Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Passionate Support Despite the Snow! #uksnow

Staff at Toolkit Websites braved 25cm of snow this morning to get in to the office for our clients! How's that for passionate support!

Our project manager Kitty's normally 20 min journey took the best part of an hour, and Cat, another project manager spent an hour and a half waiting for her bus!

But our favourite snow story this morning is from our Senior Support Technician, Jack, who lives out in the sticks. His car had to be towed to the main road by tractor so he could make it in!

So despite the snowy conditions, Toolkit Websites are open for business thanks to the dedication of their staff.

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

As you might have noticed, we've decorated our blog for the festive season! We're also in the process of putting the decorations up on our main website as well.

We've been working on some great seasonal headers and banner for our clients as well. If you'd like to dress up your website, we can create a seasonal graphic for just £74+VAT. You can then use this every year!

Have a look at our Seasonal Headers page for more details on decorating your business website.

Our website design elves have also created some Christmas Desktop Wallpapers as a little present for you.

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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New Facebook email for friends, but what about your business?

A few months ago we blogged that Facebook is already the second most visited website in the UK, second only to Google, and today we read that Facebook is looking to gain even more ground in the battle for web supremacy by launching a new email service, apparently known internally as its “Gmail killer”.
We can understand why people might be seeking an alternative to Gmail, with its slightly worrying reliability problems. However Mark Zuckerberg yesterday maintained that its ‘next generation messaging service’ would not directly compete with other email providers. Business analyst Augie Ray of Forrester Research elaborated that “Facebook isn’t interested in being a management or response tool for your flood of bills, email newsletters or other communications; instead, it’s about facilitating and enhancing your personal relationships... Once again, it reinforces [that] Facebook is for friends”.
So this new platform may be really useful for keeping up with your friends, but what about your business emails? Earlier we discussed just how important it is for a business to have a reliable email provider, citing that 49 percent of companies experience 1.6 hours of downtime per week, adding up to a total cost of £1 billion per year!
It’s vital that your business has constant and reliable email, so that you’ll never lose touch with your customers. That’s why we developed our business class email service, hosted on the most reliable servers we could find, providing an incredible 100% uptime over the last five years.
So if you want fully reliable email, ensuring clear communication between you and your customers, along with our proven and passionate customer service, just call us on 02380 633644!
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Hattie B tops Google!

After launching her website in July, Devon based shoe retailer Aprille James has already achieved an outstanding page 1 Google ranking!

Aprille’s site Hattie B, just goes to show that a little help can go a very long way - if want to replicate her search engine success, read on! First of all, Aprille sought the expertise of our professional copywriter Ben Locker. Ben has really helped to put her website on the map by writing interesting and professional sounding content. And with his years of industry trade, he is an expert in writing copy specifically designed to appeal to all the big search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Another important chapter of Hattie B’s success story is Google Analytics – Google Analytics is an extremely effective way of monitoring and tracking website traffic. Using analytics, Aprille is able to find out how people are reaching her website and observes visitor trends to work out how to make her site even better!

If you are interested in improving your site with exciting, professional copy or tracking your website visitors using Google Analytics , give us a call on 02380 633644 today.

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

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UK Online Economy is Worth Billions


We keep a close eye on technology news here at Toolkit Websites, Southampton. So we were very interested in a story appearing on BBC News recently, that says that the UK online economy is 'worth billions'.

The story goes on to report that the internet contributes more to the UK economy that the construction, transport and utility sectors in findings from a study conducted by Google.

It would seem that the largest contributions come from online consumption, for example online shopping, and the money spent on internet connections. We're apparently also the world's leading nation in e-commerce usage. This would have been unthinkable even 10 years ago and shows how much UK attitudes to the online world have changed.

As a UK based web design company, we can certainly see the benefits of an online presence for our business clients. This is confirmed by the report, which says 'small businesses that actively use the internet report sales growth more than four times greater than that of less active companies.'

If you want a slice of this internet economy pie, have a chat to us here at Toolkit Websites. With over 800 clients we've got the experience to help your business make the most of your online presence. You can call us on 02380 633644.
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The Best Fonts for the Web

This week we thought that we would blog about a sometimes overlooked but exceptionally important element of web design - which font should you use?

We are huge fans of typography in the office and are always on the look out for cool new fonts to add to our repertoire. Check out our full list of fonts that we can use in the design of your website.

HOWEVER, just because there a loads of fonts out there, it doesn't mean that we should go out of our way to try and use all of them! In particular, when it comes to the more obscure fonts, a lot of these are sub-standard and only enjoy a widespread usage because they're free to download from certain websites.When we're designing websites, we need to take into account things like usability and accessibility, as well as how things look.

That is why we've done a bit of work to put together our top 5 fonts to use in the design of your website, as well as our top 5 web safe fonts that you can use in the content area of your website.

Check them out below!

Toolkit Websites Team's Top 5 Design Fonts

Toolkit Websites Team's Top 5 Web Safe Fonts


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 Websites get the Buy With Confidence stamp of approval

We're pleased to announce that our founder, Marcus Green, was presented with our Buy With Confidence certificate from Carol Cunio, the Mayor of Southampton, on 4th October 2010 at the Civic Centre in Southampton.
The Buy With Confidence scheme was set up in 1999 to help consumers find good, honest and local businesses, and to avoid rogue traders. Toolkit Websites had to pass a set of tailored background checks. Our company history was reviewed and a Trading Standards representative visited us as well as some of clients being approached for their views on our service.

We're very pleased to have achieved Buy With Confidence status, as it is not given out lightly, and the certificate will take pride of place in our office.

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

On Friday we had a party in the office to celebrate the launch of our new Webkit. This upgrade to the technology we use to build the front end of our websites has been long in the making – now it’s here we couldn’t be more excited!

Our support team is pleased as websites will load even faster. Search engines take this into account so we can now ensure our websites load as quickly as possible!

Clients now have many more new tools to add content to their website and our design team are also benefiting from a world of new possibilities such as drop down menus, static headers and sidebars per page. Our clients with new websites using this technology are thrilled with the design flexibility and speedy load times. Many of the new tools in the Webkit have been added due to feedback so thanks to our customers the new upgrade is a great success.



If you are interested in experiencing the new Webkit for your website, get in touch and we can discuss upgrading your website today!
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Toolkit Client Shows How Easy It Is To Use The Toolkit!

We've tried to make the Toolkit, (our content management system) as easy to use as possible. And we recently had some great proof of this when one of our long standing clients, Boyd Butler, of Kam Sports International popped us an email.

He's off on holiday for a bit, and so he created his own video guide on how to add video to a website using the Toolkit so his team could keep the website updated whilst he's away. We have to say that the quality of the video is amazing, and Boyd really shows just how easy it is to get videos on to a webpage using the Toolkit.

Have a look yourself here:



If you want to have a go at adding videos to your website, give our support team a call on 02380 633644, and they can talk you through it. As you can see from Boyd's video, it's really simple!

Boyd has made another video on how to edit text on a website using the Toolkit which you can check out on Screenr Thanks Boyd!

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Google Property Listings - Bad news for Estate Agents?

The BBC are reporting that Google are beginning to offer property listings integrated with their Google Maps service. You can access this by searching for a post code and then clicking on the "More" on the right, then selecting "Properties"


The new service should allow both estate agents and private sellers to list their property as part of one of the overlays on Google Maps. The BBC say it's bad news for estate agents, as it means sellers will be able to cut out the middle man and list directly on Google.

However, the service, branded "Google for Real Estate Professionals" really seems to be setup to help property businesses rather than individuals in our opinion. Sure, it won't stop some determined sellers using it, but the sophisticated tools will actually work in the favour of small estate agents who would not be able to normally afford expensive online listings.

The people who will be hardest hit are those who run websites like primelocation.co.uk and rightmove.co.uk who only allow estate agents to list properties.

If you're in the property world and want advice on how you can make the most of this new Google feature, give us a call on 02380 633644

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Your Business NEEDS a Facebook Fan Page

We read with interest earlier this month how Facebook, the social networking website, has taken over UK internet usage.

Facebook is the second most visited website in the UK and it accounts for more than half of all visits to social networking websites in the UK. The only website that gets more visitors is the Google homepage.
In fact 26 million people in the UK have a Facebook account- that's over 40%!
Which is why you really need a Facebook Fan page for your business. A Fan page is the Facebook endorsed way to market your business on Facebook. You can post photos, let your clients leave you reviews, add your contact details and generally build a sense of community with your customer base.
What's more, once it's all set up, you can put links to the page on your website and in your marketing emails, to encourage your clients to engage with you online.
Here's a video from our founder Marcus about how you can use a Facebook Fan page to market your business:



Of course, if you want some help setting up a Facebook Fan page for your business so you can reach 40% of the UK population, have a look at our Facebook Fan Page setup service or call our support team on 02380 633644
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Say No to Email Downtime!

A recent report by Dun & Bradstreet highlighted that 49 per cent of companies experience at least 1.6 hours of email downtime per week. This translates into more than 80 hours annually at a cost of £1 billion per year!

In the past, we've reported on our blog about email downtime from one of the largest email providers, Gmail.

In our eyes, 1.6 hours of email downtime per week is just not good enough! So many businesses rely on their email to function. You simply have to have a good email service. That's why we host our email with the same host used by top websites like gocompare.com and confused.com as well as the Ministry of Defence.

We've had 100% uptime over the last 5 years, ensuring all our business class email service users can always access their email. How's that for passionate customer support? You know, you really should switch to a business class email service.

If you want passionate customer support and no email downtime, call our support team on 02380 633644 to see how you can migrate to Toolkit Websites' business class email.
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Going Above and Beyond to Meet Tight Deadlines

Exceptional customer service is Toolkit Websites’ number one priority alongside publishing great company websites for small businesses. So we recently introduced a regular blog post series highlighting examples where our staff have delivered our special brand of passionate customer support. We're proud of the level of service our team provide and we want to share their fantastic work with you.

Our hard working team of Project Managers are no exception, as each of our new clients is assigned their own Project Manager to oversee their website build and help them at each stage of the build.

Alongside producing fantastic looking websites and answering any questions, they frequently go the extra mile by publishing great websites on time.

This week, our Project Manager Cat managed to achieve this for Sandeesh Samra from Hunt Pharma by getting their new site published in just 11 days! See for yourself just how good the new website looks at the link below:

www.huntpharma.com

Sandeesh was over the moon too, saying Cat provided "very quick website design and turnaround and kept me informed at every stage of the design and publication process."

The team at Toolkit Websites frequently help our clients meet and manage their project deadlines, all the while providing spectacular customer service.

We don’t charge extra for helping our clients, whether it’s with a question about search engines, a website transfer or setting up their email on their computer - it’s all part of our great service…


If your website design company aren't delivering passionate customer support for you, call us today on 02380 633644.



Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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How will real time search results affect SEO?

Twitter, Twitter, Twitter! It really is the buzz word at the moment, and Google have given small business owners one more thing to puzzle over by upgrading their search technology to include updates to Twitter pages into search results in real time.

Or in jargon free language:

You're a bakery in Southampton updating Twitter when your fresh bread comes out the oven.

Someone searches on Google for "fresh bread southampton" just after your update your twitter.

Because you've got the words "fresh bread southampton" in your Twitter update, or "tweet", your tweet will come up on the Google Updates search listings.

For topics that lots other people are tweeting about, tweets also display in the main search results as well.

So how can small business owners build on this?
Well it's all about reputation! Your tweets will appear higher in the search results if you have more reputation on Twitter. This elusive reputation is built by having followers who also have good reputations. Basically, if someone who is big on Twitter follows you, like Stephen Fry, your tweets will count for more.

Now you might not have the stars who live next door who you can ask to be your followers, but by carefully following and interacting with other Twitter users in your industry and your clients you can build your reputation, and get some of this SEO love.

Plus, Twitter is a great way to get to know your clients and build your community! We can help you get setup on Twitter, and integrate a Twitter widget on your website. For more information
have a look at our Twitter setup page:
http://www.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/twitter_setup

You can also follow our Tweets @toolkitwebsites
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Going Above and Beyond with Domain Names

Great customer service is Toolkit Websites’ number one priority alongside producing great company websites for small business. So we're going to be introducing a regular blog post series of examples where our staff deliver our special brand of passionate customer support. We're proud of the level of service our staff provide and we want to share their good work behind the scenes with you.

Our staff aim to go the extra mile for our clients, especially when it comes to the tricky area of domain transfers, email and hosting.

As Jack, one of our technical support team, regularly encounters unscrupulous practices from other web designers. The most frequent issue is website companies registering the website address under their own name rather than in the name of the client. Jack says “These companies register the website address under their name so that they are the legal owner and if the client leaves they can charge a whooping great fee to release the website address.”

Toolkit Websites always register the website address in the clients name and we don’t charge a release fee if a clients moves. Although with a 98% retention rate, we don’t get many clients leaving!

Jack goes on to say “I recently came across one company that charged £100+VAT to release the website address to the client when it should have been their property in the first place! “
Normally this would have been the end of the matter and the client would have had to pay the ransom, but Jack knew better!

All Toolkit Websites’ staff are trained on the legalities of website registrations and the terms of service website design companies should adhere to. We also encourage staff to use their initiative and go the extra mile for our clients.

Now Jack knew that when domain hosts register domains using their details rather than using their client’s email, they are breaking the terms of service of Nominet, the UK domain name register. Domain names are considered assets of the company when they relate to the company name. Furthermore, all UK domain names must have a contact email address saved in their settings.

Jack alerted the domain host to this, and when they still refused to release the domain to the client, he went to Nominet, and for a tiny fee, got the domain name transferred into the ownership of the client. All legal, above board and for the client this saved them a lot of money, and meant they could use their existing domain name for their new website.

In our experience many website companies do not offer any help with domain transfers. They let the customer fend for themselves, trying to get their head round unfamiliar terms such as “a records” , “ip addresses” , “DNS” and “EPP keys” . At Toolkit Websites we take this headache away, so our clients can concentrate on running their businesses.

We don’t charge extra for helping our clients, whether it’s with a question about search engines, a website transfer or setting up their email on their computer, it’s all part of our service…

If your website design company aren't delivering passionate customer support for you, call us today on 02380 633644
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Operations Manager is running 10k for Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK


Our Operations Manager, Tristen Hall, is currently in training to run 10k in October to raise money for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK

The Bobby Moore Fund raises money for bowel cancer research in memory of Bobby Moore who died from the disease. The Fund was set up by Bobby's widow, Stephanie Moore MBE, in partnership with Cancer Research UK in 1993. To date, the Fund has raised over £12 million pounds, which has the objective of raising money for cutting edge bowel cancer research, and raising awareness of its high risk symptoms.

To try and keep Tristen motivated as he gets in shape, everyone here at Toolkit Websites, Southampton, is sponsoring him, and we'd like to encourage you to do the same:


Over the years here at Toolkit Websites, we've worked with a number of charities, creating great websites to help with their fund-raising such as:

http://www.kazaston.com


If you're a charity or not for profit organisation and are impressed with Tristen's charitable endeavours, why not get in touch with us today to speak to us about our great prices for charity website design.
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Look out for a new version of Toolkit Broadcast!

Here at Toolkit Websites, Southampton, we're always working to develop and improve our service to our business website design clients.

Our development teams are constantly working on improvements and upgrades for all the software we offer to our clients. Alongside upgrades to the Toolkit and Toolkit Webmail, the team are working on a whole new version of Toolkit Broadcast, our email marketing software.

They've been collecting bugs to fix, and looking for ways to improve the interface and user experience. We'll keep you posted on when the new version is ready!


Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Your Business Website Could Generate Hundreds of New Enquries!

Having been in business as a website design company for over 10 years, we've worked with hundreds of clients to help them find the perfect business website design.

About 5 years ago we developed the standard contact form for the Toolkit, and put it on our website to test it. The great thing about the built in contact form is that every time some one fills it in, all the data gets stored in your Toolkit account.

So we thought we'd take a look at how many people have contacted our clients through the contact forms on their websites over the last 5 years. It turns out that over 100,000 people have used that little form to get in touch with our clients! That's a considerable boost in people making contact compared to just having your phone number and email on a website. Seems like people find using the contact form much more convenient than firing up their email or picking up the phone.

What's even better is that in those 5 years, we've refined the contact form to make it as easy as possible for all our clients to use. It now can be added to any page on a Toolkit powered website, and the details from completed forms are also emailed to the email address of your choice.

So if you're not using one of these forms on your Toolkit website, we want to say to you "Why Not?" Perhaps you too could be getting hundreds enquiries a year simply through your website!

Here's the easy step by step guide on how to add a contact form to any page on your Toolkit website:
http://www.toolkitsupport.co.uk/how_to_set_a_page_as_the_contact_form

We can also create bespoke forms for your website with extra fields to capture information relevant to your business. You might want a bespoke booking form, or a customer feedback form. Have a look at the Bespoke Forms page on our website for more details:
http://www.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/bespoke_web_forms

If you need any help adding a form to your website, please call our support team on 02380 633644, or drop us an email!

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 Websites in the Spotlight!

Last week our office in the centre of Southampton was transformed into a makeshift film set when we were visited by a film crew from Graduate Jobs South!

Our office was chosen to be in the spotlight for a Graduate Jobs South promotional video about the Internship Program that they offer to students and graduates all over the South Central region.

Recently we have all been reading and watching the headlines about it being tougher than ever for graduates all over the UK to find employment, with there being an average of 69 applicants for each graduate position that is advertised.

As a result of this extraordinary demand for graduate jobs, a lot of employers have upped their expectations when it comes to the skills and experience required in a graduate role, making it even harder for some graduates to get on the career ladder.

You can find out more about this issue in the News by reading either of the following recently published stories:

Graduate Unemployment Rate Rises 25%
Graduate Jobs: The Hunters and the Hunted

One of the main difficulties for graduates is gaining skills and experience, as quite often this takes the form of unpaid work experience which many people simply can’t afford to take up as they leave university with ever increasing debts.

Graduate Jobs South is one of many organisations trying to combat this worrying trend and help graduates kick start their careers by running an Internship Program to help graduates gain valuable industry based experience whilst providing a salary.

This is something that Toolkit Websites has jumped at the chance of being involved with, and Graduate Jobs South selected us to showcase their Internship Program by interviewing our Managing Director Marcus and two members of our Support Team who came to join us through the internship.

Barnaby, who has since become a permanent member of the team, and Matt, who is completing an industrial placement during his degree, both loved their moment in the spotlight and couldn’t have been more positive about the experience they have both gained.

And the rest of the team also managed to get their dreams of stardom realised by participating in the video!

You can find out more about Graduate Jobs South and their Internship Program by clicking here.

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Apple Unveil New iPhone 4!

Image from www.mobilecrunch.comLast month we posted about the great benefits of choosing Business Class email over free mail services like Hotmail or Gmail.

This month there's even more reason for us to get excited, as Apple have just released the iPhone 4 - the latest member of their Smart Phone family. Since the introduction of the original iPhone in 2007, Apple has redefined the smartphone market and highlighted the benefits of having a device of such capability constantly by your side.

This revamped model is sure to be at the top of every gadget junkie's wishlist, and sports a new stainless steel case, an improved display, two cameras and to top it all it will be 24% thinner than previous versions. But is it all good news?

With the recent release of the iPhone 4, problems have been reported. These have focused on what many are calling an inherent fault with the aerial design, with reports from many users of dropped calls when the phone is held in a certain way.

All this talk has led Apple to call a press conference to discuss the iPhone 4, with speculation of how Apple will address the problem being the main talking point. The company had initially suggested users having problems could use its “Bumper” accessory to remedy the issue, though this has been widely criticised as unacceptable, considering the design of the device is seen to be at fault.

Media coverage of hardware problems aside, smartphones can be a great tool, particularly for small business owners. For example, here at Toolkit Websites , we offer IMAP email support, which will allow you to access your email from various smartphone models and will also sync with your mailbox so you don’t have read emails again when you get back to your computer.

If you have a smartphone that doesn’t have IMAP support, then we also offer access via toolkitmobile.co.uk. With access to your email at all times and in any location, you are sure not to miss important communications from existing customers or potential new clients.

Image from www.mobilecrunch.com
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Create a Beautifully Effective Website

High quality content is more important than design.

Have you ever noticed that there are some really wordy, content heavy websites out there that seem to be really popular? Certain popular blogs spring to mind. There’s a good reason for that. If you provide very high quality relevant content, search engines will index it and website visitors will read it.

You don’t actually need lots of interactive features and flash animations. You just need the text that your visitors are looking for. If you’re a restaurant, this is going to be copies of your menu, your location and your contact details, perhaps with some information on the provenance of your food. For us, its information on the services we provide for small to medium size businesses, how our content management system, the Toolkit, works for our clients and our contact details.

Be Obvious

To support the quality content you’re now going to add to your website, you’ll need a very clear and self explanatory website structure. We’ve found out from some online research (read it here) that website visitors read websites in an F shape, starting on the left and going down and to the right slightly.

This is why there are certain conventions in web design. Menu bars go horizontally across the page at the top, as this is the first sweep of the eyes across a web page. Important links should go on the left of the page to hit this hot F pattern.

Alongside this new special awareness, it’s important to keep your menu items, links and content jargon free. If you want people to find your contact details, have a link saying “Contact Details” rather than “Get in Touch” or “Connect with Us”

Focus

As we’ve said, good content is self supporting. If you want to introduce other visual elements, ensure they relate to this content. Blinking animations and ads will detract from your content, not allowing visitors to focus on the important aspects.

In the same way, if you’re linking to another page ensure the link text is precise, leading to the destination described. This will help focus your visitor on where you would like them to visit.

You’ve probably got a goal in mind for your website. It’s probably as simple as getting people to get in touch with you. Whilst working on each element of your website, keep that goal in mind.
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Why You Should Choose Business Class Email Solutions Over Your Existing Email Service

What makes Toolkit Websites business class email solutions amazing? The benefits are numerous, but here is a quick low-down:

Firstly, if your email address reads yourname@yourbusiness.co.uk, you will already be head and shoulders above your competition who might have a Gmail or Yahoo email account! Any individuals or organisations relying on free email services like Gmail are under threat from being disregarded as amateur or bogus. Having a professional email account is the marker of a credible and established company. First impressions mean everything!

Toolkit Websites will always offer you a reliable and consistent service, whereas the free services offered may at some point change their terms, and could begin charging you for their service or shut down without warning!

Toolkit Websites Advanced Webmail allows you to access your email from anywhere in the world! As long as you have access to an internet connection, you will be able to access your mail. Our webmail service is also iPhone and Blackberry compatible, so even when you are on the go you can remain in touch.

Furthermore, if you are using a portable device to check your emails, all the devices you use to check your emails will be synchronized. You will never have to re-open and email you have already read, saving you time and effort.

Advanced Spam Filtering ensures that over 98% of spam will never reach you; saving you time and energy. Furthermore, the less spam you have wade through allows you to dedicate more time to genuine business enquiries.

Since establishing our Webmail service over 5 years ago, we have provided 100% uptime for all users. You can rest assured that our reliable hosting will allow you 24h access to your emails!

If you'd like to get setup with our great email service, call the Toolkit Websites Team today on 02380 633644 or read more here:

http://www.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/emailservice
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Scrap the Splash Page!

When creating new websites for clients, we do not add splash pages. Splash pages are the animated intro pages that a visitor sees before they actually get to a website. We're think they look outdated design wise. In fact, they're a waste of time.

Here's why:

Most people will skip it anyway.

If there is a "Skip Intro" link, people click on it. They don't want to have to wait to see the actual content. Newfangled, a web development agency that work with marketing agencies have researched splash page usage and say that actually, 25% of visitors immediately leave a website if they say a splash page. Do you really want 1/4 of all the visitors to your website leaving before they find out what you really offer?

Slow Connection. No Website.
Whilst you might have snazzy broadband, your clients could still have dial up. And that beautiful piece of animation on the splash page will take so long to load on a dial up connection that they too give up on ever finding out about your content.

If It's So Important, Put It On The Homepage!
We understand you're passionate about your business and want to promote the brand you've created. We're passionate about our company too! But the best place for a great animated emotive introduction to your company is on the homepage surrounded by other relevant content.

They Don't Emulate the Navigation on the Rest of the Site.
The average user prefers a website where the navigation is consistent throughout. This means the menu bar, and site links stay in the same place no matter which page you're on, helping a visitor find their way around. A splash page usually has completely different navigation to the rest of the website, making it confusing to the visitor when they finally get to some real content.

Most Importantly - Search Engines HATE Them!
Search engine robots have got really clever in recent years. They now scan your actual website text and content to find out what your website is about and rank your website accordingly. But they're not advanced enough to be able to watch an animation. If your homepage consists of an animation and nothing else, there's nothing there for the search engines to rank. In fact, because they can't see anything on the page with the splash page, they may never look beyond it at all the text that's behind the splash page on the rest of the website.
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The Importance of Planning your Website’s Content

Here in the Toolkit Websites team we love working on exciting new designs and revel in all things visual. However, we also know that good website content is just as important, if not more important, than the design.

We know that when you’ve just purchased web design, navigation and content aren’t necessarily the first things to cross your mind, as Alex, our senior project manager explains:

“Sometimes when I first speak to clients they are really excited about their new website and have lots of great ideas for the design, but when it comes to website content it can be the complete opposite.

It’s important to remember that the primary purpose of a website is to convey information of some kind – imagine your website being like a newly built restaurant with a visually stunning interior. Then imagine sitting down to eat and finding that the menu is back to front and food is terrible. It’s very unlikely that you will want to visit again.

The same can happen on your website, so it’s crucial to think about what you want to primary purpose of your website to be and how you are going to display the information on it.”

Thinking through your website content early on can also really help to speed up the progress of your website build. Clients who come to us with their content already prepared can usually expect a really fast turnaround on their projects, although we appreciate that the thought of sitting down to write website content can be a daunting one.

This is why we’ve written some really helpful guides to help you plan your content, and give you some useful tips when you’re writing it up.

You can view guides on planning website content here:
http://www.toolkitsupport.co.uk

Of course, if you are really having trouble putting your ideas down on paper or just can’t find the time to produce text for a 10 page website, then there is always the option of website copy writing.

They may be able to help you with your content in a number of ways, from writing the text for your whole website to making tweaks to something you’ve already written.

At Toolkit Websites we actually work with a great copywriter, who has helped many of our clients not only write their content, but also optimise it for the Search Engines.


If you would like to find out more about website copy writing, or anything else in this article, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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


If you regularly use Powerpoint to get your business message across, you can now embed your sideshows on your website using SlideShare, an online slideshow sharing service.

You can take a tour of their service here.
And here's one of their slideshows embedded in this blog post.
The technology works in much the same way when you embed a Youtube video on one of your web pages. After upload, SlideShare gives you a snippet of code that you then paste in to the HTML view in the Toolkit. Here's how to find the HTML view in the Toolkit. Why not give it a go?
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We Hate Bad Customer Service!

We don't know about you, but the Toolkit Team hate bad customer service. There's nothing worse when you're trying to get a problem sorted. Reviewing our experiences of other companies, we've put together a list of things that really get us riled:

1. When someone doesn't give you their full attention.

Kitty, one of our project managers, hates it when you're out shopping and the shop assistants carry on their conversation whilst they serve you. How rude! In fact, she dislikes this so intensely that she's made sure we stick to our appointments system in the office to ensure our clients get our undivided attention when we call them, or they call us.

2. When you get transferred and have to explain yourself over and over to each new person on the phone.

We've all experienced being in a queue on the phone, or being passed from one department to another as no one seems to quite know how to deal with your query, but doesn't want to admit it. It's inefficient, and time consuming and boring. We've tried to work on this for our clients by being as transparent as possible. If the person who answers your call can't help you with your query directly, we'll tell you honestly, and then go and find the person who can. If they're not around, we'll make sure they know you called. In fact, that's why if you're a Toolkit Websites client, you might have noticed that we sometimes ask to put you on hold more than on calls to other clients. Our support team is probably running round the office or instant messaging your project manager to make sure they give you the most up to date information.

3. Being a number, not a name.

It's really important to Alex, our senior project manager that she gets to know the clients she's working with, because she really doesn't like it when she gets a newsletter or some direct marketing addressed to "Dear Customer" or "Dear Occupier". We get that we need to relate to you on a personal level to do a great job for your business.

So each client has their dedicated project manager like Alex to make sure there's always someone who understands your vision for your website and your business, and can keep control of the overall project.

4. Missed or delayed appointments.

Isn't it annoying when you turn up for your dentist or doctors appointment and have to wait, sometimes for hours for your slot? Or when you've waited in for a delivery and they never show up? Tristen, our Operations Manager has spent alot of time developing a system to make sure the Toolkit Websites team is always organised and on time. Our clever appointments system even emails us every morning with our calls for the day! We don't want our clients to be waiting for us.

5. Not being able to call a company

Sometimes, when you've got a query, you just want to talk to a real person. You look and look around a company website, but you just can't find a phone number and they're not getting back to your emails. It's just not on! We moved a long time ago to having a local rate number, because we actually want to hear from our clients. Some things are just easier to explain over the phone!

If you're currently working on a website, make sure you put that phone number somewhere prominent too!
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How Long Does It Take to Get Ranked by Google?

The short answer? It depends! We've seen it happen in anything from 8 weeks to 8 months. Millions and millions of new websites go live every day, and it takes the search engines along time to notice a new one!

A new website is considered unpopular, because other websites do not link to it. That is if no other website links to your new website, Google usually will not index it. They may view it every now and again, but they won't include it in search results. This makes perfect sense for two reasons:

1. If nobody except you considers your website useful enough to link to, why should it be important enough to appear in search results?
2. Due to all the spam search engines have to shift through, many new sites will not appear in listings due to a probation period which can last 6 months, a year, or even longer. The only way out is through optimisation and reputation building.

Getting Up There.
As a small business, competing in in the marketplace, you have either be more original than your competitors or spend more on marketing than they do. You need to have high quality original material on your website, and spend time building your brand online.

Find out how competitive your chosen keywords are by searching for them. If the number of results is low, with lots of hard work you should be able to get listed in a couple of months.

If it's a high number, you're going to have to work even harder. As a brand new website owner, you need to see how old your competitors websites are. If they are years old, you're going to have to work at your SEO for a few years if you want to usurp them from that top spot because search engines rate older websites as being more authoritative and rank them more highly.

If the number one slots for your keywords are large corporations, you're not going to be able to outrank them with your new website, simply because they have so much more money to spend on SEO than you. Time to think about what's unique and special about your business, and get a new set of keywords.

We've put together a guide on how you can add your chosen keywords to as many different part of your website as possible using the Toolkit, and how to choose your keywords.

Get Links
It's really important to list your site in a few quality business directories, and add your website address to listings with trade organisations. This provide clean links that link back to your website helping to build credibility with the search engines. You can find links to business directories on our support site.

It's also worth doing a search for business directories in your business area, to see if there are directories that specialise in your sector. For example, we've registered with a number of directories having searched for "web design directories".

Get RegionalAs a UK business owner, you've already got one weapon in your arsenal when it comes to getting picked up on Google. You're not a US business! It's much easier to optimise your website and get ranked for keyword phrases that include a UK location. Get a Google Local listing, and link to your website from that too. You can add your business to Google Local here

So How Long Does It Take Again?
Like we said, no one knows for sure. But if you've optimised your website, got some good links from trade organisations and business directories, and ensured you've got local keywords in your website, we'd expect to see you appearing in the listings about 8 weeks after publication.


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

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Microsoft Telling Users to Consider Other Browsers

Here at Toolkit Websites we have always advocated using Firefox as your primary web browser. Now it seems Microsoft is joining us. Millions of Microsoft users across Europe are going to be offered a choice of browsers.

This is part of Microsoft's ongoing legal case with the European Commission in which they were accused of abusing their position as market leaders by pre-bundling Internet Explorer with their operating systems.

Users will see a message giving them a choice of browsers if they currently have IE set as their default browser.

We heartily welcome this move! As web designers, we find Internet Explorer extremely troublesome as it's not very standards compliant, and some times displays elements of websites in very odd ways. So if you see the message from Microsoft asking you if you want to switch browsers, we advise - Go for Firefox! We use Firefox here in the office, day in and day out and it's faster and less buggy than Internet Explorer. Click on the button to download it. We think you'll thank us!

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

Fears have been raised by the German Government regarding the safety of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Concerns over IE's security have escalated to such an extreme that experts speculate it would be possible for criminals to control people's computers remotely and access private information such as passwords. This month the German Federal Office for Information Security have made a stand to protect potential victims, issuing a warning advising Internet users to find an alternative browser.

Microsoft have conceded that IE was at fault for the recent attack of Google's systems but protest against claims of the continued risk for IE users. Microsoft recommends that users should increase their security settings to avoid serious risk. Doing this canconsequently block some safe websites, making for a difficult browsing experience. Ultimately, increasing security settings on IE is still not a water-tight guarentee to protect all users from attack.

With Microsoft IE prevailing with such a monopoly, it is easy to forget the plethora of alternative browsers on the market; Fire fox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari to name but a few. None of these are vulnerable to the security flaw cuasing such alarm to the German authorities.

The head of Microsoft Uk's Windows Client Group, John Curran has dismissed the need to swap browsers, but many users are moving to these alternative browsers in a bid to protect themselves. The safety scare has come at a very bad time for Microsoft, as Google has just launched a new version of Google Chrome, and the latest release of Mozilla's Firefox has just been released. Firefox is our preferred browser here in the Toolkit Websites office. If you'd like to download a copy and help keep your internet browsing secure, you can do so from:

www.getfirefox.com

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

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Ensure your CMS comes with Passionate Support

Most of our new clients are coming to us asking for websites with a CMS or Content Management System.

Content Management Systems are great. They let you update the text, images and links on your website so you can keep your website updated yourself. Usually they work within a framework on a website, allowing the overall design of the website to remain the same around the updatable content. You get the best of both worlds, a fantastic looking website and control over your website content.

However, not all content management systems are created equal. They all differ in complexity, offering various levels of control over your content. Some of them are free, and some you have to pay for. So what should you look for in a CMS?

Simplicity
The CMS should be easy to use. You should not be daunted by endless jargon or complex menus. It should be web based to make it easy for you to update your website on the go.

Search Engine FriendlyYour CMS must be built to be search engine friendly. It should let you control link title text, image title and alt text, page titles, page aliases and meta keywords and descriptions.

Support
A good CMS should come with great support. Rather than just being a free system bolted on to a website design that leaves you with an unmaintained support forum, you should be looking for passionate client support. Great support means being able to contact a UK based support team by phone and email, and being able to access in depth step by step guides.

Frustrated with a complex content management system of their old website, some of our new clients were amazed when they first had a go at using the Toolkit, our content management system. It's easy to use, and gives you great control over the different areas of a website. It's been built to be search engine friendly, and should you ever get stuck, a friendly UK support team are only a phone call away. We even offer over the phone training using a remote access system to ensure our clients are confident using the Toolkit.

Come to Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK for a website with a content management system that can help your business grow.

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