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WE MAKE WEBSITES THAT WORK FOR YOU.

IS IT TIME TO GET A SITE SUPER-FIT FOR TODAY’S WEB USER?

  • RESPONSIVE OR WHAT? THE OPTIONS.

    All the recent buzz has been about ‘responsive’ web sites. The idea has been around for a few years, but the meteoric rise of the iPad, iPhone, Kindle, and whatever Android, has made a responsive site a must-have for many users.

    This is because a responsive site doesn’t mind what screen it’s on. It adjusts to fit. On a wide screen elements go side by side, and on narrow screens they stack up in a nice logical order. In very simple terms, that’s it.

    ‘Responsive’ is important, because increasingly web browsing is done on multiple devices, out and about, work and home. When the numbers on small screens were quite low (and we didn’t know better!) we did special ‘mobile’ sites for smart phones. Stats now show if someone is pushed onto a different ‘mobile’ version of a website they are much more likely to just go elsewhere. Folk now want the ‘full deal’ on their phone (40% of browsing?) or whatever, or nothing.

    And ever watchful of what the world wants, Google likes ‘responsive’, and what they like, we generally do, to get at the top on page one of the search results. They like responsive sites to the extent that they publicly state (as of late-April) they will give preference in search results to mobile-friendly sites. So if the competition is responsive, and you’re not, be worried.

    But, ‘responsive’ web design is more work, therefore more expensive, and anyway not essential for everyone! If yours is a trade audience, then yes, a site should work on a regular screen and an iPad, but on a phone, maybe not?

     

    See what ‘responsive’ means for this site. On a regular ‘big’ screen, PC or laptop, narrow the window right down, and see the bits move around. On a tablet or phone, change the aspect, landscape to portrait, and back.

     

    “We’d both like to thank you for your help and hard work over the years. Your input has been over and above just the standard web design service and your tips and insights have been very much appreciated.”

    Hari and Colin Fell, Spring 2015.

    Designing and maintaining web sites as a business began 2004. We have in-depth web design and skills experience. See our…

    WEB SITES

    The ‘Croque’ name is from our restaurant days. We offer serious business knowledge. We’re not just techie designers. More…

    ABOUT US

    We also advise on menu design and content, and help build award-winning wine lists for hotels and restaurants. More about the…

    OTHER STUFF

    Web sites are a lot about cost. The budget will dictate what you get. DIY is obviously cheap, but do you really have the skills? I liken it to restaurants. You may cook and go to restaurants and know decent grub, but could you run a restaurant? Much more than just cooking and serving!

    You may recognise the qualities of a webpage, but there’s a mass of stuff going on you don’t see, and it may look OK on your screen, but what about all the other devices it might be viewed on? And DIY sites have cheap, shared hosting. This means you’re sharing an IP address (like a phone number, how your site is found) with maybe several thousand other sites. If one of them ever gets blacklisted for something dodgy, you get caught too - same IP address.

    If you can afford a few hundred pounds, a simple site can be yours. Non-responsive is less expensive, and quick to put together. Responsive is today’s gold standard but really, prices start at about £600 for essentially five or six section site. And on-going it isn’t just hosting, there’s updating the system structure, security and back-up to factor in.

    Big point. Web sites are never finished. We should always be reviewing them in the light of customer usage, tweaking and developing. If only because technology is always moving along.

    Below we offer a sample of recent sites, to show what we do. They can be sorted by category.

    SITE CATEGORIES

    BUSINESS. Sites out there to directly make money, or as ‘shop windows’ for a business’ wares or services. Any sort of business, these days, needs a site.

    CMS. Means Content Management System, but really it’s about sites that you, the client can add to and edit the content, to a greater or lesser extent. Everyone likes the idea of it, but do you actually need it, or how much do you need? Restaurants say, need to update their menus, but maybe not much else on a regular basis. And it can be a useful check for an outside third-party (us) to review and tidy up text. Remember, folk don’t read any more, they scan, so keep it brief and to the point.

    HOSPITALITY. Restaurants, hotels, bed-and-breakfast places, outside catering. A special area for us because we have the skills, knowledge and experience.

    NON-RESPONSIVE. Static, fixed-width pages. Sites used to be all like this. Not to be dismissed, can be made to look good on anything from a tablet upwards, can struggle on phones. BUT do you need phone access? I ask the question because static sites are much cheaper.

    NOT-FOR-PROFIT. Typically charities and voluntary groups and clubs. You can expect some kind of discounted deal.

    WHAT DOES IT ALL COST?

    For a basic website, the minimum is around £400 (+VAT, as on all these prices). But that is going to be three or four simple pages of a static site, and for a responsive site it will be more. That’s not to say we’re not open to small jobs. If you go to www.putleygardens.org.uk you’ll a very simple one-page static site (got privacy statement, site map, etc. so not exactly one page). It was done for free, because it’s for my village, but would have cost only say £150 including hosting and email setup. The techie stuff of setting up takes a slug of time for starters. Beyond that depends not just on the number of pages but also on the complexity e.g. custom on-line forms, and how much you give me of the text, pictures, logos, etc.

    A usual sort of small restaurant site with all the bits like email setup, will be around the £800 mark if you are doing responsive, which you ought to be. Our base charge currently is £42.00  per hour for the work we do for you on an ongoing basis. Charities and not-for-profit groups get discounts.

    Hosting on a superfast dedicated-quality server: from £10.00 per calendar month, three months in advance, plus back-up and maintenance. £15 to £25 is the usual total monthly fee. Expect more cost for responsive which has security and backup complications.

    THE PROCESS

    The deal for websites is that we work on the theme and a look for the homepage. When you are happy with that, we ask for 33% of the quoted total and a signed contract (sorry, has to be a contract!). The rest is due fourteen days after going live. By the way, all things being equal, we always stay within the quote price. Search engine work, adwords and such, costs about £60 set up. ‘Pay-per-click’ when a punter comes to your site. 15 - 50p. a hit? Bit more at the start, to ‘establish a presence’. Think £100 initial budget. Though there are freebie vouchers from Google Adwords. If you want to get stats on traffic, pages looked at, number of visitors, etc., Google Analytics works well. Free but but a small bit of time to set up.

    Domain names. For a .co.uk domain, £3.50 per year (£5.00 renewal), and £7.50 (£7.50 renewal) for a .com. First time you can buy from two to ten years, so starting a .co.uk with a few years can make a saving. Domains transferred in free. I charge you only the discounted cost to me, which I know is about as cheap as you can get it. Setting up email through your site - included.

    All-singing spam filtering if you need it, through Gmail. Gmail is free to use and provides excellent on-line backup as well as taking out 99% of spam. We get your messages routed via Gmail and back to your mailbox. Your phone and tablets can synchronise with the Gmail account easily. Costs about £60 in time to set up.

    NOTE:
    The key to keeping website costs down, is to do your homework ahead. Think about the pages you might need, which means working out what you want to really say, and write some text in say, Word. Do a very basic layout on a sheet of A4 paper with blocks named for each section or page you think you’ll want. I can take that stuff plus as many pics (don’t worry too much about the quality!) as you have, and start from there.

    And tell us which sites (not necessarily in the same business as you) appeal to you re. colour and style. This is very important. The site must reflect you and your business or organisation.

     

    LET’S TALK. CONTACT US.

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    ABOUT CROQUE-EN-BOUCHE

    After college, I was a Unilever trainee, in advertising and marketing in London. In the Ad world for three years (eat in a lot of good restaurants; why I went for the job?). But the restaurant world beckoned and I opened a bistro in Battersea in 1972.

    Met Marion in 1976. She’d done office work until she got fed up and decided to train to cook. Cordon Bleu took her on, and she was top student. We were like minds, food nuts!

    In 1978 we started Croque-en-Bouche (we keep the trading name still), on the side of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire. It was a very small restaurant, just myself and my wife, and a washer-upper. We weren’t fancy, but we were pretty good.

    Michelin Star for 22 years, and always in the top ten of the Good Food Guide. And won all the UK wine awards. Our enthusiasm for wine grew, we bought more stock than we ought, and became wine merchants alongside the restaurant business.

     

    In the end, we got too old to be polishing glasses at 2.00am, and decided to quit restaurants while we were winning! Carried on as wine merchants, and consultants, and through into web design.

    The Croque had its own home-made website early on in 1997, but more than decade ago, we did our first commercial sites for restaurants and hotels. We built up and widened from there and cover all-sorts these days, but our specialist catering knowledge is often still useful.

    We’ve seen the whole Internet world blossom. In 2011 we decided to leave the wine world too, and concentrate solely on web and design work, with some wine and menu consultancy. And hope to do that for many a year still.

    We don’t have opening times as such. We’re available most days, including early evenings up to about 7.00pm (drinks time!). Pleased to talk with you, by e-mail, here by appointment, or on the telephone. Saturday and Sunday are good days.

     

    OTHER STUFF WE DO

    We often have to write copy, and edit and proof read text. Part and parcel of developing many a site. We’ve also created logos and brand images.

    Clients often need publicity materials too, like brochures, spec sheets, promo cards, letterheads. If we’ve done the site we can design that for them quite easily and economically. And get them printed and delivered to them using Vistaprint in Holland. Not expensive, always top quality and delivered within seven days.

    We do advise on restaurant and hotel menus, where we have considerable experience and expertise. Ours was a very small restaurant (70 diners/week?), but currently we work with the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny, where they do over 1,000 meals a week. Learnt a lot there!

    And some of the wine lists I’ve worked on have got some major awards, like AA Winelist of the Year. I am responsible for the wine list at Shaun Hill’s restaurant, The Walnut Tree Inn. He and I choose the wines together.

    CROQUE-EN-BOUCHE,
    The Old Post Office Cottage, Putley Green, Ledbury HR8 2QN

    Contact Robin and Marion Jones: mail@croque.co.uk

    t: 01531 670809

    CONTACT US?

    7 + 2 =

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    © Croque-en Bouche Web Design.

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  • We would love to speak with you. Phone Robin Jones: 01531 670809.
    Or use the form at the bottom of this page, or via: mail@croque.co.uk.