Our updated website design is now live!

It took a while to develop and to finish off, but our fresh new website is now online and replaces our old trusty version that has been with us for the last couple of years.

We have canvassed a lot of opinion and thoughts regarding the best way to push forward with the new design, yes even web design companies take such advice…This avoids becoming too blinkered and set in our ways, as well as providing a more engaging and user friendly website.

In short, here is what is new :

  • Wider layout to accommodate the wider resolutions that are more common today
  • Xhtml/css layout, as opposed to our older table layout
  • New flash movie
  • More of a web 2.0 feel to the site
  • Contact form and phone number on all pages
  • Easier access to our portfolio and pricing pages
  • Important information is now ‘above the fold’
  • Removal of non essential text from all pages

Perhaps the most important point of all – Our prices are unchanged and still remain at levels set in 2006!

See the site at www.stevesims.com or please contact us should you require a quotation for the redesign of your website.

When websites go bad….

So, what is it all about then? You are happily plodding along using your favourite website, thinking how fab it is and why no one else is using it…And then you have a problem.

Whatever that problem is, have you noticed how many websites don’t have usable contact details on them..? As the owner of a web design business, we always ensure that the site owners contact details are listed on their site, granted like ourselves due to meetings, other phone calls and the odd crisis, you may not always be available to take your clients phone call, or return their email, but you do reply to any such enquiries as a matter if course.

However, what happens if you really DO need to contact the owner of a website, or at the very least a team member of that site….and despite your best efforts you can’t. This post was inspired by an advert on the gumtree.com website, or to be accurate I should say adverts. These adverts requested that the reader email a Gmail account for more details about a job opening that was available. The reply respondents received was as automated reply, in which our own web design company was cited, as well as a link to a fake website, with the intention of fraudently obtaining users credit card details…

Suffice to say, we wanted to contact Gumtree to put an end to these adverts appearing on their website, but low and behold the only way you can contact them was by a random email address, which resulted in an automated reply, advising us that they take enquiries very seriously and that we can email them via their online contact form (I thought we had already done that?). We eventually sourced a phone number for an account manager at Gumtree from one of our many industry contacts, but if jolly old 118118 don’t have a number for them, what chance has anyone got of getting hold of someone?

Anyway, to cut a long story short it appears that the Gumtree site is full of scam artists and dodgy adverts. If you take a moment to read thier forum (I won’t give them the pleasure of a backlink by mentioning the url), you’ll see that it is full of complaints from disgruntled users. Being a member of the ebay family, surely they can’t be allowed to operate in this manner..But what can you do? Stop using the site for sure, but how does that help the next new user of the site? How does it help you get your money back from a scam advert you have just replied to? It doesn’t.

I hasten to add that we are not in the habit of lambasting websites, but the above observation does beg the question :

When websites go bad…What can you do?

The floor is open, all comments welcome.

How does a web design company review their own site?

You may be thinking that this is a bit of an ambigious statement, because as a web design company shouldn’t we know what designs and content works best already….?

This is true to a certain extent, but like all websites that have been online for a while there is always room for improvement, and sometimes the best ideas and thoughts for making those improvements come from someone outside your organisation.

The question is, who do you ask to look at your site and how seriously should you take their suggestions. eg. What qualifications or experience do they have to critique your website?

Existing clients are probably a no-no, as they presumably (and hopefully) are biased towards you, new enquiries have contacted you but they are interested in getting a quote, not in reviewing your website. The answer lies in professional website reviewers and website critique forums on bone fide quality websites, even if you have to pay for the pleasure…

Be aware that if you search Google for website reviewers/website critique etc. you’ll find a few sites that are actually set up by web design firms, so they will obviously try and sell you their services, on the back of finding numerous issues with your website, so stick with the professional independents and see how you go….

Our favourite site of the day today is Sitepoint – http://www.sitepoint.com, a very useful, but rather large website containing a host of useful information. Worth a visit.

Welcome to our blog…

We have eventually found some time to dedicate to the setting up of our own blog – Dedicated to website design, ecommerce web development and website optimization and related information.

With 2008 drawing to a close and 2009 predicted to be a tough year for businesses (and individuals) we have also set up a newsletter to help keep businesses informed on useful resources, tips and services (not just our own) that may assist them in the year ahead.

I ame also in the process of reviewing our own website, with a view to making some alterations over the coming weeks and we are also carrying out a strategy and planning review to move forward with purpose in 2009. I’ll share any useful or informative information with subscribers to our newsletter on an ongoing basis.

No real pearls of wisdom in this posting, but thinking about how long we have been in business and the length of time it has taken to set up our first blog, we thought a trip back through the archives might be of interest. What did our website, or yours look like back way back when…..Well why not check out the ‘Way Back When Machine’..! Check out the site here.

That’s all for starters, remember to bookmark the site and visit again soon…