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Archive for ‘Web Smarts’

8 Aug
Posted by Monica

Carpets and Floors At Yours Customers Floored by Extraordinary New Website

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Finding the perfect flooring can be a lengthy process.

Carpets and Floors at Yours know this and recently launched an online catalogue that allows users to build a quote online and have their chosen samples delivered to their home to inspect.

The website provides an extensive catalogue of flooring including carpet, vinyl, laminate, timber and bamboo. The products are all very detailed with a visual sample and pictures of the flooring in offices and homes. Each product shown includes specifications, warranty information and even instructions on how to install the flooring yourself!

 

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Products can be shortlisted by adding them to your favourites list and from there you can enter in the amount of flooring required for each room to create a price estimate yourself. If you are still unsure of the products you have selected and need to see them, you can book a physical van to come straight to your doorstep with the samples you have added to your virtual van on the website. Convenient? We think so!

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Carpets and Floors at Yours is a very unique flooring business in Perth. They launched their first fleet of mobile flooring showrooms in August 2012. They saw an opportunity in the market to provide an at-home service for the residential and commercial markets. Each mobile showroom carries over 800 samples of carpet, laminate, vinyl, timber, bamboo and underlay for viewing.

Given they only have mobile van ‘showrooms’ and no physical store, Carpets and Floors needed a way to showcase their products to potential customers, so having an online catalogue made sense. The interactive website compliments their on-location service, by allowing customers to browse their products whenever they want.

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So next time you are looking for flooring for your home or office and don’t have the time to go out to several stores to find ‘the one’, browse online at carpetsatyours.com.au and book a mobile showroom to come to you!

1 Jul
Posted by Davel

Perth Theatre Company Debuts New Responsive Website

Perth Theatre Company has been part of the Perth arts scene since 1983, taking up residence at the State Theatre Centre in 2010. Their old WordPress site was in need of an overhaul to accomodate an increasing amount of content in a way that was easy to manage. We created a whole new responsive design for the website and customised pages with flexible content areas and many custom fields to keep the layout of show details consistent. The changes were dramatic, resulting in a site that is not only easier to update, but allows for more flexiblity in the way content areas are used.

Perth Theatre Company responsive website - Home page on tablet and mobile devices

The home page features a dynamic banner area, automatic preview of the latest blog post, newsletter signup field, Facebook feed and two static feature areas for promotions.

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The pages for shows use flexible content blocks with two size options, allowing a number of eye-catching previews to be set up with ease.

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The blog offers glimpses behind the scenes of PTC productions and all the latest news from the company.

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Our somewhat metaphorical LaunchCake was an apple and blueberry strudel from Corica Pastries. Like a good theatre show, strudel is complex and has several layers, leaving the consumer with a sense of fullness afterwards. (This is less than 1/3 of the strudel…the whole thing was so long it wouldn’t fit on our cake stand!)

9 Jan
Posted by Jane and Jayde

Should I put up a holding page? Questions, answered…

We get asked about holding pages all the time and whether they are worth the investment and often it depends on your business, competition, product and strategy. We launched a flurry of landing pages just before the Christmas break and were asked to quote an unprecedented amount last year. Here are the top three questions, answered.

Is it enough to simply put my logo and address up there?

If you are a physical business like a doctor, coffee shop or dentist this might be enough. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (etc) you would be crazy not to add these to the page and encourage people to interact.

What else should I think about adding to my holding page?

We recommend that the very base you start with is;

  • Social links – This enables you to lead people to a place where they can interact with you now.
  • Google Analytics – There is nothing more powerful than seeing how people are finding your business and what sites are sending people your way. As you build your site you might want to consider adding pages and content to rectify challenges or benefit from opportunities presented by Google and referrers.
  • Newsletter signup – If you have the opportunity to build a crowd before you launch your site (especially if you are in e-commerce), why would you pass up on it? We can setup HelloStarfish or link with most other newsletter systems to streamline the storage of your mailing lists for you. Building a crowd before launch means you start business with a bang!
  • Top notch content – It doesn’t have to be a novel (it’s best if it isn’t actually!), but a well-written paragraph synopsis of your business and/or a fabulous photo of your product/s is worth it’s weight in gold.
Should I have a content-management system, like WordPress?

If you plan on having your landing page up for longer than 10 weeks and you want to change your content at least monthly – we suggest you do. However you need to be really strict with yourself about what you really need to edit otherwise you may as well be building your website. Probably the best example of a well-suited landing page with a WordPress content management system is The Globe. They designed a page that was going to be an image banner and synopsis and we suggested that we build in a banner manager so that they can add their projects to showcase as they launch them.

Is it better to keep my old website up there for now?

If you have a huge site and the content is still, for the most-part, relevant then keeping your old site up there whilst you make the new one is probably a good thing – especially if you have lots of content and pages. The reasoning behind this is Google. If you go from 70 pages to 1 page then you are considerably reducing your ‘Google juice’ or footprint. You can make a huge number of dead links too unless you redirect all your old pages to the home page and your relevancy on searches can drop very quickly. We will address redirects in a future blog.

So how much is it going to cost me?

There is no magic number but you should be expect it to be over $300 and under $3000 unless you are being super simplistic or building a mini site. The best way to find out is to call and have a chat with the digital people in your life. If you don’t have any – feel free to call us and we would love to have a cup of tea and a chat.

To make up for way too many words, here are some pretty holding pages designed buy our team and some of our clients.

7 Jan
Posted by Scott Shorter

What makes WordPress websites great: SEO and Social Media

This blog is an outline of the reasons why WordPress is a great CMS for SEO, Social Media, and counters to arguments against WordPress in regards to hackers and security. It is written by the fabulous Scott Shorter, Director at Scott Shorter – Search Engine and Social Media Specialists who holds a B.Comms – BSc (M), Multimedia & Internet Computing from Edith Cowan University.

Content Management Systems

Working as a search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist for a number of different web developers, I’ve seen my fair share of content management systems (CMS). In my experience there are three main types of CMS:

  • Open source
  • Proprietary (created and owned by the developer)
  • Third party (which are purchased on a license)

There are various benefits and drawbacks for each type of CMS and coming from a search perspective we try our best to work with all three. As a guest writer for Clever Starfish, I would like to outline why, in my experience, WordPress makes for a great choice in CMS.

Open sourced CMS

There are a number of open sourced CMS’s available; the most well-known are Joomla, Drupal and WordPress. My personal favourite of these is WordPress for its ease of use, SEO readiness and available features.

WordPress is an open sourced CMS, which means it is an open platform that allows programmers throughout the world to continually develop for and contribute to. The popularity of WordPress means there is likely to be more developers contributing to it than any other CMS, which results in an outstanding level of refinement and extension availability.

Top CMS usage chart

WordPress and SEO

A standard install of WordPress is a great CMS for SEO, with Matt Cutts, one of the world’s most important Google representatives, stating:

‘WordPress takes care of 80-90% of [the mechanics of] search engine optimization.’

The level of on-page SEO on a WordPress website can quickly be taken to the highest degree via specialist SEO extensions following a standard install of WordPress. These extensions save both time and money because they are free and kept up to date with the latest Google algorithm updates by the wider community of WordPress developers.

WordPress and Social Media

WordPress is also a future-proof decision when you consider the rapid pace of social media evolution. WordPress is always at the forefront of what’s hot because of its hundreds, possibly thousands, of social media-ready extensions, with new extensions developed within hours of a social media change. This allows your WordPress developer to build faster, higher quality and more advanced functionality for a better price.

Security and WordPress

I often hear the counter sell that open source CMS’s are an attractive target for hackers due to their popularity. As a generalised statement, this is a one sided spin with half the facts of the story missing.

It is true that open source CMS’s are an attractive target for hackers, but primarily this is only true if your CMS is not kept up-to-date. WordPress’ attraction to hackers comes from vulnerabilities (all CMS’s have vulnerabilities) in out-dated versions of WordPress being left open. This means hackers are able to use the same vulnerability on another website that uses the same out-dated version of WordPress. However, this concern can be easily avoided by making sure your developer applies updates on a regular basis. If this is done correctly, the risk of being hacked is arguably no greater than if you were using any other type of CMS.

Putting security in perspective

The risk to WordPress security can be put in perspective when you consider that Matt Cutts (one of the world’s most important Google representatives) uses WordPress for his personal blog, as does rap mogul Jay-Z and renowned comedian Russell Brand. National burger chain Grill’d also uses WordPress for their corporate website.

Backups

It is important to understand that no type of CMS is hack-proof. If a hacker is unable to gain access to your website via the CMS, it is still possible for them to gain access through other avenues. This means it is essential that you make sure you have adequate backup procedures in place as a backup is often the quickest and most cost effective way to recover from an attack.

Final word

WordPress is a great CMS to use as a base for SEO and the Starfish crew are undoubtedly clever people for using it! Pay attention to your updates, backups and enjoy your future proof decision to go with one of the world’s most flexible and friendly CMS’s!

17 Oct
Posted by Jane and Jayde

Christian Fletcher Launches New Look Responsive Website

Last year our team took a trip down south to say hello to the Fletcher team in their Dunsborough gallery after spending months on the phone. We felt it was about time we met in person! We already had a really appreciation of the beautiful photographic work of Christian Fletcher as it was great to be greeted so warmly in their stunning gallery.

Christian Fletcher’s original site was one of the earliest Tentacle stores. When we met with them we realised that they were beginning to grow out of the current version and wanted to take their online presence to the next level.

Christian Fletcher’s original site

Pretty quickly we got onto how we could look at improving the current site and it was pretty clear that they truly are innovators and love to lead the way. After the trip our team chatted about how we could address their needs and enable them to steer their business on a daily basis without us having to rely on us. They wanted control and we wanted to be able to give that to them.

We really do appreciate that they also let us run with some exciting features that we hope will make their site even easier to browse or buy a ‘Christian Fletcher’ that suits you.

All of these changes were not made lightly or at a whim. Our team spent a long time reviewing the popular sections of the site, listened to feedback from their team and other photographers who work closely with them. We didn’t want to make ‘change for change’s sake’ and hope that this is reflected in the new look.

Probably the biggest noticeable cosmetic change is that the site is now responsive, enabling purchasing, browsing and blog reading on the go. Visitors can also save their favourite images to the Wishlist and purchase from both the photography store and the gift store.

The site is not just about selling though and special care has been taken to consider first and foremost those who want to view images and read the latest happenings in the life of Christian Fletcher.

We will revisit this site in future blogs to explain further features including; gift vouchers, product pickup, room-view, coupons and how we approach responsive sites.

Check out their site at http://www.christianfletcher.com.au or pop into one of their galleries in Dunsborough, Margaret River or Mandurah.

Launch Cake: Chocolate Mousse Cake

16 May
Posted by Jane

New Sophie Kyron site goes mobile

We are excited to announce the relaunch the new look Sophie Kyron site. Of course, with our love of responsiveness – we felt it was imperative to get this site optimised to work on tablets and phones, as you can see below.

This website features an upgraded Tentacle for the online store component  (the site won the Australian Web Awards for the old site) complete with inbuilt voucher generators and sales modules. It also seamlessly connects to StarfishSend to easily manage subscriptions and e-newsletters.

 

Special thanks to Milkable, who designed the new logo and took fabulous photos for their products under the guidance of Jayde here at CS HQ.

9 Mar
Posted by Jane

Design responsively, people!

We promised our fabulous client/friend/social guru/roving blogger for the week, Joe Millward, who is over at SXSW that we would make him a video demonstrating responsive design. Here you go, man… We hope it helps to prevent losing your voice by the end of the conference.

If you are all about HD, go here.

 

19 Jan
Posted by The Creative Team

Sophie Kyron’s new site: Sneak Peek

Sophie approached us today to give her Facebook fans a sneak peek of her website currently in development. How could we refuse when we’re just as excited as they are are about this new look!

We are very proud to be offered the chance to rejuvenate a site that we originally launched in 2008. You can check out our original blog here.

One of the most exciting things about the new design is that is is a responsive design. In essence, this means that the website has inbuilt smarts and actually optimizes itself for the screen you are using. Gone are the days of squinting at your smartphone on the train or at the beach.

The site still uses a combination of WordPress and our very own Tentacle, as it did back in 2008 – but these have just been tweaked and upgraded. We have also added a spoonful of social so that you can let us know what you are loving and sharing with your friends. There are more surprises too, but we don’t want to reveal everything!

The upcoming range is just getting added to the new site. Here are some snaps on our iPhone as we took the product photos. Let’s hope Sophie doesn’t mind us sharing those with you too! To be the first to know when the new site is up be sure to sign up for the newsletter on her current site.

For those of you who aren’t on her Facebook, you can find it here.

4 Jan
Posted by Jane

Google likes it ‘fresh!’

Google has changed their algorithm to favour fresh content. This means that new content is going to play an even bigger part in how your website ranks on Google. Here are our tips to ensure that your website stays up top:

Get a blog within your site – If you don’t have a blog yet, get one! If you have a WordPress site, this is very simple and you can call us to arrange this. A blog allows you to add fresh content that is neatly contained in an area where people know to look.

Share your news! – If you have great content and your own social media, share the link via Twitter, Facebook, Google + and other people’s sites or social bookmarking sites. Also, if you have a blog, have ‘share buttons’ so that the people visiting your site can do some of the heavy lifting and share for you.

Don’t just add content to your blog (if you even have a blog!) – If your services or products change, update your content to reflect this within the relevant page. Google will reward you!

If your current digital strategy has been to ‘launch and leave’, this will almost definitely have an impact on your website. Luckily, our mantra ‘content is key, content is key’ – so many of you already have blogs. We can help you to plan for your content rollout, make a content plan and even write the content for you if needed.

To find out the ins and outs, check out Google’s blog or contact our team.

7 Dec
Posted by Jane

New Site Launched for Clever Starfish

Ok, so we look sorta different… but don’t you think it was time we matched the outside to the inside?

Our new site features the latest projects we have launched with details included for the features that are not always possible to showcase from the front-end. It is a responsive design that morphs to fit a PC, tablet or phone.

Our blog will continue to feature articles on the most-asked questions we get and projects will be featured as we launch them to showcase the amazing clients we get to work with every day.

15 Sep
Posted by The Creative Team

Wild Lily Empire’s new responsive design launches

We are proud to announce the rejuvenation the Wild Lily Empire site, a complete overhaul of the look and feel to better represent the brand after a big year of growth and the addition of a new store in Northbridge.

Liz Thomas and Ellie Johnson have been running an amazing set of stores for years and launched their first site many years ago. They came to us wanting to bring more life to their website and find out how we could help them with some tools that would allow them to better communicate with their growing online customers in the same style as they do in their physical stores.

This family business has embraced our team as part of theirs and this allows us to have the best outcome for their business – whether it be producing their newsletters, photographing their products, writing product descriptions or even helping to choose the range of products that are put up on the site.

Check out their site, blog, Twitter, Facebook and latest newsletter.

2 Nov
Posted by Kay

Reputation Management Part Five: Google yourself!

Throughout this series we’ve looked at what reputation management is, what Google Alerts are and how to use them, and what to do with the information you receive. There is one more element to managing your online reputation: Googling yourself.

Everybody does it, and nobody likes to admit to it, but Googling yourself (or your business) is one of the easiest ways to find references to yourself. The main thing, though – the reason why Googling yourself is actually important – is because Google searches look for old information. By comparison, Google Alerts email you when something new pops up online.

You might not consider that this ‘old versus new’ is of any import. But when you think that Google trawls Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, as well as every other website that exists, you may start to feel otherwise. If anybody has ever said anything online about your business, and you Google it, you are likely to see it. If you rely solely on your new Google Alerts, all of those older comments will pass you by.

This is also why it is important to stay on top of your professional and social networking profiles. Make sure they’re always up to date, and active. They not only provide good ‘link juice’ when you do, but they help to establish your business and your brand. Remember: Even if you are not Googling yourself regularly, other people may be! Running a search on yourself occasionally is a great way to remind yourself to keep those sites up to date.

You hit up Google… what next?

The first thing you want to do when you see page listings is to ask yourself, ‘Do I have control over this page?’ for each result.

If you do have control over it, make sure it looks good in search results. Tweak the title, edit the teaser or summary text. Make it as inviting as you can. There are possibly a few sites you may have signed up for – especially in the early days of your business – and completely forgotten about, so this is one way of unifying your online presence.

If you don’t have control over it, and if you are not happy with what it says, try to contact the site or page owner. Find out if you can adjust the text somehow. Most webmasters are fairly relaxed about this type of thing.

Spot a crisis?

Let’s say that you Google yourself and you spot negative content that you can’t change, and can’t respond to. If you believe that it is likely to impact on your business, you might want to consider professional public relations help to get over this hurdle. There are tons of reputation management and PR firms out there that can help you through this. But if it isn’t quite such a big deal, try getting in touch with whoever owns the site and finding out whether it might be possible to get it changed – or to at least get your own response posted. There is never any harm in trying to build new, good relationships, and of having the confidence to respond to something that needs your input.

In Summary

Keeping tabs on your business’s reputation is a vital part of your public relations and crisis management strategies. Given the breadth and depth of the internet, it’s something that should be an essential part of monitoring your business. Thankfully, doing this online – via Alerts and regular Googling – is simple to set up and easy to keep an eye on. Once you start doing it, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it before. Especially if the results are positive for you, and you find yourself able to throw even more sparkle into your marketing.