Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Five must-dos when transferring your domain



Down time is wasted time online. If your site goes offline while you’re moving to a new design or web address you run the risk of sending potential customers away – not only will they not buy from you, they’re also going to form a very negative image of your company. That’s why at Toolkit we’re committed to providing you with not only a great new website but also a seamless transition.

There are risks with changing your hosting and mail providers – if you’re not prepared you can end up losing thousands of vital emails. Toolkit Websites Passionate Technical Support Team are the experts who will make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

We’re happy to promise zero down time on your site when you come over to us and for those who want to know how the process of transferring a domain works, check out our five top tips below:

1 – Back up your emails
Copy everything from all your mailboxes onto your computer before you even think about moving your domain!

2 – Copy your website
You shouldn’t really have to keep a local copy of your website, but we’ve found that many web design and hosting companies don’t play very fair when they think they are losing a client. Often, they’ll simply pull the plug on all your services, losing all that content and design work, which is vital to building a new site. 

3 – Remember those emails?
Check your email back up again. We take email for granted these days, and losing months or years’ worth of vital messages can have a seriously bad effect on your business health.

Talk to Toolkit Websites about switching your email service to us and we can help you start up with a business class mailbox and help you avoid all the potential downfalls of moving – can you save your contacts? Is email lurking in files outside your inbox? What about your current email signature?

Zero downtime and not a single email lost is our promise during the transfer process.

4– Prepare your account
There are lots of domain name providers – the organisations who register your web address – and preparation is vital to ensure there’s no down time. Toolkit Websites set up your domains new account and ensure everything is ready before transferring

5 – Domain Name Servers or DNS
Domain Name Servers are what make your website work from its unique address. Changing provider will  cause down time if it isn’t managed properly.

At Toolkit you’ll have a dedicated member of the technical team at your disposal and our guarantee of zero down time. We can take over the management of your DNS as we prepare to launch your new site, you (and your customers) won’t miss a minute.


With a dedicated technical specialist at the end of a phone line, you’ll never feel out of your depth or lost with Toolkit Websites. It’s part of our Passionate Service Promise – we’re confident that our clients get the absolute best support, advice and of course design in the business.

If you’d like to talk to Toolkit Websites about your website, then please just call one of our friendly, real team on 02380 633 644.

That’s something else we’re proud of, you’ll never have to jump through hoops or press buttons to speak to a real expert and we answer all calls within three rings. Give us a try 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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Website of the Week - Care Harbour Recruitment


Care Harbour Recruitment is a specialist health and social care recruitment agency serving the needs of local authority, private and voluntary clients. They search for and place candidates in temporary and permanent job roles across the UK.Their goal is to develop long-term relationships with both their clients and candidates.
Care Harbour Recruitment specifically requested a website that 'stood out from the crowd' and looked different to the everyday recruitment site. This was achieved with a striking colour scheme and the use of illustrations as opposed to stock photographs.

The illustrations make up the Sliding Header at the top of the site and are the main feature on every page. These illustrations are endearing and unique while staying relevant to the business. It is a simple yet effective design and maintains consistency and professionalism. The bright pink and grey colour scheme is also very playful and highlights all the different sections of the website, making it a comprehensive and informational viewing for interested parties.

Using a simple and distinguished design such as this one can really help how the site appears on mobile devices like smart phones and tablets. This can be very influential with regards to how much traffic and interest a website generates for a business.

You can read more about optimising your website for mobile devices in our blog post here:


http://blog.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/2013/06/are-you-optimising-for-mobile-devices.html

Another interesting feature of the site are the decorated testimonials. Testimonials can be a great addition to a website and is something that we use on our own site here. They give potential clients and candidates some insight into others' experiences using your company and give your website a trustworthy persona. They can be decorated in a variety of ways. They could be contained within a templated quotation or speech bubble graphic as on Care Harbour Recruitment's site or you can make them more interesting with movement and have them scrolling up the page.
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Good design is a good start, but it’s not the most important thing


It might seem counter-intuitive for a web design company to say that good design isn’t the most important factor when you choose the designer for your page. It’s vital that your website looks great, of course, but with all the tools available to designers today, any company that can’t produce a good looking site, quite frankly shouldn’t be in business at all.

At Toolkit Websites we know that a good web design company, one that will give you a lasting, usable site and help you get the most out of it, is about so much more. It’s about what happens once your great looking site goes live, about how you can develop and grow your site and what help you’ll have from its support team.

Toolkit Websites will give you much more than just a nice design and hosting. Here are just some of the reasons why we’re happy to put our work up against anyone else’s.

1 – A company you can trust
Toolkit Websites has been here for 14 years now, that’s more than 2,000 satisfied customers. We’re Trading Standards approved and have the genuine customer reviews – at sites like Approved Index (five stars), Trust Pilot (9.5/10), Which Web Design (4.9/5) – and testimonials that prove our expertise and customer service.

2 – The Toolkit
We’ve designed our own content management system (CMS), The Toolkit, specifically to meet the needs of small businesses. Lots of web design companies use off-the-peg solutions like WordPress, which can never match the tailor-made adaptability of our system. It’s completely in our control and completely at your disposal. You’ll get lifetime updates as we improve the system and unlike open source CMS it’s not at the mercy of millions of hackers.

3 – The extras
After care is a bit of a misnomer with Toolkit Websites because we start going the extra mile during the design process when you’re guaranteed unlimited design changes before you publish.

We want you to be able to use your website, so you get unlimited training on The Toolkit until you’re happy with running your site. You’ll still get unbeatable support from an expert team who’ll endeavour to answer all phone calls within three rings and all emails within an hour. You’ll never be left on your own or with unanswered questions.

This is all part of the Toolkit Websites Passionate Support Promise!

If you’d like to talk to us about your website then just call our team in Southampton on 02380 633 644 – we’re confident you’ll see the difference with Toolkit Websites from that very first call.

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


The name of your business is important. You have a strong personal connection to it and you’ve almost certainly put a lot of thought into it. That’s why Toolkit Websites make protecting your name online and giving you full control over it a standard part of our service.

We know that some web design companies register domain names – your web address – to their account so that if they lose a client they can charge them an astronomical fee for releasing the domain. We never do that. Your domain name is yours when you work with Toolkit and it’ll still be yours to take away if we ever part company.

We also help you get hold of your preferred domain name if someone else, a web design company for example, is holding on to it. And we don’t charge for it. It’s standard practice with us.

Fortunately, there are rules to protect businesses from ‘cyber squatting’. Perhaps the most famous case saw Madonna evict an adult site from the Madonna.com address.

The rules protect companies from losing their trademarks or names online, and we can use these rules to make sure your domain stays safe and remains registered to you and you alone.

If you’d like to check on a domain name, then you can use the Who Is search engine run by Nominet, who keep the book on all .co.uk domains.

Simply type in your business name and you can find out if it’s been registered to someone else or still available. If it’s currently in someone else’s control, you should be able to win control of it back – something that Toolkit Websites will help with as part of our setup process with no added charges.

Our policy on domain names is part of our Passionate Service Promise and commitment to transparency in everything we do.

If you’d like to talk to us about your website, then just call our team on 02380 633 644 or email us on support@thetoolkit.co.uk to start the conversation.

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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Mid Month Blog - Easy SEO tips you must follow


You will have seen the phrase, Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, if you’ve taken any interest in online marketing. You’ve probably been offered SEO services, and told that it’s how your website gets on the elusive first page of Google results. SEO isn’t something you have to buy in; with a set of relatively simple rules, you can make your site climb up the rankings on your own.

Search engines – particularly Google - remain the means by which most of us navigate the web. Anyone who ignores how Google works risks shouting into a cyber void.

That’s why Toolkit offers a full Google set up service. Google Analytics will measure the success of your site. Webmaster Tools will ensure you work to Google’s rules and the search giant can see you. Google Places will push you up the local listings. And with Google Alerts you’ll be on top of the latest changes in search policy that smart sites have to react to.

Once your web designer has finished their work, there’s also a lot you can do with the way you organise your site and the sort of content you publish. 

There is no one at Google or Bing HQ sitting and deciding that one Southampton decorator has a better page than another. It’s all done with some fearsomely complex mathematics and programmes which ‘crawl’ and index the web, but the aim is to reach the sort of results that a real person would.

Your site should take account of how these programmes work.

Design your content around the keywords that people actually use to find businesses like yours. Google makes this easy for you with a free keyword tool, which will show you search numbers and the competition for those searches. A combination of lots of searches and low levels of competition is the best way to get visitors flocking to your site. Doing this before you start working on your site means your designers can include them in the site’s structure.

In the social media age, the importance of inbound links has decreased, but they still matter. The quality of the sites that link to yours is also more important. Directories, blogs and reputable forums are all places where you can link back to your site easily, and for free. But writing useful, interesting content means people will link to and share what you produce anyway.

The big search engines all allow you to submit your site for indexing, which is too good an opportunity to turn down. Again, it’s free.

Making video is a good idea too. It’s highly rated by search engines and there are plenty of networks on which you can publish it.

It’s in the interests of the search engines to return accurate results very quickly, so they make it easy for site owners by telling them exactly what to do.

For example, among Google’s advice is to, “Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.”

Bing tells site owners: “Create keyword-rich content based on research to match what users are searching for. Produce fresh content regularly.”

As the web changes, so do the search engines, social media is now becoming more important in page rankings. But remember that search engines want their users to find good, honest sites and anyone who tries to sell you ways of ‘tricking’ the engines may end up costing your site valuable ranking points.

We provide a very good and easy to follow guide to how search engines work, which is a great place to get started.

Link.
http://www.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/seoguide


Contact Toolkit Websites, Web Designers in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and see how we can help your business grow.
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Website of the Week - The Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust



The Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust (WCSRT) is a charity formed in 2010 by a group of organisations with an interest in protecting the fragile and globally important chalk-based ecosystems of the rivers of the Wessex region.

This charity proves that websites aren’t only essential for businesses trying to attract new clients but can also help anyone trying to send an important message out to their community by rallying supporters to their cause. The internet is an amazing platform for communication on all levels as this website demonstrates.

Of course, the website is attractive and representative of the landscape the client is trying to protect. There are many beautiful images provided by the client themselves making this website personal as well as personable. Other features worth mentioning include the ‘List Twitter Feed’ and a Donation Form that links to a page where visitors can donate.

The embedded Twitter Feed is different to ones featured on other websites. This one acts as a communication tool between The Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust and a select list of friends and other organizations that are a part of this charity. This really highlights the vision of support and sustainability that The Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust promotes. This is just one example of the many widgets, plug ins and embeddable features that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have to offer website owners

This site also gives website visitors the chance to make a difference and help protect their environment with the inclusion of a Donation Form page. Paypal and other Online Payment Forms are a great way for potential clients or benefactors to pay immediately for any services that the site offers or, in this case, to send crucial funds to a noble organisation.

To read more about the benefits of online payment and Paypal, read our previous blog article here:

http://blog.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/2008/12/mega-monday-for-online-shopping.html

The Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust were very happy with the site, saying:

“Your process of building websites works well. I like the simplicity of and the control I have over the build process.”

You can view the website here:

http://www.wcsrt.org.uk/

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Designer in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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New CMS? As easy as ABC!

Content Management Systems (CMS) are behind most websites because they provide you with the tools to control your own website and avoid relying on 3rd party web designers for changes. They also produce the same HTML code so changing CMSs is much easier than most people think.

Some CMSs have become giants of the web, WordPress being the most famous and popular. In August 2011, WordPress was behind 22% of all new websites, but Drupal and Joomla are also in very widespread use. However, popularity with CMSs in no way means quality or the right choice for you.

At Toolkit Websites we have our own CMS, The Toolkit. Unlike WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, it’s been designed with small and medium-sized businesses specifically in mind, and has a number of advantages over these systems – not least that you can pick up a phone and talk to the people who built the machinery behind your website.

CMSs are designed to make managing a website easy for non-technical users. They all do that, but The Toolkit does more because it’s been made specifically with you in mind.

The big-name CMSs are open source. Their code is available for developers – and hackers – to play with. They have been designed to be all things to all people, so while they are promoted as an off-the-peg solution for cheap and easy web design they will need to be hacked about by a web programmer to suit the purposes of your site. Some really require technical knowledge to get the best out of them.

For web designers, these free systems are brilliant – they don’t need to pay for their own CMS – and so they are often pushed onto their customers even though it may not be in the clients best interest.

The first difference you’ll notice between the big name, open source CMSs and The Toolkit is the support, available at the end of a phone or in an email reply within an hour. You also get free, unlimited training on The Toolkit for as long as you need it. We also update The Toolkit for you automatically with fully tested features which we’ve made ourselves, at no further cost to you.

You also get much better security than any open source system can offer, including daily backups and anti-virus and anti-spam protection that’s second to none.

You can see a full comparison of the Toolkit with WordPress, Drupal and Joomla on our website.

You’re not tied to your CMS. Toolkit Websites can help you move your site onto our system and you won’t lose a thing. In fact, with our change over services, the switch should be entirely seamless.

Take a look at your current providers Service Level Agreement to see what they’re providing in terms of hosting and other services and then talk to Toolkit Websites.

You can contact Toolkit Websites on 02380 633 644.


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 - Venus Engines

Venus Engines, Website of the Week
Venus Engines are engine and gearbox specialists that offer a whole range of services. Their primary goal is to supply used, second hand and reconditioned engines for all makes of cars. They also offer mechanical investigation examinations, full fitting services and top quality car servicing. For their site, the client was especially interested in a website with a blue and chrome theme to reflect the products they would be representing while standing apart from their competitors.

This website has a few interesting features that deserve mentioning. Firstly, the background is very in-keeping with the theme of the site and definitely brings to mind all things machinery and metal. It makes the site more interesting and unique as it gives the company a certain artistic flair while keeping a very smart and simple tone overall.

Next, the Slider header image at the top of the homepage displays a nice sliding animation which also brings a certain mechanical feel to the website, perhaps reminiscent of moving pistons in an engine. There are many effects available for sliding images which will help them stand out while giving some character to your site.

Finally, you will notice various references throughout the site to a 'Quote' page. This is actually a Bespoke form and will allow potential customers to fill in essential fields of information which are then sent and stored in your Toolkit and Webmail account. This makes it very easy to organise and respond to potential sale opportunities as soon as possible with the smallest effort from the potential client as well as Venus Engines themselves.

You can read more about how a form like this could generate valuable new inquiries for your business here in our blog article:

http://blog.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/2010/07/your-business-website-could-generate.html


Venus Engines were very happy with their site, saying:

"You are the best. Great service and very dedicated work. That's why I have chosen your services twice and keep using you every time."

They gave their new website 5 stars out of 5



A special mention from the client must go out to Project Manager Lanara and Business Development Manager Remko who showed dedication towards the build of this site and made the build process a great experience for Venus Engines.

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 - Orenda Consultancy Ltd



Orenda means the power within us to create change in the world or ourselves.”

These are the words that inspire the people of Orenda, who provide management consultancy and training for social care organisations. Their mission is to provide practical help to social care organisations when and where it’s needed to help them fulfil their own goals.

The client wanted their website to be creative, flowing and artistic to represent the nature of their organisation while being structured and easy for viewers to find and access all of the website’s varied content. This client also asked for a Logo Design with this site and as you can see, it has become the main focus of the homepage. It is used in the name of the organisation as well as in the background. You can also see this logo on their Twitter and Facebook page, uniting all the various media used by Orenda.

Having a professionally designed logo means you can use it anywhere within the workings of your company and it is instantly recognisable whether you are creating print work like fliers and posters or digital items such as email signatures and profile pictures. The Orenda logo specifically was made to be unique-looking to separate them from any competition and I think you’ll agree has a very etheral feel about it.

For more information on why Logo Design is important to your website, read our previous blog posting here:

http://blog.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/2008/12/good-logo-design.html

Other distinguished features of this website that help it stand out from the crowd include the semi-transparent drop down menus which make the most of navigating the website’s 19 pages of information and the live Twitter feed which is constantly updating on the left.

Orenda were very happy with their website saying:

“The quality of thinking and structure you provide to getting people like me who don't understand this stuff through the process is exceptional.”

You can view the website here:
http://www.orendaconsultancy.co.uk/
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Invoice Charges Reduced


Bandwidth Charges Begone!

With effect from this month Toolkit Websites have reduced all invoice charges by removing bandwidth overage fees.

Previously if a client had a lot of traffic or high data files to download then there was a high-usage charge linked to the amount of data that was used by your website. This has now been removed!

We've been working very hard on increasing the speed of your website over the last six months. These improvements have meant that every site is using less bandwidth and we have therefore passed these savings to all of our clients.

Speed improvements are just a part of Toolkit Websites constant promise to continue developing and advancing our Platform. We are determined to make sure that you get the best possible website for your business.

We hope you are enjoying your turbo-charged website
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