Websites That Cost The Earth


As a web design firm, we often come up against recurring objections, one of the most common is “Why should we pay a web designer to create our site when I can do it myself?”

It is totally understandable that the uninitiated would think this, after all there is a plethora of cheap web design software out there, some comes free, some comes bundled with Office and for the more unscrupulous, the Internet provides many opportunities to illegally download top of the range web design software that we pay hundreds for.

So with all this in mind – why bother using a web design company at all?

First – You get what you pay for.

The first and perhaps most fundamental point that the self builder is missing is that their time has a value, let’s say a nominal £30 per hour.  

With many web design firms, the price you are quoted reflects the amount of time spent in consultation, design and build. Obviously, self-builders don’t need to consult with themselves - they already know their own business – but they are not web designers. Therefore, without support, they will need to:-

  • Source and install appropriate web design software
  • Source and install appropriate graphic software
  • Learn  to use the web design and graphic design packages (with limited or no understanding of the nuts and bolts of websites)
  • Design an make up their first web page and then build the subsequent pages
  • Select reliable web hosting (good luck on this one!)
  • Set up their web address and hosting; and
  • Figure out how to get the website live

I’m not sure how this list reads, but if you have limited experience this is one hell of a journey! When contending with running or setting up a business, the last thing you need is to focus on a peripheral.

Second -  Search Engine Visibility

So, the first hurdle has been jumped, a little greyer and wiser but what a fantastic site! And it’s there for all to see – well, those that know it’s there anyway.

The amount of times I’ve heard the proud proclamation ”I rank top in Google if you type in my company name!!” – This is a great start, but the real money is in finding NEW clients that don’t know your company name. If you are nowhere to be seen when someone is looking for your service then you could be losing millions in potential revenue.

Now many web design firms don’t offer search engine optimisation as a stand alone product (we certainly don’t) but they should know what words should go where to grab the attention of the search engines. It is for this reason that if you are looking for a dune buggy safari (Arabia Horizons), Osmo Products (Winchester Joinery) or an APW Cabinet (CommNetworks Ltd) you will find our clients right at the top of the first page in Google (NB: True at the time of writing).

Again, if you want to learn how to optimise your website for search engines, the answers are all out there. There are numerous forums frequented by friendly, helpful people who are only too happy to answer questions – but if you’re starting from scratch – it’s a fairly steep learning curve.

Finally – You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

There are numerous pitfalls to web design that are practically invisible if you don’t know where to look.

For example, we cross-check our work in numerous different browsers (Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari etc.) against numerous different platforms (Windows, Mac etc.) because different variations of these understand web code slightly differently – so you’re beautiful design that looks great on your computer could well look awful when someone else looks at it on their computer. This is just one of the many issues web design companies are aware of and just deal with as a matter of course.

In summary, I have a great deal of admiration for those people who self-teach themselves web design, I know what it takes to become good at this! I have always said that in web design as in life, everything is a trade-off. If you have lots of time on your hands but little money,then by all means DIY is a great way to go, but if you have limited time and a reasonable cash flow then let the professionals do what they do best and focus your efforts on the things that really matter.



Recession in Hampshire – Crisis or Opportunity


The more time I spend at networking events in Winchester and Hampshire, the more the topic of recession is raised and discussed.

In truth, although it is a topic that is hot on everyones lips, I have seen little evidence of the credit crunch effecting Hampshire companies within the circles I move in – if you talk to people and read local press such the Hampshire Chronicle there are many positive stories and examples of new businesses launching in and around Hampshire, those that should be worst hit such as construction companies and mortgage companies appear to be taking affirmative action and being just a little bit more focussed and intelligent with their marketing and their approach to new business generation.

I guess this anomoly could be down to the fact that those companies that I’m speaking of haven’t hidden behind their desks bemoaning the incoming ‘times of doom’, instead they are out and about making new contacts, actively seeking business and making an even bigger effort than usual.

These guys appear to be looking at the recession as a massive opportunity, a time that forces them to take stock of processes, cashflow and new business generation. Also a time in which competition may be decreasing and the opportunity for inexpensive acquisition is ripe.

 I’ve always loved Duncan Banatynes attitude when it comes to business – in a nutshell, anyone can do it, they just need to get off their posteriors, get out there and put the effort in.



Networking Winchester, Hampshire


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When we started our Winchester based business, we really had no idea where to look for potential clients and partners, so I felt that it might be helpful to

Most of our business is gained through word of mouth or networking primarily in Winchester, but also other areas in Hampshire. We belong to three primary networking groups.

1) BNI

BNI is a weekly breakfast meeting held in Winchester at the Winchester Royal hotel. We pay an annual fee and £10 per meeting which includes a very generous buffet breakfast. BNI is totally focussed on giving and recieving business and is quite rigid in terms of attendance and contribution. Not everyones cup of tea, but it’s been going for over 20 years and really does work for us. It tends to attract smaller businesses, but it’s more about who those people know so it can pan out quite nicely.

2) The Chamber of Commerce

We’ve only attended one lunch so far, but we will be attending a speed networking event in the Winchester hotel very soon. The Chamber is well known locally and tends to attract a more professional, larger business than groups like BNI. Despite our ‘toe in the water’ experience, we’ve already picked up one very good partner who has already started to feed work to us.

3) The Wow Network

This isn’t Winchester based, but seems to float around locally. It’s different from the other events in that its focus is on business owners and running a business as opposed to simply getting business. Definitely worth a look.

If anyone is reading this and would like an introduction to any of these networks, don’t hesitate to get in touch, I’d be more than happy to arrange an invite.

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£500 off Web design in Hampshire!


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Amid the hustle and bustle of January sales, Adira felt we should do our bit. So for 1 month only, we’re offering a fantastic £500 off of web design to any Hampshire based company. Check out our January Sales page for more information.

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Search Engines With Disabilities


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When we first started Adira, we thought we’d discovered a niche in the UK market. The US, and parts of Europe were going bonkers over ensuring that websites were coded to allow blind and disabled access, they had even legislated to this effect. We found that the UK had also produced legislation under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) but very few UK web designers were adhering to this.

What we didn’t realise at the time was that businesses weren’t interested and now, 3 years on the legislation is still ignored by the authorities.

However, our efforts to produce clean accessible code did not go unrewarded. Blind people use ‘assistive software’ to view a website – this is like a little robot that reads the page to them. Interestingly search engines also use a little robot to read the page.

The end result of this was that all of the websites we developed were not only accessible to blind people, but were also prime fodder for search engines – and this was bourne out in the results we were achieving for our clients time and again – without even having to try! Once we figured this out, it wasn’t much of a leap to turn good search engine results into great search engine results – and a new direction for the company was born!

I guess the moral of the story is if we try to do the right thing, the rewards can sometimes be abundant.

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A New Blog is Born!


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I went to a seminar today all about ways to market your website for free and this is the result. As yet, I’ve no idea where it’s going to go, or even who’s going to look at it but I’m pretty excited about the whole thing!

My name is Phill by the way, and I run a web design firm in Winchester, Hampshire, UK.

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