Part of the ever-expanding Greensquares family, DeckPlus is the newest brand to hit the UK composite decking market.

Offering a wide selection of decking products – ranging from premium, capped composite decking to affordable, eco-friendly hollow deck boards – the company were looking to create a fresh site that reflected this exciting new brand.

After laying down the gauntlet to our web designers, we quickly got to work creating a fresh, new site for his fresh, new brand.

 

 

web design, web designers, SEO experts

 

A One-Stop-Shop

Combining their existing TimberTech products with their all-new DeckPlus branded boards, the desired outcome of the project was conceptualised as an online amalgamation of decking solutions, providing the ultimate one-stop-shop for decking design.

The result was DeckPlus.co.uk – a true home for all things composite decking.

The DeckPlus website provides a welcome online home for the DeckPlus brand, while also acting as a worthy second-home for the company’s TimberTech range, in addition to the pre-existing TimberTech site.

 

A Modern Site for Modern Products

As part of the brief, we were asked to provide DeckPlus with a site that reflects their modern products.

Our team of expert designers were more than capable of living up to the challenge and were eager to create a site that accurately reflects the new brand’s contemporary flair, while also providing the necessary capabilities of an effective decking site.

Logically laid out in a prioritised order, each webpage is packed with all the user-friendly functionality you would expect from a professional site, blending helpful information with simple processes and easy navigation.

Topped off with a clean, crisp oceanic colour scheme, the aesthetic appearance of the site is modern yet inherently easy on the eye, with an occasional infusion of orange-brown as a tip of the cap to the company logo.

 

User-Friendly Functionality

From a functionality standpoint, we created an uncomplicated layout that provides seamless usability on all devices, working just as well on a mobile or tablet as it does on a laptop or desktop.

For further ease of use, the site is specifically designed to allow you to refine your decking search by a variety of chosen criteria: from colour and price to decking type and product range.

What’s more, the simple navigation bar positioned at the top of each page allows you to effortlessly transition from one page to the next, without the hassle or fuss of searching high and low for the relevant tab.

The site also features a company blog page to keep users up to date with all the latest goings-on in the company, as well as the wonderful world of outdoor decking.

 

Optimised Web Copy

DeckPlus offers a myriad of stunning designs and a variety of decking materials at a range of prices to suit all budgets. As a result, the site houses a vast online catalogue of these products and sub-categories, all requiring unique copy for each and every page.

This necessitated bespoke web copy for the entire site. Each page needed captivating copy that still included the all-important fundamentals: the essential top-line information, supplementing by the detailed nitty-gritty, before rounding off with the bottom line of price.

Meanwhile, each page was also painstakingly optimised by our SEO experts to give the site a running start when it was made live. This has helped to ensure the correct pages rank for the relevant industry terms and product descriptors in the search engine results, ultimately boosting the likelihood of conversions.

 

For more information on our web design and copywriting services, why not get in touch today? Call now on 01446 339050 or click the button below to get a quote online now.

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Alana Spencer has been a client of ours ever since she won BBC's The Apprentice in 2016 and asked us to design a new website for her handmade cake business, Ridiculously Rich by Alana.

Ridiculously Rich has been going from strength to strength since Lord Sugar invested in the company two years ago, and earlier this week, he and Alana announced their new Cakepreneur initiative, which promises to drive even greater growth as we head into autumn.

Here's an introduction from Alana and Lord Sugar themselves:

Building the new Cakepreneur system

The Designer Websites team have been hard at work over the last couple of weeks, striving to ensure that the website's new Cakepreneur system would be ready for its big launch.

We were asked to build an add-on for Alana's existing Ambassador system to accommodate a new type of reseller: Cakepreneurs. This was conceived as a more affordable way to join the Ridiculously Rich family - it costs £1,000 to become the Ridiculously Rich Ambassador for your region, whereas Cakepreneurs pay a one-off setup fee of just £150.

Cakepreneur Starter Kit

A Ridiculously Rich Cakepreneur starter kit.

Our skilled web developers created a sign-up area that makes it easy for would-be Cakepreneurs to get the ball rolling. Once the user has filled in their details, the website shows them an introductory video, then prompts them to take a quick online test. Those who pass this test can then pay the setup fee and order their starter kit (pictured above).

What do Cakepreneurs do?

Cakepreneurs earn commission by selling Ridiculously Rich cakes to...

  • Cafés
  • Delicatessens
  • Farm shops
  • Corporate clients

...and so on. Each Cakepreneur is given a unique discount code that entitles their customers to 5% off all online orders.

The system that we have designed and developed makes it easy for Alana's Cakepreneurs to sign in and manage everything. Each Cakepreneur can create their own Ridiculously Rich profile, add meetings to their own personal calendar, and sign up clients who will earn them commission with each order placed. The system also allows the Ridiculously Rich administrators to see how active each Cakepreneur is.

Additional development

In addition to the new Cakepreneur system, Designer Websites also built...

  • A new downloads section that allows Ridiculously Rich to share documents, videos, and other downloadable resources with their Ambassadors and Cakepreneurs all over the country.

  • 'Stockists' page (view here) that makes it easy for users to find nearby shops that sell Ridiculously Rich cakes.

  • A new 'Find My Nearest' page (view here) - simply enter your postcode to see a full list of Ridiculously Rich Ambassadors and Cakepreneurs in your area.

Alana explains why she chose to work with Designer Websites

Visit Ridiculously Rich > Get a Web Design Quote >

Bespoke Online Solutions

Truly successful online businesses don't just need a website that's user-friendly and optimised for search engines. More often than not, they need specialised functionality, a significant level of automation, comprehensive administration portals, integration with other business solutions...the list is long, and of course, every business has its own specific requirements.

In this post, we'd like to show you 10 quick and simple examples of the bespoke online solutions that we've created and implemented for our clients.

More...

Online Booking Systems

Here at Designer Websites, we've created online booking systems for a wide variety of clients. Examples of the solutions we've developed include:

💊 Appointment booking systems for health clinics 
🔧 Boiler installation booking systems for plumbers / heating engineers 
😊 Visitor booking systems for leisure centres
⛷️ Equipment booking systems for ski holiday providers
⚖️ Consultation booking systems for legal practitioners

With all of these projects and more under our belt, we have a very strong understanding of what makes a good online booking system. Here are the five things that we consider to be most important:

A smooth, speedy user interface

Like any online application, an e-booking system should make the user's experience as pleasant and as painless as possible by loading quickly and functioning flawlessly. Your customers don't want to sit around twiddling their thumbs as they wait for a list of available timeslots to appear; nor will they enjoy trying to work out what to do next when your date selector doesn't load properly and the day they want to book isn't visible. Aim to get both your booking system and your website as a whole operating smoothly, with no glitches, no hiccups, and minimal load times.

A user-friendly date selection system

Make it as easy as possible for users to identify and select their preferred date and time. Many online booking systems utilise a month-by-month calendar layout, which is great because it's a format with which most people are familiar. However, whether you use the calendar style or not, you need to ensure that your customers can easily specify:
  • Their preferred date (or date range if, for instance, they're booking a holiday)

  • Their preferred time (if applicable)

  • The duration of their appointment

  • The type of appointment they're booking (if you offer a range of different services)
If users find it difficult to make these selections, they may well abandon your website and take their business elsewhere.

A clear breakdown of charges

Before asking for any payment details, you should provide each user with a cost summary that clarifies:
  • How much is owed
  • When this amount must be paid
In some cases, the full amount will need to be paid up front in order to confirm the booking; in other cases, the user may have to put down a deposit or booking fee to reserve their timeslot, with the remainder of the cost to be paid in person on the day of the appointment. Some hotels take credit card details upon reservation, but do not collect any money at all until check-in. However you have chosen to do it, it's important to make things crystal-clear to each customer before asking them to enter their payment information.

A simple and secure payment system

When your booking system includes an online payment step, the rules are just the same as on an ecommerce website: make the payment process as straightforward and as secure as possible. Consider using a popular online payment system like PayPal, as this will allow many of your customers to simply enter an email address and password instead of typing in their entire credit card number. Don't demand any personal information that you don't actually need - the longer the form, the more likely that a customer will give up before completing it. And, most importantly of all, make ABSOLUTELY sure that all payments are processed securely (under HTTPS rather than HTTP).

A detailed confirmation email

Once a customer has completed a booking on your website, you should immediately dispatch a confirmation email containing all the key details of their appointment (e.g. date, time, location, outstanding costs that you're expecting them to settle on the day). You should also endeavour to make it nice and easy to change appointment details in the event of an error; for example, if somebody requested a 2pm appointment when they actually wanted a 4pm appointment, you now need to give them an easy way of correcting their booking, whether by contacting a member of your team or by manually editing their appointment details online.

So, what makes a good online booking system? In short: clarity, simplicity, efficiency, and ease of use. If your business needs a new website with a fully-integrated online booking system, get in touch with Designer Websites now to request a quotation!

Travel Booker System

Travel Booker is a UK-based company that sells ski holiday packages. The Travel Booker team have specialist knowledge of Andorra and its many popular ski locations, and they provide holidays to Arinsal, Soldeu, and several other resorts.

There are lots of different things to consider when organising a ski holiday in a foreign country. In addition to making hotel reservations and travel arrangements, skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts may also wish to book:
  • Lift passes
  • Professional ski lessons
  • Rental equipment (e.g. skis, boots, helmets, snowboards)
  • Transfers between the airport and the resort itself
Instead of leaving their customers to sort all of this out alone, Travel Booker wanted to offer an easy way to take care of all the bits and pieces online. To achieve this, they got in touch with the team here at Designer Websites.

Our experienced web developers constructed a sleek, user-friendly booking system that's perfectly tailored to the needs of Travel Booker's customers. This system has been incorporated into a number of websites owned by Travel Booker, so no matter which resort you're planning to visit, you can take care of all your extras with ease. Since the booking system has a responsive design (created by our expert web designers), you can even take care of everything on your smartphone or tablet - the user interface works equally well on all screen sizes!

Click here to visit one of Travel Booker's websites and see their new booking system for yourself. Alternatively, if you've got a web development project that you'd like to discuss with the Designer Websites team, get in touch now - no matter how complex your requirements, we're always excited to take on new projects!
301 Redirects

If you want to manage your website effectively and provide a smooth, hassle-free experience for both users and search engines, the 301 redirect is one of the most important items in your toolkit.

A 301 redirect is a piece of code used to indicate that the requested piece of content has permanently moved to a different location. You should use a 301 if one of your old URLs is no longer in use, as this will automatically redirect the user (or search engine bot) to the new version of that page.

Example of a 301 redirect

Let's say you're the owner of www.my-bikes.coman ecommerce website that sells bicycles. You have a page dedicated to folding bicycles located at the following URL:

http://www.my-bikes.com/folding

Lots of people link to this page, but for whatever reason, you've decided to change its URL to something slightly different:

http://www.my-bikes.com/folding-bikes

Once you've changed the page's URL, anyone who tries to visit the old web address (http://www.my-bikes.com/folding) will see a 404 error message, because that page technically no longer exists.

However, you can use a 301 redirect to ensure that anyone who visits http://www.my-bikes.com/folding is automatically sent to http://www.my-bikes.com/folding-bikes instead. Here's how that works:
  • A user attempts to visit http://www.my-bikes.com/folding (perhaps they clicked an old link, or maybe they had it bookmarked)

  • Your 301 redirect tells their web browser to go to http://www.my-bikes.com/folding-bikes instead of the defunct URL that was initially requested

  • The user is taken straight to http://www.my-bikes.com/folding-bikes and, with any luck, they buy a new bike from you!
This is the correct way to handle a page that has permanently moved from one URL to another, so be sure to use a 301 redirect every time you change a page's URL. You should also use a 301 redirect if you're deleting a page and you think its URL should take visitors another to relevant page instead of an error notification.

Why use a 301 redirect?

301 redirects are handy for a number of different reasons:
  • Smoother user experience. If a page no longer exists but lots of users are still trying to access it, it's a good idea to redirect the old URL to a new, still-active page. Otherwise, all of those visitors will run into 404 errors - not particularly conducive to a satisfying user experience!

  • Prevents broken links. When you delete a page from your website, any links to that page will cease to work. Anyone who clicks those links will be greeted with a 404 error message...unless you use a 301 redirect to point the old links at a new page.

  • SEO juice isn't lost. When somebody links to your website, it's kind of like a vote of confidence; they're saying, 'yes, this is a good site that is worth visiting'. Those 'votes' can have a big impact on your Google rankings, especially if the linking website has a good reputation, because a link passes some of their authority on to you. However, if that high-authority website is linking to a URL that no longer exists, you won't feel the full benefit of the link unless you redirect the old URL to an active URL, thus passing the other site's authority (or 'juice') to a different part of your website.

  • Helps search engines to index your website properly. 301 redirects make it crystal-clear to Google and other search engines which of your URLs you want indexed and which are no longer in use. Also, if you change the URL of a page that already ranks highly in the SERPs, you should put a 301 redirect on the old URL so that you don't have to wait for your site to be re-crawled (failing to put in a 301 redirect will mean that anyone who clicks on your high-ranking page in the search results will be shown an error message, at least until your website is crawled again).

How to Add a 301 Redirect

The method for implementing a 301 redirect varies depending on a number of different factors. In some cases, it's possible to do it yourself, but it's generally a good idea to speak to your web developer or hosting company and ask them to put in any necessary redirect(s) for you.

If you need help managing your website and ensuring that it's fully optimised for user satisfaction and search engine success, get in touch with Designer Websites today.
access training

Recently we were approached by Access Training Academies, a trade qualification course provider who were interested in improving the usability and search engine performance of their website.

Access Training offer some of the best trade courses in the UK, giving students the opportunity to gain practical experience in a large number of fields, ranging from plumbing to plastering. With state of the art facilities, and a concentrated 1-8 tutor to student ratio, Access Training are able to offer an efficient and highly successful set of teaching programmes to their candidates. 

Hoping to reach out to potential students and aid their location of suitable courses once they had reached their website, Access Training asked us to improve the site's visual and technical aspects, thereby increasing its overall performance and quality.They began, by deciding that they wanted to make the site fully accessible to people who were using devices other than a desktop computer to search for their courses. We achieved this by ensuring that the new design was fully responsive across a number of portable devices, allowing excellent navigation regardless of screen size.

This user friendly nature has been extended throughout all aspects of the site, and is particularly noticeable in the new 'course finder' wizard, which allows visitors to find suitable courses with ease and efficiency. This is directly related to the site's improved copy, which has been condensed to provide easy comprehension and better search engine performance by targeting specific keywords. We've already seen some improvements in their Google rankings since the site went live, and we are sure that this is something that will see continued improvement over time.

Visit the new Access Training Academies website now, or get in touch to find out more about our services.
Responsive vs. Non-Responsive Websites

The development of new technology moves at an alarmingly accelerated rate, and it's important for business owners and web developers alike to keep up with these changes in order to respond to customer demands. One of the biggest changes to how we search and browse the internet today has been the popularisation of portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. We are now able to search for products and services online at any time we wish with practically no restrictions, dramatically changing the way in which we browse and keep up with online content. As a direct result of these changes, website owners need to adapt their sites in order to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers.

This is why responsive web design has become such a popular solution in recent years. Internet users now expect to be able to transfer from one device to another with ease, and well-made responsive websites deliver consistency and adaptability to users while making the lives of SEOs much easier in the process. In this blog post, we will highlight some of the differences between responsive and non-responsive websites, demonstrating why the former option is usually the better of the two.

Images and Loading Times 

Images are a great way to capture a user's attention straight away, which is part of the reason why it's important to include great-quality visuals on any website. A non-optimised website can pose many problems when viewing these images on portable devices, including increased loading times. Responsive web design utilises flexible grids, layouts and images in combination with intelligent use of CSS media queries to address this problem, allowing visuals to appear clearly across a multitude of devices with varied screen sizes. 

Being User-Friendly

As noted above, responsive websites are a great way to prevent images from losing their impact when viewed on devices with smaller screens. This goes for the text and navigation of a website, too; by optimising a website for use on mobile devices, web developers are able to streamline content while making it easier for users to view and navigate the site.

Some would argue that a dedicated mobile website performs better in this respect, particularly in the case of news sites with a lot of written content or ecommerce sites with a variety of functions that are difficult to translate. But here's the problem: due to the fact that every website must found its reputation from scratch, regardless of a separate website being part of the same brand or business, a separate mobile website will struggle to perform well in search engines. A responsive website, on the other hand, can deliver a great user experience across all devices whilst also preserving the site's reputation by keeping everything under one URL.

Pleasing Google and Getting Noticed

Recognition from Google is of vital importance to every website owner, due to the simple fact that high Google rankings drive a lot of traffic. If you're looking to improve your Google rankings, it's important to keep an eye on the bounce rate of each page on your website; a high bounce rate means that users leave quickly because they can't find what they are looking for.

Non-responsive websites often fail to translate content efficiently from one device to another, and this can force mobile visitors to give up on your site very quickly. This is why responsive websites seek to prioritise usability in their design, benefiting both the customer and the website owner by improving the search and share experience. The issue of consistent reputation (see above) is also part of this wider experience, as it once again makes it easier to get your site noticed and ranked higher by Google. Having a single URL for all versions of your site makes it easier for Googlebot to crawl and index the content while avoiding any accidental duplicate content issues. meaning that all positive reactions will be valid on other devices.

* * *

And there you have it: a short guide to the difference between responsive and non-responsive websites, and how they function for users and businesses.

If you would like Designer Websites to create a responsive website for your business, please click here to request a quotation.

 

Hen UK are a new hen party company supplying hen accessories online to all of the UK. To stand out a saturated market, they wanted a snappy web design that looked sleek, user-friendly and was completely responsive across all mobile and tablet devices.

We are delighted to announce their website is now live, and we think it’s pretty snazzy indeed! We opted for minimal text because we wanted the design to do the talking. We filled the homepage with colourful images of some fun and cheeky hen night products for an overall aesthetically pleasing design.

The website is completely responsive, which means no matter how you choose to buy your hen products – via phone, tablet or PC, the customer experience will not be compromised, and Hen UK will look equally as snazzy on any device!

The result is a fun and flashy website which perfectly represents the band. Head on over to http://www.henuk.co.uk to check it out now.

The choice between static and CMS websites should be shaped by a number of factors. The objectives of your business are key to the decision, as is the industry in which you operate, and as always businesses decisions are constrained by the available budget. By working with an experienced team of website developers, you will receive the balanced advice you need to choose the right website for your business.

Static Websites
A static website is one in which the content (copy and images) is fixed. At the time the website is developed the content is placed into a static web page by the developers. As a result, if you would like to change those pages you will likely have to go back to your website development team.

Dynamic Websites (CMS)
A dynamic website is one which displays content (copy and images) that has been stored in a database or data files (e.g. XML files) and is fetched from that database every time a  web page is viewed by a visitor. Dynamic pages are essential for websites which require regular content changes e.g. ecommerce websites. If you have a fully dynamic website you will be able to make content changes yourself, without having to contact your website development team.


Pros and cons of static websites


Pro: Static websites use pages which have already been loaded, ensuring an instant response to the search engines. A rapid response to search engine bots has become increasingly important over the years for a number of reasons including website SEO, and is now considered an essential element of successful websites.

Pro: Static websites tend to benefit from clean code and rarely cause issues for search engine bots.

Pro: If you require a bespoke, high-end website, a static site will be cheaper than a bespoke, dynamic website.

Con: Future modifications which need to be made to static websites will usually need to be made by your website development team. Over time you may pay more for a static website as you are unable to make modifications yourself.

Con: Search engines like to see frequent, fresh content on websites. Static websites can become a bit stale, which in turn might affect your search engine rankings.


Pros and cons of dynamic websites


Pro: Dynamic websites can be easily updated in-house - changes can be made quickly and cheaply.

Pro: Dynamic websites are often developed using a pre-built CMS, which means they can be relatively simple, quick and inexpensive to create. However, if your dynamic site uses a bespoke CMS then it will be considerably more expensive than a static site. A bespoke CMS will significantly out-perform a generic CMS, although it may take more time to develop. If you’re looking to hit the market quickly then a pre-built, cheap and cheerful CMS might be the answer, but this is not something Designer Websites would recommend or provide.

Pro: CMS websites are essential for businesses that have frequently changing content, for example, ecommerce websites with products and prices that change daily/weekly. A dynamic website will allow you to quickly incorporate changes to products, prices and delivery options.

Con: Dynamic websites are slower to load than static websites and can take longer to be indexed in the search engines as a result. If you have a bespoke ecommerce website then you will benefit from static pages as well as dynamic pages. This can counteract the fact that fully dynamic sites may not rank so highly in the search engines, dependent upon your business, products, competition etc.

Con: Dynamic CMS driven websites can become rigid over time, particularly when you need your website to carry out a specific task which it is not currently set up to deal with. You might find the change cannot be made or that it can, but only at great expense. In this instance bespoke CMS websites can claw back your initial investment as they can be changed so simply.

Con: There are hundreds of website development teams out there who will tell you they are the best thing since sliced bread, without even evaluating your business requirements. This one-size-fits-all approach to website design is the fastest and easiest way for web companies to make money, but rarely represents the best solution for your business. There are a huge number of old and poorly developed CMS systems out there and as time goes by the code and methods used become outdated, much to the detriment of your business website.


Summary
If your business requires a website that can be frequently updated then a CMS might be just what you are looking for. Before making any decisions your business should be analysed by an experienced website development team, who can make recommendations based on the level of competition in your market, the products or services on offer, the reputation your business already has online and much more besides. The decision to have a dynamic or static website should not be taken lightly.


So what would we recommend? Well it’s tough to say without examining your business. Here are some examples to help you understand:


Example 1: You are a website development company (like us)
Analysis: Competition is high; content changes – infrequent except maybe news posts;
Recommendation: A static website and fully integrated blog for the news posts

Example 2: You are a quirky (unique) products company and want to sell online
Analysis: Competition is low; content changes – frequent;
Recommendation: Definitely a simple dynamic CMS driven website and possibly an integrated blog

Example 3: You are an online gadgets retailer
Analysis: Competition is extremely high; content changes – daily;
Recommendation: You require a more complex dynamic CMS website with as many static pages included as possible; you should also have at least one fully integrated blog

Over the years we have met many business owners who insist on a CMS, even though in some cases their websites haven’t undergone any changes in over 12 months!

At Designer Websites we have all the skills required to develop static, dynamic or hybrid websites. We would not try to sell you a CMS site when it simply isn’t required. Such practice could have a significant impact on your SEO, with grave consequences for your business. Similarly, if you need an ecommerce website and therefore a CMS, we would develop a bespoke ecommerce website, as well as possibly a set of static pages. We care more about developing the right website for your business than simply selling you something because it’s the easiest option for us!

Don’t be tricked into buying a website which is unsuitable for your business; seek independent expert advice. If you’d like further information from an experienced website development team, give us a call here at Designer Websites on 0845 272 6813.