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How we helped actor lookalike with a website re-design

A few months ago we were contacted by a charismatic customer. At first we didn’t know who he was but later found out that Brian is a renowned international lookalike for some most important fictional and historical characters including Blofeld, Churchill, Henry VIII, Penguin and the Pope.

After meeting Brian we were blown away with his personality and his ability to make everybody in our office smile a laugh. He is a true artist in every way, We enjoyed working with you Brian and look forward to working together in the near future.

 

How much does a business website cost?

The prices of a website can vary depending on a number of factors, but before we start discussing these factors let’s look into how a website is created.
Firstly, you do not need to pay extortionate costs for high quality work but on the other hand you generally pay for what you get, something that is priced 50% under the general market rates, can only mean that somewhere along the line something is being skimped upon.

Some areas that are sacrificed with cut price websites:

  • Is the website being graphically designed?
  • Is a template being used which is just being adjusted to suit your logo and colours?
  • Are they a bedroom designer? (Will they answer the phone? Disappear forever?)
  • Is much attention being paid to the on page search engine optimisation? (The difference between being on page 10, or page 1 of Google)
  • Generally a good website takes a certain amount of hours to create so a website that’s extremely cheap is likely that corners are being cut, and typically these cost savings can actually cost more in the long run then creating a good website to begin with.

On one side you have what website developers call the “front end”. This is the visual appearance of the website, what you actually see when viewing it on a screen, this part of the website is designed by a graphic designer and later converted into a version that is interactive and used by the end user which is achieved by combining the graphical design with the development code.

The other side of the website is called the “bank end”. This part is where everything is coded and developed which provides the physical working output of the website. A website can be developed using a number of softwares, Frameworks, programming languages and code. Just one example of the website framework which is a popular solution for editing websites is called WordPress. It provides an easy to use interface for website owners to update and manage their website content which is by far the most intuitive system available.

So now that we understand the two web design and development stages let’s look into the factors that can vary prices.

Website frontend development factors that affect costs

There are a number of options to choose from when designing the front end. First it’s recommended that any new website is responsive in design. A responsive website means mobile friendly, ensuring that a website will adjust in size and layout to display correctly on whatever smart phone or tablet device its being viewed on. Having a mobile friendly website is a must have as Google penalises non-mobile friendly websites by decreasing the rankings it displays for mobile users, so a non-mobile friendly website may not even be displayed within the Google search results when a user is on a smart phone or tablet performing a Google search.

Another price factor is the size of a website and the number of custom made single pages. Normally a website requires a lot of thought and hours to custom design the homepage, then throughout the website in the other inner pages a familiar theme and design to the home page is utilised in these inner pages. If a website requires many unique custom made pages, the web design and development hours will increase and therefore prices will also increase, so the size and level of customisation will also have an impact on price.

Attention to detail. Websites generally have a standard amount of hours that is utilised for the graphical design and development of the website. However for customers that want to stand out against their competitors, or have a leading brand that requires a top, senior designer where attention to detail is imperative – this will increase the design timeframe and costs.

Therefore when a website is designed with top end attention to detail this in turn requires a level of design talent to match the expected quality of design. It’s not just about the quality of the design talent that’s the only important factor when creating a good graphical design. It’s also the quality of research and thought processes behind understanding the business, website, sector and what elements when put together, create a high quality professional graphical design. Once again, this is an influential factor for the cost of a website.

Website Backend development factors that affect costs

When it comes to backend development, the first thing you need is a Content Management System. A CMS is a must have in any modern website, it makes simple changes very easy to do, allowing website owners to easily change or update text and images throughout a website so you can also easily create new pages and insert news and blog articles. Another factor is the type and complexity of the website you require.

  • Is it a general business sales/brochure website?
  • A dynamic website that requires custom programming?
  •  is it a comprehensive e-commerce online shop?

Whether you’re looking for a standard website or an e-commerce website, the costing varies for each solution. Even within the solution there’s further developing that can depend upon the amount of pages you may require, or the complexity of the functionalities.

Developing an e-commerce website can vary depending upon a virtually never ending list of functions and capabilities that can be implemented. Every new bit of functionality or features required will increase development time and testing, therefore all this will influence in the development costs of the e-commerce website.

Bespoke websites built to specification

Most websites are store front websites for businesses products or services. Bespoke custom made websites are required when a business has initialised product or service that requires unique custom bespoke coding and development from the ground up to achieve their website or objectives.

Typical businesses and websites which require this type of service, web design and development include, but are not limited to:

  • Estate agents
  • Car dealers
  • Hotels
  • Car rental
  • Online services like Classifieds or dating websites

All these types of websites require custom databases with unique functions that allow customers/users to either search their online database for homes, book a hotel room or search for their required service. Custom websites require a lot more planning, analysis, coding and testing due to the unique features and levels of customisation. Prices will vary subject to what requires developing and configuring in order to create a custom made website.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) back end development

A good website SEO configuration is vital for the success of any website. If a websites SEO is not configured correctly this will have a direct impact on a websites Google ranking and will directly have an impact on business revenue and  profitability. Therefore due to its importance its totaly recommended that your SEO back end development and setup is done professionally.

Conclusion of website prices and costs

Referring to our earlier saying “you get what you pay for”, you can probably find somebody willing to build a website for £500, but be aware that the website will just be a simple page site with no professional back end development and will probably be ranked very low in Google. Ideally a business owner should commission a web design agency to develop your new website making sure that they are competent in website design and search engine optimisation services.

All this can be the difference between having a successful online business or not.

Scaffolding website redesign now live

We were approached by a London based scaffolding firm who had the unfortunate venture with a previous web design company which unfortunately fell short on their promises delivering a non optimised website. It was important that the new website would be mobile friendly along with a powerful content management system for editing content and uploading photos.

We were happy to take on this project and redesign the website including new content and areas all of which will assist with marketing the website within the search engines. To find out how we helped our client have a look at their website here: http://www.tonyscaffolding.com/

How will Brexit effect UK websites?

As it seems ominous that we will be leaving the EU in the coming months we have decided to round up the main influences and regulations the EU is currently imposing on UK online businesses and websites.

There are 3 main arears where the EU has Directives regarding websites, these directives have been generally created for user privacy protection.

EU website directives for website privacy:

  • Data Retention
  • Spam
  • Cookies

Data retention directives for websites

The Data Retention Directive was introduced in December 2006. The directive basically outlines how companies and official organizations could handle personal data and store it. This law is a controversial one and in 2014 was annulled by the European Court of Justice for violating our fundamental rights.

The UK already has a more comprehensive Data Protection Act which is currently used and that will not be affected by leaving the EU. Therefore the data retention directive does not affect us in any way.

Email spam

The UK currently uses the 2003 anti-spam directive created by the EU. This law basically forbids for spamming, however we all know companies keep on doing it. When we leave the EU we can only assume that the UK government will keep implementing this law until maybe a more English style anti-spam law is drawn up by our government.

Website cookies

The EU Cookie Directive was approved back in 2011, the directives main objective is that websites that use cookies need to inform their visitors about the use of cookies. Visitors would also have the option to either accept this or reject these cookies.

Many bigger online business use cookies to understand their customers better by knowing what sites they have visited in order to push forward products that could be of interest. This is also used by advertising corporations, they know what sites you have visited and display adverts with products from websites you recently visited as just an example of one small way in which advertisers use data from website cookies where you have visited.

The UK government applied the cookie law in 2012 but when we leave the EU, they may then choose how to manage this… so we will have to wait and find out the outcome here.

All in all we don’t see many major changes taking place, hopefully the UK government will revise all current online privacy and website regulations, as the most important thing is that the laws and directives are in place to ensure that there is a comprehensive law that protects all website visitors and their data.

How to successfully market your website & business

We all know how important it is for any business to acquire new customers, and to do this there were many factors but one of the most important areas is a successful strategy and marketing campaign for your business.

But what would is considered the most cost effective and efficient way to achieve this?

The nature of each business definitely plays a role in choosing the best marketing strategy, and now the way people purchase products and services is from a very diverse range of areas.  We’ll talk in more detail regarding some of the areas you may want to consider marketing your business

Social Media Marketing

keeping in constant contact with your current and potential customers can be very important the many reasons including building your brand, longevity of your relationships with your customers as let’s face it they are one of the most important elements within a business.  So don’t forget to keep social!

Yellow Pages:

In the past the Yellow Pages was essential. Any respectable business would be found there, however the service the yellow pages offers has now been taken over by internet search engines. Therefore, it’s not a bad investment, because mainly 50+ age ranges still rely on good old fashion yellow pages. However the down part of this is your customer will likely be from an older age group, and younger people won`t so if that’s the age range you are targeting then that is suitable.

Magazines and Newspapers:

Magazine and Newspapers can be effective for branding your business or products. It’s a good direct way to reach out directly to potential customers via specialised magazines to customers that may be interested in your products or services. So yes it can somewhat effective, but bear in mind its better used for branding than for achieving high volume sales.

Radio Advertising:

Once again this is a great way to brand your business and products, particularly used by large firms for advertising new/special offer or events. Radio unfortunately is mostly for the elite and not for the regular business owners. But if you own an events business, restaurant, night club, this is a great way to get new customers and market your business.

Billboards:

Not for the regular business owners, can be effective sometimes if you have a retail business and you want to inform potential customers of your store and how to get there. Billboards are mainly used by large firms that publicise new products and in general used more for branding that for achieving sales.

Leaflets:

Good old fashion leaflets, they do work for some businesses, mostly for local building trade services, local takeaways, and for the launch of a new local business. But otherwise not very effective for other business.

Telemarketing:

Not very popular with the recipient if we are honest! It does work for some business that sell their services and products, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it. It’s an effective way to target specific customers with specific products, however most business will never use this, and only some large firms use this channel to sell their products and services.

Mailing:

Once again a thing of the past that some companies still use. Instead of leaflets a mailing company can be used to send out a one off campaign for launching your products and services. It can be effective if you’re selling a specific product or service within a specific industry. A mailing company would be able to facilitate a list of potential business that could be of interest in your services. It’s all about return on investment, and trying it out, maybe it works for some business and for other not. So definitely if it’s a one off then give it a try.

E-mail Marketing:

Potentially it’s also known as Spam. There are many firms that offer email lists, however most of them can be of low quality and old and will need days of manually cleaning. A good email list is one you make yourself, and ones you create by offering a newsletter service on your website, or a customer based emailing list. In short if the email addresses our customer based emails then this is great for keeping customers up to date with special offers and new products. If you’re thinking about buying an email list and sending 100,000 emails, then think again as this does not work and could have a negative impact on your business website.

Word of mouth:

Word of mouth is a very strong marketing method, however we have no control over this and therefore the best thing you can do it to make sure that each customer becomes a satisfied customer, and this should help start roll the ball.

Dedicated Sales Team:

The heart and engine of any business is a good sales team. Sales are not easy, and it depends once again on your business industry and your products and services. Having a good sales team for incoming customers is essential, you can’t let a customer walk away.

But what about a proactive sales team, a team that cold calls specific potential customers selling your products or services? Well it does work in some cases, however this is where we move over to the last point, what is better, paying the salary of a dedicated proactive sales team. Or investing in SEO (search engine optimisation), possibly a lesser amount and being more effective. We believe if you invest on a monthly basis the salary costs of a sales agent in SEO, your return on investment would be much higher, but hey, who are we tell you what to do with your money.

Google AdWords:

When it comes to internet marketing most people think AdWords it the solution to their poor ranking website, well, potentially they’re 50% wrong. Google AdWords is an effective marketing tool when used correctly but it’s not a solution for either a poor organic ranking websites or getting loads of new customers. Recommended uses for Google AdWords are for example when you launch a new website, this helps to drive traffic towards your new website which will also help with organic rankings.

Seasonal sales, if your business specializes in seasonal products and you’re in peak sales season, then using AdWords is a good idea for gaining more customers. The basic rule with AdWords is, set yourself a budget and try it out, if the return on investment is good then keep on doing it, but if you achieve no sales from AdWords, or your profit from sales is smaller than your AdWords investment then stop using it, it’s not your best marketing option.

Search Engines (search engine optimisation):

Without a doubt this is where you need to be in today’s day and age. All successful businesses have successful ranking websites, it’s the new best marketing tool for getting new customers. However the internet is also an overcrowded market place so getting to the top ranking positions is not easy. The trick to being ranked well in Google, BING and Yahoo is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) this is the name used for the work required for getting websites in top search engines ranking positions.

Being ranked in page one using multiple keywords can make the difference between being or not a successful business. Potential customers today all use the internet to research and shop. They are not only looking for a good price but also for a good company that transmits confidence.

Conclusion:

There are many good methods for looking for new customers, and the best way will highly depend on your business type, however there is no argument that the best way by far is being organically ranked in page one of Google and other search engines. Being organically ranking using multiple keywords can drive many new customer to your business. Therefore our top recommendation for getting new customers is, get your business website ranked in page one.

See our custom made websites for the recruitment sector.

Website solutions for restaurants

We work with all types of businesses and industries and one of our latest clients is a fresh, vibrant and hip creperie restaurant based in the heart of Surrey. We were commissioned to create a fully content managed website: http://www.lovecrepe.co.uk/ along with full photography of the restaurant, premises and food. We like to think the end result makes you salivate, just by looking at all the lovely delicious healthy dishes!

This is an example of how we can help  businesses and restaurant owners by providing a comprehensive photography, virtual tour and content managed website package ensuring you market the restaurant to its best ability, not to mention the time we put in ensuring the website is fully search engine optimised your sure to have a great website visually and working hard in the web search engines… To find out more contact us in the live chat or here.

How to plan your websites segment, target & position

What is your website about?

A nice simple question but one that will impact upon everything else you do. Even the biggest of sites can be summarised easily and ideally you can describe what your site is about in one simple sentence.
As you build your site you will be tempted by shiny new widgets or flashy graphics you stumble across which can easily lead to you going off topic or creating a confused site.

The answer to this question is essentially your mission statement and will help you to maintain focus throughout the development process.

Mission statement examples:

“Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google
“To provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.” eBay
“To build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Amazon

Segment, target & position

Every market, no matter how small, has multiple segments with one or more unifying characteristics. The art is to identify those you want to target and then position your site in such as way that they respond to it positively.

Segmenting your market

The categories below are not mutually exclusive and you can mix and match to your heart’s content…

  • Demographic: Age, gender, marital status, ethnicity, occupation…
  • Geographic: Country, County, city, town, size of population…
  • Behavioural: Benefits sought, Occasions (e.g. Christmas), usage rate, price

Tone of voice

the next stage is to consider your overall tone of voice that the website will reflect and be part of. Just some of the areas you may want to consider are:

  • Where you advertise
  • Navigation
  • Services offered
  • Prices
  • Products Sold
  • Method of Contact
  • Colours used
  • How you advertise
  • Your logo
  • Depth of content
  • Everything!

We help many start-ups so should you require help with your new business website then contact us right here.

Learn 13 ways to market your website to generate new business.

‘Must have’ design elements for a good website

Logical web design

Whatever your business type or service it’s important that your website visitors experience a clean and clear user experience. It’s important to plan website deign to ensure you communicate your marketing and company messages clearly taking the user through a carefully planned navigation of your website and information.

Communicating your messages clearly

Users generally want the information they need quickly and easily navigable, part of this is organising your content into attractive sections using relevant headings and subheadings. The use of large imagery, bullet points and icons also helps to display text attractively and invite the user to read more.

Fonts and typefaces

Choosing your font styles and font families should not be taken lightly. Heading should have a font type that makes an impact while suiting the general theme and design of the website. General text that is used to display the main content and text within the website should use a reader friendly font family like Sans Serif.

Colour palettes

Complementing colours are important to the overall web design with many online colour pallet designers that allow you to choose a primary colour offering complimentary tertiary colours, normally between 3 to 4 colours. The use of white space should not be undervalued as it can be effective providing a modern uncluttered feel.

Images and photographs

As we all know a picture is worth 1000 words and can improve your brand positioning and target audience communication. It’s important to use high-quality imagery and ideally images based on your business or products. There are image libraries you can use to locate any imagery, these websites are also useful for finding infographics and videos that can be an effective tool for presenting information in an attractive way.

Navigation and user experience

It’s paramount users can navigate around the website and pages in a methodical order whilst also keeping track of movement via a bread crumb navigation system. Best practices dictates that every bit of information should be within ‘three clicks’ within the website.
Another good way to ensure good website navigation is to provide a static menu that appears constantly at the top of the website page reducing the need to scroll back up to the top of the page to access other pages within the menu system.

Grid based design and layout

Inserting content randomly in areas within the website will lead to a cluttered and messy appearance. It’s important to use a uniformed layout where elements are positioned in rows, columns and boxes that line up with content above and below whilst feeling balanced that will automatically create an attractive design.

Load time

For users and Google it’s important that the website loads as quickly as possible as users will be put off waiting for content to load. Equally part of how Google ranks your website within its search engine is partly made up of the speed at which your website loads so it’s important to make sure images are optimised, CSS and JavaScript is combined reducing HTTP requests and HTML is Minified where possible.

Responsive mobile friendly design

This is another area which is important for both users and Google. With so many people using different devices such as smart phones and tablets it’s a ‘must have’ making your website responsive. A responsive web design will ensure that content is dynamically distributed within the screen size whether it’s a desktop computer, mobile phone or a tablet. This ensures there’s no zooming in and out or moving left and right, all of the website content is presented in one easy to navigate column requiring the user to scroll up and down.

if you would like any further information regarding  the principles of good web design feel free to get in touch.

Are you a tree surgeon? We launched a modern responsive website for a local tree surgeon

We always enjoy assisting a business with upgrading from an old outdated website that has been around for a few years to a brand-new sparkling website. apart from looking good and functioning well, it’s an important marketing tool and having a website designed correctly and following best practice is important for the longevity of your website and marketing strategy.

ASAP Tree Care approached us aware that their one page website wasn’t quite cutting the mustard. We were tasked with creating a new responsive website including the graphical design and the WordPress content management system integration, along with logo design and copywriting to complement the full online offering.

If you’re a tree surgeon or gardener and you’re looking to increase your rankings and modernise your online shop front then come and talk to us and find out how we can help your business.

For businesses in Surrey learn how we can help increase the traffic of visitors on your website.

Content marketing for businesses explained

Content marketing is a popular term that’s heard quite often although does everyone really know what it means?

Content marketing definition

It is the creation and sharing of content that is digitally delivered, this could include blog stories, articles or videos or anything else that educates, entertains  or helps inform about something of interest.

How content marketing helps businesses

By now we’ve had enough of advertising so companies now know they have two employ more subtle techniques. We probably notice this less as businesses and companies are taking advantage of helpful, interesting content which could be information on how to do something but along the way it will be subtly selling or promoting a service.

Reaching Out to your customers with relevant content

We think it’s better to provide useful information that you believe your customers are interested in reading about and also help bridge the connection between company and customer.

People today do a whole lot more research before they decide to make a purchase or choose a company, study has shown that nearly 60% of the actual sales cycle was performed even before the seller is involved, with these sorts of differences in customer behaviour nowadays the way businesses market to customers also has to follow suit.

What content should you provide your customer?

Think of the buyer’s journey all the potential customer’s journey, what information do they need to know, what information are they using or compiling to make a choice?

With all these questions answered set about and make content which might be a video content  “how to” or a free e-book download, submitting articles on forums or creating your own blog and newsletter is another great way to keep in touch with your customers.