Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Happy Christmas from Toolkit Websites

We had our Christmas party on Thursday and a thoroughly good time was had by all!

We hope you have a fantastic festive season, and a team of support staff will be in the office throughout apart from Christmas Day and the 27th December to answer any queries you might have.


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




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Toolkit Team Loves to Bowl!

After our best ever month yet again, the Toolkit Websites team went bowling to celebrate.

A great evening was had by all, with Sales Manager, Rich wiping the floor with the rest of the team.



We were especially impressed by the elegance of Tristen, the operations manager's bowling style and the awesome UV lighting.

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



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Google Place Pages - Boost Your Business Google Presence

If you're running a business or organisation with a local target market, you should use Google Place Pages. It's an extension to the Local Business Centre, the online business listings provided by Google and attached to Google Maps.

Rather than just having a listing on the map, you have the opportunity to create a page about your business that ties in with the information Google has about your business and local area.
To try this out, why not search for something local in Google and click on one of the pin markers on the map in the local business results. For example, if you search for ‘Plumbers in York’, you’ll see a map in the Google results. There'll be a list of York Plumbers on the left and a larger map on the right. Against each list entry there’s a ‘more info’ link which can display information like services, people, reviews, transport links and so on.
With the Place Page service, you can customise this to include detailed information on your business or group such as opening hours and services offered. So what are you waiting for? Get customising your Google Local listing with a Place Page!


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Should you upgrade to Windows 7?

The tech world has been buzzing this week about the launch of Windows 7. Windows 7 is the latest version Microsoft's Windows operating system.

The previous version, Windows Vista, was considered to be full of bugs and not a good choice for a business user. Many businesses chose to stick with Windows XP.

However, Microsoft claim that Windows 7 has fixed many of the annoying problems of Vista and provides a much better operating system for businesses. For example, Windows 7 runs faster, and makes sharing files between computers easier.

If you are thinking of upgrading, you should use the free Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor from Microsoft to walk you through the process. Another way to get the operating system is to upgrade your hardware and buy a new laptop or desktop computer as the latest ones on the selves will come with Windows 7

David Coursey from PC World.com advises that small business stick with XP until they upgrade their hardware as in his opinion there is no easy way to migrate a computer that already uses XP to 7 . Toolkit Websites, Southampton are sticking with their XP machines for now.

He also suggests that if you are considering upgrading, waiting till Microsoft releases the first service pack would almost certainly be best. New operating systems can still have glitches in them, and Microsoft will release a service pack to fix these over time as the glitches are discovered.

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Use a Face to Get Copy Read!

Alex, one of our account managers, found this fascinating article on how images of faces can be used to draw attention to important copy in print and web design.
James Breeze points out that people are drawn to images of faces. Using eye tracker technology, he shows that when faced with an ad with an image of a person and come text, people will concentrate on the face.

However, if you change the image so the person is looking at the text, the viewer will follow the gaze of the person and read the text.

So what does this mean for small business owners? It might well be worth trialling having an image of a person looking towards your Call to Action text on your website to see if this improves conversion.

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

We've got some fabulous new signs for our office courtesy of Signworks Signmakers, Southampton.

Made out of acrylic, and mounted away from the wall, the signs look really professional. We think they contrast against and compliment the georgian buildings of the office perfectly.
So if you're looking for some high quality signage for your business, we can whole heartedly recommend Signworks.

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

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Let the World Know What You Think in Just One Click


Using social media websites?
Did you know you can publish your own news across the net? If you're using more than one of the very popular social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, you can download your own sharing software to spread your own news across your social media pages, with just one click! Shareaholic and Ping.fm are just two of the many sharing tools available on the internet.

How does it work?
Spreading the word has never been such good news. All you need to do is download a sharing tool! Ping.fm is a particularly popular option and works extremely well. With Ping.fm you get to make your selection from a wide choice of over 40 social media websites - so the first question to ask is which ones are you using and which ones you would like to share news on! You can create the update you would like to make in Ping.fm, press send and it will automatically display this news on all your social media pages.

If you're interested in updating your social media pages with one click why not check out Ping.fm, or Firefoxes Shareaholic.

If you want to see Ping in action why not check Toolkit Websites updates on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and keep up with Toolkit News where ever you are!

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

It's a busy world out there! The majority of our clients are small business owners and they need every spare second to devote to their businesses. That's why at Toolkit Websites we offer a range of ways for our clients to access their business class email whilst on the go.

Social Networking websites are a fantastic way of promoting your business online and establishing a name on the web - direct contact on the go is ideal for attracting new customers and telling them what you have to offer. However, when it comes to personal enquiries and closing deals a secure private email account on the move is a must have.

If you use our email service you can access your email from any computer with an internet connection by going to:

https://www.toolkitwebmail.co.uk


Not only this but you can access your webmail via any mobile phone with internet. The most important things when looking for an email host is knowing that your emails are easily accessible and backed up. You can chose to have your emails stored on the server as well as your PC which means you can feel safe knowing that you can stay in touch without having the worry of losing any of your emails, ensuring you remain free to sit back and the enjoy bank holiday weekend without losing touch.


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CMS Express


The web is constantly evolving and so should your content management system. If you have caught SEO fever then you will be pleased to know that The Toolkit is now running new features which may well help you give the search engines that little extra boost in finding your websites and helping you climb closer to the top.

Page Aliases are important in helping the search engines identify your pages, but so are image aliases! Image aliases are now available in The Toolkit alongside the function to add your sitemap to new search engine giant Microsoft Bing.

We are constantly striving to make The Toolkit as useful as possible. You can see the changes already at your fingertips here! If there is something you would like to see, let us know, we always keen to find new ways of enhancing The Toolkit even further.

Watch this space for some brand new step by step guides on how to make the most of all our updates!


Toolkit Websites - Southampton Web Design for Business

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I Keep my Office in my Pocket

It is difficult to bump into the owner of an iphone who does not proceed to dazzle you with an array of apps at such velocity that you may need a park bench to perch on just to regain consciousness.

Well, this may not be limited to the iphone for very much longer. Nokia have struck a deal with Microsoft to convert Microsoft Office to all new Nokia phone devices. Microsoft have been seeking new ways to get their products out there and ensure they are accessible to the contemporary market. The idea is to integrate microsoft office programmes with forthcoming nokia mobile phones to rival the endless choice of apple apps that are dominating the mobile phone market.

So what does this mean for small businesses like us? Your office in the palm of your hand! You can sync your phone using Microsoft programmes such as “MyPhone” to transfer and back up and update your data on the move. You can store online copies which you can return to as and when needed, and work between office and home (if you really want to!)

Industry experts indicate that the mobile phone industry is moving ever closer to PC technology. Ensuring that new handsets can be used in the same way as palmtop computers in order keep up with the demand for work and play at our fingertips.

Apps which are already available to mobile phone business and personal users include Google Apps for Blackberry and Apple iphone apps. Toolkit Websites are not far behind in allowing clients to access their CMS and emails simply by logging into The Toolkit and Toolkit Mobile on iphone and blackberry, give it a go!

Toolkit Websites - Southampton Web Design for Business
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Analyse Your Stats!



Lots of our Southampton Web Design customers have been coming to us asking how they could improve the performance of their website and use it to get more business.

Getting Google Analytics set up is one of the most important things you need to do if you have a business website. You need to be able to measure the amount of traffic you`re getting.

Google Analytics is a great way to monitor not only how many people come to your website but how they are getting there. You can see which search engines they used and which keywords they use to find you. Here 's a guide on Google Analytics:

http://www.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/analytics

We can setup Google Analytics and monthly reports on your website traffic for just £29+VAT if you`re pushed for time, or you can have a go at setting it up yourself:

View our Support site for how to setup Google Analytics


With these sophisticated reports, you'll then be able to use the great search engine tools built into the Toolkit to optimise your website even further. Remember improving your search ranking is an ongoing task. The first building block is setting up Google Analytics.

Toolkit Websites - Business Web Design Southampton
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Office on the Go!

Microsoft has just announced the next version of MS Office will be available online. For many businesses this will be a dream come true! From your palmtop to mobile phone, you will be able to open office documents from your email, adjust attachments and work on your own documents, on any web device, at any time. The best thing about this is that it is all completely free!

The next version of Microsoft Office will follow its predecessors in offering Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. The online version will not feature all the advance settings the new released shop version will have (they still need to make those sales!) but it will have all the standard functions you are used to using in MS Office.

It may not be ideal for those with troublesome internet connections, but for the vast majority, logging into Microsoft via your browser will be a very welcome addition.

Microsoft Office 2010 looks set for release sometime this year, but if you can’t wait that long why not take a look at Google Apps. Google Apps offer a wide range of online programmes from word processors to spreadsheet programmes to help any small business on the go. This isn’t the first time Google have launched a wide range of services to help the little guys, already boasting a wide range of website enhancing products.

Will Microsoft Office online be the competition Google has been waiting for? Only time will tell, but either way it is very good news for the small business!

If you want to start working on pressing emails and attachments, why not take a look at Toolkit Mobile! Allowing you to access your emails, wherever you are!

Toolkit Websites - Southampton Web Design for Business



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What was the web like in 1999?

As you may know Toolkit Websites is celebrating its 10th Birthday. It has been 10 fine years since Toolkit Websites began in infancy as Green Designs. Much like Toolkit Websites, the World Wide Web has grown enormously over those 10 years. So we are taking a little time out to pay homage to the burst of the dot com bubble and the rapidly expanding world of the internet.

So let’s go back to 1999. You might like to get out your brightly coloured Mac G3’s, or your sturdy Compaq Intel III PC’s. Unplug your wireless connection and prepare to dip in and out of an oh so reliable dial up internet as we take a brief look at the history of the internet!
If you want a real blast from the past click on any of the links on this page and it will take you to the homepage, as it was in 1999, try them out!

The dotcom bubble bursts.
The stock market rocketed due to the rapid growth of the internet, This was called the dotcom bubble. Survival in the dotcom world relied heavily in increasing your customer base at a rapid pace. The internet appeared to be the get rich quick dream everyone had been waiting for, but with too many people onboard and motion too fast it came crashing to a halt in May 2000.

Lost in Translation
Lycos, Yahoo and AOL were leading the way with search engine and email. Msn and Email Giant Hotmail were at the top of the leader board

When the dotcom bubble burst and search engines felt they needed to diversify. This was a risky move. They tried adding everything from user profiles to horoscopes on their start up pages and they were no longer seen as a prominent search engine. It is unsurprising that one simple, user friendly search engine managed to quickly leap to the forefront.

In Search of the big dream
Google was in its infancy; founded only in 1998 without any idea of being on the brink the world wide phenomenon it is today. In 1999 Google was in its infancy, and took its first major step in becoming the success it is today, gaining 40 employees by the end of the year, and moving to a more scenic location, out of Susan Wojcicki's garage. Today Google is largest, most widely used search engine in the world. Not only has this but revolutionised the way we use the web. Not bad for a small business!

Growth
In 1999 there was an estimated 1.5 million websites. Last updated in 2007 there is a mammoth 30 billion websites recorded on the World Wide Web by Yahoo. With 46 million websites added to the internet between January and April this year (that’s more than the whole of 2008 put together!) Staying online, keeping contact, and having a website has become more and more essential in everyday life.

Technology certainly has come along! If want to the must have features of a 2009 website, take a look at our brand new services page here.
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Silver, Gold...Chrome? Why Google Chrome may well be the Winner when it comes to Revolutionary Browsers.

Google Chrome is a brand new browser launched by Google and is especially good for those of you operating on the little screen!

Net books, iphones and palmtops will delight in this new mini Google browser! This doesn’t just mean it’s all for the little guys, laptops and PC’s can also benefit hugely from the new micro browser. When describe as mini do not be fooled into thinking that there is anything small about the features of Google Chrome – it combines all the current functions of search engine giant Google into a deceivingly small package!

When opening up your browser your web address bar will also function as a search engine tool, bringing up suggested websites for each word you type in. This is just one of the many multi functional attributes of the new browser.

Every time you open a new tab Google Chrome will display a page with all your favourite web pages. Google registers each page you visit frequently and will compile a page of mini web page images for you to simply click and be transported to your favourites!

Have you ever been right in the middle of an important search when your window crashes! Well this could well be a thing of the past with Google Chrome. It is the first search engine browser which allows you to check just how much memory each page you have open is using. If one crashes then every other tab is safe. It will not bring your whole browser down.

In keeping with Windows Explorer 8 and Apple Safari you also have the opportunity to switch off your history, so none of your webs browsing information is stored. This can be done by switching on “incognito mode.” As the title suggests, your browsing remains unseen, which is excellent when viewing private web information, or putting in secure details. In line with this increase in web safety Google Chrome will also alert you immediately if a website you are attempting to access is potentially unsafe.

If you feel like a move of browser seems like too much hassle Google has taken the final step in making the switch over as easy as possible, you can even transfer all your old bookmarks, favourites, and saved information into your new chrome browser. It is certainly worth a try!

For more information on converting to Chrome, click here!

If you want to be sure that you are found by Google Chrome, and other search engines on the website. Make sure you have done all you can to optimize your website. Toolkit Websites now offer an SEO writing service. For more information contact us.

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Ensure Your Emails are Read with the Three Second Rule!

If someone was to ask you what the three second rule is, you may be able to think of one or two things which are not necessarily tied to the worldwide web. But that may be about to change.

Research suggests you only have three seconds to grab someone’s attention as they open their inbox and those three seconds all lie in the hands of your email title? At this point you may feel like donning some suspension cords, breaking a sweat and lowering yourself down to your computer screen to complete a mission impossible.

Three seconds can be a frightening prospect, but it certainly isn’t impossible, and really can increase the amount of mail you send out, that will become top of the reading pile.

Julie Niehoff of Constant Contact has written an excellent article on this very matter. Julie provides these very useful tips in ensuring your emails get read first. We take a brief look at some of Julies suggestions to help you create emails that just have to be read!
  • When writing about many different topics, highlight the most compelling or time sensitive one in the subject line to attract as much attention as possible.
  • Julie states Using numbers to get attention are a great way to grab attention - "For example, "20 Seats Left for Friday," "Top 10 Tax Tips," "5 Green Things to Do Today," "3 Reasons your Jeans Don't Fit," etc. Research suggests email titles containing numbers immediately increase their click rate.
  • Time sensitive terms such as "RSVP," "Today," "This Weekend Only," and words like "few" and "limited" suggest urgency and intrigue. "Now" opportunities can be difficult to resist!
  • Julie states if you're using email marketing to stay in touch with your customer base without a time sensitive message, you should try tying your subject to a current event to give your message a relevant angle. "Tax Time, the Stimulus Package, and you" or "Everyone Is Going Green -- You Can Too" - these work better than "Joe's Pet Store Newsletter," for example.
Just making small changes to the way in which your email titles are worded could make all the difference in ensuring your valuable words don't get lost in the waste bin.

To read the rest of Julie Niehoff's fantastic article on how to get the very best out of your emails click here

If you feel you've got the 3 second rule confidentially under way it may be time to really boost the number of recipients who read your email. To find out more about email marketing click here.
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Facebook Offer Free Fanpage Names

As you may remember, on the 13th of June this year Facebook opened it's doors and allowed all users joining facebook before the 31st May the opportunity to get their very own personalised profile address.

Facebook have now announced that they will be doing exactly the same thing for pages. If like us you have a page especially assigned to your business you can now drive visitors towards it by changing the name in the address bar to cater directly to your business page. For example if your page specialises in promoting free training solutions you may like to change your page address from

www.facebook.com/page=123

to

http://www.facebook.com/freetrainingsolutions


However, if you have less than 1000 fans on your page you will have to wait until June 28th before you can start assigning names to your pages! There will still be plenty of names available to assign.

If you would like help in setting up a facebook page, or would like to discuss the ways in which it might help market your business contact us.

For more information on Facebook usernames click here or to start assigning names to your facebook pages click here now.
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Get LinkedIn

The need to stay connected online is becoming increasingly more important in the business world, but with the vast selection of social networking sites available it can be difficult to know which sites would be most beneficial to your business.

LinkedIn is a Social Networking Website which specialises in business users. Having over 40 million users from 170 different industries, it can prove to be a powerful resource to all businesses.

Every LinkedIn user is welcomed to create an individual professional profile. This shows everyone in your network your professional history, qualifications, skills and accomplishments. That could be utilised both within your business and to external clients who may be viewing your business profile.

You can then start to build a network of like-minded businesspeople, including your connections, and your connection's connections.

One use of this service is that you can find potential new customers in people that you can see having a use for your products and services, you can then contact these people and see if they are interested. You can also get in contact with people who may be of use to your business, such as Industry Experts, who can offer their valued advice to your business.

The 'Answers' feature of LinkedIn is a great idea, where business people who have any sort of question can ask, and the vast network of Entrepreneurs collectively answer any questions, and offer any suggestions or new ideas to that business.

The Jobs section of the website is a good place to advertise for any staff you could be looking for with specific skills, and when they express their interest you can instantly see information about them, such as where they have worked and their achievements.

You can use LinkedIn to get your name, along with your businesses, out into the world and onto Google, which can be a great help in increasing market power and brand identity.

Toolkit Websites can set you up with a user profile, or a company group for £29+VAT. If you're interested why not contact us today

You can join our Toolkit Websites Group here!

If you would like to know more about the many ways LinkedIn could benefit your business take a look at LinkedIn's blog

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Twitter

Reaching the SMS generation.
If you have managed to avoid becoming part of the online craze that is
Twitter now may be the perfect opportunity to get involved. For those of
you that are yet to hear Twitter is a social networking site at the
forefront of the new online phenomenon known as "micro blogging."
Rapidly dubbed as "SMS for the internet," the best thing about it is you
don't need to think big, the site does that for you. The current Twitter
population is estimated at over 10 million, with an audience of this
size eagerly awaiting your news, its difficult to see the downside of
becoming part of the community. Retailers, restaurants, advice lines and
nightclubs are just some of the many businesses already taking advantage
of this free marketing tool.
How does it work?
To begin with you will need a user account. Choose a username which will
best promote your business. You'll then be asked the all important
question "What's new?" You can use this space to summarize what's new in
your business, ask for feedback on an idea or event or let you're
clients know how they can reach you! With only 140 characters per update
the m.twitter app. means that you don't even have to be at the PC to
update, be it on your blackberry, iphone or mobile handset and receive
updates in exactly the same way. This truly is marketing on the go! The
next stop is building a collection of friends, or followers. Feeling
like the new face in town can seem a little daunting at first but it
won't be for long friends are not difficult to find and you will soon
find yourself immersed in a bustling crowd of fellow tweeters. For ideas
on building a successfully following why not search for other businesses
in your area to see exactly how they are using Twitter to reach the
right people. Once settled take a look at the different applications
Twitter has to offer and don't forget to familiarize yourself with the
hashkey functions! This will allow and even wider community to learn
about your business.
If you're still not convinced, take a look at this short video on how
and why your business should get connected now.
http://smallbiztrends.com/2008/10/how-why-twitter-small-businesses.html
To get your account and start tweeting go to www.twitter.com.
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Hurry! Facebook to offer Custom Web Addresses Tomorrow!

In a matter of hours Facebook will be offering personal website addresses to all users who signed up to a Facebook account before the 31st June. So what does this mean?

If you look in the address bar of your internet browser you will see the address to your webpage. The address to your current Facebook profile will most likely look something like this right now:

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11223344555

However as of 05:01 this Saturday Facebook are giving you the opportunity to replace the last part of the address. Say the name of your business is fastcarsuk, you could potentially have a new address bar reading

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=fastcarsuk

You’ll have to be quick though! Facebook are advertising this offer across the globe! It’s absolutely free of charge; so it is sure to attract a lot of interest. Facebook have already secured a number of addresses for their own use, but the millions of different combinations that still remain will be distributed on a first come first serve basis tomorrow morning.

If you’re lucky enough to secure the name of your choice then this could be a brilliant tool in guiding the people you want to your page! From clients and customers to the people who are really close to you, a personalised Facebook address mean that these people are more likely to find you on Google and see your page.

For more information on how to secure your very own personalised address visit blog.facebook.com now! Start keeping an eye on the countdown here.



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Don't be afraid to remove old content!

To make using your business web site as simple as possible for your visitors, you need to focus on clarity.

We all know content is king when it comes to SEO, but swathes and swathes of content won't interest a human website visitor. It needs to be relevant content for your website visitors.

Sometimes website owners are afraid of removing or updating content from their websites. We worry we might leave out something important, leave out something that means the website doesn't make sense, or have too much sales copy trying to convince. All of this leads to a bloated website.

GET RID!

Take a look at your website content. Is anything on there out of date? Are you using roundabout terms or long words to describe things when a shorter word would do? What you need to do is to remove anything that's unnecessary or irrelevant.

This will make your useful relevant content more prominent, and give you more space to add new content. It also helps ensure your company website looks professional. If it's not December, then your Christmas promotion shouldn't be on your website. Keeping your website up to date will also help improve your website search rankings.


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Higher Bounce Rates Shouldn't Worry Small Businesses

Lots of our customers are focusing on SEO at the moment to try and drive more traffic to their websites and generate some more business. Getting a good return on your investment in website is important. We've been encouraging our clients to install Google Analytics to monitor the traffic they're getting to their website.

When people have received their first monthly Analytics report, they often ask us what's the Bounce Rate?

Well. It's a measurement of how many people have visited your website and then left again without clicking on any of the links or interacting with it in anyway. It is often different for different pages on your website.

It can be very concerning to see a bounce rate of 70% or even 50%. That means 70% of the people who visited left again without seeing any of the other pages on your website.

However, do not fear! There's no set benchmark for bounce rates. They vary day by day, and depending on the type of website. If you had an e-commerce website, and a bounce rate of over 15% you would worry as that would show people not being enticed to buy from your website.

However, for most of our customers, a higher bounce of 50% rate is fine. With a brochure style website, the primary focus is to encourage people to contact you. Start asking the people who email or call you with enquiries how they found your contact details. If they say "Oh, I found it on the website" then you know that the high bounce rate isn't accurately reflecting the number of people who interact with you eventually. Your website is still generating new leads for your business.

Now some people think that bounce rate could affect your rankings in search engine results. With that in mind it's good to try and get your bounce rate as low as you can in the long term. Here's some tips to work out why you might have a high bounce rate:

  1. If your website takes too long to load up, people will leave before it finishes loading. Make sure you reduce the size if images on the webpage, and keep flash to a minimum.
  2. Make sure your website explains exactly what you do in clear and easy to read text. Website visitors have short attention spans, and will leave if it's taking to long to understand what you do.
  3. Sometimes other websites will be linking to content on your website that no longer exists, such as an old news article. This means that any visitor arriving via that old link will get a "Page Not Found" message and may not bother with the rest of the website. To combat this, get in touch with people who link to you and ask them to update their links. Not sure who links to you? Type "link:http://www.yourwebsite.com" in to Google and Yahoo.
  4. When searching for a business, visiors look for professional and well presented sites. First impressions count and a badly designed, out of date or generic site will cause visitors to look else where. If you're a Toolkit Websites customer and you feel your website needs a facelift, check out our redesign package.
  5. Optimise your website for more specific keyword phrases. If you rank highly for generic keywords like "insurance" and you offer mobile phone insurance, all the visitors who are looking for car, house and travel insurance will bounce away.

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The KODAK Zi6 Pocket Video Camera - a Toolkit Review

As website designers, we're always looking for new ways to engage with our customers. With TechCrunch reporting that Youtube is now the second biggest search engine after Google, it seemed only natural that we should get filming some videos for our clients and prospective clients.

You've probably seen our great company intro video by now. We'd love to have a film crew on hand to make all our videos like this , but it's just not feasible. So what it is a web design company to do?

Well, we got a KODAK Zi6 Pocket Video Camera. And we love it!

It lets us take HD quality video, but without all the fuss and extra features of a DV Camera. The navigation is simple and easy to use, and we can switch between play and record mode with one press of a button.

We also like the Zi6's built in USB jack that makes uploading the video to our computers a breeze. The great battery life and the pocket size mean Marcus can take it out and about with him too.

If you're looking to film some videos about your business for your company website, we can't recommend th KODAK Zi6 Pocket Video Camera enough!


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Debt Collection. How to make sure you get paid on time.

In these difficult financial times, cash flow is the lifeblood of small businesses. Slow paying clients are a pain in the neck. All business owners feel like chasing customers for payment will lead them to lose clients. But to be honest, you don't want the clients that you have to chase. They'll cost you more money, and cause more and more trouble as time wears on. You're better off without them.

If you do have some slow paying clients, how can you get them to pay up? You need to create a debt collection process for your business now, because the older a debt is, the harder it is to recover it.

1. Have a Plan.

The main thing is to have a clearly defined debt collection plan that is noted in your terms and conditions. This will allow you to act fast to ensure you get paid, and ensure your clients stay within your terms of trade.

Step 1 is to send an invoice.
Step 2 is to send a reminder invoice.
Step 3 can then be whatever steps you decide to take to recover your money.

You can choose to send a final invoice, or refer the customer to a debt collection agency after 2 invoices. The thing to note here is that your plan has to be strict. Don't deviate from it and don't make exceptions. By having a clear process in place, you make it much less stressful for yourself, because you can refer the customer to the terms and condition which they signed up to when they bought your products or services.

2. Be Punctual!

Get in touch with your slow paying client as soon as you can, and always keep them informed about what the next steps will be at each stage in the process:

For example:

"We will send you a final invoice in 7 days. next week. If we don't receive payment of that invoice within 3 days, we will pass the bill to our Debt Collection Agency. Once they have the account, they'll commence action. The bill will accrue interest, and if it still remains unpaid, it will move to legal action, where generally you'll incur legal costs..."

3. Ask for Deposits!

If you can ask for a deposit before you start work. It helps you establish how serious the customer is, and lets you see if they can pay their bills. It also means they're working to your terms from the start.

4. Take Payment However You Can.

Offer a range of payment methods. You can accept cheques, bank transfers, Paypal, credit and debit cards. The main thing is to get the cash you're owed. The more payment methods you offer debtors, the less excuses they have to neglect paying.

5. Increase the Pressure.
If you make sure the withdrawal of services or deliverables is included in the terms and conditions, you can increase the pressure the longer the invoice goers unpaid. If you offer an ongoing service, withdraw it if they don't pay up. Threaten legal action.

6. Offer a Payment Schedule.
If the client is having genuine trouble paying you, call them and work out a payment plan. We'd all rather have the full amount in our bank accounts, but it's still better than receiving none of it. Be sure to put the schedule in writing, and follow up on every payment to ensure the client sticks to the plan.

7. Debt Collection Agencies


Using Debt Collection Agencies are easy. You simply let them know the details of the debt, and they pursue it on your behalf. They only charge a fee if they recover a debt, and the fee is usually a percentage of the debt that is recovered.
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Is My Website Down?


Your business website is extremely important. Then shock horror, one day you get up, type in your website address and it doesn't load up. Your website is down. What do you do?

First of all, try going to another website to see if that loads such as bbc.co.uk. If it doesn't it may be that your internet connection isn't properly set up. Check out your connectivity settings to make sure you are actually online.

If you can get on other websites, but not your own, it may be a quirk with your website. There's a great website called
http://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/
which tells you if the website is down for everyone or just for you.
If it does turn out that the website is down for everyone, give Toolkit Websites a call on 02380 633 644 and we'll investigate for you.
You can get instant notification when your website is back up again by going to

http://dingitsup.com/
and entering your details. They'll let you know when everything is up and running again.
Our customers enjoy 99.99% uptime on our servers, so if you've got an existing business website and suffer from server downtime, give us a call on 02380 633 644.
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Gmail down!


Google's free email service Gmail is down as we type on 08/05/2009. Just imagine the trouble you would be having if you used Gmail for your business email?

In fact Gmail has had more than 6 outages in the last 6 months. That's just not good enough for you and your business! Here at Toolkit Websites, we offer our customers a business class email service.

We've had 100% service uptime in the last two years, meaning our customers are always able to accesse their emails.

What's more they get loads of other great features including Spam Filtering and Mobile Access. Read about them here.

Don't rely on unstable email services for your business email. Call Toolkit Websites today on 02380 633 644 to discuss how we can help.
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Make an Impact with Video

The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never been truer than on the online world. Great images on your website supported by keyword rich text are great for grabbing visitor attention.

However, a video on your website could be worth a million words. It makes your website look professional, and more importantly, encourages website visitors to spend more time on the site. It’s a whole new level of interacting with your website visitors. Why not give them a behind the scenes tour or your thoughts on some of the latest news from your industry?

It doesn’t have to be professionally produced. You can normally do a pretty good job with a digital camera yourself. Once you’ve got the files on your computer, you can use Windows Movie Maker or iMovie to add titles and edit out your bloopers.

Find out more about using Windows Movie Maker here:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/default.mspx

and iMovie Here:

http://www.apple.com/ilife/tutorials/imovie/tutoriallist.html#imovie


So now you’ve got a video you love, you need to get it on your website. As videos are large files it’s best to host them on a third party video hosting website that gives you the option of an embedded player to show them off on your site. The leading ones are YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler and Jumpcut.

Once you have uploaded your video to these websites, they will generate code that you can paste into the HTML view of your webpage in the Toolkit to add the player to your website.

Here’s our support site with advice on adding Youtube Videos to your website:
http://www.toolkitsupport.co.uk

Video can have hidden SEO benefits along with providing a more vibrant and dynamic content for your website vistitors. A lot of the video hosting websites allow you to tag your video under different keywords, and put some descriptive text about you video along side it. That means is someone searches the video website for plumbing, your plumbing video will come up and they might click on the link you’ve added as a description. All good inbound links to improve your SEO!
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Who's Spying On You When You're Online?

One of our customers mentioned a few weeks ago that he had had a terrible time with spyware and malware on his computer. We worked out he had lost 5 hours to a Spy Guard spyware programme. Spyware is software that is installed on your computer without your knowledge or consent to collect your browsing history, your passwords or try and control what you access.
Boyd Butler in his own words:
"It was a nightmare. I had the blue screen of death. I thought I had lost all my work. It took me ages looking online to find the solution. Every time I wanted to download a fix the PC would lock up because of the spyware. Eventually, I managed to SpyZooka, a cheap £25 service which got me out of the trouble I was in. The moral of the story for me is, make sure you get really good protection, (the best) back up your stuff on an external hard drive or internet service so you don't lose it and don't always try and find a free fix when you can pay a small amount to get it sorted. Hope this helps other Toolkit users!"
So how can you avoid getting spyware on your computer in the first place?
Firstly, get Firefox and use it as your main internet browser. Firefox is free, and much less vulnerable to security attacks than Internet Explorer. You can also install really good add - ons that help protect you when you're browsing online. Here's some of our favourites:
Ad Block Plus - Block popup and banner adverts that can install Spyware on your System.
No Script - Only run Java Script and other executable files from websites you trust.
You also need to make sure you some good anti - virus and anti - spyware software on your computer. Here's some good free programs:
AdAware
Spybot Search and Destroy
AVG
For our clients' peace of mind, we take daily back ups of their website. If they've taken up our business class email service, we take daily back ups of that too. Then on top of that, off site backups are also taken for a belt and braces approach to ensuring the website and email is doubly secure.
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Engage Your Customers for Success!

Customers are coming to businesses in 2009 with a greater sensitivity to price, a strong focus on quality, a need for hassle free services and are not tolerating bad customer service.

Compiled by E-consultancy and cScape, a study showed that 51 per cent of UK companies said they had focused more on customer engagement during the financial crisis to try and live up to customer expectations.

Six in ten of those who completed the survey said they were looking to use email newsletters as an increased part of their customer engagement plan.

There's lots of other ways you can use the internet to engage your customers too. Here's what Linus Gregoriadis, head of research at E-consultancy had to say:

"More companies are viewing tactics such as blogging, user reviews and on-site video in the context of a broader customer engagement strategy and pulling only those levers which are most appropriate for their business model and customers," said

If you decide to try email marketing , according to MarketingSherpa, email newsletters that contain minimal "hard sell" language are more likely to see results. You definately need to be able to measure the return on your investment. Why not take up our offer of a free trial of our powerful bulk email marketing software, Toolkit Broadcast? It keeps you in the letter of the law, whilst letting you see how many people are opening your emails and clicking on the links.



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Get on Google on Day One!

We know Google can take ages and ages to list a new website in the natural search listings. Those are the search results that appear on the left when you search for your keywords. It can sometimes take up to 8 weeks appear in those pesky natural listings. You’ve built a great website, got the domain sorted, you don't want to be waiting to found!

To get on Google from day one of your website going live, you need a web marketing strategy. Alongside making sure your website address is on your van, on your fliers, on your shop front, your business card etc... you need to get your website address out there on the web. One of the most effective ways to do this is to place adverts in the sponsored search results listings on search results pages.

To get started with this, you need to pick “keywords” that best describe your business or products. Then you can use them to create small ads that will be featured on major search engines, including Google and Yahoo. Whenever a customer uses those keywords to search for something they need, your ad can appear on the results page.

Here are some tools from Google to help you choose your keywords:

http://www.google.com/sktool/


https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

How often those ads appear depend on the popularity of the keywords used - whether other businesses are using them as well. The great thing is that you only pay for the visitors who actually click on your advert and are taken to your website.
Read more about Google Adwords on our website.

So if you want to get started advertising on sponsored listings, click here!



Add to: | blinklist | del.cio.us | digg | yahoo! | furl | technorati | google | stumbleUpon
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Keyword Tips for Search Engine Optimisation

You've got a great business website. You can update it yourself. You've got Google Analytics to monitor your statistics. What now?

How do you drive traffic to your website?

Let's take our favourite Toolkit Websites example, the old Plumber based in York, UK.

How would our Yorkshire plumber decide what keywords to use? Well Google has a handy tool.

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal


It shows you how many people searched for your chosen keywords in the last month, and on average. Our hypothetical plumber's main keywords "Plumbers York" appear to be quite popular, but the great thing about this tool is that it suggests alternatives too:

Here are some alternative keywords that Google suggested:
plumber in york
plumber yorkshire
plumbers merchants york
plumbers in york

Our plumber can now add these keyword phrases to all the different parts of his websites, such as link, meta data, meta description, page titles and the text on his website.

However, he could maxmise his chance of being picked for these keywords even further by using variations on these phrases.

This is where Google Maps is your friend. We know that at least 30% of searches are for location based keywords. Our plumber is bound to cover more than just York city centre, so by using keyword phrases like:

plumber in New Earswick
Plumber Huntington
Plumbers in Heworth

and so on, our plumber can capitalise on the searches for plumbers in the York wider area as well.

It's also good to make sure your business is on Google Local too, to make sure you're top for those local searches.
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Why Favicons are Important for Your Brand

It's the little things that matter. That's why we offer a bespoke favicon service here at Toolkit Websites. If you look at the address bar of your web browser, you can see our little cogs logo. This is our favicon. It'll appear in your bookmarks folder if you bookmark one of our websites, it appears in that address bar, and on your tabs in your browsers.

So why do you need one? Well, favicons build brand identity by getting your logo all over the internet. The more you logo and company name seems familiar to people, the better.

Let's face it, the little icons are cool. They make your website look less generic, more professionally designed. That 16x16 px square is prime website property, and you don't want the huge no - no of your website suppliers icon appear there, or worse no icon at all. You definately shouldn't be advertising your website supplier on a website that you're paying for to advertise your business. Lots of websites will just display the standard one of the web browser. What a missed oppourtunity!

There's a good reason for favicons being prime property online. Bookmarking! If people bookmark your website, it's probably going to go into a long list in their bookmarks folder. Having your logo next to your name will make that link in the bookmarks folder more recognisable and therefore one that people are more likely to click on.

It's the same with tabbed browsing. When people have multiple tabs open, and jump from site to site, having a favicon next to your website title will again provide a quick visual reminder which tab belongs to your and your website.

If you'd like a favicon for your business website, check out our favicon design page



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Going Green at Toolkit Websites

Spring is supposedly in the air and we website designers have been inspired to be more green. Here's how we're trying to make our working environment greener.
  • We try to be a practically paper free office, and email or IM each other messages rather than using scraps of paper or post it notes
  • We have a paper recycling bin.
  • None of us here in the Southampton Office drive to work, choosing to walk, cycle or take the bus when it's raining really hard! :o) We even have a bike shed in the old coal cellar.
  • We only print things out when it's really necessary.
  • We have lots of plants in the office to improve the air quality.
  • We always try to boil the kettle for a full round of tea not to waste any hot water.
  • We have real towels in the loos so there's no paper towel waste or hand dryers using electricity.
  • We use Ecover cleaning products in our staff kitchen.
  • We make Richard recycle a plastic bag when he goes to the shop to buy sandwiches.
  • We turn off our computers and monitors when we go home in the evening.
Have you got any suggestion on how we can be even more Green?



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Toolkit Websites Team become Film Stars!

Last week at Toolkit Websites, your website designers became film stars for the day.



Carl and Dpamben from Made in the Shade came to our Southampton offices to film a new corporate video about Toolkit Websites.



We're hoping it will help old and new clients get a feel for Toolkit Websites and what we can do for their businesses.

We had great fun rearranging the office to get the right shots and watching everyone when it was time for their close up.
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Use Facebook Pages to Market your Business!


Want a free way to market your business? What about on Facebook? Whilst you might not use Facebook for your social networking, its almost a given that some of your potential customers are users.

Facebook have some great ways you can market you business including the Share button which can be built into your website allowing people to post your website to their profile and traditional pay per action style ads with advanced targeting.
Here at Toolkit Websites we use, Facebook Pages. As an organisation, you can't have a profile under the terms of use, but you can have a 'Page' which you can use like a profile build a community. Here's our Facebook page.
You can create a company page from when logged into your profile by clicking on the Advertising link in the footer. By choosing a category, naming the page, and completing a number of fields, your page will be created. You can then share it with others, and they can choose to become 'Fans' of your 'Page'
As people become fans of your company's page, it will pop up on their news feed, revealing to the rest of their Facebook friends that you have added the page. It then links the page name with your page, driving more people to click on the link to your page and have a look.
To make your Facebook page really useful as a marketing tool, you will need to add a range of content to make it appealing:
  • Discuss your products and services using the wall and discussion board to get valuable feedback.
  • Upload videos about your products or services.
  • Upload photos and tag your fans to generate subtle publicity in their Photo feeds.
  • Share details of your events.
  • Set up an RSS feed of your website or blog updates so the latest content from your business is available to your fans.
  • Post client testimonials.
  • Encourage existing clients to become your fan on Facebook to generate a sense of community.

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Good Online Customer Service for your Business

As Web designers, we know the internet makes our lives so much more convenient. You can use the web to make purchases and interact with businesses on the other side of the world. However, there is a downside to this. The internet often feels like a faceless medium, making it easy for scammers to rip people off, as it seems like there is no way to hold people accountable online. Understandably, this might put people off using the internet to do business.
This is where good online customer service comes in. In order to use the internet successfully to boost your business, you need to make sure you Reassure Your Customers and create a pleasant online experience for them. It doesn’t matter if your site is an E-commerce site or simply an online brochure, all the advice below applies.
Make your self accessible.
Provide your customers with as many ways as possible to get in touch with you. Then add this information to your site as prominently as possible. Lots of people will visit a company site to find a telephone number, as they prefer to talk to a ‘real person’ rather than wait for an email.
It’s also good to have an online contact form that automatically emails the customer query to you. These can be easily implemented into any website. Why not ask your website designer to add this to your site?
Have a FAQ page.
FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions, and an FAQ page is a page of just that, frequently asked questions about your business. Collate the questions you are often asked by customers and add them to page along with your answers. You can often get good ideas for these pages by imagining what sort of thing you would want to know as a customer about your business, or by checking out your competitors’ websites.
When you’ve created a FAQ page, make sure the page is easily accessible by adding links to it in your menu bar, and on your contact page on your company website. Customers may then be able to find the answer to their question without having to contact you directly, thus saving you time.
Manage and Meet expectations.
On your contact page, terms and conditions page or shipping information page on your business website, to set out how long customers can expect to wait during their interactions with you. If it’s going to take a day to respond to their emails, make sure you say that somewhere on the site, and fire off a quick reply to their email saying that you’ve received the email and will reply in more detail within 24 hours. Then make sure you make a note of the email and reply in more detail within those 24 hours.
Use this model for any kind of interaction with the customer. Let them know how long it will take, and make sure it happens within that time frame.



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Why All Flash Sites Lose Customers

Flash is a type of animation software that can be used to create animated features on your website. Flash can look really impressive and lots of people ask if they can have site that are built completely in Flash with animated menus and features.
However pretty these sites look, they loose customers. Why?
Software issues. To view an all Flash site, the customer has to have Flash installed on their computer. If they don’t they won’t be able to view the site correctly, or in the worst case scenario, view the site at all! This can also happen if they customer is using an older version of Flash to the one that was used to create your site. If a visitor can’t use your site, you’re turning potential customers away! You can avoid this by using Flash sparingly in your site such as only having one animated header. If your customers don’t have Flash installed they’d still be able to view the rest of the site, even if the banner didn’t work.
Search Engine Optimisation.
Search engines can’t see images, they can only read text. The same goes for Flash. Any text, content, navigation or headings that are embedded in the Flash are going to be invisible to the search engines and won’t help towards your search engine rankings. Again you’d be loosing customers before they ever see your site.
Ease of Use.
Flash means you can have unusual and interesting navigation on your site with items appearing and disappearing as you wish. However websites perform best when the navigation matches what people expect to find on websites. That means menus across the top of the page or down the left side, and a consistent layout on every page. If the navigation is too complicated, people will just give up and look at another site. The same goes for if they have to site through Flash introductions, other wise known as Splash pages.
Load Time.
Flash takes longer to load than HTML. If you have an all Flash site, your customers are going to be waiting for longer to view your site. Just like with easy to use navigation, if your site takes too long to load, people will just go to another, quicker to load website.

Flash is best when used sparingly like icing on a cake. You wouldn’t want to eat a cake made completely from icing no matter how pretty it looked. Animated headers and banners are good because they provide an emotive introduction to your business giving information up front, and some Flash elements like buttons can add a nice touch to a site. Just don’t go over board!


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End of an Era – Lycos Europe to Close.


Lycos Europe will be permanently closing it’s portal and web-hosting business on 1st March
The closure of Lycos Europe's portal, which includes search, online communities, and content channels, comes as it faces increased competition from Yahoo and Google and a decline in user traffic.
An as yet unknown buyer has been found for Tripod.co.uk, it’s personal webhosting site, and it’s Lycos Chat Service is being taken over by www.worldsbiggestchat.com
LYCOS Mail, LOVE@LYCOS, LYCOS iQ, and LYCOS Hosting have been phased out as of the 15th Feb and will be permanently shut on 1st March.
If you’ve current got a website hosted with LYCOS and would like it transferred to our system asap, give us a call on 02380 633 644.


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How to Write Good Marketing Emails

Emailing your customers regularly is a great way to keep them informed of your latest products and news. But how do you write a good email that gets noticed amongst all the other marketing emails they will receive daily.

First of all, don’t try and write as if you’re writing to lots of different people. Imagine you are writing to just one person. What sort of customer are you trying to reach with this email? Are they male or female? Do they work? Are they self employed or employed by a company? Imagining the ideal customer you want to respond to your email helps you to write in a style that appeals to them. Whilst you will be emailing a diverse range of people who won’t all match your imaginary ideal customer, having a target audience in mind brings style and focus to the email and stops the email being bland.

Don’t make the email too specific however. If your target audience is mainly female, try to avoid clichés like handbags and lipstick in your copy as it could be alienating to people who receive the email who a) aren’t female or b) not that interested in handbags and lipstick!

Write in a style that comes naturally to you. The style should mimic the tone of all other ways you communicate with your customers. If you’re friendly and chatty on the phone, then your email needs to come across as friendly and chatty in tone and style too. Keeping your tone consistent helps reinforce your image with your customers.

Keep the email short and to the point. Most people skim marketing emails if they read them at all, so the most important information needs to be right at the start of the email. The email also needs to be clear, simple and jargon free to ensure your customers can understand it.

Finally include some sort of call to action in your email. It could be asking the customer to visit your site to find out more, or asking them to call you for a consultation or to take advantage of your offer. This way you get another chance to interact with the customer in the future.
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Client Drinks at the Orange Rooms

Last night we held our first client event for our 10th Birthday celebrations. We held a drinks event at Room Service, the private members bar at the Orange Rooms. It was a great chance to catch up with some of our clients and get their feedback on what it's like to use the Toolkit

Alongside delicious cupcakes provided by Catherine of Sponge Cupcakes, www.spongecupcakes.co.uk, Marcus and Tristen spoke on the latest developments to the Toolkit and where it will be headed in the future.

We got some really interesting feedback about the Toolkit and we will discuss this with our development team. We take client feedback very seriously and always try and use it when updating the Toolkit.

If you're a Toolkit user and have some feedback on what it's like to use the Toolkit, please drop us a line or call us on 02380 633644


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To Blog or Not to Blog?

It seems like everyone is blogging these days. A blog (web-log) is a webpage that easily allows you to publish articles or posts in date order, and allows the visitors to the blog to comment on the posts. People write blogs on everything from their daily lives, to their hobbies and their jobs. Especially web designers!

They’re a great way for people with expertise in a certain field to share their knowledge with others, and to keep the world informed of the latest news in their industry. If you have a business you have knowledge like this to share with the world.

Blogging can have a really positive influence on your search engine rankings. If link from your blog to your website, it can help drive traffic to your main web site. They can also be used to advertise when you have a new product and to keep you customers informed of your latest developments.

Having a blog also provides you with another forum to actually interact with your customers. They can leave you comments and feedback about your business. Having articles that explain the more detailed or complicated parts of your business that only an insider would know can help answer your customer’s questions. The blog helps build relationships with your customers. However, blogging isn’t for every business.

You have to have the time to update a blog regularly. You have to have something relevant and interesting to say about your industry. Also, it really depends on the people you are trying to reach. Blogging is a fairly new medium, and the people who read blogs tend to be younger more technologically savvy people. If your client base isn’t that interested in new technologies, a blog may not be for you. That being said, a blog could introduce your business to a whole new client base for the same reason.
So it comes down to you and your business. If you have the time and knowledge, why not share some of your industry insights with the world?

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Toolkit Top Tip - Google Local Gets You To The Top!



Marcus Green tells you how you can use Google Local to get great search engine results!

If you'd like to find out more about Google Local and how we can help you get your business listed.



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We love Sponge Cupcakes!

One of the best bits about being a web design company for small businesses is all the varied and interesting company websites we create. This month we've loved working on the website for Sponge Cupcakes, a bespoke boutique cupcake company based here in Southampton.

Catherine, the owner, creates fabulous cakes that come in a range of delicious flavours and can even be customised for your event. Her website reflects the sugary retro appeal of cupcakes.

We're going to be serving her cupcakes at our client drinks later this month. We can vouch for their tastiness as we just simply HAD to have some samples to choose the right flavour to offer our customers!



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The Do's and Don'ts of Sending Email

Do make sure email is the best way of responding.
You’re never guaranteed an immediate reply with email, and email certainly is not as personal as a phone call. Sometimes it is better to speak to someone directly. It’s also quite hard to convey complex and/or visual material through words.
If you want to make an impact on someone, sometimes using good old fashioned post can be better, for example a hand written thank you note goes further than an email. It shows you took time to write it and post it. Wouldn’t that feel more special to you than 2 min email sent to say Thanks?
Don’t Waffle!
Ask your question or provide your answer right at the start of the email, right after the opening greeting. If you waffle on you’ll lose the recipient’s attention and make it harder for them to reply usefully.
Do actually ask the question!
Make sure you actually phrase questions as questions to ensure the recipient knows that you’re expecting an answer.
Don’t be ambiguous.
If you’re going to send an email to a group of people including instructions, make it clear which person needs to complete each task. Otherwise the recipients will assume everyone else was supposed to complete the task!
Do give timeframes.
If you need a response by the end of the day or Monday, say so! Because email is quite impersonal it can be easy to ignore. You can also note deadlines in the subject line.
Don’t assume the recipient knows what you’re talking about.
People don’t always check their email regularly. Provide a bit of context in your email so the recipient knows what it refers to. Context also makes it easier when reviewing past emails days or weeks later.
Do use good spelling and grammar!
Txt spk iz 4 txt msgs ONLY! It doesn’t make you look cool. Text speak makes your emails harder to read, and therefore more likely to be ignored. Use capital letters and paragraphing just like you would in any other document. This is particularly important when communicating with customers as sloppy spelling, grammar and punctuation makes you look unprofessional.
Don’t mix unrelated queries or subjects in one email.
Confusing emails with lots of unrelated points mean it’s quite likely some of them will get overlooked. One topic per message is the way forward.
Do provide summaries.
If you want to send a message and all its replies to someone to keep them informed, it’s only polite to provide a quick summary of the message thread and why they need to know. It can be quite hard for the other persons to figure out what’s going on from a thread of messages and it will save them a lot of time.
Don’t assume the sender is being rude.
Emails are impersonal and most people don’t realise how they might sound to their recipients. Misplaced attempts at humour and sarcasm, emails dashed off in a hurry and the fact that most people just aren’t great writer mean that some emails come across as just plain rude. It’s probably unintentional, and unless the sender actually says that they are angry with you in the message, respond with usual professional good grace.
Do be the better person.
If the other person is being rude to you in an email, don’t send a nasty one back. You’ll only get into a cycle of horrid emails, and it’s easy to do because you’re not face to face with the other person. Be the better person and give them a call to try and resolve the issue.
Don’t assume anything.
If any thing in an email doesn’t make sense, ask for clarification. If you need clarification fast, don’t just reply to the email, give them a call!

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Toolkit Websites employ New Team Member during Recession!

Toolkit Websites are a bit of a rarity in the business world at the moment. In the middle of the recession, your website designers have added a new member to the growing team!

As our web design customer numbers grow, our commitment to providing the highest quality service has meant we have increased the level of support we offer you.

We’re pleased to welcome Lexi, the newest member of the website support team. Lexi has a great background in providing customer support from her time at Different Travel. She will be helping our clients get the most out of their websites by answering their queries. We've noticed she doesn't drink much tea yet, but we're sure that will soon change!

You can meet Lexi at our client drinks later this month.

Sorry chaps...she's taken! :0) But Lexi and all the team will be there to let you know about the future of the Toolkit and listen to your feedback on our service.
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Business Website Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make

1. Being Unprofessional Online
  • You need professional full time hosting so that your business website won’t go down. Time is money, and if your website is down you could lose business because customers think you’ve gone out of business. Free hosting for personal websites won’t cut it.
  • Get a domain name related to your business and use the domain for your website and email. It will be a lot easier for your customers to remember, and therefore they’re more likely to visit the website.
  • Out of date information on your company website is really unprofessional too. Make sure you can update your business website regularly with an easy to use Content Management System, or CMS. This way you’ll never be waiting for anyone else to make update to the website for you, you’ll be in control at all times.
  • The final unprofessional sin is fussy website design. Don’t be twee when you're building a website. Having music playing the background, silly little animated characters and pointless flashing things will only drive customers away. Beware all Flash websites, as these can’t be read by screen readers, aren’t good for accessibility, and can take a long time to load. Also images of text can’t be read by screen readers, and if one image fails to load, your customers will not be able to read part of your website.

2. Not Inspiring Confidence
  • Make sure there are pictures on your website that are of you, your business and your team. If you’re selling a product on your website, have accurate product images. Pictures make you seem credible, and make your website more personal in the impersonal online world.
  • Display your contact information prominently on your website. Make sure the customer has a range of ways to contact you on your website, and provide an online contact form.
  • Being obscure and confusing on your website is another big no- no. How many times have you read a company website and come away thinking “So what do they actually do?” Be clear and concise, and tell your customers exactly what services you provide.

3. Poor Customer Service
  • Reply to emails quickly. Don’t leave your customers waiting for a response. Even if it’s a quick email to acknowledge receipt of their email, and to say you’re working on the issue. It’s better than nothing!
  • Don’t forget you online leads. If someone has filled in your contact form, send them an email to say thanks for their enquiry and then follow them up! Let them know they’ve definitely reached you, and stay in regular contact.

4. Leaving Your Site Be Once It Goes Live.
  • Submit your website to search engines. It takes a long time for search engines to crawl the whole internet for new websites. If you submit your website, you have a better chance of being found. Only submit your website once though! Otherwise they may treat you as a scammer. Add your website to
  • Use web stats to help promote your website. Sign up to a service like Google Analytics and see which keywords are used to find your website. You can then include text on the website that uses these keywords. Keyword rich content helps boost your website rankings on search engines, and ensures only people who want your services visit your website.
  • Collect email information from your visitors to help generate more leads. Use and online contact form that asks for the customer’s email address, and invite them to sign up for newsletters, or to receive a free guide. You’ll be establishing a rapport, and you’ll generate a list of email addresses you can then use for future mailshots.


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