Best Served Cold


Archive for April, 2010

Community websites in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire

Part of our commitment to working on web design for Hertfordshire businesses and setting up small company websites, we are also looking to work with community groups to build easy to use, accessible and simple web sites to allow them to talk to their members. If you represent a music group, society or other community group in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire or Cambridgeshire and feel you need to update your website or even talk about your options to get online for a low cost but high value, please contact us.

We have various options for non-profit organisations in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire that would allow you to have a high quality website with a content management system so you can update your web design and content without needing to get involved with the HTML or other coding on the site.

Apart from web design we can also discuss how best to use social media such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to get people involved and talking about your group or society. We would love to hear from anyone interested in getting their local community group online especially in the Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire or Cambridgeshire area.

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Anchor House and Pressitt

Two sites that we talk a lot about on here are Pressitt.com and Anchor House. They have joined forces to create a social media news room for all new Anchor House online press releases.

We built the Anchor House website at the end of 2009 to replace the previous homeless charity website and last week we helped them set up and use their own Pressitt newsroom to centralise their social network marketing campaign and online press releases.

View the Anchor House newsroom

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Apps jobs

Do you have a requirement for an app? Do you want your services to be available on an iPhone or Android phone? Or perhaps want something developed for the new iPad?

Apps Jobs is a brand new site where you can advertise your development needs for any type of mobile or web based application.

Advertise your app job here!

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Dioni – Holiday cottages in Snowdonia.

Here’s another site that we completed for a client recently: Dioni – Self catering accommodation in Snowdonia. We built the site using a theme for WordPress that we bought specifically for the site. Originally an estate agent theme we modified it and added several new plugins to make it work seamlessly for the Dioni cottage site.

Although not one of our bespoke designs we are very happy with how this site has worked out. It’s been part of our special offer that we created for this exact type of project – a small business that needed a professional website but without the high costs associated with a full website design and development.

Here’s something about Dioni:

We’ve set up a small business to help friends and neighbours advertise and book their self catering properties here in Snowdonia. We’ve been quite choosey about the properties that we’ve taken on, so hopefully you’ll agree that they are all very nice and with a bit of luck you’ll find some great accommodation in what we think is a fantastic little corner of North Wales.

Our original plans for the special offer was to help out local businesses in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, which is why we came up with the idea in the first place. We realised that there are lots of small businesses that need a web presence but haven’t got the knowledge to get online themselves or the money to pay for a large scale website. Using WordPress and a pre-built theme that we edit and set up for small companies in the area we are hoping to get businesses in the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire area online with a professional site, coded to high standards for SEO and Accessibility with a full Content Management System (CMS) for just a fraction of the price.

Although we started out with the aim of keeping the special offer targetted to local businesses we are happy to work remotely with clients from all over the UK or abroad to get a WordPress site up and running. Please let us know if you have an idea for a site and would like to get online, especially if you’re in Hertfordshire or Bedfordshire – we can meet you and talk you through your requirements and how we can set you up with a CMS based website for less than you think!

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101 Best iPad Apps and more…

That’s right, we’ve been busy over the last week or so building another 101 site! This time we decided to follow the hype and set up 101 Best iPad Apps. There’s been so much discussion and media interest surrounding the release of the iPad that sometimes it’s hard to follow what it means and what it’s for… Is it really a defining moment in modern computing? Or is it just another gadget that makes a big splash but sinks fairly rapidly?

I was fairly cynical about the iPad when I first read about it last year and agreed with the dismissive comments:

“It’s just a big iPhone”

“Why do I need a computer without a keyboard?”

“The resolution isn’t good enough for media but it’s too much like a netbook for reading books”

But now it’s been launched and the reviews have started to come in from people who are actually using it and maybe I was wrong in my initial assesment. Yes, it is a big iPhone (sort of) and at the moment the resolution isn’t the greatest but remember the first iPod? A black and white screen and 4 hours battery life (if you were lucky). This first iteration of the iPad might just open the door to a new way of using the internet for everyone – a pick up and browse gadget that doesn’t need any computer knowledge or skill to find what you want.

According to a recent survey found that 59% of Americans use the internet while watching TV which is an increase of 35% in the last year. Products like the iPad make that even easier, there’s no logging on, finding somewhere to rest a laptop and using a fiddly keyboard on a netbook. It’s like using the internet on your smartphone, straight onto your wifi network, click through to your favourites and off you go – except you actually have a decent sized screen to read from.

Now, I don’t want to sound like an Apple fanboy but there’s a lot to be said for the concept – but there are potential problems. Will enough people actually want to read books on the iPad? Anything with a backlit screen makes it difficult to read for long periods of time – and you certainly won’t be able to see it properly in bright sunlight while sunbathing on holiday! Is it something that most people need regularly? Using a laptop isn’t reallt THAT tricky… and for any serious business user there will always be a need for something with a bit more flexibility and power.

Overall, it’s an interesting concept and I’d love to have a go but I think we’ll need to wait for version 2 to really see the potential and what we can do with it.

Check out 101 Best iPad Apps to see what’s available already!

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Local web designers in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

For a lot of people looking for a web designer, especially for their first company website or blog, it can be hard to know who to trust, what to look for and how to cut through all the jargon!

Best Served Cold are based in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire and we understand that not everyone knows what SEO, social networking, SEM, IP addresses and A-Records are so we talk our clients through the process of creating a site. From start to finish we will discuss what’s needed and come up with a few ideas that we think will help to market the new site. And if you need it, we are happy to talk through the latest ideas in search engine optimisation, social networking marketing and usability and accessibility.

There are a lot of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire based web designers but just like any other service you need to talk to a few of them to get an idea of what’s on offer. The quotes for the work can be wildly different but that will often reflect what you’re getting for the price. We like to offer a complete service: designing a new website, working within the confines of a brand, setting up a content management system and ensuring any new site gets indexed by search engines quickly and efficiently. We don’t make exaggerated claims about SEO but we will promise to design any new site with search engines in mind and follow the highest quality guidelines for coding and accessibility.

If you’d like to find out more about sites we’ve designed for businesses in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire please contact Best Served Cold and we will talk you through our work and what we can do for you.

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Nylon Films is live

That’s right, another new site designed and developed by Best Served Cold! The site is for a London video and stills production company: Nylon Films.

Nylon films helps clients tell their unique stories through film, video, stills photography and other multimedia formats. Whether it’s corporate films or documentary films, training videos or music videos, viral ads or internet ads – we think the end product should always make for compelling viewing. Therefore, at the heart of all of our productions, you’ll find good storytelling and high production values; and, using state of the art technologies, we are able to provide these multimedia solutions cost effectively.

You can find out more about Nylon on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

We created the new site using WordPress for the CMS and also spent time talking to Nylon Films about setting up Social Media profiles on the best sites to show off their work: Vimeo and Flickr. By getting started early with Social Media they are already generating interest from users on Flickr and Vimeo.

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Web design in Hertfordshire

We’ve been working in Hertfordshire as web designers and developers since 2000 and our combined experience of online marketing, SEO and how the internet works has got us quite far. We’re always trying to improve and discover new things about the best way to market ourselves and get the companies that we work for, our clients, noticed online and easy to find on search engines like Google.

There are lots of different web design companies in Hertfordshire so why should you decide to go with us over some of our competitors? Well, how we see it is that you could go with a design agency in London but for most small to middle-sized businesses the cost would be beyond their reach. And then there’s the option of going with your neighbours’ cousin’s son – who has just completed a web design course at college… and I’m sure you know how that can turn out!

We strive to reach a point somewhere in the middle. Our work is always up to date, accessible, search engine friendly and coded to the highest standards. We use top quality but free open source software such as WordPress – which we have become experts at working with – to keep costs down and make sure the sites we build are easy to use by our clients and their customers. But at the same time we work to budgets and timescales that are reasonable to local businesses in and around Hertfordshire. For the best in all round web design in Hertfordshire we can offer you everything you need to get your company online and running a professional website.

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Social Media and how to use it…

Social Media is an often used term and it covers a broad range of different websites – almost all new websites include some form of social media: in comments, embedded media or links to social tools. I like to think of Social Media as an umbrella term that as a basic rule covers three main types of website:

Social Media

Sites such as YouTube, SoundCloud and Flickr are all Social Media website. Literally speaking they are used to display Media in the context of a Social community. In this sense media is used with the traditional meaning of an act of communication – via film, art, photography, music etc.

Social Networking

Since the arrival of MySpace and Facebook the importance of social networking sites has increased dramatically over the last 3 or 4 years. These are now the most used and most active type of website in the world. The basic function of a Social Networking site is to allow users to chat, view and interact with each other via a simple interface.

Social Bookmarking

This is the most difficult type of social website to describe and understand. The idea behind Social Bookmarking sites is to easily store and distribute useful information and links to websites. Rather than storing favourite sites on your personal computer you are allowing anyone to view your links and rate the web pages based on the relevance to topic, how interesting they found it or some other criteria.

So that’s a brief overview of Social Media but how do you use it to your advantage when marketing a new website, prodcut or service? That’s where the work starts!

There are lots of blogs that will help with talking about social media and marketing and how to optimise your Facebook pages and Twitter tweets but one of the easiest to understand I’ve read recently is this:

16 Rules For Social Media Optimization Revisited

Here at Best Served Cold we can help you get started with Social Media and guide you on the best sites to register with, who your audience might be and how you can utilise the social internet to promote your brand or website.

Getting Started with Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the process of promoting your site or business through social media channels and it is a powerful strategy that can get you links, attention and large amounts of traffic. Sometimes the work involved can be quite time intensive but it is always low cost.

The two main benefits of developing a good social media marketing strategy are:

  1. High numbers of new visitors
  2. Quality links from external websites

Both of these translate directly and indirectly to a higher search engine ranking and increased traffic to
your website:

  1. New visitors from social bookmarks or networking sites may find your site or article, read it, and then leave the site. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in the content. Online success is, at the most basic, a numbers game. The more visitors you can attract to your site, the more people will read your content and the more people will register with your site or bookmark you for future reference.
  2. A well written article, marketed across social networks will encourage other bloggers, journalists and network members to write about and link to your site. These links get picked up by search engines such as Google and this in turn increases the value / ranking of your site within search engine results.

If you already have a Social Media online marketing campaign in place we can still help you further by talking you through Social Media News Releases or SMNRs. We have helped to create Pressitt.com which is a frree service that allows you to publish online press releases across your favourite Social Networking and Social Media platforms. From Pressitt:

The Pressitt SMNR template offers all of the core information found in a traditional press release, but additionally takes advantage of linking, multimedia and Web 2.0 shareable features. It allows users to host downloadable hi-res images within their releases, along with PowerPoint presentations, and PDFs – YouTube videos can also be embedded. Each brand using the service is assigned its own RSS feed, and press contacts can be reached via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, up-to-date bookmarking and sharing icons are presented including Posterous, Yammer and Sphinn.

Once created your SMNR can be published to the Pressitt platform and shared to social networks or via an email link to your contacts and colleages.

With a Pressitt newsroom you can collate all your Social Network links in one place giving your customers an easy way to find you and your products. More importantly it gives you a high profile online presence to talk about your brand directly to your customers. If you’d like to find out more about Pressitt and Social Media News Releases why not contact one of the Pressitt team?

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