Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

What is your New Years Resolution?


If you make one new years resolution this year, make it this one. To update your website more frequently and more often using The Toolkit.

Why?

Updating your website and creating fresh and up to date content is brilliant for Search Engine Optimisation. Long gone are the days where you can set a list of keywords or phrases for your website to be found for in Google. You have to truly craft and work on your content on a regular basis to climb the rankings and to keep at the top!

Google has a job to do. It wants to provide relevant and accurate search results based on what a user is inputting. This means, any websites that have badly written content, are stagnant and haven't been updated very often, or that aren't connected to social media accounts etc, it is likely that Google won't deem your website worthy of being ranked very highly. It doesn't matter how good the design is or what it looks like, this is about cultivating your content. 

All SEO should be kept on the page, rather than hidden away. Attempting to keyword "stuff" or manipulate your search results in anyway could result in a penalty from Google. This could mean your website drops in rankings completely, which obviously isn't good for business!

 The more pages of content you have the better. As your business grows, so should your website. That doesn't mean filling it with information or overloading it with content. It just means making your page structure easy and simple to follow. If need be, heavier pages can be split into individual pages.

You will also need to make sure that your website has share and direct link buttons to social media accounts. Having your content shared is beneficial to your SEO. Social Media isn't just about the likes and followers, it's about having a high level of engagement.

Make sure your website has a mobile version or is on a responsive platform. It's essential that your website can be viewed on all devices and monitors. If you want to have your website in rankings for mobile searches you must have a mobile friendly website.

If you haven't already, make sure you have a Google My Business account; including Analytics, web-master tools, Business view, an XML site map, Google Map and others. If relevant to your business have a Yell or Yelp account. Make sure you have a Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Google PlusBlogger, LinkedIn or Blog presence. And make sure they are all up to date, with consistent information across the board.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to give us a call on 02380 633 644. 

It does seem like a lot of work, but we promise you it will be totally worth it!
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Christmas: Gifts & Gadgets on the market 2015

There are loads of options for gifts for tech lovers this Christmas. 2015 has been the year for wearable tech, great new audio devices, cameras, tablets and gifts that are just for a bit of fun. Take a look at my personal top 5 tech gifts for Christmas this year.

1. Star Wars BB8 Droid 

At £130 it may be expensive for a bit of fun, but what true Star Wars fan wouldn't want their own droid? With features including voice recognition, adaptive personality and a holographic projector the tech is strong with this one.

So if you're buying for any Star Wars fans this Christmas and feeling generous, or just want to annoy the cat, this could be the droid you're looking for!



2. Smartphone Projector 

Another gadget that makes the most of your smartphone, simply place your phone inside the projector for a novelty experience. Unlikely to beat your TV for quality, but looks great for a bit of fun around the Christmas dinner table.



3. Vizor VR Glasses

Following on from Google cardboard, these horizon expanding glasses let you watch 3D films and play games through your smartphone simply by placing it inside the goggles. With plenty of free 3D videos available online this is an easy, and relatively inexpensive way, of getting that 3D experience.


4. Snap Time

Another great idea for a Christmas stocking filler. Simple, durable and available in a range of colours these would be ideal for outdoor or sports activities.



5. World's Smallest Voice Changer

For a bit of fun this Christmas, and for only £8, this could be the perfect stocking filler.


Senior Project Manager - Andy Sudlow.
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Toolkit's Guide to: Blogging Platforms


When it comes to fresh and constantly updated content, blogging is the perfect tool. Creating and sharing blog posts is GREAT for search engine optimisation because you are supplying your potential customers and clients with good quality, relevant and useful information regularly, and responsively.

Google has a job to do. And that is to provide people with the most accurate and useful search results, depending on what they've typed in to find. Google wants to make sure that the user is only given suggested results that are appropriate and that the content is going to be exactly what the user is after. Usually by just browsing the top 5 results.

In order to make sure you are up there, and that your content is what Google deems "good quality" and "relevant" is to make sure that it is both of those things, as well as regularly updated, and fresh. Having a blog is a perfect solution for this. Why? Because you can set up a blog, style it, and link it to your website for people to be able to find it. Then, all you need to do is start writing blog posts that you feel your target audience would want to read and would find useful.

Each blog post you write can include information and keywords that will not only be found in search engine results, but be of relevance to what your target audience are looking for. Having it attached to your website means that it works fluidly with your online presence, and all blogging platforms give you the ability to brand and style your blog in a similar style to your website.

At Toolkit Websites, we favour Blogger as the blogging platform that we recommend. Not only is it owned by Google themselves, but also because of the flexibility it provides to you as the user. It's easy to manage, easy to customise and has brilliant options for you to use it alongside your Google Analytics (view statistics of how it's performing!)

We also have a specialised knowledge on how to use Blogger and can provide bespoke styling, to match your blog to your website design, or provide a design to your specification. 

We take a look below at the top 3 blogging platforms, and we've provided you with some information on each.

The Pros of using Blogger


Blogger is Google's free blog-hosting site. You have the option of using a free blogspot.com domain, or you can purchase a custom domain for the blog to be hosted on. The hosting is free, and Google manage it so you don't have to take any back ups, or anything as it's done for you.

It's easy to use (for beginners) and eases you into blogging gently without needing any specialised knowledge to create and share posts. There are more advanced complicated options, but if you're comfortable with HTML or you have a web design company that can provide this for you, it's hassle free. If you don't have either of those, you can choose from one of Blogger's FREE themes or designs.

You can easily integrate AdSense and any other monestisation onto your blog (banners, text links etc) if you wish to use your blog to generate an income. 

By default, Blogger will display the mobile version of your blog when viewed on mobile devices. This is a simplified version of the blog, stripped of sidebars, footers and custom header. Plus the images are optimised meaning that your blog will pass Google's mobile friendly test with flying colours.

Unlike WordPress, when it comes to security, Blogger is water tight. It also has spam filters for comments and such like to help out with that also.

The Pros of using WordPress


WordPress is a popular blogging platform with over 60 million users. When using WordPress you're best of creating a custom domain. You will need to purchase a domain and find a company to host this for you. WordPress doesn't offer a free hosting service. You have full control over your blog in terms of how it looks and the design, but you will need some advanced knowledge of this in order to put it into practice.

There is a lot of support out there when using WordPress, including an active community forum and companies available with premium support if you wish to pay for it. There is a page builder application offering responsive, column layouts if you need it also, which is really useful.

Unfortunately, WordPress is not so clued up when it comes to responsive design. You will have to find a responsive template if you want it to pass Google's mobile friendly test. And even if you do, your images will not be optimised and the sidebar (if you have one)  will still be displayed under the posts. You'd need the knowledge of how to code and tweak it to your specifications.

Another factor to remember is that WordPress posts take a couple of days to index, whereas Blogger posts are indexed instantly.

The Pros of using Tumblr


Tumblr are the newer more fashionable blogging platform in this list. Founded in February 2007, it now has 152 million users and is incredibly easy to use, customise and share.

There are thousands of themes to choose from, if you're unsure of how to go about styling a blog yourself, and many of these are responsive meaning your blog will pass Google's mobile friendly test. When you join Tumblr you immediately become part of the internal community. You are able to gain subscribers, answer questions from readers and interact with other bloggers.

Tumblr describes itself as casual and quick blogging. It focuses more on visual imagery, small brief posts and a collage of news items.

Good luck with getting your blog up and running! We hope this guide helps.
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2016 Design Predictions

Every year, we like to predict what design trends are up and coming for the year coming. Design trends come and go very fast in the web design industry, which is why some techniques and styles can become outdated very quickly. Sometimes an old design style resurfaces and comes back into fashion!

Here are some of our predictions for 2016:


 
Fonts

It's all about statement fonts. Selecting a font for your brand is never easy, because there are so many to choose from! And you want to make sure that you are original and unique, and that it's the style you are looking for.

Google fonts have a database of hundreds of fonts, which are all perfectly web safe. So making sure your website has a font to impress is much easier.

We expect to see experimental fonts, big large typography and graphic/ wording being integrated together to create a classic edge to design.

Cinemagraphs

Something that has really caught our eye recently are cinemagraphs. Images with a video element. So for example, there is an image of a man fishing, but the river swell is moving in the image.

This idea where you single out one element out of a video and make the rest of the frame still, is really catching on.

You can see some examples here.



Semi flat design 

Flat design came back into fashion last year, but 2016 will see it being used with slight gradients. Icons and graphics will still be stripped back and flat, but subtle gradients and shading will be used to enhance and produce a really high-end finish.

Video backgrounds

A lot of websites feature full width background images, that are really attractive. Towards the end of 2015 and into early 2016, video backgrounds will become more and more popular. Even if it's a subtle movement like a trees branches moving gently in the wind, or smoke coming out of a chimney, adding these animations into the design can stop a static site looking dull and rigid.



Ghost buttons

Ghost buttons have become ever more popular throughout 2015, but 2016 will see them implemented just as much. They are subtle and classy looking, which mean call to actions have never looked better!

Fewer pages (due to mobile viewing) 


The site maps of websites will reduce. Whether it's a small 5 page website or stripped back further to just 1 page. With longer scrolling pages, the need for more pages is no longer there, and smaller more compact websites will be popular.

This will make for easier viewing and navigating as well as a more enjoyable experience.
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Website of the Week: The Village Inn - Dunblane


This week's website of the week goes to The Village Inn, Dunblane. A friendly family bar offering informal dining and entertainment in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Senior Project Manager Lanara, began firstly by creating a design following the clients brief. The Inn is located in Scotland, so in order to inject this into the website, she added a thistle watermark into the background. The website home page features a number of small sections, with some clickable navigation boxes and some visual imagery.

The website uses a clean looking design, meaning that the neutral colours look professional, and the imagery softens the overall look and feel.

The main aim of the website is to be a place for people to view the menu, accommodation information and details on how to get to The Village Inn. The website features social media icons so that people can visit them on Facebook, Twitter and even on Trip Advisor to view other reviews and thoughts from past customers.

The contact page features a form for people to get in touch with any queries or questions, making it easy and hassle free. The pages are easy to navigate and the site uses a simple page structure to follow. The contact page also features a 360 degree view on Google Maps meaning that you can take a look at the interior of The Inn also.

Senior Project Manager Lanara created the logo design, playing with the idea of cutlery and combining a capitalised font, with a handwriting font. The maroon colour of the icon and the handwriting font softens the dark contrast with the black writing either side.

The client was incredibly happy with the final result and said "I found toolkit a good company to use for developing new websites. There were no faults so no improvement needed. My Project Manager, Lanara, was very efficient and helped me through the whole procedure. If there has been anything I wasn't sure about then Lanara helped and explained how to do things which made everything much easier and the process has been enjoyable."

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Advert Marketing - a run down of the best.


Christmas used to be marked as 'officially on the way' when you'd see the famous Coca Cola advert "Holidays are Coming!" featuring the red Coca Cola lorry. Nowadays you can go and visit it, as it pulls up in your city at a set location and time.

But Coca Cola are not the only ones with an advert that we now eagerly anticipate. It's become bigger than the battle for number one music single in the charts! Adverts have become dramatic, over the top, much longer and also much more film-like in style. For years now, the likes of huge brands such as Sainsburys, Asda, Aldi, Designer fashion labels and more have all gotten involved in creating huge marketing campaigns for the festive season, in an attempt to rival the others.

Below we take a look at our favourite adverts of Christmas 2015 and why we think they work so well!

'Mog’s Christmas Calamity’

Sainsbury's have come up trumps this year with a full length 3’30" TV ad, created by AMV BBDO that has been adapted from a book written by Kerr, especially for the ad. Mog is a character that many children have grown up with, following the tales of this particularly clumsy cat that manages to cause mayhem wherever he goes. This humerous and well told tale sees Mog accidentally ruin Christmas, only for it all to be saved by the local community coming together.


 
"The lonely man on the moon."

John Lewis are renowned for their creative approach to their Christmas adverts, and this one doesn't fail to disappoint. You do have to have a bit of an imagination (how did the balloons get to the moon!?) but the overall story is very touching and pulls on the heartstrings.

The message of the advert? No one has to be alone this Christmas, and if you can't be with your family it is important to let your loved ones know you're thinking of them this festive season.



"An advert with some guts."

Aldi have taken a very brave approach this year, with a Christmas advert that humorously parodies the John Lewis advert. Whilst watching it, a lot of people have gasped 'can they actually do that!?' but it looks like they can.

They also manage to get a sly price comparison in the advert too, which is well worth a chuckle.



"Get your gift face on" 

Harvey Nichols have really picked up on something here, the art of feigning delight when you receive an atrocious Christmas present. We've all been there, and this advert touches on the fact very cleverly and with great humour.

Avoid #giftface by shopping at Harvey Nichols of course!



There are a number of huge contenders for this years best Christmas Advert... and we can't wait to see what next year brings!

Project Manager - Natasha Lock.
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Top Tech of 2015


2015 has been another incredible year for technology. As people across the world become more and more reliant on tech, the market for all sorts of devices has accelerated and has become more and more advanced.

Here are our picks for the top 10 best gadgets, technology and inventions of 2015:

1.  Amazon Prime Air

Although this has not yet reached the consumer market, it has to be one of the most intriguing inventions of the year. Its plans first surfaced in 2013, this year it has reached the public eye with much interest. The idea of getting your Amazon purchased delivered by drone within hours is definitely a jump into the future and is a very exciting prospect. Although, the idea and execution is yet to be refined, we guarantee that this will be a part of everyday life in the not too far future.



2. Apple Watch

The latest product to come from Apple’s coveted production line, this is a watch-smartphone hybrid. It gives you the ability to text and phone your friends via the device on your wrist. Although this gadget has definitely divided opinion, it definitely backs up Apple’s reputation of producing successful and innovative consumer technology.


3.  3D Printing


Year after year this brand new type of manufacturing becomes more and more credible, and 2015 has been another huge year for 3D Printing. With it starting the play its role in the Medical industry through the creation of prosthetics as well as it becoming more and more reliable in the manufacturing industry, it has also made its mark with consumers. They can now be purchased by anyone for a relatively cheap price, considering it is such a new technology! There is no doubt that 3D Printers will change the world we live in.



4.  Oculus Rift

With the gaming industry growing and growing, the Oculus Rift is easily one of the standout developments. The virtual reality headset gives lets you enter a completely new virtual world, giving you the chance to ride a rollercoaster or drive a sports car in the comfort of your own home. It is to be released to consumers next year, but this invention is still one of the most exciting around.



5.  Apple Pay

Apple feature for the second time in this list with their smart payment system, Apple Pay. This is a wallet system on Apple’s newest devices that lets you pay for purchases through your device. This is a shining light in the contactless payment revolution, and only fuels the eventual extinction of physical money likes coins and notes.



6. Tesla Cars

The car industry is evolving every year and 2015 has been no different, with Tesla being a standout highlight. The American electric car manufacturer has been dominant in the electric car industry this year, with more and more charging stations popping up in the UK, from the centre of London to your local Sainsbury’s car park!



7.  Netflix

The online streaming service has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and has come to dominate the market this year. With Netflix gaining a big reputation for creating original and brand new entertainment, it has become a very lucrative service and has become a credible rival to TV in general.



8.  4K Televisions

These brand new televisions are 4 times the quality of High Definition; you can’t get a lot better than these TV’s. To think that only a few years ago HD Televisions were cutting edge technology, 4K will soon become the norm if it carries on the way it has this year.



9.  GoPro

It has been a breakthrough year for the portable camera, and it is set to continue its rise in the near future. The camera which can be used in almost any environment is becoming a must have gadget, and are being used to film all sorts of events in a unique and interesting perspective. A must have gadget in the making.



10.  Fitness Trackers

Any fitness fanatics must have, this electronic wristband tracks your every move and it gives you data on your general health. This kind of technology does not only do wonders for your fitness, it can be a real tool for the medical industry in the near future. It has also unexpectedly become a fashion accessory!



Passionate Support Team Member, Will Dixon.
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The Toolkit Bake Off Competition 2015

Every year, due to the love we have for the Great British Bake Off, we have our very own Toolkit Bake Off. Each team member takes their turn in cooking a dish to bring to the table each week, and we score them on the following factors:

Authenticity, Taste, Effort and Difficulty. 

This year, we decided to give the theme of "Countries" meaning each team member picked a country of their choice, and created a dish that the country is known for. We decided that savoury dishes were allowed so it wasn't all about baking!

After a long competition we have finally reached the end and crowned our winner, Senior Sales Executive Jose Nobrega.

We asked him what one of his favourite dishes from the competition was and why...

"During the competition we had some great dishes, however, the one that sticks out for me is Passionate Support Team Member, Will’s,  attempt at representing France. He created Nutella & Brown Sugar Pastries that I felt tasted really nice."

What was one of your least favourite dish and why?

"This is a tough one as they were all individually good, the only one I was unable to try was Customer Service Supervisor, Mike’s,  Scottish Game Pie, but only because it had Lamb and I don’t eat lamb, so thats not to say it wasn’t good!"

What was your winning dish, and how did you make it? 

"I made a dish that is renowned in Portugal where I'm from. It's called Caldo Verde and it's a traditional soup.

Step 1: Chop the veg (Kale, Onion, Potato and Garlic.)

Step 2: Put all the veg in a pan with water and boil for 10-20mins or until all the veg is cooked through.

Step 3: While the veg is boiling add some salt and some olive oil.

Step 4: Once boiled empty the contents into a blender and blend it down.

Step 5: Once blended return to a pan and boil for another 10 mins, this time chop some chorizo and add this to the pan to give it some more flavour.

Step 6: Once that is boiled, it is ready to serve and normally goes really well with crusty bread with butter."



What food do you cook at home and what food you enjoy?

"When I am at home, I like to cook Sunday Roasts, as well as one of my favourites foods of all time Fajitas. I do enjoy cooking but with work and little ones who like to eat early I don’t get the chance to do it as often as I would like and have a wonderful wife who is a wonderful chef."

The Bake Off Line-Up 2015

Senior Project Manager Andy - Seafood Paella - Spain
Senior Project Manager Lanara - Slow cooked chicken fajhitas - Mexico Awarded Second Place
Project Manager Natasha - Chicken curry - India
Passionate team member Adam - Guiness Cake/Baileys Cheesecake - Ireland Awarded Third Place
Developer Liaison Jamie - Szegedinertorte - Hungary
Passionate team member Will - Nutella and brown sugar pasties - France
Passionate team member Megan - Sweet and sour chicken - China
Operations Manager David - Risotto - Italy
Business Development Manager Remko - Dutch buscuits - Holland
Customer Services Supervisor Mike - Game pie - Scotland
Senior Sales Executive Paul - Red velvet cake - England
Digital Marketing Analyst Tom - Biscuits - Norway
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The workplace in 10 years time...



What will the work place look like in 10 years time?

"In 10 years all work places, I think, will fall under two categories. The staff focused and the classic. I think there are going to be more staff focused work places... let me explain.

Over the next 10 years more and more companies are going to be changing over from the normal style of office. Offices are going to be a much nicer place to be, the design and decoration of work places are going to improve. Work places are where we spend most of our time and that place should be an enjoyable place to be. Companies are going to be more focused on their staff’s well-being and happiness.

Simple things like active chairs and standing desks are going to be a lot more common because more people will be seeing the benefits of them. There is going to be an increase in staff facilities such as gyms and better wash areas, for example cycling to work is becoming more common but not having good washing facilities such as shower rooms puts a lot of people off exercising on the way to work!

The average wage and holiday allowance will probably go up and the amount of sick days will go down. With more companies focusing on staff happiness, more staff are going to be passionate and dedicated to their work therefore this will increase productivity and overall sales.

Repetitive tasks and jobs that don’t need human interaction will be replaced by computers and electronics. Whilst a lot of people would see this as a down side, I think this is great. Jobs such as sorting data lists or tedious tasks that staff don’t like to do will be automated so staff won’t have those tasks that bring down their morale. No one really enjoys going through a list of 50’000 entries checking the same thing on all of them and it taking them 3 weeks. That is a horrible 3 weeks, tasks like this should be automated.

I think this staff focused work place is fantastic and is what every company should aim to be. Companies such as Google, Facebook and many others have already set up these staff focused work places.

On the other hand some companies will still have the classic work place, which will be exactly the same as the average work place now. These companies will slowly be left behind and lose staff and business to competitors. We will all still be making our own tea and coffee though, just a machine will be doing the stirring and pouring!"

Tom Watson - Digital Marketing team member.


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Website Redesign of the Week: Scotts Travel


This week's website of the week goes to the Scott's Travel redesign! Scott's Travel believe that "every holiday should be as unique as you are. Travel in style, take advantage of our expertise and relationships. Your dream holiday starts here at your World Wide luxury travel specialist."

Project Manager Natasha, began firstly by creating some mock up designs to put forward to the client after the initial welcome call. This call is all about opening the floor for ideas, asking questions and gaining insight into the business, how it works and the brand.

Because the client is already a client of ours, we had already created, built and put together the existing site pictured below. As you can see, trends in the design world move quickly, and so Scott's Travel came back to us to overhaul their image and bring the website up to date.



The website features a full width panel layout, with great imagery and well put together content. Each panel can be used as extra navigation to a particular page or topic. This means the home page becomes a "hub" for people to navigate to other pages from. The home page is the first impression, and with a design like this, it's a good one!

The bottom of the site features a call to action and beautifully designed contact form. This enables anyone to navigate through the home page, and make an enquiry if they wish to.




For a travel site, Scott's Travel have really utilised their website so that potential customers or clients have the best insight into what they do and what they can provide. In particular, the travel advice page, the Special Offers page and the testimonials page help immensely when it comes to checking the validity of the company and taking them up on their latest offers and deals.

The great thing about Scott's Travel is the personal touch they have applied to the site, with their history and team page. Having a little bit of information about each staff member and what their speciality is, is a really nice touch.

Scott's Travel were pleased with the project overall and said "You can't improve your service. It's excellent. The patience and entusiasm of the staff, the 'can do' attitude and the superb technical detail in every respect was great!" 

The client kindly awarded us 5 out of a possible 5 starts as a rating for the experience overall.
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Web Design Trends of 2015

Now that we're in December, we've been taking a look back at the top web design trends of 2015.

Go big or Go home...

The largest trend of 2015 has been making everything much BIGGER. This means large background images, large slide show images on the home page, or having a home page that consists of just a large image and a very small amount of text. Minimalism has definitely been the way forward this year, with the idea of a home page "setting the scene" for someone who has landed on it. You don't need to cram as much content as you can onto your first page, the idea is to ease someone in. They land on your page, and they know who you are. To find out what you do and where you are based, they can navigate to other pages to find out more information. Less is definitely more for this trend.



Just keeping Scrolling...

Parallax scrolling has been a hot trend of 2015. Gone are the days of people fussing over "what goes above the fold." We all know that that's just a term for newspapers and should not translate into the world of websites.

Parallax scrolling makes for an enjoyable and clean way of navigating through a website. One page websites have used this to create a more fluid, and moving page, rather than it feeling so static.


Flat Design

This trend is a throwback, making a return in the design world. Suddenly, flat design began popping up everywhere. Rather than imitating objects with skeuomorphic design (where an icon is created to look like it's real life object), flat design tries to convey the idea of the icon through a synthetic and fun visual.



Bye Bye Boxes

Gone are the days of websites having borders, or boxes. Now full width panels give websites a much more "open plan" feel to them, making it easier on the eye, and less strictly structured.



Responsive Design 

Mobile sites are great, but responsive design has completely taken over. Having your website scale to the device you are viewing it on is not only Google approved, but it makes for easy and enjoyable viewing.



Full width slide shows

Having full width static header images are really on trend this year. But full width slide shows are making a come back as well.


Collage style galleries

Having mix-matched images that slot together in tiles, in a collage format are a quirky and interesting layout for gallery images.

We look forward to what 2016 brings!
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Charity Tuesday



Charities, above all else, need some sort of platform to inform the public what they want to raise money for. For a non-profit business such as a charity, a website is perfect. In a world where Social Media is around every corner, the best place to have your charity is on the web. Websites are a cheap form of advertisement as charities can come to us and only have to pay as little as £15 a month. One Prime Time TV advert alone costs around £50,000 in the UK during a Prime Time show. When it comes to a non-profit business, having to pay this much to get your name out there isn’t ideal, as you want as much money to go towards the cause as possible.  

Having a website connected to social media is essential for any business, as social media can drive visitors to an online donation page as it is allowing people to see the cause and have a place to directly contact the charity to give them money. Charity's can add a pay pal donate button, or create a form for people to fill out with card details to transfer the money directly.

The ability to share and tweet allows endless free advertisement. All it takes is to reach the right people and they can send it on to hundreds of people with the same interests. A good example of this would be the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that became viral in 2014. There wasn’t a single advert about ALS, it was all on Social Media and managed to raise well over £100 million worldwide.


Building a relationship with a charity’s most passionate and influential supporters is made much easier using social media. Once those supporters have been engaged, and provided with the required information and tools, they are then able to promote a charity and in turn influence others to do the same.

A successful charity website, includes the following things.

1. A place for people to learn about the charity, what they do and where any donations are going.
2. A place for people to donate, whether it's by using the trusted PayPal facility, or by donating their time and getting in touch to get involved.
3. To show people how well the charity is doing, either with a running update of funds raised to date, or an events page to show what events have been and gone and what a success they were.

People like to know that their donations are going a long way, and people like to be informed about a charity's work and progress.

Pictured in this blog:




Take a look at our not for profit portfolio!
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The first impression counts


The best and fastest way to increase customer loyalty is by providing and continuously improving the quality of customer service you deliver. 

Here at Toolkit Websites we decided the term ''customer service'' didn't quite fulfil what we aim to provide on a daily basis so we renamed it as ''Passionate Support''. 

It's quite simple. When you take care of your customers in a way you can't do enough for them, they tell others. When you do that consistently, with every customer, all day, everyday, then you'll see customer loyalty. Once you have customer loyalty you have customer retention, customer referrals and then you have growth!

A new customer will develop an impression about your company in their first seven seconds! The first step in delivering Passionate Support starts with making a great first impression. 

When it comes to your business, most often than not, your website is the first impression. We've all done it, we've all Googled a business, had a little look at the reviews or what other people are saying about that company. We have a peek at their team page, or product pages to get insight, and perhaps compare them to competitors.

That's where we come in. To help create a lasting first impression for your website design. How do we do it? We collaborate with you, the client, making sure we know all about your business, your values and mission, and most importantly, what you want your website to do for you.  


A slick, modern looking responsive website design will impress straight away. With strong branding, consistent styling, and easy to navigate pages, what more could your customers or clients ask for?  


Whether you want to be able to monitor how your website is doing, make sure you're easy to find on Google My Business, get your Social Media accounts set up, branded and linked to your website or more... we're the web design company for you! 


Make sure your brand is unique, and strong. We can help with creating your brand identity and we even supply you with hi-res versions once it's completed. 


Get the word out there about your website, your business and your products. The Toolkit Broadcast service enables you to create professional, quality and enticing email campaigns. 


Want to revamp an existing website? We can take a look at it and give it the make over it needs. We can either alter or make tweaks to your current design, or start over with a blank canvas.

What are you waiting for? Get started today!
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Steve Jobs - "Think Different."


There aren't many people that don't know the name Steve Jobs. On Wikipedia it says that he was best known as "the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Apple Inc.; CEO and largest shareholder of Pixar Animation Studios; a member of The Walt Disney Company's board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar; and founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT Inc."

We can't help but be in awe of this inspiring and detailed CV.

Jobs was worth a million dollars when he was 23, 10 million when he was 24, and over 100 million when he was 25. He was also one of the youngest people ever to make the Forbes list of the nation's richest people – and one of only a handful to have done it themselves, without inherited wealth.

Today, Apple is a company associated with high-end and luxurious tech. Whether it's their Apple Mac products, the ipod or iphone, people are eager to get their hands on them. Being an industry leader, and in many ways setting the tone for what people want, Apple can be seen as a company that is going from strength to strength, even now that Steve Jobs is no longer with us.

One of the reasons we think Steve Jobs is such a brilliant icon, is because he didn't always get it right! He was reportedly quoted saying that people would never want a large phone, and that the sizes of the smaller iphone models were what would sell. Now, iphones are just as large as some of it's Android counterparts and it seems that they are getting bigger and bigger with each release and update.

He was all in all a perfectionist, and lived and breathed the Apple brand. Every decision he made, was to promote and market the company and he worked tirelessly to sculpt out a career path he felt suited him. He had his talents, and rather than being a man stuck behind a desk, was happy to get his hands dirty when it came to the products and updates. We also experience the trial and error way of doing things in our industry so we can definitely relate.

Four years after his death, Steve Jobs' life story has been made into a cinematic experience for all to see. From his rise to fame, the trials and tribulations of running a business and becoming such a large icon. We think it'll be one to watch for 2015.
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Christmas Time in Southampton



Southampton is seemingly having a particularly festive Christmas this year- in fact it has well and truly already started!

Before advent had even begun, a huge sleigh-full of Santa’s warmed up for the Christmas Eve delivery run, with a much shorter but still impressive, 3 kilometre dash round Southampton Common.

If you missed this mass gathering, there will be another in the form of a Princess record attempt in aid of Countess Mountbatten Hospice. Okay arguably this one is not strictly festive, but it does feature Widow Twankey from The Mayflower’s 3D pantomime, Aladdin staring Joe Pasquale as Wishee Washee and Blue’s Duncan James in the title role.



Pantomimes are so fun but if you cry “Oh no it isn’t!” then perhaps a trip to the Nuffield to see Merlin will warm your Christmas cheer.

You may also need warming with a Gingerbread Latte (of course one in a festive cup!) whilst singing carols round the Christmas tree or carols on Highfield Rec. If it’s a traditional family Christmas that ‘fills your stockings’, then you will also enjoy either the Victorian Christmas or the real animal Nativity at Manor Farm (so no need for little / George to play 3rd lizard).

Christmas is special for kids and although the theatre and Manor Farm is great for the younger ones, why not treat them to a Seasonal craft session at Southampton Art Gallery. Who knows, it might just produce one of those decorations that gets brought out every year being hidden further round each time but full of childhood memories.

A couple other events which will certainly feature in a future reminiscence, albeit slightly further afield, are Exbury’s Postal Express and Buckler’s Hard’s Christmas paddle . Full marks for thinking out of the [gift-]box means these should be unique events.

Talking of our rural neighbours, they are also coming to us, into the city. Why not pick up some special treats including for your Christmas lunch, when the New Forest and Hampshire Producer’s Market visits The Boutique Village. The usual mix of crafts with the bonus of good quality food should help every family feast!

Mentioning of food and drink I will quickly make a slight detour… Although unfortunately, it is talk of tours that might go down as well as Granny’s hand-knitted sweater. This is due to the fact that there is no stop for Coca-Cola’s Holidays are coming truck, although on the upside there is growing speculation that we are due one of Cadbury’s Advent Calendar Advert Trucks!

Back to markets, the other great seasonal one is the traditional German market. The last few years they have been imported so you don’t even need to make the long drive to Bavaria! Once again it has settled down in Above Bar and forms part of the Southampton Christmas Festival.

As well as the wide selection of gifts, food and drink on offer, Santa will be handing out presents from the large Advent Calendar shortly after flying in. Yes, Santa (with the help of the reindeer and a little magic) flies in twice a day!

And with another utterance of Santa, that neatly takes me in full circle… But in keeping with an awkward kiss under the mistletoe, it doesn’t have to stop just yet!

Like a Christmas evening cold turkey and stuffing sandwich there’s plenty of scrummy left overs that didn’t make it into my varied whistle-stop tour. I would recommend a visit to a comprehensive list at Discover Southampton.

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Website of the Week: National Homes Supported Living


This week's website of the week goes to National Homes Supported Living. The company was set up to support disadvantaged people who need a helping hand to get back on their feet.

Senior Project Manager Andy, began firstly by creating a full width panel layout website, using a striking colour which grabs the attention. In this case, a bright green. The contrast of the green panel with the darker looking image, makes sure that the website remains a professional looking site, dealing with a serious matter, but keeping the design slick and modern.

The website uses a Google font called Open Sans, a popular choice due to the fact that it's quite light. It's a clean looking font that can be used for corporate and non-corporate websites.

The main aim of the website is not only to be a reference point for people looking for more information, but to drive the business forward looking for volunteers, fund-raising and to promote donations.

The contact page features a form for people to get in touch with any queries or questions, making it easy and hassle free. The pages are easy to navigate and the site uses a simple page structure to follow.

When it comes to selecting imagery for a business that doesn't have any images of it's own, due to the sensitive nature of the topic or the people involved, stock imagery can be a great alternative. With a number of well selected stock images, it brings a visual aspect to the site, without bringing into question the identity or confidentiality of anyone involved with the business or topic matter.

The client was incredibly happy with the final result and said that they thought Toolkit Website's design & customer services were great. Read all of our reviews.
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