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Published: Fri, 27 Apr 2018 01:33:43 GMT


Using the web to generate income the old fashioned way

ddd, dd MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss GMT

Companies such as Amazon changed the market place for books forever.  They have given conventional High Street book stores such as Waterstones, Borders (who went bust) a run for their money - and many people said that the printed book is on its way out.

But the internet has opened up many new avenues for book publishing for prospective authors as our client has found.

Established in 2011, they already have literally thousands of authors who have created their own POD (Print On Demand) books where book printers will physically print a copy of your book when someone buys it - delivering it within a few days to the customer's doorstep.

It costs nothing to create your book and the whole process can be done in a day.  For around £80 you can have it available to order from Amazon, Waterstones or any other book store in the world! have just told us that authors are receiving their last 6 month Royalty payments over the next few days - with literally thousands of books having being sold over the last few months - each of which generates a royalty for the author which is higher than other "print on demand" type websites.

Zarr developed the website for which manges and automates the workflow for authors, it handles liason and datafeeds with the printers as well as processing royalty reports to reward authors for their book sales.

If you have an opportunity for an online business, even if it solves an old-school type problem, then contact us and see what we can do to help you make your idea a reality.

With over 15 years developing websites since the pre-Google days, Zarr is well placed to get your business or idea online.

SEO Tip of the Week: Don't submit submit submit

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For many years there have been, and still are, a number of organisations promoting a "For only £30 we'll submit your website to Google each month" type services.

Whatever you do, don't fall for this marketing ploy - and don't think using them will improve your SEO ranking.

Once a search engine such as Google knows about your website, it will send out robots regularly to look for new pages or refresh existing content.  Google, for example visits the website a couple of hundred times a day.

So why pay an amount each month for something that happens anyway?

Incidentally, if you do have a new website and want to get it picked up by the search engines, the best way is to have a link on an existing indexed website.  Failing that, you can always try

SEO Tip of the Week: Sitemaps

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Your website is a set of interlinked pages consisting of anything from a few pages if its a small website up to tens of thousands of pages for big websites.

Robots from search engines have historically come to the home page of your website and then over a period of weeks or months gone to all the link off that page, then visited all the links off those pages etc - a process that can take sometimes months to find all the pages and index the content - and often end up poorly linked or new pages.

Sitemaps are something that have been around for a few years but are gaining momentum.  There is a sitemap standard ( which the bigger search engines such as Google, Microsoft/Bing and Yahoo have adopted.

The Sitemaps standard is essentially an XML file (a special format) which details all the pages on your website.  Robots will check for the existance of a sitemap file and if it exists it will visit every URL within the file and index it.

This consolidated list of all pages on your website means that robots no longer have to find their own way around your website looking for content, but instead they get given a complete list of all the pages.

New pages can be found and indexed very quickly (we've seen new pages appear in Google within minutes), and it is something that we feel should be part of any website that you have developed.

All Zarr websites have a sitemap which is automatically updated several times a day with details of all pages on the website.

If your website is struggling with getting ranked and you don't have a sitemap, ask your web developer why a sitemap doesn't exist - or contact us

Put a sitemap in place and you will see the benefits!

Another developer joins Zarr

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A new developer, Helen Perry has joined the Zarr team and here is what she has to say about herself:

Hi :) I began working as a .Net developer at Zarr In August.

Over the past 10 years I have gained experience in many areas of computing through my degree and working in the industry.
My degree, Multimedia Computing, was predominantly web based, but also included games design, programming, networking and computer graphics.

I have worked both for agencies and retailers, with projects I have worked on ranging from e-commerce systems, recruitment websites, incentive management systems and content managed websites. I’m looking forward to utilising and expanding this knowledge at Zarr Once I get settled in!

Away from the computer I enjoy walking, reading (mainly Sci-Fi, fantasy or historical books), growing things in the garden (when the suns out!) and spending time with my Cockatiels and Koi Carp in the back garden. When the sun isn't out I also like playing computer games including World of Warcraft.

I love tomatoes, chocolate and Whisky, but I hate getting up :( .

New addition to the Zarr Team

ddd, dd MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss GMT

A new office administrator, Vicki Bosworth has started at zarr - and in her own words:

Hello!!!.....I have currently been working at Zarr since May as an Office Administrator.

I graduated from University at the beginning of the year with my Sociology Degree, but still felt I was unsure of what direction I wanted to head in career wise, and when I found this job with Zarr and they offered me the position, I couldn’t refuse - as having been an avid internet surfer for years, I was really intrigued about what goes into making a good website.

Already from working at Zarr for just a few months I’m enjoying learning from all the area’s that go into making a website - from the project management side of things to the development and the graphic design side. The Zarr team are constantly helping me become more involved with the different areas of the business and I’m really enjoying developing my own knowledge and skills further. I like to think of myself as hardworking and motivated and am simply really enjoying working for Zarr and with the team.

Away from work I enjoy keeping fit - anything from swimming to gym classes and until last year, I was a dedicated dancer in ballet and modern. I love bags, shoes, music, shopping– which girl doesn’t….however put a game of football on in front of me and I become one of the lads– Liverpool FC all the way. I’m apparently very bubbly in the mornings (you’re have to ask my colleagues as to whether that’s a good or bad thing). I change my hairstyles quicker than the season’s change and I’m a major neat freak…

I love cookies, vinegar, reading, fruit cider and I hate vegetables and spiders! !

Making a good website great!

ddd, dd MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss GMT

Getting the right website design is crucial if you want your business to make an impact on users worldwide. I’ve been onto so many sites in my lifetime where they are either so intricately designed I end up leaving in a daze, or so simple and amateur looking I leave looking for websites that meet the grade! So, if you’re not getting users to your site what can you do to improve this? There are many aspects into creating a successful website; Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), content and performance, but what will differentiate your website will be the design of the website. Ensuring the design of your website is up to scratch is an important factor for all businesses – if you feel this is a factor that’s lacking on your website, take a look below at some simple steps that could get it to the standard you want –  Professional perspective - Approaching a website design company where you can involve the talents of a professional designer who has plenty of user experience will already greatly improve your site. Getting feedback and input from the designers will give you an insight into what your users are probably seeing and the areas where you’re going wrong. A good graphic and website designer will look beyond the aesthetics of the website and plan more importantly into the interactivity the user will face.   Think of the user - It’s easy to slip into personal mode when designing a new website, but at times, you need to avoid personal tastes and consider what the user will be looking for from a website. At the end of the day they are the most important people you’ll need to impress and don’t forget that they will judge your website on first impressions - from user experience first impressions count, so if it doesn’t look good they won’t bother to continue! Think about how easy the user will find your website to use and if they’ll find it attractive – if you have both you’re more than likely to have returning customers, if not there is a high chance that you will lose that customer to another site.   Think of your target audience - The design of the website for your target audience is very important – you don’t want to find your elderly targets struggling to read a news article or find out that your modern items aren’t selling because the younger generation targeted find the layout bland and boring. Think about what will excite and interest a specific genre, the ease of use and most importantly aspects to keep them coming back!   Keep things simple – The one thing to remember with any website is that users enjoy simplicity – trust me, spending more than necessary trying to purchase an item will send users packing!! Users really don’t enjoy having to spend time working out how to use things!   Consider Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – if you’re struggling to maintain a level of traffic on your website it may be due to the fact that your website is missing out on searches. By using SEO your website will benefit your website drastically improving where your website is indexed on a search engine if done right!! If you integrate specific keywords that relate to your website there is a greater chance that your website will appear on searches….therefore increasing traffic!   Update your content regularly – Keep your regular customers happy by maintaining regular changes to your websites content. Users will want to see regular updates, new items, etc….so ensure they keep looking through your site by doing so! What Zarr can do for you? Zarr have designed over 350 websites that are unique but meet each of our client’s requests. So, no matter what website you have, Zarr will cater to you, providing professional design and technical expertise to meet the specific r[...]

How times have changed....

ddd, dd MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss GMT

I'm sure that time speeds up as you get older, but have you ever look back and think how times have changed - even in the last 15 years? The Internet has changed the world quite dramatically in the last few years - possibly quicker than at any other time during human evolution? Do you sit and wonder what ever happened to the days where you’d send a letter in the post instead of emailing?   What about picking up the phone and speaking to someone instead of texting them?  Or even taking a walk to meet a friend instead of chatting on Facebook? I’m sure, like me, you can see how technology and socialising has developed over recent years.  With technology continuing to develop at an unstoppable rate and with so much technology already around us, our lives these days are practically ruled by it – so can we blame kids…and adults…for wanting the latest phone, ipad or laptop?! When I was young I remember never being interested in technology, I just wanted to be a kid, play with my friends and come home with cuts and grazes, but these days I don’t think I can imagine myself without my mobile, the internet, my car or anything technological for that matter. These days however, technology does play a big part in all lives and now we use technology for almost all aspects of our day in comparison to 20 years ago. So much has changed in the last 15-20 years since the Internet has become mainstream.  Have in the mid 1990s, only a small number of people could access the internet due to the technical requirements and also proportionaly high costs - it was also extremely slow compared to today's broadband speeds. So what has changed?  Remember the days when we used to have to wait for a monthly bank statement to come through the post to see how much money we did or didnt have? Today we can check our statements, make transfers, pay bills all online or even using our mobile phones. We used to get into our car and drive to the shops to get our food shopping, buy goods we were after, but now we can download music in seconds, get our shopping delivered and compare prices and buy goods through the internet - all without leaving our beds! I remember buying and using a map for visiting new areas but with satellite technology today we are able to use Satnav’s to give us precise directions from a touch of a button.   Google Maps takes this another step forward and with its streetview technology you can walk down the street anywhere in the UK and look at the buildings with photo quality pictures - almost identical to being there without having to leave bed potentially. We also used to buy newspapers to find out what is happening throughout the world, but now we can receive live updates over the internet and television instantly and infact one could potentially argue that newspapers have passed their usefulness as their "news" is actually yesterday's news.  Back in the early 1990's during the first Gulf War, the world had very delayed updates on what was happening - often delays of hours.  Today we get to know about things literally within minutes of them happening anywhere in the world - be it earth quakes, countries being toppled or even that there is to be a Royal Wedding. I could go on but in all honesty the list is endless!! The question is, if technology has developed this much in such a short period of time, what will it be like in another 20 years to come?! We are living in a wired world that continues to evolve at a frightening pace.  At Zarr, we have been around since the early days of the internet and have a wealth of knowledge to call on plus we keep an eye on the future so if you have an idea for an internet venture to change the world or even want advice on your existing website then please get in touch. Laura[...]

The Facebook Generation …… Do you have Facebook?

ddd, dd MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss GMT

Communication between friends and family has very much differed throughout the years, from sending letters in the post, to texting and now to using Facebook.

I’m sure that the majority of you use Facebook, but why do we use it…….is it just a way to keep with the trend or is there more to Facebook than this?

Facebook is undoubtedly the way to stay in touch with family and friends and is by far the most used social networking site. According to Wikipedia, “Facebook has more than 600 million active users worldwide”.

Many people associate Facebook to be a social site for the younger generation, however, you will find that it is not just the younger generation who will take advantage of this site….. believe it or not the older generation have taken to this modern phenomenon too. According to the Daily Mail online, “almost half of female internet users over 55 regularly log onto sites like Facebook and Twitter”. Even grandparents are joining the craze in order to keep up to date with their families.

People use Facebook for a variety of reasons; the main factor is, of course, being an easy way for people to stay in touch with family and friends and also to reconnect with those who you have lost contact with. Many people have found that they stay in touch more often with those who they hardly see or speak to. Facebook is a place people can go to leave you a message, browse through your photos, and even chat whilst you are online – it is without a doubt a powerful social networking tool and people have engaged this by joining and taking advantage of the social prospects.

So how do people stay in touch?

Below are ways in which people can stay in touch with each other on Facebook: 

  1. Sending a private message – here the sender will write a message to the recipient. The benefit of this is that other users on Facebook will not know that the message is being sent or received. 
  2. Writing on the wall of that person – here you can write to your family and friends but by doing so others can see what you have written. It is an excellent way to communicate for birthdays and to involve others in conversations. 
  3. Uploading pictures – this is an excellent way to share your pictures with family and friends who you may not see too often, you can also “tag” people who you have shared those experiences with. 
  4. Updating statuses – this is a way to let your family and friends know what you are currently doing by writing a sentence about the occurrences. 
  5. Creating events – you can create events for birthdays, charity events, etc, on Facebook. Here you can invite or not invite who you wish to any event you decide to create!

New developer joins Zarr

ddd, dd MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss GMT

A new developer, Ruth Rogerson has started at Zarr - and in her own words:

Hello! I started at Zarr in November as a .Net developer. I have worked in IT for 10 years, using internet technologies but generally for intranet and extranets websites for companies - i.e. nothing public facing.  My new role with Zarr is my first job role developing public facing websites for Zarr's clients but I'm sure that my background will allow me to bring a lot of experience to the team.

My academic background isn't one of a traditional programmer/developer - I have a degree in medicinal chemistry, which I studied at in London.   I worked in London after my degree and then moved to Manchester for 2 years, to New Zealand for 9 months and then settled in the cosmopolitan town of Rugby!

I thoroughly enjoy programming but also like clothes, shoes, handbags, oh and I’m female, which I think is slightly unusual for a developer!

I have two children who are currently 4 and 6 years old, so that gives me a great excuse to do lots of fun things. We also have a dog that is like Peter Pan and doesn't seem to be getting old.

I like going to the gym and shopping. I in particular love running, taking the dog with me when possible. I hate brussel sprouts, spiders and cleaning.

Spam – not the kind in a can, but the kind that arrives in your inbox

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What is spam?

Spam is the sending of mass emails unsolicited messages in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. The majority of spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get rich quick schemes etc. You don’t have to have a website, or even have sent an email in the past but spam email will still get to you!

Businesses are continually a target for spammers, especially considering the ease of access to your email address. All businesses know that you must have a way in which customers or clients can contact you; therefore you ensure all your contact details are clearly stated on your website for them to get in touch. This leaves you open to spammers having unconditional access to your email address.

You’ll find numerous reports on the internet about how much spam is actually sent – which varies anywhere up to 97% - and in Zarr’s experience from running email servers, we estimate it to be around 96% for all our customers.

Getting spam emails into your mailbox is annoying at the bare minimum. It can take time to sift through and delete these unwanted emails before you can get on and read the genuine emails from existing customers or even new sales leads.

But what if you removed a genuine email by mistaking it as spam due to not recognising the FROM address. Or what about all those wasted minutes each day deleting spam emails. Even 5 minutes a day (and I’m sure if would be much longer) soon mounts up over the course of a week or month – and I’m sure you have much better things to spend your time on.

What can Zarr do?

Zarr has a solution to 98%+ of all spam that you receive – and this is known as spam filtering. How it works is that we put all your email through a filter which checks whether an email is spam by checking against about 40 criteria such as where it was sent from, the content of the email, keywords it contains etc. The final score is used to block it, or let it through to your mailbox.

The filtering also scans all emails for viruses too, and as the majority of viruses are spread through email attachments, anything suspicious or containing a virus will be blocked or stripped out - so you can be confident reading any attachments that people send you.
Filtering is also extremely cost effective and costs as little as 7p per person per day. It also requires no change to your Outlook setup and we can do all the work behind the scenes.

To find out more contact us – or even if you want to trial it for a period of time and see how much less spam you get, then get in touch.