Business Growth = Website Expansion

A good business is one that is open to change. In the business world, being unwilling to adapt or be flexible will mostly end in failure. Every business has it's own challenges that it faces over time, whether they are a fledgling start-up business or if they are a well established business that is facing an overhaul or change in the way that they operate, there are peaks and troughs in every scenario.

When a business expands:

When a business has a model that is working for them, making the business larger is a possibility. This also means that the worth of the business increases, you could see more staff being added to the workforce and more money in the budget. With this comes more revenue for marketing to expand further, an opportunity to increase brand awareness and the ability to take a closer look at your website.

Your website is your business hub. People who want to know more about you and your services will undoubtedly Google you to see what your website is like, and to read articles related to you and your services. This could be customer reviews, blog posts you've written, your Social Media presence and more.

This means that your website will become one of the most important marketing tools you have and it's integral that this gives the potential customer or client a great first impression and all of the information they need.

You may have started out with a small sized website to get a website presence instated. Usually a small 5 page package is perfect for businesses who haven't yet got a website, that want to give basic information such as the background history, a brief summary of services/products and information on how to get in touch with you.

Overtime, you may find that as your business grows, your website needs to grow too. It might be that you have a lot more services on offer that you want to give more detailed information about. It might be that you want to start relying on your website to generate bookings automatically, so you may need to look at a third party booking facility. As the business grows or changes to adapt to the economy and target audience needs, you may want to give your website a completely fresh look and change your branding or the design in general.

Our Redesign Services

At Toolkit Websites, we have an Account Manager who specifically works with people who feel that their website needs to evolve as the business does. You can call us and discuss your vision, and we can make a strong suggestion on what steps you can take to make this happen. Our redesign service can be used to modernise your website and bring it up to date, (technology and design styles are constantly changing), or it could be that you want to reorder your pages and increase your package allowance.

What ever it is, you can be assured that we're experts in that field and can point you in the right direction, even if you're not quite sure what you're looking for. We have an extensive portfolio with live examples to show you, and a creative, ambitious team with new and innovative ideas!

Humble beginnings...

At Toolkit Websites, we ourselves have evolved over time. The business, under the name of Green Design, first started building websites specifically for the marine industry. Soon we had a number of high profile clients such as the Volvo Ocean Race, Ellen Macarthur and the Louis Vuitton Cup.

With the bursting of the dot com bubble, and high profile sailing events being cut back, the business had a long hard look at how it wanted to position itself going forward. Marcus and the Team devised a five year plan to diversify the client base from solely marine based clients, to all sectors of service and manufacturing industries.

An ambitious expansion plan was adopted. As a result, our client base now numbers over 2000 based all over the UK and a few international clients dotted around the globe! The business expanded from a simple home office, to a successful business located in a prestigious head office in Southampton's Carlton Crescent.

A success story...

With an innovative approach to change, and keeping our finger on the pulse to make sure we keep up with digital trends and design, we have a team bursting at the seams with creative vision.  We encourage our team to be open to ideas and suggestions and are as flexible as possible when it comes to creating outstanding websites for our clients. 
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Website of the Week: Sentral IT

This week's website of the week goes to Sentral IT. They are an authorised reseller of the entire Supermicro range of products. Supermicro are the leader in server technology innovation and green computing, provides customers around the world with application-optimized server, workstation, blade, storage and GPU systems.

Sentral IT had a clear brief. They wanted something professional, modern and responsive.

Project Manager Andy started off by creating a first draft that incorporated a full width panel layout, which gives the website an "open plan" feel. Even though the pages are content heavy, it's easy to take in and skim through if preferred. This is a very modern style of design that is favoured by those looking for something really contemporary and high end.

When it comes to a business like this, it's important to get the right balance of content and visual imagery. People like images to break up word heavy pages, and the panels are the perfect way of doing this. The images have been carefully selected to represent the businesses product range, and people can see exactly what it is that they'll be buying.

When you head to the internal pages, you can see that they are much simpler and stripped back. Using a clean white background, this means that the important information and content is easy to read, and is presented in a professional unfussy way.

Looking through the pages, you can see that each one has been carefully thought out, depending on the subject matter. and products. The entire website uses a Google font called 'Open Sans,' which is a nice balanced font. It's not too formal and it doesn't come across as too informal either. It's easy on the eye and matches the overall brand.

Sentral IT knows that their customers are likely to research and read reviews on the products before buying. This is why their testimonials page is the best marketing tool for them. Having their testimonials displayed on their website means that people can sift through them and get an overall feel for the company and what other customers have experienced. This is a very candid and transparent way of gaining potential customers trust, as they are able to read information from a reliable source.

The client uses the home page as a place for people to access their contact details and their Social Media accounts. Social Media is an excellent tool for marketing your website for free, and for getting a better Google ranking. If you are updating your Social Media accounts (and your website) on a regular basis, the more often Google will index you. As long as the content is good quality and accurate, this will be advantageous to you when it comes to ranking well. Not only that, but the website is also on the responsive platform meaning that Google has given it the green light and it is classed as 'mobile-friendly.'

The client was pleased with the end result, saying that they thought our "Customer service is outstanding." We're really pleased with the end result.
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Toolkit's Guide to: Clearing your Browsers Cache

When your website is being built, your Web Design Company have probably told you more than once to either "Do a hard refresh on your browser", or "Clear your browsers cache."

If you're unsure of what this means, you've come to the right place.

Why do I need to refresh/ clear my cache?

When you load up a web page for the first time, the browser you are using downloads all the files, HTML, graphics, images and more in order for you to see the page. Once you've viewed the website, it is cached in your browser.

This means, if you make a change to your website (say for example, you change an image) when you next visit the web page instead of re-downloading all of that information to show you the latest version of the site, it will show you the version it downloaded before.

This is why you need to force it to re-download all the website details again, so you can see the latest versions.

Sometimes this can be done with a simple refresh of your browser. On a PC you can hold down the Control and F5 key together, and then let go. On a Mac you can do the same but with the Command and R keys.

Some browsers have a little arrow or refresh icon where the URL is found:

But when that doesn't work, you will need to take a look at clearing your cache. In fact, you can fix many browser problems simply by clearing your cache.

In the office, our preferred browser is Mozilla Firefox.

To clear your cache in Firefox you simply follow these steps:

1. Click on the menu in the top right hand corner of the browser page

2.  Click on the Preferences option

3. You then need to select "Advanced" and choose "Network." You will be taken to the screen below, and you can then clear your cache.

Clearing the cache may take a few moments, you'll need to wait for it to complete it's work. Once it's finished, it's recommended that you restart your browser.

You will now be able to see the latest version of the website!

For a full comprehensive guide on how to clear your cache in other browsers and their different versions, visit the WikiHow article here.
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Toolkit's Guide to: Keyboard Shortcuts & Basic HTML

When your website is live, and you've had your training on how to use the Content Management System, in our case The Toolkit, you may or may not need to delve into the HTML code of a page.

To many, at first glance, it looks like a completely different language, and for the most part nonsensical. Luckily. you don't have to become a code expert to regularly update your website, and using the following tips and tricks, you'll soon have the basics under your belt.

Firstly, here are some keyboard shortcuts that will make your life much easier.


To copy a line of text, highlight it, and then on a MAC keyboard press Command and then C.


To cut the line of text, instead of copying it, you need to press Command and then X.


To paste the line of text you have just copied, you will need to press Command and then V.


To select all the text on the page, to either copy or cut it using the commands above, you can press Command and then A.

If you are not using a MAC keyboard, instead of Command, you will need to use the Control Button.

Your website pages will have been set up for you whilst you were in build, in a way that means the pages are easy for you to update and edit in the Toolkit.

If you do find that you need to go into the code for something more advance, you will most probably be faced with a page that looks like this, when you view the source code:

As you can see, there is a number of things you can do in the Toolkit without having to enter into the code. But if you feel like you want to add something more advanced or you feel confident using the HTML, you can do so by clicking on the source view.

If you have a keen interest in improving your HTML skills, W3 schools is a great place to start.

W3Schools is a web developer information website, with tutorials and references relating to web development topics such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, and JQuery. The site provides a reference manual covering many aspects of web programming.

It's free to use, and stands by web designs best practices.
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Toolkit's Guide to: Google My Business

Google My Business is the place where you can now manage your online presence with Google.

Using the Google My Business dashboard, you're able to do the following:

  • Keep your business information up-to-date on Google
  • Build a customer based on your Google+ pages
  • Track engagement with insights for Google+ pages and posts
  • See information on your related Google Analytics account and YouTube channels
  • Seamlessly create and track performance of AdWords Express campaigns
Businesses with a physical location or servicing local geographies get additional benefits. Once you verify your business on Google My Business, you’ll be able to:

  • Help get your business found on Google. Google can use the business information you provide in local search results.
  • Read and respond to reviews from your customers
  • Get insights on how customers searched for your business, and where they’re coming from.
Google My Business is basically an amalgamation of Google Maps, Youtube, Analytics and what was known as Google Places.

Firstly, you will need to go to the Google My Business home page.

Once there, you will need to press the button that says "Get On Google."

You will need a Google Account in order to have a Google My Business account. Once you click on that button you will be taken to a Map page. You will need to either:

1. Enter your location using the search bar
2. Click on "Create New Page" to the right, if you already have a Google Account. It allows you to create a page or get to any existing Google+ pages you have for businesses already.
3. Or you may need to click on the text that says "Not a local business?" You will then be shown the box below, where you can choose whether you are a storefont, service area or brand. (Google My Business is not just for small or local businesses any more!)

Once you have selected and input the location of your business, Google will need to send you a post card with a code on it to verify your business. Why? Because the address that you give them will be where the post card goes... that way Google will know that you've received the post card at that address which proves that you are based at that location.

The post card can take up to 3 weeks to arrive, and once it has you can then login and input your code. Once you've done that, you will be taken to the dashboard. Firstly, it will ask you if you want a tour (recommended!) which will help you get to grips with where everything is and how to use it.

Once you've done that, you can then set up your profile page. This includes styling your Google+ page and adding details about your business for people to find. If you already have a Google+ page set up, this gives you the opportunity to edit or update the page.

Now you are able to manage all information that Google has on your business, in one place. You can manage your Google+ Page, Location details, Contact details, Youtube, Analytics account and more, all by logging into Google My Business. They even have an app so you can manage it on the go!

If you are unsure of anything, or you get stuck, you can take a look at Google's FAQs page.

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Website of the Week: Castle Fantastic

This week's website of the week goes to Castle Fantastic, who are confident that "you won't find a more trustworthy, reliable, family-run business more dedicated to bouncy castle hire than us!" Castle Fantastic know what it's like to plan children's parties and be let down at the last minute. With a strong belief that everything should go like clockwork for your event, they provide brilliant quality castles with a variety of themes and styles.

Castle Fantastic were looking for a website that stands out from the crowd. They wanted a vibrant, interactive and easy to navigate website, that makes children beg their parents to hire a castle from them!

Project Manager Lanara started off by creating a first draft incorporating the colour palette that the client wanted, using vibrant pinks, oranges, and blues. As a one-page website, Lanara had the challenge of making the page feel like a larger site incorporating the gallery and contact form page.

Firstly, the logo was created with a castle icon and bright coloured text. To keep the branding consistent, the purple and orange became the dominant colours. The website uses a backdrop image showing a cartoon style scenery with a custom made bouncy castle graphic that literally bounces when you hover over it!

To make this one page website feel larger, Lanara added a gallery with the various images of bouncy castles, adding a caption and price tag to each one. She then constructed a contact form page, for people to be able to get in touch with enquiries or bookings. The Google map is a custom made one in My Maps, with a radius added to show the areas that Castle Fantastic are willing to travel to for business.

There were a number of items that needed to be incorporated into the page, without cluttering it. This includes the accreditation logo, the website terms document and the small print with downloadable safety guide. Lanara managed to add these to the website without them becoming the main focus point. Sometimes important documentation and small print needs to be included into a design and finding a way of working it in without impacting the design too much is the way to go.

The overall feel of the website is that it's fun, friendly and colourful. The pages work well and the menu hover over as well as the cartoon character on the home page are a great first impression. There is minimal scrolling and it is easy to navigate through the options laid out in front of you.

The client was pleased with the end result, saying that they loved the "Great customer service, very polite friendly staff and very prompt service to all enquiries!"
Castle Fantastic kindly awarded Toolkit Websites a 5 star rating! 
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Toolkit's Guide to: Setting up a Google+ Business Page

Step 1: In order to create a business page on Google+ you will need a personal Google+ page first. This is because you need a personal page to be associated with the business one, as business pages are not 'stand alone' pages.

Once you've set up your personal Google+ page,  you can login and click on "Create A Page." The first thing you will be asked after pressing this is to choose a category.

You will need to select the one that is relevant to your business before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: This is where you will need to personalise your page. You will be able to add your profile photo and tagline.

You can then edit your page information such as the introduction, links to your other social media accounts, photos of your business and the location and more.

NOTE: Your business information

If you have a local business page, your basic information (address, phone number, website, and business hours) will show prominently at the top of your page. Unlike other page types, when you create a local business page, you may have to verify your page. This verification can take up to a couple of weeks if you have to wait for Google to mail a postcard to your business address.

Step 3: Once you're happy with how it looks and the information displayed, it's time to get some followers and begin following people. Google+ has a facility called "Circles" where you can add people into your Circle such as "Business Connections Circle," or "Client Circle" etc.

Step 4: Get posting. Add information and images to your posts, make them engaging, interesting and industry relevant.

Here are some terms you may need to get acquainted with:

Circles are how you organise the pages and profiles you are following on Google+. Pages come with four default circles: following, customers, VIPs, and team members. You can add more circles to better organise the pages and profiles you follow.

People who have added your pages or profile in their circles.

Pages and profiles come with default tabs. These include about, posts, photos, videos, YouTube, +1s (profiles only), and reviews.

The equivalent of liking a post on Google+.

You can create video chat rooms with up to 10 people using Hangouts.

We hope that helps! If you have any questions or are interested in having your Google+ page created for you, contact us today.
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