As each new year arrives we seem to be subjected to a barrage of pressure to change something, to improve some aspect of our lives by torturous or expensive means.
Stop having so much fun and come and buy a sofa!
This year the January sales have been on since November and there are still Quality Streets left in the tin so as far as I’m concerned they can keep their new leaf, I’m staying as I am. And as January continues, so does my penny-pinching. I’m settling down to wait out the winter (with my chocolates) and to see what happens before I make any major purchases.
January is always a tough time for business, we’re all reeling from the pocket-washing that Christmas brings, but it can also be a time to take stock and get those little jobs sorted that you’ve put off all year. While business is quiet get your web site updated, take those photos you’ve been meaning to, write those three pages of content you need refreshing. Get yourself prepared for when the chocolate-huggers like me come out to play and to spend money again.
eSterling are offering a 10% discount on Web Site orders placed before the end of January 2012. If you’d like to refresh a couple of pages, update stock lists or just give your site an early spring clean, get in touch.
Pass the tin, mine are the purple ones…
If you’ve decided it’s time to have a new web site but don’t really know what to do about it, here’s an insight into how we operate and how we deliver your brand new web site.
One of our Web Specialists will come out to you and talk about your requirements over a coffee. As we’re the specialists, we will also offer up alternatives and other idea’s which you may have not thought about. Once the initial Web Site Spec (site navigation, functionality requirements etc) is in place we are then able to give a fair an competitive price. The choice is then yours to go with us or to seek alternative quotes.
If you choose us, we will send you out a Welcome pack which features your Web Site Spec, Contact Information, Terms & Conditions and an introduction to your team. We also normally require a deposit of around 30% with all new web site orders.
Our Project Coordinator will then get in touch to discuss, in more detail, your design requirements, functionality and any other requirements you may have. At this point we also request any content and imagery you might want on the web site. We appreciate that the day to day running of your company must be your priority but without content a web site is simply an empty shell so if you need help writing content about your company and what services/products you offer simply give us a call or read our How to write content for your web site article. If needs be we can source images from iStock Photos on your behalf.
When the above is done, we then commence designing your brand new web site.
Web Site Production
Depending on your requirements we will offer two different types of initial proofing.
We will either show you an initial working version of your new site or we will show you a static version of your newly designed home page. You then have the opportunity to fine tweak it until you are happy with the new look. Once the visuals are agreed we then continue with the development of the web site and insert your content and imagery.
Once the web site is packed with all your new features, content and imagery, we then show you a functioning proof which is basically a finished version of your web site for you to check over and approve. At this point the onus is on functionality rather than anything visual. Once you are happy with the web site, we request that you sign our Web Site Acceptance Form which confirms that you are happy for the new web site to go live. Then we make steps to put the site live, add any SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) that maybe required, double check all contact forms and general functionality.
Once the web site is put live we double check everything to make sure your new web site is perfect!
If you have any questions about the above simply email us at email@example.com or give us a call on 0121 766 8087
Start 2012 the right way with a new website from eSterling and get 10% off! We are offering new and existing customers this great discount when they order a new website before 31st January 2012.
Whether you are looking to launch a new product or service, or you just want to upgrade your old site, eSterling can help. We offer professional web design and web development services to provide you with a website that is tailored to suit your business.
To take advantage of this limited period Special Offer, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 766 4080 and quote the code WEB10.
Terms and Conditions
- 10% discount is redeemable on new websites ordered before 31st January 2012.
- One discount is available per client, per website.
Jacques Designer Bathrooms is a long standing eSterling client, having been with us since 2001. Over the past 10 years the web has changed dramatically, but eSterling has ensured that Jacques has been able to move with the times in order to outshine their competitors. The most recent development was put in place last year when Jacques had a new website designed by eSterling.
The new website features a simple layout with the emphasis being on the quality of Jacques Designer Bathrooms’ products and services. The overall function of the website is to be a platform for enquiries, as the bathrooms in which Jacques specialises need to be seen in person at their showroom to be fully appreciated.
To launch the new site an advanced SEO service was put in place to target a wider range of keywords. The work carried out by eSterling has produced excellent results for Jacques as many of the keywords, such as ‘designer bathrooms’, are ranking on page one of Google.
Jacques has also branched out from traditional SEO techniques and have used our press release service to drive traffic to their site. This also gave their rankings a boost, proving that this is a great technique to grow the profile of a business.
Bringing traffic to the Jacques Designer Bathrooms website is important for the development of the company at this stage, as potential customers are sure to want to take advantage of Jacques’ prices on designer bathroom suites and installation.
Managing director David Jacques said that the company’s pricing structure ‘is more competitive than ever’ so now is a great time to order a luxury bathroom. David also commented; ‘eSterling’s ongoing commitment to achieving results for my business has ensured that my site is visible online, even in difficult times for the industry.’
Currently one of the hottest buzz words in the web development space, Gamification, is beginning to supplant old favourites like social media in mindshare. Gamification, as its name implies, typically involves bringing the mechanics and innovations of game design into web design. The purpose of this is to improve the users’ experience and increase their engagement – to make a website have the enveloping effect of the latest gaming hit. Gamifying a website doesn’t necessarily mean to create a game but to apply the ideas games have of dynamics, mechanics and design in an appropriate way.
Seeds were planted for Gamification to become one of the next big things when social media websites like Facebook partnered with companies such as Zynga – famous for Farmville – who sought ways to increase the engagement of users with the use of points, levels, badges and more to capture interest. The benefit for Facebook was users kept coming back to the site for more, each looking for gratification by increasing their scores and piles of virtual goods. Other companies have boarded the bandwagon early and introduced their own game elements. Foursquare, for instance, challenges people to earn badges and status amongst their peers by ‘checking in’ at locations and events.
While a relatively new term the concepts behind Gamification have been around for a long time in the e-commerce space. Auctions websites such as eBay use a form of Gamification wherein goods are placed for sale and customers ‘compete’ to win the offer. Amazon has extended this thinking to ‘Black Friday’ deals whereby the first set number of customers will win the offer and gives hints and clues as to what the potential deal may be so you can be first in line.
The success of social gaming lies not with avatars or virtual goods and farms, but with the communication between users. This is where a positive feedback loop can be introduced. By personalising the site to the needs of the customer you can create relevance and interest. By giving your customers choices you can improve the chances of them taking positive action – adding items to their basket or purchasing those items – which leads to further collection of data to better improve the personalisation. By providing a great feedback loop you can improve the chances of successful interaction between the customer and website.
Of course it is clear that there has to be a reason for your customers to be playing, beyond just handing out an achievement badge or adding points for the sake of it. These are elements that cannot just be introduced because it is the hot new thing. It may well be that your customer base is not appropriate and more sober approaches should be taken.
In this case a more appropriate response may be the introduction of personalised elements to the site. The idea that the homepage and layout of the site should be the same for every visitor is archaic. If you think of Amazon you will note that when you return and are identified by the site you are directed to items that may be of interest to you rather than the standard ‘our selected items’ that are presented to each visitor.
In addition further recommendations and related products can be tailored to the behaviour of the customer. Why be showing samples of everything you stock when the customer only sticks to one particular category of item? The potential for improvement in conversion and user engagement by targeting customer behaviour is huge. In an increasingly crowded marketplace of e-commerce stores, the ideas Gamification brings to the table can help distinguish you from the competition and make your website hugely enjoyable for your customers.
eSterling is looking for a self-motivated, focused and passionate PHP Developer to join our busy Development Department.
The role is ideally suited to a Computer Science graduate (or similar) with a few years experience in developing content managed websites. You should have a keen attention to detail and the ability to uphold your work to the highest standards.
The ideal candidate will be able to slipstream into the team with a minimum of training, bringing their experience into the mix to deliver high quality coding work.
You’ll be working directly with our clients, so being confident in presenting your work and talking in a non-technical manner is a must.
If you’re someone who isn’t deterred by a challenge and has a passion for new web technologies, you’ll fit right in.
We’re looking for someone with the following skills, experience and interest:
• Must be adept at coding PHP to a high standard
• Experience of working with version control systems
• Interest in ‘programming the web’ and web services
• Degree or equivalent in Computer Science (or a related field)
• Experience with ASP.NET/ASP is advantageous but not essential
Call 0121 766 8087 today or email us at email@example.com to grab this exciting opportunity!
As we approach 2012 many of you will be looking to get a new website to go into the New Year with a virtual bang. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you all the benefits a website has to offer as a place to showcase your products or services. A new website is no doubt a good move, but what if it can’t be found?
Your customers need to be able to find your site when they are searching for your products or services, which is where SEO comes in. SEO stands for search engine optimisation and it’s the behind the scenes stuff that gets your website noticed in Google. Without it, your website is like a shop with no signs – not good!
There will be some of you that already have SEO covered and your old website has brilliant Google rankings. Your customers are finding you, but when they get to your site they don’t like what they see. This is something we internet types refer to as ‘bounce rate’ – if your bounce rate is too high it means that too many customers are bouncing straight off your site using their metaphorical internet space-hopper. One way to make sure your customers stick around is to upgrade your website to something more modern, slick and shiny – a website to be proud of.
Whatever category you fall into, you need to be aware of the ways that SEO and web design can work together for you. A good internet solutions company (like eSterling of course) can help you with the complete package, making sure your website attracts visitors and keeps them interested.
Web design and SEO go hand in hand like fish and chips or gin and tonic… I just wish the web designers would learn this and make the SEO team a cup of tea once in a while!
CMS stands for Content Management System and is a way of editing your website without the assistance of a web developer.
The key benefit of a CMS is the separation of design, content and structure which allows advantages throughout the lifecycle of your website. Each section can be amended independently, which allows you to change content without jeopardising the front-end design. This separation creates the flexibility of a CMS, allowing the editor to safely create content, add images, multimedia files and much more….
- Consistency of design is preserved.
Because content is stored separate from design, the content from all authors is presented with the same, consistent design.
- Designed with non-technical content authors in mind.
If you can write an email, you can add content to your site! Absolutely no specialist knowledge required.
- Decentralized maintenance.
You can edit anytime, from anywhere with an internet connection
- Configurable access restrictions.
Users can be given certain permissions that prevent them from editing content which they are not authorized to change.
- Navigation is automatically generated and adjusted.
Menus are generated automatically based on the database content meaning links would not point to non-existing pages.
- Content is stored in a database.
Central storage means that content can be reused in many places on the website
Encourages efficient and effective updates.
If you think you would benefit from having a CMS for your website please get in touch for a competitive quote.
In our quest for constructive feedback from our clients, we often come across requests to scale a website down so that the whole page fits within the screen size. When a client asks for their site to appear ‘above the fold’, we always explain that this isn’t such a great idea and I’ll explain why…
New viewing mediums
With the web now extremely prominent on mobile phones and tablets and even HDTVs, the way the site can be viewed will be different on each platform. Users will also have a variety of different resolutions on their monitor and each browsers visible screen size will be different depending on the size of the toolbars. This means there isn’t a specific ‘above the fold’ point where all of the content must be.
Negative impact upon the design
If you scale down a website by around 300 pixels then the design of the site will significantly suffer. The original design will no doubt include plenty of white space around the design so the user can ‘breathe’ when looking through the site and everything is clear and easy to manoeuvre around. However, once that is removed and many of the elements are bunched up, the site will be a lot more difficult to scan and will probably result in the user either not noticing key information or not bothering to explore the site further.
Users are willing to scroll
Research has suggested that although the user will naturally spend more time looking at the top of your website, they are more than happy to scroll down to view more, especially if the site is designed to be scannable. In research carried out by ClickTale.com it found that 76% of users scrolled and that a good portion of them scrolled all the way to the bottom.
I speak to a lot of prospective clients and a phrase I hear often is “It’s OK, we deal with all of that in house”. I always feel that these people have made a mistake by not listening to what an external web design and SEO company could have to offer, as there are many benefits to outsourcing work to a company such as eSterling…
- The cost of employing a single developer or SEO professional to work on your website will cost an average of £30k per annum. SEO packages start at just £75 per month with eSterling.
- An in house team (or individual employee) may only have a vague overview of all the areas of web design and SEO that needs to be covered. eSterling’s team is built up of individuals who specialise in different areas, including SEO, Adwords, email, web design and coding.
- Finally, a permanent employee will need to take holidays and sick days. Here at eSterling our team is large enough to provide cover all the time, meaning your company won’t be at a disadvantage.
Outsourcing web design, web development and SEO to eSterling could save you a lot of time, money and effort. So why not compare our service with your in-house team to see if you can get a better deal?