HERTFORDSHIRE: HDA17 Launched With Nimbus And Entry Is Now Open

Entry for the Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2017 is now open.

The third HDAs is set to be the biggest yet, following the sold-out event in September.

Nimbus Hosting returns as Headline Sponsor of the scheme, which was set-up in 2015 to celebrate the online achievements of businesses, charities and schools from across the county.

Also backing the HDAs once again are the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the UK Government’s Department For International Trade, Hertfordshire Mercury and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

The Awards is open to businesses from every industry sector and digital agencies are allowed to enter work for clients, even is the client is based outside of the county.

There are 15 categories to enter including Website, Use of Social Media for Business, Mobile App, Use of Video for Business and Blog.

Nimbus Hosting – which will present the Website award at the Presentation Evening – is a dynamic IT firm which specialises in offering web hosting services to the digital agencies and commerce sites.

It supports clients across the UK from its headquarters in Hertford and one of the company’s missions is to allow digital professionals to focus on core projects rather than dealing with “hosting headaches” and the, often, complex details of IT.

Robin Bailey, Chairman of the independent HDA Judging Panel, said: “We are delighted to welcome Nimbus Hosting, a highly credible and very success Hertfordshire firm and big friend of the Awards back to the HDAs.

“And we are equally excited to open entry for the HDAs once again.

“We received hundreds of high quality entries in 2016 and we cannot wait to share and celebrate the best in what Hertfordshire has to offer on digital platforms.”

The HDA17 Presentation Evening will take place at Knebworth House on September 21, 2017.

To enter the Hertfordshire Digital Awards for free click

For more information about Nimbus Hosting click

HERTFORDSHIRE: HDA16 Presentation Evening Report

THE online achievements of businesses, charities and schools across Hertfordshire have been celebrated at the second Hertfordshire Digital Awards.

Accolades across 15 categories including “Website”, “Blog” and “Use of Social Media for Business” were presented to deserving organisations at the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, on September 22.

Compering the event was former BBC broadcaster Robin Bailey who presented Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes to a host of worthy winners.

Special guests included Tim Dunton, from the headline sponsor Nimbus Hosting, Tom Shurville of Associate Sponsor, Distinctly, Carole Luck from Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Ian Webber of Lexus Hatfield and James Selby from the Department for International Trade.

The Hertfordshire Digital Awards was set up in 2015 solely to showcase online work.

Bishops Stortford College saw double after scooping Gold in the flagship “Website” category and in “Website: School, Education or Charity”.

Also walking away with two top-placed accolades were Stevenage-based design agency Tutch Media who won Gold in “Website: B2B” for their work on behalf of Oakmont Construction and in the “Website: Lifestyle & Culture” for Wildgoose.

Red Bullet landed the top Award in the “Website: Tourism & Hospitality” classification for its Visit Hertfordshire website design and Fluid Studios, from Baldock, won Gold in the “Use of Social Media for Business” area.

Online poetry and gift retailer Bespoke Verse, in Berkhamsted, made it a third double-haul by claiming Gold in the “Online Retailer” and “Website: Marketing & Creative” sections.

Leading the way in the “Blog” category was Deep Phat Digital and the plaudits went to Elstree studio Cincera in “Use of Video for Business”.

Watford retailer 1,000 Mile Sportswear by The Creative Clinic landed Gold in “Website: Sports & Entertainment”.

HDA16 was sponsored by Nimbus Hosting and Distinctly

It was also backed by the Mercury, Lexus Hatfield, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, the Department for International Trade and Capricorn Media.

Also victorious were Harpenden and Hitchin’s Lyndhurst Financial Management in “Responsive Website”, and Holiday Tots by Advanced Web Designs, in Hertford, for “Website: Small Business”.

There was also a ‘Spirit of Hertfordshire’ award which was handed to the film and TV centre Elstree Studios, the home of Star Wars and Strictly Come Dancing, who were commended for ‘going above and beyond the call of duty for the betterment and promotion of Hertfordshire’ through their digital work.

You can see a full list of the winners from HDA16 here

HERTFORDSHIRE: 8 SEO Must-Know Trends for 2017

The day of the Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2016 has arrived and to celebrate, we asked our Associate Sponsor, Distinctly, to share the latest wisdom on all things SEO.

You can meet Dave & the team at the HDAs tonight, if you want to find out more.

Here’s what they told us.

8 SEO Must-Know Trends for 2017

Yes, it’s that time! Time to start planning for 2017.

If you’re into digital marketing, what needs to be at the top of your agenda, next year? Below, we have compiled eight hot topics that you’ll hugely benefit from knowing inside and out in time for Christmas.


2017 marks another year for mobile! From ensuring your content marketing is mobile first (because the majority of people read while commuting, in bed, or in front of the telly), to updating older websites with new shiny responsive designs… Mobiles are going to continue to be at the forefront of digital marketers list of considerations.

Site Speed & Image Optimisation

Following on from the above, one of the best things website owners can do to improve their mobile experience is improving their websites page load times. The quickest, easiest way of doing this is simply by compressing and optimising images. So get squashing.

Local SEO

Local SEO is growing rapidly in the UK. Recent Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) updates coupled with people’s migration over to mobile has brought local SEO to the forefront. It’s made SEO far more accessible, actionable and cost-effective for many SMEs. It should be near the top of everyone’s marketing plans in time for 2017.


One of the core enablers of a local SEO campaign is “Schema Markup”. Traditionally, schema is HTML code which “mark-up” your pages with to help the search engines return more informative results for users. However, it’s proven difficult to implement and hard for developers to prioritise – only a handful of adventurous websites really used it.

Google have now integrated Schema principles into Google Tag Manager making schema mark-up far more actionable. Really, it’s a no brainer.


You probably wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing personal details on a non-secure website and Google knows this. HTTPS is a protocol denoting a secure website, making it much safer for users. Google has threatened to demote “non-secure websites” for ages and it’s now getting close to happening. If your website is not HTTPS certified, get it sorted immediately and make the internet a safer place. It could even improve your search visibility.

Digital PR & “Real” Marketing

Links are always going to be important in SEO-land and the discipline has evolved so much over the years:

“Link Building” > “Social Link Building” > “Outreach” > “Link Earning” > and now “Earned Media”

“Earned Media” is a PR term. Ergo, link building has become PR only in a digital domain.

Digital PR makes so much sense. Why separate and dilute your marketing across several siloed channels when you can be collaborating on campaigns that drives all channels? In this environment, the campaigns cost-in more effectively, and ROI is far greater.

(Oh, and want to know if your brand awareness marketing is working? Get an SEO to look at your brand impressions in Search Console!)

SERP Changes

Google has a knack for changing the layout of its “search engine results pages”, often favouring paid ads. Over the coming months, Google plans to move further in this direction pushing paid ads up, organic results down.

Whist this is something to be concerned about, it’s actually not all that bad. However, it’s important to re-examine the expectations and KPIs for SEO and PPC. The key is to best-leverage “user / keyword intent”.

PPC should lean towards converting search terms as it always has.

SEO will likely lean more towards discovery topics and keywords where there are fewer ads. For example, using keyword research to identify content needs that attract researching customers, leading to conversions though brand affinity. Essentially, relying more on getting customers through the backdoor, instead of the main gate.

User Query Led Content Marketing.

Neatly following on from the previous point: Online content in 2017 is likely to start becoming generally more useful and “User Query Led”. I.e. using search data to inform the content strategy, or in other words, creating content that people are searching for and actually want to read!

Dave Clough is Natural Search & Content Manager at Distinctly, Hertfordshire’s leading search marketing agency, based in Rickmansworth. For more SEO reading, check out the Distinctly Search Marketing blog and if you would like to ask a question or make a business enquiry, contact [email protected].

HERTFORDSHIRE: 2 Weeks Left To Enter

There are just two weeks left to enter the Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2016.

Entries have flooded in for the 15 open categories, which include “Mobile App”, “Blog”, “Use of Video for Business” and “Website” since entry opened in March.

The last day entries for HDA16 can be received is JULY 22, at 5pm.

The scheme is open to businesses, from any industry, schools and charities from within the county border.

Designers based in Hertfordshire can submit work on behalf of a client outside of the county.

Entry is free and simple to complete.

Enter here.

The Headline Sponsor of HDA16 is Nimbus Hosting and Associate Sponsor is Distinctly

Media Partner for the scheme is Hertfordshire Mercury and the Key Supporters are Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Hertfordshire LEP.

The Presentation Evening will take place on September 22 at he University of Hertfordshire, in Hatfield.


HERTFORDSHIRE: Distinctly Joins HDA16 As Associate Sponsor

Hertfordshire’s leading SEO and PPC agency, Distinctly, has joined forces with the Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2016.

Distinctly, based in Rickmansworth, has signed up as “Associate Sponsor” for HDA16 and will present the “Online Retailer” Award in September.

Distinctly was founded in 2009 by Managing Director, Tom Shurville. He believes linking up with the HDAs is an “exciting collaboration” for Distinctly, which boasts an impressive portfolio of clients including electronics manufacturer JVC Kenwood and international furniture retailer, BoConcept.

He said: “We are delighted to be involved with the HDAs, a scheme that celebrates and promotes the digital economy in Hertfordshire.

“For the past seven years we have been working extremely hard to help our clients improve their online visibility and at Distinctly, we pride ourselves on providing innovative and creative solutions that deliver tangible business benefits.

“I think that one of the principal reasons businesses continue to choose Distinctly is because we recognise that every client and every campaign is different. Thoroughly understanding all our clients’ business objectives ensures we set them up for success.”

Distinctly – which also counts the University of Hertfordshire and manufacturer, InSinkErator among its clients – will now take a prominent position at the Awards and a place inside the HDAs logo.

Robin Bailey, Chairman of the HDAs Judging Panel, said: “We are thrilled to welcome a company of Distinctly’s calibre on board.

“Distinctly has proven over several years that they are a most effective, professional and progressive digital marketing agency and I’d recommend them to entrants of HDA16.”

Entry for HDA16 closes on July 22 and the Presentation Evening will take place at the University of Hertfordshire on September 22.

For more information about Distinctly visit https://distinctly.co or call 01923 728191.

HERTFORDSHIRE: Herts Chamber Joins Forces With HDA16

AN organisation at the centre of the Hertfordshire business community for 92 years, has given its support to the HDAs.

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, which has a membership of more than 1,000 businesses from across the county, has signed up as “Key Supporter” for the scheme, which is also backed by the Hertfordshire Mercury and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Chamber – which lobbies all levels of government for the betterment of the county’s prospects – is based in Hatfield, the town chosen to host this year’s Presentation Evening in September.

Chief Executive Officer at Hertfordshire Chambers of Commerce, Yolanda Rugg, revealed she is “tremendously excited” about getting behind the HDAs.

“The development of Hertfordshire’s digital economy over the past few years has been one our county’s greatest recent achievements and I am delighted that businesses, charities and schools now have an opportunity to be recognised for their online work in this way.

“I am extremely proud of how businesses across Hertfordshire continue to embrace technology and find fresh and innovative ways to reach their customers.”

Robin Bailey, host and Chairman of the Judging Panel at the HDAs described the alliance with Hertfordshire Chambers as a “landmark deal”.

He added: “Endorsement from the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is a extremely positive development for the HDAs.

“These awards have very quickly become much sought-after accolades which give businesses, charities and schools a genuine opportunity to get some serious recognition for their achievements.”

The HDAs have 16 categories including “Website”, “Mobile App”, “Responsive Website” and “Use of Social Media for Business”.

Entry to the HDAs – which is free and takes less than two minutes to complete – closes on July 22, 2016.

For more information about the membership benefits of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce visit www.hertschamber.com

HERTFORDSHIRE: Nimbus Hosting Headlines HDA16

A dynamic IT firm which specialises in offering web hosting services to the digital agencies and ecommerce sites has joined the Hertfordshire Digital Awards.

Nimbus Hosting – which supports clients across the UK from its headquarters in Hertford – has signed up as Headline Sponsor of HDA16.

One of the company’s missions is to allow digital professionals to focus on core projects rather than dealing with “hosting headaches” and the, often, complex details of IT.

Hosting services form the backbone of the internet as we know it, from simple HTML files to databases, all that data needs somewhere safe to call home. While the cost is important, reliability is invariably the key factor for web designers and developers when choosing a host. Nimbus ticks both boxes.

The company prides itself on offering a “personal and competitive service” in cloud hosting, dedicated servers and third party applications such as Magento, WordPress and XenForo.

And to celebrate teaming up with the HDAs, Nimbus is offering a special promotion just for entrants of the scheme, which is the first and only awards dedicated to celebrating the online achievements of businesses, charities and schools from across the county.

Matt Cooper, Account & Marketing Manager at Nimbus Hosting revealed that his team is “delighted” to be involved with HDA16 and offer two exclusive deals as a result.

“It is superb to be Headline Sponsor of the HDAs, a scheme that celebrates the rich variety of talented organisations that we have in this great county.

“To celebrate this we are offering all entrants of HDA16 a free migration to cloud hosting, meaning we’ll move all your sites over for you and there’s no upper limit on the number of sites we migrate for you.

“In addition, we’ll also offer you the first month free on any VPS (Virtual Private Server) or cloud based hosting packages and this is all covered by our six month guarantee.

“This is just our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all of the Hertfordshire companies who have invested in the digital economy and we look forward to meeting many of you throughout this process.”

As Headline Sponsor, Nimbus Hosting will enjoy a range of benefits including coverage in the Hertfordshire Mercury and the opportunity to present the flagship “Website” award at the HDA16 Presentation Evening in September.

Mr Cooper added: “Nimbus Hosting is a dynamic UK based company which specialises in working with the creative industries.

“We offer a personal and competitive service for all our clients and we pride ourselves on being recognised for our high levels of customer satisfaction and service.

“Nimbus specialises in cloud hosting and dedicated servers, and our range of hosting packages suit businesses of all sizes. We’ve been supporting a range of digital agencies large and small for several years.

“We love working with developers and digital agencies, who want to get on with their projects rather than dealing with hosting headaches.”

Robin Bailey, Chairman of the HDA Judging Panel, said: “It is great to have Nimbus Hosting, a highly credible and very success Hertfordshire firm involved with the HDAs.

“If you have entered HDA16 I would strongly recommend getting in touch with Nimbus Hosting and taking advantage of these great offers, you’ll be amazed by the quality of their services.”

For more information about Nimbus Hosting Click

To get in touch with Nimbus Hosting about the HDA16 promotion email: [email protected]


Organisers of the Hertfordshire Digital Awards have opened entry for 2016 on the same day as unveiling a brand new category.

HDA – the first and only scheme of its kind within the county – has returned, following its staggering launch event last year.

And for the first time Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be presented for a Website: B2B category at the Winners’ Evening in September.

The new website classification – for companies thriving in the business-to-business sector – will take its place alongside 15 other categories in a new look line-up.

There are now a total of nine website categories as well as “Use of Video for Business”, “Use of Social Media for Business”, “Mobile App” and “Spirit of Hertfordshire”.

HDA16 will also see the return of the immensely popular “Blog” awards for “Entertainment” and “Business”.

The “Online Business” category has been renamed “Online Retailer” to offer greater clarity to entrants.

An independent judging panel, made up of digital experts, the media, sponsors and executives from a number of internationally recognized businesses including Sky Sports will decide the winners.

The Hertfordshire Digital Awards was set-up to promote and recognise the online achievements of businesses, charities and schools from across the county.

Returning as |”Media Partner” for 2016 is the Hertfordshire Mercury, which will be providing rolling coverage of the scheme.

Entry is free and can be completed through the HDA website.

The closing date for entries is July 22, 2016.