I used to blissfully explore the internet, flitting from site to site like a modern Christopher Columbus. But after a month at Noisy Little Monkey this is no more.
Working here has made me realise that most websites out there are appallingly bad. It’s a discovery I would have rather not made. Something I wish I could un-know. Something that makes me wish I could teleport to late July when I had an ignorant mind, free of knowledge on ‘good website building’.
The sight of unreadable blocks of ‘reverse contrast’ text on a homepage give me the shivers. Sites that are woefully lacking in any visual content give me the night sweats. I’ve been having reoccurring nightmares about illogical and useless page links, hideous colour schemes and 404 errors.
The worst part about working here is that I have been forced to notice when websites are (look away now if you're sensitive) not optimised for mobiles! An innocent browse on my smartphone now leaves me in dismay at the number of companies who have not adapted their sites for mobile. Since nearly 60% of all internet access is via mobile it kills me to think of the business lost to this silly oversight. To think of frustrated customers giving up on a business because they can’t successfully voyage across the massive expanse of website. It’s so important to consider this when building a site and yet it’s missed out by so many companies.
It’s not all bad news though. There’s plenty of advice out there on making a website that isn’t dreadful. After spending the past month building the site for the Bath & Bristol Marketing Network I have managed to build a site (launching in September) that doesn’t make the tecchies here despair and looks quite nice as well. If you’re struggling to build a site, Noisy Little Monkey also offer a great web design service that’s worth using if you’re willing to chuck some money at it (which you should be, if you care about the well-being of innocent interns).
2. Search Engine Optimisation is more important than I thought
I was looking forward to a month filled with media clichés. Anticipating participating in ‘idea showers’ where I sat with beardy types discussing ‘snackable content’ and ‘synergy’ I was looking forward to an easy month of “doing the SEO”. Search Engine Optimisation- I thought- that’s a load of rubbish- this internship will be easy, I will probably have loads of free time to play snake 2 or something.
I was sorely disappointed.
It turns out that Search Engine Optimisation is actually quite important. Having a website that nobody can find on google is completely pointless. It’s like inviting Morrisey to a Bacon Buffet. It’s like having a screen door on a submarine. It’s like exaggerating the same point using multiple similar examples, or spending your early evenings watching Pointless on BBC 2.
My month here has involved observing the staff here secure their clients top rankings through meaningful link building, optimising sites for relevant and useful searches and writing kick-ass content that attracts the right kind of audience. At Noisy Little Monkey, they optimise your site not simply to attract the largest amount of customers but instead to target the people who will communicate with your business, buy from your business and recommend your business. It’s a difficult science that requires planning and skill. It’s also constantly changing because the bods at Google keep changing how their clever googly robo-bots find the best sites for what the customer is looking for. To think I used to be so naive!
3. Don’t be resting on your laurels
I love resting on my laurels as much as the next person. Laurels are nice for leaning on, they provide great support and are also comfortable. But this kind of thinking gets you nowhere if you want your company to stay relevant online! This kind of thinking leads to some hip 13 year old vlogger pulling your laurels right out from under you and then beating you with them as they continue to conquer online consumers.
Working at Noisy Little Monkey has made me realise that things change fast online and that you are selling yourself short if you let yourself fall behind. Even being here a month, there have been a ton of internet changes that you need to know about if you want your business to be relevant. For example, the standard image sizes for social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are constantly changing so by keeping an eye on the most recent sizes you can prevent your social feeds looking like they have been formatted by a two year old wearing large mittens.
Having a general awareness of what is happening in the world is also vital for any business wanting to use social media effectively. Blogs and posts which link in with the latest news and events occurring in the world grab people’s attention, are actually interesting for your audience to read and therefore get remembered. If you don’t keep your head in the game you risk being fossilised or sounding like a broken record on repeat harping on about how great your business is. Current up-to date & relevant content is key.
4. The SouthWest is Actually Quite Good For Marketing
I originate from London (well south-Croydon, but it’s nice to dream) and have always assumed that if you wanted to work in Advertising/ Marketing/ PR/ Media/ fun digital stuff, that London is the one and only place to be. Great, my home city is the one and only. I will never ever be tempted to leave.
However, my dreams of never leaving London, the place of big dreams and reasonable rents have been shattered this month. I have taken over the organisation of the Bath & Bristol Marketing Network this month, a 6,000 strong group of marketers connected by LinkedIn in the South West who run monthly networking events at which top marketing talents from the region come to speak. Through researching and booking in speakers, promoting the events and building a website for the network, I have come to realise that the South West harbours incredible marketing talent and is matched to London in many ways. London obviously is world class in the marketing work it produces but it seems this has spread out to other regions in the UK making the UK look pretty impressive. The realisation has been a complete let-down.
5. Working life doesn’t have to be complete misery
As a soon-to-be graduate I am very used to having people tell me that ‘full time work is absolutely terrible’ and to ‘enjoy being a lazy student while you can’. Perhaps I was slightly looking forwards to this though: the martyrdom of full time work, the drama of a nine to five, the endless whinging on a Sunday evening and celebrating on a Friday afternoon.
However at Noisy Little Monkey there is not this approach to working life. The office is a fun and relaxed environment and the staff here are like a family. With the pressure of a stuffy formal environment removed, the staff here are free to do their work with autonomy and therefore they care a lot about the projects and how they pan out and so really put in their best efforts. That’s why Noisy Little Monkey keep on growing and the work keeps on getting better.
Here I was expecting a working life filled with drama and pain and instead I’ve actually had quite a nice time. How dare they!
Obviously Noisy Little Monkey did not really ruin my life. I have had a great month here and enjoyed temporarily being part of a team who are experts at what they do, learning first-hand from their campaign building and whizzy SEO computer skills. Although small, they are great at what they do and after being taken under their wing (or furry monkey armpit) I have had lots of responsibility and independence to work on my own project. I‘m leaving the experience with a much better understanding of the process than I went in with. Thanks for having me Nic and Jon and the team.