Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Things you can do to improve upon your SEO, once the website is live

So, your website is live. You have a great looking design, you have well written, keyword rich content, and you are ready now to “upkeep” your website in order to improve your Search Engine ranking. You now need a plan to continue creating new content because you know that every time you add fresh, engaging content onto your website, it increases your chances of ranking well or keeping your current ranking. What can you do next to ensure that you're taking the most proactive approach in order to do this? Aside from making sure you tend to your website content and ensure you’re keeping it fresh and engaging, you can also take a look at the following:

Creating a Google Analytics account to monitor how many people are looking at your website, where in the world they are looking at it from, what keywords or phrases they are typing in to find you and more… Why is this a good thing? Because you know exactly what areas of your website need the most improvement. Are people filling out your booking form? If not, it may be because they can’t find is easily… Are people looking at one page more than another? Yes? Maybe the one that is not doing so well needs a bit of work. Analytics is FREE to set up and use, so if you’re not using it already, it’s a great tool you are missing out on, with valuable information about your website success.

PPC- You may want to start a Pay Per Click Campaign. PPC is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner) when the ad is clicked.

Social Media

The type of business you are running will determine which Social Media opportunities are right for you. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube, Vimeo, Google+, Blogger etc are all brilliant platforms to market and promote your website and brand. Social media is FREE to use, so again it’s a powerful marketing tool that you can use to drive interest in your website and business services. Not only that, but you can brand your social media pages to be in keeping with your website, engage with your existing customers and potentially gain new clientele. The possibilities are endless.

There are other tools available (Google webmaster tools are great too!) and you should be looking at tapping into them whenever you get a spare moment. Yes they can be time consuming, and you may need to take some of your out of work time to get to grips with it all, but once you’re up and running, you’ll begin to see the fruits of your labor in no time. Don’t forget the power of offline marketing as well! Business cards, Brochures, spreading the word and so on can get your message and branding out there… and it’s a nice professional touch for the business image too.

SUMMARY

The truth is, everyone wants to be on the first page of Google. The steps you take to deserve to be one of the highest rankers for the keyword phrases that are most important to you are going to involve hard work, time, passion and effort. With the right practices, advice from your professional website designer and the multitude of tools and social media platforms that are available to you, you can optimise your website for search engines, yourself.

And once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be telling everybody how easy it is to understand!

We hope our recent blogs have helped and from everyone here at Toolkit Websites, we wish you a Happy New Year. 

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Is your website considered “good quality” by Google?

 

It’s really not that complicated. All your website needs is:

-engaging, rich and regularly updated content
-content that is rich with relevant keywords and phrases
-clear and easy to use navigation
-well crafted design
-well thought out website address
-links to social media accounts and other pages/ websites

There are lots more points that can help when it comes to search engine ranking, but it’s important to stress to you that paying an SEO company or copywriters to provide these elements for you, isn’t necessarily going to get you the results you want. As the business owner, putting your own time and effort into your business website is important. You are the one that knows your business inside and out. Getting a company to organise your copy, keywords and meta data is all very well, but you are simply paying money for something you are more than qualified to do, and that you can do for FREE.

The bottom line is that the more effort and work you put into your website, the more likely you are to have organic success when it comes to search engines. Once you’ve done all the things you can do to successfully optimise your website, then looking at paid for options or extra tools or products should come afterwards, if you are insistent on doing so. This could be online or offline marketing.

And all you’ll need to do in order to make your website successful is make sure that the content is rich and relevant, update your website regularly and keep the content and information fresh, engage your target audience on social media platforms, create interesting and relevant blog posts and provide links on your website pages to other areas of your site…

Your web design company will have made sure your website uses standard SEO practices such as H1 tags for your page titles, making sure you have supplied relevant keywords and phrases per page and more.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hire an SEO professional or copywriter. But if you do decide to go down that route, the idea is that you’ve put the time and effort into what you want your website to say, you’ve done the research and evaluation of what you want your website to do for you, and you’ve taken it upon yourself to understand what SEO is, how it works and how it can benefit you.

The sooner you understand SEO and how it works, the quicker you will realise that you can do a lot of it yourself. Using free tools that help boost your search engine optimization such as a XML Site map, or Google Analytics to name a couple… are also hugely beneficial and you will soon realise that optimizing your site and getting a good search engine ranking doesn’t have to cost a penny!

So, now my website is live and published, what do I do?...
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How to structure your website and content to benefit SEO

 

When it comes to planning your page structure, and writing your website content there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you need to decide what each page will be called (The Title,) what information is going to be displayed on that page (the copy), and how it is reached (Navigation.)

It’s important to know, before you embark on a website project, what size website you’ll need, and to have an idea on how you want the site map laid out. Maybe you'll need 10 pages, each describing a service your business offers, plus basic informational pages like a home page, a contact page, an about us page, and a testimonials page. Or, maybe you’ll need a 5 page brochure style site, with the standard pages listed above as well as an image gallery to showcase your products or services.

When writing your copy, once the page structure is set up, the copy for each page must focus on the keywords that relate specifically to that page. Then when deciding on how to have your navigation set up, it must easily get the website user from A to B on the site with as little effort as possible. Spending time on a site trying to find links to certain information or pages can be frustrating and end up in the user defecting from your website to look elsewhere.

Your Content

So, once you have your business plan, your domain, the site map of your website and the visual design all in place…. what happens next? Website content includes text, images, videos, forms, links, downloads, products and anything else that your website needs to provide to the user.

When writing your content, you need to think about the audience: Would too much text on your website deter visitors from reading your pages? Most probably. Would too little content provide a good quality image of your company? Probably not.

If your web pages are laid out clearly, and your content is to the point and relevant to the topic in hand, the more likely your website will do well from a users point of view which will in turn make your website more successful in search engine rankings.  Web pages with rich content information, interactive videos, social media feeds, links and more increase the quality of your website overall. The user experience is what is most important here. And it is your target audience that you should have in mind when creating your copy.

If you feel you would rather hire a copywriter to provide your copy, that’s absolutely fine. But you know more about your business than they do, and if they are not equipped with the knowledge, the content will reflect that. If hiring a copywriter you will need to work closely with them on what you want the content to say and be involved in how it’s worded, the tone it is written in and the fine details…

So what attributes does your website need, to be considered “good quality” by a search engine?

Oh, and as a side note, Merry Christmas to all of our followers.
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Choosing your domain and how it can help with SEO

 
The best domain names combine 2 factors:
  • They contain a keyword or keywords relevant to your business (so a service or the company name)
  • They are short and easy to remember
Your domain name may simply be your business name, a shortened version of your business name, or a version of your business name that is slightly altered to incorporate a keyword that is related to your business services.

For example, if your business was called TK Company, you could incorporate a keyword or phrase that may be a service you offer, into the domain such as tkwebsitedesign.co.uk

The keyword/phrase here is website design.

You will quickly discover, when you begin researching domain names, that a lot of the shorter or more generic addresses are already taken. Don't give up though, keep trying variations until you find something that really works for you.

You can even use this free tool to see which domains are available.We always advise clients to stick with a co.uk suffix if they're a British based business, but feel free to branch out to the .com .net .biz etc. if you cannot find the availability for the .co.uk.

Normally, we would recommend against adding a hyphen into the website address, because a hyphen is something easily missed. People may type the domain name into their browser by memory, and may not remember that you have a hyphen in the middle of your business name. This could result in them not finding your site, or worse, landing on someone else’s site.

Some people choose to have a domain name that does not include the company name. Instead, opting for the domain to be the main service they provide. For example, the company could be called TK Cars, and the domain name could be www.carrentalservices.co.uk

It depends on whether you feel people will remember the business name in order to search for you, or the service you provide.

Upon beginning a website project with Toolkit Websites, we will register a website address for you. If you are unsure what website address would suit your website, feel free to discuss this with your project manager who will be able to talk you through your options.

How can your content benefit your search engine ranking?
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Website of the Week - R Taylor Plastering Solutions



Name: R Taylor Plastering Solutions
Services: Full Refurbishment, Skimming, Rendering
Location: Sheffield

Products Chosen:
One Page Website
Custom Form
Large Thumbnail Gallery
Lightbox

Why We Love It:

Our Team in Southampton are quite excited about this one as it's a great example of how you can build an entire website with just one page! A lot of companies don't need pages and pages of information and images to describe what they do, they just want a professional looking calling card that allows potential clients to find them on the web and get in touch quickly and easily.

It clearly states the services they offer, where they are based and looks good while doing so. This website is elegantly simple, using modern looking full width panels to separate each section for easy reading. It also has attractive little grooves on each strip, perfect representation for RTP Solutions' line of work and great for standing out from the competition.

With a one page website, you will also get a free Gallery page as well as a Custom Form. Utilising the Large Thumbnails and the Lightbox function, the R Taylor Plastering Gallery can show off nicely the variety of projects that they have worked on in the past. And the custom form, styled with some charming drop shadows and an interactive Google Map, invites anyone coming across the website to easily make an enquiry.

So if you think you need a website, but don't have the need for pages and pages of written content then get in touch with our Team in Southampton to talk about what a One Page Website could do for your business.
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How the website design can benefit SEO

Having an all singing, all dancing style website might appeal to you, and it may look great and appeal to your clients too, however, your goal as the small business owner is to publish a website that is intuitive for people to use, and built in a way that search engines will be able to access.

Visually, the design of your site needs to present your business and showcase your branding. But one of your main concerns needs to be how the site will be used. It needs to appeal to your potential customers, and be easy for them to use and navigate.

This means that your site needs to load quickly, render correctly on all major browsers, the text needs to be easy to read and easily accessible by making sure you use a web safe font… it also means that the key elements of the site are rendered in plain HTML text that search engines can read and understand.

We often have clients come to us, whose existing sites have been built entirely in graphics or Flash animation. Google cannot understand and as a result it is unlikely that it will be ranked well. Images and other functionality such as screen tabs, graphics and more can be used as a great effect on a site if they are treated as embellishments or add-ons, rather than being the main focus of the website design.

Before embarking on a website project with us, do a little research on sites that you like the look of, and sites that you found easy to use, Share these with your project manager in your welcome call, and discuss what it was that you liked about those individual sites. You can take a look at previous designs in our full portfolio or you can do a Google search to see what your competitor’s websites look like, or even websites that are not in your industry that you just like the look of.

If you're working with a professional web designer, like Toolkit Websites, be prepared to express your likes and dislikes, but also be ready to accept the advice and recommendations we put forward regarding usability and functionality. It is our duty of care to make sure your website has all the components it needs, in order to function well. Having a site that can be used well by your users is vital to your success on the web, and at the end of the day, that is there job. To provide a website that not only looks good, but that works well.

SEO is an integral part of a good website. The design of your website must be built using SEO best practices and Google's Webmaster guidelines. Every good web design company will work within these guidelines and rules. A good website is a site that can be used with equal ease by humans and search engines alike.

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SEO for small business owners

 
Our experience and expertise of working with small business owners has taught us that the small business budget is often suited to focusing on one or more targeted phrases for search engine rankings at one time. Your marketing plan needs to be clear, concise and focused on the main area or selling point of your business.

You can't compete with Apple.com for example, without having the same size budget and as powerful a standing in the economy as that company. So while it's great to aim high, it's more realistic to pick a specialised need you can fulfill within your target market.

If the phrases or keywords you're trying to rank well for aren't competitive (for example, you are in a niche business and do not have many competitors in your industry) then getting good placement is fairly straightforward.

However, if your phrase is competitive, such as “Web Designer Southampton” then you're going to need to make your site worthy of ranking well, and to stand out from your competitors. You are not going to be the only person trying to achieve a high ranking on search engines for a more generic or broad set of keywords or phrases.

You will need to do your research and carefully select what keywords or phrases you would like to focus on, that are relevant and will be beneficial to your website.

Getting to the top of search engine results pages means earning it. Google in particular are constantly tweaking their algorithm formulas, so cutting corners, or using black hat techniques are just not going to cut it. In order for your website to rank well, you’ll need to put the hard work, time and effort into the site in order to achieve this.

You can get good rankings by simply building a good quality site. If you are building and constructing your site with search engines in mind, or you are determined in trying to figure out how search engines choose to rank sites, you’re doing your website more harm than good.

The idea is that you build your website with the user in mind. If the user has the best experience whilst navigating and using your website, Google will be able to see this and reward you for it….

So the next question is “How will my design impact the success of my optimisation?”
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You're website is a party, but have you sent out the invites?

We’ve all heard the term SEO banded around, with companies calling or emailing you on a daily basis offering ‘the top’ of this, and ‘number one’ in that. The reality is that the most qualified person to optimise your website…is you!

Not everyone understands the jargon used by SEO companies, and this is part of the problem. One thing we do all understand however, is how to throw a good party!

Stick with us on this, but your website is like a party. You have to make sure that you’ve organised the venue, put on a good spread, provided entertainment, and most importantly, remembered to invite people!

THE THEME

Before you blow up a single balloon, you’ll already have thought about the theme of your party. Maybe it’s fancy dress, maybe it has a seasonal theme?

Your website is no different. You need to define what your website does, and who it caters for, before doing anything else. All your content, needs to focus around not just a central theme (your business or enterprise), but also what people are likely to be looking for.

Defining a set of keywords is essential to focusing your website in a particular direction. That way, you can be sure that the people arriving at your party, are the ones you really want to be there.

THE VENUE

Another important thing you’ll need to consider is the venue for your website. Maybe inviting the entire office to your front room would be a bit of a tight squeeze? The technical setup and reliability of your website is just like the venue you choose. You wouldn’t dream of inviting your friends, family or colleagues to a dangerous building, so why invite potential customers to a poor-performing or slow website?

Getting around your party is important, in the same way that easily navigating your website is. By correctly labelling your content, you’ll make sure your visitors are tucking into the content they’ve been looking for.

THE INVITES

Finally, we get to the most important stage. Forgetting to invite people to your party is going to result in an expensive (and probably quite lonely) evening for you.

Inviting people to your party isn’t an exact science, and it also doesn’t have a black and white method either. Different people and groups, respond better to certain forms of marketing. Luckily, you get lots of attempts at your website marketing, so you don’t have to get it right first time!

With the growth in social media activity across all age groups over the last few years, there have never been more ways for potential attendees to get that RSVP to you.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ are a few of the most popular forms of social media, but a blog is arguably the most powerful. You also have email marketing to consider, as well as the more conventional, offline methods, such as business cards, brochures, and leaflets.

So, in summary, your website will never become like a stale sausage roll, if you just remember to invite people to visit. We offer free and unlimited marketing advice to all of our clients (we also know how to make a good cake too!).

If you’d like to have a chat about your website design, optimisation, or just ideas for your next fancy dress party, give us a call on 02380 633644.


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SEO December, An introduction to Search Engine Optimisation

 

SEO December ~ This month we are tackling the topic of SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. It’s a mean feat, but from our findings on Twitter, Facebook and from interaction with our clients on a daily basis… we’ve found that it’s a topic that has a lot of confusion surrounding it, and we’d like to help iron out any queries you may have.

For a lot of people, SEO is deeply mystifying, confusing or they feel that it’s too specialist a subject for them to get involved in. A lot of people feel that leaving it “to the experts” is the way forward, because they think it’s too complicated or that they don’t have the time to invest in it. People also believe that SEO is something that costs a lot of money.

In the following series of blog posts, we are going to aim to explain what SEO is, how it works, how it benefits your business website and how you do it yourself for FREE

So let’s start off with the fundamental question… “What is SEO?”

Search engine optimisation is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's natural search results.

When a person uses Google, they type in specific keywords or phrases in the hope of finding a website that best fits that criteria.

Whether they are searching for Web Designer Southampton,” in order to view what web design company to hire locally to them, or whether it’s What is a Web Designer? the idea is that the results listed will supply website links worth looking at in relation to the keywords typed in or an answer to the question that has been asked.

When the person types in the query, Google rapidly searches through its database and retrieves the answers it thinks are most relevant to the person's query. (See the example below)

The idea is that the best, or most relevant sites are ranked first in order to fulfil the users need. If Google did not provide the most useful or relevant rankings, users would divert to another search engine instead such as Bing or Yahoo to see if they get better results there.

How does Google decide what sites are to be ranked higher than others?

Google determines the value of each and every page it indexes, based upon its algorithm. The algorithm compares, judges, and values each web page against a set list of criteria.

What does a higher-ranking mean?

A higher rank means more visitors, and more visitors mean more sales, or more advertising revenue. Everyone who has a website wants it to rank highly, because more often than not, the top 10 (or first page of results) are the most likely to be clicked on and visited by the user.

So search engine optimisation is where you can use the tools, guidelines, and practices needed in order to have your website deemed “good quality” by Google, and therefore increase your chances of being ranked highly.

Read our website page “Five Honest Truths about SEO” , or contact Toolkit Websites.

… So how do you get started?(next blog)...

 
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My Work Experience with Toolkit Websites




My name is Hayley Billington and I have been coming to Toolkit Websites for work experience for the past 2 months, working two days a week. I am currently studying media at Solent university in Southampton, where I first developed an interest in web design and development and my experience at Toolkit has only increased this even more.

Before Toolkit, I had a very basic understanding of web development but with what I have learnt during my time here I now feel I have become much more competent. This is mainly down to David Swan and his team who were always so happy and willing to help me if I ever had any questions. The fact that The Toolkit (their very own Content Management) is so manageable, also allowed me to complete many tasks with ease.

Unlike previous work experience I'd undergone before, I was always given something worthwhile to do. Most of my work experience has centred around the content of websites however while I have been working in the Toolkit Office I have been able to observe the project managers and support team at work. It has taught me many things about being professional whilst also working to a deadline.

I was also given the opportunity to see the New Business Team in action which gave me insight to a part of the company I hadn't originally given much thought to. This was while I was working on a research project for Toolkit, sourcing companies that potentially needed our help building or redesigning their website. I completed this task pretty much independently and this responsibility made me feel trusted.


Everyone at Toolkit has always made me feel like a significant member of the team, asking me about my university work and making me feel at ease. I was even invited along to the monthly Toolkit activity - bowling! It's such a great environment to work in as everyone really pulls together as a team to get the jobs in hand completed to the utmost quality.

I would recommend doing work experience at Toolkit to anyone, even if they don't have a specific interest in web development. Being a part of the company's positive work ethic and brilliant customer service gives great satisfaction and it has been a pleasure to have been involved.
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Website of the Week - Seymour Sloan


Seymour Sloan Home Page                                                       Seymour Sloan Services
Name:
Services:
Location:
Seymour Sloan
Management Consulting
London
Products Chosen:
Why we Love it:

Our Southampton Team really wanted to come up with a professional and dramatic look for this interesting, London-based company. They have a very original approach to Corporate and Customer Strategy and needed a classically fashionable website to attract new clients.

This website uses different black and white images as the backgrounds for each page. This gives the website a very glamorous and stylish design with flashes of the signature duck egg blue from their company colours. It's dressed to impress and makes a memorable first impression.

This website also makes use of a couple of great navigational features.

The Page Search Bar, ever present in the top right hand corner, allows visitors to the website to search for a topic or keyword of their choice and if a page on the site uses this word, it will appear underneath.

If the potential client doesn't have anything so specific in mind they can use the main menu bar, complete with drop down menus, to see a better overview of the website and choose a section to read from.

If you are looking for a dramatic website design like this or simply looking to add one of these great features to your own website, just get in touch with Toolkit Websites, Web Design Southampton and we will take it from there for you.
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Website of the Week - Inkwazi Kommunications




Name: Inkwazi Kommunications
Services:  Sales Training, & Event Management Solutions
Location: Reading, Berkshire


Products Chosen:
Page Dressing
Standard Form
Custom Graphics & Design
Twitter Feed

Why we Love it:
Our Website Design Team based in Southampton really loved working on Inkwazi's new website and so decided to make this our Website of the Week.

The design of it demonstrates a lot of the trends going on in website design at the moment with its panel-style backgrounds and pastel colors. Grey and blue, though very corporate, have been softened to match the quirky but professional eagle logo.

The Fish Eagle (the meaning behind the word 'Inkwazi') and the colours used achieve a friendlier tone better suited for this company, dedicated to working with charities, helping them to stand out from other corporations in the field.

This simple yet modern design also makes a good frame for the well written and organised content within. The main menu and sub sections represented by custom icons in the Home Page Dressing sit above an attractive Twitter Feed integration which will help Inkwazi reach out to clients as well as impress Search Engines like Google.

You can see this organisation is also continued onto each internal page of the website. Each section is represented by custom backgrounds & custom icons. It's so easy to navigate using the four main sections in the website menu at the top. Then from there, you can find the Services section with five sub sections to jump between, complete with 'Back to Top' buttons every step of the way.

This is a great example of a website to look at if you're thinking about ways to structure your own content. The design fits in perfectly with this resulting in a great website for a truly deserving company.
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The future of web design: Where web design is going…

In this ever-evolving discipline, it’s always been a challenge to keep up to date with latest web design trends and ideas. The explosion of the mobile market as well as tablets and similar devices has seen people browsing the Internet on the go, and using a personal computer to access the web far less.

“Access to the Internet using a mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2014, from 24% to 58%.”

Because of this, web design in itself has had to adapt as well. Gone are the days where you can build a website to just look good in a browser. Now, websites need to be accessible on a myriad of devices, due to the increased level of choice people have when it comes to “surfing the net.”

Not only does this mean that responsive design has taken centre stage, it also means that trends such as “flat design” and “parallax scrolling” have become increasingly popular among those wanting their website to stand out and clearly showcase their message.

For now, we can see that website design is heading towards a more simplistic, stripped back and minimal design style, with people preferring an uncluttered and easy to navigate site. There is a rise in popularity for websites that are open plan, larger in width and focus on beautiful graphics, typography and imagery.

Gone are the days where websites are built in three columns with rigid sidebars, paragraphs of text and blocky flash animation headers. The future of web design shows us throwing these routine elements out of the window and using the space to tell a story. No more blocks, or rigid boxes.

The idea of design is now moving more towards a pageless website experience, where you only need to scroll to journey through the site. No more clicking back and fourth or being inundated with blocks of vast information… the idea is for it to be much more fluid. This style makes for a seamless experience, ending the need for link hunting or any other type of point and click guesswork.

Because pageless design needs to be well thought out and planned, the website creator would need to carefully think about their content, making it clear and concise about what their business has to offer. This in turn makes the overall message more powerful than if you had a complicated page structure for the user to try and navigate.

To summarise, it is difficult to predict the future of web design, because it’s an ever-changing entity. The way things are looking now though, shows that mobile and tablet usage is on the increase and doesn’t look set to go anywhere any time soon. Flat design, Parallax scrolling and one page websites will probably become much more widely used, enabling ease of use and creating a positive and enjoyable experience for the end user.
 
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Social September - All About Instagram:

Popular with the public for its clean design and easy to use dashboard, many businesses and brands have included Instagram in their digital marketing strategy. With over 150 million monthly users, Instagram is a way of sharing images with captions to a wide range of people, and is a great way at getting to your target audience in a more visual way of advertising.

As they say, a picture paints a thousand words!

Free Advertising

With this social media app, you can provide window-shopping opportunities for your followers, giving them a taste of your products and services. You can include useful information in the caption, such as location details, price, and anything else to intrigue your followers.

Engaging with your target audience

People buy from people and Instagram will help you to create that emotional connection with your audience. The great thing here is that it allows you to share the day-to-day experiences of your business whilst giving a personal feel to your brand.  Behind the scene photos and employee images tend to rank well on Instagram. When you attend a social event, start work on a new project, take part in a charity event, visit a particularly good restaurant, go on holiday to a beautiful city, or celebrate a success in your business… make sure you capture the event on camera. Knowing what’s happening in your world keeps your organisation fresh in your target audiences mind.

Every business needs a personality behind the brand, because the more human a business comes across the more likely you are going to engage your target audience and open up discussion about your products and services. Not just that, but it also becomes a memorable visual image, which is a lasting impression on potential customers.

Increase In Traffic

Although you can’t add clickable links to every Instagram update it can be a great source of traffic driving. Because Instagram is visual, it’s more about making your brand visible, and getting noticed.

In a nutshell, having a selection of accounts, from Facebook to Twitter, and YouTube to Instagram helps reach the largest audience possible, and increase brand awareness even further.  By integrating Instagram into your social media marketing campaign, you can give your online following insight into your company in new ways.
 
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My Work Experience with Toolkit Websites

My name is Jasmein and I've just completed 2 weeks work experience at Toolkit Websites and they've let me blog about it!

My time at Toolkit Websites has been amazing. In the two weeks I spent here I have never felt left out or felt like I have had nothing to do as I have always been given some sort of important responsibility, which has taught me a lot during my time here, especially having to use my own initiative.

My first lesson was being taught how to work within their systems, which is where you edit websites and find information about the clients. I have realised the importance of meeting deadlines and working together as a team to satisfy clients. I noticed how Toolkit Websites do everything they can to fulfil their clients wishes.

My first day was quite rewarding, because I learnt so much as the manager David Swan took a lot of time out of his own work to teach me how to edit websites through The Toolkit system and add content. Compared to other work experience stories, I was expecting to be given duties of filing and faxing or perhaps making tea or coffees but in fact every morning I would come in, and I would already have my tea or coffee on the desk for me and a work list ready to be started.

Most days I have been working on updating websites,  adding content, or making small changes that make all the difference to any of our 2,000 clients sites. This also involved updating websites that were short of content and to locate decent copy for each site I had to research their business, history and industry to provide relevant information for their web pages. This means Toolkit Websites can help their clients with content and go the extra mile during the build process.

I was also required to provide updates of the changes I made to each individual website to the Project Manager who is in charge of its build. This was great because I worked with them in order to achieve the website, design and content the client desired.

I always carried out my duties independently, and having the chance to use my own intuitive was great because I felt just like everyone else and not an outsider. I felt like my work was trusted.

My biggest achievement during my time at Toolkit Websites has been completing my deadlines. I was given a list of jobs to finish before my work experience came to an end but I completed this list way before the deadline whilst carrying out other duties within the team. For me the best part of my time at Toolkit Websites was that I felt like my work was always appreciated and important.

All the project managers who work within the company were always very polite and helpful. They always made me feel like I could ask for help and they wouldn’t just tell me how to do something they would show me.

I also noticed how positive the relationship was between all the workers and how the company would re-enforce this idea by planning outside activities and also having internal meetings every week to discuss what projects everyone has been working on and the progress of their work. I was also invited into this meeting, which again never made feel left out because I was also talking about my own experience and the design projects I was working on.

I came here not knowing a lot about websites and now I can say I do. It has improved my knowledge on websites and I have experienced what a day in the life of Toolkit Websites is like.  I would definitely recommend this experience to other people who many be interested as it has been a pleasure working here and I would definitely do it all over again.

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Social September - Don’t make a hash of it!

Twitter is an online social networking tool in which users post up to 140 character updates, on topics of their choice. People use twitter in many ways these days, some as a newsfeed by following prominent people or networks, or simply as a way to follow friends and family and their personal lives.

Twitter is best known for its “hashtag” feature, in which users label their tweets. Hashtags contain no spaces or punctuation and begin with a “#” symbol.

Twitter users create trending topics by using hash tags. For instance, a business might create a hashtag as a way to start a conversation, and the more people that use the hashtag the more likely it is that the hash tag will trend. You have the ability to click on the hashtags that are trending to view people’s tweets on that very topic, meaning that all tweets are grouped by topic and are easy to filter.

For example, if we created a tweet that said: #asktoolkitwebsites, and multiple people responded with questions such as:

“Do you host domains? #asktoolkitwebsites”
“Can you design my website from Southampton #asktoolkitwebsites”
“How do I change the text on my website in the Toolkit #asktoolkitwebsites”
“How can I pay my design invoice? #asktoolkitwebsites”

Then whoever clicked on the hashtag #asktoolkitwebsites would see all of those tweets grouped in one feed, for them to read.

A Twitter hashtag ties conversations from different users together into one feed, which you can find by searching the hashtag in Twitter Search or by clicking on it from a post you have seen. If Twitter users who are not otherwise connected talk about the same topic using a specific hashtag, their tweets will appear in the same stream.

Hashtags allow you to create communities of people interested in the same topic by making it easier for them to find and share info related to it.

If you decide to create a hashtag for your Twitter business account, you will need to make sure you promote the Hashtag by incorporating it into your other marketing materials.

A hashtag is only useful if people know about it. So to generate conversations using your hashtag, start adding it your existing resources and channels. For instance, every time you send an email, include the hashtag into your email signature. Or you can add it to your social media sharing links, and on your website for people to be aware of.

#ToolkitWebsites #PassionateSupport

Contact Toolkit Websites for more information.
 
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Social September: Why Facebook and Twitter are must haves

There are over 900 million users on Facebook and 140 million tweets made every day on Twitter. Social media has a variety of uses, from branding to market research to customer service and generating leads… the possibilities are endless. There are also huge SEO benefits too, especially when using both Facebook and Twitter in conjunction with your business website.

The main things that they will bring to your business are the following:

Exposure

Facebook and Twitter are seeing 1 million new accounts opened every single day. With a wide and engaged set of followers, your business is being exposed to millions of active users that can access your page, read through what your company offers and they will even get in touch if they are interested.

Because social media is free, you can afford to set up accounts with both networking sites, and regularly update them to keep your head above that of your competitors.

The Personal Touch

Twitter is very direct and it grants you access to other organisations businesses all over the world as well as direct access to your customers or potential leads. The more you engage in discussion and the more you get involved with the trends on Twitter, the more exposure you will receive and the more your account will succeed in terms of visibility. Facebook on the other hand gives you the chance to promote your services, showcase your portfolio using their unlimited gallery and even set up an E shop via your page, if you wanted to create revenue from your page as well as your business website.

Extended customer service

A lot of companies and organizations use Twitter and Facebook as a form of customer service. Sometimes, people take to social media because they feel they will get more of a human response.

Inter-connectivity

Twitter and Facebook marketing can hold the key to your entire social marketing strategy. Linking to your Blog, Pinterest, Flikr, Instagram, Youtube, Google + and other chosen platforms is a great way to engage browsers in all aspects of your online marketing.

Special Offers and Promotions

Special deals promoted on your social media accounts can drive traffic to your site. Running competitions, or Q & A sessions will also get people involved and speaking with you, meaning that others will become aware of your brand. 

Keep up on news and trends

Twitter and Facebook is a great way to keep up with the latest news and trends. See what people are talking about, what’s popular and what’s not. Not only that, but it’s a great way of spotting problems quickly. If someone has noticed an issue with a service of yours, or a problem, you can pick it up with them and resolve the issue, showing others that you are responsive and eager to fix any issues for your existing clients.


Some interesting stats found on Twitter

72% of followers said that they are more likely to make a purchase from
a small or medium sized business that they follow on Twitter, after seeing them interact with other clients.

85% of followers feel more connected with a small to medium business after following them, and getting an insight into their day to day running of their business.

73% of followers follow small to medium businesses to get updates on future product or services, because they’ve seen something of interest or they have purchased from that business before and are willing to do so again.

61% follow in order to share ideas and provide feedback, whether it’s a positive testimonial or to offer constructive criticism.

All in all, it’s important to be present on social media, no matter what industry category your business falls into. 
 
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An Introduction to Pinterest – for your business

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is just simply a digital pin board, where you can virtually ‘pin’ items that you find visually appealing and/or would like to pin so that you can come back to it for inspiration later.

As one of the fastest growing social media sites, with over 10 million unique users, Pinterest allows you to upload, save, share and organize pins into category boards for people to browse and view.

If you are a fun, creative type then it is a great way to express yourself and your brand. Pinterest allows you to display your work online to potential customers and clients as well as giving you the ability to create an online portfolio filled with personality.

As with all social networks, one of the benefits of using Pinterest is that it gives you the ability to define not only a brand, but to expose the person or people behind that brand. This makes it easier for clients, whether they are existing clients or potential new clients, to relate to your company.

You can view our Pinterest account here. You will see we have used keywords such as “Web Design Southampton,” in order for our pins to be SEO optimized.

http://uk.pinterest.com/ToolkitWebsites/

You can select what keywords or meta data each of your pins has.

The main advantages of using Pinterest for your business:

Drives Traffic; By pinning and repining items, you and visitors are sharing the links back to the source; your blog, your pinterest account or your website.

Connects and Develops Relationships; Pinterest draws in highly engaged users, from which you can build a community and interact with potential customers

Search Engine Optimisation; it is a site regularly indexed by search engines, so this means that it provides a lot of opportunities to boost your SEO.

Some Pinteresting stats

• There is no vertical size limit on pins, providing a great deal of scope for creativity
• Approximately 58% of Pinterest users are females
• Click through and sales conversion rates are better on Pinterest than on either Twitter or Facebook
• Pinterest users tend to have a higher than average disposable income
• Some of the most popular Pinterest topics are interiors, DIY, cookery, fashion, hobbies and crafts

Pinterest will not only provide you with more backlinks to your website and an SEO ranking, but it will also increase your visibility. Being visible on Pinterest means the higher the likelihood of someone coming across you and your brand.
 
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A day in the life of .... Toolkit Websites - Web Designers in Southampton

Ever wondered what the day to day running of a website design company is like, what occurs and who's responsibile for your website looking the way it does?

The Toolkit Squad offer and manage a varied array of tasks and responsibilities to you, our clients, on a day-to-day basis, and no two days are the same.

Our company is made up of a fantastic group of people who are constantly working to deliver the passionate service and high quality web design we stand for. 

We see it as a relay. The New Business Team discuss your requirements and provide you with a website package to suit your needs.

The baton is then handed to a Project Manager who is assigned to the running of your website project from beginning to end. They will be the ones to make your vision become a reality... providing you with ideas, creative vision and discussing what your website needs to do in depth and with understanding.

They liaise with the design and content team to get your website looking just how you want it, with your unlimited design changes, and the Toolkit Publication Check List in place to make sure everything goes smoothly and is easy to understand. They also then liaise with the Technical Team to make sure your domain and emails are ready and in place.

Then when you are ready to take the plunge and get your website up and running, the baton is then handed to the last but not least component of the business, the ever ready Passionate Support Squad.

If you have any queries or questions once your website is live, the Support Squad are your go to team to help sort any issues you may have. Whether you need a hand on how to update your content on your website, upload new images, or you have an email or domain issue... they are on standby to give you their full attention to help solve any issue that might arise.

Why does it work?

Our Passionate Support Squad are exactly that... passionate about web design. From the new business team, to the project managers and design and content team, we want your website to look great, work well and be a great success for your business.

Every single project means a lot to us, and we like to see great designs, great performing functionality and SEO friendly websites going live on our system.

It works because the team pulls together, and the appropriate team, to ensure the smoothest build possible, deals with all areas of the project.

Are there hiccups along the way?

Nobody is perfect. And as web design is such a personal, and hinged on "personal preference" type of industry, of course there are going to be instances where visions are different, or things don't go completely smoothly.

That's where our unlimited design change policy comes in to play, to make sure that we work at it with you until you are 100% happy. We'll make sure that we come up with alternative ideas, make changes as you need, and have a degree of flexibility when it comes to our services... because no project is the same. We will not get you to sign off on the design stage, until you are ready to.

Web design is an industry that involves a lot of problem solving or solution finding. We thrive on that, and here at Toolkit Websites we are proud of our expanding portfolio... our team do a literal whoop every time a website goes live and gets added to our portfolio.

The best thing about Toolkit Websites? (if we don't say so ourselves...)

We don't leave you in the deep end once your website is live. We are on hand via phone or email to help you and assist you in anyway we can. We have a 3 ring policy, where we will pick up your call in 3 rings or less... don't believe us? Try us!

Why not call us today on 02380 633 644 to have a chat with one of the New Business Team, to discuss your website project requirements, and we'll see what we can do for you.

Alternatively, if you already have a website, and want to see what ideas or changes we would suggest, we'd be more than happy to hear from you.

Or if you are already a client of ours, and have decided that your website needs a bit of a revamp, or refresh, we would love to discuss the details with you.


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

http://www.simonfielder.com/


This week's favourite website redesign of our team based in Southampton goes to Simon Fielder. As soon as you land on this website you will be immediately stunned by the very theatrical design. The contrasting black and white colouring coupled with the wide content area and slider embodies watching a grand production on a stage. A perfect theme for this particular client's website.

Simon Fielder is a man of many talents and has experience in many fields. He combines show production with acting, playing music and writing. He also works extensively in the corporate sector, presenting, facilitating, writing, casting for, voicing and appearing in training and communication videos, online presentations, workshops and live trade and training events. Having a presence on the web is important for networking and with a great design you are bound to get noticed.

The branding of this website design is extremely strong and takes a lot of inspiration from existing marketing material such as the official stage posters used in the grand slider. Obviously with industries such as this, more than a website is needed and spreading the word of your products (in this case the shows as well as the skills of Simon) is done using many different avenues. An example of this, besides the printed materials mentioned, are the web based Social Media accounts. This website in particular uses Facebook and Twitter feeds to start discussions and generate interest in the performances and productions of Simon Fielder. More specifically, the Twitter feed on the Home Page is actually what is known as a 'List' which means you can add a number of different Twitter IDs to one feed and have a whole community of your choice sharing their thoughts, recommendations and opinions directly onto your website.

Other instances of Social Media you will notice on the website include the custom Icons in keeping with the overall design and the embedded Youtube videos, adding that extra form of media so important for an industry that relies on seeing performance and characters from a voyeuristic point of view. Social Media and being savy on the web is becoming ever more important in this day and age and is a key marketing tool so it's a good idea to explore what's out there and look into what could work for you, your business and your website.

The final product that I want to mention, chosen particularly for this redesign, was the 'Carousel' that you'll notice in the top left of the Home Page content. The website user has complete control over the scrolling of this and Simon can go and update the news in each individual slide on the Carousel whenever he wants through The Toolkit. Again, it's a very dramatic way to announce news headlines  to the intended audience. Making this website as much of a show in its own right as the ones it advertises on its pages.


Check out this great spectacle of a website and all the fantastic productions featured for yourself here:

http://www.simonfielder.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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Website of the Week - Top Line Foods


http://www.toplinefoods.co.uk/

This week's website of the week goes to Top Line Foods. It's artistic in both layout and design with many endearing features that make it a pleasure to read and explore. This website was built to give our client, Top Line Foods, the platform they needed to compete with their competitors. But more than that, something that would stand out as something extra-special.

Top Line Foods are food importers and exporters who put the utmost effort and care into the quality of their service as well as the quality of their products. They specialise in foods such as high quality Cacao and other fruits and nuts. Some recognizable: dried blueberries, Brazil nuts, figs, pine-nuts as well as other, more exotic foots like: acai powder, aronia berries, coconut blossom sugar and quinoa grains.

The first thing about this website you are bound to notice are the bold, responsive background images that resize automatically to screen size with no scrolling. They were created to have that dreamy, out of focus black and white effect with a vivid splash of colour in the forefront. This effect was dreamed up by the client and brought to life by our Design Team. If you ever have a look in mind for your own website, we will always strive to achieve it for you until it's exactly as you imagined.

The content itself is simple but well laid out over 5 pages. This really sells the product giving it an overall very professional look.

The eye is led down the page with arrows and beautiful images alongside passages of descriptive text.

Finally, the very last feature to mention and the most quirky by far is the Hidden Squirrel. She wanted to run a competition to bring enquiries to her website and so asked us to place a moving squirrel somewhere on one of the pages for visitors to find. The competition has since closed, but the squirrel can still be found on the contact confirmation page.

The client was very happy with her website, stating that she was "happy with our service and the patience and knowledge of the team was great," giving us 4.5 stars.



 

Have a browse through the website for yourself and explore first hand this wonderful website envisioned by Top Line Foods. Yet another website that we are very proud to deliver for a very deserving company.

http://www.toplinefoods.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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Making the most of Free Social Marketing

When it comes to your business and social media, you need to think about the advantages having these accounts can have for you, and how to use them wisely. Websites need more than just a good Design or a talented team of designers at your beck and call, they need to be interactive, modern and up to date.

Twitter - Grow your business, 140 characters at a time

The key thing about Twitter is that you are able to tap into what your clients or target audience is talking about. You can see what topics are trending, what companies or industries have the most buzz about them, and you can follow in their footsteps by using Twitter as a marketing tool.

Twitter happens in real time, so this is something you have to constantly be on top of, in order to have your finger on the pulse.

Twitter is a means of listening to your customers, clients, colleagues, industry leaders and anyone else who might comment on your product or business. Twitter is about networking and knowledge sharing. It is also a way that your potential clients can hear about you, ask you questions or simply become aware of your presence.

The best thing about Twitter is that it’s humanizing your business and giving it a voice. Some of the more successful brands on Twitter allow and encourage interactivity with their business on Twitter, engaging clients, and launching competitions and even solving client’s problems in real time.

You can read about how to get started, what Twitter can do for you and read the success stories here

https://business.twitter.com/

Facebook - Increase your Exposure to Existing & Potential Customers

Facebook has 1.19 billion users. Having a Facebook page not only opens you up to being discovered and found, but it is also a way of advertising your business… for free. Having a business page where you encourage clients/ customers to like you, review you and interact with you is a very positive thing. The more you engage with it, the more successful it will be.

Facebook also has great features such as an online Facebook shop, you can use it’s unlimited photo uploader to showcase your products or services and you can also use it as a platform to draw potential clients in, by launching competitions, prizes, asking and answering questions and interacting with your target audience.

With both Facebook and Twitter, you can brand and style them to match your websites design.

We have these services available which you can read more about here:

http://www.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/social-media-marketing


LinkedIn – Increasing your reach and expanding your network

LinkedIn is your companies’ online business card. It’s a place to connect with your clients, connect with your potential clients and also to connect with your industry partners.

LinkedIn has great tools for furthering your business, whether it’s recruitment, joining groups where potential clients or leads could be, or simply publishing your thoughts on your industry, LinkedIn is a great place to be for all things “business” related.

Take a look at creating your own account here: https://www.linkedin.com/


All in all, social media is a huge advantage to your business and to your website. Being available to your target audience on multiple platforms and engaging with them can show people that you are up to date, and reaching out in a variety of ways.

Not only that, but having your social media accounts linked up to your website, or having embedded feeds can synch your business website with your social media platforms in a way that it feels seamless and easy to access. In terms of search engines as well, your content from your social media platforms will help your content remain up to date and fresh.

You can take a look at our social media and set up services on our website here:

http://www.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/social-media-marketing


Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Website Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Our Content Management System - The Toolkit


Every website we design comes with our very own Content Management System (CMS) called 'The Toolkit' which has been specifically developed for small businesses. Our heavy investment and constant strive to improve our CMS has lead to The Toolkit becoming one of the best in the market for small business owners who want quality AND peace of mind when managing their website.

What does it do?

The Toolkit is the place where you can log in and manage your websites content, whether you want to add new images to your gallery, tweak the text on your pages, add or manage links in your text, pick up your website enquiries or anything else website related, The Toolkit is the place to do exactly that.

During the website design, your content and design is managed and controlled by a dedicated Project Manager. They hand over the reins to you once your website is live, meaning that once the websites design work is completed you have the freedom to login and make regular updates whenever you like.

Don’t panic though! We provide full training on how to use The Toolkit, and we are always here on the end of the phone or email if you ever get stuck. The Toolkit also features a “magic” button, which means you can back up to a previous time, in case you do make a mistake and want to revert your changes.

The Toolkit has all the tools you need in order to optimize your website for search engines, regularly update your content so that it is fresh and new, update your image galleries with up to date photos, and a lot more features that mean you can really get the most out of your website.



What if I have a question?

The Toolkit has been designed so that it’s easy to use, easy to navigate, and you can login from anywhere. If you don’t have the time, you can assign a colleague or family member as a user on your account to make updates to your website content on your behalf. We offer unlimited training sessions as well and have an extensive support site meaning that we’re always on hand to help, even if it’s out of office hours. All you’ll need to do is find the guide you are looking for and watch the video or follow the step-by-step instructions each guide offers.

And if you really do get stuck, you can give us a call or drop us an email. Our Passionate Support Squad will be happy to help, after all, that’s what we’re here for!

Take a look at our CMS comparison report here, http://www.toolkitwebsites.co.uk/comparison

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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Final Re-branding Tip - Your Company Name

Your company name is one of your most valuable assets. An effective name establishes a strong identity and describes the type of business you're conducting. When it comes to rebranding or revamping your website design, having a look at what domain names that are available to you, using your business name could be a great idea.

When it comes to Search Engine Optimisation, having a domain name that uses the keywords that you want your business associated with can have a positive effect. Remember, you can have multiple domains that point to your website, meaning it can be found in multiple ways.

There are now a lot more domain suffixes to choose from (.co.uk, .uk, .net, .org), and you can purchase these from Toolkit Websites. Give us a call today to discuss what suffixes are available and how they could benefit your business.

All in all, your company's image should be simple and straightforward. Making these basic decisions about your new image and then implementing them into a redesign of your existing site will really make the difference in terms of getting the most out of your website and generating leads and business from it. Your business branding should be top priority in your marketing plan


Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Website Design company in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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3rd Re-branding Tip - Page content & SEO

The design isn't the only area of your website you need to update when it comes to a re-brand.

For example, if you have recently changed the types of products or services you sell, you will need to update your Meta Data for Google, the content on your website for clients and the navigation of your pages depending on your new strategy.

Updating your websites content is crucial to the success you achieve in Google's rankings. To go higher you need to use our SEO Guide and make sure your websites information is as up to date as possible and changed as often as you can.

To help you, Toolkit Websites provide a variety of Search Engine Optimisation tools including a Site Report service which can tell you how well your website is doing currently, and you can then run another report after your re-brand to see the difference and improvement it has made.

You can view our search engine services by visiting our website or for more information contact your Account Manager.

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Designers in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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2nd Re-branding Tip - Your Website Design

A redesigned website can have a significant impact when it comes to increasing the success of your business. Most businesses generate their leads through their online presence, and even if this isn’t the case your website is bound to be looked at by potential customers who want to get a good feel about your company before working with you. Your website is the first piece of marketing material a potential customer will experience, so it’s worth putting an extra effort into making your websites design look modern and stand out.

With a great design, attractive graphics, well optimised content and well written copy, you will be well on your way to attracting more prospective clients for your business, just by making a few changes to the way your website looks.

Redesigning your website is just like starting from scratch except you have all your pages and content ready as a starting point. For some fantastic before and after shots of how much a redesign can change your companies image, visit our Redesign Portfolio.

Toolkit Websites offer a bespoke redesign service for your web design, which we’d be happy to discuss with you in more detail on 02380 633 644. We can take a look at your current website design and make suggestions and recommendations of how to make better use of your website.


Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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1st Re-branding Tip - Your Logo Design

The first thing to look at would be your company logo. Does it work as a logo should? Does it tell your target audience who you are and does it leave a lasting impression? Would a distinctive new logo refresh your brand's visual feel, and help give your business a virtual face-lift?

The biggest reasons for having a strong brand image is to stand out from your competitors, to give your business recognition and memorability and of course to improve your websites success.Sometimes, a change of logo can be the best way to revamp your business look by giving your brand identity a boost.

There are some very important reasons for you to invest in a relevant, professional brand identity for your company, and to get it done professionally.

Being a Web Design company in Southampton, we provide hgih quality bespoke logo designs meaning that you can come to us with a concept, and we can create mock-ups based on your ideas. You can then experiment with layouts, fonts and colour palettes until you’re 100% happy with your new image, and we can then provide the high resolution formats for all your printing purposes.

Our logo design service starts at: £295+VAT if you wanted to start over from scratch with a completely new logo design. Or, if you simply wanted us to take a look and suggest alterations/ changes to your existing branding, we can provide a logo refresh service which starts from £195+VAT

Also, a change in your slogan or company motto can indicate a change in values or change of focus in your business. It can bring a breath of fresh air to your image and generate new interest.

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