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It seems the best approach for your business this New Year is to make your website ‘responsive’. Have you looked at your site on a tablet and different smart phones? If your site is correctly sized, and provides an optimal viewing experience with minimum scrolling, more customers will engage with your content. With a distinct audience shift to mobile browsing, search engines are placing responsive sites higher.
Dorsetweb's clients, weathervanes-direct.co.uk, have noticed an increase in customer activity with statistics that 48% of enquiries came through their new responsive website design. Steve Randall, of fencingcentre.co.uk, also says ‘our sales of log cabins and other products have increased by 25% since we became responsive and developed our search engine marketing’.
Tony Raybould of Dorsetweb says ‘we have seen very quickly that a responsive website is essential in todays consumer market.’
Axent Embroidery produce customised embroidered and printed clothing for corporates, schools and universities, alongside groups, clubs and associations. They also make clothing that is specific to trips and tours, so if your sports team or dance troupe is planning an excursion or competition tour, then Axent can produce fun and exciting items that will help to promote group cohesion and increase team spirit. Axent has been looking to redevelop their website for a while to keep up with growth and to make it easier for customers to view and order products online, however they have been so busy that it has been hard for them to find the time. Eventually it became imperative that Axent addressed this issue, so they contacted Dorset Web to undertake the long-overdue task of building an up-to-date e-commerce site.
Axent wanted customers to be able to view their full range of base products before contacting them for a quote for personalised embroidery. The new system not only enables customers to view products but uses form pages for both simple and detailed enquiries. We also built our Net-sell e-commerce system into the site to make ordering of their high quality branded products even easier. Our ordering systems are innovative and intuitively designed, yet are easy to use and feel familiar to the end user. This not only helps to ensure that prospective customers stay on the site long enough to secure a purchase but also boosts Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) by encouraging "click-throughs" and increasing traffic. A good e-commerce site will also promote brand loyalty, as fast, efficient and above all safe online transactions, ensure that customers to feel confident to come back time and time again.
Another feature that we have included in Axent's website is that it is "responsive". This means that it adapts to different kinds of devices from PCs to MacBooks, mobile phones to tablets. Building Axent a "responsive website" has not only enabled ease of viewing for customers on the move but has also helped SEO by adhering to the "30 second rule" of usability. In other words, a simple website that is easy to view and navigate on all hardware and platforms will encourage users to remain on the site. This factor, combined with an uncomplicated online payment system using a choice of either Sage Pay or PayPal, makes for a site that is as user friendly as possible.
Here at Dorset Web we love to work with successful small businesses to create websites that have that personal touch. In an age of multi-national corporations and mass-produced imports its lovely to see companies that were started locally and yet have gained an international reputation for unique products made with the highest quality of craftsmanship. Dorset Weathervanes is one such company. A small business started by one man (Graham Smith), who has been making weathervanes since 1986 after combining his artistic skills with manufacturing expertise from fifteen years as a Precision Engineer. After building up a reputation locally, the company has gone on to gain an international client base and has produced over 9000 hand-made weathervanes across 20 countries. Dorset Weathervanes offer a comprehensive personal design service, which means that many of their products are unique and personal to the client. And it is precisely this personal touch, which is the key to the company's success.
Likewise, Dorset Web share the same ethos of client centred design. We produce unique websites, individually tailored to suit each client's needs. So in response to the need to reflect both the locally-produced artisanal nature of Graham's products and his global reputation, Dorset Web developed a site which could accommodate both Dorset Weathervanes' growth and their personal and unique service. Their previous website had been running for 12 years and was not able to reflect the high levels of professionalism nor the international service that the company provides. Therefore, we were able to supply them with a highly efficient e-commerce website system for their standard product ranges together with more personal touches like company history, product images and client testimonials. By simplifying Dorset Weathervanes e-commerce system, making it visually stimulating, yet more intuitive and familiar to the end user, Dorset Web have also ensured that potential customers feel at home when visiting the site and therefore more comfortable to spend money. Indeed, this is essential in an international context, where it is imperative to communicate that all-important sense of trust to prospective customers.
Alongside these things, we also made the new website “responsive”. In other words we made a site that would keep that same level of usability on all hardware, including mobile phones and tablets. A responsive website will have adaptive scaling parameters and use relative units like percentages for images and page elements. This allows for ease of reading and navigation on all devices, and ensures that a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling is required from the user. We did this to ensure that potential customers viewing the site on mobile devices remain on it for longer than the first 30 seconds, which are critical for ensuring that first time users continue to use it rather than look elsewhere.
We recently launched the assured retirement living provider Royal Bay Care Homes' new website with the effect of increasing click-throughs and boosting the online visibility of their portfolio. So far we have not only improved the company's overall traffic by 20% but enhanced the visibility of Royal Bay's regional estates. The Dorset Web team did this by modernising their main website to make it more user-friendly and by using newer source codes to ensure that it is simpler and easier to maintain. More importantly, we gave each of the company’s care homes its own domain name and more location friendly meta-titles so that they ranked high in regional searches.
Dorset Web have not only designed Royal Bay’s new website and improved SEO but have also been able to help maintain and manage the sites of all the care homes in the company’s portfolio. We have also provided them with our net-inform package, which enables visitors to Royal Bay's website to view the latest news stories for all regional sites. We were also able to provide a simpler email system to maintain and manage email contacts, together with a highly competitive maintenance and consultancy package to ensure our commitment to the company’s future. Moreover we also built Royal Bay an Extranet system so that care home managers are able to access and download the latest forms and information, and to place requests for capital. We did this at the company's request because they wanted to ensure that each home was using up-to-date forms and information, and that expenditure requests had to be formally accepted before capital was released. Since its installation, this centralised system has not only become a valuable tool in a fast growing environment but also a necessity in ensuring that all managers are kept up to date with central policy and information.
It’s still early days for this launch but all in all Royal Bay’s online traffic is improving and more importantly each of their care homes is showing up better in regional searches. Moreover, Royal Bay are very happy with the new look of the site, which uses more streamlined and accessible design, and on the strength of the growth already witnessed, it looks like the project is another Dorset Web success story.
A unique Japanese experience awaits those that stay at Hellbarn Holiday Cottages in North Chideok, Bridport. Owned by Shige and Diana Takezoe, the four barn conversions offer a relaxing away from it all winter break and the chance to experience Shige cooking a fantastic Japanese dinner.
The website has been managed by Dorsetweb as one of their longest clients in 15 years of trading and most of the bookings are through the website. Visit hellbarn.co.uk for more information.