Yahoo, Facebook and MSN. Tencent has a bigger market capitalisation than Facebook!
  4. Although traditionally the Chinese are a debt-averse lot about 30 percent of Chinese urban households now own at least one credit card, which can be used to make international purchases through the internet. Other payment systems based on cash or debit only work within China.
Andy Caiger

Andy Caiger

Andy says:

"Internet shopping and mail-order are huge in China now. The language barrier means that UK goods need to be sold on the internet in Chinese. This can be achieved either through appointing a Chinese representative to manage a web-shop on a local shopping site such as taobao.com or by having your own website translated into Chinese. There are pros and cons for both which I'm happy to discuss with anyone who is considering selling online in China. We would encourage more UK businesses to give trading in China some serious consideration!"

Find out more about EAB China Online.

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by Belinda Naylor-Stables

Here is the third of 3 blog posts on how to successfully develop a content-managed website.

Web development timescale

Many people think the web developer runs your project. But in many ways the timeliness depends on you, the client – because at every stage of development the developer depends on information and feedback from you. Remember, as a client you may not be able to concentrate on this project 100% of the time. Even if you are a dedicated team, you have administrative tasks, training and the usual daily work that will get in the way. So when you look at the plan, it's not just about what the developer will do - be realistic about the timescales you set yourself.

Website testing

Don’t be squeezed on testing – a good and experienced developer will allow the requisite amount of time for clients to test functions. Don’t be tempted to try to shorten these times in the project plan – or you are in danger of overrun which your Project Board might find hard to understand. Testing includes the time your testing team need to test and give feedback to the developer, any revisions the developer needs to make, then another user check at your end and hopefully resulting in sign off.

CMS training

Make sure there is budget and time for training in your new website. If you are taking on a new CMS ensure you have time put aside for personnel training. Ask to see an example chapter of a training manual from potential developers if you want to have a feeling for a CMS. Assess the competence level within your user team and remember that user-friendly content management systems (such as eZ Publish) can be picked up by non-technical staff, but inadequate training will result in poor usage - and possibly spoilt web pages or data - using up your troubleshooting resources unnecessarily.

View our screencasts on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/enterpriseab
We also tailor training manuals for our clients – contact us if you would like to view a sample.

 

Belinda N-S pic

Belinda Naylor-Stables is a qualified PRINCE2 Practitioner and project manager working on eZ Publish web-based solutions for EAB clients.

For an example of a recent project, read our case study on our online CPD solution for Yorkshire and Humberside Grid for Learning.

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eZ Publish wins Silver in Top Ten CMS Awards

A recent eZ Publish training session for our client Sound Systems UK was rated excellent on Clarity, Pace, Hands on Learning and our trainer's ability to answer the client's questions. We always find our clients are greatly relieved to find that editing their web pages is so straightforward and satisfying. Are you getting good results with an open source content management system? eZ Publish is a top-rated CMS. Don't take our word for it - Top Ten Reviews for web developers rate eZ Publish the second-best CMS on the market.

See the review.

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by Belinda Naylor-Stables

Here is the second of 3 blog posts on how to successfully develop a content managed website.

Set the goalposts for your web editor

Check that your developer understands the expectations of your web editor: what they expect to be able to change on each web page. From the outset your developer needs to explain clearly to you what can and cannot be achieved in the front end system.

We use the eZ Publish CMS which has a very user-friendly front end system.  See our article on Why ezPublish.
For more insight into how eZ Publish works, visit our demo site. You'll need to contact us for a password if you want to try it out for yourself.

Visualise success with a wireframe

If you are unfamiliar with the scope of Content Management Systems technology then you could ask your chosen developer to help you with the specification of a new website. They should be able to produce quick wireframes or other prototypes to show the content of each web page. List the user expectations for each screen - what they expect to see, what they expect to do. This way you can ensure page designs are user-focused.

Our favourite online wireframe tool is MockFlow. It's a cool tool because you can talk over the real-time chat and invite other team members to become editors or viewers. Editors have the ability to make changes to the wireframes, while viewers are limited to reviewing and commenting.

The MockFlow logo

MockFlow is a web app based on the Adobe Flash Platform. Check out sample wireframes at the Mockflow website.

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