Our Blog

Take a look at what we have been talking about

02 Dec

Posted by Roger Martin

We recently teamed up with the creative team at Quest Construction Marketing to develop a Joomla web site for our client Fire Design Solutions. The goal was to create an eye catching web site aimed at the architectural market promoting the Fire Design Solutions sister company FDS Consult, a specialist fire safety consultancy. To create the required look we had to base each page in the site on a different background image and float the content above it. The result is a very different look and feel, but with full CMS control from the Joomla back end making editing truly WYSIWYG. Other nifty tools employed in the build included Yoo Tools accordions to present more complex data in a user friendly way, and some cool AJAX controls on the meet the team page. Take a look for yourself, ...

Continue Reading
05 Nov

Posted by Roger Martin

We've just finished a project with our friends from CIC for the well known Caterham company, manufacturers of quality fireplaces normally, but in this case for their very high quality granite kitchen worktops business. Basically they needed a nice website to showcase the different types of granite available to their customers, so we provided a CMS solution in Joomla that uses the Yoo Tools plugin with some mods to make for a fluid user experience. But it didn't stop there. The client wanted a nifty estimating system for reps on the road and third party distributors to use. For the front end we created a login area where they can go and create full blown estimates. The layout again controlled by a modified Yoo Tools set up, this time with a neat javascript accordian so that each st...

Continue Reading
04 Nov

Posted by Roger Martin

Well we said we would get into app development. it's a natural progression for us as digital marketers and web developers. James Bache, who looks after the Page Flip brand over here at STAR Digital hooked up with Xerox, one of his clients to produce an app for MK Electric, part of the Honeywell group of companies. The goal, to produce an app that allowed Distributors to search and view tech spec for their quite frankly enormous product range using an iPhone or iPad. James got under the bonnet of Xcode with the developers and they produced a great looking, smooth functioning app and got it listed on the app store. Whole process start to finish, 3 months. Done. Since then we've started work on quite a few more, and the next one to launch is actually part of a Chinese initi...

Continue Reading
04 Nov

Posted by Roger Martin

You may or may not know Mike Nash, author of the Health & Wellness book Aggressive Health, but this guy is a bit of a personality in the wellness world, and walks the talk. We've been working with Mike for a few years now helping him with his digital strategy, and his ecommerce. Until recently he was using ePages, which in fairness was a great estore package for its day (3 yrs ago) but since we've started working with Magento, we've been transferring clients across at the earliest opportunity. Well anyway, I had a chat with mike and mentioned this Magento thing, and he said 'OK, sounds interesting' can you do me a demo? Knowing that Mike likes to 'get under the bonnet' I said 'I'll go one better, I'll put you a complete install on one our servers for you to play with'. Well Mi...

Continue Reading
04 Nov

Posted by Roger Martin

Wow. My last post was in June when we moved the the Old Schoolhouse in Castle Ashby! I don't feel like we've been able to look up since then as we've been working like mad on the redesign and development of the Fellows website. This one was not for the faint hearted, we had from early July until mid October to completely rebuild the site from the ground up in Joomla with direct integration to Microsoft Dynamics NAV and SQL Server. I think its fair to say that we are hugely impressed with what we've achieved, but we are knackered as well! Big ups go out to Andrew Matthews head of design over here for the stunning CSS and AJAX implementations, and the feedback from users has been awesome. The guys at Evo Soft looked after the NAV development on the local side, nice guys. So...

Continue Reading
11 Sep

Posted by rogerm

Interesting to see that Google have modified their search form enlarging the box and the font to about 130% of the original size. At first glance it looks a bit odd if you are a regular user, and you instincively check to see if your browser has inadvertantly been set to a higher percentage view as everything below it remains as it was. However, I guess it will be a usability and accessibility plus and help to reduce the number of typos, or will it? http://www.google.com

Continue Reading
11 Jun

Posted by airtimeandy

We had a prospect enquire about our small business web design service today, and as we were exchanging emails concerning his requirements he mentioned that a lot of companies had told him they would get him to show on the first page of Google as part of the package. This kind of thing makes us cross, as we work hard to build everything to be as compliant as is practically possible and we use best practice SEO techniques during the build process. We know that for a new build to get indexed can take months, even with a sitemap.xml file and a robots.txt file in place. These companies that make promises such as this need to be more transparent about what it is they are actually offering. To be number one in say the search term plumbers is going to be impossible without a huge amoun...

Continue Reading
31 May

Posted by rogerm

We've been building a lot of client web sites recently and its prompted me to write this post to give some general advice as to what you should be thinking about before you start talking to an agency. As the downturn kicks in we've had a number of enquiries where people have baulked at the cost of bespoke web design and build, comparing our prices with others, and I think its important that we make sure prospective clients look at things on a level playing field and understand what they will actually get for their money. 1. Filter out the part time and bedroom businesses There are lots of agencies around that offer ridiculously low prices for so called professional web design. Think about how much you would expect to charge a client for the build of something like a website,...

Continue Reading
04 May

Posted by rogerm

We recently attended the Internet World show in London and found it very interesting to note that a number of companies are developing business models by partnering with open source technologies and then selling on the expert services of design and build within them. We've seen this over the years with the ubiquitous and brilliant Word Press that is used for this Blog, and the number of excellent plug-ins and community support available make it an obvious choice. But as a digital marketing agency, typically we've had to offer robust licensed solutions for clients, and to that end we've been reselling technologies such as Activedition for CMS and ePages for eCommerce. The catch for clients in this climate is that they come at a price, a typical license costing thousands before you've e...

Continue Reading
01 Apr

Posted by rogerm

We've been a bit too busy to post anything lately due to the volume of work over here at Star Digital. We've had new web builds to do for Swatkins Silverware, Crown Green Bowler Discount Centre and Filtersource, all of which are complex solutions. As always we made sure that each site was properly configured with Google Analytics so that our customers can get a good gauge of the traffic coming into their sites, and for the Bowlers, understanding the ROI on any advertising or email marketing spend. To that end we noticed that Google have launched a Google Analytics Individual qualification, and updated the Analytics University with some great videos that form the curriculum to the exam. Matt Cutts used Twitter to promote it. The great thing is that some of the videos really ...

Continue Reading
28 Dec

Posted by rogerm

You may or may not know that we are one of the major providers of 3D page flip brochures in the corporate market space, and experience and analytics has shown they do work really well for established brands in complementing their offline marketing material and their web assets. However, like any technology, this has been around in it's simplest form for a number of years, and with the advent of free Flash based plug-ins the basic page turning facility has become something of a me2 product in the general marketplace. Pricing points have been pushed down, and all of the online Porterian forces have kicked in, including in a number of instances the classic 'free' service. Buyer beware though, it ain't always free. Often you'll have the company brand plastered all over the page skin, ...

Continue Reading