Sunday April 18, 2010, by Maria Prince
Redevelopment of an existing website. The umbraco content
management system has made updating the website easier, faster and
cheaper for the client.
Optimisation of the website and the implementation of twitter
and facebook pages as part of the redevelopment also increased the
website visitor numbers markedly in the following winter
Update: we implemented minor design changes and moved the
newsletter to campaignmonitor.com in May 2012.
Mt Dobson Ski Area
Monday March 15, 2010, by Maria Prince
An umbraco website using a design chosen by the client.
Health 4 Work
Monday January 25, 2010, by Paul Blair
Whenever we are approached by a potential client to rebuild an
existing website or undertake a search engine optimisation (SEO)
programme, or to increase web traffic, we always recommend that a
website audit report is undertaken first.
A website audit reviews the technical structure of a website and
also reports on layout (for the user experience) and content and
links for search engine rankings.
We consider the technical structure of the website to be the
most important component of a website audit. If the structure
is fubared, then no amount of content updating or link building can
improve the visitor numbers or increase sales.
The results can be very surprising. We have completed
website audit reports on websites with modern layouts and really
nice designs, but built so that the website would only appear if
the company name was entered as the search phrase. In this
case, the only visitors coming to the site are people who already
know the name of the company. This website would not attract
new visitors because it wouldn't appear in any search results.
Another recently completed website audit was for a website that
was technically sound, but the main navigation menu (which was at
the bottom of the page) was different on every page. For a
user this is confusing and frustrating, and it is easy enough to
return to the search results to find the next website.
- Canonical URLs: multiple domain names that point to a
website. Where a website has more than one URL, one should be
chosen as the target URL and the other URLs should be pointed to
it. This is a common problem and it reduces the page rank for
the website, but it should be a simple matter for a developer to
- Use of images for text: where text is converted into an
image instead of html text. Images appear as blank areas to
Google's 'crawlers', so any text stored as an image will not return
- Search engine indexing: web pages need to be 'indexed' by
a search engine for it to appear in a search result. There
are several different scenarios that would cause crawlers to ignore
a site or to incompletely crawl a site.
- Slow page loading: overly complicated scripts,
table-based programming and large images can cause slow page
loading. This would mostly affect the user experience (and
they leave the site) but can also affect search engine
Design and content:
- Where possible we test the keyword phrases used by
- Check whether the website conveys the right messages to
visitors. It should be immediately obvious what the website
- Check meta data - titles and descriptions - are present and
- We check that the overall layout is easy to navigate and give
our opinion on the user-experience.
- Links are the single most important factor that impacts page
rank. Google, and other search engines, use links to
determine what the website is about and to measure website
quality. Links to relevant industry-related websites are what
- We check as best we can the internal, inbound and outbound
links for a website.
When the results show that the website is structurally sound, we
always include recommendations to the website owner that they
themselves may be able to implement. We make recommendations
on content, meta data and external factors that will improve
If the structure or other circumstances, e.g. high costs,
dictate that the website is rebuilt, we guarantee to resolve all of
the issues that we find in the original website.
The website audit report collates the tangible and intangible
parts that form a website presence on the Internet and helps to
focus effort and money on the areas where it is needed the
For a website owner that wants more business it is a great
opportunity to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their
website and to find the area to focus their efforts.
Thursday January 14, 2010, by Paul Blair
Make Your Website a Valuable Business Asset
We have found that some small business owners recognise that
websites are a useful promotional tool, but they do not want to
spend a lot of time or money on it.
It is very easy to create a free website and there are many free
online website building tools available. Our experience has been
that while the websites may look professional, there are problems
with search engine indexing and hence poor search results, or
updating the website is difficult and hence it rapidly becomes out
of date (I will write more on this in a later blog).
We are 100% confident that umbraco's content management system,
coupled with Paul's awesome developer's skills ensure that our
websites are easy to update and searchable on Google.
Once the first hurdle, a useable website, is
taken care of, having the confidence and skills to build a website
into a valuable business asset then requires time and
commitment. It might also take you out of your comfort
Make a Website Maintenance Plan
Planning a website maintenance strategy might sound daunting,
but can be as simple as planning to review and update one page
within the site per month and writing a weekly news article or
Keeping website page content fresh and releasing regular updates
will result in better search rankings and is a sound strategy for
long term growth.
Better Search Rankings
Search engines such as Google rank websites that have new
content higher than websites with static content. Google
places a high value on updated content, to avoid displaying
websites that are no longer active.
Being in the number one spot in search results also increases
click rates exponentially over subsequent search results, so
refreshing page information and releasing keyword-rich news on a
regular basis will be worth the time investment.
Get Customers to Notice Your Updates
Regular information updates encourage visitors to return to your
website. Social media sites are a great way to reach out to
customers and remind them that you have a service or product to
An RSS feed on a news column or blog (we are adding an RSS feed
to our blog this month - we are just waiting for a software
release), twitter updates and facebook pages all bring your
information to your customers.
How Do Social Media Sites Increase Website
Take twitter for example. I follow a number of people
through my twitter account @fairliebusy. When someone tweets
about the latest blog update on their website and I follow the
link, I am taken to the blog. I will read the article and
then I might look around the website for related articles or any
other interesting information. I might not buy a product or
service this time, but I am building up trust in this contact and
when I need that product or service - I am more likely to buy from
a trusted source than an unknown source.
But I Have Nothing to Say!
There will always be something you can say about your
business. We regularly blog about topics that our customers
bring to our attention, we feel that if one customer experiences a
problem, others might have the same problem too, so why not publish
some information about it - the rest will think you are amazing for
anticipating the issue.
If you have no news of your own, you can also link to an
industry-related article written by someone else. They will
be thrilled for the promotion of their work as well.
Measure, Measure, Measure
I love statistics and I use Google Analytics to check page
visits, page source and traffic information on a regular
basis. I can see that when I publish a blog the number of
site visits increases. Analytics can also help you to see the
popular areas on your site. Checking your statistics can help
you work out if you have any problem areas on your website and you
can fix them. If you have access to your site's statistics
then use the information to target the problem areas and see your
efforts making a difference.
Monday January 4, 2010, by Maria Prince
Peel Forest Estate are world leaders in red deer genetics for
trophy, venison and velvet. We rebuilt their existing website
using the umbraco content management system. New features
include news feed, dynamic menu updates and media gallery.
The website was completed within very tight timeframes and
completed within budget.
The umbraco cms has reduced the amount of time required for
maintenance and they are better able to promote their deer auctions
through the sales pages.
Peel Forest Deer Genetics