New website for Brighton-based band

The Complete Set
Some clients are happy to leave the design of their website to us, while others come with firm ideas about what they want - and don't want. The Complete Set - a loose collection of Brighton-based musicians who meet, record and play intermittently - had a very clear sense of what the site needed to look like and provided a selection of remarkable photographs that we collaged and then turned responsive, so that they worked well on mobile devices. We added a News page so that the band could add news - new recordings, 'tours', and other musings - whenever they liked and a Band page with links to their Soundcloud presence. The result is quite unlike anything we've built before.

New website for criminal defence lawyer

Tildens
We've just finished a new website for a Brighton-based solicitor specialising in criminal defence - Tildens Ltd. The site incorporates a bespoke content management system (CMS) which allows the client to change the text on many of the pages along with the list of costs for individual services; there's also a full-featured blog which feeds the latest posts to the front page of the site. What made this site really fun to do was the client's visual sense. Each page is topped by a classic photo from the 50s, 60s or 70s, showing either recognisable public figures (yes, that is Mick Jagger) or memorable scenes from the news that many visitors will remember - for example, the scene from the miner's strike on the home page.

The brief was to keep the site clean, use a minimal colour scheme, add multiple contact forms, plus buttons so that visitors can contact the company using Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp on their smartphones.

New website for childrens' book illustrator

Emily Bolam blog entry
We've just finished a new website for children' book illustrator Emily Bolam and it was a treat from start to finish. Emily came to us with a clear idea of what she wanted from the site and some references from other websites so we could get a good visual feel of what she was looking for.

As with any website where the visuals are the star attraction, we felt it was the job of the design to get out of the way, so decided to keep things as simple as possible - nice tidy sans serif body and navigation and a hand-drawn Google font for the main title. The rollovers on the front page disappear on tablets and smartphones, but the galleries work well across all devices - visitors can use a mouse or trackpad on their computer and simply swipe from side to side if they're using a touchscreen device.

Thanks to Emily's organisation and enthusiasm, the whole thing was completed within a week of her first getting in touch. This is a great example of how you can save money on a website if you're organised and prepared to respond quickly as new versions of the site are uploaded.

Cheap hosting - always check first

cheap hosting
When we build a new website for a client, we insist that they register the domain - that's the 'www' bit - themselves; that way not only do they retain control over the domain for as long as they continue to renew it, but it's also their responsibility to make sure it's renewed in a timely fashion.

We do offer hosting and support however, using fast SSD-based servers located in the US that include the increasingly important (and Google-friendly) SSL certificate as standard, as well as the latest compression techniques to ensure that your site performs snappily when visitors come calling.

That's why our heart sinks when a client tells us that they've purchased hosting along with their domain name "because it was a good deal." Often, these "good deals" are based on using the domain registration company's own website builder - a glass half-full way of building a website yourself in a browser using a limited palette of templates and design tools. This kind of hosting is useless for the kind of website that we build - where we require full access to all the nuts and bolts in order the get the site humming along nicely; which means you've wasted your money.

There are good, inexpensive hosts out there and we're always happy to work with them. Just bear in mind that whatever hosting you choose, the chances are you'll need support of some description over the 12 months that follow, so take some time to make sure that the good deal you think you're getting is actually a good deal.

And if in doubt, always check with us first. We have a list of hosts we've worked with before that meet the minimum requirements for hosting a professional website - better to be safe than sorry.

When Flickr, Blogger, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook turn evil...

flickr-logo copy
Quite often when we build a website for a client, they'll already be locked into using another service. Some might have a Facebook page, others are in love with Instagram, a few are Twitter addicts, while some have their entire photo library stored on Flickr. (Note the absence of Pinterest - this is because none of our clients are 16 year old girls. Yet.)

We love services like Flickr and YouTube and Vimeo because they take the heavy lifting away from our own websites - handling both the storage of stuff that takes up a lot of space and the bandwidth required to serve it up to visitors.

But you can come a cropper when titans like Twitter or even mini-behemoths like Tumblr change the way they allow third parties like us to access their information. This is why Twitter widgets suddenly stop working, or blogs hosted on Tumblr refuse to show up without warning.

Putting your precious eggs into someone else's basket has advantages - usually in terms of cost because you save on hosting - but there are disadvantages too, mainly because you're no longer in charge of looking after your own data. And whether that data is pixels in a photo, frames in a video, words on a blog or zeroes and ones on an MP3 track, you may want to think about balancing the cost savings against retaining control over the content that you've created so lovingly.