As machine learning gets smarter and smarter, and Google's algorithm continues to evolve, it's going to be an interesting year for maintaining a strong online presence in 2019. Gone are the days of hustling the search engine by stuffing your page with keywords and hoping that sees it pop up the search results. Here are our top few thoughts on what search engine optimisation is going to mean in the new year and how you can keep performing well on Google.
A positive reputation online is the new word of mouth
Online reviews for businesses are becoming increasingly important in picking up work for companies. A highly reviewed business across platforms like Google & Facebook, as well as industry specific sites like TripAdvisor and the likes will see it's success breed success. Not only do those positive reviews influence a customer's decision making process, we've seen them increasingly help out from a search engine perspective.
The humanesque brain of the algorithm
As Google has evolved, it's AI capabilities are making it closer and closer to a human in it's ability to recognise original and valuable content. What that means for website owners, SEO specialists and content creators is that it's important to invest time in uploading quality content to your website and social media platforms. Automatically generated articles or regurgitated stories are falling to the wayside - so having a quality content creator on your team is going to be increasingly important.
The basics still apply
While the old days of keyword stuffing on websites is gone, the basics of white hat search engine optimisation continues. If you want to do well on Google, you'll still want to get a few things right. Say the right thing in the right places, make sure your site is technically well built and is optimised for speedy and mobile friendly use, and you'll be off to an excellent start.
Be social - in a way that's appropriate for your business
If you want to do well in search results, you should also want to be doing well on social media. In a perfect world you'd have multiple social media channels all engaging different audiences. Small businesses often don't have the time to be able to implement that sort of time, so consolidate your effort and focus on the platforms that suit your business. Getting your world out regularly and people engaging with your brand can definitely have a positive impact on search results.
Since 2019 has kicked off in earnest, anyone that follows tech news will have seen Facebook popping up in their newsfeed very regularly. It's been a busy month for the company, with them making a number of announcements about changes and new products coming throughout 2019. Below are a few of those announcements that caught our attention - and may be useful to know as a small business owner doing any sort of social media campaign or Facebook marketing.
Whatsapp, Instagram & Facebook Messenger to work together
A few clickbait style headings earlier this week announced that Facebook was "merging" Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. While there is some truth to that statement, the changes aren't quite as comprehensive as a full merger. In a nutshell, the plan is to make the underlying structure of the messenging parts of those apps work together. So for example if you have Facebook Messenger and your friend has Whatsapp, you'd still be able to message them directly. More importantly, that messaging is all going to have end-to-end encryption (starting with Facebook Messenger). So you can rest a bit easier knowing your messaging is safe from prying eyes.
Whether this is a sign of a bigger merger to come in the future will be interesting to see, but given Instagram's popularity, it seems unlikely that the platforms will be merged into some form of 'super' Facebook app.
Pages & Groups may be closed before they full violate policy
With all the recent 'fake news' and click baiting that has been coming through the Facebook platform, they've decided to tighten up their protocols by adding a 'Page Quality' tab. This tab will basically tell you as a page owner if your content is being removed or demoted because it is false, partially false, or has a false headline. The idea behind it is to eliminate more misleading content from the platform. In addition to this, the site is going to start banning Pages which are being used to share content that has originally been pulled from the site. For example, if you have two pages and one page is banned or has a post removed, this new policy means you really shouldn't then go and share that same content on the other page. They are calling these 'proactive removals'.
"Scam" button may be on the way
After seeing a few celebrities faces being used by scam posts on Facebook, the company has responded by announcing they will be aiming to launch a scam reporting button to posts - initially in the UK. Again, this whole roll-out of announcements certainly seems to be targeted at improving the trustworthiness of posts on the site.
Run your petitions through Facebook
In an attempt to be seen as more of a platform for social good, Facebook has announced a new feature called "Community Actions". If you have a cause for good, you'll be able to create that cause in Community Actions, tag relevant authorities & government bodies, and the public will be able to one click "Support" that cause, as well as run discussions etc within it. Like alot of things these days, the company will be testing the service in the USA and we'll be curious to see how well they are able to moderate the Community Actions that are posted. Will this just become another feature used negatively by the internet?
SUMMARY: How does this all affect your business?
Like most changes in the online space these days, the changes that Facebook are looking to bring quality to their product. Trustworthiness and reliability are the main focus, so if you continue to create genuine, original and truthful content, then you won't need to worry too much about the changes impacting your page.
As another frenetic year of business comes to an end, companies of all sizes will be looking to their sales and trying to understand how they can maintain or increase them as the holidays roll around. While those of you who run a brick and mortar store operation see hordes of customers come in store on Boxing Day, that trend isn't as much of a guarantee online. Remembering that online stores have the benefit of an upsurge of customers across Black Friday and Black Monday, there is certainly an art to remaining relevant online over the holiday period. Nowhere is that more prominent than in New Zealand, where our beautiful summer calls us away from our computers and out to the beach!
The first thing to understand about the post Christmas period is that it's not just about Boxing Day. It's always a good strategy to think of Boxing Day as the first day of a month long sales and marketing campaign. Your customers will be hunting around and expecting sales on Boxing Day, but their spending can continue into the New Year if you strategise correctly. With that in mind, sit down and come up with a bit of a plan that keeps your offering interesting for the whole month. For example, start the hype for Boxing Day early (so customers are looking forward to sales that are on the way), hammer those sales hard on Boxing Day, then get inventive with your offerings for the rest of the month. Think about different deals which might suit a New Year promo, as well as other ways to engage and reward your customer base.
To give you an idea of what strategies do work over the period, Big Commerce released some interesting stats on where sales came from amongst a group of surveyed companies. What the data shows is that there are definitely a number of ways to skin a cat, and that varying different offerings across the course of the month can let you have success in different ways.
Promos & Discounts - increase in sales
Of course if you don't get people to your website or store to see the above promos, you're going to be struggling to have any customer base at all. Thankfully, Big Commerce also took a look at where website traffic was coming to generate sales. Importantly, they noted that about 64% of sales were coming through companies websites (with 24.7% through brick and mortar stores). Remembering the data is from 2017 (and players like Instagram have definitely increased in prominence in 2018), below is a snapshot of what their data reveals.
So what would we do?
In our view having a clear, sustained plan over the holiday period is key. Making last minute decisions on promotions probably isn't going to happen as you get busy over Christmas, so start your lead in to Boxing Day pre Christmas and have a clear idea of what you are going to do. Be varied with your offers and specials, be inventive, and look to a range of media channels to get people to your site. Facebook advertising, Instagram posts, e-newsletter campaigns, solid Google advertising and SEO will all definitely help you start 2019 in style.
This year has been a huge year for security on the internet. Between the tightening up of privacy regulations and Google's push for "HTTPS everywhere", previously optional security features on websites are becoming the norm.
One of those important features is the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate - that gives your website that little "padlock" in the address bar and moves it from http:// to https://.
So what is an SSL certificate and why should you have it?
What is an SSL certificate?
In a nutshell, an SSL certificate ensures that your users data (think contact forms etc) is handled over a secure network. Basically an encrypted link is formed between the server and the person using your website. It means that forms, credit card details and other important information is kept safe from 'eavesdropping' as that data travels between the user on your site and your server.
Why should I have one on my site?
Beyond the obvious benefits of keeping your own site secure, an SSL certificate provides your users a higher degree of trust in your site and your product. Currently, a padlock in their browser let's every user know that your site is secure. On top of that, Google has always favoured those sites that take security seriously - so if you are serious about performing well in search results, having an SSL certificate is increasingly crucial. As of July 2018, that punishment from Google for non-secure sites is getting harsher and harsher.
Where'd the green lock go?
Because Google believes that a secure website should be the norm, not the exception, they've moved away from giving a 'green' padlock to secure sites. Rather, a secure site has a grey padlock while an insecure site will increasingly have the red explanation point and "Not Secure" alert.
How much does it cost?
The type of SSL certificate you have and who you are purchasing can change the price of an SSL certificate dramatically. In the past it has been a significant expense, but recently a number of providers have started to offer free SSL certificates. 543 agree's with Google's approach in making 'secure sites the norm', so every website we create and host comes with a free SSL certificate.
After putting hundreds of websites live for our clients throughout New Zealand and the Pacific, we've seen a few comments regularly come up when we put our first design draft together. One of the things we often hear is "make our logo bigger" - an understandable request, but one which is not necessarily best practice when it comes to design in general.
It's not about the logo - it's about the brand
One of the first things to understand before looking at logo sizes and placement is that your logo by itself is not your 'brand'. A good logo might become synonymous with a brand (the golden arches for example for McDonalds), but there is alot more that goes into creating a brand than just the logo.
If you think of one of New Zealand's big brands - "The Warehouse" for example - you'll start to get an understanding of why a logo only makes up a very small part of branding. The Warehouse and their 'big red sheds' bring up certain thoughts straight away - affordable, probably the lowest price you'll find for an item in New Zealand stores, and a money back guarantee. To be honest, I struggle to even visualise the Warehouse logo now as it has changed over time, but I suspect The Warehouse marketing team wouldn't be too upset by that. If a customer can name all those important aspects about the store, but not visualise the logo, then the brand is still a whopping success.
So how big should the logo be?
With the above in mind, whenever we are creating a website or any marketing collateral's, we will always think about the broader brand and messaging that we should be conveying. If a logo takes up half the screen, that's a missed opportunity to explain your products, or values, or convey a message to the customer. There is no strict rule on logo size, but it needs to balance against the rest of the page and messaging. If you take a look at some established companies logos, you'll quickly notice that they are often only 20-30px in height and don't take up much space on the page at all. That seems counter intuitive to alot of small businesses (and as a small business owner, you will probably want to go a little bit bigger than that), but the reality is that the smaller your logo, the more space available to display your product, services and messages.
You'll also need to consider the style of your logo and style of your site/marketing materials. Taking 543's logo on this website for example, we use a square logo in a sidebar menu. That sidebar menu takes up a bit more space than a conventional navigation menu would, but it also gave us the look that we were hoping for (and an easily navigable site). Because we have a square icon, we needed to have it a little bit larger than we would usually recommend - but that is balanced out by the navigation menu - and if you head to the homepage, you'll see that our messaging dominates the first drop.
Every site is different, and often logos are a different sizes and shapes, so there is no firm rule on how big you should have your logo - but as a general rule...think smaller rather than bigger.
In a (small) nutshell...
Don't forget to contact us if you have any questions at all about getting your brand, logo and website up and running.
As a website design business we are in a lucky position where we sometimes start to see big industry shifts early in the piece. One area that is currently seeing rapid change and advance is how we as businesses receive our money. Traditionally, any e-commerce store has needed some sort of third party payment gateway to accept payments. The likes of Payment Express and the big banks have dominated that space for many years, but recently the likes of PayPal, Square and Stripe have all started to take more of an interest in New Zealand and the options for kiwis are set to grow rapidly. More options means more competition, and that has to be a good thing, particularly as the new players to the market bring different pricing methods with them.
Most recently, we have seen that some of these online payment gateways are looking to expand their services to also offer ‘Point of Sale’ services (the POS in Eftpos - the ability for stores to take payments in person). The big mover in this space originally was Square. The basic premise of Square was to change the payment industry – bringing credit card processing to physical stores at a lower price point than the current terminal setups, letting you integrate payment methods with something as simple as your iPad. They extend that service to online payment gateways and their software basically becomes an all in one sales package for stores – with features that include inventory management. The big downside for us kiwis at the moment is that while we can use some of Square’s features (by coupling it up with Xero), they aren’t offering credit card processing in our little corner of the world just yet. That said, Australia is offered that service, so in our opinion, it won’t be long until Square does make it to our shores – and a bigger shake up to the industry takes place.
Running alongside Square in the online payment gateway space is Stripe (a company we have profiled before when we compared Stripe and PayPal). Stripe entered the fold as an alternative to online payment gateway providers – sitting somewhere in between Payment Express and PayPal in how it worked. They aimed to have the simplicity of PayPal in setup, but operate more like the conventional payment gateways in that they focus on online store payments (as opposed to peer to peer payments). As of yesterday, Stripe has announced that they are now moving into the Point of Sale space as well. Like everything they have done, Stripe’s offering is more targeted at developers, so you should expect to see it rolled out and packaged up with ‘3rd parties’, but either way it is very exciting news for businesses and consumers. Stripe is already in New Zealand with it’s online credit card processing, and while the POS system is only being launched in America at this stage, this is another big ‘watch this space moment’.
The final area to keep an eye on in NZ will definitely be the ‘after pay’ space. Australia in particular has seen that style of payment gateway explode, and from where we are sitting, each part of the world is starting to jump on that bandwagon to a lesser or greater extent. As it becomes adopted globally, expect to see these types of systems being offered more readily in platforms such as Weebly, Wix and SquareSpace – the consumer focused website and e-commerce options.
However the next few months pan out, it’s certainly going to be an interesting time for New Zealand business owners as more payment gateway and POS options land on our shores. We will certainly be keeping an eye on Square, Stripe and PayPal in particular – as we are increasingly eager to see easy to access, lower cost and integrated payment solutions made available.
In the topsy turvy world of search engine optimisation, there is one constant – Google will update their algorithm. Over the last couple of months in particular, there have been a constant stream of updates to Google’s search brain, giving SEO specialists plenty to ponder as they update their client’s sites and make sure they keep hitting the top of the search results. Below is a brief summary of some of those changes, and what they might mean for your website.
Way back in March of this year Google announced that after over a year of testing they were ready to start migrating sites over to the ‘mobile first’ search ranking. Initially they started with a smaller number of sites – those that followed the mobile first best practices well, but over the last month or so we have seen all our clients sites be pulled into that mobile first indexing. If you have a Google Search Console account for your site, you should have received a notification saying your site was now being looked at on ‘mobile first’ when it comes to search results, and if you haven’t got that Search Console account, it’s probably fair to assume that your site is now included.
What that means for everyone with a live website is that having a well optimised mobile site is increasingly important now. While your desktop site will still be adding to your site’s ‘search juice’, your mobile site is now a big priority. So – if you haven’t got a responsive or mobile site yet – get one now. In fact – contact us and we’ll help you build one!
In July, Google announced another update that shows the importance of having a well optimised mobile site. The July change focusses on a site’s speed – so the quicker you can get your site going the better. Initially, the change is only going to affect the mobile search rankings of the slowest sites on the web, but beware that this update is going to expand out to all sites.
The ‘Medic’ Core Update
The final big change which has come in the last few months was a broad core update to Google in August. As always, Google never tells us exactly what an update like this changes, so there is a little bit of educated guess work that goes on in the search engine community. From the data that has been shared, it looks like the update has mainly affected “Your Money, Your Life” sites – basically those sites that give medicinal and financial advice. That said, a few e-commerce, educational and automotive sites also took a bit of a hit. The big focus seems to have been on trustworthiness – with the new update pushing those sites it deems more trustworthy up the rankings.
Practically, the biggest thing to be done here is just to monitor what has happened to your site. If you’ve stayed reasonably steady in the results, then the update probably hasn’t affected you. However, if you have taken a hit and are in one of those industries we mentioned above, you need to sit down and give your site a solid appraisal. Think about best search engine practices, but also have a think about why Google may not find your site trustworthy.
All in all it’s been a big few months for search engine changes and updates. These updates serve as a good reminder of the benefit of at the very least monitoring your search results, but more importantly optimising your site and being responsive to any changes.
Remember to get in touch with us if you have any questions about search engine optimisation.
The European Sim Card & European Wifi verdict
As they say, The proof is in the pudding, and following on from our last blog on travelling and working, it seems pretty important to do a follow up to update what has and hasn’t worked in terms of staying ‘connected’ on the move. We’ve been through the UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands so far and below is a brief summary that should help you decide on how you’ll best stay connected for work in Europe.
The SIM Cards
As mentioned in our previous article, we purchased a couple of different SIM card options to let us transition from country to country in Europe. All the SIM cards we purchased have been a rip roaring success – with pretty solid coverage wherever we have gone and a relatively easy set up. In a month we have used between 3GB and 5GB of data each (with our accommodation wifi being used wherever we can). We haven’t really used the phone or text capabilities of the SIM cards, so can’t comment on them, but it is nice to know they are there if we need them.
Prepaidzero – the SIM card we got from Prepaidzero was 5GB, which was pretty perfect to us as our main device. Despite saying on the site you aren’t able to tether from your phone with the data pack we grabbed, we didn’t have any problems using the phone as a mobile hot spot. The SIM card arrived in New Zealand reasonably promptly and had straight forward instructions to setup. However, it did feel a little bit less professional in it’s packaging and website than the WorldSim options, and the ability to login online and check the usage/add data is a bit dated. That said, when we did top up – it worked perfectly, with no need to call support for any help.
World Sim – we grabbed 2 x 4GB SIM cards and a mifi dongle from World Sim. The coverage has been pretty solid and the delivery to NZ was prompt. Despite a few issues in getting the SIM card up and running, the support team were fantastic and have now helped us top up twice. The packaging it comes in is professional, and the site has a great login area. Again, we didn’t have any problems tethering off this SIM card despite the site saying otherwise. The mifi dongle has been pretty handy as a backup, but we have barely used it.
*Note on both: check exactly where you are going and if the sim card has coverage there. Monaco for example was a complete dead spot.*
Overall – the Prepaidzero sim has been far more reliable and we haven’t had to use their support at all. It’s essentially been seamless. It also came with a bigger data package. Unfortunately we were only able to top up in 3GB increments – and the packages only last a month – but despite WorldSIM looking more professional, Prepaidzero was definitely our winner.
Internet and working on trains
Honestly – from our experience don’t plan on having anything that resembles decent internet on European trains. While they all promise a wifi connection, we’re yet to come across one that works consistently enough to work online. You’ll get a spurt of connection here and there which is fine for picking up emails, but as a general rule you’ll be without an internet connection. That said, I’m drafting this blog offline on a train, so if you plan to have work that doesn’t need an internet connection you’ll be able to use that transit time well.
Happily, we’re yet to stay in accommodation that hasn’t offered free wifi. That was obviously a criteria of ours when booking our stay, and it’s been a godsend. We’ve had our mifi bundle as a backup, but when you are staying below cliffs in somewhere like the Amalfi coast and don’t have a cell signal, then having wifi at your accommodation is an absolute must. The quality of that wifi connection has varied significantly – for the most part it has been quick enough for us to do our work, but not quick enough to stream videos. That has meant some of the online elements of web design has taken a bit longer than usual – but on the whole it’s been pretty good.
In a nutshell
From day one of our travels we’ve been hugely thankful for our SIM cards. For things like checking train schedules and browsing restaurant choices, through to replying to emails and being able to call back to NZ on Skype, the SIM cards have been invaluable. That little bit of forward planning in ordering a European wide sim card has been really beneficial, and the same goes with making sure a hotel has wifi (and air conditioning!). A tiny bit of pre trip planning that is definitely making working and travelling a much more viable and enjoyable experience. Our advice – get a Prepaidzero sim before leaving New Zealand.
It's almost time to take off, so we're ready to pack our little working office into a backpack and get going. After weeks of research we are really happy with the setup we have for travelling and working in Europe. Above you can see how compact it all is, and below are what we think are the tools that will make your work and travel life a whole lot easier.
A LIGHTWEIGHT LAPTOP
OUR PICK: Acer Travelmate X
Having a nimble computer that doesn't weigh a whole lot is crucial for your travel adventures. You want it to be slim, robust and preferably speedy - particularly if you need to be doing a bit of design work on it. We've gone for the Acer Travelmate X for a few reasons. First up, it's got an aluminium shell - that means it's going to be able to take a bit of wear and tear on the road. It's really slim and lightweight, but it also has a screen that is big enough for us to work on. It's not got the grunt to run games...but in terms of power, it suits us just fine. We should note we aren't huge fans of Apple products - but I'm sure there will be someone reading this right now screaming at the screen that there is a better Apple option out there. That's a personal preference (and budget) thing, so for all of these items, have a research around and find what best suits you. A shout out to our friends at Laptops R Us for tracking the Acer Travelmate down for us.
A BRILLIANT TABLET
OUR PICK: Sony Xperia
For some people this won't be an absolute must, but for our type of work it's AMAZING to be able to have multiple monitors running. We've installed an app called "SpaceDesk" onto our Xperia tablet and Acer laptop, and that let's us use the tablet as an additional monitor to the laptop (great for when we want to compare designs on the fly). It was super easy to install/use, and is a nifty way to make you feel like you have a full office setup while you are travelling.
A FLATPACK MOUSE
OUR PICK: Microsoft Surface Arc
We picked this little bad boy up from Noel Leeming and it is just incredible for stashing away in your laptop case or backpack. The whole mouse flattens down to the size of a cellphone and clicks back into the arced mouse shape when needed. It's not as functional as the full size mouse we use at our office, but in terms of transportability, it beats the pants off the mini travel mouses you see floating around.
A SIMPLE LAPDESK WITH A MOUSE PAD EXTENSION
OUR PICK: Aidata Lapdesk
This was surprisingly difficult to find! We were looking for something with a bit more sturdiness than the Aidata option, but the retractable mousepad was absolutely crucial in our mind. In the end the Aidata doesn't look the prettiest, but it's functionality is fantastic. It's light, slim and let's you sit that laptop and mouse on your thighs wherever you are working. Perfect for those quick airport lounge stopovers.
A DURABLE CELLPHONE AND CASE
OUR PICK: Sony Xperia XZ1 in a tough cover
This phone isn't particularly special for travel (it doesn't have dual sim cards), but it's our current work phone and is really durable in it's case. Adding gorilla glass helps, but in reality, any modern, unlocked, cellphone would fit the bill.
ALL OF EUROPE SIM CARDS
OUR PICK: We aren't sure yet - PrePaidZero or WorldSim
We absolutely need data while we are travelling - not just for the actual work and email side of things, but also for a cost effective way to receive and make phone calls back to New Zealand. Roaming with an NZ company was out of the question and we change countries so rapidly that getting a local sim card wasn't an option either. In the end we've grabbed sim cards from both PrePaidZero and WorldSim and will see which works best/is the most reliable in the various countries we are in (watch this space). We'll be setting our call forwarding to go through to Skype - so our NZ numbers will still be active and we can pick the call up using data (without spending a bucket load).
A MIFI DONGLE
OUR PICK: Huaweii E5573
Unfortunately, the above sim cards won't allow for tethering from our phones, so as a backup option for our laptops when we are away from wifi we've picked up a little mifi dongle (portable wifi). It fits in our pocket, so we can take it anywhere and stay connected.
A LAPTOP BACKPACK
OUR PICK: Everki Flight Laptop Backpack
This was a fantastic buy from Mighty Ape. With a fleece lined pouch for both your laptop and tablet, as well as pockets for all your pens, mouse, water bottle and cables, it's perfect for a regular work traveller. It's simple design is professional, and it has plenty of space for extra items. Highly recommended.
A TRUSTY PAD AND PEN
Nothing beats having a pad and pen on you for those moments of inspiration, or in our case...for jotting down checklists...
THE NEXT STEP
The next step for us is going to be finding someplace to do a little bit of work in Auckland Airport as we head for our first stopover in Hong Kong on the way to Europe. We'll be putting these items through their paces even more as the trip continues, so keep an eye on the blog for any updates for big winners, or big losers along the way!
In a week or so myself (Jamie Twigg - founder of 543 Design) and my partner are hopping on an Air New Zealand flight to Hong Kong before Cathay Pacific whisks us off to Europe for a two month working adventure. Over the next couple of months I'll try to give an idea of how we manage to balance the working travel life, and in this blog we look at how you can make it happen for yourself.
How do you get the time off?
Most people reading this will be employees wondering how travel for a couple of months without leaving their full time job. The first thought that springs to mind is 'my boss would never give me that much time off'. All we would say is there is no harm in asking - and in asking the right way. It can be a real benefit to a company keeping you on the job in a small way while you are away. Would your work rather lose you completely for 4 weeks, or have a few hours work coming in from you every day for 8 weeks? It's a win win - you get a trip, come back happy and refreshed, and the workflow continues to flow uninterrupted. So figure out how much leave you have, how long you want to travel, then split the difference into part time work over the whole trip.
The other option of course is figuring out how you can work for yourself. Whether you start your own company and manage others from afar, or contract/freelance in your chosen field, the end result means a great deal more flexibility in travel. There is plenty of risk in going out by yourself, but also plenty of upside. Most desk jobs can be done remotely these days - you just have to find the niche/aspect of your industry that isn't geographically tied, and base your work around that. If you decide working remotely while you travel is an absolute must and can't figure out how you could make it work in your industry...then there's always a change of career!
Where can you go?
You've got your time off...now it's time to pick where to go. If you're going to continue working, the golden rule is find an internet connection when you need it. You are going to be fairly useless halfway up Mt Everest, so make sure to plan your work around any internet dead spots on your travels. We're heading to Europe this year, so it shouldn't be an issue, but we still look very closely for that little wifi symbol whenever we are booking accommodation. In that regard, booking.com has been an absolute godsend.
Also just have a little think about time-zones for when you are working while travelling. Being on the other side of the world can actually be fantastic - all the communication comes to you overnight, which means you can get up in the morning, respond, push out a couple of quality hours of work, and then in the evening be available for New Zealand as they come online. So long as you communicate well about when you'll be in touch - everyone is very understanding.
How does it work day to day?
In reality when you are travelling you want to get out and experience the world. You want to spend your days sight seeing and chatting to locals. You want to try new food and experience new things. You definitely don't want to end up locking yourself in a hotel room all day to work. It's crucial to find a balance:
But OMG...the cost!
Travel isn't cheap. Unless a fantastic airline swoops in and upgrades you to Business Class (*wink* *wink* Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific social media teams who are so on the ball they've read this far...) - you're going to end up forking out a fair amount of coin as you travel. It sounds incredibly dull, but planning really is the key here. We've known our trip has been coming for months now, so booked most of our accommodation and travel early, and have spent those months paying for it. That means that when we take off, food and entertainment are all that's left to cough up for. Ultimately, having regular pay cheques continuing to come in while we travel is going to be one of the best things about the work/travel experience...but if there is one thing that I've learnt in past trips that I've worked on...a little hard work and planning before the trip goes a LONG way.
The tools we are using...
Our Tech Blog
The founder of 543 Design & Online gives his thoughts on everything web and branding.
We're always happy to have a chat about anything you read on here - just get in touch!