Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Website of the Week: Hallam Read


Hallam Read are Quantity Surveyors that also manage the projects they work on.

With significant experience in development and construction, both directly and for clients, Hallam Read can relate wholly to construction contractors, developers, land owners, PLCs, individual property owners, banks and lawyers, co-ordinating the challenging requirements of all parties effectively.

Hallam Read wanted to improve on their existing website and represent themselves more professionally to possible developers and private investors. If you have an existing website, Toolkit Websites can look to this for inspiration. Whether you want an existing site updated, or something completely different, we can cater to your re-design needs. This was the case for Hallam Read; we took all the personality and reputation encapsulated by the old design and simply updated it and made it more modern-looking. It was also requested that we do the same with the logo to create a complimentary and harmonious experience for web page viewers.

Toolkit Websites will also work with you even further down the line if you ever feel like changing with the times and re-designing your website again, and as we all know, the digital world is constantly changing. Keeping up-to-date will also help your search-engine listings.

Another noteworthy feature of this website are the attractive In-page galleries which further modernise the design of this website. These make it possible for clients to view featured properties from all angles with ease while scrolling through the pictures to view close up details.

Read more about why re-designing and updating your website is so important when it comes to your business, in our blog.

Hallam Read are extremely happy with the end results of the website saying;

“We found the service and customer support second to none. There are no time restrictions in building the web site and it could be incorporated into my working day very easily.”

Before giving a 4.5 star rating

You can view the website here:

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Website of the Week - Sally Humphries Lifestyle


Sally Humphries Lifestyle is a fitness and lifestyle consultancy that helps women get back on track professional personal trainers as well as providing exciting classes like ‘Dancercise.’Not only this, they also offer Lifestyle Coaching to ensure that all their clients can get “fit, healthy and live life under control” with all the support they need in the areas of health, fitness and lifestyle. They help women get fit with

With this website, the client wanted to promote a business that was actively supportive towards women. The colour pink was also mentioned from the very beginning, targeting women with a fresh, vibrant and dynamic tone. The client, clearly an experienced businesswoman in a modern world, was also very aware of the importance of Social Media and wanted it to be a key element of the site. As you browse you will notice a Twitter feed, a Facebook feed and a link to the client’s blog!

We took the client’s exciting brief and intelligent feature choices and came up with an eye catching website that represented the client and gave them a voice with which they can now communicate with their consumers, future consumers and anyone in need of their services and support. We tailored this site down to the tiniest detail – even the tiny, unique pink social media icons are a reflection of Sally Humphries Lifestyle.

Read more about why Social Media is so important when it comes to designing your website and some of our top tips in our blog.

Sally Humpries Lifestyle are extremely happy with the end results of the website saying;?? “Friendly service, instant access to someone, very patient staff. Although I couldn't see them it sounded like they did everything with a smile! Excellent web design! I had no idea what I wanted but I wanted something great. My project manager grasped the whole essence of the business and the look and feel I wanted by just a short conversation. I struggled to even give him any examples of websites I liked but he came up with something brilliant.”

Before giving a 5 star rating

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Mid Month Blog - Why Email Marketing Still Works

How to use email marketing to drive business

Social media marketing grows and grows, but it would be foolish to email as a means of talking to customers and winning their business. Research shows that social media is a major draw on business time while a well-managed email campaign can be both quick and effective. 

Toolkit has its own email marketing suite, Broadcast, which can reach customers for less than 1p per subscriber with unique HTML messages. Broadcast also tracks what happens to your mails, manages lists of subscribers so you can tailor different messages to different groups of clients, and comes with the software tools to make sure your mail is delivered.

Here is a quick top 10 for successful email marketing once you have Broadcast set up.

1 – Links.

The whole purpose of email marketing is to get customers to your site. Make it easy for them with plenty of very visible links. Comm 100, the communications site recommends one link in each paragraph of text with clear instructions to ‘click here’.

2 – Images

However, take it easy on images. Many email programmes will automatically cut images out so they’re wasted on many readers. Use a clear and clean HTML design.

3 – Unsubscribe

Make your unsubscribe option as easy as possible to use. If frustrated readers start to flag your messages as spam you’ll lose reputational points with Hotmail and the like and end up in the trash more often.

4 – Spam

Mail in spam folders is wasted mail. How often do you check yours? Guard your reputation as a sender of genuine mail like a lion. Many of the tools in Toolkit Broadcast will help you stay on the right side of the filters.

5 – Size matters

Look at your mail server’s preview pane and design with that in mind because that’s how most people will see your message. That means 600 pixels wide with a link in the first 100 pixels of height. Toolkit can help you design your email template.

6 – Short and sweet

The key to most effective internet text is brevity. This applies doubly for emails. Divide your text into bullet points or short paragraphs and use colours and typography to highlight important sections. Make sure it carries valuable information too, or you’ll soon be in the trash.

7 – Bad addresses

The percentage of your emails that are successfully delivered will have an impact on your reputation with email providers. Keep on top of your lists, and be realistic about the number of genuinely interested contacts you can reach, to keep your message out of the spam folder.

8 – Test

Before you send out any mailing, test your messages by sending them to accounts in all the major email systems. Toolkit recommends Mozilla’s Thunderbird for your own email, but make sure you’ve checked messages in Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and so on.

9 – Belt and braces

Add a text only version to your message too. If HTML is blocked or your message ends up being viewed on a tiny mobile screen, you won’t be wasting your messages.

10 – Add us!

Every time you mail out ask your recipients to add you to their contact list. Good content will help you get on there, and the more address books you’re in, the higher your delivery rate will be. And, remember that people who add themselves to your email list, via a web form for example, are much more likely to be receptive to your message.

For more information on our Toolkit Broadcast service please click 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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Are you optimising for mobile devices?

One in three Americans now own a tablet according to recent research from the Pew Research Centre. It’s just another confirmation that if your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices then you’re waving goodbye to customers at a frightening rate.

Further research from Net Applications found that mobile browsing – smartphones and tablets - had tripled from 2011 to 2013 to account for 13.2% of all website visits. And the people who own tablets are important to businesses – half of adults aged 35 to 44, half of high income households and half of those with college degrees.

Google, which has declared itself a ‘mobile first’ company, took a look at what that means for businesses last September. They found three-quarters of people were more likely to return to mobile friendly sites and two-thirds were more likely to spend money with the site’s owner.
And, if you’re not mobile optimised then 61% of users will simply move on if they can’t find what they want. Half of browsers said that they will use non-mobile optimised sites less often, even when they like the business.

Google’s conclusion was pretty clear: “Having a great mobile site is no longer just about making a few more sales. It's become a critical component of building strong brands, nurturing lasting customer relationships, and making mobile work for you.”

Toolkit Websites can help you reach that audience, and stop waving goodbye to mobile customers.

We can optimise your site for mobile devices – all mobile devices – with no fuss and no wait. If you’re not ready to completely go over to our mobile platform, then we can Convert your Flash animations to Mobile Friendly JavaScript so your animations and graphics will work on mobile devices.
This is not a trend that shows any sign of changing, in fact it’s only likely to get bigger and faster, so that Google’s discovery that 72% of browsers prefer mobile-friendly sites is likely to be 100% of consumers demanding them soon. As long ago as 2008, analysts were predicting that mobile browsing would outstrip desktop web use by the end of 2014, before the exponential growth in smartphones and tablets really took off.
At the end of 2012, Amazon had seen an 82% rise in the number of mobile visitors, you can’t afford to say goodbye to these consumers and Toolkit Websites can help you make their visit to your site a pleasure that they’ll want more of.
If you’d like to speak to our friendly, expert team about mobile optimisation and mobile conversion for your website, just call us on 02380 633 644.

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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Toolkit Websites don’t wave customers goodbye at the door

Here at Toolkit Websites we pride ourselves on designing brilliant websites that add value to our clients businesses. But that’s only the start of the story. We believe that we have to be there to support our customers in the long term. That’s why we’re rated so highly by our customers and are proud of our 4.9 out of 5 and 9.5 out of 10 scores at Which Web Design and Trustpilot, sites that use genuine purchaser reviews.

It’s a good lesson for all businesses. New customers are great, but keeping existing clients well supported means they will keep coming back for more.
It’s something we’re passionate about and it’s particularly important in the web design industry, but everyone from builders to dentists needs to realise that the transaction doesn’t end when the money goes into your bank account.

At Toolkit, we call it our passionate service promise. 

That means our customers always talk to real people when they contact us, and we set strict timing standards for our responses to queries and questions. 

We give unlimited design changes while we’re building your site, and offer unlimited training on the Toolkit that allows you to manage it. We’re with you and your site for as long as you need us. The Toolkit is our content management system and we want you to get the most out of it, whenever you need it. 

We know that our customers value a personal relationship, which is why all our clients have their personal account manager the moment their sites are built. The Account Managers main purpose is to guide and support the client to ensure their website succeeds from day one. 

Honesty is vital too. We don’t want to hide anything, we want you to know exactly what we can do for you, why we think certain changes should be made and how much updates will cost.  We are not afraid to tell clients when they are wrong because as we mentioned, our aim is to guide and support all of our 2000+ clients to achieve the absolute best website possible for their businesses.

We have a highly-trained support team, answering the phone within three rings and emails within the hour, so that if you ever have any queries about your site you can get answers. And, we’ll keep in touch with you to make sure that everything’s OK.

We know that choosing a web design company is a big decision and you don’t just want a site that looks good, but one you can get real use out of and that will grow with your business. 

If you’d like to start talking about how we can bring our passionate service to your web site for years to come we’d love to hear from you because here at Toolkit Websites we look to build relationships with our client’s not just websites. So call one of our team on 02380 633 644 or visit www.toolkitwebsites.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 - Helping Hands Daycare

Helping Hands Daycare is owned and run by husband and wife partnership, Norman and Deborah Murton. Daycare Centre which include: supporting hardworking parents, ensuring that the children in their care experience a nurturing environment and getting families actively involved in their early years of development.

The main goal of this website, as outlined by the client, was to suitably represent the positive attitudes, setting and work ethics of Helping Hands Daycare itself.

The client wanted an open plan styled website which, when combined with the scenery in the Header, imitates the healthy lifestyle that Helping Hands Daycare promotes. This client also opted for Bespoke Page Dressing on the home page in the form of a jigsaw piece effect. Similarly, the logo, symbolizing creativity and support, uses the very literal image of ‘Helping Hands’ itself in its design. Both these features give this website a playful yet artistic feel. Potential customers of Helping Hands Daycare  will feel a sense of wellbeing and support when they visit this site.

Logo design and home page layout is crucial to any business trying to make their way on the web and goes a long way to encourage visitors to navigate further around a website. We recently blogged about this very topic and also discussed a total of 15 ways to encourage visitors around a website.

Helping Hands Daycare are extremely happy with the end results of the website saying;

"We absolutely loved the finished product, and all staff at toolkit were very professional and helped us through each stage of the design. Can recommend this company to anyone looking for a new web-site"
Before giving a 3.5 star rating.

A special mention on this websites build and design must also goes to one of our designers, Ben Moss, who worked tirelessly with the Project Manager for the build, Lanara Mitchell from start to finish.
You can view the website here:

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Designers in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Three customer service principles we live by

At Toolkit Websites, we’re in the design business, which means we’re also in the service business and the education sector. We provide Passionate Support  to back up our fantastic design work so you not only get a great looking, usable website packed with features, you also get the information you need to update the site yourself and super-fast support if you ever run into any problems

We’re very proud of the way we serve our customers, it’s why the largest department of our company is our Passionate Support Team and why our customers stay with us for the long term. Take a look at our comparison page to see what sort of service and support you can expect from Toolkit Websites. 

Here are three principles we live by and which we believe are good practice whatever your business and whatever size it is. We’ve all suffered from bad customer service, often from large corporations whose advertising would have you believe they can’t do enough for you but who leave you lost in a never-ending maze of contact dead ends. 

1 – A speedy response
Nobody likes to be kept waiting. It’s simple good manners to answer calls and emails as quickly as you can.
At Toolkit we’ve made sure our support team are experts in our work and that they’re on call for our customers when they need us. You always take to a real person at Toolkit, with no telephonic hoops to jump through to get to them. We aim to answer all telephone calls within three rings and all emails within the hour. 

2 – Show don’t tell
“Show don’t tell” is the first rule of screenwriting, because movies are a visual medium. The web has made cheap video technology open to everyone. Take a look at YouTube and you’ll find that video tutorials make up a huge slice of the content people upload – it works, that’s why. Websites can be technical and although the industry is now much more open and the public much more web savvy, we’ve dedicated a huge amount of time explaining what we’re doing. 

If our clients need help we use screen capture technology to record videos and screen shots so everything is as clear as possible, even to someone with absolutely no technical knowledge. This allows us to empower our own customers by using the videos and screen shots rather than assuming they will understand written technical instructions.

3 – Frequently asked question
FAQs exist because people do often have the same problems. Sometimes they’re brilliant, sometimes they’re sketchy and poorly thought out and users can feel like they’re being fobbed off. 

We’ve gone a bit further – a lot further in fact – than most FAQ pages. Our support site covers everything from running your site through our content management system, The Toolkit, to offering great advice on Search Engine Optimisation and social media marketing. 

There are more than 300 videos on our support pages – show don’t tell remember – which can be used as a full training course if you need a refresher on your Toolkit lessons. 

With a site from Toolkit Websites you get a beautiful, brilliantly designed web presence whilst getting the help and support you need to allow your website to grow with your business for years to come. We are looking to build relationships with our client’s not just websites.

We look forward to speaking to you, just call one of our team on 02380 633 644 or visit www.toolkitwebsites.co.uk

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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YouTube passes through eighth birthday at 100 hours per minute

YouTube celebrated its eighth birthday this week and announced the incredible fact that 100 hours of content is uploaded to the video sharing site every minute. Along with one billion visitors a month, which is pretty much half of all web users, the site is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most powerful on the planet. 

One of the charms of YouTube is its huge variety. If you want to educate yourself on everything from philosophy to how to change a plug, you’ll almost certainly find a video to help you out. If you want to watch cats falling over, you can do that too. It also contains a great deal of nasty, illegal and plain rubbish content, but the site does its best to take down what it can, and it remains one of the safest sites online, another of its attractions. 

However, don’t forget that YouTube is now part of the Google empire and, like all huge sites, it will probably have to pay its way one day in the not too distant future. Imagine the hosting costs for storing all those cute kids and ranting conspiracy theorists. Paid for subscriptions to channels look likely to be on the cards shortly.

So fast moving is the social media world, and YouTube with its Google integration is now certainly part of that world, that these records are almost certainly out of date by now. 

But, here are YouTube current greatest hits. When the list was first compiled in August 2007, the number one was a comedy video with 56 million views. 

1 – PSY: GANGNAM STYLE with 1,491,867,496 views
2 - Justin Bieber: Baby with 845,312,696 views
3 - Jennifer Lopez: On the Floor ft. Pitbull with 661,002,113 views
4 – Eminem: Love The Way You with 551,380,582 views
5 – LMFAO: Party Rock Anthem with 531,116,118 views
6 - Harry and Charlie: Charlie bit my finger again with 519,814,575 views
7 – Shakira: Waka Waka with 515,795,317 views
8 - Lady Gaga: Bad Romance with 514,458,291 views
9 - Michel Telo: Ai Se Eu Te Pego with 491,987,017 views
10 - Don Omar: Danza Kuduro ft. Lucenzo with 435,911,231 views

That’s an extraordinary reach and while the list confirms that the once DIY spirit of YouTube has now been somewhat undermined by the arrival of big, powerful media brands, hundreds of millions of people are still watching a couple of kids because they make them laugh. 

If you’re serious about getting attention for yourself and your business, then YouTube really ought to be part of your mix. For one thing it’s free hosting of a short film, and the costs of making good quality moving pictures is coming down all the time. 

One of the first lessons of social marketing experts though is to beware of diluting or confusing your message by chopping and changing your appearances across different channels. 

Toolkit are social media experts. We can get you set up on all the main platforms with great looking, easy-to-use profiles, pages and groups. We’ll help you get started on YouTube too, even uploading your first videos for you and teaching you how to feature them on your own site. 

An integrated message is vital in social media marketing and Toolkit are here to help. Just call our team on 02380 633 644 or visit www.toolkitwebsites.co.uk to start the cameras rolling. 

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

Bacardi Martini Ltd is a privately held and family owned spirit brand that is recognised internationally. They sell more than 200 brands and labels in nearly 100 countries world-wide.

This website was specifically made for Bacardi Ireland and features the product, 'Bacardi Oakheart.' Though simply laid out, the unique taste and history of the product is reflected in the atmospheric wooden background and the branded effect of the logo and title.

The Oakheart page is a micro site of Bacardi's Drinks Made Easy website that offers purchasers of their Oakheart drink the chance to redeem glassware in their current instore promotion and features landing pages for 2 of their key brands. These can be seen via:

The client had a very clear idea in mind for this site which we worked very hard to bring to life. They were looking for a way to optimise customer feedback, so, we suggested using a clearly laid out Bespoke Form and a simple yet pleasing layout to appeal to  users. The Integrated YouTube Video also brings media to the viewer, making this page a straightforward and effortless experience for any potential customer. Focus on the product itself was also key in the design brief and as you can see it remains the most vivid element on the page, a visual focal point, and positioned centrally.

Bacardi Ireland are extremely happy with the end results of the website saying;

"I just wanted to say thank you for the support and advice you have given us. You have done an amazing job at getting the website up and running on a tight schedule."

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Give new life to your old content

Content costs, either in time or money, and the internet demands fresh material every day – leave your site sitting on its laurels for too long and Google will punish you. So here are a few tips to keep your old content – as long as its good quality – working for you. 

Search Engine Optimisation should already be part of your marketing plan, but what can you do if you’ve done everything you think you can on a particular search keyword? 

1 – Get links
Link building is now very much in a grey area as far as Google is concerned. They’ve essentially shut down a large part of the SEO industry with their clampdown on dodgy links. However, although they’ve decreased in importance, links are still a measure of quality and utility for content. 

This is going to be hard work if it’s an ‘about’ page for a small local business, which is why you should be concentrating on providing content that has a genuine, wide-spread use. Do not pay for links, that’s definitely in the black as far as the search engines are concerned, but do maximise the quality links you have. 

2 – Promote yourself 
A good, genuine offer will get people talking, and social media attention now has a big say in your search results. If you can link your offer to another local business – buy a takeaway from restaurant A, get 10% off a bottle of wine at off-licence B – then you’ll get double the exposure. 

If you have satisfied customers, don’t be shy about asking them to talk about you. They don’t have to turn into a paid shill, but if someone’s super happy with a job you’ve done for them it doesn’t help to gently suggest they supply you with a testimonial, or review you on an industry site or even better on your Google business listing – the tourism industry has been urging their customers to get busy on Trip Adviser for years, because it works. 

3 – Lists
Another area that has been stamped on by the change in the SEO landscape is low quality directory sites (part of your SEO audit should include killing any potentially bad stuff lingering out there too). However, high quality article and directory sites are still your using. 

A piece of good old fashioned PR doesn’t hurt either. Are there are any local bloggers you haven’t spoken to? They’re probably crying out for topics of conversation. 

4 – Double checking
Make sure your old links are all up and running, and if they’ve been discontinued perhaps it’s time to work out why and ask the site owners if they’ll give them new life. Again, you need to be cautious, Google’s newest search rules – called Penguin 2.0 – are even stricter on bad quality links. If you’re concerned, ask Toolkit about our search engine services. 

5 – Stump up
Who runs the world’s biggest search engine? That’s right, Google. Who runs the world’s biggest internet advertising operation? Yes, Google again. So, do you think Google is going to penalise you for using their pay per click advertising, or use that information as a positive on your ranking?
The joy of PPC ads is that you can dip your toe in with a very limited spend and see if it’s working – give it a try. 

6 – Rewrite
If you’ve got old content and you don’t think you’ve got time to come up with more, then give what you’ve got a revamp. Google will like it, your customers will like it. Write with readers in mind, and don’t be afraid of using the services of a writer or editor if you don’t feel confident with words yourself. Toolkit works with one of the UK’s top copywriting agencies to get a great deal for our clients. 

7 – Redesign
The way your site is put together is very important, and should be given a damn good going over from time to time. The way pages link to each other is very important. Toolkit offers a very competitive redesign service that will freshen up the look of your site to the delight of your customers and freshen up its internal architecture to the delight of the search engines. 

8 – Mentions
Think about the sort of coverage you’ve got and try to influence it. SEO experts say the best thing that can happen in this context – without the now dead keyword stuffing days of old – is if your company name (and ideally your web address) appears with the search term you’re interested in. 

So, if your business is dog grooming, you want as much proximity – while keeping any content you produce beautifully relevant and flowing – as you can manage between the two terms. It’s very easily done on social media and is said to have a very strong effect on rankings. 

If you’d like to talk to us about any of our search engine or design services then please just give our friendly team in Southampton a call on 02380 633 644 or visit www.toolkitwebsites.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 - UES London

This website is a great example of our emphasis on page loading speeds as it reached a Toolkit Websites record breaking 98% on Googles loading speed test.

UES London wanted the website to be professional and modern.  The colours and layout are bold and simple giving a professional feel.

A key feature on the site is the UES logo. As part of the websites build we designed their logo from scratch and then used this to build the website around.
UES London are an established, experienced team offering expert one-to-one tuition and courses for all US and UK school and university admission tests.

UES London are extremely happy with the end results of the website saying;

"The speed with which updates are made, and exactly as I want them"

 Before giving a 5 star rating

View the website here: www.ueslondon.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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