Website: Black Lodge Cabins

Who are Black Lodge Cabins?

Black Lodge Cabins are a family run business in Cumbria, they noticed a gap in the market for well made luxury cabins and sheds, be it for storage, a garden office or even just a summer house. Their products are built to order and done so to the highest quality. They know the importance of quality and consistency when it comes to creating a strong company brand which really helped when they came to us to do their website.

What did we deliver?

Dale, the owner, came with a rough idea of what he wanted, so we sat down and sketched everything out. “Who was the target audience?”, “What was the purpose of the website?” and so on. Once we had our mission, we put together a WordPress site and began to theme it along the branding guidelines that Dale gave us.

The WordPress website needed to act as point of contact for people wanting to get in touch, but also a place to show how strong the brand and quality is. The final challenge was to portray the products in a way that could really get accross the difference between them and a premade / bought shed from you usual DIY stores. We did this by allowing the photography to take priority on the product pages. As with most of our projects, this is just the start of the website for Black Lodge Cabins, they are looking to add lots more products and content along with some great ideas for lead generation.

App: Me, But Better

Who are Me, But Better?

Our client for this project is a company called Dogtooth, an experience design company based in North Yorkshire. These are also the guys that own Wall Glamour, and Startup Stickers. Rick came to me with an idea for an app. Which was to be able write your own custom affirmations on your phone and get regular reminders, which is a key part to the affirmation process itself. Rick had been using someone else’s app, however the app was functional but poorly designed. however the app that was available to do this looked terrible and was frustrating to use, so despite Rick offering feedback to the other app, he got no response, so the next step was to build his own.

What did we deliver?

There are 2 parts to this project, the app and the website. Rick provided all the designs and the intended workflow for the app, which we then turned into a working app using Ionic. Ionic is a javascript framework that allows you to build an app for both Android and Apple iOS. Normally you would have to build a completely separate app for each (due to them using different programming languages). We launched the app on both platforms and they both went down really well and we’ve had lots of positive feedback. We’ve also had some issues along the way which has made it an interesting experience with it being our first app on the market. It is a continuous development when you run an app because all technology moves forward and you have to be ready to adapt to stay on top of it all. We’ve also recently added a few new features that we’re excited to launch to the users.

The next step was to promote the app through a website, so we put together a website that promoted the app in a way that would show it off for how good it actually was. We also focussed on the SEO side of things for this site and, currently if you search for “custom affirmations app” Me But Better comes in at number 1.

Website: Truly Independent

Who are Truly Independent Financial Advisers?

Truly Independent Financial Advisers are a national company with their head office based here in Carlisle. They have IFAs dotted around the UK and offer independent financial advice on things like mortgages, pensions, and investments. They’ve gone from strength to strength and are now looking to increase the number of IFAs under their name.

What did we deliver?

This is a slightly different project to your normal website as it is aimed directly at the certified IFAs here in the UK, which amounts to a total of around 20,000 people. The project is ongoing, but our aim is to use content marketing and automated marketing to turn website visitors into leads. Once the IFA is on the system, they get a series of emails to encourage them to book a discovery session. The website isn’t aimed at the general public so the challenge has been keeping the content and design different to the consumer facing website. The integrations with the third party website have been a great addition to the automated marketing, as it means that there is a lot less admin in the long term for their team to do.

The second part of this project was to create an application form for once the IFA had decided they wanted to become part of the Truly team, this is a 10 part legal form with hundreds of questions and requirements. The challenge with this part was to make the form as fluid and intuitive as possible whilst making the admin side of things as straightforward as possible for the Truly team. Once again this was all built in WordPress, which allows all the content to be changed by the Truly staff, as and when they need to.

Website: Westland’s Country Park

Who are Westland’s Country Park?

Westland’s Country Park is the latest addition to a series of Lodge parks and Holiday Parks spread across the Scottish Borders. Part of the Border Caravan family, Westland’s has set up to be a prestige location for clay pigeon shooting and course fishing, along with the development of a series of lodges for sale / hire in their beautiful grounds.

The site was formerly an activity centre for things such as paintball and go karting, however the challenge is to make sure that the new business is totally dissociated with the old one. This would allow the country park to really stand out and shine through as the prestigious and quality destination to visit in the area.

What did we deliver?

This was a ground up project, starting with nothing, we tasked the design team at Split with the branding (logos, colours, brand guidelines etc) and website design. While we set on with building the core of the website. Using WordPress we built the admin area so that the Westland’s team could update and add content to the website themselves keeping future costs low. We added events and properties to the admin of WordPress so that events etc can be posted in the easiest of ways.

Website: Interwoven

Who are Interwoven?

The end client is based in New York where they develop technical clothing along the lines of baby clothes with heart rate monitors and temperature sensors in them, which then sync to your phone so that you can monitor your baby with ease. A lot of their work is concept work, but they also work closely with companies like NASA for fully bespoke projects.

My actual client for this project is a design agency based in Leeds called Split. I’ve been working with Oli for a long time now and their attention to detail is exactly what you need for projects like this. I’ve used Split for my own projects many times and I’ve never been disappointed with their service, and I’ve worked with Split on some incredible projects… including being part of the team that built Dizzee Rascal’s official website a few years ago…

What did we deliver?

Split came to me looking for a bespoke WordPress website that would allow the Interwoven team to manage their own content and add projects etc without the need for coming back to us each time. The two key elements here were the ease of use for the admins, and then also turning the designs from Split into an accurate WordPress theme that was responsive and loaded quickly.

When we built the website, we knew that there would be future changes to make as their projects evolved, so as with every website we build, we made it as future proof as possible so that they didn’t need to come back and get a full redesign each time. The great part of this website is that there was no crazy integrations which meant that there was time available for us to spend on some slightly more advanced effects such as the roll overs and staggered fade ins, and while they’re subtle, they really add to the whole feel of the website.

Website: Lakes MTB Website

Who are Lakes MTB?

Lakes MTB (mountain biking), started as just an Instagram account who searched for and reposted images from the Lake District. This became a huge success in a very short space of time, which led Andy to think about the next steps and how could he really put the Lake District on the map for national and international mountain bikers. Andy is not only a mountain biker, but also a graphic designer, who owns/runs a graphic design studio based in Kendal called Cactus Creative.

The problem that Andy had, was that whenever he posted a photo with a stunning view and some bikes, everyone would start asking him where it was, so to fix this he came up with the idea of creating a website to act as a landing page for people to find routes to ride in the Lake District. Andy knew a lot of talented photographers and video makers, so he decided to combine everything into one.

What did we deliver?

For the Lakes MTB site, we worked remotely with Andy and the Cactus Creative team to get the design of the website right. I’m not sure if you’ve ever worked with graphic designers before but they have a fantastic eye for even the smallest of detail. The kind of detail that most wouldn’t notice, but when everything comes together it makes the whole design look more polished. We built the site on WordPress, and use the Instagram API to integrate the stats and latest images into the website. We gave their team full access to go in and add their own content and make their own changes, this is one of the most positive things about WordPress, just how easy it is to use.

The website acts as a great platform for Andy and the team to get stuck into affiliate marketing which will allow them to create a small revenue stream to cover their costs.

Website: Wall Glamour

Who are Wall Glamour?

Wall Glamour have been running an online Shopify store for over 10 years, and have had a lot of success in that time. From being featured on 60 minute makeover to being written about in many of the nation’s Home magazines. They supply a unique range of wall stickers that allow you to add really interesting artwork to your walls without needing to stencil or get dirty with paints. I personally love it, so much so that I have their massive tree wall sticker behind my bed.

When Wall Glamour came to us for their website overhaul, they had run into some trouble on the search engines. After riding the wave of being number one on google for a very long time, they quickly noticed sales drop off and the phone stop ringing, this was all down to their website being penalised for something, so we started off by updating the theme in the hope that a fresh set of templates and code would help get them further back up the rankings.

What did we deliver?

Our job was to take the Shopify website and reskin the part that the users see, and you can do this without affecting any of the underlying workings of the website. This is one of the great attributes to Shopify. Working directly with Rick, the business owner, and in charge of the design, we started work on making the site look modern and fresh and much more appealing to use. We added microdata, made the website work on mobiles properly, and a whole host of other features to try and win back some SEO points after the damage done by Google’s Panda update (the name of Google’s algorithm change), and while there is still a lot of ongoing work to do with Wall Glamour, we are back in the rankings and slowly creeping back up the search rankings. The website has been received well from their existing user base.

Website: Bruce and Luke’s Coffee

Who are Bruce and Luke?

Bruce and Luke have been good friends of ours for a while now and we set up their first website for them before they were fully operational with their roaster. The first website was very much a “meet a budget” stop gap until they knew how everything was going to pan out, it was an absolute delight when they came back to us for a totally new website with a good healthy budget that would allow us to really deliver something their customers would love.

They’re an energetic duo based here in Carlisle, supplying local cafes with their wholesale coffee beans and machines, as well as shipping their coffee nationally through people’s mailboxes.

What did we deliver?

With this being the second time round, we knew what we needed to deliver from the word “go”, we were to build a straight to the point, no hassle, strongly branded, fresh website. We needed to include eCommerce on there, even adding in the ability to buy coffee subscriptions (sidenote: due to growth in other areas they have removed the subscription options for now until they are able to handle the growing number of customers!).

The part of the website that people see, really puts the message across of the type of brand that we are working with, bright colours, bold lettering and really obvious calls to action so that the users know exactly where they should be going next.

The part of the website that users don’t see is that admin area, and this is the place that holds the most power, this is where Bruce and Luke can manage their orders and users accounts, they can monitor payments and even sync all their sales over to Xero so that there is one less layer of admin to worry about.

We worked directly with Luke on all the design decisions. He’d done most of the research himself and he knew exactly what he wanted, and how it all should work. This working relationship really helped us create a website that ticks pretty much every box it needed to without much compromise.

Fresh Coffee eCommerce

This is the third iteration of the Bruce and Luke’s Handcrafted coffee website.
It will not be the last.

The internet, and all it’s associated technologies move and evolve so quickly that your website can be out of date within a year or two, however done right, this isn’t a problem. I only use WordPress for my websites now unless I really have to use something else, and this is because it is so versatile and if you do everything right at the start, that base can carry you along for many many years. All you need to do is refresh the look and feel of the website, the content and data within the website can stay the same. This is ideal for people like Bruce and Luke who had an e-commerce shop with rolling subscriptions as it meant that the service was uninterrupted.

The benefit of using a CRM like WordPress is that any decent web developer can look at your website and get to grips with it relatively quickly*, and it is by far the best supported platform on the web (I have spent the last decade trying everything available, so it’s a fairly educated opinion, but still an opinion non the less).

Bruce and Luke came to my office here in Carlisle, and said “we want to up our online game”. So as I previously mentioned, this would be iteration 3, optimising from everything we’d learnt.

  • Iteration 1: I put together a quick website and bought a theme (if you want advice on themes get in touch, some can be more hassle than they are worth! ) just to get something online, at this point, the lads hadn’t much interest in pushing things online, as they were focussing on getting their roasting process perfected. Phase: Get online
  • Iteration 2: Processes in place they came back and wanted online subscriptions and a new look website. At this point the transition was easy because there was no real data worth saving from iteration 1, so we started again, we bought another theme and then I gave Luke a few weeks of tutoring on the do’s and don’ts of websites and editing things in WordPress, and then he came back with a website fully loaded with content and products ready to sell (and a lot of broken bits, but he saved a big chunk of budget by doing the majority of the content editing himself, then coming to me to fix the bits he broke). The subscriptions proved a success but they noticed that they were getting a lot of enquiries about their machines, which this version of the website had not focussed on. Phase: Learn how it works for you
  • Iteration 3: We started from the ground up, we wanted to sell to consumers like you and me at home, sell coffee to cafes, and then also sell machines to other businesses.  Running a cafe is where their skills lay, so selling machines came from a very well informed background, and we wanted to utilise this online. So we had the brief, and they came to me with a good brief knowing what they wanted and how they wanted to achieve it. Phase: Optimise!

I sat with Luke on a regular basis as we built the site up to match what he had in his head, it all started to come together. One of the things we really focussed on was making sure that we provided only the content that was needed at the right time as so many websites clutter up the user experience and just generally make it difficult for the user to figure out the next steps on the website.

Along with the clean looking theme, the other aspect was to integrate with all the tools to help them track and manage their users in terms of customer experience, so we developed forms for every different option, we then integrated that with CRMs and mailing lists so that they can provide the right data to the people that are interested.

The end results have come out fantastic, and have received a high amount of praise from their existing and new customers, and have already taken requests for top end coffee machines.

One of my favourite things to take away from this job is that by working with Bruce and Luke, they have completely upped their online game. They have put the time and effort in to learn how everything works and the dynamics of the internet as a sales and interaction platform, they came to me with questions that I couldn’t answer on a regular basis, so not only was I teaching them the ways of the force online, they were pushing me to my limits and kept me learning.

If you’d like to take a look, Bruce and Luke’s Coffee handcrafted in the UK.

*This is not always the case, sometimes when previous developers cut corners and try to do a “cheap” job, it ends up leaving long term management of the website an absolute nightmare, so my advice to you if you’re looking for prices for a WordPress site, don’t assume you’re getting the best deal just because it’s the cheapest deal. You will end up paying more in the long run, and at a time when you can’t control it.

Before and After

(drag to reveal the new one)

Welcome to the Lake District

One of our clients, is Wall Glamour, and one of our favourite products of theirs is the giant wall mural.

After looking at pictures of them for so long we decided it was time to bite the bullet and get one of our own in the new office. Using a photo from the talented Scotty Stephenson (Check out all of his other work when you get a spare moment), and having Rick come and fit it for us, the transformation is astounding… see for yourself… and if you’re in Carlisle City centre at any point, come in for a cuppa and see it for real.