Now vs Then – Website Design Trends Compared

Website Design Now Then

From the pixelated terrains of the ’90s to the digital landscape of today, the story of website design is one of evolution. Navigating this online timeline, we can see technological leaps and pure nostalgia. Here’s a comparative glance at where we started and where we stand today.

The Classic ’90s Web Vibe

  1. Cluttered Layouts: Websites of the often seemed like digital playgrounds. Multi-coloured text, a blend of fonts, and the inescapable flashing GIFs marked the era. Websites offered a bounty of useless links and a somewhat arbitrary organisation that epitomised the phase. And it’s impossible to gloss over tiled backgrounds and cheeky 3D typography, both really maximising the cluttered aestetic.
  2. Central Circular Navigation: One quirky yet memorable navigation trend was the placement of menu options in a circle, often surrounding a central logo or image. This unique approach was featured prominently on major sites of the time, including McDonald’s,, and the iconic “Space Jam” site. The circle, usually positioned smack in the middle of the page, became a defining navigation element of the ’90s.
  3. Guestbooks & Hit Counters: In the age before the omnipresence of social media metrics, guestbooks allowed visitors to leave digital footprints, while hit counters were badges of honour, showcasing a site’s visitor traffic.
  4. Limited Multimedia: The days of slow internet meant multimedia was a luxury, often resulting in pixelated images and minimal video content. Throwback to the GIFs.
  5. Television-Style Format: The ’90s floated the idea of websites mirroring television channels. Proposed in niche tech circles, this vision saw websites as continuous “broadcasts” or content streams. While the idea was novel, the inherent nature of the web, allowing users to chart their own journey, made the linear, channel-based approach less appealing. Arguably however later web development continued and improved on some aspects of the Television format with digital streaming sites.

Today’s Modern Web Design Aesthetic

  1. Clean & Streamlined: Modern design celebrates simplicity and coherence. Chaotic elements of yesteryears have given way to clean designs, consistent and minimalist colour schemes, and ample white space.
  2. Responsive Design: Given the ubiquity of mobiles and tablets, contemporary sites are crafted to ensure seamless viewing across varied screen sizes. The impact of this can’t be understated with modern websites being built from the ground up with mobile friendliness in mind.
  3. Rich Multimedia: With higher than ever internet speeds, modern websites can boast high-definition visuals, crystal-clear videos, and intricate animations, enriching user engagement. Although it’s never been more important to have web hosting that can keep up!
  4. Intuitive Navigation: The user reigns supreme in today’s web design ethos. With clear menus, structured site mapping, and emphasis on user experience, navigation has never been smoother. Not to mention, the intricate analytics of today helping website designers optimise their websites based on user engagements and preferences.

The Quintessentially British Guide to Quality Content for Business Websites

Quality Content

Greetings, fellow entrepreneurs! In the age of digital tea and scones, having an online presence as vibrant as a summer’s day in the Cotswolds is essential for businesses of all shapes and sizes, even for those nestled in the charming nooks and crannies of the UK. Today, we’ll spill the tea on what represents quality content on business websites, and how you can make yours stand out like a proud red phone box. So, buckle up, grab your cuppa, and let’s dive into this jolly good adventure!

Relevant Keywords: The Perfect Blend of Service and Location

First things first, let’s talk about keywords. Just like a splendid cup of Earl Grey, the right blend of relevant keywords can make your website truly delightful. To help potential customers find your business, it’s essential to include keywords specific to both your services and location. For example, if you own a lovely B&B in the Lake District, using keywords like “Lake District B&B” or “Lake District bed and breakfast” will ensure your establishment pops up when people search for a cosy place to rest their heads.

Video Content: The Ultimate Showstopper

Did you know that videos are the most engaging format for communication? In fact, they’re as captivating as a well-performed Morris dance. By incorporating video content on your website, you can showcase your business in a more dynamic and personal way. So, whether you create a virtual tour of your countryside inn or share behind-the-scenes footage of your artisan bakery, video content can make your website a true showstopper.

Quantity and Readability: The Great British Balancing Act

Finally, we can’t talk about quality content without addressing the delicate balance between quantity and readability. While it’s true that having a good amount of content is essential for search engine optimisation (SEO), one mustn’t overdo it like an overenthusiastic village fête organiser. Too much text can make your website seem cluttered, and nobody wants to wade through an ocean of words to find the information they need.

To master the great British balancing act, focus on creating clear, concise, and informative content. Use headings and bullet points to make your text easy to navigate, and always remember that quality trumps quantity. After all, a well-written, informative paragraph can be more effective than an entire page of waffle!

Are You Regularly Updating Your Website with Fresh Content?

online content marketing SEO

Having a regularly updated website is crucial for businesses for several reasons

First and foremost, an up-to-date website helps to establish credibility and trust with customers. When a website is outdated, it can give the impression that the business is also outdated or inactive. On the other hand, a regularly updated website shows that the business is active and attentive to its online presence. This can be especially important for small businesses, as they may not have the same level of brand recognition as larger companies.

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AI in Website Design – A Few Lincolnshire Examples

fake ai

It’s been a while since I first acquired access to OpenAI’s DALL·E 2, so I thought I should come back and report on how this tool has been helping Drive By Websites clients.

Outpainting Website Images

By far, the most useful feature for me is outpainting. This is where new image is ‘painted’ by the AI to fill spaces outside of the initial image or blank spaces inside the image. With a feature like this we can extend images that would otherwise be very difficult to use as well as remove and replace spaces of the image that we feel are inappropriate. The first times I was able to use this successfully came only a day after the feature was introduced. This was no surprise though, due to how commonly I encounter this particular opportunity. Many clients will take portrait photos of their work using their phones, which is great for social media but not ideal for a website. Banner spaces are typically covering the width of a website, but they don’t have much height. So if we will the available space with the portrait image, we lose much of the top of bottom of the image. Let’s look at an example…

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Dispelling SEO Myths – SEO in Lincolnshire

online content marketing SEO

Today’s blog and accompanying video is aimed at dispelling a few myths! We have been providing SEO in Lincolnshire for years and feel it’s time to forget these myths once and for all.

I often explain to clients that as far as we are aware, there is over 250 ranking factors in the google search engine. The purpose of explaining this is to demonstrate that SEO needs to be taken very seriously. Over the years people have often asked me to take care of ranking factors that do not exist. Often based on a misguided understanding of out of date SEO techniques, or perhaps assuming that Google Analytics metrics are all ranking factors.

Bounce Rate

A good example of these mythical ranking factors would be the bounce rate of a website. This An important metric for analysing visitor activity, however not a ranking factor. This is the percentage of visitors that leave a web page without taking an action such as clicking a link or ordering a product. If this were true that google had made this a ranking factor, we would have to believe that Google can analyse this data across all of the websites ranked in the search engine but we know this not to be the case. As an experiment I could build a website and attract many organic visitors and track their visitor on visitor data on the server but Google has no access to this data until provided it and even if we were then to provide access for google analytics, the search engine still wouldn’t be able to compare that data as a ranking factor against many other websites, because they simply won’t all use google analytics.

Website Visits & Visit Duration

Another example would be directly visiting the website to boost SEO or even spending longer periods of time on the website to boost SEO. This idea suggests that more people doing these things would increase the ranking of the website when of course again that information would only be available to google if we provided it. Even this, would still exclude most of the internet not using google analytics, and people accessing their websites directly.

SEO in Lincolnshire – It’s all local!

Now for a quick reminder of the REAL SEO ranking factors. For example mobile friendliness, good social media coverage and consistent optimised content updates. Many businesses will find it beneficial to write their content around a keyphrase that includes your service/product and location. This has often proved to be a helpful search term recipe for Lincolnshire based businesses. For a visual recap of some of the content above, watch the video below. If you aren’t sure where to start, contact us. I’ve got lots of tips and tools to help but also often the most important thing is just knowing who to speak to and where to get the right advice.

Adding Value To Your Website – From One Page To Ecommerce

online content marketing SEO

It can undoubtedly be difficult to generate new content on the same topics regularly, but we are here to remind you of a few different ways to keep your site ranking highly in Google without always covering the same ground. Some suggestions might be new to you and as always we’re here to help. Here are a few suggestions for how to rethink your website content:

  • In 2021, YouTube is quickly becoming one of the most valuable marketing platforms to share useful or engaging content with returning/potential customers. Social video content in general is easily accessible on mobile devices without the extra effort of reading or scrolling. The same is true of your website. By connecting relevant search terms to your video and connecting the content to your website, customers can discover and follow your other content and website offerings.
  • You can use your website to help limit unpredictable customer service costs such as time spent answering social media enquiries or answering calls. With this your website can help provide a service to your customers and the business itself. As an example, Frequently asked questions (FAQ) areas can be a lot of work to write but will inevitably save time and money for your business.
  • Social media content is a perfect microcosm for your target customers to help determine the effectiveness and engagement of certain topics and content. With those valuable social media insights, you can expand on topics across your website and wider social network. From there, including prominent social sharing facilities on your website content is necessary to maximise the potential for visitors to share and attract new visitors.
  • You might think of writing relevant and engaging content as the only factor in achieving maximum value for money for your advertising and marketing, however your website can turn viewers into followers by offering newsletter subscriptions, coupon/discount sign ups and membership areas. A few simple tools on your website can even make this remarkably simple.
  • Social Giveaways can be vastly more engaging on social media than traditional content and fortunately it can be just as simple to write in valuable search terms and keywords for optimising your website. Services such as kingsumo actually make it even simpler to create landing pages for your giveaways that can attract entries for likes, follows, shares and email sign ups. With a bit of integration to your website, you’ll soon be able to regularly generate hundreds of extra followers and mailing list subscribers for little extra effort or expense than traditional content marketing.

Don’t leave your visitors hanging around or bouncing off your site, spend some time extracting as much value as possible from your website visitors.

Is Content Still King in 2021?

Over half of UK marketing companies prioritise blogging as their primary content marketing strategy. Clearly generating leads online is considerably easier when producing engaging and relevant content. When this is combined with other relevant value adding strategies such as the above examples, the process of acquiring and converting visitors into customers on your website has never been as effortless. It all starts with relevant original content. If you’re struggling to generate new ideas or exposure to the right demographics, we can help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or implementing techniques such as those above. For businesses that are actively exploring content marketing opportunities, give us a call on 01775 761512 or contact us online.

SEO, Social Marketing, Lincolnshire Content Marketing, Business in Lincolnshire SEO

Mobile-First Indexing For Lincolnshire Business Websites

Google Hosting

Mobile-first indexing is how Google crawls and indexes the web. Instead of indexing the desktop version of the page, Google looks at the mobile version of the page. Simply put, Google is indexing your web page based on how it renders on a mobile phone. Now over 50% of what Google indexes is indexed over mobile-first indexing. Any new websites that Google is crawling for the first time, will be indexed using mobile-first indexing by default. But older sites not yet migrated will continue to be indexed the old-fashion way until those sites are ready.

It’s now more important than ever to make sure your website goes live with a mobile ready design. Though we usually design the site with mobiles in mind, we do start by designing the desktop view first. Is this a sign that we may have to start working the other way in future?

At least for the time being that doesn’t seem to be necessary. Mainly because there is no demand for it. Clients rarely ever want to see their design on mobiles until it’s ready. Just as we urge our clients to be as critical as possible on their design and content, we now must start pushing them to consider their mobile design as a standalone from the desktop site.

You can read more about what this means for you and your websites by reading Google’s latest blog. You can continue to check for mobile-first indexing of your website by using the URL Inspection Tool in Search Console.

If you have any questions or want to transfer, redesign or create your Lincolnshire Business Websites with us, call 01775 761512. You can also contact us on our website.

Writing Content For Your Website – Blogging Tips

blogging Spalding content tips

It’s not easy coming up with content for your website. While we cannot help make that much easier, we can tell you how to make the most of what you do write. Here are some ways you can improve your content quality:

Localised Content

Over the course of a year your can ready spread your reach far and wide if every website page or blog post is specific to a different location. In some areas you may not have the ability to crush the competition in one website page or blog post but in others there may not even be any competition and you’ll effortlessly make it to the top. Worst case scenario, even in the toughest areas to crack you can still be a few pages back in the search results for those more scrupulous searchers. The point is, unless you localise your pages and posts Google doesn’t see you as being everywhere, it sees you as being nowhere. For our business we usually specify clients work as being in towns and cities such as Spalding, Holbeach, Bourne, Boston, Grantham, Long Sutton, Lincoln, Peterborough.

Content is King

Don’t be one of the many people that uses too few words in their website pages or blog posts. You can maximise your SEO potential by exceeding the recommended minimum of 300 words. Although time is a big factor, I would still suggest putting aside at least an hour to write each new update instead of trying to cram in into a spare 5 minutes. It’s vital that content updates are done properly because there’s a very high chance that one of those updates will become somebody’s first impression of your business.

Blog early and Blog often

Did you know that companies that published 16+ blog posts per month had roughly 3.5 times more traffic than companies publishing from 0 to 4 posts monthly? It’s important to note that it’s the content that takes priority, but there is a balance to be struck. Why not pad out two quality, lengthy blog posts into four over the same period of time. Provided you aren’t cutting to close to the recommended minimum of 300 words, you’re probably substantially improving your visitor numbers. Some of the websites we host update their content on a daily basis.

We’ve just launched our Instagram


As many of our clients have recently discovered, we have just launched our Instagram business page.

Instagram can make a business look fantastic online and it does have a good share of quality users. Unfortunately, the best practice for achieving the most involves maximising engagements and it’s easy to forget that this is where most of your likes are coming from. Engagements are the highest priority for a social media manager (personal or commercial). The more you engage the better you’ll do. Hence, if you don’t have the time or patience, it’s tough to grow your audience on Instagram. Businesses using Instagram will often feel their time is well spent while collecting a large number of likes that add no value to their business in reality. But this is obviously no reason to avoid it entirely. The overall benefit is still quite high with expectations properly managed. There is a growing audience on instagram, both globally and locally. Around the Facebook privacy controversy, Instagram has benefited from a 30% boost in users.

So now we’re live and it’s rejuvinated some excitement for social media again. We are regularly engaging with our growing audience now and hope to set a good example to our customers. We’ve reached 136 followers in around a week, which we are quite pleased with. We’ll be promoting graphic design just as much as website work on our Instagram page.

Visit us on Instagram

Drive By Websites Ltd (@drivebywebsites) * Instagram photos and videos

136 Followers, 111 Following, 12 Posts – See Instagram photos and videos from Drive By Websites Ltd (@drivebywebsites)

Facebook Is Changing – Is Your Website?

Facebook Website Marketing

Not so long ago, Facebook announced plans that would make businesses less of a priority in people’s news feeds. The changes inevitably had a big impact on businesses relying Facebook for leads and new sales. Additionally, the recent concern over users data has led to even further measures to change what users will see in their newsfeeds, and it’s not going to get better for businesses.

We have seen instances of businesses relying very heavily on the Facebook platform that have lost a lot of custom already. We can validate this with statistics generated by their Websites that can tell us how many conversions have come from Facebook over Google. 

Doing more with your website and social media

Firstly, Facebook adverts are still just as effective in spite of the recent changes. If you needed to keep the attention of your followers, Facebook are now just pushing you towards paying for it. 

Secondly, your marketing needs to be diversified. Any business that runs solely on one platform for exposure is missing out and taking far too big a risk. The YouTube adpocalypse had a similar impact for users of YouTube relying on ad revenue. A major change in the ads service triggered a huge drop in revenue for many YouTube businesses. 

Your best option should be to follow best practices on your website. This includes blogging. Blogging is as easy as Facebook but is has benefits across a large number of different platforms. We would then recommend setting up an email mailing list. Keeping in touch with your customers via email is necessary to continue engaging with them outside of the browser window. You can even turn your blog into an automated mail shot. 

For more information contact us on 01775 761512. We’re happy to help produce ideas specific to your business that will help make the most of your website.