Wednesday, 4 March 2015

It's a dog eat dog world - Competition within the Business World

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.

 It's coming up to the time of year for the CRUFTS competition. The worlds largest dog show.

"Crufts is centred on a championship conformation show for dogs but also includes a large trade show of mainly dog-related goods and services and competitions in dog agility, obedience, flyball and heelwork to music." ~ View the official site here.

When it comes to competition, and especially in business, it can be a pretty dog-eat-dog world. With so many companies now able to offer the same services, the only thing some of them can compete on is price. The problem with this is undercutting your competitors can often mean undercutting yourself and ending up with low profit margins.

Here at Toolkit Websites, we see competition as a good and healthy thing. We offer web design services for small to medium sized businesses, we have the knowledge to deliver the right solution at the right cost. With approval from the Trading Standards' Buy With Confidence scheme, we've been awarded for our exceptional business conduct and commitment to customer care. We know where our strengths lie, and it's in those strengths that we exceed.

When it comes to competition, we believe that you shouldn't undercut yourself, (or your competitors.) You should know your worth, and those that want a brilliant service will be inclined to spend the money necessary for the quality they expect. The saying "you get what your pay for" is true for most industries.

Upon asking the management team at Toolkit Headquarters about their view on competition within and outside of the business, we accumulated the following answers:

Why do we think competition is healthy for a business?

It keeps you on your toes and forces improvement in anything and everything you do. When you're offering a service, clients and potential clients will compare your services to those of your competitors. Whether it's Messi against Ronaldo, or Samsung against Apple, competition brings out the best even in well-known businesses, because no one wants to be second place.

What types of competition are there?

Competition comes in many forms.

There is external competition from other companies who offer the same service as you, or a similar service.

There is internal competition within the company, where employees can be in direct competition with each other in terms of performance.

Competition can be great for morale and a businesses general performance.

Examples of external competition:

As mentioned above, direct competitors who have a similar service offering, it's important to at least match them but having something that they can't offer is nearly always a game changer. Imagine looking at the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5, wouldn't you rather the one with Finger Print recognition? People will always choose the one that is more advanced or offers something extra.

Nowadays, your competition doesn't have to be within your locality. With the world wide web at peoples fingertips, web design companies can be found up and down the country, Our external competition can come from a number of sources, and it's our job to make sure that what we do stands out from the crowd and fulfils the needs of our target market.

Examples of internal competition:

Commission based roles are a fantastic way to generate sales and bring in more business for a company however it doesn't just have to be financial targets. KPI's can be as simple as who is on the phone the most to customers, supporting them. Alternatively it could be who makes the most amount of outbound support calls which encourages over the top customer services.

Take something as simple as an 'employee of the week' award, it's a great thing to achieve so staff will work as hard as they can for the chance to be considered.

By having targets set, a person can track themselves against them, making them want to achieve a higher standard than they have before as well as those of their colleagues.

The last word...

At the end of the day, having competition in a business promotes change, constant improvement and means that a business never settles into a routine of "churning out" the same thing year in and year out. Having targets to reach, records to smash, competitors to blow out of the water... it's what being in business is all about.

In true CRUFTS style, we leave you with a video of a dog, who offers a service most dogs do not. Salsa dancing!


Monday, 2 March 2015

Website of the Week - Lucent Talking
This week's website of the week goes to Lucent Talking for their clear and positive content supported by a bright design and use of Social Media.

Lucent Talking are a company that offer mediation, facilitation and mentoring services. They use advanced communication skills and techniques in their daily work and so required a website to represent them online and help reach out to those on the web.

The design is bold and professional whilst warm and inviting. The colour scheme of dark blue and orange is complimentary whilst being memorable and the stock images that allegorically represent the ideals of Lucent Talking have been customised to suit the new colours.

The logo for Lucent Talking was also designed especially by our Design Team. Text based logos can be very professional looking and due to the huge number of fonts being created every day, it can be made perfectly bespoke to your company in a variety of layouts and styles.
As mentioned, the content on this website is well laid out in specialised page dressings. It's visually
easy to absorb and digest which is the exact intention of a company dedicated to making communication 'Lucent' for their clients.

As well as speaking to clients and potential clients through their fantastic looking website, Lucent Talking took this one stage further and really made the most of what Social Media has to offer them in this day and age. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogger, Lucent Talking uses them all as a platform to demonstrate what they can do for others on a more personable and personal level. All styled accordingly to suit the website and to strengthen their brand.

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Partnerships- Reciprocal linking to other sites for better SEO

What is reciprocal linking?

Reciprocal linking is when one site links to another and vice versa. Often this happens when two businesses that use each others services, (who both have websites) link to each other.

For example, Toolkit Websites (Web Designer Southampton) has a link to Eazipay's website and Eazipay reciprocates by linking back to Toolkit Websites.

The problem with reciprocal linking:

A year or two ago, this SEO strategy was widely used with the mindset of increasing your websites search engine results page rank. The idea was so that people would click on the link on your friends or business partners website, and land on yours, therefore increasing your traffic and potentially your sales.

Search engines such as Google, soon realised that reciprocal linking often meant that search results were becoming blurred. If you search for a wedding events company, you don't expect to then land on a car servicing website. You expect to find the results you are looking for without much effort and with high accuracy for the search terms you have entered.

Search engines want to bring you the most relevant, and useful results meaning that reciprocal links were defeating the purpose. In order to fix this and standardise it, search algorithms were updated, refined and became more complex.  This meant that reciprocal linking slowly stopped being a common practice.

Those who were cramming their websites full of useless and pointless links would see their search results suffer and websites were being penalised for this practice if it was being used as a black hat technique.

Reciprocal links today:

A lot of people are now unsure about whether reciprocal links should be used, and are worried it will cause negative results for their search engine optimisation. However, reciprocal linking is still a valuable tool if it's done correctly. There are still instances when reciprocal linking is beneficial for a business, especially when it’s used as an online business strategy to gain visibility or new business.

The key is to find a strategic partner who shares the same target market as you but that offers a different or complimentary service. By linking to one another, you’re sharing each others’ resources, content, and offerings with a target audience that will appreciate the link rather than find it irrelevant.

This approach works because the links are to relevant sites, or relevant content, which is what both consumers and search engines are looking for.

Examples of good reciprocal linking:

A web designer in Southampton and a Copywriter based in Southampton who serve the same market may want to link to each other

Example of bad reciprocal linking:

A florist and a car servicing company because they are on the same road.

If the link seems forced, unnatural, or out of place, it probably is and shouldn’t be used.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Website of the Week - Cape Scott

Our Team are delighted to bring you our Website of the Week this week. It is one we are truly proud of - showcasing everything from stunning full width images, bespoke movement and just pure customisation across the board. Every page was given special treatment and exploring its pages is a pleasure.

There is so much to talk about in the case of this website that this writer feels the need to break everything down for you with a page by page analysis.

Home Page (see above):
The Home Page is the clear crowning glory of this entire venture. It's hard to put into words how beautiful the client's own logo and yacht image looks, sitting in this landing section. It declares all things bespoke, luxurious and conjures ideas of international travel and vast oceans to potential clients of Cape Scott.

The website features an all round 100% design with coloured panels as well as images - and the Home Page is no exception. Using the scrolling function on the arrows (try it now) the website carries you from the opening yacht image to the lovely black and white photo of Dan Fritz, President of Cape Scott Yachts, as if on a gentle current.

The website and Home Page also makes use of a subtle fixed menu for easy navigation, ghost buttons and black and white hover over display on its images.

Philosophy Page:
Moving onto the Philosophy Page, you will immediately notice that the image at the top is different. This is a choice of function as well as design. Not only is each page bespoke but this means that the more informative internal pages are easier to absorb without the need to move around the page as much.
Features Page:
The Features Page uses an interesting Image Map as its header image and a bespoke, alternating page dressing to organise the components of its yachts. If you click on any of the question marks at the top of the page, a pop up window will open, sharing more information on that particular feature.

Models Pages:
The Model pages raises the bar even further using a custom built carousel AND fade scroller. The 100% wide carousel showcases all of the other models in the range making navigation much clearer and easier for customers perusing for a yacht. The fade scroller at the bottom of the page goes into even more detail with ever changing beautiful blueprints of the products.

News & Events Page:
This page is something we like to call a 'Bespoke Blog page' which means it can be easily updated in the Toolkit with any links and stories Cape Scott want to share. In this case, the page features another custom header to make the most of the bespoke design and a Twitter Feed demonstrating that Cape Scott is a very active and vocal business of today. There's even more movement on this page from the Scrolling Up scroller, displaying news stories as and when they happen.

And finally we come to the last page I'm going to talk about in this blog. Yet another artistically styled custom header image and one more noteworthy feature. At the bottom of the page you will notice a custom Accordion Slider, each slide representing a partner of Cape Scott. Not only does it create a nice motion but it's great for external and reciprocal linking which will help the website in any Search Engine Results.

The whole team here urges you check out this website for yourself and experience everything it has to offer. If you see anything you like here and would like to see it on your own website, don't hesitate to get in touch! We'd love to hear from you.

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.