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Industry News

Here we hope to share news and trends from the internet
  • Facebook to remove inactive accounts from page like count

    Have you seen a small dip in the number of page likes on your Facebook business page? Please don’t worry! This doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong, it is simply due to Facebook removing inactive accounts so that your page like count is more accurate and meaningful.

    There are two types of inactive accounts that will be removed from your page like count, these are voluntarily deactivated accounts and memorialized accounts.

    It might feel a big disheartening to see that your page like count has reduced with Facebook having the clear out but they’ve done it with good reason. The main benefit from this is to keep your business page consistent and true. By removing inactive Facebook accounts from your page audience date, it gives you more accurate figures when looking at the page insights. You’ll be able to see a lot easier who actively follows your page and find your followers through tools like lookalike audiences.

    So please don’t be alarmed if at first glance it looks like your business page has lost the interest of followers and more people are clicking the ‘dislike’ button. Remind yourself of this update and remember that meaningful data is more important!

  • How to choose the right web company

    Last week we received a phone call from a lady looking to transfer her services to us.  Whilst we are delighted to take on new customers a phrase she used set off a few alarm bells and got us thinking.  She said “you will be the 4th web company I have worked with in 3 years”.  So the big question is, has she been really unlucky and chosen the wrong companies, perhaps by not doing the right research or are her expectations and what she is being promised unrealistic?  I will let you know the answer to that later in the blog.

    So, how do you go about choosing the right web company?  Creating a quality website or upgrading your current site, if done correctly, won’t be cheap and this is a good place to start when choosing your web company.

    Know your budget

    We would suggest that you set out a budget of how much you are looking to spend and choose a company that can support this.  If you are a new starter, with limited funds then there are some companies that will do you a website for under £200.  This will give you a presence and may be a good starting point.  After all, with 50% of businesses failing in the first 12 months it makes sense not to stretch yourself too far.  That said, when dealing with the companies that produce this type of site we strongly suggest you read the small print and ensure there are no separation charges.  Also ensure the domain name is registered in your name as again there have been incidences of excessive fees to transfer the domain.

    When considering your budget, remember to factor in some ongoing marketing costs.  Whether this is for Search Engine Optimisation, Google AdWords, E-Mail campaigns or social media. It’s great to have a really nice website but if no one is seeing it and making enquiries then you will end up with a very nice folly.

    Do your research

    There are many web companies offering the world but sadly, the days of the .com millionaire are long gone, unless of course you come up with the next big App or new social media platform.  We suggest when choosing the company you want to work with, do your research and ask for the following;

    • Do they have any success stories of companies they have transformed and created a significant return on investment?
    • Do they have any testimonials or case studies they can share?
    • Can we contact ‘ANY’ of your clients for feedback? This is a great question as many businesses will point you towards their favoured clients and maybe not those who have posed challenges.

    Get Technical

    There are a lot of companies such as Graphic Designers and IT companies who have bolted web on as a service. Whilst this is not a bad thing we have seen many incidences where open source software such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla has been used to create quick and easy websites. These can look good but if they are not hosted properly or the security is not updated then this leaves the site open to malicious software that can damage your reputation and in some cases get your site taken offline.  Always ensure the person designing your site understands the technical elements so ask them what security measures are in place? And what back up procedures do you have?

    Ask lots of questions

    When I started the business I was always mindful of what would happen to my customers if I got hit by a bus.  But more seriously when working on my own I was the sales guy, marketing chap, project manager, accounts department and PR and it amazed me how I actually got work done.  It occurred to me as I was sat in a meeting that I really wanted it to end quickly because I had another deadline to meet. My point is, it’s always good to know the answers to the ‘what if’ questions, especially when dealing with people who are working on their own.

    Here are some good questions to ask;

    • How do I get in touch out of hours if I have a problem?
    • What support do I have if you get Ill?
    • Who owns the website once completed?
    • Do I get a copy of my website or access to backups?
    • Where are your websites hosted? UK or Abroad?

    Ask for Recommendations

    Of course the best way to get the right company is to ask for recommendations. Business contacts and friends will be able to give you the low down on the right companies to use. They will also tell you their shortfalls which might not be a show stopper but certainly gives you a good insight into the company and ideas for the right questions to ask.  We have built our company on word of mouth recommendations and our aim when creating a site is for you to be so impressed that you refer us on.  This is our best and most effective marketing tool as it provides a win-win situation.

    Now I said I would answer the question about the lady who said we would be the 4th company in 3 years.  Well it turns out we won’t.  She mentioned a few web companies she had previously worked with, they were good companies with strong reputations. Unfortunately, we decided there was only one common denominator and politely declined.

  • Instagram for business - How could it help you?

    Launched in 2010, Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular and talked about photo-sharing social network. Unfortunately, not many businesses have tapped into the world of Instagram yet so we’d like to share with you some facts about the social network and maybe you’ll re-consider?

    Instagram grew by 50% between March and December 2014 which allowed it to reach the 300 million user mark – that’s when you know you’ve made it • More than 75 million users per day • Since being created, there have been 30 billion photos shared • 70 million photos are uploaded daily • In 2011 Instagram introduced #hashtags • In June 2013 the video upload feature was launched • 51% of users are male and 49% of users are female

    Instagram created a simple network design that allows your image to take centre stage, having your image/video fill the full screen. With all of this exposure potential at your fingertips, surely it would be a shame not to take advantage of it?

    Here are some examples of brand campaigns ran on Instagram;

    #Fiestagram by Ford Ford used Instagram to promote the Fiesta’s high-tech features back in 2011, giving away a Ford Fiesta as the final prize. Every week for 6 weeks, they announced a new hashtag associated with one of the Fiesta’s high-tech features such as #entry #music #hidden. The idea being that people would upload a photo each week using #Fiestagram and that week’s particular hashtag. Each week the best photos were chosen, featured in real-life galleries and digital billboards and were also in the running for the final prize, a Ford Fiesta. During the 6 week campaign, over 16,000 photos were uploaded and Ford gained over 12,000 fans on Facebook.

    1 (Image source - http://mashable.com/2012/02/02/ford-fiesta-instagram/)

    #Fannerisms by Buffalo Wild Wings

    As Buffalo Wild Wings is seen as a place for sports fans to hang out after work, enjoying good company along with good food, they thought they’d tap into Instagram to create a campaign during last year’s World Cup to help kick-start their Instagram profile. They simply asked users to upload images of themselves enjoying watching the games at any Buffalo Wild Wings using the hashtag #Fannerisms. In return, BWW used the direct message feature to reward fans for uploading their image by instructing them how they could win a gift card. This cool campaign gained them 1,600 followers on Instagram in just 3 days!

    2 (Image source - http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/buffalo-wild-wings-tests-instagram-direct-launch-brand-account-158324)

    #WhiteCupContest by Starbucks

    Starbucks are very pro-active on their social accounts and wanted to take the opportunity to reward their creative and loyal customers. They created the #WhiteCupContest which simply asked fans to customise their iconic white cups with a design of their choice, upload their images to Instagram and submit by using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. During this campaign, Starbucks received over 4,000 entries in only 3 short weeks! The winning cup was translated into a limited edition reusable cup available for sale in stores.

    3 (Image source - https://news.starbucks.com/news/starbucks-invites-you-to-decorate-its-iconic-white-cup)

    I bet you never imagined the endless amounts of opportunities Instagram has brought to businesses through simple campaigns. Brands all over the world are running campaigns daily to boost their following. I hope that you’ve now re-considered using Instagram for your business and when you’re all set up and running, remember to give us a follow on @_design365


  • The origins of Twitter’s 140 character limit

    Twitter was created back in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass and then launched in July 2006. It was initially created to act as a text message replacement service. Remember those days when everybody had pay-as-you-go mobiles which used to often run out of credit leaving you feel sorry for yourself and frustrated? Well the guys over at Twitter wanted to give everybody an opportunity to talk to their friends at any time of the day for free! The idea being that you could connect with people either publicly through tweeting them or privately through a direct message (DM). Since launching, Twitter has grown into one of the largest social networking sites in the world with recent statistics showing it has over 302 million active monthly users and 500 million tweets sent per day! So… Why the 140 character limit on tweets? Well, since the worldwide standard length of a text message is 160 characters, the founders of Twitter thought it would be a good idea to stay within those boundaries as it was what everyone was already used to. Now you’re probably thinking, why is a tweet 20 characters less than a text message? Those 20 characters were set aside to allow room for the twitter username (handle) of the sender, leaving 140 characters for your message!

  • Five Cs Behind Great Web Content

    Bruce Says… After doing a bit of research on what does and doesn’t make a good website, I’ve stumbled across a bit of internet psychology that makes it incredibly easy to write cracking content and a brilliantly engaging blog. It’s all down to the curly third letter of the alphabet… The first C, which your web content needs to be, is Contemporary. First impressions really are everything and if someone flicks onto your site and what they immediately see is dated, bland and boring, chances are they won’t hang about for very long. Also, get rid of Flash. It doesn’t work on some Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones, limiting the types of media your site will function properly on. The second C is Compatible. The key to engaging with your target market is knowing exactly who they are and what they want. Therefore, you can create internet content that is perfectly compatible with your audience and their wants and likes. So, whether it's a comment about Facebook or the British weather, if it shares an interest with your audience, they are bound to engage. The third C is Curious. The content on your website needs to catch your user’s attentions by sparking an interest within them. If someone is not fascinated by some element of your webpage they will not hang about for long and a competitor’s website that captures a user’s curiosity will win their business. Content needs to be that little bit out of the ordinary through words, pictures, tweets or pins! The fourth C is Controversial. When it comes to web content, being out there and daring is the best method. You want your blog to make its readers question their own way of thinking every now and then, or they will simply pass over it and it won’t cause the desired effect. You want your web content to be debatable to cause maximum engagement and ideally you want it to be spoken from a position to make it more personable. This leads me nicely onto the fifth C: Characters. Personable web content gets people involved with identifiable characters and names. Make your story relevant - drop a few names! If your content provides human interest, it ensures greater engagement. So, if you want great web content that creates a bit of a stir and increases the chance of engagement, cram those five Cs into your blog and watch your business boom. Happy scribbling peeps!

  • 10 marketing tips to remember...

    Marketing tips of the week 1) Loyalty - building loyalty gives your customers a reason to return 2) Competitors - dont be afraid to use techniques used by your competitors 3) Email Signature - use this as a marketing tool, add links to your social media pages, links to your website, add your mission statement or company strap line 4) Testimonials - Adding client testimonials to your site builds confidence 5) Comment - Comment on associated blogs and social media 6) Data capture - Use offline and online techniques to increase your mailing list 7) Stakeholders - build a relationship with local businesses and members of the community 8) PR - Send out press releases when a new product is launched 9) Awards / Accreditations - List any awards or accreditations your company has on marketing literature, this will build confidence to the customer 10) Layout - Keep marketing material clear and easy to understand

  • How to create Killer Landing Pages

    As more and more companies come online and as the amount of time to grab someone’s attention decreases (around 5 – 7 seconds depending on whose blog you last read), the need to create landing pages that will stop potential customer in their tracks, get them to engage with your website and ultimately contact you becomes ever more important. Here are 5 principals that should help turn browsers into callers.   1.         Tell them what you do As obvious as this sounds too many websites don’t state the obvious.  Some websites do state what they do but tie it into over complicated introduction paragraphs where they confuse visitors with endless lists of all the services they offer. If you do offer lots of services then create a page for each one and state that you offer the service on that page.  Creating clear links to these pages will also help with both navigation and SEO. Other websites prefer to bore you with their company history.  Remember, people visiting your website are interested in their future, not your past. Yes, there is a place on your website for this information but not in your opening gambit.  When people ask you in the real world what do you do, I bet you don’t start with ‘We were founded in 1964’.  Instead, you probably state your profession or, if you’re well versed in networking, you state the ultimate benefit of your business. So a good example of an opening line on your website would be ‘We have a track record in helping companies generate more business through proven web marketing strategies’.  2.         Be Positive Sadly a lot of businesses undersell themselves.  If you’re really good at what you do then let the visitor know. You will need to back this up with testimonials and case studies but using positive words then you create a positive vibe to the site. Other positive techniques include the word Yes, ‘Yes we can help’, ‘Yes we have proven results’, ‘Yes you can call anytime’. Also, use ‘Remember to Call’ instead of ‘Don’t Forget to Call’ (2 negative words don’t always create a positive).  Keep it positive. If your positive your potential customers will be.  3.         Create Trust Most visitors to your website are seeing your business for the first time so making them feel they’re in the right place is one thing but you need to back this up by creating trust.  This can be attempted by talking the talk but people want proof they can trust your business before picking up the phone or dropping you an e-mail. There are 2 elements to this. Firstly, show them you’re serious about your business with a clearly designed website that’s easy to use and spelling mistake free.  Secondly, you can share knowledge and talk the talk but web visitors want to know you can walk the walk.  This is why testimonials are so important to your instant credibility. These need to be on the homepage, not hidden in the background and also need a credible signature. A testimonial signed ‘J Smith, Darlington’ probably won’t cut it. Instead, try for testimonials signed by Managing Directors or decision makers, don’t be afraid (with permission) to state their name and their company. And No your competitors wont approach them, they have just given you a testimonial. You probably don’t need the whole testimonial on the homepage but an easy to locate powerful statement with a link to the whole testimonial will do the job.  4.        Limit the Offer  Fear of loss is an amazing tool when used correctly. For example, if you are running a spa and putting on special offers then let the visitor know there are only limited places or that an offer ends at midnight. Remember when the offer does end to take it off the site, otherwise you run into credibility issues when posting your next offer.  This simple but effective technique stops people clicking off to another site or procrastinating on the offer.  Of course, if you’re feeling very proactive you can let people know the offer has expired and that if they sign up to your newsletter then they won’t miss out next time.  5.         Clear Calls To Action  There’s a great saying in the North East – Shy Bairns Get Nowt, which means if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  So, as obvious as it sounds (there’s that word again), you actually do need to show visitors what to do next. Whether it’s add to cart, please call, please email us, request a call back or subscribe to your newsletter, they need to do something.  The ideal scenario is they never leave empty handed.  Also, make sure your telephone number is clear and located on every page and also in Text so mobile users only need to press the link to trigger a call.  Of course, if your website has told the visitor what you do, has shown them the end benefit, has created trust, has time limited offers, then they probably will contact you.  Author Alan Foster

  • starting your online business...

    Starting your own business can be very costly. At Design365 we have come up with a solution. The Pay As You Go website includes everything you need to get your business up and running. You will receive;  *On-going support and marketing advice *Continuous design updates *Managed monthly newsletters *An e-commerce website designed around your brief *Links to social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn *Submission to shopping sites To find out more, please contact Design365...

  • the pay as you go website...

    Wanting to increase your sales in 2012? With the use of smart phones the Internet is now accessible whenever and almost where ever you are in the UK. Making the idea of selling online even more appealing. Starting your own business by selling online through an e-commerce website is now easier with Design365's Pay As You Go website. This package allows you to concentrate on managing your orders as we market your website. For more information please contact us...

  • connecting with others...

    Work together to improve your web marketing; • Use your offline marketing campaigns to point people towards your website • Link together with other peoples websites to attract more customers to your site • Use PR to promote your website and your products/services • Comment on other peoples blogs to increase your visability • Work with alongside an associated company, • Add customer testimonials to your website to build confidence For more information on marketing your website please contact us

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