Your website: Looks Aren’t Everything

Vapour Trail are Website Designers and Developers. Most people are familiar with the term “website designer” and getting your website to look good is an important part of our work. But website development is vitally important too.

Your website

Development refers to the techy stuff behind the scenes. Making sure that the website loads in the browser quickly, that navigation is easy to use and works properly. Contact forms are correctly configured and maps accurate.

Is the website secure from malicious attack? Is it easy to find with search engines? These issues are what website development is all about.

Design is subjective, fashions come and go and people have likes and dislikes. So what people think about the design of your website will be influenced by factors like how well up on fashions they are and personal taste. But everyone knows when something doesn’t work. If a website is difficult to navigate, things are obviously broken and it’s difficult to find, that’s pretty obvious.

Here at Vapour Trail we will be happy to create a whole new design for you. But we also give you the option of exploiting the hundreds of free WordPress themes which are available to download. The Theme controls the layout, fonts and colours of the website; the design aspects. But by offering websites based on free themes, you can direct more of your budget to the essential tasks of getting the website to work correctly.

Our entry level product is the Small Business Website package for £249. You can choose from any free theme to create the look of your website. We will then provide and configure security software to protect your website from attack, a contact form to allow contacts to send you email and content optimisation software to help you create pages and blog entries that will be noticed by search engines. Working with you, we will create three pages of optimised content that means your website will be useful and findable from launch.

We realise that budgets for your website are usually tight. So we exploit the advantage of free products to help you get the most from your money.

Business Start Ups, right first time

This is an all too familiar story. I talk to a business owner about their existing website and the tale goes something like this …

“we’ve been in business a few years now and when we started my nephew/friend/IT student/bloke at the pub made us a website. It’s looking a bit old now and we want to update but we have lost touch/they don’t have the time/they don’t do that anymore and we don’t know what to do”.

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Blogging for Business

Blogging is about writing your own stuff on the web. No need for a webmaster, just you, the computer and an audience.

This is an enormously powerful tool for business. Have you just finished a job you are particularly proud of? Blog about it. Do you want to demonstrate you have got to grips with some development in your field? Blog about it. Special offers, new products, new and better equipment, new staff … you get the picture.

Just one thing, you need a website with a content management system (CMS) to be able to blog. If your website is based on WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Concrete or another CMS, you are ready to get started. If you don’t have a blogging facility or don’t know how to use it, get in touch and we can help.

Vapour Trail 0333 123 0004 – the web for small business.

Four Must-Have Acronyms For Your Website

I would recommend that any new business website included the following features:

Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS allows persons other than a website designer to update the website. This can be the site’s owner or designated administrator, third party search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist or marketing specialist.

Fresh, optimised content is essential to keeping a website relevant both to human readers and search engine enquiries.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

This is the process of ensuring that the content of the website is understood by search engines. In it’s most basic form, it means ensuring that it’s clear what the website is about. So if you are “Bob’s Builders” in Eastbourne, a search engine enquiry for “bobs builders eastbourne” should find your website.

Responsive Website Design (RWD)

Visitors to your website will view it on a variety of devices: smartphone, tablet, ultrabook, laptop or desktop PC. Your website should look good and be both readable and navigable on all those devices. This is best achieved through a design principle known as Responsive Website Design which allows the page to respond to the dimensions of the screen and display itself appropriately.

Which leads us nicely to WordPress (WP)

WordPress is the world’s leading CMS and the platform for millions of websites. It has great tools for SEO. There are many, freely available RWD themes or we could create a unique RWD theme just for you. If you are not using WP for your small business website, give us a call on 0333 123 0004 about how you could benefit.

All About the WordPress Theme

Websites are designed to present to the viewer in a controlled way. Headers, sidebars and footers all appear in defined places. Consistent fonts and colours will be used throughout. When the website based on WordPress, the “rules” for the appearance of the website are contained in the theme

The WordPress theme is a package of instructions that tell the browser how to display the website.

The WordPress theme is independedent of the website data, so by changing the theme, the look of the website can be completely changed.

Themes can down-loaded for free from the web, bought “off the shelf” or be created specifically for the website.

Free Themes

The biggest source for free Themes is WordPress’s own Theme Repository. At the time of writing, there are over 2000 freely available Themes for download. Any of these Themes can be used as part of our Small Business Website package. You will need to do the research and tell us which one.

There are other sources of free Themes on the web. Search for “free WordPress Themes” and follow the results.

In the course of your investigations, you may find a Premium Theme that you rather like. If you want to use that for your website, that’s fine, we wil pass on the cost of the Premium Theme.

If you want a completely original design, to reflect branding perhaps, we can provide that as a bespoke design. Once you have provided your requirements, we will be happy to quote you on creating a bespoke design.

The Jolly Farmers at Purley

The Jolly Farmers pub at Purley recently asked us to redesign their website.

The Jolly Farmers is a traditional pub that also offers food every day and regular events. The new website is based on the WordPress Content Management System so the pub management have full control over the content of the website. This means they can update the menu, put new events in the diary and add pictures and news stories.

The website is now fully integrated into the way that the pub promotes itself. The website also appears on the first page of a Google search for “live music in Purley”.

Click through to go to the Jolly Farmers, Purley website, then visit them for a pint and something to eat!

40 WordPress Themes To Choose From

A WordPress Theme is the set of instructions that defines how your website will look. It controls the font, layout, colours, module positions and all those other elements that determine the styling of the finished website.

You could have a bespoke theme created so the your website was completely unique, but that is likely to be relatively expensive and not a viable option for a new or small business.

The WordPress design community has created thousands of WordPress Themes and many are free to use, just download and use.

Our Small Business Website package includes the installation of a free theme. Just tell us which one you want and we will do the rest.

Which leaves one question; how do you choose? You could Google search “free wordpress themes” or you could follow the link to a list compiled by the nice people at Creative Bloq. So much choice …

How to use Yoast SEO Plugin

All our WordPress websites are delivered with the Yoast SEO plugin installed. This plugin helps the post author analyse their post and optimise it to be found by search engines. It’s a very useful tool and can really help you get the most value out of page and post content.

As with all new things, there’s a learning curve. This video tutorial will help you get to grips with this valuable tool.

How to use Yoast SEO Plugin link …