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The Internet’s Forgotten Treasures

Posted by Greg

On the ever-evolving internet, trends can pop up and disappear in the blink of an eye.

Some websites and apps that we all used to know and use on a regular basis have all but disappeared. In this blog post, let’s take a casual stroll down nostalgia lane and revisit some of the game changing websites and internet apps that once made our online lives a little more interesting.

Geocities: Where Personal Websites Flourished

Remember the time when everyone had their own corner of the internet on Geocities? This web hosting service allowed users to create and customize their websites with flashy graphics, animated GIFs, and personalized backgrounds. Geocities was the go-to platform for expressing individuality on the web before social media took over.

Ask Jeeves: The Polite Search Engine

Long before Google became synonymous with online search, Ask Jeeves stood out with its unique approach. Users could ask questions in natural language, and the search engine would attempt to provide relevant answers. The butler mascot, Jeeves, added a touch of sophistication to the experience. Though Ask Jeeves eventually rebranded as, the polite butler is a fond memory for many.

MSN Messenger: The OG Instant Messenger

Before the era of WhatsApp and Snapchat, MSN Messenger ruled the world of instant messaging. The iconic sound of a door creaking open, and the rhythmic tapping of keys signalled conversations with friends and family. Customizable display names, emoticons, and status messages made MSN Messenger a precursor to the vibrant world of modern messaging apps.

Napster: The Pioneer of Peer-to-Peer Sharing

Napster revolutionized the music industry by introducing peer-to-peer file sharing. Founded by Shawn Fanning, this platform allowed users to share MP3 files freely. Despite its controversial legal battles, Napster paved the way for the digital music landscape we know today.

MySpace: Your Personalized Social Space

In the early 2000s, MySpace was the social media platform of choice. Users could customize their profiles with HTML codes, choose their favourite songs for their profiles, and connect with friends. MySpace’s influence on the development of social media is undeniable, even though it eventually succumbed to the rise of Facebook.

Looking back, it’s clear that these these forgotten websites and internet applications a crucial role in shaping the online world as we know it today. While some have vanished into the annals of internet history, their influence lingers in the memories of those who experienced the early days of the World Wide Web.

Importantly, nostalgia aside, these relics of the past serve as a reminder of the rapid pace of technological evolution and the dynamic nature of the internet. Perhaps, in the fast-paced world of technology, the only constant is change.

Unearthing the Past: Trends That Shaped the Internet

Posted by Greg

The internet, in its current form, has been publicly available for over 30 years.

In that time, we’ve seen access speeds increase from dial-up to broadband, software improvements to support video and HD graphics and internet browsers that can handle all of those changes.

In this ever-shifting realm, where trends emerge and fade at a dizzying pace, taking a moment to reflect on some of the forgotten relics of web design feels like peering into a digital time capsule.

It’s fascinating to cast our minds back to an era when the internet was a “wild frontier”, and website trends were still finding their footing. Here’s some of the website trends that once captured our attention and will bring back “fond” memories – for some of us at least….

Flash Introductions

Once upon a time, Flash intros were all the rage. Websites would greet visitors with flashy animations and interactive introductions, often accompanied by background music. These intros were designed to captivate users from the moment they landed on a page. However, with the rise of mobile devices and the decline of Flash support, this trend quickly became impractical and was left behind.

Hit Counters

In the early days of the internet, website owners proudly displayed hit counters on their pages. These simple counters tallied the number of visitors to a site, offering a tangible measure of its popularity. As analytical tools became more sophisticated, hit counters fell out of favour, replaced by comprehensive data collection software such as Google Analytics.

Under Construction GIFs

Before the era of constantly updated content and real-time publishing, websites would often display “Under Construction” signs, accompanied by animated GIFs of construction workers or caution tape. These placeholders were a common sight as webmasters worked on updates or new sections. With the advent of content management systems and agile development practices, the need for these signs disappeared.

Splash Pages

Splash pages were standalone pages that preceded the homepage, often serving as an introduction or gateway to the main content. While they were intended to make a bold visual statement, users quickly grew impatient with the extra click required to access the actual site. As user experience gained importance, splash pages gave way to more streamlined designs that prioritized efficiency and accessibility.

Blinking Text and Marquee Scrolling

Ah, the days of HTML tags that made text blink or scroll across the screen! These flashy elements were once considered cutting-edge design, but they quickly fell out of favour as users found them distracting and irritating. Modern web design principles now prioritize readability and user-friendly interfaces, leaving blinking text and marquee scrolling in the digital graveyard.

Reminiscing about these forgotten website trends, it’s clear that the internet has come a long way in terms of design, functionality, and user experience. As online technology continues to advance, new trends will keep emerging, forcing the digital landscape to continue its evolution. The key for successful website development is to stay ahead of these changes whilst acknowledging and learning from the trends that now reside in the archives of internet history.

Unlocking SEO Success with the Power of Keywords

Posted by Greg

Talk with anyone who has effectively managed a website over a period of time and ask them about the key to achieve success on Google.

Without fail, one of the responses you are likely to receive is “keywords.”

Curious about what a keyword is? A keyword is a specific word or phrase that individuals entering a search engine use when seeking information, products, or services. From a technical standpoint, search engines rely on keywords to assess the content and relevance of information present on a website.

From the very outset, keywords have consistently played a pivotal role in the search algorithms used by search engines to determine rankings or placement on search results. A website without well-coordinated keywords is not likely to attain a prominent position in those rankings.

So how do we effectively use keywords? Surprisingly, it does not all have to be done on your website. You can incorporate them in all aspects of your online presence and marketing materials.

To make the most of your keywords, be sure to sprinkle them across these areas in your online portfolio:

Website Content: Include keywords in the main content of your website, especially on the homepage, service pages, and about pages. Create dedicated pages for specific services and industries you are targeting.

Meta Tags: Optimize meta titles and meta descriptions with relevant keywords for each page on your website.

Blog Posts and Articles: Publish blog posts or articles featuring your keywords.

Social Media: Use keywords in your social media posts, profiles, and bios. Share relevant content and engage with your audience.

Online Directories: List your services on relevant online directories and ensure that your business profiles include these keywords.

Google My Business: Optimize your Google My Business profile with accurate business information and relevant keywords.

Email Marketing: Include keywords in your email campaigns, newsletters, and communications with your audience.

Paid Advertising: Use keywords in your Google Ads campaigns to target specific locations and industries.

Networking and Outreach: When reaching out to potential clients or partners, incorporate these keywords in your communication.

Remember, your goal is to provide valuable and relevant content that incorporates these keywords naturally. Avoid keyword stuffing (overuse), which can negatively impact the user experience and, most importantly, your search engine rankings.

Finally, be sure to regularly review and update your content so your website stays current with industry trends and any changes in search algorithms.

Choosing Keywords for Website Success

Posted by Greg

In the fast-paced world of the internet, one thing remains constant – the power of Search Engine Optimisation.

Whether you’re a business aiming for the stars or an individual carving out your online niche, SEO is still the key in boosting visibility in the search engines. The heartbeat of effective SEO is choosing the right keywords. They are the secret sauce that makes search engines sit up and take notice. Keywords create a connection between what users are searching for and the content you’ve got to offer.

Let’s explore the considerations and strategies for choosing keywords that will make your content more “findable” in the online universe:

Research, Research, Research: Before you dive into selecting keywords, conduct thorough research to understand your target audience and the phrases they use when searching for information related to your content.

Long-Tail Keywords: While broad keywords are essential, long-tail keywords (phrases containing three or more words) can be equally powerful. These more specific terms often have lower competition and higher conversion rates. Tailor your content to address the unique needs of your audience through long-tail keywords.

Competitor Analysis: Keep an eye on your competitors. Analysing the keywords, they target can provide insights into gaps or opportunities in your own strategy.

Relevance is Key: Ensure that the keywords you choose are highly relevant to your content. If your keywords align with user intent, search engines are more likely to rank your pages higher. Develop content that not only incorporates these keywords but also provides genuine value to your audience.

Consider Searcher Intent: Understand the intent behind a user’s search query. Keywords can be categorized into informational, navigational, and transactional. Tailoring your content to match these intent categories can improve your chances of ranking higher for specific queries.

Optimize for Local Searches: If your business has a local presence, incorporate location-specific keywords. This is especially important for brick-and-mortar businesses or those providing services in specific geographic areas.

Choosing the right keywords for SEO is like finding the best ingredients for a recipe – it’s an involved process that blends research, strategy, and flexibility. Get to know your audience, keep up with the latest trends, and create content that acknowledges what your potential visitors are looking for.

Finally, don’t forget that SEO isn’t just about impressing search engines; it’s also about speaking the same language as your audience and what they want.

Creating a Mobile-Friendly Website That People Love

Posted by Greg

In today’s digital world, having a website that looks and works great on mobile devices is a must for all small business.

So many people use their smartphones and tablets to surf the web, it’s important to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Not only does this make your visitors happy, but it also plays a significant role in how search engines rank your site. In this blog post, we’ll chat about the essential elements that can make your website a mobile-friendly delight.

1. Responsive Design

Think of responsive design as the superhero of mobile-friendly websites. It magically adjusts your site’s layout to fit any screen, whether it’s a tiny phone or a bigger tablet. No need for a separate mobile version of your site – it’s all in one! Responsive design ensures your visitors have a smooth experience no matter what device they’re using.

2. Speedy Loading

Who likes waiting? Mobile users sure don’t! It’s vital that your web pages load quickly. You can do this by making your images smaller, using efficient code, and reducing the number of things your website needs to load. Think of it as a fast lane for mobile users.

3. Easy-Peasy Navigation

Mobile navigation should be a piece of cake. Those traditional dropdown menus just don’t cut it. Instead, try a hamburger menu – you know, those three horizontal lines that expand to show the menu options. It’s like a secret passage to all your site’s goodies, and it’s super easy to use.

4. Readable Content

Words on your site should be easy to read without squinting or endless scrolling. Use fonts that are easy on the eyes, space your text well, and break up long paragraphs. Think of it like having a cozy reading nook for your visitors.

5. Friendly Images and Videos

Your images and videos should be friendly to mobile devices too. They need to load quickly and not gobble up all the data. Use images that adjust to the screen size and make videos easy to watch on mobile. It’s like serving a mobile-friendly snack.

6. Touchy-Feely Buttons

Buttons and links should be big enough to tap without trouble. There should be enough space between them so fingers don’t get all tangled up. No accidental clicks, just smooth sailing!

7. Polite Pop-Ups and Ads

Annoying pop-ups and intrusive ads? Nah, let’s keep it friendly. If you have to use pop-ups, make them easy to close. Search engines frown upon annoying pop-ups, so let’s keep it chill.

8. Mobile SEO Magic

Make sure your site plays nice with mobile SEO. Optimize your meta tags, create mobile-friendly sitemaps, and ensure your content is easily found by search engines. If you’re catering to a local audience, think about local SEO strategies too.

9. Testing and Listening

Regularly test your site on different mobile devices and browsers. If something’s not right, fix it. And don’t forget to ask your visitors for their thoughts. Their feedback is gold! They can tell you what works and what needs improvement.

In a nutshell, having a mobile-friendly website is no longer a choice – it’s a must. By embracing these essential elements, you’re not only making your visitors happy, but you’re also boosting your site’s chances of showing up in mobile search results. Stay responsive, keep it zippy, and always put the user experience first. Your visitors will thank you, and your website will shine.

Four Steps to a Successful Email Marketing Strategy

Posted by Greg

In the world of marketing, small businesses are all abuzz about social media.

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and Snapchat are used daily by millions around the country. But did you know that good old email marketing can be still a powerhouse when it comes to engaging with your customers?

Just take a look at your Inbox – how many marketing emails did you receive this morning? Some might call them annoying, but the truth is, email can still be a fantastic way to connect with your audience. However, like anything else, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. So, here are our four top tips to help you create an effective (and legal*) email marketing strategy for your business:

Grow Your Database

Before diving into any email marketing campaign, you’ll need a list of legitimate* email addresses. If you have a website, this is pretty easy to do. You can use tactics like pop-up windows or a newsletter subscription box on your homepage. Some tools like MailChimp even offer plugins that seamlessly integrate with your website and take care of collecting and managing email addresses for your campaigns. Whichever method you choose, always be transparent about why you’re collecting these addresses and what your subscribers can expect in return (check out the value point below).

Remember the Mobile Users

With the unstoppable rise of smartphones, more and more people are checking their emails on mobile devices. In fact, depending on your industry, up to 75% of email opens* may be on mobile. To cater to this audience, make sure your emails are mobile-friendly – easy to read on small screens, light on data usage, and concise in their content.

Be Aware of the SPAM Act 2003

To keep your email marketing on the right side of the law, you must ensure that your emails comply with three main points: Consent, Identity, and Unsubscribe.

Consent: Your subscribers must know exactly what they’re signing up for when they subscribe. Consent can also be based on an existing relationship with the subscriber, such as being a customer.

Identity: Your marketing emails must clearly state who’s sending them and provide contact information.

Unsubscribe: Every email you send should include an Unsubscribe option so that subscribers can opt out at any time.

Learn more: ACMA Anti-Spam Guidelines

Offer Value

The secret sauce for any successful email campaign is providing VALUE to your subscribers. Value can take many forms – a free eBook, a newsletter filled with tips and tricks, or staying up-to-date with the latest industry news. If you’re promoting products or services, sweeten the deal with a discount voucher for their next purchase. Everyone loves getting something for free, and your subscribers are more likely to stick around.

Remember, what works for one business might not work for yours. So, experiment with your ideas and, most importantly, measure the response. Don’t waste your precious time barking up the wrong tree. Instead, take note of what works and what doesn’t, and fine-tune your approach along the way. This way, you’ll develop an effective email strategy that helps your business grow without breaking the bank or eating up your valuable time.

Guard Your Website: The Essential Guide to WordPress Plugin Updates

Posted by Greg

So, you’ve got this awesome website that is doing great things for your business.

It’s working, bringing in new (and old customers), and you’re feeling pretty good about it. However, there’s something crucial you might be overlooking in day-to-day operations of your site – updating your WordPress plugins!

Updates are absolutely essential for the safety, speed, and overall awesomeness of your website. Let’s find out why…

Safety First

Imagine your website is like a digital fortress, and plugins are like the guards at the gate. When plugin developers spot little cracks in their armor (security vulnerabilities), they quickly make patches to keep the bad guys out. But if you’re not updating your plugins, it’s like leaving the drawbridge down and the gate open.

Hackers are always finding new ways to sneak into websites. By not updating your plugins, you’re making their job way too easy. Regular updates not only fix known issues but also keep your site safe from future threats. It’s like giving your website its own security detail


WordPress is a bit like a celebrity – it loves to change and shine with new updates. Sometimes, these updates can have a little clash with older plugins and If your plugins are outdated, they might throw a hissy fit and stop working correctly. That means broken features, frustrated visitors, and a not-so-happy you.

By updating your plugins, you make sure they’re best friends with the latest WordPress version. This happy, harmonious relationship means a smooth, trouble-free website.

Keep it “Fast and Furious”

Not all updates are about security or compatibility. Some are like giving your website a turbo boost! Developers often tweak their plugins to make them run faster, use fewer server resources, and load quicker. Think of it as making your website a speed demon.

A fast-loading website is like a red carpet for your visitors. It’s not only a great user experience but also something that search engines, like Google, love. They reward speedy websites with better rankings. So, updating your plugins is like giving your site a VIP pass to the top!

Embrace the New Goodies

Developers love feedback, and they’re always working to make their plugins better. By updating your plugins, you get access to new features, bug fixes, and improvements. It’s like getting a shiny new toy – except it’s for your website. Sometimes, these updates can be game-changers, making your site more efficient and user-friendly. It’s all about making your website a better place for you and your visitors.

No More Website Drama

Outdated plugins can turn your website into a soap opera with episodes of downtime and data loss. A malfunctioning plugin can mess up your database, making you go, “What just happened?” Not fun at all.

By keeping those plugins up to date, you dodge those dramatic scenarios. You’re the hero of your website story, preventing crashes and data disasters.

In the world of WordPress websites, the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is absolutely on point. Regularly updating your plugins is like giving your website a suit of armor, ensuring it dances gracefully with new WordPress updates, and keeping it in tip-top shape.

One point to remember though, before diving into updates, back up your website – it’s like wearing a seatbelt while driving. If something goes a bit sideways, you can always go back to where you started.

Now, go give your plugins some love and keep your WordPress site in its best shape ever!

From Creation to Transformation: The lifecycle of your website.

Posted by Greg

You’ve probably heard this before but your website isn’t a “set and forget” operation. Every small business site has a unique journey that it must take in order to become, and remain, successful.

And you, the site owner, have a vital role in this journey.

In this blog article, we’re going to take a look at the lifespan of a small business website, from its early days of launch through to the exciting process of reinvention.

Birth and Growth (Year 1)

The first year is all about the birth and growth of your small business website. Think of it as the “getting to know you” phase. Your website starts as a simple online presence, sharing the basics like contact details and what you offer. The goal here is to get online and start reaching your potential customers.

During year one, your website should adapt to feedback and changing trends. You’ll add more content, begin to dabble in SEO, and introduce additional pages to showcase your growing business.

Maturity (Years 2-3)

By the second and third years, your website matures, just like a fine wine. Your business has likely expanded its customer base, and your website should reflect this growth. Here’s what this stage is all about:

  1. Enhanced Features: You might introduce cool features like e-commerce, customer portals, or a blog to share your industry expertise.
  2. Advanced SEO: You’ll get serious about SEO to get noticed in search results and bring in more organic traffic.
  3. Consistent Content Updates: Regularly updating content, like blog posts or news articles, keeps your users engaged and builds your site’s authority.

Reinvention (Years 4+)

As your website nears its third year, it might start feeling a bit stagnant. That’s the time for reinvention! Here’s what you should focus on:

  1. Redesign: Give your website a fresh, modern look to reignite user interest and engagement.
  2. Updated Content: Replace old and outdated content with fresh, informative material that keeps your users coming back for more.
  3. Enhanced SEO: Boost your website’s visibility by revisiting and enhancing your SEO strategy.
  4. Advanced Marketing Strategies: Use email marketing, social media campaigns, and paid advertising to rekindle interest and reach a broader audience.


Your small business website has a journey that parallels the growth and changes in your business. It starts as a simple online presence, evolves into a sophisticated platform, and sometimes needs a little reinvention. To ensure your website stays fresh and relevant, remember to embrace adaptability and continuous improvement.

Keep it evolving and make the most of your website’s potential in this ever-changing digital world.

Why you should ALWAYS use a professional email address!

Posted by Greg

Small business owners are often hesitant to change their existing email addresses when they create their first business website.

The owners argue that the Gmail or Hotmail address that they have been using for the past ten years “still works” and that there is no need to change over.

What these business owners are failing to realise is that the benefits of a professional email address far outweigh any drawbacks they may have and the changeover doesn’t have to be a nightmare either.

Benefit #1 – A PROFESSIONAL email address conveys a PROFESSIONAL image

The generic email addresses from webmail services like Gmail and Hotmail can give a small business the appearance of being a fly-by-night operation and not very serious about how they operate. It can also convey that a business is new, small, or even part time!

A generic email address also doesn’t encourage trust in the brand of your business.

Some prospective clients will simply refuse to share information through to a Gmail or Hotmail account. They want to know that your business is legit and serious enough to engage with.

A professional email address will give you the right branded image to do this.

Benefit #2 – Your own email address makes you easy to REMEMBER.

With so many businesses staking out their claims online, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Think of the number of email addresses that you have in your own professional directories – Can you remember any of the generic ones?

For example – it is much easier to remember* than

Let people get in touch easily by being memorable with your own branded business email address.

Benefit #3 – Give your small business a BIGGER image

Having your own professional email address system lets you convey a corporate image regardless of the size of your business.

By setting up multiple email addresses for the various sections of your business, prospective customers will perceive that you are a much larger business than you are and to some of them, bigger IS better.

For example, Cassowary Coast Dining* could use email addresses such as,,, etc.

Benefit #4 – You can promote your Brand – EVERY time you send an email

By using a professional email address, you get to promote your OWN business every time you send out an email, not Google’s or Microsoft’s. Even if the recipient has never heard of your business before, your email address is an instant way of bringing it to their attention.

For those still hesitant to make the change, the move from generic email to branded email doesn’t have to be an immediate one (nor do we recommend it).

Make the change with these four easy steps:

If you are interested in setting up professional email addresses for your business, get in touch with Tropical Coast Web Design and we’ll work with you throughout the changeover process (and beyond).

* Cassowary Coast Dining is not a real business. Those email addresses are purely for demonstrative purposes.

Be there for customers 24/7 (even when you’re asleep)

Posted by Greg

Sit back for a moment and think of a business that you deal with regularly – one that you enjoy returning to time after time.

Now, delving a little deeper, why do you go back to that particular business each time? Is it just for the price of the goods and services?

Chances are (with the exception of the big chain stores), it’s not – you go back for their customer service.

At the end of the day, businesses are often not remembered by the goods and services they provide. They are remembered for the helpfulness of their customer service and the promptness with which it is given.

To the small business owner, time is always valuable and providing a customer service that is high quality, helpful and prompt can take a fair chunk of this time. Fortunately, with the right systems in place, you can provide this level of service through your website.

Here’s five website-based systems that could work for your business:

The Helpdesk

Easy to install on most content management systems, a helpdesk provides a simple form for customers to complete which is sent directly via email to the business. With this system, unless you have staff available 24/7, be sure to indicate on your site the hours that the form will be supported. Outside of these hours, link the Helpdesk straight to the FAQ (see below).


A very popular option, this system incorporates a small pop-up chat window (usually in the lower right of the website screen) that is answered by the business’ staff. When staff are not available (i.e. serving customers in a physical store), most live-chat systems will display a message asking the visitor to leave a question that will be answered ASAP.

Troubleshooting Guides

These guides can come in a variety of forms, the most popular being factsheets and tutorial videos. Without taking valuable time to answer the same question from a multitude of customers, a guide can help the customer work through the problem themselves. A great example of troubleshooting guides can be found at the front counter of any Bunnings store with their variety of how-to pamphlets.

FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions)

Similar to the troubleshooting guides above, the FAQ of a website can be built over time to answer those questions that pop-up repeatedly. With a FAQ, you only have to answer it once and that answer is then available to anyone with the same question in the future. An additional part of an FAQ can include a “smart” form that starts looking for an answer as you begin to type – like Google does when you start to search.

Community Forum

Provided you can generate a “following” for your products and services, a forum is great for customers to start helping each other. Users can post questions and they can be answered by either other forum members or members of staff that are available. Once a forum starts “rolling” along, they can be very effective in generating a “tribe” of followers for a business.

Start small and build your support system over time using the questions that you hear every day. By using actual customer enquiries, you can answer exactly what your cliental needs to know without having to re-invent the content yourself. And by simply setting aside a small amount of time each day/week, you can build a resource that will not only save you time and money but can help your customers even while you sleep.

Note: If you opt to use the non-automated systems such as LiveChat and Helpdesk, your staff must ensure that answers are provided as soon as humanly possible, especially with LiveChat where a customer may be waiting for the answer.

Tropical Coast Web Design