JD Print Supplies website

Our latest project to see completion is a brand new website for JD Print Supplies, who supply a wide range of products to the UK printing industry.

The new website went live yesterday, and it showcases all of the company's products in a clear, professional way. From inks and printer blankets to cleaning chemicals and various other sundries, JD Print Supplies do sell rather a lot of different items, so the company's clients should find it useful to have them all laid out on easy-to-navigate category pages.

JD Print Supplies' new site also incorporates customer testimonials and a simple enquiry form for users who wish to get in touch. Visit www.jdprintsupplies.co.uk to browse this new website for yourself.

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New PMG website design

PMG is a property development firm specialising in commercial and industrial properties. They have overseen a number of high-profile developments in recent years, including:

  • Cardiff City Stadium
  • Capital Retail Park
  • Viridor's Energy Recovery Facility in Cardiff

The company's other successes include several drive-through branches of Starbucks, a purpose-built student accommodation facility, and Llandarcy Park, a sports facility in Neath.

How did we help PMG?

Keen to show off their diverse portfolio of past projects, PMG contacted the Designer Websites team and asked us to come up with a new website design that would really wow their clients and partners.

The new PMG website is now live, and we think you'll agree that it's a perfect fit for this company. The updated design is professional, yet striking, and PMG's previous achievements are front and centre.

If you'd like to see the new PMG site for yourself, visit www.pmg-plc.com now.

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Questions to ask your web designer

There are lots of people out there who call themselves web designers. But if you want a quality website that delivers real wins for your business, there's a huge difference between a professional web design company and an amateur working out of their bedroom.

Thanks to free tools like Wordpress and Wix, just about anyone can put together a basic website using a pre-existing template, and regrettably, there are plenty of so-called 'developers' who will charge you an exorbitant amount of money for something that you could easily have done yourself.

Before you pay someone to create a website for you, ask them the following questions and make sure you're going to get your money's worth!

1. Can I see some examples of your work?

Never agree to hire someone before you've seen what they're capable of. Any experienced web designer will be able to show you a portfolio of their previous work or send you some links to websites they've created in the past. If your prospective developer hesitates to offer you any examples of what they can do, that's a huge red flag and you should probably look elsewhere.

(By the way, if you want to see some of the websites we've created, check out our Web Design Portfolio.)

2. Do you build every website from scratch?

In our blog post about the advantages of bespoke web design, we explained why a bespoke website - built from scratch, specifically for you - is generally a far better investment than a template-type site that's based on a pre-built system.

Of course, a bespoke website will cost you more, but that extra cost will net you the following benefits:

  • A unique design that's tailored to the needs of your audience
  • Ongoing support from professional developers who can create just about anything you want
  • Improved security, making it harder for hackers to target your site
  • Far more flexibility and scalability - crucial for a growing business

Most modern businesses can't get by with just some text on a static web page. Whether you need a booking system, a secure online checkout, or just the ability to add and edit content at the drop of a hat, you're far better off with a bespoke website from a team of developers who can translate your big ideas into user-friendly online solutions.

3. How long will it take to get my new website live?

You obviously don't want to hire a web designer who's going to take the best part of a year to deliver what you need, but you should also watch out for developers who tell you that your new site will be live within a week. If they're able to turn a whole website around that quickly, they're probably not doing a very good job of it.

A well-constructed website takes time to create. When we take on a new project, we spend a fair bit of time...

  • Getting to know the client's market and their target audience
  • Checking out the competition to see what we're up against
  • Performing keyword research to find out what people search for
  • Working with the client to settle on a design they love
  • Mapping out what pages the website will include
  • Optimising the website and its content for search engines
  • Testing the site to prevent errors and eliminate bugs

You wouldn't eat a pork joint that's only spent a few minutes in the oven, and you shouldn't be satisfied with a website that was slapped together with no research or planning.

4. Will my website be mobile friendly?

As of November 2016, more people are browsing the Internet on mobile devices than on desktop computers. When your new website goes live, many of your users - perhaps even the majority - will view it on their smartphones. So you'd better make sure that your site looks just as good on a small screen as it does on your PC.

We've worked with a wide range of different companies over the years. Some of the websites we create get as much as 75% of their traffic from tablets and mobile phones, and even our B2B clients, whose average customer is someone working at a desk in an office, tend to rely on mobile and tablet users for about a quarter of their website visits these days. There's no way around it: if your web developer can't deliver a responsive website that's easy to navigate on all devices, you're going to alienate a sizeable chunk of your potential audience.

5. Will I be able to make changes in the future?

The world is always changing, and while you might be 100% happy with your website when it launches, it probably won't be too long before you want to make some tweaks. Perhaps you'll expand your business and start promoting a new set of services. Perhaps you'll hire an extra pair of hands, in which case your 'Meet the Team' page will need updating. Perhaps there'll be a global pandemic and you'll want to reassure your customers that you're still open for business. Who knows what additions and changes you might require in a few months' time?

Before you settle on a web developer, you should make sure that you'll always have the option to edit and improve your website when necessary. If there's something you'll need to update regularly (e.g. special offers, promotional banners, customer testimonials), you should mention this up front - your web design agency may suggest setting up a content management system (CMS) that allows you to make those changes yourself instead of having to go through them every time an update is needed. Of course, there will always be changes that you can't foresee, so you should also ask your web designer how much they'll charge you for future developments.

If your business needs a new website, Designer Websites can help! Here are some of the things our clients have said about us...

"Working with Designer Websites was so easy - they knew exactly what I wanted and executed it to perfection!" - Alana Spencer, Ridiculously Rich by Alana

"The websites that we have created in partnership with Designer Websites are just incredible. Thank you for your hard work and continued support." - John Sheppard, eTrader

"We are so pleased we chose Designer Websites to overhaul our site. They did an amazing job and were a pleasure to work with." - Andrew Buckingham, Slide Candy

Give us a call on 01446 339050 to discuss your requirements with one of our expert web designers!

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Are you thinking about taking your business online? You're not alone! The COVID-19 pandemic has left many brick-and-mortar shops closed until further notice, but online shops have seen an unprecedented rise in customers since lockdown began.

Countless people are now turning to the Internet for their favourite products and necessities, so opening a digital store for your customers to use is a no-brainer. Here's where to start:

1. Choose a domain name

Choosing a domain name that fits your business is an important first step when you're taking your business online. Ideally, your domain name will be the same as (or very close to) your business name - for example, you can see that our domain name is designer-websites.co.uk. This will help people to match your website to your brand.

Here are a few other things to bear in mind when you're choosing a domain name:

  • Choose a suitable domain extension like .com or .co.uk
  • Avoid domain names that include other people's trademarks - this can cause legal problems

There are lots of different websites you can use to find and register your domain name. GoDaddy and Ionos are two popular registrars. Once you think you’ve found the right domain, you can either register it yourself or ask your website developer to do this for you. Once registered you'll own it for at least a year, so make sure you choose wisely.

2. Set up a website

Once your domain is up and running, it's time to start thinking about the exciting part: setting up your website! There are lots of pre-built systems and free platforms out there, , but in our opinion, these are simply not the best way to go if you want a quality site.

Although pre-built systems might look like a good deal, there are several reasons why we'd recommend a bespoke solution if you're taking your business online. Here are just a few of them...

  • More freedom to customise your website's functionality and design
  • Significantly improved scalability
  • More flexibility to integrate 3rd party solutions
  • Improved website security
  • Much better optimisation
  • Better tracking

The list goes on - read our blog about the advantages of a bespoke website design if you'd like to find out more.

Your website needs to:

  • Be visually representative of your brand
  • Show up in Google's search results
  • Work seamlessly across a range of devices
  • Generate successful sales / enquiries

We know this sounds like an awful lot of work when you're already shouldering all the pressures and responsibilities of running a business, but fear not - here at Designer Websites, we have in-house graphic designers, developers, and copywriters who can do all of the hard work for you. Whether you need an ecommerce website that allows your loyal customers to shop online or a simple brochure site to help you generate more enquires, we can help.

Over the years, we've supported all kinds of businesses as they've made the transition from brick-and-mortar store to online success story. Check out some of our case studies if you'd like to see how we did it.

If you're interested in taking your business online, you can request a free, no-obligation quote here:

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3. Integrate a payment method

One way to help your customers feel secure when they're placing an order on your website for the first time is to integrate a recognisable, reputable payment system. Designer Websites is an official Sage Pay partner, but there are other options like PayPal, Stripe, Wirecard and Worldpay that you might consider too.

For added consumer confidence, you should also:

  • Make sure your website has a valid SSL certificate. This will ensure that any sensitive details (e.g. passwords, credit card numbers) submitted via your website are encrypted and therefore much harder for hackers to steal.
  • Add an express checkout option so new users aren't forced to register an account on your site when making a quick purchase.

4. Follow the law

As you might imagine, selling your wares online comes with a set of legal obligations that may seem a little overwhelming if you've only ever sold in-store. Here's a brief overview to help you get to grips with the basics:

  • You need to comply with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) if you are collecting any personal data from your users.
  • You must clearly display appropriate terms of use, a privacy notice, VAT details, cookie/marketing consent and information about pricing and delivery costs.
  • You should be aware of age restrictions that apply to your good/services and (if applicable) set up a method of verifying age before the checkout.
  • You should be mindful of copyright. Images, text and even the architecture of a website site can be copyrighted. Make sure you're only using digital assets that you have the rights to use.

5. Let customers know you're online

Although you might not be closing the doors of your real-life store for good, it's important to make people aware your business has a new space online. There are many different ways you can reach out to old and new customers to share the good news, including...

  • Social Media

Use your existing social media channels (or set some up) to make a bit of noise about your new website. There are so many platforms to choose from, you'll have no problem reaching your target audience in no time at all.

We'd recommend tailoring your posts to suit each platform; for example, you could post a detailed announcement on Facebook and a more casual mention on your Instagram story. This gives people lots of different ways to discover that your business has moved online. (Don't forget to include a link back to your new website whenever possible!)

  • Email / Newsletter

A great way to let your existing customers know that you've moved online is to send them a simple, informative email. You could include a promotion to encourage them to make their first purchase on your online store. While this won't directly help you to attract new customers, it is a great way to keep your loyal customers in the loop.

Operating as a stand-alone offline business is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Don't get left behind and lose sales to your competitors. Take your business online with a little help from the Designer Websites team.

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bounce back after covid header

Since the UK went into lockdown on 23 March, the ecommerce landscape has changed rapidly. All of a sudden, 'non-essential' brick and mortar stores were closed down and customers were forced to fulfil their shopping needs online. If you run an ecommerce store, this is music to your ears, right?

Well, with a massive surge in digital shoppers and increased pressure on supply chains, some ecommerce stores have struggled to keep up with demand while others, like luxury brands, are seeing a significant drop in sales as fewer people have excess cash to splash.

So, while some ecommerce stores are seeing a huge spike in orders, others are falling behind. Wherever your ecommerce business falls on the spectrum, we're sure you're starting to think about your post-lockdown strategy. Here are a few tips to help make sure that your business bounces back after COVID-19.

Think about the context of searches

The way that people search - and the context behind certain queries - has changed over the last few months. It's important that your ecommerce store responds to this shift in intent appropriately to ensure a steady flow of sales. But what do we mean by a change in context?

Let's take, for example, a popular beauty brand like Boots. This time last year, it's likely that Boots had a high volume of traffic from users searching for face masks.

Of course, in this context, people were mostly looking for face masks of the cosmetic variety. With hundreds of skincare brands on offer, Boots was well equipped to give these users what they wanted.

Now, of course, users searching for face masks are probably looking for something completely different: a face covering to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Although the keyword face masks is the same, the intent behind this search has changed.

So how have Boots responded to this? They've added a section to their website that focuses predominantly on face masks and face coverings. This category features prominently on their homepage and ranks highly for the term face mask (as shown below).

Boots search result for face masks

We recommend looking at the keywords and queries that are most valuable to your business in relation to COVID-19. Do these terms still hold the same meaning that they held 6 months ago? If not, it might be time to reconsider your product line and optimise your website accordingly.

Adapting your website to meet demand

As someone who runs an ecommerce business, you already know how important it is to make sure users can find what they're looking for quickly. With competition for certain products at an all-time high, optimising the user experience can make the difference between a sale and fail in the post-lockdown market.

Moz's Luke Carthy pointed out in a recent article that searching for coronavirus on Holland and Barrett's website previously showed no results, which is hard to believe when products like hand sanitisers, paracetamol and other medications that they offer were highly sought after.

Holland and Barrett website

Image taken from Moz.com

What went wrong here? It's possible that the health and wellbeing giant didn't look at their on-site search box to see how customers were searching at the time. Therefore, they didn't have a page set up to show relevant products when a search for coronavirus was made. Without a dedicated page for coronavirus-related products, it's likely that Holland and Barrett missed out on sales!

Learn from this and apply the same logic to your ecommerce website. Take a look at the things people are searching for on your site. Do you see many searches for coronavirus or other related terms? If so, what results are your users seeing? Make sure relevant products appear - it could boost conversions and win sales over competitor sites.

Improve filters

As well as adding new landing pages, sections, and products to fill gaps in the market, you should also consider making it easier for users to tell what you do and don't have in stock.

With online shopping booming and supply chains under immense pressure right now, your users might be looking for things that seem to be out of stock everywhere! Reduce hassle and keep your customers happy by:

  • Adding a filter to your site so users can quickly see what's in stock and what isn't
  • Creating a form that allows users to sign up for an email notification when a certain product is back in stock

The filter might help you secure a sale there and then, while the email notifications can help make sure customers return to your site rather than going with one of your competitors.

Offer alternative products

Even if you make all the changes that we've suggested so far, there may still be times when you just can't fulfil the exact needs of your customers. However, there are still things you can do to boost your post-COVID sales.

Let's say, for example, that you've seen a huge influx in orders for your bird feeders during lockdown because people are spending more time in their gardens. That's great, but you had no way of predicting this unusual spike in sales and now all of your bird feeders are out of stock!

What can you do to combat this? We recommend adding a section to the bottom of your product pages to show your customers other relevant items that are currently in stock (e.g. a bird bath or bird house). Although this isn't exactly what the user was looking for, it might capture their imagination enough for them to place an order.

Adjusting your prices

As lockdown restrictions are eased, social distancing measures need to be implemented in all work environments.

As an ecommerce business, it's likely that you have a warehouse or depot where your products are kept. Just like pubs, hairdressers, and offices up and down the country, you'll need to put some new measures in place to keep the working environment safe and hygienic.

Whether you're providing sick pay for unwell employees, ordering PPE, or making physical modifications in the workplace, everything comes at a price. Your customers shouldn't be too surprised about a justifiable price increase to help cover these unavoidable costs, but be mindful of the way you go about it. After all, you don't want your customers to feel like they're being ripped off!

An incentive to buy

While you might need to increase the price of some items, there's nothing stopping you from giving people an extra reason to buy from your brand. As we move into the transitional post-lockdown period, people are returning to work and might be looking for a bit of a pick-me-up.

Whether you contact loyal customers and offer them an exclusive discount code, or you offer a multi-buy discount on your best sellers, people are more likely to make an order if they feel they're getting a good deal.

Hopefully, this gives you a good idea of how your ecommerce business can respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the months ahead. If you're interested in an ecommerce website makeover to make your brand stand out, you can get a free, no-obligation quote here.

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