Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Website development for ALS and Associates Aberdeen

We are pleased to be working with ALS and Associates in Aberdeen to explore and develop ideas for their website.  Director Andrew Steinbach uses the Press in Aberdeen and further afield to examine the Scottish property market and draws on his own experience.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Do's for Domains

One of the first things any new business person or company tends to do these days when they are setting up a new venture is to check if their domain name is available.  Hastily they go online and type their chosen domain into "Whois" or some hosting company website to see if the domain they want is available.

"Amazing, it's there, the one I want!" says the searcher "I must register it right away before someone else gets it!".  So immediately they look for the cheapest company online to register their precious domain, secure it and sit back and plan their online strategies.

Wrong move, and potentially disastrous.  Why?

First item on our list of things to do is:
"Do think about your online strategy before registering a domain."

I have a number of examples where the strategy displayed in the second paragraph above has caused problems.  One company who registered an .eu domain with an obscure Scandinavian company found they couldn't connect it to the beautiful new website which had been constructed by a website designer for them.  The domain had to be transferred.  Another company bought a domain through a company in Australia and found that despite numerous e-mails they couldn't get their domain transferred and had to register a similar one.

Part of your online strategy plan should be "Who does my website designer recommend I register my domain with?" or if you are doing things yourself "Where will my website be hosted?".  A moments thought now can save you time and money in the future.

Second "do" which follows from the first "Do consider cost, but consider what you need too."  So if you want to register your domain with a hosting company, does it offer the facilities and services you will need?  Do you want e-mail based on your domain?  For example, office@newcompany.co.uk.  If you do, make sure you get a package from the hosting company that includes e-mail. 

Many new websites require facilities like SQL databases or CMS features that require PHP to be running on the host server, check with your web designer to see what they suggest first, before setting up hosting or registering your domain.

Domains are an important part of business these days so it pays to do things the right way, first time.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

5 questions you should answer for a successful website!

Quite often busy business people ask me for a website without really thinking things through.  So when we sit down for a chat with them, before we start any project, clients often find there were many things about their website that had simply not crossed their mind.

To make things easier it is often best to start with a blank sheet of paper.


Write down the answers to a few basic questions,as follows:
  1. What do I want this website to do?
  2. How much do I want to spend?
  3. What should I call my website?
  4. Who will update my website?
  5. What happens if my business changes?
Let's look at these questions in more detail.

What do I want this website to do?

You need to be clear about what you need the website to do before you design it.  Will it sell items?  Will it promote a business?  Will it communicate with customers?  Only by having the aims of the website clearly in mind can the website designer recommend solutions.

How much do I want to spend?

Do you want a Ferrari or a Fiesta?  It's important to be realistic about what your budget is so that your designer can choose appropriate methods of implementing your website.  Sometimes its necessary to compromise to reach a budget figure, but it's a good idea how much that is.

What should I call my website?

The name of your company may not be the most beneficial name for your website, especially where there is a lot of competition.  Consider a domain name (website address) which contains your type of business, and the locality where you live.  For example "peterhead-taxis.co.uk" or "fraserburgh-fishandchips.co.uk".  These domains often rate quite well in Google,as long as the content of the website matches the domain name of course.

Who will update my website?

If you want to save money long term then speak to your designer about CMS or Content Management Systems.  This will allow you to change content, usually text and photos, yourself on your website.

To find out more about CMS take a look at http://www.enterprisedesign.co.uk/cms.html

Of course if you would prefer the designer to take responsibility for updating the website to give you more time to run your business then explain this to them, usually websites without CMS are cheaper than those with.

What happens if my business changes?

Change is the first rule of business. Consequently you need to know that your website design is flexible and adaptable.  Can pages be added?  Can new features be integrated?  It's important to find that out before the website is designed.

Contact me at graham@enterprisedesign.co.uk if you need more help.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Invisible Business?

After being telephoned by a representative of Yellow Pages I started to think about the last time I used it to find anything.  Surprisingly, for me, it has been years. Instead of letting my fingers do the walking, I've moved on.

Like millions of others my first port of call, to find an address of a local business or service, is to look online, usually Google.

Being a website design company means we are easily found through our website, which we obviously have to show our skills (see www.enterprisedesign.co.uk ) but what about all the local businesses, services and charities in Aberdeenshire that don't have a web site?

With people bypassing all the traditional methods of finding goods and services, we now rely on two things, the Internet and Word of Mouth.  I've often seen people asking their friends on FaceBook for their advice, for example "Anyone know a reliable plumber?" 

What that implies is the need for both a web presence and social networking because the quickest and easiest way for your business to be referred to is for people to be able to direct potential customers, their friends, aquaintances and work colleagues, to your web site address.

In the words of the story "Doctor, doctor the Invisible Man wants an appointment!"  to which the reply from the esteemed medical man was "Tell him I can't see him!"

Without a website today a business could become invisible, and unable to compete with businesses which have a prescence on the Internet.  As my grandfather would have said "Think on!"

Monday, 18 February 2013

Size Matters!

When you are designing a web site the size of photographs is very important.  Too small and your product or service may lose it's impact on your pages.  Too big, and the website may take ages to download and display in a browser, meaning that people will go elsewhere to view.

So a tool which resizes photos quickly and easily is an essential, and a free tool is even better.

Enter PIXResizer a simple and quick method to reduce the size of photos for websites, emails or other online use.  With this program you follow the numbered instructions and the result is pefectly sized photos which are even labelled with the new dimensions.

To have a go with PIX resizer yourself, have a look at this URL and download it from one of the available locations. http://bluefive.pair.com/downloads.htm

To see more examples visit our website at www.enterprisedesign.co.uk

Sunday, 10 February 2013

5 Ways to get Better Web Site Photographs

One thing which lets many websites down is the quality of photographs.

When your website is your first point of contact with customers you want to make sure that the photos on your website are clear, bright and of good quality.

There are five things you can take into consideration when producing web site photographs:

1) Backgrounds - Is there something distracting in the background which is competing with the product or service you are illustrating?  Walk around until you find a view with less background distraction, or you may be able to remove the offending object in Photoshop.

2) Simplicity - Keep photos of products simple, don't go for artistic shots (unless you are selling art perhaps) but take illustrative shots from angles that people are likely to view things.

3) Focus - Modern cameras help, but make sure the object you are emphasizing is fully in sharp focus and if in doubt, move and take another shot.

4) Customer View - For photographs of services like hotels and guesthouses take photos with a slightly wide angle lens to emphasize the space available in rooms and include features (en-suite?) that would not normally be seen in standard lens photographs.

5) Object in Use - If the item you are photographing is a useful one, show someone using it, and if they look happy doing it, that helps the finished photo.  Sometimes only a photo like this can show the true value of the product you are selling.

If you are selective about the photographs you show you can often impress the viewer, so take plenty of photopraphs.  Snapping one picture of each item is not a good idea as you may need a thumbnail shot and a detail shot for your web page.

You might like to look at examples of my website photography at www.enterprisedesign.co.uk/photography.html


Sunday, 3 February 2013

What we are up against!

If you search for any of the towns of the UK in conjuction with “Website Design” there are a number of website designers offering to produce a website for a tiny cost. Look more closely and you won’t find any address details or recognition of UK website law. They offer a list of things included but look more closely and you will find that text and the majority of photos or graphics are not part of the package.

I’ve already had to help one company who received such a website and then had the nightmare of populating the blank website on their own with no help from the “designer”

Of course they had no idea that taking a photo off the camera and putting it straight on to the website would cause problems, or that a rainbow of coloured text and different fonts didn’t acheive the most professional results.

My granny had a saying “Buy cheap…buy dear!” meaning the longtime costs of buying a cheap item would outweigh the initial investment of a higher priced but superior object. For her, for example, cheap shoddy made shoes would need to be replaced more often than more expensive ones.

It’s no different with websites, once you have paid your money cheap website companies don’t want to know you. They are not interested in your business improving or you making more sales. They don't want to know about price changes, or business address moves.

Choosing an established website designer with a past record and a commitment to customers is a much better idea in the long run.

You might like to take a look at my work at my website for Enterprise Design.