Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Website of the Week - Action Fitness

This week's Website of the Week goes to Action Fitness for their editable and update-friendly website with memorable branding. The website is five pages big but the client will be able to easily alter and add to any of those pages with anything they want and have it be a perfect representation of the Action Fitness Brand going forward. The colour scheme, logo and images all add to the branding strength of this attractive site.

Stephen Hope, the founder of Action Fitness, is a former soldier with the elite Light Infantry (now the rifles). Whilst serving in this demanding role he developed a passion for physical training. He now offers everything from Boot Camp Classes to Personal Training Sessions with a special interest in the benefits of Kettlebells to anyone who is looking to have fun and get fit. To quote Stephen himself, ' IF FITNESS ISN'T FUN THEN YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.'

The first thing you notice about this site is its branding. A combination of a strong colour scheme in a simple layout means that it truly makes an impact and stays with you which is key in circulating the presence of your business and the services you offer on the web. The bright orange text logo stating the name of Action Fitness is extremely brandable and can be easily applied across any and all media and merchandise for promoting purposes. The orange itself brilliantly catches the eye yet compliments the teal green of the background and makes the three homepage icons stand out very handsomely. The Premier Qualified logo was also inventively tweaked by our Design Team to suit this bold theme.

The very idea of the orange was brought about by the use of the very striking stock image photo you see as the off-set background. Using stock images and stock image sites such as Shutterstock (the one we prefer for our projects) is a great way to give some life to the design of your website as well as give you some ideas on what you can do with regards to the look, feel and overall tone. Such as in this case, a well chosen stock image of your choice could be the inspiration for your whole brand.

It was lovely to hear that the client was pleased with the website and the overall experience, stating:

"I don't think you could improve on anything, everyone is very helpful."



To read more about how images can help make your website, read our previous blog post below:

http://blog.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/2008/11/images-that-sell.html

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Designers in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Website of the Week - Down The Line Sports


http://www.downthelinesports.com/

This week's Website of the Week goes to Down The Line Sports for their vibrant, action-packed and welcoming website. Its unique colour-scheme, quirky features and captivating photos ooze enthusiasm for sun, school and sport. It makes for a brilliant browsing experience for anyone looking to learn or improve their game of tennis in a gorgeous location with friendly people.

Down The Line Sports offer everything from personal tennis lessons to tennis holidays abroad! They can teach their clients one-on-one or even teach a group of friends on a vacation of their choice. They specialise in children's tennis and even offer the chance for young tennis enthusiasts to stay and train at an academy in Spain. The company is fronted by Rowan Moss, experienced and dedicated coach of every type of student from beginners to experts and children to adults. The company is organised and structured by his wife Nicky Moss, a tennis coach and expert in her own right.

Of course, the first thing that catches your eye about this website is the brightly coloured design and custom layout. The yellow, green and orange featured in the logo is used throughout and nicely matches the high-quality, high-impact action shot background. The Header, Content and Footer are nicely separated into different translucent blue sections and are punctuated throughout with delightful photos of the classes Rowan and Nicky have run.

The content of this website is also rich with links to other pages from beginning to end and keywords that describe the services that Down The Line Sports offer. This is excellent for Search Engine Optimisation purposes and will ultimately help to improve Down the Line's place in the Search Result Lists so that students and future students will be able to find them quickly and easily, and  generate as much online interest for Rowen and Nicky as possible.

Down The Line Sports were delighted with their new website and expressed tremendous gratitude.

"There's nothing to improve on. The friendly professional service is first class. They were super efficient and a real pleasure to work with. Thank you so much!"

We at Toolkit Websites were very pleased to hear such kind words and very grateful that Nicky and Rowan chose us for this project. 

To read some tips on how you can easily improve the SEO of your own website, read our blog post below:


Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design company in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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November's Website of the Month: Spires Engineering

 


This week’s Website is our Website for the Month of November and it goes to the professional and informative website of Spires Engineering. The website makes nice use of its Pro-Pack with topic-relevant, custom headers-per-page and drop-down menus to organise its training information. As the client has been let down in the past by other web design companies, the whole team at Toolkit worked hard to prove that building a website can be a rewarding experience and that for us, the client was worth working hard for. The website is a great example of the Customer Support that we are well known for and that we are proud of.

Spires Engineering is a leading Dassault approved CATIA and NASTRA/PATRAN training provider based in Oxfordshire, Bristol and London. They specialise in CATIA V5/V6 design methodology and stress analysis for automotive, aircraft and mechanical design engineers. Their clients benefit from the wealth of expertise accumulated from over thirty years of international experience of working with major OEMs.

You’ll notice the overall look and feel of this website is very smart and well-dressed. The background of the website features a subtle, watermarked version of the client’s logo. This, combined with the polished and professional looking blue buttons with a neat hover-over-effect at the top of major pages, really make the most of the custom page dressing that has been applied and the matching icons and page separators that have been used.




Spires Engineering also chose to go with our Pro-Pack, which gives them the added options of having different headings on every page as well as having dynamic drop down menus under any menu item. Having custom headers per page is a great idea. It adds variety to the website user’s browsing experience and gives the page more visual impact as the image can be made to individually suit the content. The client also has the ability to update these going forward in The Toolkit resulting in an easy way to refresh the look of their website at any time going forward.

Spires Engineering was very happy with the build process as well as the finished product, stating that we demonstrated “frequent contact and friendly service” before giving us 4 stars overall.



To read more about why great Customer Service is so important to us, read our past blog post here.

http://blog.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/2010/03/we-hate-bad-customer-service.html



Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Designer in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Website of the Week - The Paul O'Grady Show



This week’s Website of the Week goes to The Paul O’Grady Show. This website’s design as well as its build process can only be described as passionate and show-stopping. It was an incredible feat of organisation and teamwork from everyone involved and was completed in a record-breaking one day! This was quite an achievement for Toolkit Websites and we are very proud to present this website to you to explore and hopefully come back and visit regularly in the future.

The birth of this website marks the return of The PaulO’Grady Show to ITV. Beloved comedian, Paul O’Grady, delights viewers every weekday at 5pm with a variety of entertainment including performances from current musical artists, light-hearted talks with special guests and even competitions for viewers at home to take part in. As well as needing a complete website within a short time, the client also needed to be able to update the content frequently, announcing the line-up for the show every day ready for the evening show.

Both the design and the content of the website are strong and are an asset to the programme itself. All elements of the custom dressed Home Page will be instantly recognizable to viewers of the show and can be identified from the opening credits to actual set pieces used. It makes the most of the dramatic logo that features the show’s title as well as the theatre-esque background and the ‘name in lights’ font style. It all follows this elaborate broadway theme right down to the smallest detail; note in particular the charming, custom social media and email icons.

The design of course is crucial to this website’s championing of The Paul O’Grady Show, but it is the content that adds the substance. Using The Toolkit Editor, the client is free to add relevant information, links to supporting sites and even create new pages, at will. This is a great opportunity for a programme that is shown on a daily basis as it keeps viewers informed, updated and even adds that little extra sense of a shared experience through the mighty network that is the World Wide Web. For example, if you take a look at the site currently, you will notice a page has been especially created detailing information about the endearing dogs that were featured on Monday’s episode for the people at home and potential new owners.

Overall, it’s obvious that while The Paul O’Grady Show and this website were created to entertain, with its rich design and strong branding, it only decorates its heart and true purpose which is to bring happiness to homes around the country and to raise awareness on issues very close to the client’s heart; all of which is perfectly embodied by the picture of its two stars found on the Home Page.

The client was also happy with the site, stating that they found the whole process positive and that they were especially impressed by our ‘fast and professional response’ before giving us 5 stars.

Read a previous blog post here that talks about other instances in which Toolkit Websites went above and beyond to meet tight deadlines.

http://blog.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/2010/08/going-above-and-beyond-to-meet-tight.html

And to visit the actual website of The Paul O’Grady Show as mentioned on the programme itself, click on the address below:

http://www.paulogrady.info/

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Website of the Week - Forge Ahead

http://www.forge-ahead.co.uk

This week’s Website of the Week deservedly goes to ForgeAhead. On the outset, a website that presents a very creative and high-impact design but in actuality is an extremely simple layout that will be optimally user-friendly when updating as the client and his business inevitably grows and evolves. Encouragingly, interest in this was expressed even prior to the publishing of the site. 


The philosophy of Forge Ahead is stated clearly and proudly in the logo’s tagline. ‘Oldschool Methods and Contemporary Science.’ This epitimises what the client is trying to achieve and completely reflects his knowledge and experience in his field. It’s not just about getting fit with Forge Ahead. Emphasis is placed on motivation as well as building character and they specialise in all areas from weight loss and general strength improvement to boxing technique and padwork. 


Looking at the website you will notice that a very nostalgic and vintage look has been applied to all focal points. This immediately draws in and appeals to fitness enthusiasts and novices alike. The header of the website is a simple, black and white photo of a boxer, relatable yet inspirational all at once and pleasantly accented by a shock of blue from the side-positioned menu. The menu enhances the vintage and raw feel of the site’s design with a texturised outline while also supporting the logo.


The logo design itself is the heart of the website and where the overall look and feel began. It was designed specifically for this client on their suggestions and preferences. As mentioned before it features the all-important moto of the business as well as a ‘catchy’ and very brand-friendly symbol, useful for smaller products. As our logos are all made in high-resolution, this can now easily be used across all forms of branding from small merchandise to large print advertising. The main text font is another key element that pays tribute to the old-fashioned feel and love of the sport that many of Forge Ahead’s clientele will be especially fond of and be motivated by.


We’re happy to say the client was very pleased with their website stating,

“The whole service is amazing and everything is great from the prices to the help I’ve received,”

and gave us 4 and a half stars.




To read more about how important a logo is to your company and your website, read our previous blog post here:




To visit and experience the website of Forge Ahead yourself, please visit the link below:

http://www.forge-ahead.co.uk


Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Website of the Week - A White Wedding

http://www.awhiteweddingshop.co.uk/
This week’s Website of the Week goes to the redesigned site of A White Wedding. A very pro-active client and strong existing brand meant that the entire redesign process took a mere 4 days to complete! As quickly and as painlessly as possible, so as not to waste any time, we worked hard with this loyal client on a new flattering look to stun potential online customers.


There are many reasons why a website might go through a redesign and they are all important and worth considering throughout the lifespan of your website. It might be that the design looks dated and needs a moremodern and relevant appearance. Or, it might be because your company or business has changed or evolved its branding in some way and therefore needs its online presence to reflect this. Whatever the reason, with Toolkit Websites and our Redesign Service, your website can evolve with your company and the technology that is available today and even years from now.


http://www.awhiteweddingshop.co.uk/contactA White Wedding had a very strong idea of what they wanted the site to look like. Using a combination of influences from other admired websites to the colour scheme of the shop’s face itself, we were able to come up with an attractive yet simple design. In this case, the redesign was requested by a new owner of the business who had some new ideas and a fresh outlook on the website as a whole. 


They took over the project with keen interest and enthusiasm, even writing and placing their own content on pages throughout the build process. The home page makes use of some custom Page Dressing for dramatic effect while the other pages are left to be created by the client who has already demonstrated a great understanding of editing their own website using The Toolkit. This is a perfect example of a client who wants to learn how to use The Toolkit to keep the content of their website as up-to-date as its design. The client also understands how having a grasp of Social Media, and making frequent updates can have a significant impact on how well your website performs in the eyes of the Search Engines


Since the site was finished, the client has also kept the site updated. For example, even stating when there are any last minute changes to the shop’s opening hours. Any and all updates, no matter how small will make a huge difference to how successful your website is and ultimately will provide the maximum traffic for your business. 

The client was very happy with the new look, stating:

"Thank you for your help and the quick turn around. I will recommend you to anyone I know who needs a website building. It looks really good."


Read more about how Redesigns are vital in making and keeping your website successful on our Support Site here:


To see more of the redesigns Toolkit Websites has carried out in the past, see the link below:





Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Designers based in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Website of the Week - Lynne Morgan

This week’s Website of the Week goes to the beautiful and endearing website of Lynne Morgan. Named after the talented dress maker and designer behind the company, this website was built with a clear purpose in mind: to showcase the beautiful dresses that Lynne produces and to strengthen the brand surrounding a business which is obviously more than an occupation to Lynne and very close to her heart.

Lynne Morgan is a professional Bridal Wear designer and dressmaker. She has over 20 years of experience in dreaming up and creating perfect dresses for her brides from her private studio in Cardiff, South Wales. Her philosophy is to ensure one to one attention with her clients in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Ultimately, she wants to make the experience of having a dress designed and made a memorable part of the big day itself.

The most astounding thing about this particular website is that the build process took only 13 days to complete! The client was extremely organised and was very helpful throughout, whether it be with providing content, or even just when asking for our opinion and giving feedback on any design choices. This website proves that quality need not be lost when time is a factor regarding a project.

Looking at the website, the strength of Lynne Morgan’s branding is in the detail. Everything from the watermarked, delicate background and accented lilac to the integration of Social Media used. The menu bar is a great example of this and is a true feature of the site. It takes up quite a lot of the top portion of the header and initially uses the beautiful background image that is also reminiscent of the script-like text logo. When you go to select a menu item, it then flashes bright lilac – the signature colour of Lynne’s brand and the colour she favours.  

You will also notice the embedded Facebook Feed on the About Us page. This gives the happy brides and other clients of Lynne a chance to share photos and thoughts from their big days using their own Facebook access which is then automatically updated on the website itself through the feed! It’s a great way to create a fiercely close and loyal customer-base. This is another great example of how this business and website is more than just a profession to our client, Lynne.

It’s also worth mentioning the importance of the images on this website. They were all taken and in some cases even drawn by the client herself! For such a personal touch, we thought it was very deserving of the Light Box Gallery effect. If you visit the gallery of the site and click on one of the images, you will see that they pleasantly reveal the image in full and are highlighted by a darkened background. This is a great way to emphasise these wonderful pictures and happy memories.

Lynne was as pleased with her site as we were, giving the build 5 stars and stating:

“I can't think of any way that Toolkit could be improved upon. So far the service has been excellent from the first conversation with Remko, through the build with Lanara to the finished result. Everyone has been friendly and efficient throughout and has demonstrated prompt professionalism. If there is anything I’m unsure about, I know a quick phone call would put my mind at rest. Thank you.”


To read more about the importance of branding and your website, read our previous blog post here:



Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design company in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Website of the Week - Centre Stage: School of Performing Arts


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After
This week’s Website of the Week goes to the redesigned website of Centre Stage: School of Performing Arts. It utilizes a very flexible webpage layout and structure whilst making the most of its solid branding. Overall, it is an excellent platform, for an already successful and lively school of performing arts, to advertise what they have to offer to potential new students and bright young talent.

Established in 1999, Centre Stage now provides training to in excess of 300 students, aged from 4 to 18, all of whom attend various part-time courses including drama, singing and dance. Centre Stage strives to offer a creative and high standard of teaching within the disciplines of Performing Arts. It is their goal to develop students’ understanding of the Arts, expand performance ability and increase self confidence through learning.

Before
As soon as you come upon the home-page you are immediately hit with an assortment of Drop-down menus running along the top of the page as well as custom-to-page sidebars running down the left hand section. Both of these features come with our Pro-pack which gives you more options when making changes to your site in The Toolkit. As a result, Centrestageuk.com is a hub of information from all sides and gives the website user an immediate and complete account of everything the school has to offer. Centre Stage also has the ability to edit and change all of these should they ever create new content and pages for the site later on. 

Ultimately, the redesign was shaped in large part using existing products that already used a recognisable colour scheme, logo and layout. Centre Stage already had a Prospectus, a Business Card and an Application Form that use the familiar looking design you now see displayed across every page. This is key in creating a strong brand and a professional looking company. Rightly so, all forms of their brand make use of their well known patrons, Carrie and David Grant and you can see this reference and photos of them in the header of the website at all times.

Centre Stage, were really happy with the build process, and specifically the way that we easily understood what they wanted. They were also impressed by the communication in general throughout the project.

To see more of the redesigns Toolkit Websites has carried out in the past, see the link below:

http://www.toolkitsupport.co.uk/redesigns

And to see the website of Centre Stage: School of Performing Arts yourself, click here:

http://www.centrestageuk.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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Redesign of the Week - Ashton Dennis Consultancy Recruitment

After
This week’s Redesign of the Week goes to Ashton Dennis Consultancy Recruitment Solutions for their minimalist and modern looking website that also makes use of some fantastic special features.  It maintains an overall professional look and feel and uses some key design characteristics and functions to command a strong online presence as a professional business.

Before
Ashton Dennis is a specialist recruitment consultancy, dedicated to placing highly skilled candidates into the right roles. Their work ethics are based on honesty and integrity, and they relish the challenges that working with a diverse range of clients can bring. They provide support to their clients every step of the process, from analysing what roles would be best for an individual to briefing them on how to perform in a job interview. They recruit all across various Media, Publishing  and other creative industries, so if this is your field, they are the experts to help you. Overall, they provide clients with an exceptional service that sees recruitment goals become a reality and as such, would benefit from a website that reflects their professionalism.

The original website was built in 2010 and though the website looked great then, as we all know, style and fashion can become outdated very quickly. This is also the case when it comes to websites but one of the great things about having your website with Toolkit Websites is we can offer you our Redesign Service whenever you feel your website needs a certain refresh and style update.

Firstly, a few feature updates have been made to make the website easier for candidates and clients of Ashton Dennis to browse. A minimalistic-looking News Headline box can be found on the Home Page and will automatically update with new articles concerning the world of Media and Publishing. But, most important is the new, customised, and very handy Search Bar that lets users of the website look through various job roles they may be interested in. This is both figuratively and literally the heart and centre of the website. As you will see it is placed in the very middle of each and every web page and has access to all job opportunities for the candidates of Ashton Dennis to browse.

One of the main things you will notice about the new Ashton Dennis site is the very modern use of black and white which is consistent across the website. Furthermore, all images make use of softer rounded corners and you will also notice the tasteful use of a key accent colour (yellow) in the header image as well as certain linked buttons.

Read our Blog post here to learn other ways our Redesign Service can give new life to your website:


Also, see the links below if you’re interested in looking at some other great examples of past Redesigns of ours:



Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Website of the Week - Open Road Driver Training

This week’s Website of the Week is Open Road Driver Training for their incredibly informative and feature-rich website. The client has made the most of their online presence through custom forms, practical plug-ins and external links that make it as easy as possible for learner drivers with Open Road to get organised. The website covers all areas of access from booking their lessons to practising for their Theory Tests and more.

Open Road Driver Training is run by Leigh Bliss, an experienced and trusted driving instructor. Leigh makes learning to drive a great experience for her clients with a great instructor attitude and personal characteristics coupled with effective lesson planning. Overall, Open Road just want their students to experience a safe and comfortable environment while learning the skills needed to become a confident driver.

From the moment you land on the website, you will notice the colourful design with its trademark wavy ‘road’ shaped symbol (as seen in the logo) used throughout alongside the colour scheme of red, orange and grey. However, a brilliant design should always come second to praiseworthy functionality and this is exactly what this website brings to the table. This website not only compliments and advertises the company, attracting future clients, it also makes the most of a number of online tools for its existing clients. Including the following:

  • A number of Custom Forms that allow clients to submit inquiries, request a call-back, purchase gift vouchers and even refer a friend
in order to obtain vouchers and half-price lessons!
  • An Instructor
  • and Pupil Private Log-In area on the Driving Instructor Services website. (This allows the scheduling and cancelling of driving lessons.)
  • External links to studying for and taking an online free mock Theory Test
  • External links to the gov.uk website to apply for a Provisional License or to book Theory and Practical Tests online
  • Many external links to companies that offer and information on how to apply for Learner Driver Insurance
  • Links to other useful and official information including the Highway Code and Traffic Signs
  • An interactive, embedded Google Map
  • displaying the location and surrounding area
  • And finally, a Website Feedback Form.

  • As you can see, the website of Open Road Driver Training provides access to everything their students may need in one place. This website is not just a way to attract business but is the heart of the business itself. Anyone looking for a Driving Instructor who comes across this site will immediately be impressed by everything Open Road has made use of.

    There are many ways you can utilise what other websites have to offer to improve your own website. The Toolkit makes it easy for you to embed any plug-in or widget you desire and increase the functionality of your site. It’s worth looking at what related sites have to offer you. You could include anything from an embedded Twitter or Facebook Feed, a Youtube Video or Google Map to a weather widget for your sailing company or a booking facility for your hairdressing site. The possibilities are endless and are just waiting for you to discover what’s out there.


    Open Road Driver Training were very happy with the build process of their website saying:


    “The whole team are incredibly efficient and helpful. My Project Manager, Lanara, was able to explain the various stages simply for a newbie to website building. If she was ever away from the office, other Toolkit staff were always ready and willing to step in to answer queries and keep the build progressing. Thank you so much for all your help.”

    Before giving a 4.5 Star Rating:
     

     


    Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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    Website of the Week - Euro UK Moves Group Ltd


    Our website of the week this week goes to Euro UK Moves Group Ltd on the basis of their flattering redesign and complimentary mobile site. Google recently discovered that eight million people in the UK access the Internet from their smartphone every day and as 7 in 10 People in the UK now own a smartphone, it’s become more important than ever to talk about the business potential a mobile site could bring to your company.

    Euro UK Moves Group Ltd are a removals and storage company based in the heart of Staines, Surrey. They aim to not only move all your furniture for you but also take care of you from start to finish. On the whole, they understand that every move is different and want to make sure to create a package tailored to each individual client’s need. With this as their philosophy, a multi-device website was one of their main objectives during the site’s redesign.

    By having a mobile site, Euro UK Moves Group Ltd has ensured that the viewing of euro-ukmovesgroup.co.uk is as interactive as possible across any device their clients might potentially use to seek out their services - each varying in screen size and performance capability. The mobile site was custom-designed by our own Team at Toolkit Websites to support the branding of the existing website. You can see a recognizable gold bar at the top in both versions as well as the same header animation which appears to change even in mobile phone browsers due to the mobile-friendly technology we use.

    When you first visit the mobile site, you are at the outset greeted by a thumb-friendly menu. This makes navigation of the site on a small screen pleasing and convenient for anyone out and about or on the go. The text is also displayed much larger than on the desktop version of the site so there is no need for the user to be constantly zooming in and out to navigate and overall is more suited to the more portrait shape of a mobile screen. Mobile sites are also easy to update using The Toolkit as any changes made on the desktop version will automatically update the mobile version too!

    Looking at the image above, a few of you Apple fans might have noticed that we're already using the new iOS7 in our blog entry this month! To see more examples of the mobile sites we have designed at Toolkit Websites and see how they differ from PC counterparts, see our Portfolio here:


    If you’re interested in improving your company’s online presence, read a bit a more about how to optimise your site for mobile devices in our previous blog post here:


    To have a look at Euro UK Moves Group Ltd’s mobile site, click on the link below in your phone’s browser:

    http://www.euro-ukmovesgroup.co.uk/

    Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Website Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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    Mid Month Blog - Benefits to Blogging


    Blog your way up the rankings

    Blogging has been one of the most enduring creations of the internet age. With a simple but powerful platform for self-expression, a wave of writing that’s unparalleled in human history has been unleashed. Blogging is also a brilliant tool for business: companies can become individual and personal, show their expertise and talk to their customers. It’s also a great – and simple and cheap – way to send your site shooting up the search engine rankings.

    Toolkit helps make business blogging easy. We use the Blogger platform from Google but personalise it and bring it into your site so that your branding remains smart and consistent.

    First, the hard business sense. Search engines love a good blog. Regularly publishing new content is one of their first recommendations to site owners. If you write good, informative copy people will link to and share your content further increasing your rankings. Leaving your blog on one of the free platforms – Blogger or WordPress for example – will lend them the power of your links, which is why Toolkit will bring your blog onto your main site.

    Now, the softer side of blogging. And that’s key. Give your business a face and a personality and people are more likely to buy from you. It’s a two-way thing too; customers can comment on your posts and start a dialogue. Huge corporations invest vast sums in trying to personalise themselves, inventing Kwik Fit Fitters, 118 men and the like. As a small business, you don’t have to, so take advantage of it.

    Make your blog useful. Offer tips and hints, giving away a couple of trade secrets will be well worth your while both in popularity on the web and on the bottom line.

    Running a blog will demand a bit of effort on your part and if you’re not able to post regularly, which means at least once a week, then it’s probably best not to bother. An irrelevant, months old post at the top of your blog will be perceived as negatively as reacting smartly to the latest industry news will be positively.

    Some tips for good blogging.

    Be regular, be useful and be entertaining. Keep your content lively and interesting and people will come back. Videos and photographs are very easy to upload too.

    Think like a customer. Try to think what people want to know about your area of business and how they ask search engines to tell them. Be sure to include that sort of phrasing in your copy.

    Don’t hide your light. Submit your blog to relevant directories to push it up the Google rankings. And use the Google Author programme to have your expertise recognised, once you’re registered all you have to do is sign all your posts.

    Enjoy it. Most people who run their own businesses do it because they love it. Tell people, no one wants to engage with an unhappy tradesman going through the motions. Show that you care and what you learn along the way. This is your chance to tell your story and people love stories.

    Find out more information about our own Blogging Service via:


    Call us now on 02380 633644 to ask about setting up a blog on your site.


    Get in touch with Toolkit Websites, Web Designers in Southampton, Hampshire, UK.
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    Website of the Week - Hot Wok Kitchen

    Our Website of the Week this week goes to Hot Wok Kitchen for their quirky and utterly unique design. This kind of website was made to catch the eye of potential clients and make the browsing of its 10 pages a fun and interactive experience for customers of all ages. In their own words, the website was made to match the ‘high-impact branding’ of the business.

    Lee Kum Kee's Hot Wok Kitchen is a ready made branded concept that provides caterers with a front of house solution that fits into any food serving area. From Education to Business & Industry, Leisure to Outdoor Catering, the Hot Wok Kitchen team provides operators with support and materials that ensures effective on-site communication and sales demand! With such an accessible sales pitch, the client needed an appetising and attention-grabbing site.

    Five pages of this website were designed completely to the client’s specifications and included bespoke page dressing so that they stood out layout-wise from the average website. You can see this most obviously in action on the homepage where the appealing Slider Image, with its modern look and unique shape, is also extremely navigationally-friendly. Each slide, when clicked on, takes the website user to the relevant internal page. Using this strategy a web-page can use a whole variety of shapes, textures, fonts and special effects. The possibilities are endless!

    For such an active company, a Blog Set-Up is also a great idea. With Hot Wok Kitchen on a campaign to promote the benefits of noodle-based Street Food to youngsters as well as working adults, their blog will give them a voice to broadcast new recipes, tips news and even special events. Having a blog is a great way to discuss your company’s philosophy as well as form a close and personal relationship with your customer-base.

    To read more about why a Blog Set-Up is such a great idea for you, read OUR blog here:

    The client, Hot Wok Kitchen, were very happy with their website and stated that they found our team ‘very responsive and patient’ before giving us 5 stars for the build process.
     



    Toolkit Websites are expert web designers in Southampton, Hampshire, UK. Get in touch to see how we can help your business grow.
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    Website of the Week - Inspired Experiences Limited

    This week’s Website of the Week goes to Inspired Experiences Limited for their uniquely colour-schemed site and their creative use of stock images. The client was very involved with the build of their website and offered their own creative input on the project from day one which made the process fantastic for both parties.

    Inspired Experiences itself, is a team of expert consultants and coaches who design and deliver programs to develop high performing, customer focused culture in organizations. 

    Julie Robinson, the founder and our liaison on the build of the website, has extensive corporate experience and has held a number of senior roles in customer services, operations and transformation and planning.  At Virgin Atlantic she worked with Richard Branson to develop and deliver the branded customer experience that has been a key element of Virgin’s style and success.


    The client specifically requested a grey and orange colour scheme which, as you can see, really stands out from the crowd and is a very rare choice when it comes to company colours. This palette was then used consistently across the logo, text and even the images on the site. The client even provided visual content themselves in the form of resourcefully modified stock images that were created in simple image editing software available to anyone.

    With Toolkit Websites it’s completely up to each client how much control they want over the design and layout of their website. We make the site bespoke to you and can offer as much or as little input as you want. With regards to design, there are a wealth of different resources at your disposal: everything from the experienced opinions and insights of your very own Project Manager to helpful Stock Image websites which can provide material or offer inspiration depending on what you require.

    Inspired Experiences Limited were very happy with their website, stating:
    “Your people are great and ‘The Check-list’ is very helpful in understanding, from beginning to end, everything that you have to do. You can see where you stand throughout the project.”

    For a few more tips on great Web Design and how you can improve the design of your site yourself, read our blog post here:



    Toolkit Websites are expert website designers in Southampton, Hampshire, UK. Get in touch to see how we can help your business grow. 
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    Website of the Week - Fridlington Farms Ltd


    Our website of the week this week goes to Fridlington Farm's scenic yet information-rich site. It's a perfect example of how high-quality content, great photos supplied by the client and a couple of carefully selected upgrades can give a website character and make a business very well-represented. Going forward with their website, the client will always be the one that is in control of what their website says about them. 

    A Content Management System (or, CMS like The Toolkit) doesn't have to be complicated and with a bit of practice, anyone can soon have access to endless amounts of content and feature possibilities that make their web-pages stand out from the competition. During the build process of Fridlington Farms, all special features were created with that simple fact in mind.
    The first feature we want to mention is the Bespoke Map Illustration, which is essentially, an Interactive Map on the History page. The page displays the land of Fridlington Farms but when each section is clicked on, information relevant for that section pops out of the page in a Fancybox window. These pop-ups can be easily edited within The Toolkit when and as many times as the client wants.

    The second feature worth highlighting is the use of In Page Galleries. This
     organises all of Friddlington Farm's lovely images beautifully and makes it very easy for website users to scroll through them at a leisurely pace. Just like the Interactive Map, these galleries are easy for the client to manage and update later down the line should they want to.

    Remember, no matter how many or how few upgrades and features you choose for your site, our Passionate Support Team at Toolkit Websites are always here to help you every step of the way and will help you make the most of your Toolkit and all its potential.

    Fridlington Farms Ltd were very happy with their website saying:

    "Everything done was very well done.  The staff are extremely helpful. They are very interested in getting exactly what you want done. It was top quality help."

    Before giving 4.5 stars for the build of their website.


     

    Read more about why using a Content Management System like The Toolkit and having control over the content of your own website is such a great idea in our blog post here.

    http://blog.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/2013/07/new-cms-as-easy-as-abc.html

    You visit the Site of Fridlington Farms Ltd itself here:

    http://www.fridlingtonfarms.co.uk/


    Toolkit Websites is an expert web design company in Southampton, Hampshire, UK. Get in touch to see how we can help your business grow. 
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    Mid Month Blog - Business Class Emails


    Business class mail services are more than just a smart address

    The first lesson of marketing is that everything you do – every letter, every phone call, every Facebook update – should be considered a marketing opportunity. Using business class email will give your electronic messages a professional look and feel that’s priceless, but which comes at a surprisingly low cost. Ask yourself if you can afford to leave this vital means of communication in the hands of free services with millions upon millions of users and nowhere to turn if something goes wrong.

    Toolkit offers email hosting that not only looks great but also comes with unbeatable reliability, top-of-the-range support services and the highest levels of security. All this comes for just £5 per month for each mailbox with a suite of added extras that you’ll soon wonder how you ever did without.

    Every scammer on the web uses the free mail services. An @hotmail.com or @gmail.com address, of course, doesn’t mean you’re flogging the keys to the national bank of Nigeria, but if you want your business to look professional, stable and trustworthy you should think about avoiding them. You need your domain name in your address if you’re to be taken seriously.

    Beyond this cosmetic advantage, hosted email is safer for you and your customers. Toolkit uses Rackspace hosting and guarantees 100% uptime. You’ll never be without your mail because if there are any problems Toolkit’s staff are at the end of a phone line to help immediately. 

    We’ve all received the odd messages from friends followed by an apologetic ‘I’ve been hacked’ mail. Like the WordPress content management system we discussed in a previous post, popularity has made Hotmail (350 million users) and the like a honey pot for hackers. Just last April, a bug let hackers in and left Microsoft scrambling for a fix. Hosted mail has much better security controls.

    You’ll also be better protected from spam and viruses. Spam is believed to make up 85% of all email sent, and it’s a time-wasting pain in the inbox. With 45 tests on every email, Toolkit gives you a 98% success rate with its filters, and you can control exactly how they work through an easy-to-use dashboard. Spam will waste valuable time, but a virus can cripple your business, so Toolkit’s hosted mail puts all messages – in and outgoing – through a four stage virus scan to keep you and your customers safe.

    One of the beauties of Hotmail et al is their universal accessibility. You can keep that with Toolkit’s system, so if you’re out on the road with just a phone you can still use almost every feature of the system.

    There are a lot of added extras too. List management is a vital marketing tool and that comes as part of the contacts package. A state-of-the-art calendar lets you set up and share your schedule with colleagues. Keep on top of your to do list with the task management system. And, the search feature is fast and accurate.

    Everything is backed with Toolkit’s Passionate Service promise, quick, helpful support from the people who manage your email services on a daily basis.
     
    Toolkit Websites is an expert website design company based in Southampton, Hampshire, UK. Get in touch to see how we can help your business grow.
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    Website of the Week - CJ Underwood

    In our Website of the Week blog entry last time, we talked about how Toolkit Websites can benefit larger and or growing companies. However, what Toolkit Websites ultimately specialises in, is supporting the small business man and, as is the case this week, business woman.

    Our Website of this Week goes to CJ Underwood. The client is a talented novelist who has recently written a historical novel about a heroic woman from Haarlam, a small town in the Netherlands, who raises an army of brave female soldiers to protect their beloved home town from attacking Spanish Invaders.

    The client was in need of a simple yet unique website in keeping with her budget to set the mood of her book. The purpose of the site was to circulate news of the publication among fans of the genre while giving potential fans and customers the chance to find out about the rich, empowering and historical background of the book and its strong female characters.

    When looking at the homepage of the website, you will first notice the beautiful background, a painting depicting the Battle of Haarlemmermeer, which is the setting of the book. Though the background is set as this simple image, the website user is instantly taken back in time to when the story takes place.

    Another simple yet effect design choice featured on the website includes the logo, made from basic text but which results in a creative, signature-like effect, appropriate for an aspiring author. Add to that, an aged parchment effect on the edges of the content area and unique, textured Social Media logos and you have a very simple website, that uses modern techniques to construct a very historical experience.

    The client was very happy with the end result saying:

    “I received help on an ongoing basis, and nothing was too much trouble. Lanara was knowledgeable, professional and understood the needs of a new author. I love the look and feel of my website, and could never have done such a great job on my own.”


    The client gave a perfect 5 stars for the build of her site.


     

    Read a past blog of ours, here, going through a few expert tips on web design for small businesses:

    http://blog.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/2013/04/guides-to-web-design.html




    Toolkit Websites, web designers in Southampton, Hampshire, UK. Get in touch to see how we can help your business grow. 
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    Website of the Week - Williams Shipping

    Williams Shipping operate a range of marine services including barge and workboat charters across the UK and Europe. They are known for assessing and modernising their equipment and ensure the highest levels of crew training in order to maintain their excellent track record for safety, reliability and quality.

    For such a large and connected company, they required a website that would give their clients and potential clients the same kind of ease of access to their services and information. 


    Our Website of the Week is actually one of a group of websites that all stem from one main home site of Williams Shipping. The three websites that we have built for them can be viewed via the links below.


    As you can see they are all nicely uniform but feature their own specialist content relevant to that particular part of the company as well as small individual design differences that also make each site unique.

    Of course when you have such a large map of information you need a way to make it as easy as possible for your customers to navigate. The Williams Shipping site features a useful Search tool that is available at all times in the header of the website. This search bar will search for any inputted keywords throughout the titles and body of the websites' content and list search results for the viewer to browse. 



    This is a great example of how Toolkit Websites can help even a large-scale company that is made up of many different sectors and areas grow and develop.

    We don't just leave our clients at the door after your website's build. Toolkit Websites will help you with any support you require in the future and can help your website to grow with your company going forward. Read more about this in our blog post here:

    http://blog.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/2013/06/toolkit-websites-dont-wave-customers.html

    Toolkit Websites are expert website designers in Southampton, Hampshire, UK. Get in touch to see how we can help your business grow.  
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