We have just launched a new website for a flooring specialist company. Floormaker sell laminate flooring, solid wood flooring, cork tiles and engineered wood flooring and all at very competitive prices.

The company approached Designer Websites for an ecommerce website that would give them flexibility, scalability, a great image online and most importantly they approached us for an optimised ecommerce website, for which we have a reputation which is second to none. The ecommerce website that we created not only looks good but has a bespoke content management system, is integrated with SagePay, has a bespoke product review system and a very functional and bespoke product filter system. All-in-all the website is precisely what the company were looking for and provides the carefully considered buying journey that they wanted for their potential customers.

The website is brand new at this stage but we expect it to do extremely well in the near future. Click here and take a look for yourself!

In the initial stages of website design designers look into browser consumption and which browsers are in favour with the targeted web users.  This helps designers to use the relevant code to ensure their pages look good and function well within each browser’s interface.

It can be a real challenge to keep track of what the browser market is doing.  Firefox 5, Chrome 12, and Opera 11.5 were all released last month with more updates expected in the near future.  Updates are also hard to track down with many browsers set to auto-update and others set to never update or to receive updates manually.  This can make website design harder than ever and a lot of testing at the development stage is often required.

The big news for anyone involved in website design is that July has seen the usage of Google Chrome rise above the 20% mark for the very first time.   Microsoft IE is still currently the big daddy of the browser world, but with Google firmly on their heels things could be changing in a big way which will impact website design and development.

This June saw Google Chrome 11 topple Firefox 3.6 to become the world’s second favoured browser.  However, the release of Google 12 has caused a split in Google’s user-base and Firefox 4.0 has now regained its second place position.

It’s not all good news for Mozilla though; Firefox experienced a drop of almost 1% in its user-base in June which was three times that of IE and one of the biggest declines Firefox has experienced in its lifetime.  The reasons are not clear.  Whilst Firefox 4 and 5 have been well received they have not stopped Google’s popularity or progress.  Maybe the updates and changes were a little on the radical side for some.  Those involved in the website design game have certainly been scratching their heads wondering which browser is going to give Microsoft a run for their money.

When it comes to good website design it pays to keep on top of the latest browser developments including updates and new releases.  This will ensure the correct coding and formatting of pages is carried out and that the user experience is uniform across all major browsers including IE, Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

We have worked with Gift House International for over 5 years now and recently we have developed a new website for them which features an improved design, an improved buying journey for their clients and an much improved bespoke content management system. Gift House International are a wholesale specialist selling gifts, gadgets and novelty items, many of which are exclusive items. The company have a very high profile in the wholesale gifts and wholesale gadgets industry and wanted their new website to reflect that, especially as the old one that we built 5 years ago was looking tired and very dated!

The website is also highly optimised and the website now ranks on page 1 of Google for terms like wholesale gifts, wholesale gadgets and gift wholesaler.

Anyway the new website looks great so if you are looking for a gift wholesaler then perhaps you should go to the website and fill out an application.

A small ecommerce website for Westco but ecommerce non-the-less; this website was developed very quickly (within 2 weeks) and although primarily it is a brochure website for the flooring giant, it does allow online sales of particular special offers from the homepage. The original requirement was to design and develop, very quickly, an attractive brochure-type website to better represent the wholesale flooring company online. The longer term project is ongoing and thankfully we have more time to develop it; it's an ecommerce enabled wholesale system which will allow their wholesale clients to login and purchase their flooring products via an online ecommerce website. The new much larger system will have integrated wholesale accounts, linked directly to their Sage system, the website will be fully integrated with Sage to enable realtime integration with their sales ledger, stock levels and customer records, including customer specific discounts, customer reviews, credit limits etc.

The Westco website was designed, developed and published within a 2 week period and looks pretty good we think, take a look at the flooring website and see what you think.

Google once again shocked the internet world by releasing its +1 button which features as a part of its paid and organic search results. Following in the footsteps of the Facebook Like button, Google’s +1 button is incorporates user sentiment into the search results, but many question the thinking and intent behind this addition to the search results.

How does the Google +1 Button Work?
The thinking is that people respect the opinion of friends and colleagues over and above strangers or marketers – hence word of mouth has worked well for decades. Now Google want to cash in on this trend by allowing your friends and contacts to recommend websites and content in the search results by adding a +1 to that site.  So, if you are signed into a Google account you will be able to see all the sites your contacts have +1’d and likewise they will be able to see those sites you +1.

Where does the button feature?
The Google +1 button features on both organic and paid search results. Google have also produced a +1 button that can be placed within your website’s pages which allows visitors to recommend your site without having to leave it. At Designer Websites we have already begun implementing this button into a number of website designs making it much easier for our client’s customers to share products, news and special offers.

How will this effect SEO?
The best indication we have so far as to how this new button effects search results comes from the following statement from Google, “We’ll also start to look at +1’s as one of the many signals we use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, including social signals from other services. For +1's, as with any new ranking signal, we'll be starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality over time.” Those sceptical about this new development cite the opportunity for the button to be manipulated through false Google accounts to distort rankings. No doubt Google have thought hard on this and will be monitoring such behaviour closely.

For additional information and details on Google’s +1 button visit Google’s Webmaster Blog.