Think Mobile

The Internet has changed it’s user interface over the last few years. It’s gone mobile. You probably noticed.

Do you ‘think mobile’ when creating content?

Do you check your pages and newsletters on your mobile before you publish?

If you have a website, a web shop, a web presence of any kind – it needs to speak to people using mobiles.

Tablets and smart phones are the main devices used to access the Internet now.

TVs are also used increasingly. They are different though because they access specific services rather than general websites and social media platforms.

So as a content creator you need to look at your text, images, videos etc on as many devices as you can. It can be a shock to see your work, that you’ve spent hours creating, looks a mess on a iPad. Especially if many of your potential market is using an iPad to access content.

Think Mobile

The same website working on three different screen sizes at once.

Think mobile first!

If you’re working with a developer (or team of developers) they will be telling you to think mobile first. It has become the buzz word at the moment in the online design industry.

Improves SEO.

Designing and creating for mobile first means you are automatically going to get a better SERP (search engine result position) than before.

Improves Accessibility.

Creating for mobile first means you will also be making your content accessible to everyone, regardless of device. This is very important.

Improves Design.

Designing for mobile is more challenging than for big screen so usually you have to work a bit harder to get it right.

Good for Business.

Mobile first design and development is good for business because it means your customers can access your products and services wherever they are. And whenever they like. As mentioned above it also helps search engine position which means more traffic as well.

Who knows what the future will bring but for now – think mobile!

Top 50 design blogs

top 50 design blogs

Recently Tusler Design have been included in a listing of the top 50 design blogs in the UK. It’s nice to be noticed.

The listing is by Gabriel Price and is posted on ‘RebatesZone’ at http://www.rebateszone.com/top-design-blogs.

Will have a look at the other 49 above Tusler Design and see what they’re up to.

Hopefully there will be some gems to add to the Design Directory.

If you know of a website or resource you think would be worth a look please drop a line to info@tusler-design.co.uk. Or if you know of a site that’s not in the top 50 design blogs in the UK but should be – we’d also be interested to hear from you.

Thanks for reading the Tusler Design blog.

Dylan Thomas Cranes new website

Dylan Thomas Cranes, Plant and Machinery Hire have a new website.

Tusler Design worked with the team at DT Cranes to create their new marketing profile and website. It’s a business/corporate style website created using WordPress and the iMax theme.

Crane and plant hire is a varied and interesting industry. They get asked to work on wide range of projects. Creating solutions for complex challenging lifts mean that Dylan and his guys are experts in a unusual and highly-specialised field.

Tusler Design really enjoyed getting to know Dylan Thomas Cranes and look forward to continuing our working relationship.

Dylan Thomas Cranes new website

The new website is at dylanthomascranes.com.

 

Directory updated and expanded

The Tusler Design Directory just expanded.

Part of the fun of being involved in website design and development is seeing the amazing websites people come up with.

Since 1999 I’ve been looking at all sorts of websites for design ideas, examples (good and bad) and general inspiration. Many of these websites are now listed in the public directory updated and expanded pages here on Tusler Design. Before that I kept them private.

Have a look and see what you think for yourself.

Directory updated and expanded

The websites that set the standard.

The university websites are a good standard for where the industry is heading. These sites constantly evolve reflecting trends in technology, improvements in design and more effective usability.

Most attractive websites.

The most attractive designs are in the yacht builders section and the automobile section. But there are lots of great ideas in all the categories. And you will see how the different industries compare.

For example some of the band and musician sites are fantastic. But it is mostly the more recent artists who seem to put energy into their sites. Established acts don’t put as much effort in and consequently have been left out of the directory for the time being.

Web development tools and resources as well.

You will see there is also a large section on web development resources. These are sites and tools I use and recommend to others.

Your feedback is welcome.

Feel free to drop me a line with any comments or feedback or comment on the Facebook page.

Website in a nutshell

Creating your new website in a nutshell.

Tusler Design work with you to;

1. Make a plan

Website design examples by Tusler DesignWe’ll happily help you with this but it comes from what you want to achieve and how, for who and when.

2. Buy the domain names

We’ve lots of experience to help you choose effective, appropriate domain names for your business. And we can help you buy the domains you want as well.

3. Set up the web-space and install WordPress

We take care of WordPress installation for most of our clients.

4. Design and configuration

We design and configure websites for clients large, medium and small.

5. Populate with content

If you already have content we can help get it ready for publication online. And/or we can produce content for you.

6. Create mailing lists and social media profiles

The other side of internet marketing is to create your mailing lists and social profiles. We do this for clients and help get it up and running.

7. Roll out site publication and celebrate

Once the site is ready it goes ‘live’ and we then proceed to number 8…

8. Review using analytics, inquiries and sales figures

Web site visitor data is rich nowadays and makes for great review material. Useful sales information helps with developing new products and decision making about how to grow overall.


Dawn to Dusk Enduro new website

Motorcycle extremes.

Enjoyed working for SCL with the guys at Touratech in Swansea to create the website for the Dawn to Dusk Enduro over the last few weeks.

This has got to be one of the most challenging events in sport. These guys ride their motorbikes over the most difficult track you’ve ever seen. It has to be seen to be believed.

Having grown up in the world of sailing and racing sailing boats I never came across the insane world of motorcycle racing over impossible terrain. Yes I’d seen the Paris to Dakar and have seen the documentary Madness in the Desert but I had no idea that it was happening here in Wales.

The event is in its 14th year so its well established. Riders come from all over the world to take part in the 24 hour marathon endurance race.

There is little doubt you’ve got to be pretty fit and fairly competent to complete the full marathon. There are shorter races though with a junior 2-hour session as well before the main race begins.

Dawn to Dusk Enduro new website is a cracker!

Dawn to Dusk Enduro new website

The site is full of information about the event and links to the registration site as well. There are race videos, photo galleries and a news section, plus results from the past races.

This year’s event is coming up at the end of August so check it out now http://dawntoduskenduro.co.uk/.

The site is built using WordPress publishing system and the Automotive theme.

The new zen of search engine optimisation

Things have changed for good. For the last 15 years or so there have been all sorts of tricks and dubious means of achieving decent results in search engine pages.

Now this has changed – the playing field is much more even.

There is a new zen of search engine optimisation…

it is simply, ‘quality’.

Web Content

Your site should be practically overflowing with good quality content.

Quality is paramount.

Meaning – if you can create interesting, unique, relevant content about your chosen subject – your pages will appear high in the search engine result pages (SERPs).

All the algorithms of the search companies have been updated to seek out ‘fresh, relevant, unique and interesting’ content.

So all website owners and creators can now focus on quality. Without feeling any need to compromise and use negative or dis-honest tactics in their web marketing.

New clients cost money to find but your web site is there all the time. Giving simple, cost effective promotion, sales, and support.

The focus on quality can be spread throughout websites, social media, newsletters, videos and all publications.

This presents business owners and individuals with a fantastic opportunity to make a mark on the world wide web. And they make their mark by being individual and unique in content along with applying the right general principles for online success.

Tell your story.

So search engine optimisation has become much more accessible to all of us – because all of us have a story to tell about our products and our experiences. Each story is unique because we are all unique.

Audiences love stories and have done so since time began. So learn to tell the story of your products and of your business and help your customers to connect their story with yours. Think through their needs and their questions. Then create content that addresses these questions. Make it easy to use and access.

Reward your visitors and customers with timely news and updates.

Relationships are what build long-term trust. So as business owners its up to us to connect with our audience and help them negotiate the daunting world of online marketing.

Contact us about your website today >

Do adverts undermine your messages

Does hosting adverts of other companies and third parties on your website and your social media channels undermine your credibility? In other words. Do adverts undermine your messages?

So here’s the thing with adverts.

Do adverts undermine your messages and make your visitors into sheepYou spent lots of time creating your content. You’ve made your video, you’ve created graphics, written copy and got it all just right.

Then you totally undermine your credibility and sometimes your brand by allowing advertisements to be placed in your content. Ads that you cannot control.

Ads, adverts, advertising and advertisements are widespread and in-your-face on the Internet.

Lots of websites with interesting content seem to love having Google ads and other ads all over their websites.

These are often sites with challenging new insights on subjects. Or sites with something to say that no-one else is saying.

But they loose their originality with the audience by becoming another one of the ubiquitous ad delivery mechanisms that bombard us constantly.

Ads distract us from getting the message.

So you or I will go for a reason to a website. To learn something, research a topic or to solve a problem. We may even want to buy something. And find we have to dodge the adverts.

Often there are pop-up windows commanding ‘Like us on Facebook’ or ‘Sign-up for our mailing list’. This is before you’ve engaged with content properly.

Have you noticed how many times you’ll visit a site and start reading only for the screen to dim and little box appears asking you to ‘Like’ the brand. You’ve only been there 30 seconds.

And then there are the videos with ads in front…. so many credible, independent film-makers join the gold-rush and spoil their creations by allowing ads to be shown. And that’s on their own channels.

So ask yourself this before you decide to go with hosting third-party ads.

Do I want to dilute my content and my messages by displaying ads for someone else?

New website for Project ETaV

Project Every Town and Village (ETaV) have launched their new website using Tusler Design and WordPress. The new website URL is http://www.etavbooks.co.uk/.

The project’s main aim is to distribute free literature all over the UK on spiritual subjects. A glorious and noble aim if ever there was one.

The website is a complete resource base with stories, background information, book summaries and links to ebooks … and much more. The site is linked to the Project ETaV Facebook group with a feed running between the sites.

etavbooks.co.uk new website

Nectar of Vraja Festival

The Nectar of Vraja Festival is run by Project ETaV and the website features a section dedicated to this esoteric wonderful event.

Nectar of Vraja

 

Focus on the best

In essence.

Be unique and focus on the best.

Making your website special is down to the quality not quantity of your content. If you’re able to keep your focus on the best you will notice your site performing well in searches.

Google’s algorithms no longer present ‘static’ results. The results listing may change several times a day for the same search terms. But the base principle the search is working on is looking for quality, uniqueness and how appropriate the content is to the specific search term.

Answer the question.

Beyond offering good quality you can tailor your content to answer specific questions or issues. Then Google and the other major search tools all recognise that you understand the role of your website and your content is to serve the needs of customers, consumers, users of web search engines.

Don’t follow the crowd.

‘Quick and dirty’ web publication has become an excuse for laziness.

For years the Internet industry has reflected the values of the software industry. And these values are underpinned by the computer hardware industry as well. The principle is that ‘as long as it works and it looks ok we can sell it’.

The aim of software and hardware makers for years has been to just get the products to market. Even though they wont work properly for long.

Today it is totally accepted that we buy operating systems or even small apps and they need ‘updating’ constantly. The idea that you make something that lasts is almost forgotten in the rush for new technology and enhanced lifestyles.

Be yourself, be different.

So be unique.

Give your unique voice to your text. Use your imagination to make your content interesting. And you’ll see it pay you back again and again.

 

Choice inspirational quotes.

A small collection of quotes that we find inspiring.

Inspiration

Inspiration that feeds creativity.

A few thoughts we like to ponder upon from time to time.

“Less is more.”
Anonymous

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
Albert Einstein

“Keep it simple sweetie!”
Anonymous

“Get out into nature. Get immersed in her beauty and her abundance. The creative mind seems to thrive on getting surcharged by being out in the fresh air.”
Allotment wisdom

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“You get what you concentrate on; your mental images bring about their own fulfillment. The illusion holds power over you when you are not able to remember that you are a powerful spirit that has taken on the physical experience for the purpose of learning.”
Anonymous

“Everything can be taken from a man but the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor Frankl

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
Carl Jung

“Always look on the bright side of life.”
Eric Idle

Content creation

Why Wales

Lots of our clients ask us. “Why Wales?”

Why did we chose to come to base our web design company in Wales. A long way from the big cities and the big money.

The short answer is because of the quality of life, the surroundings, nature, beaches, rivers and forests; and of course the people. It’s from where we draw a lot of our inspiration.

Photo of the river at Newcastle Emlyn.

Why Wales – here’s one reason… photo of the river at Newcastle Emlyn on a late summer afternoon.

West Wales is famously beautiful.

There is lots of space in Wales as it is mostly rural and has low population levels. Only about 2.8 million people in Wales altogether and its the same size as Israel (co-incidentally).

Pembrokeshire is known by some folk as ‘Little England’. It has some of the best coastline in the world and the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path is listed number three in the best walks in the world by the ramblers.

Ceredigion is the remote ancient kingdom of King Ceredig and overlooks almost all of Cardigan Bay to the west.

Carmarthenshire is often called the ‘heart-of-Wales’ and is still one of the most Welsh of all counties.

The lovely people in Wales.

Country life goes on at a different pace to city life. There is more time because there are fewer people. So there’s never a rush and almost never a queue. Of course you can find yourself stuck behind a tractor or lorry but the roads are excellent and most drivers pull in to let cars past.

People in Wales are mostly friendly and generally good natured. We find they usually have time for a chat and laugh. Of course there’s the odd exception but you get that wherever you are.

The Welsh language.

Our experience of the Welsh language is that most people are happily bi-lingual or mainly English speaking. There are one or two who prefer to only speak the ancient Welsh language of ‘Cymraeg’ exclusively.

Everyone we’ve worked with has awareness of the two languages and it is never an issue. If required translation services are available at reasonable costs. There is no known automated translator for the Welsh language so we hire real translators as needed.

‘Why Wales’ find out more.

Find out more about why we choose to base our web design company in west Wales.

Web design prices

Quick update.

Useful for planning and budgeting.

Please contact Tusler Design for a price for your project. All prices are worked out on an hourly basis. Some jobs cost a few hundred pounds and some cost several thousand pounds.

We know the top-line is important but the bottom-line is just as vital to success.

Contact us about your website.

Holidays in Wales

New holiday website just launched.

Fire and Stars Holidays provide barns, gypsy caravans and a dairy on their eco-friendly organic farm in West Wales. They also have an old bakery in the riverside village of St Dogmaels.

fire and stars holidays

All done with a bit of glam and style they offer a genuine getaway from the madness of city life. The whole thing is run by a couple of characters with all sorts of unusual and interesting stories to share.

They happily offer groups and party bookings as well. So larger groups and extended families can book accommodation for special occasions or get togethers.

Take a look at fireandstarsholidays.co.uk.

New Land of Holistic Pets Website

Land of Holistic Pets have a brand new website and online shop at landofholisticpets.co.uk.

Land of Holistic Pets

Land of Holistic Pets new homepage with fully responsive design.

Created by joined up thinking

The website is a joint project with Land of Holistic Pets, Tusler Design and SCL Internet Services. Working with designer and creative Hanuman at SCL the new site was constructed from the ground-up. Completely clean coded with an emphasis on ease-of-use and quick access to information and products.

Land of Holistic Pets Logo

Land of Holistic Pets logo designed by us too :)

The site is fully ‘responsive’ and works on all browsers and platforms.

It includes an interactive questionnaire about pet health as well as many articles on holistic health in pets.

Using WooCommerce and WordPress

The shop is run by WooCommerce which is a fantastic tool used with WordPress to create a ‘seamless’ experience across the website.

Let us know your thoughts by email or on the Facebook page.

Update December 2014 – a version of the website is now available in Ireland with Euro prices and all Ireland delivery at landofholisticpets.ie.

Purpose economy

The ‘purpose economy’ is people and businesses working together to achieve common goals beyond simply making profits. Only heard about this recently but it is obvious isn’t it?

working together for shared aims in a purpose economy

working together for shared aims in a purpose economy

The Internet brought with it the ‘knowledge economy’. And now through mass use of communication tools like Twitter and Facebook over 1 billion people have internet access worldwide.

So knowledge has led to people recognising the inner need and the communal need for purpose in life.

Having a purpose is a powerful stabilising force in our lives.

A life without purpose is a bit like wandering round not knowing where you’re going or why. A friend recently described himself as a ‘busy fool’. The world is full of them it seems.

At Tusler Design we always strive to offer the highest quality, useful and conscious solutions we can for our clients. There is no need to compromise because often the ideal solution is also the most cost-effective.

West Wales (where we are based) is a bit of a hotbed of ‘purpose economy businesses’ because there are so many small companies here. The primary industries are agriculture and tourism so everyone is challenged to offer the best quality and best service they can. Because these are the things that bring customers back to buy again.

So you get all varieties of agricultural business and all sorts of small cottages, holiday lets, themed sites and the rest. Which makes for an interesting and enlivening combination.

Are you part of the purpose economy or just in business to make money?

 

Once bitten, twice shy

Buying online is easier than ever and lots of us are doing it. My experience is that its still very hit and miss.

Sometimes you order something and get sent something else. Or you want an item special delivery and it takes two weeks. You order something new and the company sends you a second-hand one. Sound familiar?

I bought a diary from a company that I’ve bought from for over 20 years. They sent me the wrong one so I mentioned it. They are sending a replacement and asked me to return the first one. So I now have to go to the post office to return it – so why bother buying online?. Anyway I crossed them off my list.

Bought a computer from a well known company (sounds like a fruit that keeps the doctor away). They sent me a used machine instead of a new one, registered to someone else. So when it broke and I took it to their shop the previous owner called the police. Two 200 mile round trips to the shop later they finally returned the machine. They are also off my list.

I’m coming to think that many online retailers don’t respect their customers (that’s you and me). Because otherwise they would be a lot more careful.

So I’ve decided to go back to my original approach to buying. And that is to buy locally or not at all.

Online retailers – don’t take your customers for granted because we’ll just move on.

customer care

Online Training

Thanks to higher-speed broadband connections we’ve been providing online training via Skype.

The advantages to the learners are they don’t have to travel to learn, saving time and cost. Also, the learners are ‘hands-on’ and able to practice new skills immediately in their own working environment.

trainingThe training subjects include:

  • using the Internet
  • using WordPress
  • updating websites and new pages
  • blogging and the different platforms
  • using social media effectively

So far this is all bespoke depending on the needs of the different client companies.

In 2015 we plan to put the training into formal courses available for roll-out to individuals and small groups.

If you’d like to know when this is ready please email us (info@tusler-design.co.uk) and we’ll put you on the list of interested people.

Off grid still can use a website

spirit-house

Recently met up with some old friends who are living off-grid in a small community in Pembrokeshire.

spirit-house- outside

Friends chatting outside after the opening ceremony.

We went on a full moon day, but in the afternoon under a clear blue sky. The whole atmosphere of the place was wonderfully natural, refreshing and clean.

Over the winter our friends had been building a round-house and we were there for the opening ceremony. It was almost over when we got there late but we still felt the warm, welcoming vibes and got to hear some of the singing – ‘we stand tall, we stand tall’ was the refrain.

It was a very inspiring and rejuvenating couple of hours spent talking with old and new friends that afternoon beneath Carn Ingli mountain. And we brought back home a sense of having experienced something very precious.

Will have to visit again and see what its like in different weather.

A few days after our visit I looked on Google to see if there was anything online about the place. Lo and behold they have a web page of their own Tir Ysbrydol (Spirit Land).

spirit-house- view of mountain

View of Carn Inlgi mountain from inside the roundhouse