All posts in Website

March 22, 2017

Why a Website Care Plan is so Important

care plans

For many business owners, the task of “getting a new website” is one of those items that spends a bit of time moving up and down their ‘to do’ list before they finally get around to hiring someone to do it.

The reason they need a new site is usually because the old one was looking very dated, didn’t have responsive design to make it compatible with mobiles and tablets, or perhaps lacked some area of functionality that the business now requires.

What do a lot of people do when their new site is finally finished? They breathe a sigh of relief, say, “Phew, that’s another big job off the list” and then get on with attending to all the other distractions that continually vye for their attention.

They think, having now been brought digitally up to date, they won’t have to worry about the website for a few years.

The thing is, a website isn’t like a statue that you can have sculpted in stone, erected and left in place to be admired over the years ahead. It’s a piece of software – and as we all know, in the world of software nothing stays the same for very long.

It would be better to think of a website as like a living thing, or perhaps a garden. If you are paying a gardener, which would be better: to have them come around once a month and take care of the things that need doing – weeding, pruning, maybe a bit of planting – or to leave it for months and months on end and then fork out a lot of money in one go for someone to clear up an overgrown mess?

Just as most people wouldn’t want visitors to see an overgrown, unkempt garden, you obviously don’t want potential clients to arrive on your website and find it slow to load, or that aspects aren’t working as they should – or, worst case, that it is down completely.

All of these issues can lose you enquiries and therefore cost you money.

With a WordPress website, the speed of performance and reliability of the site all depend on the software and any plugins that are installed to be working correctly. All of these things need to be updated regularly.

If you are adding your own content on a frequent basis, this is excellent because of course it helps your search engine rankings. It is however important for someone to be keeping an eye on the site to make sure none of the updates has caused an issue.

Could you do it yourself?

It is possible for you to install your own WordPress updates via your admin screen. The problem though is that if an update to a plugin caused an issue it might not manifest itself as a fault until some weeks later.

At this point, how would you know which update had caused the problem? You might end up have to restore to an older backup – which could in turn mean losing a lot of data and updates that had been added in recent times.

If a big issue arises, how much would it cost for you to pay someone experienced to come in and fix it? It could easily be a lot more than you would ever pay out on a regular care plan.

These are the things you need to consider when weighing up the cost and benefit of a website care plan.

How we can help

With a First Image website care plan, we hold a backup of your entire website. Whenever we update it, we check for issues and then make a new copy of the backup.

Our software keeps track of all the plugins and updates that are made to the back end of the site. In the case of an issue arising, we can look back over the updates and isolate the one that is causing the problem.

Another thing we do is carry out regular security scans. If you are on one of our care plans and we spot an issue with one of your plugins, we often fix it before anyone becomes aware of a problem.

You will know what we have done because we send you a monthly maintenance report, which details all of the updates and fixes we have applied to keep your site in top working order.

Your decision

It’s up to you. To use our analogy again, are you going to leave your nice, newly designed show garden to its own devices, doing the odd bit of weeding whenever you get the chance – or are you going to get a professional gardener to mow stripes in the lawn on a regular basis and keep every plant in perfect condition, in case a prestigious visitor shows up?

At First Image we can provide real value and keep your website in secure, working order all year round for a very manageable fee. We have different care plan packages available, depending on the nature of your site and the degree of maintenance you need.

To find out more about the type of website care plan that would be best for you, please get in touch and chat to us about your own requirements.

September 7, 2016

Is your school website easy to update and use?

school website
A school website enables you to share all of your achievements and hard work with parents, governors, pupils and teachers, 24 hours a day 365 days a year. A good school website with the correct quality content is like having an extra staff member on hand to answer questions that any prospective parents or the community as a whole would like answering. Freeing up valuable staff resource.

But most websites are difficult to update and require a working knowledge of ICT – Not ours! We use a content management system which allows all members of staff to easily update your school website with recent information on the curriculum, newsletters, staff information or any number of pages from any computer or mobile device with an internet connection.

We can also help you to design a website that you and your school can be proud of. A site that represents the vision, mission and ethos of the school, and provides the best impression to prospective parents and inspectors alike.

Our websites are easy to use too as we pay particular attention when we design your school website to usability and user experience. Why not talk to us about our easily updatable websites which allow you and your staff to get on with more teaching and spend a lot less time updating your website.

Below is a typical number of pages which you may like to have on your new school website. Some may not be appropriate right now – but others may be there which would be useful to your staff, parents and pupils which you hadn’t thought of in the past. If there are pages you’d like which aren’t in this list, do not worry. We will piece together all of your requirements during our early consultations.

  • Home Page – School logo, Head’s opening statement, Welcome Message. Display any awards the school have been recognised for achieving
  • School Mission – Mission, Vision, Philosophy
  • School Newsletters – Weekly, Monthly or Termly newsletters
  • School Awards – Showing names of pupils who have achieved good discipline, academic or sporting acheivement
  • Latest News – Recent events, Up coming events, School and Community Issues, What’s been going on in school
  • Calendar – Meetings, school events and term dates
  • Parents Association – Who are they and what is their role within school
  • Subjects – Information on each subject area of the national curriculum
  • Policies – Containing downloadable information on the various policies you have in school including welfare Child protection & Bullying
  • Teachers/Staff – Who’s who – profiles and pictures Teaching and non-teaching staff
  • Vacancies – Information about recent job vacancies within school
  • Prospectus – Prospectus and detailed information for parents
  • Admissions – Info School admissions information for prospective parents
  • Community – School in the Community/History of the area
  • Directions – Map of the locality and how to find school
  • Class Pages – Containing information on topics each class is studying, revision guides, homework etc
  • Useful Links – Useful school links for pupils to help with homework or useful links for parents such as Ofsted or Parentview etc
  • Governors Section – Who’s Who, the governors role within school
  • Work Showcase – A chance to display the good work done in school
  • Teacher section – A private password protected area for staff where they can share Important documents
  • Contact information – School contact details, email address, contact phone numbers, mailing address Contact us for more information on how we could help you to create an impressive and effective web presence for your school!

If you would like any help setting up your school website, or need a re-vamp on your existing one, please give us a call on 0121 445 6491 where we will be able to answer any questions you may have or contact us

April 17, 2015

Are you ready for Mobilegeddon?

On 21st April 2015 Google are changing their search results.
This will have a major impact on sites that are not designed for mobile phones.

According to a Google survey 94% of people use a mobile phone to get local information and the vast majority of those searches take place at home or at work, despite it being likely the person searching could do so on a desktop computer.

Look at your website on your phone now… Do you have to pinch, swipe or zoom to read it?

If so then get ready for Google to punish and banish you from mobile search results. You’ve not got much time, but you do still have time. Contact us today and book a free consultation.

We’ll build you a new site which works beautifully on mobile, tablet and desktops too.

Want to know how your site will do? Take this FREE mobile friendly test

April 10, 2015

Is your website up to scratch?

Website Review
Making sure your website is up to date and performing as well as it should be could mean the difference between securing that all important job contract or being overlooked completely.

It’s never been more important in today’s competitive market to ensure your website is up to scratch which is why we at First Image are providing a free website review service designed to analyse how well your website is really performing. We look at how well your site performs on mobile devices, how well it performs in regard to search engine optimisation amongst other criteria.

This is a free no obligation service so you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Simply fill out our quick and easy contact form and we’ll contact you at a convenient time to discuss the results. If you’d prefer to call us direct you can contact us on 024 7685 5950.

Free website check-up
March 4, 2015

What makes a successful website?

Having your own website is all well and good but having a successful website that really works for you and your business is another thing entirely.

So what is it that makes a truly successful website and that will win out over your competitors? Well today we thought we’d take a look and give you a run down of how we approach web projects and what you should be looking out for when it comes to making a website successful.

1. What is the aim of your website?
This sounds pretty basic but it’s an important question to ask yourself and one which many people forget to really consider. Before diving straight into anything you need to ask yourself: what do I want to achieve from this website and who is this website for? Correct planning from the outset is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure your website will be successful.

2. Calls to Action
Creating a good user experience is vital for your site to be successful. One of the best ways to do this is to have plenty of calls to action. In simple terms you want to make it as easy as possible for people to access the information they need. You don’t want users having to search around or scroll forever to click through to the page they’re looking for otherwise they’ll simply give up and go elsewhere. Having nice, clear call to actions improves the user experience and therefore your website.

3. Quality content
You can have a great looking site but if the content of the website itself isn’t up to scratch then people will see through it. Make sure firstly you have a good amount of text/content for the site and the content is both informative and beneficial to the users.

4. Good Design
Along with having quality content, how that content is packaged and presented is of course vital. First impressions count so you want to make sure your website creates the right one. Make sure the site fits in with any existing branding your business may have and that it shows your business off in the best possible light.

5. What makes you different?
No matter what line of business you’re in, there is always competition so ask yourself, what makes me different? Think about what your unique selling points are and highlight these (maybe you’re the best value or the most highly thought of in your industry).

6. SEO
So you’ve got a great site but if people can’t find it it’s like having a sports car with no petrol, it’s nice but ultimately it’s not going to get you far. Establish an effective SEO (search engine optimisation) campaign from the outset so you’ve got a clear idea of what keywords you want to rank for and also make sure the site is well built so them search engines will look on it favourably. Although there are no guarantees with SEO you can certainly give yourself the best possible chances by following best practices and giving it some forethought.

If these points are taken into account then you’re in the best possible position for your website to be truly successful.

If you’re interested in starting a web design project or looking to update your existing website then send us a message today. Remember you can also take advantage of our free website review service to see how well your current site is performing.

February 6, 2015

So what is a responsive website?

Responsive Website

You may have heard the term responsive being mentioned quite a lot recently when it comes to web design but do you actually know what having a responsive site actually means? Well I’ll tell you.

Put simply a responsive site is a website that adjusts depending on what device you’re viewing it on. You may think my site loads up ok on my iPad or phone and it may well but having a truly responsive site means not having to enlarge parts of the site with your fingers and it being built so its as easy to use and navigate as possible no matter what screen size it’s being viewed on (if you grab the corner of your browser and resize it you’ll see how this site adjusts for example).

So why is this needed you may be asking? Well, increasingly the way people view websites and use them is constantly changing and evolving. Gone are the days where to view a website was exclusively the domain of the humble computer. The amount of people who view websites on mobile devices is now around 50% and this figure is only set to increase so accordingly the way we build websites has to cater for this. It’s now pretty much a standard for any website to be built this way so if yours isn’t yet you may want to ask yourself, is my site really working as well as it could be for my customers? The world of web design is an ever-changing one, we could well be designing sites for watches soon or the next must have gadget.

If you think your site could do with an update we will do a FREE check-up of your current site to see if it’s working on mobiles. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.

Free website check-up
December 19, 2014

Things to think about on a website brief

The more you put into thinking about your future website project, the more you will get out from your final product. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Getting a website created for your business means a little bit of work from your part to ensure the best possible results are achieved. By writing a detailed website design brief you can give your website designer (and yourself) a good idea of what the project may involve and what the desired outcomes of the project are. By planning the site early you can also save a lot of headaches later down the track. Investing time at the start of the project to really think about what you need, often helps produce a much better website, so get a pen and start putting your ideas down in writing! There are no right or wrong answers here, so put down anything you think may be relevant or useful and don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers as we can fill them in later where needed. Below, you will find some of the things you should consider when putting your brief together, so use this as a guide to start piecing together your web design brief.

Describe your business and your services and solutions. So let’s start with the basics of who, what, where, why, how…Here is your chance to give an overview of what you and your business is about. Why should people do business with you rather than with a competitor? What are your unique selling points? Do you have a slogan or tagline that clearly describes what you do? Who are your main competitors offering the same services (and what are their websites)?

What is your target market/potential customers? Who will be viewing (or who do you want to be viewing) your website? A website for teenage girls will need to look very different to one for corporate high flyers! If you are not sure then just describe your ideal clients. What are the demographics (such as age, sex, income levels, location, etc.) How will your target audience mostly be accessing your site (via their phones, tablets or desktops)

What is your budget and timeframe for this project? This can be a touchy subject for some, but by being open with your budget, it means we can get a realistic idea of what is achievable with your budget and make sure a suitable solution is suggested. This is not included so a web designer can just quote whatever your upper budget is, but rather so that they can suggest relevant ideas and solutions on how to get you the best value for your money. If you have a set deadline for a project then make sure it is known from the beginning. A “standard” website usually takes 3 weeks from start to finish, but the process can sometimes be fast-tracked where needed. Delays are usually caused when clients fail to provide feedback or content on time so make sure you also have the time to contribute as needed.

What are you looking for? Why are you getting a new website and what is the big picture for what it should do for your company? What is the websites purpose? It could be to raise awareness of your services, increase brand engagement, increase inquiries and sales or simply to catch up with the competitors who all have websites already. If you are replacing an existing, outdated website, where was it failing and were there any aspects that should be kept?

What does the website need to show and tell? Think about what pages you need, what each should do and what content needs to be displayed on each page. Do you need photo galleries, a blog, contact/subscription forms, maps, file downloads etc? Do you need integration with 3rd party services such as email lists, ticket sales or social media? Do you need to be able to update content and how often? (just a blog, or page content too) What staff will be involved and do they have technical experience with websites?

How should the website look? Do you have any current branding such as a logo/business cards/corporate colours? Do you have a particular design style in mind? Do you want a clean/modern/corporate/funky/bold/unique style? Can you list a few other websites that you like and why. (It doesn’t have to be in the same industry and can even be colours from a photo or layout from a magazine – every little idea may help getting a design you will love!) Are there any styles you do NOT want on your site.

Some extra things to consider Where is the website content coming from? Is it ready as a final draft? Do you need a copywriter, or need content proofing? Do you need a domain name and/or hosting? How many emails are needed? Do you have a budget for marketing the site? (SEO/adwords etc) And finally, remember that any information you can give can be useful, so put down as much info as you can.

April 25, 2014

First Image Promo

First Image Promo from Leon Coppola on Vimeo.

We had lots of fun creating our new promo video which highlights some of our design services we get involved with here at first image.

April 22, 2013

Getting the most from your new website

Getting a website is a bit like getting married. You’ve got to work at the relationship, otherwise it’s gonna go stale. As with most things, you get out what you put in. If you put it live and neglect it, you’re wasting an opportunity.

Every website we sell comes with access to your business dashboard. Use it to keep your website up-to-date and fresh. Add news, events or case studies. Update photos, products and prices. The secret of a great website is not such a great secret. Keep it relevant and up to date and you’re half way there. The more up to date your content is, the more search engines will like your site.

1. Keep it relevant
If you want to sell dog flaps, make sure your site mentions “dog flaps” in the text. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how frequently sites miss this. Think about all the relevant words and phrases that a potential customer might be interested in and make sure your website contains them in the text or links.

2. Keep it up to date
Old news is bad news. Search engines take notice of how often you update pages, and are more likely to show results from sites which have been updated recently than years ago.

3. Make it useful
Think about what information people need and make sure you cover it. Your opening times or driving directions to your location. Product data sheets or dimensions.

4. Work the forums
There are hundreds of discussion forums and bulletin boards, covering every possible area of interest. Find a couple which are relevant to your business and post replies to topics you’re knowledgable about.

5. Use it offline
Stick your web address on your stationery, on your signage, on carrier bags, on your vans. Make sure your existing customers know you’ve got a site.

6. Optimise your site
Your new website (if done by us) comes with some great search engine optimisation tools, make sure you take advantage of these and boost your visibility.