Wednesday, June 29th 2011 | Short URL
Where did June go? This month has flown by but it hasn't stopped our clients from getting up to all kinds of interesting things...
Newly launched websites using Green Hosting:
Cycle Hire - Helpful online search for cycle or cycle equipment hire in the UK.
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust launch City Butterfly Watch!
Attenborough Nature Centre anounce upcoming wildlife art exhibition by Paul Dyson.
Climate Change Gardening encourages us to plant trees wherever we live.
Climate East Midlands seeks contractor to facilitate better understanding of the impacts of small scale hydropower installations.
Factory Design's Lee Bazalgette talks sustainability in this month's New Design magazine.
Just So Festival interviews children's author and illustrator David Lucas.
Luxury ethical jewellers Fifi Bijoux joins the 'style mile'.
Car Free Walks members get a discount on Lakeland Walker magazine subscriptions.
Greenhouse PR interviews eco hero and friend of Make Hay, Dave Hampton.
Great & Small Physiotherapy are offering a 1 month free trial to veterinary clinics in their local area.
Carbon Tee launch Carbon Tee Couture
Friday, June 24th 2011 | Short URL
Well, strictly speaking this is a week in the life of one half of Make Hay. I should add that during this busy week and every week, the other half of Make Hay, Jez, is even more busy managing projects, designing, developing, building and providing support to our Green Hosting clients as well as a whole range of other tasks.
I thought I would write about one of my weeks at work because sometimes it’s interesting to find out what goes on behind the scenes of a business. The idea of web design might conjure up pictures of us sitting at a computer for many long hours creating lines and lines of code. Well it does involve that, a lot of it, but it involves many other things too. So, here’s a little insight into one of my weeks at Make Hay back in May...
Monday is always a ‘kick off’ day, setting things in place and making plans for the coming week and beyond. This Monday is the start of Green Office Week and to celebrate we’re offering a special prize of free Green Hosting for a year for one lucky business. I’m publicizing the offer as much as I can with the help of fellow greeny business people all over the country. I’ve been really heartened by my colleagues in the green business world who have helped us spread the word.
Over the weekend we have received a new sign-up to our Make Mail e-newsletter service. We handle each sign-up individually so I contact the client to welcome them, set up their account and send them their details and guide to get started.
One of our new web design projects is just moving into the design phase, so after I’ve dealt with e-mails I block a large amount of time out of the day to begin the design. To set design plans in place I’m referring back to our previous conversations with the client about their business objectives and their website content as well as their existing brand.
Throughout the day (as with all days), e-mails are coming in from clients with updates and questions about ongoing website projects or web hosting work. One of the non-client e-mails included an invitation to hold a stall at a green film festival so I get in touch with them discuss the details and then I’ll be thinking about what publicity materials and equipment I’ll need to take along.
Right at the end of the afternoon I receive a message from one of our clients whose new website went live last summer. A lady had called her up because she loved her website and wants to get one too. Our client contacted me to say she had recommended us highly to her. A great way to end the day!
This morning we receive confirmation from one of our long-term clients, Climate East Midlands, that they would like to go ahead with some large developments to their existing website. I check our schedule and book the work in, alongside providing the client with details of information we need from them and some timescales. Just as with new web design projects we use a careful process for ongoing development work to make sure everything stays on time and on budget.
My next job is to switch over to the focus of another project. This is a new website build and is in the content gathering phase. Because this is usually quite a long period of time when the client is working alone to write their content I like to check in to make sure everything is on track and those involved are clear about what they need to do. I have a chat with one of our client’s staff team responsible for providing content. She updates me on their progress and we arrange to get in touch again the following week, ready for moving on to the next stage.
Via our blog, newsletter and social networking pages we like to provide helpful web-related information to our clients. That may be a ‘how to’ article or marketing tips or news about directories for green businesses, for example. Because many of our Green Hosting clients use WordPress as their blogging platform, I decide to write a free guide on how to update their WordPress installation. I don’t publish it straight away though, but will wait until a new update is available so that the guide is relevant.
To keep publicising our Green Hosting competition I take a few more minutes to post it on Facebook and Twitter again and announce it on the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce Website.
Again, a large part of the day and for the rest of the afternoon I continue to work on the new website design and layout I started yesterday. It’s really taking shape and I have the basis of the layout and styling in place.
We receive two new requests for website quotes this morning. Traditionally this time of year sees lots of organisations making plans setting up new projects and so May is usually a busy time for discussing new work. I respond to the quote requests straight away to confirm their receipt but will set some time aside later to go through them in more detail and discuss with Jez in preparation for providing website proposals and estimates to both potential clients
I contact a few green printers to find out about prices for banners and posters which we can use on a stall at events such as the green film festival. Once I get specifications for the poster I start designing the artwork and put the general plan in place. One of the printers I contact is Print Revolution, which I later find to be a gem of a green business right on our doorstep!
Continuing on the website design and layout which I started this week I am to a point where I’m ready to show the client, So I create previews online and send them to him with details about how the design elements address the aims and structure we previously agreed. He responds almost immediately saying he is very pleased with the designs and even uses the word “superb”!
The last piece of work for today is another previously booked update to one of our long-term client’s websites, Winkworth Farm. When this client’s website was first built she was just beginning her new business but since then it has expanded a great deal. So we have some more significant plans in place to develop the website to reflect how her business and range of services have grown.
This morning is all about planning. Planning for upcoming strategic meetings and quotes. We get our heads together for this stuff regularly and decide which of us will tackle what and when.
This afternoon we have a meeting with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Attenborough Nature Centre staff about some exciting new developments to their websites. It is always a treat to visit the Attenborough Reserve, especially this time of year in the sunshine. We have worked with NWT for a little while now and they have agreed to do a photoshoot with us for an upcoming news story, so we’re taking the photos whilst we’re here. Erin, the Communications & Marketing Manager, tells me that they have been really pleased with the increase in website traffic and online memberships since we created their new website and puts this in writing for the article. You can read the finished NWT article here on our blog.
When I get back I need to respond to some e-mails that came in whilst we were out. They include a range of messages, such hosting support requests and responses to me chasing up client progress on a few projects. I give one of our clients instructions on how to upload videos to YouTube as she will be adding them to her blog for the first time soon.
I get a call first thing from a marketing expert who is working with the lovely lady who helped us develop our T&Cs. She wants to find out about our experiences and what we gained from the process. I’m more than happy to provide feedback about this as we received an excellent service.
I spend a bit of time dealing with our own marketing by sending photos and client testimonials to Louise at Perfect 10 PR who will be writing the press release about our work with Notts Wildlife Trust.
The rest of today has been set aside as Green Hosting day! It is important that we dedicate time to our own websites’ development and online strategy as well as our clients'. We’re planning a re-design of our Green Hosting website and a few other developments for our hosting service which you will hear about soon.
In between working on our own project, we break to carry out some admin and respond to client e-mails. At the end of Friday I go into the weekend feeling pleased that this busy week has been productive.
Monday, June 20th 2011 | Short URL
We are very happy to welcome pickIT to Green Hosting at the celebration of their 1 year anniversary. Meet our client pickIT...
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.
pickIT is an IT Training company providing high quality, bespoke training solutions with an environmental and ethical twist.
2. How is your business different to that of others in your industry? How do you stand out from the crowd?
pickIT offer learning solutions to enable your company to provide training that is online, accessible and adaptable to the needs of your staff whilst reducing costs and the environmental impact of your company.
3. How would you say your work is ethically and / or environmentally responsible?
pickIT has committed to give upto 10% of its profits to charities each year. In 2011 our chosen charity is Save the Children.
pickIT also has an Environmental Operating Statement with some Green Operating Values, Guiding Principles and a Green Contract which we ask clients to sign and adhere to whilst working with pickIT. These were created by ecoConcierge who I can strongly recommend to help companies find their “Green” way of working.
4. What motivates you to do business this way?
Since my volunteering days with VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas) in Papua New Guinea, I have realised I need to give something back as I am lucky enough to be able to do so. Having fundraised through marathons and giving time to voluntary organisations in the past, now having my own company I can build my commitment and values into the company from the offset.
5. How do you communicate your positive work with clients and potential clients and how do they respond?
Hopefully through our website, word of mouth and also twitter we hope to start communicating this message across and work with clients with the same principles as us, as well as encourage other clients to start thinking this way.
6. Do you see your work as part of a movement of ethical business?
We hope so. I think people are realising we need to work for something we believe in rather than to just pay the bills and luckily I have always felt this way and now have the opportunity to fulfil this.
With regards to training people are trying to find ways to save money, and online and elearning solutions provide this as well as being carbon friendly with no travel involved!
7. Share your top 3 tips on how other businesses can work more responsibly.
8. How do you see the future of your business and what are you most excited about?
We want to really get involved with ethical and green companies and help them deliver their services with more efficiency by training their staff. We hope to build a good core green client base from which we can continue to build on the values of the company.
I am just excited full stop! Setting up a company is a great adventure in its own right and I hope to really work with some great companies in the future!
9. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your work?
We want to really help companies save the environment and save money! From creating a simple online guide on how to print duplex; to creating complete learning solutions for implementations and projects using webex and web conferencing tools saving on the training costs as well as the companies carbon footprint.
Visit our website and find out more and help us to help you work better, greener and cleaner…!
Monday, June 13th 2011 | Short URL
For those of you who use WordPress as your blog or website platform you'll know that the guys over at WordPress regularly release updates for the software. It is important to make sure that your website is using the latest version of Wordpress to ensure its best security and functionality.
Updating your WordPress installation is relatively easy. You just need to take the necessary precautions and make a few clicks.
Your WordPress website will tell you when an update is needed and when that reminder message appears at the top of your admin dashboard you should go ahead and update.
We've created a simple downloadable guide to help you update your WordPress website easily. If you're still not sure and don't want to tackle it yourself then do get in touch and we can help you out