I volunteer mentor with UMi and last year they helped me upgrade some computer equipment.

Digital equipment helps secure more business for Zedcomms. Read the case study here.

About UMi | Whether you’re a public sector partner who wants to help local businesses, or a private sector organisation with valuable experience to share, we can help you make a real difference.
We don’t operate a one-size-fits-all solution. Talk to us about your objectives and we’ll tailor our support to suit your needs.




Why I always recommend WordPress.

When I first saw WordPress I was scared. The platform was modern, engaging, intuitive and free. The platform I was using at the time was by comparison dated and we were charged a licence fee to access it.

WordPress did have some issues though, it was primarily a blog so it had to have comment sections and looked like a forum. It had no real-time support, you had to wade through online forums and websites full of geek-speak to find a solution and the off the shelf free version looked terrible. Now it has evolved WordPress is fully customisable. The bugs mentioned above can be ironed out with plugins and coding adjustments. I recommend WordPress first to all my clients.

This formed into what it is today, a self-hosted WordPress website that can do pretty much everything 99% of businesses want it to do and a lot more. The ‘ lot more’ is where WordPress shines. Search optimisation is easy, adding modules and integrating social platforms is just great.

Because WordPress is the most used website platform it is vulnerable to hackers. WordPress websites are often targeted by hackers. To combat this you must update the plugins regularly, remove any unused plugins and update the themes. 

Buying your first WordPress Website Tips

Pay a pro to set it up for you.

Host on a reputable server.

Add SSL security, better security and search performance.

Use a popular theme with high reviews.

Start simple, you can add fancy stuff later.

Add an SEO plugin.

Email Marketing

Email Marketing

Email blasts and bulk email campaigns are surely now a thing of the past. Hubspot posted the following with my comments. The way to market now is to attract prospective clients online, on social platforms, on Facebook groups and on forums. Email is a super communication tool once they are engaged. Learn more about our social management and social, SEO marketing packages here.

How to Prepare for the Apple’s iOS15 Privacy Changes [Checklist Included]

Apple recently began rolling out their new iOS 15 privacy features, including Mail Privacy Protection. This update is a big win for customer privacy, but may impact your marketing efforts and the metrics you see in our platform. In this post, we’ll walk you through everything we know so far, and provide a checklist to help you identify places in your HubSpot account that might be impacted.

Note: this post was last updated on January 6.

What’s the change?

Apple’s new mobile operating system (iOS15) launched on September 20 and will roll out over the next few months, and it includes several privacy-related changes. At a high level:

  1. Mail Privacy Protection prevents senders from seeing if and when a recipient opens an email in Apple Mail. It also hides a recipient’s IP address, so senders can’t determine their location.
  2. Hide My Email lets users share unique, random email addresses that forward to their personal inbox anytime they wish to keep their personal email address private.

These changes impact all email service providers that send emails to Apple Mail users.

What does this mean in the short term?

  • Open rates may decline with no change in actual engagement. As a part of the changes, Apple will load tracking pixels on behalf of their users. In essence, Apple will be “opening” emails on behalf of their users. These opens will be caught by HubSpot’s bot filtering technology. Due to the nature of Apple’s technology, the bot filtering will unlikely be able to tell the difference between an Apple-bot open and a human open. As a result, email open metrics in HubSpot may decrease when human opens are bundled with Apple-bot opens, and any other processes that rely on open tracking might be compromised, too. Users can continue to use the open rate metric in HubSpot, but we recommend against using it for critical processes and reports. You can turn off bot filtering if you’d like to manually judge which opens may be human and which may be bots
  • Realtime email tactics that rely on IP-based location will be less effective. For example, time zone sends that use IP addresses to identify location and align send times to each recipients’ unique location may no longer function for Apple Mail users.
  • Email open activity may be spread across multiple contact records — even though they represent the same person. With “Hide My Email,” users can create fake, random email addresses to shield their personal email addresses from senders. In practice, this means that there may be several different “contacts” opening an email, even though just one person exists. 

What does this mean in the long term?

While the new feature may change your marketing tactics and cause some short-term heartburn, it’s designed to create better experiences for all of our customers, and that’s always a good thing. Putting your customers first is what inbound is all about, and it’s a concept HubSpot has been championing since our inception. Put simply, when your customers win, you win too.

What should I do about it?

From a high level, keep doing what you’re doing. Stay the course with your marketing. Focus on creating great content and engaging experiences for your audience. As it relates to Apple’s changes, be mindful of your open metrics for email, with the understanding that they might look different moving forward. Shift your focus to other, more reliable metrics that better reflect actual engagement, like clicks and replies. And do an audit of your downstream marketing processes (e.g. list segmentation, automation) that rely on open tracking. Not sure where to begin? We’ve created a checklist of HubSpot tools that might be impacted. 

Evolving Company Online Profile

Building reach and increasing the company profile.

Posting on social media has multi-benefits – overall you are building your online profile. Put simply; how your company looks online, when someone ‘Googles’ you. It’s really important, it’s your shop window.

Zedcomms promote clients’ company profile online mainly using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google along with website SEO. We focus on what a prospective customer sees online. Using creative targeted promotional text, and engaging photos with links to specific pages to impress and draw in prospective customers.

In addition, we can target where the customers live, what their interests are and what the potential spending may be. We do this with SEO, tags, categories, promotional text, hashtags and account handles.

Initially, we work to establish the brand online, adjust it to attract the preferred customers and build strong search terms. We have reached this point with BJU a reupholstery company in Darlington.

As we have reached a good online established profile for BJU we are adapting how we communicate with customers as follows.

The next stage is to enhance the brand online, develop the search terms and attract a very targeted customer. This means we change the focus of posts to be less ‘selling’ and more ‘promoting’ the ethos of the brand. An example of this is below:

Selling posts are to the point with a strong call to action – Save £500.

Brand posts are calm and confidently styled to demonstrate the brand ethos – BJU | Darlington.

The confidence of the brand posts may not produce immediate links to the site but rather demonstrate and build the brand that will attract the target customer when they are in the buying cycle – ready to buy.

I hope this is of use to you. Feel free to reach out with any specific questions.

Gate Automation Specialist Case Study

Electric gates specialist

We first met Mark and his team at Livewire Gates and Doors when we rebuilt the main website. Mark needed help looking after the website. So in 2020, we started updating the website and managing the main social platforms; Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

‘Electric gate company in Darlington’

Google No1.

About The Company
Livewire Gates and Doors are a specialist in access automation and bespoke security solutions; electric gates and door automation services for domestic, commercial and industrial properties.

What We Do
We originally rebuilt the Livewire website using historical cached information from the Internet due to the original website being unavailable. We updated the branding with a new logo and optimised the website for search.

Ongoing Service
During the initial meeting, the owner mentioned he wished someone would ‘look after the website’ so we instigated one of our standard service packages that cover website maintenance and SEO of the website along with updates of the main social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter and Google Business.
(Google Business updates• Facebook management and 5 posts• Twitter management and 5 posts• Website maintenance and base SEO ongoing adjustment • 4 update reports per month• Yearly Update and Compare Marketing Analysis).

The client’s requirements were to promote the business in a professional manner, increase the online profile, maintain search ranking status and constantly refresh the company profile within several media platforms.

The Outcome
Technical and marketing suggestions have improved business performance overall. This includes the addition of SSL certificate (more secure domain name which increases search ranking). Update the PHP software on the website, installing the latest software is good for speed, security and search ranking. And the addition of more recently enhanced images of completed works which were not been published previously.

The website is now a much more integral part of the business, customers can see examples of completed gates and doors, the salesperson refers his prospective customers to the site and the search exposure is progressively getting bigger online

Continuous Improvement.
We report our actions to Livewire four times a month along with any additional suggestions to continuously improve the business online profile.