Another example of website design in Christchurch by Activate Design, with this newly launched website for Helix Industries.
An enjoyable project for us as it was a bit of an eye-opener to see the diverse range of tools, engine parts, components, moulds and more, that this company can produce. This website is also a good example of how we can assist with our Content Writing Services, if you're not sure how to best market your businesses unique abilities in a concise and effective way, for the web.
Helix is a Christchurch-based specialist in advanced engineering, who can cater to a wide range of requirements as well as being able to freight Internationally.
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Posted in Graphic Design
New website design for www.noblewilde.co.nz
The Noble Wilde website showcases their fabulous collection of mens and womens clothing and accessories, and their unique wool blends.
A great example of professional images really adding that x-factor to a website. Catalogue images are shown in a unique feature gallery.
Posted in Graphic Design
New website design for www.decontaminationmedix.co.nz
It was wonderful to meet Jason Pickering from Decontamination Medix in person, and discover his passion for the health of New Zealanders, relating to quite valid concerns about the health of NZ homes.
We were glad to have had the opportunity to create this website, as well as offer our content writing services for the site, increasing awareness about maintaining healthy homes in our unique New Zealand environment.
Posted in Graphic Design
WHAT IS CACHING?
Most websites you visit will be saved in the ‘cache’, so that the next time you visit that site, your browser shows you the saved version of that website from your last visit. A very clever way of storing things for later use - BUT it means you don’t always see the current version of the website you are viewing!
Wikipedia offers this extended explanation;
"In computer science, a cache is a component that transparently stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster. The data that is stored within a cache might be values that have been computed earlier or duplicates of original values that are stored elsewhere.
If requested data is contained in the cache (cache hit), this request can be served by simply reading the cache, which is comparatively faster. Otherwise (cache miss), the data has to be recomputed or fetched from its original storage location, which is comparatively slower. Hence, the greater the number of requests that can be served from the cache, the faster the overall system performance becomes."
CACHING IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW BECAUSE...
A lot of our clients use our WEP EDIT PRO Content Management System (CMS), which is a system we have developed at Activate Design as an alternative to the many CMS systems publicly available today - specifically created to be user-friendly, as so many of the currently available systems are not. (Most CMS systems are programmer-friendly, not user-friendly.)
Caching is important to know for when you're making changes to your website in the Admin Panel of your site, then viewing your website - and your changes don't show up! This is likely to be because you are viewing the Cache version of your website. This is something that can cause endless frustration unless you know what is happening.
Why do things get Cached?
1. Caching saves time - a site can be loaded very quickly from the cache, rather than from it's source. Very handy if you are looking at the same websites regularly.
2. Caching reduces bandwidth and traffic - reducing congestion on Internet sources by showing viewers the cached version of a site they have previously visited.
Where is the Cache stored?
There are many ways in which a Cache is implemented, and it can depend on the settings of many of your browsing tools, from server to your browser itself. The Cache could be implemented by one of the following;
- Caching in memory
- Caching in files
- Caching in the database
- Caching in cookies
HOW DO I VIEW THE ACTUAL VERSION OF A WEBSITE - NOT THE CACHE VERSION?
To view the current version of a webpage you are visiting do a 'Force Refresh' or 'Hard Refresh' in your browser.
This will tell the browser to pull up the latest version of that website, direct from it's source, rather than just show you it's cache version.
How do I do a hard refresh?
PC : hold down 'shift' and 'F5'.
Mac : hold down 'control' and 'apple' and click refresh.
I hope this has been an interesting and informative look at Caching, both for those who use our WEB EDIT PRO Content Management System, and for anyone learning more about browsing the internet.
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Posted in Graphic Design
New website design and development for http://aroundnzrentals.co.nz
Newly launched website utilising a unique booking system and features that allow you to easily see the vehicles' suitability to your needs and book at your convenience.
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Posted in Graphic Design
Flooded by emails offering print and website services?
Yeah, us too.
Most of these emails say they have been to your website, analysed it, and can offer to re-design the website, provide an SEO Service and offer additional services.
However, if these emails were for real, if these companies had actually been onto our website in particular, and “analysed it”, they would know that we are a web design company, that we create websites and offer SEO ourselves along with a host of other professional services.
So I must conclude, and feel obliged to warn you, many of these companies are not going to your site first and though they may actually offer these services, they seem to be going about it the wrong way. I don’t know about you but these tactics of sending out bulk spam-like emails are not okay with me.
Now I get about 10-12 of these messages every week, offers of SEO and website re-design, as well as ‘photo cutouts’ and print services, and I wanted to assure our blog surfers that we do participate in this type of bothersome marketing.
If you would like a Website created; take a look at our Portfolio Page to see the quality of websites that we produce, then give us a call on 0800 308 8996 or use our Contact Form to send us a message.
We would be happy to come to you to discuss your needs, or you are welcome to come to us for website re-design or a brand new online presence that we can design and build for you.
If you’re out of town be assured we have a lot of experience in designing for companies all around New Zealand and can meet with you via Skype, and alternative communication.
We are a Christchurch-based company, offering great service and transparent prices. If you are looking for quotes on Website Design, Development and Website Hosting, you will be pleased with our competitive pricing and the range of Services we offer, from our ActiveMail Newsletter System, to iPhone and iPad applications and a range of Printed Media.
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Posted in Graphic Design
WHAT IS THE REASONABLE PRICING FOR WEBSITE HOSTING IN NEW ZEALAND?
WHAT IS WEBSITE HOSTING EXACTLY?
HOW MUCH SHOULD I BE PAYING FOR WEBSITE HOSTING?
Most people need managed hosting, and we provide it at very affordable rates for managed hosting, often more that 50% cheaper than some of our competitors.
Hosting prices are based on server space and bandwidth.. the smaller and simpler the site the cheaper the package is.
Important aspects of website hosting to consider ;
- Will my site be hosted on a New Zealand server?
- Will there be top notch security to prevent website hacking?
- Will there secure, reliable back-ups in place?
- Does the hosting company offer on-going website support or once my site is live is that it?
- Will there be good access of communication between my hosting company and myself?
- Will the server provide fast performance for a fast loading website?
- Will the hosting company care about my needs or am I just another partition on a server?
If you’re looking to hosting with an overseas company, you may have to compromise on many of these points above. Overseas hosting may offer a cheaper alternative but you may find that you are just another number, a website space to be crammed onto a server amongst hundreds of other sites, much like chickens kept in battery cages, something we feel strongly against.
Hosting your site on an overseas server will also likely mean slower loading time and slower website speed overall. Something to be aware of is that there are New Zealand hosting companies who host their websites on overseas servers, so if you don’t know where your website will be hosted – ask!
At Activate Design we offer more "free range" hosting, as opposed to your "battery hen" type hosting. We host all of our websites right here in New Zealand with Servers based in Auckland and Christchurch from respected companies who assure ultra-modern facilities with full redundancy in connectivity, power and cooling, as well as a priority to maintaining the highest levels of server security.
We look after you. And that’s an important part of who we are, being accessible and knowledgable to offer website support for all your potential requirements.
We have automated systems that manage your hosting and domain names, allowing you to manage your invoices, domains, and to process payments conveniently, all in our online system. We’re also right here in Christchurch, and at the end of the phone if there’s anything you need assistance with, or send us a support ticket for faster action from out team.
WHAT IS WEBSITE HOSTING EXACTLY?
Here is a brief layout of just exactly what website hosting is, and the basic steps involved in having a website created for your company, before hosting becomes a factor.
A definition of Websites, Website Hosting and Domain names
A Website is your place on the internet. It needs to be run in a program and there are many to choose from. At Activate Design one of our most popular programs is our WEP system. This is a unique website system that we have designed and developed to be user-friendly, specifically so our clients can access and edit their own sites with ease and simplicity, and at their own convenience.
WEBSITE HOSTING is the physical place where you website is located. While your live website is available on the internet it needs be hosted somewhere, on a server. Servers cost money, so the hosting costs money, and that cost is dependent on the size of your website and the type of website you require whether it be a simple CMS website or an eCommerce site where you wish to sell your goods and services online.
A DOMAIN NAME is the address of your site. If you think of your website like a car, then the hosting is the carpark where it is located, and the domain name is the signpost directing people to your parking space. Website Hosting and a Domain name are both part of having a website.
The hosting of your website and the domain name may be more convenient if they are managed by the same company, as we do. We have our uniquely developed ActiveHost system which automatically notifies you when your domain name is coming up for renewal, and also sends out your hosting invoices automatically.
We offer the convenience of being able to log-in to our ActiveHost system so you can view your invoices and domains online, check the availability of new domains and purchase them if you wish, and pay at your convenience.
Next is a brief summary of the steps that are involved in having a website created, just to give you some idea of what need to be done in creating a website, and things to think about before undertaking the process.
Website Steps To Creation;
- WEBSITE QUOTE - we talk to you in brief about what kind of site you need, what you need it to do and the audience it will be aimed at. We then propose a site that would suit you. We have developed our own CMS (Content Management System) which is the background system that runs a website, and we have created this to meet the needs of clients who need a user-friendly website that will allow them to make changes to their website themselves with ease and efficiency.
- WEBSITE CONSULTATION- this may include time for the consultations on exactly what you need from a website and how it is to look and to function. This may include more than one meeting to discuss your ongoing requirements.
- DOMAIN NAME– if you do not already have a domain name that suits you company name and the business you offer, we can assist you to pick one, or two, or more! You need a main domain name to direct users to your site, but you can also have additional domain names that also point to your website as required. For example, you may wish to have; kiwiknifesharpeining.co.nz – as your main domain.But you also may wish to have additional domains, for example; kiwiknife.co.nz / kiwiknives.com / kiwisharpeningservices.net.nz – which can all be signposts to direct website surfers to your website.Additional domain names can be added at any time, but one domain must be registered to you to direct people to your webiste when it goes live.
- GRAPHIC DESIGN for your Website – once we have a target and know the style and look that would suit your business, our designers will attack a project with gusto, creating backgrounds and buttons, header bars and the overall style and imagery of your website.
- WEBSITE WRITTEN CONTENT– any content for your website can be written by our clever wordsmiths, who will usually meet with you in person and take notes on your business in a comfortable interview-like situation, finding out about you and what you do and writing it in a way that will appeal to your client base while targeting online search engines to ensure optimal web traffic will find you.Copywriting is usually an additional service on request, and not included in the overall cost of building a website unless discussed previously.
- PUTTING THE WEBSITE TOGETHER– programmers take all the design and content information and put them together adding functionality and consistency. Our programmers seamlessly make the buttons work, align the navigation, add any additional functionality as requested, and get the website to a finished stage.
- WEBSITE GOES LIVE - Once the website has been put together we ask you to review your new website and let us know of any changes you would like before the site goes live.
How much should I pay for website hosting?
We have heard stories of people being grossly overcharged for their website hosting, so we just wanted to ensure we are transparent on the subject of the hosting charges you would expect to pay for having a website online.
In all website hosting companies there will be a variety of hosting packages available, some may say free hosting – but that does not necessarily mean free!
Be wary of companies offering "free hosting" or "free domains", there is no such thing. It could be a matter of that cost being applied to you under a different guise or having a website that is undermined by annoying pop-up advertising that most web surfers will steer well clear of.
It could be that the cost of hosting has been built into the cost of the website build, but this gets a bit fuzzy when you realise that a website build will take a fixed amount of time to complete, but the hosting will continue indefinately... it seems strange to combine the two - and how do you know what you’re really paying for?
Website hosting fees should be separate. There should be a cost for building the site. Then there may be additional costs for content writing if requested, or any functionality above and beyond what was initially discussed and quoted for - which will be clearly laid out and agreed to by you before being undertaken. Then there will be the cost of a domain name which, with us, you are able to register it yourself through our easy to use ActiveHost system.
Registering a domain name means it then belongs to you, and if you wish to keep it you need to register it annually, or for multiple years as convenient. If a domain lapses there may be a small window with which you can re-register it, otherwise it will be available to be registered by anyone else and you will not be able to reclaim it unless by negotiation with the new owner.
If we manage your domain name this will not happen. We will not allow your domain it to expire without you being notified well in advance as we closely monitor all of the domain names in our care, and our automated system means you are notified well in advance of domain expiry. Lastly there is the hosting fees, dependent on your website size and type, and these fees will be ongoing for as long as you wish your website to be live on the internet.
Website hosting should be based on the type of website best suited for your needs.
Basic categories of website available
- A simple view-only website This is a website for viewing, for providing information and can be edited by us as required.
- A CMS Website A CMS or Content Management System website, is one that you can edit yourself when and how you see fit. We provide training on the use of our unique wep-site system so you can have control over your own website content.
- An E-Commerce Website This is a website in which you can edit the site, and can sell your goods and services online. If your site gains more products and grows in size you can easily purchase more space on our server to allow for further website growth.
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Posted in Graphic Design
- Well, Why Should I?
Your browser works fine, internet speed is okay, your emails are readily accessible, credit card transactions process fine and the sites you visit work as expected, so why would you need to update your browser?
Website design and functionality is great to work with, design and build … until we get to the stage of trying to make the website function consistently across a wide range of different browsers!
There are so many new features available to website designers and programmers and we like to utilise all the creative potential for website design that we can, to ensure we are creating modern websites, stylish websites, fast loading websites, creatively unique, appealing and cleverly designed websites.
If you are using an older browser you simply may not be seeing the new effects and features that are available on modern websites. If your old, outdated browser does not understand the code it should be displaying, it will just ignore it and show you what it does understand, it may display as broken pages or links that won't work.
The simple truth is that different browsers work differently. They perform differently in searches, speed and performance and you can choose whichever browser you like best... just keep it updated would you please?
Advantages of updating your website browser regularly;
- More Security
- Better Privacy Settings
- Faster Browsing Speeds
- Continuous Updates Made Available
- Browser Extension and Application Add-ons
- Cross Platform Browsers – to adapt to Mobile and Android devices
What you will miss out on by not updating your browser;
- Features, Enhancements and Nuances of new website design
- You are accepting potential security risks and bugs
- Older browsers become unsupported
We create fantasitic websites, brilliant websites, stylish websites and modern websites all for the enjoyment of you, the web surfer. But we can’t be sure you are getting the whole experience if you are using an out dated web browser version!
So don’t miss out on enhanced website surfing pleasure – updated your browser today, right now! And look to update your browser every six months to a year.
How do I update my website browser version?
If you use Window, to update your website browser visit; windows.microsoft.com
If you use Firefox it will normally auto-update, but to ensure you’re using the latest version visit; www.mozilla.org//firefox
If Chrome is your style, this normally auto-updates as well, but to check visit; www.google.com/chrome
If you use Safari, visit this link to download the latest website browser version; www.apple.com
Firefox usually auto-updates unless you’ve told it not to. To check if you’re running the latest visit; www.mozilla.org/firefox
Chrome also auto-updates but to check for the latest version visit; www.google.com/chrome
If you’re browser is not listed, visit www.google.com and type in “update my browser” – then enter the name of the browser you use.
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Posted in Graphic Design
The Process of Having a Website CreatedHaving a website created can be a daunting concept for some people, so I have tried here to simplify the process for those who have not had a website or online presence before; a beginners guide to websites, website design and web hosting. We create Christchurch websites and websites for the Canterbury region, as we are a website company based in Christchurch. We can also work with you to create a website for companies New Zealand wide, utilising the many forms of communication available to keep in touch and arrange online meetings.
STAGE 1 - INITIAL MEETING. What to expect when discussing the initial concept ;
Website Basic Concept : By all means if you have an idea of the design concept for your website make some notes to bring to the first meeting. It’s a great idea to have a look at other websites to see what you like and don’t like about whats around. Note down any features that catch your eye, even colours that stand out. Having an idea of what you want gives us a head start at meeting your requirements, and can speed up the planning process.
Website Content : At a first meeting we are finding out the products and services you have to offer and how to advertise them online in the best possible light. We are working out the aspects of what you do and perhaps sketching out some major topics which would later become separate pages on a website. Splitting information up into chapters or tabs is a good way to clarify what you do, and is much less confusing for your clients as they can jump to a particular topic rather than have to scan through all your information to find what they need.
Your Online Target Audience : We need to find out who your target audience are, and the best way to showcase your products and services in a way that best advertises your ability to meet their needs. Your online target market will directly influence the design and the language of your website, and the look and feel of the design and content management is how we achieve this.
Are you aiming at families with children? Industry professionals? Companies in the Canterbury region or the rest of New Zealand? Are you aiming your web content to those who already know about your area of industry, or introducing your profession or product as a new concept that needs a higher level of introduction and explanation? Corporate or industrial, professional or casual, these factors will play a part in making sure your website appeals to the right kind of target market.
Time Frame And Budget : At this first meeting we would be asking about your time frame and your budget. Do you have any events coming up for which you need your site to be ready for? Are you involved in any convention or event where you would want to be handing out your website address to gain new business? This could extend into our printing service whereby you may need business cards or flyers printed for a specific event. Having a time frame and a budget is a good thing to think about when extending your business into an online platform.
Domains, Website Hosting and Email : Firstly, a domain name. Do you have one? If not we would need to discuss an appropriate name for your site to get the process started. A domain name is an essential part of having a website as it is the signpost that directs people to your site. Having a domain name involves an annual registration fee of around $30.00, which we can arrange for you. Planning forward for when your website is ready to go online, we will offer you secure website hosting service, on our own New Zealand based server, with the ability to offer you secure email accounts to match your website at our website design christchurch company.
STAGE 2 - QUOTE After running through these initial concepts and working out the best way to meet your business needs, we would provide you with a quote, which will be emailed to you with a break-down of the costs involved. On approval of the quote and a 50% deposit we would proceed with your project.
STAGE 3 - DESIGN With great enthusiasm for a new web project we dive into your website preparation. We put the new site up on a temporary domain for viewing only, without all the working parts such as roll-over button changes or click-through links just yet. Typically we place ‘placeholder’ text and images, to indicate the layout and style of the design, and we can temporarily add an ‘under construction’ page to your real domain, so you won’t miss out on clients finding you in the meantime. When the initial stages of layout come together we welcome you to view the concept creation in its temporary domain location.
Be Involved In The Process : At your own pace you can be involved in the website design process, let us know of any changes of layout and design as the site evolves, and providing us with your context text and any images you wish to include, and we're convenient to contact for website design in Christchurch. We can source images for you, and also offer a copy writing service if you want us to apply our skills in this area. Writing copy for web is a service we offer if you are unsure how to promote yourself in writing. We can chat with you over the phone or arrange a meeting to gain the knowledge of what you do, and turn that into clever, detailed information for your customers to gain insight into your business. Usually splitting this offer into chapters or ‘tabs’ on your website, to give customers easy access to the information they require. The design phase of your site usually takes several weeks, dependent on the size and requirements of your site.
STAGE 4 - DEVELOPMENT Once we have a layout and style that best communicates to your potential and existing clients your unique business identity, then our website developer integrates your design into a content management system (C.M.S.). We get graphic aspects of your site working so all the navigation buttons work and any moving banners or video content and links are active, and it’s all put together into a polished working website. At this stage we add any email accounts that you have requested.
STAGE 5 - CONTENT LOADING Once the site is on a working platform, we load the graphic aspects of your site - text and images, into the C.M.S. and schedule a ‘switch over’ date to smoothly transition your site to our live hosting service, or your chosen provider.
COMPLETION At this final stage we invoice you for the remainder of the agreed quote for your website. We recommend a scheduled meeting for some training on how to log-in and edit your unique content (which some our sites can be built to allow), and get your familiar with the content management system. Alternatively we can manage your content and any future updates for you, if you prefer just to phone or email us with future alterations. This service will incur small fees charged on a time basis only.
SUMMARY These days if you don’t have an online presence you are missing out a lot of potential business. At Activate we want to give you the chance to connect to those who are looking for you online, because people will go online first to find a business or service they require. It is faster, easier, and all around more convenient to find what you are looking for online by web surfing, than it is to look on a map or in a phone book. So here’s a quick summary of main points to think about, before contacting us to assist with your website creation :
- What are your unique products and services that you wish to market online?
- Who are your target market?
- Do you have an idea of time frame?
- Do you have a budget?
- What domain name would best signpost your website?
- Would you like us to manage the registration of your domain name?
- Would you like us to host your website?
- Would you like an email account or accounts to accompany your website?
- When would it suit you to arrange an initial meeting?
For more information or to arrange a meeting and begin the process or having a website designed in Christchurch, please feel free to give us a call, or send us an email. Your may wish to view our online website portfolio, to gain an idea of the our unique design quality and creativity. Call us today to make an appointment to meet with the team at our Christchurch Website Design Company.
ActiveMail - our simple email marketing systemSend beautifully designed email newsletters to your customers by utilising our clear and simple email marketing software system.
In choosing this service we can create a unique template or templates for your company, including your logo and brand, company colours, and any features to ensure your newsletter is recognized as your own. Then with the click of a few buttons you can create your own unique newsletter, easily add links to your website or links to your email contact, and add images to suit.
Another unique feature of ActiveMail is that your newsletters can be saved as drafts. This means you can have newsletters on the go until you are ready to send them, perhaps building them up slowly with products of interest or events as they happen.
Once you have chosen to send your newsletter you can utilize the powerful analytic tools of this program. These tools allow you to see many statistics of each email campaign, for example, how many people have opened your email, how many have followed links and which links were most popular, as well as being able to see how many unsubscribed, and how many forwarded your email to a friend. This statistical information can be very handy in knowing which areas of your business are generating the most interest, which products or services are the most popular and what people are recommending or would like more information about.
This feedback our newsletter system can offer you will help focus your company, your website content, and your business structure to meet the needs and interests of your client base, all the while encouraging their input and welcoming their responses to what is offered, and perhaps most importantly - keeping the lines of communication open. An accessible company is a very desirable one to work with. A company you never hear from usually leads to loss of sales and clients looking elsewhere. Email marketing will encourage brand loyalty to you and your company through better communication.
Keep in contact with your client base today by giving us a call to discuss creating a beautiful email template for you through out ActiveMail system. You will be pleasantly surprised just how easy it is to create informative, stylish and beautifully presented newsletters offering your services to the world.
ActiveMail was originally created as a solution to the many and varied email campaign systems available today, some of which can be very difficult and frustrating to use, with ugly templates and hard-to-decipher navigation. Yes there are many email systems on the market but none as easy to manage or clearly accessible as ActiveMail, our unique email marketing software system.
ActiveMail make the process of sending targeted email campaigns to your clients, one that is easy and enjoyable. Contact us about ActiveMail today.