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How to gain more followers on Social Media

So you've set up Social Media accounts for your business. Now what? You need to gain some traction, get your word out there and begin the marketing process.

What's great about Social Media is that it's a free tool to engage with possible customers or clients, and a brilliant way to represent your business online. You can use Social Media platforms to branch off from your website and explore topics in more further, advertise offers and services you supply and more.

Google like seeing new content. And they like to see businesses engaging in conversation and discussion on line with their target audience. So how exactly do you go about getting people to follow your accounts?

There is no simple way or cheat sheet. It will take time and you will need to work at it. But if you keep in mind the tips below, you'll be racking up followers before you know it.

1. Put social share buttons on your website. Whether you integrate your social media onto your website in the form of a feed, a button to click or something else, make sure it's accessible and easy for people to get to.

2. Post original, relevant content. Yes this does mean you have to put your creative hat on and start thinking about topics of interest related to your business or industry. Sharing other people's content should also be a part of your strategy, but make sure you do your research and see that all content you share is true to your brand and your ethos.

3. Every once in a while, use your email marketing to remind people to follow, like or take to your Social Media platforms for discussion, engagement and information. Drive people to your social media channels.

4. Get analytics for your Social Media accounts. See what was popular and what wasn't. Check what time of day you get the most engagement or what nets most likes. Do your research and gage your audiences response.

5. Respond to any questions, comments or complaints you get quickly and efficiently. Be refreshingly honest and diligent. Check your Social Media accounts regularly.

6. Hold a competition every now and then. People love freebies. This will not only net you more followers but give you a chance to get to know your client base.

7. Follow other people. And more than likely, you'll get a follow back!

8. Reach out to influencers. Share their content, let them know that you're interested in a topic they're discussing, join in conversation about things related to your industry. Get noticed!

9. Use relevant hashtags.

10. Post often. Twitter requires at least a tweet every hour or so. Facebook can be a post or two a day. Work out what works for you and if need be, use the schedule system to queue posts.

11. Invite guest bloggers or guest blog for other people.

12. Try Facebook's promoted posts. Extend your reach with posts that have a high engagement already.

13. Use humour or a light style, depending on your brand and company ethos. Appeal to your target audience.

14. Include Social Media in your offline marketing. Get a QR code and have them scan your code to take them to your Social Media accounts.

15. Optimise your Social Media accounts. Make sure the information is up to date and relevant. Make sure all your accounts match and are consistent.

16. Make it easy for people to share your content. Don't have private pages or content that is hard to share. Sharing buttons on blogs for example, are are great way of allowing people to share your content to their Social Media Platforms.

There are plenty of other tips and tools you can use. The best tip of all is to work hard at it, learn from it and use Analytics's to track your successes and failures.
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SEO Myths - Busted!

When it comes to Search Engine Optimisation, it is a topic that is forever changing. Google make numerous changes ever year, including this year’s Mobilegeddon update from Spring 2015. Not only this, but Google’s Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird updates made an impact on the world of SEO also.

This year has seen link-building and keyword focus being dropped as priority and the main aim being about good quality and relevant content.

However, just because Google has shifted it's algorithm to focus on websites that have brilliant content and being mobile-friendly, there are STILL things you need to be thinking about beyond that.

Below we discuss our top 5 SEO myths...

Matt Cutts, engineer in the Quality group at Google, said:

"How does Google decide which few documents I really want? By asking questions; more than two hundred of them. Like:

How many times does this page contain your key words?
Do the words appear in the title? In the URL (web address)?
Do the words appear directly adjacent?
Does the page include synonyms for those words?
Is this page from a quality website? Or is it low quality, even spammy? What is this page's PageRank? 

That's a formula invented  by our founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, that rates a web page's importance by looking at how many outside links point to it, and how important those links are."

Myth #1: Keyword Optimisation is the difference between successful and unsuccessful SEO.

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) was conceived in 2004 and has become more and more prominent within search results. This basically means that when a web page is crawled by Google, it picks up on common words or phrases combined. These don't necessarily need to be a direct match for the keywords you've selected to be found for, but they can be closely related as well. By using synonyms and related items, the search engine will understand the content and your intention to keep it relevant.

The bottom line for this is: Do not force keywords into your content. Your content needs to be written naturally, easy for the user to understand and read, and be written for the customer/ client rather than aimed at Search Engines to get a better ranking for particular keywords.

Myth #2: The H1 is the most important thing on the page

The H1 is important. It tells search engines what the titles are on the page. Sub titles are H2 tags. And so on...

The H tags outline the structure of your web page. It tiers the page and is a way of letting search engines know what order a page is built in.

But mainly, the H1 tag is a style. It's part of your websites CSS that your designer puts together to style what your headings look like compared to the rest of the body text. It used to be more important for SEO purposes than it used to be, but as with keyword stuffing, people were misusing the H1 tag and having numerous instances of them on a single page.

Optimise your page for your user, and have Search Engines only in the back of your mind, when it comes to creating and laying out your content.

Myth #3: The more pages, the better it is for SEO

This is technically not a myth... however you do need to make sure that you focus your content around being good quality, not quantity. You will rank well with less content that is of a higher quality if that's all the content you have.

Google's Panda algorithm, introduced in 2011, has been improving on detecting bad content, which means you could occur a Google Penalty if you're not careful. Content needs to be carefully crafted and honed.

Of course if you have the content to sustain a larger amount of pages, then yes that will help with SEO. But having multiple pages without carefully crafting your content for each one, won't help at all. 

Myth #4: Local SEO doesn't matter

If you're a local business, you must optimise for local searches. Why? Because not only will it help you get found, people who are nearby who are most likely to look for services in their area will find you and most likely buy from you!

Google has been taking steps to continue looking at the best local content for it's search results. In 2014, the release of new algorithm Pigeon saw it take hundreds of ranking signals into account. It improved the way Google evaluates distance from you, for example when searching.

Google also has a Google My Business feature where you can set up Google Places and more to take advantage of local SEO.

Myth #5: I can just get someone else to do my SEO for me

There is a belief among many people that SEO takes technical knowledge and expertise to understand and implement, but this is really not the case. While the subject is technical, it requires more knowledge and a more indepth involvement with your business than any SEO company or IT company can provide. You are the perfect candidate to optimise your business website.

Of course you may need help along the way, and that's where you can lean on experts for advice and suggestions, but you are the best person for the job and you are the heart and soul of your business. Not only that, but you can optimise your website for FREE!

The world of SEO moves at such a pace that there may well be more myths to bust in the future! We hope this post has been informative and as always, if you have any questions, simply get in touch!
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Website of the Week: Liz Gibney Interiors

This week's website of the week goes to Liz Gibney Interiors. Liz can help you with all aspects of interior design - from a re-design of a single room to a complete ‘re-looking’ of your home.

Senior Project Manager Andy, began firstly by creating a full width panel responsive website design using the clients superb images. He styled the content using a similar font to the logo, and crafted the gallery hover over items on the home page, so that they are interactive using a splash of blue.

The website is a one page website, featuring a slide show of images, the clients testimonials and contact details, all accessible via anchors from the menu items also. The gallery items link to gallery pages, where there are more images to view of that certain project, and a description of the works.

With websites like this, the imagery is really key. If you can't get a professional photographer to take your pictures, there are plenty of tutorials online on how to get great looking images by using your trusty smart phone. As you can see with this design, the images are the main focus and are integral to the website coming together.

The website also passes Google's mobile-friendly test with flying colours, meaning that the website is responsive to the device it's being viewed on. This is a must when it comes to people viewing the website on the go!

The client kindly awarded us 5 out of a possible 5 stars and said that "It's a good quality product and fair price." We think the end result is great, and the website imagery is fantastic.

Are you an interior design company looking for a new design to showcase your work? Why not contact us.
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Giving your website a health check

Once your website is complete and live, there are a number of things you can check to make sure you've done what you can to give it the best chance in Search Engine results.

During your build, if you built your website with Toolkit Websites, you would have had your website built using web standards as default. But there are a number of extra items that you can apply, to give your website that extra boost.

We also have a health check of our own, to keep an eye on all items mentioned below. 

On Site Optimisation.

You can check that you have given your website a description and noted down what top 5 phrases or keywords you want your website to be found for. The website description is what appears below your website name and link, in Google results.

You can make sure you have given each of your pages individual descriptions and keywords, as well as an alias. These are all easy to edit and control in The Toolkit.

Other items include logo alt text, giving all of your images alt text, linking between pages on your site where necessary and to other, relevant websites or sources if need be.

You must also check that your website is mobile friendly. You can use Google's mobile friendly test to take a look. 

Social Media Integration:

So many people forget about the power of Social Media when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation. Google loves fresh and good quality content. So what better place to create, cultivate, share and engage conversation than on Social Media platforms? All the while, linking your accounts back to your website and embedding them onto your web pages.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Youtube, a blog and many more could be the answer to driving traffic to and from your website. Plus it's free marketing, and you shouldn't really turn down anything that's free!

Search Engine Services:

If you haven't already, you can set up an Analytics account to track traffic to your website. It also provides you with statistics about the visitors to your site including keywords they've typed in to find your website, what pages are visited the most and more.

See here, reasons why you could have a high bounce rate.  
Google's favourite thing? Quality & Relevance. 

Having Google Webmaster Tools is also a huge bonus, including creating and submitting an XML site map, and Google My Business account.

Plenty of these services and tools are free of charge to set up and manage yourself. There are paid for services out there such as AdWords and Adsense. We always recommend getting an idea of the traffic to your website, and looking at how your website performs the first few months after going live... then you can decide on the strategy you are going to implement next to improve, boost and expand on your SEO. 

If you have any questions about any of these services, simply get in touch! We'd be happy to help.
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3 peaks... 3 days!

Our team member Tom will soon be heading up to Scotland ready for the start for his three peak challenge.

Tom isn’t heading up on his own; he will be joined by a group of friends that he went to school with. Their first day will take them up Ben Nevis (Scotland, 1345m) and ending the day by travelling 4 hours south to Scaffell Pike. Day two starts with climbing Scaffell Pike (England, 978m) and driving a further 4.5 hours south for day threes climb of Snowdon (Wales, 1085m).

Time to hit you with some facts:

•    Total drive will cover over 1250 miles and be over 20 hours
•    They will be walking for a targeted 19 hours, covering 26 miles and rising 3000m

Normally these 3 peaks are one in rapid succession, in just 24 hours but Tom is saving that challenge for another year.  ;)

As fun as it all sounds, Tom isn’t just doing this for a bit of fun…

“Whilst it is fun for us we realise this is a great opportunity to raise money for a great cause. Cancer affects way too many people and any money can help them get closer to a cure. Cancer Research UK is the world's leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research and the more help thy get, the closer to a cure they become.

Please if you can, contribute to the great cause that is Cancer Research UK, and please share a link to this page so others may have the opportunity to donate too."

We wish Tom ALL the luck with his challenge and look forward to seeing the photos!
You can make a donation here.
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Green Southampton

As a company situated right in the heart of our city, we're pretty proud of Southampton and the benefits of living here. However, in May 2014 the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report which named Southampton as one of the worst cities in the UK to be breaching air pollution safety guidelines!

The main cause of air pollution in the UK is emissions from vehicles. In Southampton additional sources of air pollution include industrial emissions, shipping emissions as well as airflow from the continent. See the other cities that breach air pollution safety guidelines here

As horrible as it sounds, compared to the other cities listed, Southampton and Leeds had the lowest average reading of those breaching this level, with Nottingham and Leeds exceeding the limit much more so than us!

This led us to do a bit of digging to find information on what is being done to make Southampton a greener place to live, and a sustainable city.

The Council

With the announcement that Southampton will be one of the first cities outside London to introduce a Clean Air Zone, it's a good first step in improving our air pollution levels. Southampton's Labour Council is quite committed to the idea of making improvements over the next few years, as laid out here.

Individual Groups / Volunteers

Another group dedicated to making Southampton a greener city is Transition, a group that host and run a number of events to do with sustainability and raising awareness of the topic. They provide a Sustainable Living Guide which includes where to find community venues, ethical shops and places to get things repaired in Southampton. Those behind the idea saw that there was a need to have a website where anyone wanting to volunteer their time could easily find out about projects they can contribute to at any time.

The Green Hampshire Community are another group focused on helping preserve and conserve the environment, both built and natural, for future generations.

Local Areas

It's not all bad though. Southampton has over 50 parks and green open spaces that range from small, locally used green areas to large, nationally recognised Sites of Special Scientific Interest, therefore as one of the greenest cities in the UK, Southampton has plenty of outdoor places in which to relax or go walking. These parks have won Southampton a number of awards.

Electric Cars

Southampton had a number of charging points added in 2011 for those that have electric cars. You can check the website for the locations of those charging points also. There are a number of companies offering solar panel installations also. Installing solar panels on your home helps combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduces our collective dependence on fossil fuel.

There are a number of reasons why Southampton is a great place to live! It's important to know what is going on within your city and get involved in the community. You could find out whether your business could be making a change to help your city stay green. Whether it's going paperless like we have, or recycling all materials you use, every little helps! You could walk/ run / cycle to work, or even start a car share.

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter using #GreenSouthampton

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A rising trend - One Page Websites

You may have noticed that there are a lot more one page websites around. Long, scrolling, parallax images and with full width panels of content, the one page website has risen in popularity over the last year. 

But what does a one page website mean, for search engine optimisation?

Issues you could be faced with: 

Search engine algorithms seek relevancy; they match queries with content. While a single page site may improve relevancy for your primary keywords, it’s more likely you will dilute relevancy for sub-topics and terms that might rank easier on their own pages. For example, if you have a website that show cases four services, each service could have it's own page with it's own optimised keywords, data and content. On one page, these four services could blend and blur into one page, and be hard for the user to find what they were looking for.

When asked about SEO for one page websites, Google’s Matt Cutts said:

"It’s going to depend on what your particular area is, what the topic is, and what kind of layout you come out with. But if it works for you and for users to have that all on one page, for the most part, it should work for Google as well."

What tips are there for optimising a one page website?

Content: Making sure you have defined content sections is integral. Each section of content should be designed as if it were on it's own separate page, have the keywords, headline and alt tags all geared up as you normally would if it were a page of it's own.

Anchors: In search rankings, we’ve sometimes seen Google list anchor links as site links. Anchors will help people navigate your one page website without having to scroll up and down. Back to top links could also be a bonus, to save people struggling with navigation.

H1 Tags: It's not usual for us to suggest using multiple H1 tags on one page, but for a one page website, each section that signals distinct and separate content should have it's title in an H1 tag.

Updating your content regularly:  As always, refreshed content is a necessity, so you’ll have to be creative as to what you’ll change on your site, and how often. If you've got a one page website that has been created with how it looks in mind, this may be difficult in terms of updating the text and making sure it still fits in within your design. You'd need to keep this in mind and make sure it's flexible in layout.

Adding layers: In order to add refreshed content without touching your web page, you could add a blog and embed your active Social Media accounts.

When should you consider a one page website?

If you want your web page to act as a landing page, to tell people Who you are, what you do and where you're based, along with contact details, a one page website would suffice.

Here are some examples of one page websites we have created to give you an idea

Coombe Shower Services
G&H tyre services
Alva Solutions

When shouldn't you consider a one page website?

If you have a lot of content, and a lot of different services you want to show case, a one page website really isn't suitable. For example, if you are a dental practice with numerous services, booking information, terms and conditions, forms for new patients to fill in and more... a one page website would be impractical.

A one page website should really be used as a landing page, to boost your online presence alongside other tools such as a blog, a website (with more than one page) and/ or social media.

It completely depends on your business, your area of specialism and of course what you are looking to get out of your website.
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Website of the Week: SK F.I.T

This week's website of the week goes to SK F.I.T. SK F.I.T provide high quality coaching and accountability to ensure you reach your desired goals. All new members have access to their FREE fitness sessions.

Senior Project Manager Lanara, began firstly by creating a full width panel responsive website design. She kept the content within a smaller content width and separated them into boxes and panels to make each part easy to read and digest.

The home page features a slide show of images, the clients videos and a before and after slide show of testimonials. The idea behind the home page is to give people an idea of what SK F.I.T do, who they are and where they are based, so that people know they've landed in the right place and can choose to read on.

The internal pages feature the same style as the home page, but with the content carefully set out and organised by support team member Adam, who worked closely with the client in making sure the right information was in the right places.

Each page has a lengthy amount of content, but the layout of each page makes that easier for people to navigate, and the videos are a brilliant way of breaking up pages that are quite wordy. According to analysts, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words! They are a great way to communicate with the world. Videos can go viral and be targeted at the same time to reach a broad audience.

The website passes Google's mobile-friendly test with flying colours, meaning that the website is responsive to the device it's being viewed on. This is a must when it comes to people viewing the website on the go!

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London Tech Week 20-26 June 2016

It's that time of year again! London Tech Week is coming to town! Supported by the Mayor of London, this years technology week is focusing on connecting the tech ecosystem, creating a stable growth environment and cultivating London as a global powerhouse of tech.

London Technology Week is a festival of live events taking place throughout the UK’s capital. It celebrates and cultivates London as a global powerhouse of tech innovation by connecting the entire ecosystem both within London and beyond. This week of face to face networking, discovery and learning creates an inclusive and sustainable growth environment for organisations and social enterprises of all shapes and sizes.

This year there will be 5 streams to keep updated with including Business, Innovation, Talent & Inclusion, Growth and After Hours.

Some of the events include; Tech Talent - Developing our Future. The founder of Stack Overflow is opening this event. "Developers are unsung heroes: the creators of code which powers the technologies enabling innovation and growth, in London and around the world."

UnGagged – SEO & Digital Marketing conference. UnGagged is a high end gathering, in a 5 star hotel, of the smartest, most forward thinking and most courageous SEOs and digital marketers on the planet. 

Digital Innovation in Travel. The travel and tourism sector has been fundamentally re-architected with social media, mobile and ecommerce transforming the customer experience over the past decade. Success in this new dynamic digital ecosystem demands that a chief marketing officer or travel entrepreneur must understand how the new travel customer is becoming increasingly digital in every journey stage in every travel purchase.

You can view a full list of events that are taking place on the official website.
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A website build: Case Study

When it comes to building your website with a Web Design Company, it's a very different experience to purchasing an item off the shelf in a shop. Instead of making payment and having the product handed to you, you are entering a partnership and collaboration. Each project combines the skills and talent of the Web Designer, and the knowledge and experience of the Business owner. These two halves come together and create the end result... a completed website.

Sadly not all web design projects are as straightforward as picking something off a shelf, design is subjective after all! But to tackle that, at Toolkit Websites we provide an unlimited design change policy. We will work with you on your project, until you are 100% happy with it. Yes, it does sound daunting! Endless possibilities and numerous ideas and inspirations can be overwhelming, but that's what we're here for. We'll steer you through the process, taking things one step and a time, in order to to finish with an end result both parties can be proud of.

To give you an example of how a project can go, we've provided a case study below on Hawkeye Recruitment.

Stage 1. The Logo:

If you don't already have logo branding that you use for your business, like Hawkeye Recruitment did, we have a logo design service where we can create your logo for you. Again, we provide unlimited design changes until we've got it looking exactly how you would like. Once the process is complete, we provide the high-resolution file formats for all of your professional printing purposes and needs.

Your logo is incredibly important. It's what forms the branding of your website and needs to be able to register with someone viewing your website. Your logo needs to be memorable, striking and a strong representation of your business.

Stage 2. The First Draft:

Once you have had your Welcome call with your dedicated Project Manager, they will set to work creating a website design based on the conversation you've had and the brief you have given. Depending on whether you have a clear idea on what you want, or whether you're open to suggestions, will determine whether they focus on creating a demo site for you as a functioning web page, or create mock up designs for you to consider.

Below you can see two mock up designs that Senior Project Manager, Lanara, put together for the client to consider. 

From here on in, you are in the design stage. Starting with the home page, your Project Manager will work with you on honing the home page until you're happy with it. This includes the overall colour scheme, layout, imagery, font and more.

Stage 3. Confirming the Design:

Once you're happy with the layout, and the content that you have provided is working well within the home page design, you sign off on the design stage and it's time to move onto the content stage.

Below is a screen snap of how the home page ended up once the design process was complete. You can see that the yellow from the logo was injected into the design and the images altered and changed. The client worked closely with Lanara, perfecting the layout, selecting images that reflected their business and perfecting alignment and wording. 

Stage 4. The Content:

If you already have your content sorted, and sent it through prior to the content stage, chances are it would have already been added ready for this stage. If not, you would need to provide your content (preferably in MS Word documents for each page) so it's clear what content is going where. Having an idea of your site map is pretty important too.

Although we do not provide a copy writing service, we can offer suggestions, advice and spot typos where possible! We also have a brilliant third party company that we recommend and have worked with on numerous projects together.

See Toolkit's guide to Copywriting
See Toolkit's guide to Dropbox

The Project Manager along with the design and content team, will create and build the internal pages, using the same design elements from the home page. The design stays consistent throughout, but the content dictates the layout and style of the internal pages, as well as having differing images throughout. We have a stock library that you can browse if you don't have suitable images of your own and of course if you do have images of your own and they need slight alterations such as brightening etc, we have our Photoshop Skills on hand for that also.

When it comes to sending images, you can sign up for a free Dropbox account rather than attaching images to an email. This way it's simpler for you, and it's a place that we can access the images from as and when necessary. Dropbox also allows you to sort your images into folders, which is also useful if you have a number of images to showcase.

Pictured here is a screen snap of two of the panels on an internal page. Each page has different panels for various information, parallax scrolling images and content laid out into boxes or lists to make it less "blocky." The client amended their content to fit the layout on some occasions, for the uniformity to be consistent throughout the site.

Stage 5. The Extra Bits:

During the process of the build, there are a number of other things that will be happening. The setting up of your domain and emails which is handled by the Technical Team. The setting up of any Social Media Accounts you wanted, and Search Engine Optimisation Tools such as Analytics and Google My Business.* We can advise and suggest ways in which you can improve on your SEO, and we always build every website with Web Standards in mind and Google's Mobile-Friendly test.

There are numerous things that could be included in your website project from Private Login Areas, to Enquiry/Quote Forms. You may require a third party live chat facility, or E-commerce PayPal buttons.* Whatever it is you need, we are on hand to assist, help and advise where possible.

We offer a number of additional services, and you can lean on your Project Manager for any questions or queries you may have!

Hawkeye Recruitment said of the process: "We are completely satisfied with the service received! Customer Service, flexibility and reliability are all given five stars! What is great Toolkit Websites is the consistent communication between project managers and their customers, and admirable understanding of what we need, bringing this to life to reflect exactly what we wanted! This makes for top-quality service worthy of praise. For this reason will certainly use Toolkit websites for other smaller/upcoming project websites, and will spread the word about the impeccable service!"

Stage 6. Publishing & Testing

The website was published on the 35th day of the build** and the client kindly awarded us 5 stars out of a possible 5.

The website was tested to make sure the responsive nature worked well on all devices and browsers, before the website was officially launched. The website passed Google's mobile-friendly test with flying colours. 

If you like the sound of the above, why not get in touch and have a chat with our New Business Team about your requirements and ideas? We'd love to hear from you. 

*Subject to your brief, and agreed upon quote with the New Business Team. 
** On average, website projects can be delivered in 4 weeks. This is dependent on the size of the website, and level of requirements. We take on board your specified deadline if you have one and work within a timeline agreed upon in the Welcome Call.
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Website of the Week: Bid Management Solutions Ltd

This week's website of the week goes to Bid Management Solutions Ltd. Bid Management provide bid writing services tailored for clients of all sizes and budgets across multiple sectors including companies large and small, as well as universities, NHS bodies and other organisations in the UK and the rest of Europe.

Senior Project Manager Lanara, began firstly by creating a full width panel responsive website design, using carefully selected stock imagery, and the blue colour scheme from the clients logo.

The home page features a slide show of images, parallax scrolling image panels and sections that break up the text so it's in easy to digest segments.

The internal pages feature the same style with full width panels, imagery relevant to the topic on the page, and well presented text.

The client worked closely with Lanara, cultivating his content and sending it over to be applied to the pages. He also selected images to portray the business. The finished result is a very clean, corporate and modern looking design.

The website passes Google's mobile-friendly test with flying colours, meaning that the website is responsive to the device it's being viewed on. This is a must when it comes to people viewing the website on the go!

The client kindly said "The service has been excellent.  Its an excellent kit that allows changes to be made remotely." He awarded us with 5 stars out of a possible 5.

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