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Cakes, Cotton and Crafts – A Month in Web Design 

  • By Alexis Kaliszewski
  • 16 Mar, 2016

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We've had a great start to 2016 with web designs or design updates for an exciting group of clients.

Cakesmiths (above) are an ever-expanding company producing traybakes for coffee shops up and down the country. Of course, Easter time is a great opportunity for new ideas and recipes – all handmade in their Bristol Bakery

Sticking with a tasty theme, one of our clients Huffkins the delightful coffee shop owners have recently asked us to update their site and design - not only to include the news of a new shop in Stratford (pictured) but with new menus and treats too...

At Cotswold Web Services we've been developing a name for ourselves in designing Jewellery websites. A good-looking and effective site can really be a fantastic kick start for sellers in this business. We're delighted with the work we've done for Lime Tree Design, making their site a pleasure to browse. Good design has also been a key element in building the site for The Fine Cotton Company, full of luxury touches (including ranges for Yachts and Jets) this business has taken off!

On the luxury side of things, we've also re-vamped our site for Oak Furniture House in 2016 which has expanded dramatically to include ever more sumptuous and impressive ranges such as this dining set below.

Cotswold Web

By Alexis Kaliszewski 07 Jun, 2017

Helping businesses create a strong online presence  is something we think we’re rather good at, and this was recognised by Kirsty Muir, one of the founders of Business & Innovation Magazine at NK Media Ltd in Cirencester.

Business & Innovation Magazine is a print and online resource for businesses in the South-West region, covering Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, North Wiltshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. Its aim is to get businesses networking to make best use of local resources and expertise while also supporting the region’s economy.

Kirsty approached us to create and maintain their new website . The brief was to present Business & Innovation Magazine as the best business magazine online, as well as in print.

We were inspired by both Kirsty's and Nicky's enthusiasm for getting local businesses working better together and we created a website that looks professional but also has a fresh and fun edge. We love creating new websites for all our clients, but there’s something about working for a new start-up that is just so exciting.

The magazine has lots going on to interest all kinds of businesses. Why not take a look at the website, or even sign up for the print magazine, which at just £28 a year is fantastic value for money?

See: https://www.businessinnovationmag.co.uk/

By Alexis Kaliszewski 07 Jun, 2017

When thinking about marketing your business, your online presence can be pushed down the list, especially if it’s something you have little knowledge of or time to get to grips with. However, presenting your company online, in various forms, is now one of the easiest and most effective ways to generate new business.

Get a website that wows!
You don’t need to spend thousands of pounds to get a great website. For example, Cotswold Web offer affordable websites for small and medium businesses that won’t break the budget. However, it’s also true that you get what you pay for, if you don’t invest enough. Low-cost or free websites usually produce second-rate results – with limited functionality, third-party advertisements and dire SEO rankings.

These days, customers find suppliers online and then make a judgement about that company’s capabilities through how they present themselves. Is your website clear? Is the branding consistent? Do you have spelling errors, too many or too few words ? Does your website tell your customers what they need to know to make an order or booking? And does it stand out from the crowd?

Your website must also have strong SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to ensure it ranks highly on search engines such as Google or Yahoo. This means including terms in your content that your customers use to find your business, and that metadata (the backend stuff) also reflects those keywords. So, when Joe Bloggs types ‘web design company Cotswolds’ into a search bar, the best web design websites come up top of the list. (It’s a bit more complicated than this, but you get the gist!)

Investing a bit of time and money in your website will pay dividends when you realise that customers find it easy to do business with you, and so return for more or recommend you to colleagues.

Get to know your customers online


Social media is powerful, you only have to glimpse at any app to see the influence it can have on big topics such as politics. Most of us find having some kind of online profile whether that’s through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ useful to keep in touch with others, and, as a business, having a profile is just as important.

The beauty of social media is that it offers you direct communication with potential customers. You can use your pages to engage people in thoughts and ideas, special offers and promotions, and offer advice and expertise about a latest product or innovation. There is so much you can say online, and people want to hear it! Providing consistent and interesting content directly to people who are already interested in what you offer will only help your business to grow. Social media can also be used at minimal cost, so transforming enquiries into orders can be a big gain for very little input.

It can feel easy to be intimidated by the sheer volume of online platforms and data that are available; however, a simple starting point would be to set aside time each month to plan your social media communications calendar, as you might do for work you have going through.

Things to consider might be:


What is big news in our industry this month?
What pages of my website can we promote?
What words of wisdom can we share?
What new clients do we have?
What work have we done recently?

If you’re dipping your toe into marketing through social media, it’s a good idea to choose perhaps one or two platforms initially to get to grips with how it works and establishing a routine. And, if you’re really too busy, you can get someone to help. Cotswold Web offer advice and support with all aspects of SEO and social media marketing – whether that’s getting you started or maintaining your online communications long-term.

Doing business online needn’t be difficult, and any company can benefit from it, if it’s done well.

To find out more, contact hello@cotswoldweb.co.uk

By Alexis Kaliszewski 22 May, 2017

Last month saw the launch of a new Cotswold Web-designed website for St Michael’s Church in Bishop’s Cleeve , Cheltenham.

As part of our commitment to support community projects, we aim to donate a website every year, so we offered the church a website overhaul at no cost.

With a growing congregation, due to ongoing expansion in the area, the church desperately needed a website that gave clear information about services, events and everything a visitor would need to know. St Michael’s support, to families and the older community in particular, as well as a local Foodbank and wider mission work, are important areas and the church team was struggling to find the time and resource to create a new website that enabled them to share this.

We were delighted to be able to give the church a new look and a site that is responsive across all screen sizes. Using our intuitive CMS system also means they can easily update the site themselves.

“We were so grateful for the gift of this website for our church. There is so much happening here and we really lacked in our web presence, so having a fully functioning site is going to be a huge benefit to us. It also looks fantastic! Thank you Cotswold Web! Rev. Malc Allen, St Michael’s, Bishop’s Cleeve.

In 2016, we donated our website design service to Millie’s Trust , a charity set up to raise awareness about First Aid, following the tragic death of Millie, age nine months, due to choking. This valuable website provides useful information about common First Aid situations in children as well as training, and we were proud to support them in their quest to educate people on the risks and hazards of choking.

By Alexis Kaliszewski 22 May, 2017

Here at CW, we love working with independent local companies – so, when marketing guru Sally Green contacted us to redesign her successful Gloucestershire-based business directory, we couldn’t wait to start!

iwork4uglos is a business networking site with a difference. The companies that advertise on the site benefit from an online presence as well as Sally’s extensive marketing experience. Businesses are built on relationships, and Sally’s ethos is that customer engagement is a vital part of transforming those connections.

The iwork4uglos team visit the companies, sample the services in some cases, and aim to get a real feel for the businesses and their customers. Sally then works her magic sharing and promoting each business personally using the website as her base.

We were tasked with creating a fresh and funky (or rather ‘froggy’!) web directory that was simple to use and gave the advertisers the exposure they needed through targeted SEO to get their names out there.

With over 90 businesses on the website, we offered ongoing support to Sally and her team to ensure they were fully up to speed with updating the content themselves, a crucial element of the site as new advertisers are always being added.

Why not hop over to iwork4uglos to see if there’s anything there that takes your fancy!
By Alexis Kaliszewski 02 Apr, 2017

The hairdressing industry is founded on the individuality of every salon, every hairdresser –it’s all about appearance and style. However, as well as doing great hair, the salon experience is what sets you apart from your competitors – after all, it’s no good being a great hairdresser if your salon is uninviting and your service sloppy.

Today, being attentive to your customers’ experience matters online just as much as it does in person. Your salon’s website should reflect your unique flair for creating wonderful hair as well as be easy to browse and have responsive features that will help generate more business.

At Cotswold Web, we create showcase websites that not only look gorgeous, they also work hard for you by guiding your customers to make that all-important booking.

Simple online tools make all the difference in ensuring customers can easily find you and your services, make online bookings, and benefit from special promotions.

Design with the wow factor – your job is to make people look better; we do the same, for businesses just like yours!

Appointment booking – your customers can browse and book an appointment most convenient to them with this simple pop-up booking function. Perfect for repeat business.

Special promotions – reward your customers or entice new clients through online promotions. Everyone loves a good deal!

Newsletter sign-up – a fantastic way to keep in touch with old and new customers, and promote new services or products, staff joiners or case studies.

Call to action – our websites encourage engagement, which is key to helping your customers enquire about a service or book their appointment.

We produce websites for companies of all sizes – from sole-ownership businesses to large franchises. Our approach is about understanding your business first, and reflecting who you are and what you do online.

All our websites are fully responsive too – as a hairdresser, many people will find you by doing a search on their phone or tablet, so you need to know that your website and booking system works perfectly across any screen.

If you’re looking for a responsive website for your hairdressing salon – no matter what size – contact us today and we’ll soon have you looking your best!

By Alexis Kaliszewski 03 Mar, 2017

Online shopping has seen a huge growth in recent years – up 16% on 2015 figures to £133bn in 2016*. And it is showing no signs of slowing down. The growth is largely due to more consumers than ever shopping on their smartphones – with sales via smartphone jumping by a massive 47% in December 2016.

Here at Cotswold Web, we can create a brilliant e-commerce website for your online sales. But these days, it’s about more than that. If you really want to benefit from the online sales boom, you’ve got to look to other channels to support your website.

You know your business, your products and your customers, you just need to find which online shopping channel or channels will work best for you.

So here’s our pros and cons of some of the main online shopping channels to help you make that decision.

By Alexis Kaliszewski 08 Sep, 2016

We’ve recently designed websites for three very diverse clients.

SDL Biomass are a Cotswold based company that specialize in the conversion of forestry products, to create the required graded wood fuels. Providing a nationwide solution to dealing with un-utilised arboricultural forestry products.

By Alexis Kaliszewski 16 Mar, 2016

We've had a great start to 2016 with web designs or design updates for an exciting group of clients.

Cakesmiths (above) are an ever-expanding company producing traybakes for coffee shops up and down the country. Of course, Easter time is a great opportunity for new ideas and recipes – all handmade in their Bristol Bakery

By Alexis Kaliszewski 08 Oct, 2015

Although web design and eCommerce is not the most hazardous of occupations you can never be too careful. We've ordered several first aid kits from Millies Trust to have around the office just incase (we do tend to get rather excited whenever we take on a new project so who knows what might happen)!

We are very privileged to do the website for Millies Trust. The charity has gone from strength to strength over the last few years, providing first aid training to 1000s of people around the UK. Only last week they won a Pride of Britain Award 2015, one of many awards over the years.

Check out the  Millies Trust website  for more information on all the fantastic work they do.

By Alexis Kaliszewski 03 Aug, 2015

Selling jewellery online is an increasingly competitive environment. With sites such as Etsy, Folksy and eBay it means that there are many more channels available than the traditional ones and within those sites the range of style, quality and design is huge. So how do you stand out? How do you market yourself effectively when running a small business?

Keep Your Own Shop Online (with social media links)

Ideally, you will have your own bespoke website. Link it to as many other sites as you like (Pinterest, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) but ultimately by having your own site – you own your own shop. It means you're not beholden to changing fashions or commissions. Play around with the latest social app, but always link it back to your online store.

Create A Bespoke Style For Your Webshop

At Cotswold Web Services we’re gaining a bit of a track record in this area. We started in April 2013 with   Francesca Rossi Designs   who produce a wide range of individually hand crafted jewellery for women and children. As well as supplying other store fronts on the high street and online, Francesca Rossi wanted to have their own ‘shop front’ and it was a good decision. Their business has taken off since the launching their webshop.

Contemporary jewellery designer   Corrine Hamak   followed shortly afterwards in May 2014, Corrine has had an international upbringing and studied at St Martins School of Art before finally settling on jewellery design. Her items reflect her wide experience of different cultures and the website displays the stunning pieces.   Bridget Wheatly   is another designer we worked with earlier this year, Bridget has a love of nature and shiny things which lead to a thriving business in the jewellery industry.   She is now based in Oxford and finds her website invaluable as her shop to the wider world.

Open Your Designs To An International (and Famous) Market

Last but by no means least,   Mirabelle Jewellery   went online with a website we designed for them in October 2014, their revenue shot up the minute the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted wearing a piece of their jewellery and of course, they trade on that patronage!

At Cotswold Web Services, we acknowledge it is a hugely difficult market to crack – but we hope we can help you make your way towards that by producing a stunning online shop. Please call us today if you’d like to get your jewellery business online.

By Alexis Kaliszewski 10 Jul, 2015

It's not easy selling online. We understand this.

In the 10+ years we have been involved in eCommerce we have worked on many successful and inspiring projects, learning some invaluable lessons along the way.

Whilst setting up and managing a successful eCommerce website is seldom easy, there are a surprisingly large amount of websites that neglect even the quick, simple things that can make a huge difference to their success.

View our handy fact sheet of 10 tips that can really make a difference to your eCommerce site...

By Alexis Kaliszewski 17 Jun, 2015

When David Wood, a local newspaper journalist came to us with his long-held dream of launching a website dedicated to the Cotswolds -  we jumped at the chance.  The area is such a rich resource of people, places food and beautiful spots that it presents such an exciting opportunity.  We wanted to build the ultimate site appealing to residents, local businesses and of course the many thousands of tourists that visited the region each year.

We've spent the last year working on this production, creating the design, content and including features such as Cotswolds Claim To Fame, Filming in the Cotswolds and Wacky Side of The Cotswolds (which of course, there are many).   Loving The Cotswolds   finally launched early March 2015.  

Underpinning the lighter stuff and at the heart of much of what goes on is the community - we've dedicated sections to this thriving element of the region such as Schools, Faith, Gardens, Walking and local Clubs and Organisations.  We think this will become a valuable resource.  Read more about how we reached this point and the team behind the website   here .

Our flagship section is "101 Reasons To Love The Cotswolds" (not that many need convincing) -  jam-packed with places, events and traditions that make this part of England such a unique spot.

David and the team at Loving the Cotswolds are including very reasonable packages for local business (subscription levels starting at just £10 a month) whilst ensuring that the success of the website goes on to help the region by donating 10% of all profits to local charities.  

If you'd like to get your business or organisation on the site or just share some local news, please email   info@lovingthecotswolds.com .

Main image of   Snowshill Manor   by Charles Wade for   Loving the Cotswolds


By Alexis Kaliszewski 17 Jun, 2015

This time last year things in a small corner of the Cotswolds were heating up, or should we say - brewing up. Dan Szor was realising his dream of leaving his London city life and setting up a whisky distillery in his favourite part of England.

Cotswold Web Services Enlisted To Build Website

We had met New Yorker Dan a while before, he was keen to use local business partners in his new venture - so Cotswold Web Services seemed a good fit. Working alongside a designer already on board (in Scotland, where much of Dan's inspiration had begun) - we created their launch site that not only sells the merchandise but includes a built-in customer mailing system too.

And They're Off...

The first bottles of single malt whisky would not be ready until 2017, so the newly formed team of experts have introduced a number of other products to keep the excitement going.  The Cotswolds Dry Gin launched (to much acclaim) towards the end of 2015 and just recently, the Cider Apple Brandy has hit the shelves in partnership with local cidermaker, Pearsons. The word is spreading too, not only have Majestic recently taken on products from the distillery - a first major order from Dan's home across the pond has come in. Great news that these craft distillers are getting international recognition already.

Watch This Space

This corner of the Cotswolds are constantly launching exciting things - keep your eye on them and join their mailing list (at the foot of their page) here. If you'd like to talk to us about your website or building in a customer mailing system, get in touch on 01242 807847 or email us here.

(Main image via Cotswolds Distillery featuring Dan Szor - left - and team in their distillery in the Cotswolds)

By Alexis Kaliszewski 15 Jun, 2015
Here is a short list of some of our favourite San Serif fonts. All these fonts are completely free and can be used on both commercial and personal projects.
By Alexis Kaliszewski 11 Jun, 2015

If you're looking at an update or re-design of your website, you'll want to make sure it includes Responsive Web Design (RWD).  In simple terms, it just means that the website will re-size itself to fit the size of the screen.  Makes sense doesn't it? If you think about viewing websites on your phone or tablet - sometimes the site is a bit difficult to navigate because it's not designed for that device.  More recently we've been able to design mobile-friendly versions or specific designs to fit the purpose.  This however, is very different.  But how exactly?

1. Automatic Re-Design

It will reduce the size of images and change the layout of content (e.g. a row of 4 images will become 2 rows of 2 images) for a smaller screen size screen, for an even smaller screen (e.g. a mobile) it would put all of the images in 1 column.

2. Always Easy to Navigate

As a result, the website is always easy to navigate.  Re-sizing, scrolling and panning is kept to a minimum.  It looks good, no matter how big or small the screen size.  This is particularly useful now as more and more people are accessing the web via tablets and phones.  See the latest stats on internet usage   here .

3. Even on Desktop Reductions

This even works if you reduce the size of your browser, on your laptop for example.  It ensures the best exposure for your website at all times.

At Cotswold Web Services we've recently launched two new websites using this technology - try them out!   Loving Lodges  (Main Picture),   JDP Procurement .  For more technical details on how it works, take a look at this   Infographic.

If you'd like to talk to us about a re-design or build, just call us on 01242 807847 - we'd love to help.

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