Custom graphic design
Unless you have your own graphic designer you will need this
service. We employ professional designers who "get" web
design and will create an exciting, unique and professional look
and feel that is tailored to your specific needs.
We are happy to code up designs from other graphic designers, as
long as they are happy to work with us, but a word of advice: when
choosing a graphic designer, please review their web design work
(not just their print design) and ensure you're happy with their
work. Look for accessibility, intuitive navigation and
creativity, and remember that print design is not the same as web
Content management system
A content management system is essential for any modern website,
no matter how small. Long gone are the days of fiddly manual
HTML coding of static pages. If you think your website only
needs 4 pages and that you're probably not going to change it much,
then trust us, if you expect your organisation to grow and change
with the times, you will need to change your website, and when you
do, you're going to appreciate being able to do it yourself
whenever you need.
With a CMS properly set up & customised to your needs, it's
easy to add and change your own pages, organise your navigation,
store common data such as contact details in one place & use in
many, as well as roll back changes, assign permissions to different
editors, approve sub-editor's work, enable multi-lingual features,
and more. All that is required is a sense of enthusiasm
(passion!) and good computer literacy.
Extra features such as blogs, galleries, social networking,
shopping & custom storage & presentation of data is much
easier to add on to a system that's set up right in the first
In our opinion, for future maintainability, it's also important
to use a well maintained, widely supported and used software
application for your website, not an in-house or closed system. For
most websites, we use the Umbraco
content management system, an open source CMS with wide support around the
world. This CMS is built with Microsoft .NET and is
infinitely extendable. From a developer's point of view there
is almost no limit to what can be done with Umbraco. (Yes,
From an editor's point of view, it's intuitive and simple to
use, definitely fun! Once you get the hang of it, you will
want to write more, build more and do more with your website.
Of course, this is essential to success!
Accessible, standards based HTML & CSS coding
Once you've approved the design of your website we will code up
the site using modern, standards based XHTML and CSS. This is
where the design & the CMS come together. At this point,
we are often ready to introduce you to your functioning site on a
temporary web address, and we can begin editing content together,
while the final touches are made and any extras completed.
What do we mean by accessible? We mean three things:
- The website should be easy & intuitive to navigate, no
matter where in the heirarchy of the pages you land (ie: as a
result of a google search).
- The website should look and behave equally well in all modern
browsers. We no longer support Internet Explorer 6 out of the
box. If your audience includes users who are stuck with old
browsers such as Internet Explorer version 6 for bureaucratic
reasons (eg: schools) then we will go to extra lengths (at an extra
cost) to ensure that the website works for them.
- The website should be usable by people with disability, using
standard assistive devices.
We achieve these aims by using standards based coding and
avoiding the inappropriate use of certain proprietary or
inaccessible technologies. For example, we will only use
only when it's considered a necessary part of the design.
Even then, we still need to provide an alternative non-Flash view.
This is because Flash content does not appear to users viewing your
website with an iPad. In addition, Flash content is generally
not indexed by search engines.
SEO friendly coding
Strictly speaking, this should be termed SE friendly coding, for
"Search Engine Friendly coding". This is a standard "feature" of
any well written, modern website. We make it easy for you to
Essentially "search engine friendly coding" refers to the
practice of enabling easy search engine optimisation of your
website through clean & search engine friendly coding. It
does not refer to the practice of researching keywords &
phrases, inserting them into your pages, and following up with
analysis of results. This task (should you choose to accept
it!) is commonly called SEO (search engine optimisation), and
belongs with you and your marketing department.
For success, it is important for you to understand the basics of SEO and at the very least,
attempt to take charge of this task within your own organisation,
before employing search engine marketers. Even then, I would
advise you to employ, as part of your overall marketing strategy,
public relations experts with expertise in the web, rather than so
called "search engine marketers", many (not all) of whom are less
than good value for money. Be very wary of cold callers and
emailers, or wild promises of overnight search engine
success. You must do your research before signing any
contracts. Please ask us for our advice before
This is worth pointing out, as you may not be aware of how easy
it is to extend your website once it's set up.
You are generally limited only by your own capacity to produce
interesting and useful content for your users. Generally, the
space we set aside for your website will be more than enough, and
more disk space (or bandwidth) can be negotiated if needed.
This is a free optional extra. For general business, I
think the jury's out on whether you need a form to fill out or
believe your visitors are happy to click an email address.
Really it's up to you.
You might prefer to omit a contact form if you are displaying a
long list of contacts and prefer customers to email the relevant
You might need a contact form if you don't want to display your
email addresses in plain text for spam protection reasons.
(Note that we can obfuscate your email address using script if you
require it, but that isn't a foolproof protective measure. In
addition, spammers actually target contact forms, and even though
we add protection to our forms, you will still receive some
The free contact form has fields for name, email, telephone,
preferred contact method, and message.
For an extra charge we can add any other fields or features you
Recommended if you have more than 4 or 5 pages.
Gallery with management
Galleries, galleries, there are so many different kinds!
Slideshows, zoomshows, before & afters, cover flows, we've done
them all. If a gallery is needed we will discuss your needs
with you and come up with a solution that will be easy for you to
manage and impress your visitors.
If you have the resources and motivation to maintain a blog,
they are a very useful addition to a business or organisational
website. Frequently updated blogs boost SEO and website
visibility, and feature a "rss" feed which enables you to share the
blog content on social networking sites such as Facebook &
Twitter, as well as broadcasting the blog as a newsletter, using
the Mailchimp rss to email service.
Commenting is optional and recommended if you have the resources
to monitor and respond to it.
Mailchimp Newsletter setup
Mailchimp is a fantastic service with weird name. It's an
email marketing tool, a tool that enables you to maintain a mailing
list from your website and send regular, (HTML styled to your
branding) newsletters to your list, along the way tracking a huge
amount of information about who's reading, who's not reading, who's
clicking and where, and who's sharing your newsletters. It is
vastly superior to attempting to maintain an email newsletter list
using Microsoft Outlook and your own ISP.
We can help you set up your Mailchimp account, and optionally
code up a newsletter template for you that hooks up to your blog
and sends out your new blog entries to your list as a
We add google
analytics website visitor tracking to every website. You
will be able to access a huge amount of interesting visitor data
from Day 1. We encourage you to research this tool and make
the most of it as part of your marketing strategy.
Google analytics gives a fantastic overview of your visitors,
where they're from, who they are, and who sent them to you, but
once you've got the bug, you might want even more. Let us
know if you need more detailed analytics; we'll help you analyse
your requirements and set it up for you.
Google site map
A google site map is different to a human readable "site map"
found on many websites. It's a special file that's
autogenerated from your website content, and it's used to tell
google about the structure of your website, so that the spider can
crawl and index effectively.
It's often used as part of a launch strategy, effectively
informing google about the new website & guiding it on where to
However it's not absolutely essential, as google is amazingly
good at indexing well laid out websites with well connected
pages. It's also amazingly good at discovering newly launched
websites, and it's no longer necessary to advise the major search
engines of a new website.
You may decide to ask us to add a google site map to your
website if the project is a re-launch, and the structure of the
pages has changed significantly.
Email & phone support
At no extra cost during the building of your website we will
provide you with an hour's training. We will show you how to
add and edit pages, add & change pictures, and customise other
areas of your website. You will recieve an editor's
We encourage you to take an interest (passion!)
in your project and do your best to learn what is needed to make
the most of it.
After launch we are available for phone & email support
during normal business hours. Quick and easy queries are
generally free, but if you require more support, any maintenance or
additions or changes to your site then these will be either quoted
or charged at our hourly rate.