Welcome to October, warm weather seems a distant memory, and it’s back to walking/biking through the Bristol rain to our Studio each morning!
It has been an inspiring combination of creativity, collaboration and reflection for us over the past month, both inside and outside of the Fanatic studio. In this month’s edition, we’ll be covering the digital team’s adventure to BrightonSEO and Measurefest, an interactive 3D project from our design team, and there’s also a very special tribute that we would like to make to Fanatic’s biggest fan.
If you’re wondering what our design team have been up to recently… then Future Birmingham is the answer. Here’s a sneak peek of the impressive project that they’ve been working on…
Future Birmingham is a project fronted by The Eastside Rooms and presents an opportunity to show off the upcoming developments in and around Eastside, Birmingham. With an interactive timeline, the graphics creatively represent the architectural developments of the area being built over time. It’s been the perfect opportunity for our design team to push their creativity into a new direction, utilising Sketchup, a 3D Architectural package, together with animation and interactive design to achieve a feature-rich piece of content that, once built by our web development team, will be an impressive visualisation of the future of this part of Birmingham.
The interactive visual will show new building and developments especially focussed on the Conferencing and Events facilities, showcasing to the industry how Birmingham is fast becoming the centre of the country for C&E in more ways than geographically.
The project is still in its early development stages, so watch this space.
What’s inspired us this month
Our Digital team embarked on one of the greatest SEO adventures last month – September’s edition of BrightonSEO.
If you’re not familiar with the event, it’s a bi-annual digital marketing conference that is always marked on the Fanatic Digital calendar. The event rounds up everyone who works in the industry, taking them offline (not entirely) for a single-day event; to share ideas and methods, develop new knowledge from each other, and ensures that everyone comes away inspired – along with the bonus of a hangover thanks to the free beer provided by DeepCrawl.
With so many different talks lined up from industry-leading speakers sharing their SEO wisdom, our Digital team came back with plenty of useful insights from the action-packed event, much of which also affirmed our current approaches and techniques as correct.
Here are the 5 key and inspiring takeaways from their trip to the UK’s biggest search marketing conference:
1. Ahmed Khalifa, an experienced WordPress SEO consultant, reminded us of the importance of writing and producing content that’s accessible to everyone. Storytelling is essential when creating not only video-based but all content.
2. Captions are often forgotten when producing video-based content, even though it can benefit more people than you think. 80% of people who use closed captions are neither deaf or hard of hearing. It’s not just about writing “whatever is said” and doing it for SEO. It’s an art. Captions aren’t just a necessity, but also a beautiful method for further reach. ‘Content is King, but Context is key.’ – Ahmed Khalifa
3. High page speed, is as important for when your site is being crawled by Google, as it is for your visitor’s experience. Analysing how quickly and easily google bots can crawl and understand your site is imperative: “With hundreds of tools and pieces of software that can be used, Search Console still remains the best tool for truly accurate analysing” – Fili Wiese, a former Google Search Quality team member.
4. Keywords with a high search volume don’t necessarily mean that they need to be targeted, as there’s more to SEO than just the most popular keyword. The search intent is more important – it needs to be entirely relevant for the content topic. Analysing competitor’s top-ranking pages is the perfect technique for finding the all-important keyword gaps – think ‘quality over quantity’.
5. Google’s Knowledge Graph API allows you to assess the structured data that has led to the position of a search result. Understanding this relationship is key to implementing the correct on-page schema markup.
SEO Brighton is important for our team to connect with the industry, meet, socialise and discuss techniques with our peers, learn from the industry leaders, and affirm our techniques in delivering the highest quality SEO to our clients.
A tribute to Fanatic’s biggest fan
A little known fact inside our Fanatic studio is how much it owes to a very special person who has contributed so much for so many years. Chris Weatherby, Milly’s dad was the one who inspired the idea for starting Fanatic eighteen years ago, by suggesting after dinner one night, that Ian should begin his own Graphic Design Agency. Chris gave Ian the confidence that he could and should go for it and he has continued to be right behind us giving his time and advice to help Fanatic grow and develop into the successful business we know today.
Sadly in October 2017, Chris was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of Leukaemia and although he fought against this illness so bravely, he sadly lost this fight on 28th August 2019. We would like to share how important Chris has been to Fanatic, and although many of the team haven’t had the pleasure of knowing him, he has always been Fanatic’s biggest fan.
Before Chris retired, he was Managing Director of a family pottery firm, that had been in his family for over four generations. He drew upon and shared generously his experience of running a business, managing the day-to-day, as well as the essential forward planning of looking after the future of the business to ensure its growth and success.
From the early days of buying our first Red & Black accounting book to later helping with large scale structural change in Fanatic, he has always been by our side guiding and encouraging. He did the bookkeeping, financial direction, payroll, dealing with HMRC and VAT returns, to name but a few! We have always been able to turn to him for advice across many different aspects of the business, and he has always offered clarity, honest opinions and a clear sense of direction for a way forward. He put in many a late-night, trawling through the numbers to check the bookkeeping was in perfect order, and he did all of this for nothing in return, just because he loved to see the business grow and succeed. He took so much pleasure from this.
When Milly came into the business after 7 years in teaching, he offered so much support and advice, encouraging and helping Milly to learn the skills she needed and gradually handing over all of the Financial Direction of the business.
Chris has always been so proud of Fanatic and all of its achievements over the years. Even during one of his many stays in hospital over the last two years, when he wasn’t feeling well or particularly strong, he was keen to put on Fanatic’s newly designed Summer t-shirt, and he wore it so proudly!
When he visited Ian and Milly in Bristol for the weekend, he would enjoy popping into the studio and seeing any changes that had happened. He loved the fact our desks sit upon the same table legs that were once used in his family pottery firm, sharing that history with Fanatic.
We owe so much to Chris for everything he has contributed. He will always be remembered; his approaches, ethos, drive and commitment are values that are deeply rooted in the business and will continue to influence us and be seen by everybody every day inside Fanatic.