Internal day: September 2020

Author - Sasha Suzdaleva

Posted By Sasha Suzdaleva Marketing, Events & Community Manager

Date posted 12th Oct 2020

Category Blog

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Our internal days are back! 

We’ve had lots of new exciting clients join us over the last few months! So although we expanded our team, we also decided to pause our internal days to create more time for client work. But not to worry, after this short hiatus our internal days are back! 

Internal training days mean that once a month, for a full day, we down our tools and completely stop working on client projects. Instead, we focus on improving our own internal processes and create time for the team to advance their skills, and get them to share their knowledge with us through blog posts. In the long run, improved processes mean saved time and cost for our clients!

So without further ado, here’s what happened on the 25th of September:

Project Management

The main goal of the day for our Project Manager Ellie was to complete a blog post for the 93digital website. Whilst she was in the mindset of thinking up an enticing blog topic she also took the opportunity to brainstorm ideas for the next few blog posts. We think it’s really important to provide our blog readers with as much interesting, up-to-date information as possible, across design, development, SEO and project management. 

The end result? A shiny, brand new blog post focused on 6 tell tale signs that your B2B website might need a strategic rethink. Launching in the next few days – so keep an eye! 

As it has been a fast paced few months at 93digital, Ellie also took the day as an opportunity to catch up on some retrospectives for the exciting projects that went live over the summer. Retrospectives help us identify the successes and challenges of each project so we can learn from them and provide even better service going forward.

Hollie is our newest member of the project management team, having previously been community programs manager, and digital project manager at IBM and Digital Technology Labs respectively. So, we’re excited for her to share her expertise with the 93digital team taking a big focus on our support desk!

First order of the day for Hollie was to create a blog post exploring the role of the support desk, following which Hollie moved to work on the processes/procedures related to the support desk to streamline things and provide the best customer experience. Part of Hollies remit is to review how things currently function on the support side and make observations and recommendations on how things can be improved as the business continues to scale up.

By the end of the day, Hollie had produced an insightful blogpost on our support desk, and had a productive chat with Project Manager Roz to get her input on how the software/PM tools we already use could potentially be used to greater effect. Going forward Hollie will be investigating this more closely to try and refining things further. 

The goal for Roz was to channel her inner creative genius and write a content piece for the website, looking at client care. She was also keen to pitch in and help with discussions on how we can get the support desk working as smoothly as possible with Hollie.

The end result was working towards an even more efficient support desk system which will streamline work and also be much better to manage. Hopefully support clients will be able to see these benefits fairly quickly. But as it’s the set up of a new process, this can take time! 

Design

Designer Fenella, started the day by finishing her detailed and insightful post on how and why it’s important to align your UX, design & content. Following this, Fenella carried on analysing the software Miro, to see if this could be a suitable tool for 93digital to use for virtual workshops with clients. 

Workshops are a huge part of what we do in order to produce successful results, so as its looking like we are going to be working virtually for the foreseeable future, it’s important for us to ensure that we have the best tools for the job!

Digital strategy

Our SEO Strategist Dan, is also one of our newest team members, and similarly to Fenella, Dan decided to take this time to explore some of the digital marketing tools out there.

With digital marketing in general, and SEO in particular, there is no shortage of online tools that can (or, at least, claim to) make our lives as digital marketers easier. From link building to content production to on-site optimisation, every aspect of our job has a number of tools that could potentially help us out. The trick is deciphering which tools are the best fit for our team and our clients, and which ones are more trouble than they’re worth.

While 93digital and 93x are already utilising many of the best online tools to deliver great results for our clients, Dan wanted to find out what other applications we could be utilising to take our work to the next level. It can be difficult to do this type of discovery work during normal business hours so an internal day is a perfect opportunity to explore the tools that have come to our attention over the course of our day-to-day work.

We should always be looking at ways to improve the way we work. From internal operations to client-side services, there is generally always a better way to do things. As ever, thorough research and conversations with colleagues will ensure that the time, money and effort you put into integrating a new application or platform will have a long term benefit to the company.   

By the end of the day, alongside a wonderful blogspot exploring voice SEO, Dan created a dossier of potential new tools/platforms that we could be using to streamline our operations. This included information on the tool, its features, benefits and pricing, as well as whether it is a good fit for 93x and 93digital or is made redundant by the tools we currently use. This document is a work in progress and includes links to a variety of other potential tools/platforms that I’ll be able to revisit as time or necessity dictates.

Development 

Recently, we have developed a number of WordPress multisites, and are providing ongoing support for these. As a result, our Developer Ibon decided to create a blogpost about multi sites, how they work in practice, and the 93digital approach to these – watch this space in the next few weeks for Ibon’s insights!

Recently, Yoast has presented some issues with text analysis on Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) which is a widely used plugin for custom WordPress websites. As a result, our developer Mujeeb decided to take the day to compare and contrast Rank Math with Yoast, with the aim being to see if the Rank Math has a higher compatibility with Advanced Custom Fields and if it is profitable to switch to Rank Math from Yoast. 

Because most of our websites are built with ACF and are used for marketing purposes, it is important that the search engine optimization (SEO) tool that we use is compatible with ACF. 

Here’s what Mujeeb found: 

“Page Rank supports ACF off the shelf and ships with a tool for migrating from Yoast which is good. Furthermore, Page Rank takes into account all the custom post types separately and allows customisation for each custom post type with regards to their SEO configuration.

Page Rank definitely has advanced features when it comes to customized WordPress solutions, however, the original feature which was causing the issue in Yoast “Text highlighting” does not exist in Page Rank (at the time of this post). 

Yoast also seems to use natural language processing as its base heuristic whereas Page Rank seems to be using a rule based approach. For instance, Yoast indicates if a sentence is passive-voice or not whereas Page Rank does not have any such insight to text.

Page Rank is good with custom field based websites, and can be used with custom built sites but it should be tested in a real-world scenario to measure effectiveness of its signalling of the content on SEO.” 

The goal for our Senior WordPress Developer Vic was to create a Packagist account and set up a composer package for the Terra project that he is rebuilding. Vic also wanted to continue with the rebuild and set up the Terra feed as a custom block in WordPress.

Having Terra as a dependency in composer will allow the 93digital devs to run a single command to install it in the theme. Adding Terra as a custom block will allow users and devs to easily add a feed of posts and filters, as well as customise some options. As we use feeds for most of our projects, this makes the feeds more user friendly and means there is minimal dev input when adding them – this should cut down the time it takes to implement them. 

And the result?

The composer package has been set up. There is still some tweaking left to do but the feed block has been created and now works. – Great news! 

The goal for the day for our Developer Jafar was to create a YouTube modal JavaScript plugin.  This would allow Jafar to advance his knowledge of JavaScript and his overall front-end development skills.

Doing this means that 93digital developers can use this plugin/code in our upcoming projects which could save developers time in certain projects that use YouTube. We could expand this to use other video streaming services like Vimeo.

By the end of the day, Jafar had completed the YouTube modal JavaScript plugin which could be using some of our projects.

Here is it:

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