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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to grab this exciting opportunity!
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?
We’re all familiar with the term ‘e-commerce’ when it comes to selling products online. Now f-commerce (the ‘f’ stands for Facebook) is becoming more and more popular with brands and consumers alike.
If you’re an online retailer, it is essential that you understand the impact that social media is having on e-commerce. Unique selling opportunities now exist on Facebook and other social media platforms. These networking sites allow you to engage with your customer base – and in the ideal scenario have them promote your products to their network of friends.
At the simplest level, this can be done by the addition of Facebook’s ‘Like’ button to your website, which acts as a simple content sharing device. When someone clicks on the ‘Like’ button on your site, this information is posted to that person’s Facebook wall and this will be viewable by their friends. As the average Facebook user has over 100 friends, this simple action could have a snowball effect as more and more users ‘Like’ your brand.
This communication is not just one-way. A page on your website can pull information from Facebook to show the names and profile pictures of people who have ‘Liked’ your product. This way you can find out more about the customers that are interested in you.
The opportunity now exists to take further steps forward to integrate e-commerce with your Facebook page. This means not just engaging your customer through your social presence, but also inviting them to buy products (in part or in whole) over the Facebook platform.
To achieve this, the look of your Facebook page can be tailored to look less like the profile page familiar to most users and more like a standard web page. This also allows you to integrate e-commerce elements, either by pulling product information onto your page using an API, displaying your shop through an ‘Iframe’ or even creating an App to perform the whole process through Facebook.
A number of online retailers have already rushed to take advantage of this new opportunity. Brands like Max Factor, Heinz, Thorntons and JD Sports have all made the transition from promoting their brand to selling goods through their Facebook pages.
The time internet users spent on Facebook in 2010 surpassed the time people used both Google and Yahoo. It is therefore essential to use social media platforms to find a bigger audience for your goods. Large brands such as Coca-Cola get more than 10% of their traffic from their Facebook page and this figure is only growing.
The Facebook platform is currently completely free and businesses can take advantage of this to set up a page with no hosting charges, fees or percentages paid. Call eSterling today to find out the ideal social media and e-commerce strategies we can offer you so that you can make the most out of f-commerce.
As a Design Manager and a Web Designer for over 10 years, I have often come across people within all types of industry who refuse to give ‘design’ any importance when it comes to their business. It genuinely infuriates me when I hear the phrase ‘…and they don’t mind how it looks…’
Don’t mind how it looks!? Are these people serious? Yes, yes they are.
As the title of this piece suggests, ‘design’ is the first impression, the first flicker of the brand, the initial spark of interest, the first element which tells you about the company. To under estimate this is so short-sighted that it’s actually harmful to the long-term future of your company.
Finding a company or service online just tells you that have marketed their web site well; it does not tell you if they are professional, contemporary, personable, approachable or indeed good at what they do.
The brand, the key messages and indeed the professional approach to what they do is what counts. All of these elements are the foundation of the design. It’s not simply ‘looking pretty’ nor is it the use of the latest trends or fads. Design envelops all that is visual, all that is seen and all that functions.
Some Web Professionals believe content is king, and I am one of these people. But it is how this content is delivered which is often ignored by people who do not place any significance on design.
Imagine finding a web site which is at the top of Google for what you are looking for. You open the page and it’s just simply black text on a white background with a few bad quality images slapped in there for good measure. Although this company are exactly what you want, would you keep on scrolling down this mush of text and images to try and find some contact information so you can give them a call? Or would you keep searching the web? I know what I would do. And having been in this industry for over 10 years I know what most people would do.
Having a web site built with little or no regard for the design aspect is simply not worth it. The web site will not generate business, will not impress potential customer, will not generate enquires or interest, will not grow in to a massive selling tool nor will it scare your competition. Your competition will get a boost knowing that their web site is better and their web site will impress YOUR current customers.
I have seen web sites grow into a major selling tool for 100’s of companies. Can your current Sales Department visit 100+ potential customers a day? A well designed web site can.
An impressive, professional looking web site built with SEO in mind can be the beginning of a wonderful relationship between you and the web. Your web site can end up bringing in more business than your entire Sales team – and that’s a fact.
I hope you can now see why it frustrates me when I hear the immortal phrase’…and they don’t mind how it looks…’ Are they mad? Yes, yes they are.
If you have any questions or want to know more about Designing for the web, either email me on email@example.com or leave a comment here and I will answer any questions posted.
White Lodge Promotions is a leading supplier of personalised clothing based inLichfield, Staffordshire. The company offers a wide range of printed and embroidered clothing for work and leisure including everything from branded workwear to hen-night t-shirts.
White Lodge Promotions came to eSterling at the beginning of 2011 for a new website that was clear and modern. eSterling designed a site that reflected White Lodge’s existing branding and showcased their products to the best effect.
Luke Edmonds, from our web design team commented on the design; ‘The scrolling banner on the homepage is an eye-catching way to draw attention to important product types and also highlight the top brands that White Lodge work with,’
eSterling also provides ongoing SEO services for White Lodge, making sure key products such as school leaver hoodies and embroidered work wear are found in the search engines.
Lee Gwinnett, White Lodge’s MD is impressed with the results. He commented; ‘I’m genuinely pleased with the efforts of the team at eSterling. We now have a professional website and I’m looking forward to continually pushing forward with the SEO campaign. I recommend eSterling without hesitation to my business contacts,’
Visit the White Lodge Promotions website today to browse for products and take a look at our design.