Posts in the category

ICANN Domain Verification

Tuesday, February 11th 2014 | Short URL

Recent changes to ICANN's (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) policies mean that some domain name owners will be required to verify their contact details via their domain registrar.

If you are required to verify your details you will receive an e-mail notification from your domain name registrar. Please be aware of any possible fake or spam e-mails imitating this request and always make sure that the e-mail is from your domain registration company.

Domain Suspension

You will be required to verify your details within 15 days of being asked to do so. Failure to do this within the 15 day timeline means that your domain will be suspended. Your domain registrar is obliged to make the suspension until your details are verified.

If your domain is suspended your site will not be available online and you will see a message like this at your web address (will vary depending on domain registrar):

ICANN Domain Warning

If we are the e-mail contact for a client's domain then we will carry out this verification on their behalf.

To find out more please see ICANN's information about verification of contact details.

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Ay Up Mi Duck - New Website!

Monday, February 10th 2014 | Short URL

We've designed, built and host this lovely one page mobile-ready campaign website for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

Ay up mi duck mobile ready website

Find out more about it in our portfolio.

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A New Shop for ORCA

Monday, January 6th 2014 | Short URL

Last spring we created a fresh new website for the whale and dolphin conservation charity ORCA. The site has been exactly what they needed to highlight their work and get people involved and we've been really pleased to see it grow with new and exciting content.

Now, the latest addition to the website is the ORCA shop, which they commissioned us to build to sell their branded merchandise online. This new e-commerce system allows ORCA staff to fully manage products as well as other shop functions such as stock control, shipping and secure payments. For visitors the online shop is clear and very easy to use, with a basket for multiple items and a swift and secure checkout. It's mobile-friendly too!

ORCA online shop

Take a look at ORCA's new shop. Their clothing range of tops, hoodies and t-shirts are all made from 100% organic cotton.

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Climate Gardens - New Website!

Thursday, November 7th 2013 | Short URL

We recently launched this gem of a site for Climate Gardens, the organisation raising awareness and understanding of the effects of climate change on our gardens, parks and green spaces.

Climate Gardens home page

Climate Gardens on mobileOur commission involved initial consultation and site planning, copywriting support and creation of of a visual brand in-line with the existing logo. As well as design of responsive layouts, full HTML5 coding of all templates and implementation of the content management system.

More pictures of this project and features of the website can be found in our portfolio.

We provided training and support on writing and preparing online content for our client's audience as well as how to use the content management system.

climategardens.co.uk is powered by renewable energy via our Green Hosting service.

 

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Special birthdays, great greenness and inspiring movies

Thursday, October 31st 2013 | Short URL

Once again our clients continue to amaze us with their brilliant work and projects. Here's our latest...

Client News Roundup

Planetary Collective successfully met their Kickstarter target to create their feature length documentary. Check out the trailer, its incredible!

Climate East Midlands is on the hunt for good examples of low carbon schools to feature in new case studies.

Ethical Weddings shares some slow beauty tips to help green brides feel great.

Dummy Jim the movie was featured on BBC2's See Hear programme, available on iPlayer.

Lee Goater's fun, interactive exhibition of graphic art 'Faces, Anatomy of Autonomy' was opened in Leeds. You can also download the app 'Make a face' (available for iOS and Android). Here's the little face I made.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust sells vintage items from 1963 to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Leeds Parent Partnership Service launches a new support group for those who care for a child with special needs or a disability.

Creative Nottingham celebrate their 4th birthday. We are proud to have been their hosting sponsors for the past 3 years

Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve's volunteers are interviewed on BBC Radio.

Fifi Bijoux reports on her Fairtrade Gold Conference speech in October.

Wayfarer Furniture launched in September - A furniture design and manufacturing company inspired by sustainability, urban lifestyles and cutting-edge technology.

We launched a brand new multi-lingual website for LifeMosaic who work with indiginous peoples all over the world, supporting them to make informed choices and getting their voices heard.

Climate Gardens is another new website developed by Make Hay. Climate Gardens has partnered with the RHS and Abundance to encourage understanding of climate change on our parks and gardens.

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LifeMosaic - New Website!

Tuesday, August 6th 2013 | Short URL

We are very excited to announce the launch of this latest project, LifeMosaic, a mammoth multilingual site for an amazing organisation.

LifeMosaic home page in English

LifeMosaic works with indiginous peoples all over the world, supporting them to make informed choices and getting their voices heard. They produce and distribute educational resources which are available at the website, along with much, much more.

You can read more about this piece of work in our portfolio and for now here are a few screenshots to give you a taster of what it involves.

New, responsive design with a brand and logo re-fresh
LifeMosaic website responsive for mobile and tablet

Created in 4 languages

LifeMosaic multilingual site

Features and content shared site-wide with a clever custom system using ExpressionEngine.

LifeMosaic get involved

Learn more about the objectives and features of this website at our portfolio.

Visit LifeMosaic at lifemosaic.net

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Critical Information for WordPress users

Wednesday, June 12th 2013 | Short URL

Protecting your WordPress website from the botnet 'Admin Hack'   

If you run a WordPress powered website please read this carefully and follow the steps to secure your WordPress website.

A mass hacking attempt using a huge 'botnet' of hundreds of thousands of infected computers is currently trying to 'brute force' attack WordPress websites. This attack works by trying to 'guess' your password multiple times per second. This attack is made easier if you have a WordPress user account called 'admin' as this gives the attacker half of your login information allowing them to focus on the password. There are several steps you can take to make it much harder for the attackers and prevent your site being compromised.

Backup before you start!

Login to Cpanel before you make any changes and backup your database and files - follow the backup instruction on our Green Hosting Support section.

Remove the 'admin' user if there is one

Never use the default WordPress username "admin". Instead, log in to your WordPress control panel, click "Users" and then add a new user with a username of your choosing. Give that new user account Administrator privileges, then logout and log back in as the new user you just created. Go back to "Users" and delete the default admin user.

Note: WordPress can transfer authorship of all posts created by the admin account to the new user account during the deletion process so you should do that and move the posts to the new admin you just created.

Use a strong password

Use a strong password that is hard to crack, use a password generator like this one to create it: http://passwordsgenerator.net/ don't use names, simple dictionary words or places.

Keep your WordPress install up to date

Always keep your WordPress install, themes and plugins up to date. Updates are usually released to plug security holes, so the sooner you update them the better. You should therefore  install all updates immediately (or as quickly as you possible can).

Use a WordPress plugin to limit the number of login attempts

While in the admin panel, click on Plugins > Add New. Search for a plugin called "Limit Login Attempts", then install and activate it. This will prevent new attempts to log in to WordPress for a specified period of time after a set number of consecutive failed login attempts. This prevents a bot from trying one new password after another until it finally finds the right one. You can also see the plugin here: http://wordpress.org/plugins/limit-login-attempts/

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Astronauts, awards and anniversaries

Tuesday, June 4th 2013 | Short URL

Client News Roundup Spring 2013

Spring is always such an exciting time of year with lots of new possibilities to look forward to. This spring we were very happy to be involved in some great projects and see our clients do more fantastic things. Astronauts, awards and anniversaries, it's all here!...

ORCA, the national whale and dolphin conservation charity launched their brand new responsive website, built and hosted by yours truly.

Peregrine Cam a new project by Notts Wildlife Trust. We built this funky, responsive website with up to date video footage and facts about the famous Nottingham City Peregrines.

The National Parent Partnership Service commissioned us to build a new, secure online training section for national PPS organisations.

Continuum the Movie reached their kickstarter goal allowing them to create their feature length documentary about the awakening of the planet. Along with thousands of other folks we are very proud to be sponsors of this amazing project.

Attenborough Nature Reserve is voted Britain's 2nd best nature reserve by Countryfile Magazine.

Creative Nottingham attended and reviewed the 2013 Young Creative Awards.

Factory Design announced the launch of their Sabre airline seat designed for comfort and privacy.

Fifi Bijoux wins young entrepreneur awardFifi Bijoux won the 2013 Future 50 Young Entrepreneur Award. Congratulations!!

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust celebrate their 50th anniversary with a programme of special anniversary events running from May 2013 to May 2014.

Barnes & Adams plant for the future with the addition of whole new orchard of cider apples.

Overview the Movie featured on Radio 4's PM programme with an interview with Astronaut Jeff Hoffman.

Ethical Weddings saw in Vegetarian Week with yummy edible flowers.

Edible flowers

Climate Gardens looks ahead as Debbie asks for readers' input into plans for helping gardeners cope with a changing climate.

Foxglove Covert Nature Reserve record breaking numbers of birds counted for conservation.

Images above © Fifi Bijoux and Ethical Weddings

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‘Peregrine Cam’ - New Website

Tuesday, April 30th 2013 | Short URL

We are very happy to launch this unique 'super page' for a fantastic project, the Nottingham Peregrine Camera.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Nottingham Trent University have worked in partnership since 2011 to raise awareness of the peregrine falcon pair which return to nest on the University's Newton Building each year. This new 'Peregrine Camera' website provides up to date, weekly footage of the nest activity along with useful facts and information on the history of the site, Mr & Mrs P and peregrines generally.

Peregrine Camera website

This responsive website can be viewed on smart phones, tablets and desktop screens and is a content management system allowing NWT staff to update the videos, images and text at any time. It acts as a one screen portal where visitors can watch video footage of the nest, ask questions and learn about the birds, as well as keep up to date with the university's peregrine blog and latest tweets.

peregrine Camera website on the iPhone

We're pretty pleased with this nifty new website and so are Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust!

"It looks ace!!!! We really appreciate your hard work..."
Anna Eddleston, Communications and Marketing Officer

Read more about Peregrine Cam in our portfolio

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ORCA - New Website

Monday, April 22nd 2013 | Short URL

Here is our just launched, brand new website for ORCA, the national charity that looks out for whales and dolphins.

ORCA website - Home page

ORCA approached us to design and build a responsive, content management system website which would match their corporate branding and meet their organisation objectives.

ORCA website - Species & Sightings

The website demonstrates the wide scope of work covered by ORCA, including education, conservation, research and campaigning and aims to encourage the public to get involved in a variety of ways.

ORCA website - About section page

The ORCA team manage the site from a web-based log-in and were given training on how to do this as well guidance on how to prepare and write content for the web.

ORCA responsive website

Some of the site features include a photo gallery, species directory, sightings map, membership and donation forms, social network integration and more.

Find out more about the ORCA website in our portfolio.

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Client News Roundup Winter 2012 / 13

Tuesday, February 19th 2013 | Short URL

As we're coming to the end of February it seems that there's an end to winter in sight and all the excitement of new possibilities. Here's a round up of the new and exciting things some of our clients have been up to this winter...

Wayfarer Furniture, innovative furniture designer joins our Green Hosting family.

Dummy Jim the movie and Tiger Award nominee premiered at the International Film Festival 2013 in Rotterdam.

Dummy Jim

Climate East Midlands announce Climate Week 2013 events.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust celebrate their new Wildlife On Your Doorstep awards.

Social Enterprise Support Centre launch 'Exploring Enterprise', supporting young people to set up in business.

Foxglove Covert do not let the snowy weather stop their conservation work.

Factory Design employee wins 1st place at the Design for Dwell competition.

Eco Chic Wedding & Home ShowEthical Weddings brings back the popular Eco Chic Wedding & Home show!

Cherrygorgeous' beautiful Autumn Love design gets featured in the Scottish Wedding Directory.

Wildlife in the City collaborate with The Environment Agency and Nottingham City Council to improve one of Nottingham's urban rivers, the River Leen.

Creative Nottingham features the city's first literature festival.

Scottish Ecological Design Association's co-founder is awarded an OBE.

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Happy Holidays & Christmas Break

Wednesday, December 19th 2012 | Short URL

We would like to wish all of our clients, colleagues and friends and very happy holidays and all the best for the New Year!

We're taking a break over the Christmas period from 5pm Friday 21st December to 9am Wednesday 2nd January.

If you need to get in touch with us for an urgent hosting support query during that time, please use our support helpdesk. We will recieve any other messages and get back to you on our return.

Thank you for your custom throughout the year and we look forward to working with you in 2013.

Vicky & Jez
xx
 

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Another Domain Scam

Wednesday, December 19th 2012 | Short URL

Unfortunately there's another domain scam doing the rounds via e-mail. We've been bombarded by them here.

I'm sure you would be able to tell that these renewal notices are fake but we just wanted to let you know about them to make sure. Here's what they look like:

Domain renewal e-mail

If we have purchased domains on your behalf we will always contact you directly to let you know that your renewal is due, at least 30 days beforehand.

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Client News Roundup Autumn 2012

Monday, November 26th 2012 | Short URL

As we hurtle towards Christmas and the festive season here's a round up of what our clients have been up to this autumn...

The National Parent Partnership Network supports Parent Partnership Services and parents and carers of children with special educational needs accross England and Wales - We launched their brand new website last month.

Fifi Bijoux owner Vivien is named 'Trailblazer' in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012. Congratulations Vivien!

Ethical Weddings' follow that dress campaignEthical Weddings launch their 'Follow That Dress' campaign, tracking weddings dresses from bride to bride which have been donated and bought through charity shops and schemes.

Empower Renewables switch their website to wind power with our Green Hosting.

Binky is born! The new online portfolio of DMA award winner 2012, designer, art director and illustrator Lydia Lapinski.

Whave works with communities and governments to develop and demonstrate solutions to poverty and conservation issues - We created their first professional logo and website which is powered by our Green Hosting, of course!

Wheels for Wellbeing, owners of Cycling for All have made it to the National Lottery 2012 Awards finals! Good luck guys!

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust celebrate the success of 'Cow Appeal'. Their new herd of cows will graze and preserve wildflower meadow habitats in Nottinghamshire.

Social Enterprise Support Centre announce the 10,000 Small Business Programme - fully funded support for small businesses and social enterprises.

Foxglove Covert Nature Reserve mark the 20 year anniversary of CES, the bird ringing and bird species recording scheme.

The Curious Machine exhibit their wonderful HeliOscillator1 installation at the Unversity of Sheffield's Festival of the Mind.

Factory Design see their cool aircraft interior concepts and visuals published in international magazine.

Factory Design AirLair concept

Sustainability Centre new course gift vouchers now on sale, just in time for Christmas!

Colbha Consulting joins the 'Story of Energy', helping to people understand their relationship with energy use and play their part in tackling the global energy crisis.

Wildlife in the City shortlist for their 'BIG Photography Competition'. Winners will be chosen by Mr Bill Oddie himself at the end of this month!

Mr Beeton's Blog is launched by long term Green Hosting client, Samuel Palin. Thoughtful wirting, definitely worth a read.

The Social Business' Rob Greenland shares his experience of life without a car, one year on.

Sustainable Saltaire joins forces with Leeds Metropolitan Univserity to promote food growing in Saltaire.

Images above © Ethical Weddings and Factory Design.

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National Parent Partnership Network - New Website

Monday, October 15th 2012 | Short URL

We are very happy to announce the launch of the National Parent Partnership Network website.

NPPN home page

NPPN commissioned us to create a new visual design and content management system (CMS) for the organisation, bringing it in-line and up-to-date with their sister charities, the Council for Disabled Children and National Children's Bureau.

NPPN documents section

The CMS allows NPPN staff to manage text, image and video content across the site. The visual design is clear, easy to navigate and friendly for use by parents and professionals alike.

NPPN individual PPS page

Features include a searchable 'Find Your Local Service' facility, resources and videos, along with a secure members' extranet where regional Parent Partnership Services can share documents and communications.

NPPN videos section

Find out more about the National Parent Partnership Network website in our portfolio.

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Changes to Domain Renewals

Monday, October 15th 2012 | Short URL

This is a notice for clients for whom we have registered and continue to renew domain names on their behalf.

Our domain registrar has let us know that they are implementing some changes to ensure renewal of domains run as smoothly as possible, lowering the risk of domain suspension and downtime. So, they will now request domain renewal payments 7 days in advance of the expiry date. As you already know, our terms and conditions say that funds are required by us at least 14 days in advance of the expiry date, otherwise we can't be responsible if your domain name is lost, suspended or bought by someone else. Therefore, in light of these changes, we will continue to send your renewal reminders at least 30 days in advance and request that payment is made 14 days before domain exipry.

We know that you, our lovely clients, pay promptly anyway and so I hope that these changes won't affect you too much and that our early reminders will still provide plenty of time to prepare your renewal payment. If you have any questions then please don't hesitate to contact us.

Thank you

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Whave - New Website

Monday, October 8th 2012 | Short URL

Here is our just launched website and logo design for our new clients, Whave.

Whave.org introduction

Whave works with communities and governments worldwide to address poverty and conservation issues. This is their first professional logo and web presence. The logo brief was to represent Whave's global reach and their expert, caring approach.

Whave.org projects

We developed a funky, one page scroller website, providing a clear and usable way of presenting their business content.

Whave.org on the mobile

The site is responsive for mobile devices which is vital in providing access for Whave's international audience. 

Find out more about Whave.org in our portfolio.

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Army Ornithological Society - New website

Wednesday, August 22nd 2012 | Short URL

Here is our latest project development. This is the Army Ornithological Society website.

Army Ornithological Society website

AOS came to us from a recommendation of one of our other lovely clients. They were looking for a professional new website that would represent their work, encourage new membership and allow them to update their content easily. And that's what we did.

Army Ornithological Society website gallery

We developed a brand new visual style and content re-structure for clearer navigation and better presentation of their information, alongside clear calls to action. We also implemented a content management system so they may edit their site from a web-based log-in and not worry about installing specilist software or learning code.

Army Ornithological Society responsive website

Some of the site features include a blog, an events calendar, resources library and photo gallery incorporating Flickr, to name just a few. Armybirding.org.uk also uses our own Green Hosting.

Find out more about the Army Ornithological Society website in our portfolio.

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Meet Our Clients… Army Ornithological Society

Wednesday, August 22nd 2012 | Short URL

We are delighted to present to you one our latest clients, the Army Ornithological Society. We have recently launched their brand new website and it really has been a pleasure working with them. Below, Roger Dickey, the Society's Chairman tells us more about AOS' excellent work, enthusiasm for birding and their ethos.....

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.
It comes as a surprise to some people that the Army has its own bunch of Birders, and although the Army Ornithological Society can sound a little scientific, it covers a huge variety of interests and activities, all with birds at their centre.  Ultimately we are an informal conservation group with the understanding and promotion of birdlife as our focus whether that means bird watching, surveys, ringing or expeditions; there is something of interest for all Birders.  We support the national societies of the British Trust for Ornithology and RSPB, but also local wildlife organisations as well as taking particular interest in the birdlife on the Army's training areas across the country and abroad.    

Army Ornitholological Society bird ringing on Ascension Island

How is your organisation different to that of others in your field? How do you stand out from the crowd?
What makes us different is that we have to appeal to the modern soldier who want to be proactive and actually make a positive contribution to conservation.  We provide expeditions to places such as Ascension, Jura or West Africa where the emphasis is on getting out into the wild, finding and recording birds, and then ensuring that our data contributes to something worthwhile.  We provide information from ringing birds on the Training Estate, to surveys of some of our rarer species.  The main idea is we are an active society, serving and retired, who like making things happen and enjoy a challenge.

Who visits your website and what does the website provide for them?
We attract a variety of interests, from people who want to be part of what we are doing, to those interested in the more scientific aspects of our work, particularly the recording of birds in the UK and abroad and the detailed studies that we conduct on Ascension Island.  Many of the people who show an interest are not soldiers but conservationists who just want to know a little more about our work.

How would you say your work is ethically and / or environmentally responsible?
Being deployed across the country and indeed, the world, makes us very conscious of our carbon boot prints!  There is always something to contribute or to give back when deployed abroad and we have never let the opportunity pass to help with conservation effort from Canada, through Iraq to Afghanistan.  Similarly in the UK, a large number of our members use our work to contribute to the BTO and RSPB and to environmental studies liked to our training areas. 

What motivates you to do work this way?
Just a little of this work is self indulgent.  We all have a real interest in birds and the opportunity to mix work with such pleasure can't be missed. Add the fact that most soldiers and ex soldiers are well motivated, have the same work ethos and can be relied on to pull their weight and you have some pretty powerful birding teams.  That means that we make a positive conservation contribution as a team - motivation in itself. 

Do you see your work as part of a movement of ethical businesses / organisations?
We have two sister birding Societies within the Armed Forces.  Sometimes the competition is fierce but we are all similarly motivated.

Share your top 3 tips on how other organisations can work more responsibly.

  1. Consider the outcome before taking the first step - ambition and enthusiasm should support, not lead.
  2. Don't put a limit on moral courage.  Compromise is for others.
  3. Be very prepared to share your ideals.

How do you see the future of your work and what are you most excited about?
We would like to see others have the opportunities that we have had in shaping the environment and making a positive contribution to conservation, not just talking about it. This is why our new web site is so important to us as it will help us to reach so many more people that feel as we do.  The more people we put into the hills with binos, the better.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
If you meet the criteria, come and join us!

You can find out more about the Army Ornithological Society's website in our portfolio.

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Client News Roundup Spring to Summer 2012

Wednesday, June 6th 2012 | Short URL

As you may have noticed it has been a while since the last client news roundup. We're moving these to quarterly editions so that we can share even more news in one go. Here's what our clients have been up to this spring and early summer....

Welcome to New Green Hosting Clients

Artsmix - Connecting people through creativity and providing opportunities for artists.

Made by - The 3D design new practice degree show 2012.

Army Ornithological Society - The organisation for military birders. Look out for their new website coming soon!

Anvil Collective - A design collective profiling the work of 5 designers.

More client news...

Wildlife in the City encourage budding creative writers to send in their poems about homes for wildlife.

Cycling for All's parent organisation Wheels for Wellbeing celebrate being picked by National Lottery Awards as one of the top 10 national sports projects. With voters' help they're hoping to reach the top 3!

Cherrygorgeous launch their brand new range of eco wedding stationery, 'Indian Summer'

Cherrygorgeous Indian Summer wedding stationery
Image © Cherrygorgeous

Climate East Midlands announces winners of the 'Business in the Community' annual awards.

Ethical Weddings interviews jewellery designers using Fairtrade gold and couples who are wearing it, one year on from the launch of 'Fairtrade and Fairmined'.

Nottinghamshire Widlife Trust celebrates the successful winning of a grant from the charity Mind, to help fund the Idle Valley nature reserve and their Ecominds project.

Climate Change Gardening reports on the eco credentials of Chelsea Flower Show 2012.

Dragonfly at Foxglove Covert Local Nature ReserveFoxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve are always spotting and recording brand new species to the reserve. This one was also their first dragonfly of the year!
Image © Foxglove Covert LNR

Ask Iris teams up with Eden Hall Day Spa in Notts to give one lucky reader a relaxation day. The prize draw closes on 31st July.

Greenhouse PR were delighted to be nominated for the 'Ultimate Eco Blogger' award presented by Find Energy Savings.

Barnes and Adams announce the production of their first 2012 batch of Tyndale Gold cider.

Your news

Remember if you're one of our Make Hay web design, Green Hosting or Make Mail clients you can share your exciting news here too. Send it over to us anytime, just get in touch!

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Update on the Website Cookie Law

Wednesday, June 6th 2012 | Short URL

Following on from our article a couple of months ago about the new EU cookie law affecting UK websites, the Information Commissioner's Office has now revised and updated some of their information to clarify the rules.

Full details can be found on the ICO blog. However one of the main points worth noting is the clarification around implied versus explicit consent to download a cookie to a users's device. The ICO now states the following:

  • Implied consent is a valid form of consent and can be used in the context of compliance with the revised rules on cookies.
  • If you are relying on implied consent you need to be satisfied that your users understand that their actions will result in cookies being set. Without this understanding you do not have their informed consent.
  • You should not rely on the fact that users might have read a privacy policy that is perhaps hard to find or difficult to understand.
  • In some circumstances, for example where you are collecting sensitive personal data such as health information, you might feel that explicit consent is more appropriate.*

They stress the importance of informing your website visitors about the types of cookies your website uses and what sort of data it will be collecting from them.

For our web design clients we can conduct an audit of your site to identify the cookies being used and discuss with you the necessary changes needed to comply with the law. To request an audit please do contact us.

* Quoted from the Information Commissioner Office website

 

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Wildlife in the City - New website

Friday, April 20th 2012 | Short URL

Here is our latest website, Wildlife in the City, designed and developed for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

Wildlife in the City website home page

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust asked us to create a fun, interactive web presence to get people involved in Nottingham City's green spaces and nature reserves.

Wildlife in the City website maps

At the website visitors can find out about the latest news and events right on their doorstep, as well as get involved in local wildlife sightings and surveys.

Wildlife in the City species page

The site is a learning tool too, providing fascinating facts about various species that can be found in the city and guides on how to attract them to your garden. Ask the Wildlife in the City team a question at the website and get your answer published online,  watch videos, check out the photo galleries and download activity sheets. You can also sign up for free text alerts and the e-newsletter so that you don't have to miss a thing.

Here's what Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said about it:
We are thrilled with our new Wildlife in the City website... The result was exactly what we had asked for, and more. The website is great - many have commented on how simple the site is to navigate, and how engaging it is. Make Hay's excellent advice and guidance made sure that we ended up with more than we expected, with interactive elements and excellent features... We would not hesitate to recommend Make Hay to other customers

Read the full testimonial and find out more about the Wildlife in the City website in our portfolio.

Wildlife in the City runs on our wind-powered Green Hosting too!

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Cycling for All - New Website

Monday, March 26th 2012 | Short URL

Here is our latest website, designed and developed for Cycling for All.

Cycling for All website home page

Cycling for All belongs to the London based charity, Wheels for Wellbeing, who support disabled people to cycle.

Cycling for All website tricycle routes

Wheels for Wellbeing commissioned Make Hay to create the project's visual identity, logo and website design and develop the website to meet their aim of providing an online resource for those interested in inclusive cycling.

Cycling for All advice pages

Cycling for All on smart phone screenThis brand new responsive site is designed for optimal use on regular desktop monitors through to small smart phone screens.

It includes many features to allow visitors to gather advice and information on a range of cycling topics and learn about others' experiences.

See our portfolio for full details of the website specification and the services we provide to Wheels for Wellbeing.

We can build a website like this for you too. Do get in touch to tell us about your project.

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EU Cookie Law for UK Websites

Thursday, March 15th 2012 | Short URL

You may have heard about the EU Cookie law which is currently causing much discussion amongst web developers and website owners. Within the UK all websites are now subject to an EU law which states that cookies should not be used unless the website user is provided with clear information about the use of cookies and given his or her consent for the cookies to be set during his/her visit to the website.

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small file which is downloaded and stored on a website user’s computer (or other device) when they visit certain websites. The cookie is then sent back to the website on each visit. Cookies ‘remember’ your visit between web pages, for functions such as setting options (e.g. change text size for accessibility), logging-in to secure pages, affiliate advertising and for tracking web visitors (e.g. Google Analytics), amongst other things.

Cookies are included in the majority of websites and have done for many years. They do their job much of the time without us even noticing. It is likely that your website uses cookies.

What is this law for?

The law is intended to protect people’s privacy when browsing the web. However, it is very broad and even covers cookies which aren’t being used to collect personal information. It’s a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

There are some exceptions to this law but not many. Basically websites will not be required to gain permission from its users to set cookies if those cookies are strictly necessary to provide the service that the user has requested. Therefore e-commerce websites which use a cookie to remember a product added to the shopping basket before proceeding to the checkout do not require permission.

However, cookies used for affiliate adverts and website statistics trackers do need permission.

How does this law affect you?

If you are a website owner in the UK then your website is affected by this law. You will need to be aware of the law, the implications of it and make an informed decision about what to do next.

At this stage there is much debate about the best way to comply with this law and there is still a lot of confusion about how best to approach it without negatively affecting website visitors’ experience and the efficacy of your website.

What does it mean in practice?

The law says that websites need to make information about cookies available and gain the user’s permission before the cookie has been set (or as early as possible). If the cookie is set before the user has been made aware of it and given consent then there are likely to be compliance problems.

Given that not all website visitors will know what a cookie is or even heard of them, this may be quite tricky. Nevertheless the Information Commissioner’s Office states that “The information must be clear, comprehensive and readily available”*

“The website setting the cookies must:
- tell people that the cookies are there
- explain what the cookies are doing, and
- obtain their consent to store a cookie on their device.”*

The practical solutions that some websites have opted for already are a message positioned at the top of the screen or pop-up box which appears over the web page.

You can see some examples already in place here:
ico.gov.uk
allthingsd.com
deliaonline.com
allaboutcookies.org

Some important issues and debates

As you can imagine there has been much discussion and debate about what this law means to businesses, organisations and website visitors. Here are some important issues that have been raised and things to consider:

  • Research shows that consumers’ understanding of cookies, what they are, why they are used and how to manage them is limited. This suggests that a message popping up on a web page asking permission to use cookies would be at best confusing and at worst alarming for website visitors.
  • At the ICO’s own website their visitor statistics (collected via Google Analytics) dropped by 90% after adding the cookie permission message to their website. This suggests that a vast majority of visitors did not give permission for cookies to bet set. Of course this has huge implications on a site’s use of Google Analytics for marketing, any advertising used for revenue and the usability of the site generally.
  • Implementing the rules is going to be major work, especially as there are not yet any clear guides on how to best go about it in terms of user experience, the technology itself and the business interests of the website owner.
  • After giving permission, a cookie may be set to ‘remember’ that the user has said ‘yes’ and therefore do not need to be asked the same question on subsequent visits. However, if a visitor does not give permission then a cookie cannot be used to store their preference. So, on every single visit to the website the visitor must be asked the same question again and again – this could get pretty annoying and lead to visitors being frustrated or not returning.
  • Pop-up messages are often associated with irritating adverts or alarming messages. Messages placed at the top of the screen (as per the ICO website) may easily be missed or ignored. Neither seems like an ideal solution and if styled/positioned differently from one website to another this will lead to more confusion.

Enforcement of the law and penalties

Although the law is currently in place the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have provided a period of time for measures to be implemented at websites and this is by 26th May 2012.

Information from the ICO suggests that a complaint will need to be submitted about an organisation’s website before they begin the enforcement process.

“…in May 2012 the Information Commissioner will consider complaints about cookies in line with his normal approach to complaint handling under the Regulations. This will involve in most cases contacting the organisation responsible for setting the cookies in the first instance asking them to respond to the complaint and explain what steps they have taken to comply with the rules.”*

Enforcement will be carried out by the Information Commissioner as follows:

1.    Information notice – This requires that the organisation (website owner) provides information to the Information Commissioner by a specific time. The ICO do not stipulate what this information will be exactly but we would guess that it would be details about the cookies or similar functions that your website is using.

2.    Undertaking – The organisation is committed to a specific course of action to improve its compliance.

3.    Enforcement notice – The organisation must take the action specified in the notice to bring about compliance with the Regulations. Failure to comply with an enforcement notice can be a criminal offense.

4.    Monetary penalty notice – Requires the organisation to pay a monetary penalty of an amount determined by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The ICO says about enforcement: “The Information Commissioner will take a practical and proportionate approach to enforcing the rules on cookies. He has to enforce the law, but he does have some discretion in how he exercises his formal enforcement powers.”*

More information

The information given here is the basics and by no means constitutes legal advice, nor is it meant to panic anyone. There are more details and further explanations of the law, which you can find at the ICO website and specifically their document ‘Guidance on the rules on use of cookies and similar technologies’.

What to do next

The ICO advises that the first steps should be to:

  1. Check what type of cookies and similar technologies you use and how you use them.
  2. Assess how intrusive your use of cookies is.
  3. Where you need consent - decide what solution to obtain consent will be best in your circumstances.

For our web design clients we can conduct an audit of your site to carry out steps 1 & 2 above and discuss with you how you may approach step 3 and compliance with the law. To request an audit please do contact us.

* quoted from the ICO document ‘Guidance on the rules on use of cookies and similar technologies’.

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Client News Roundup February 2012

Monday, March 12th 2012 | Short URL

Where did February go? Not that we're complaining because spring is finally here! Hope you enjoy our latest client news roundup:

Welcome to new Green Hosting Clients:

Cycling for All - An online resource for anyone who thought they couldn't cycle.

Sustainable Saltaire - Creating a more sustainable, successful future for the community.

Polar England - Representing recreation as an artform. Sports products by Factory Design.

More client news...

Fifi Bijoux, luxury ethical jewellery store is highlighted in TV's 'The Wedding Fairy' e-book, promoting fair trade gold.

Factory Design celebrate once again on winning two design awards. The DBA effectiveness award and another for innovative material use. Congratulations guys!

Creative Nottingham share their roundup of upcoming visual art exhibitions in Notts.

Green Talk announce Sir David King as the keynote speaker at the Green Talk 2012 event this summer.

Playing basketball, using wheelchairs

Ask Iris gets ready for 'Any-Body Month'. A chance for anybody to try paralympic sports and activities for free.

A creative Foxglove Covert volunteer makes films of wildlife at the nature reserve.

Climate Change Gardening announces plans for their new project Climate Gardens, making a difference in green spaces in 2012 and beyond.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's Cow Appeal gains support from Olympic Storyteller.

Peregrine falconAttenborough Nature Centre announces launch of NWT's 2012 peregrine cam. Also, buy your very own cuddly peregrine from the Attenborough Nature Shop.

Ethical Weddings welcomes latest addition to their team. Awwww, congratulations Katie, Jamie and big sister Polly!

Climate East Midlands publishes their 2012 Climate Week programme taking place 12th - 18th March.

Gertie & Mabel get great reviews from their customers.

Images above © Ask Iris and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

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Client News Roundup January 2012

Tuesday, January 24th 2012 | Short URL

Strictly speaking, this is a round up for December too but its still fab to see what you, our lovely clients, have been up to. Here's your new year news roundup....

Andy Pooley from Broxtowe collecting his certificateClimate East Midlands' local authority partners win Carbon Trust awards.

Ethical Weddings shares top 12 wedding tips for 2012.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's friendly robin photograph wins National photography award.

Climate Change Gardening shows us how getting rid of our lawns can help the climate in 2012.

Foxglove Covert LNR volunteer video shows a day in the life of volunteering at the nature reserve

Ask Iris share their list of top iPhone Apps to support pupils with Autism.

Fifi Bijoux, add ethical opal and pearl designs to their luxury Jewellery collection.

Creative Nottingham review the Lowry exhibition at the Djanogly Art Gallery

Just So Festival offer volunteers the opportunity to attend this year's event for free!

Greenhouse PR share 6 home improvement tips to save energy and lower your bills

Rob at The Social Business tell us his plans and advice for reducing energy use at home.

Polar England launch their new online shop by Factory Design, "representing recreation as an art form"

This is news from just a handful of our clients. We know you're all doing great work out there so drop us a line and tell us your news so that we can share it here!

Photograph © Climate East Midlands

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New Adventures in Web Design 2012

Tuesday, January 24th 2012 | Short URL

Happy belated New Year! 2012 threw us straight into it this year and we've been busy working on projects for our clients and ourselves without much time to come up for air.

However, last week, along with 650 other web designers, developers, project managers and creative folk we escaped from our desks and screens and gathered at the beautiful Albert Hall in Nottingham for the much anticipated New Adventures in Web Design Conference 2012, or NACONF as it has become known. We attended the very first NACONF last year and you can see our review here.

Denise Jacobs speaking at NACONF 2012

I'm not going to write in detail about the event again as there is already lots of information online - especially at the NACONF website - about the speakers, talk topics and events of the day. Mr Collison (Colly) worked very hard once again to bring some of the top designers in our industry from all over the world to our home town of Nottingham to share their ideas, experience and thoughts for the future of web design.

For any web folk who weren't able to make it on the day or for non-web folk who'd like to delve into the webby world you can buy a pdf of the New Adventures newspaper for just £1 and get a copy of last year's for free. The newspaper contains opinion articles, interviews and useful information for when the videos are released, so look out for those.

In the meantime, check out this short film (made by Relly, one of the conference volunteers and her husband Paul) which sums up the spirit of the day.

New Adventures conference 2012 from nicepaul on Vimeo.

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Festive break and opening times

Monday, December 12th 2011 | Short URL

Christmas is nearly here and we'll be taking a break to join in the festivities and recharge our batteries.

We will be closed from 5pm on Friday 16th December to 9am Tuesday 3rd January.

Emergency support arrangements

Green Hosting support helpdesk iconIf you have an emergency hosting support request during that time, please use our online support helpdesk to send us a message. It will be useful for you to note the website address of the helpdesk just in case you need it: makehay.zendesk.com

Please don't send us an urgent e-mail to our usual addresses as we won't receive your message until we're back in January. For all non-hosting enquiries, e-mail us as usual and we will reply when we return from Christmas break.

Thank you!

Finally, we'd like to say thank you for your custom this year and in previous years and we look forward to continuing to work with you into 2012 and beyond.

Have a peaceful and happy holidays and a great New Year!

Vicky & Jez xx

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Client News Roundup November 2011

Wednesday, November 30th 2011 | Short URL

Lots of awards and things to celebrate in this month's client news roundup...

New Green Hosting Clients:

Third Rock - Communications consultancy specialising in environment and green PR.

My nPoint Exactly - A print and online magazine created and produced by a group of friends.

Project Warren - Hand crafted home and garden projects

Parents Carers Forum - A place for parents to give their views about services in Nottingham & Nottinghamshire

More client news...

Climate East Midlands launch a survey to find out how resilient local businesses are to extreme weather

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's Ecominds project which aims to improve mental health and wellbeing has won an award! Congratulations guys!

Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve mark a record in number of birds ringed. A significant part of their conservation work.

Greenfinch ringed at Foxglove LNR

Ask Iris says congratulations to a local teenager for winning the Nottinghamshire Outstanding Achievement 4Uth Awards

My Climate Change Garden anticipates the launch of the new iPad vegetable garden planner.

Fifi Bijoux becomes UK authorised reseller for ethical diamond brand

Just So Festival Photo Competition Winner 2011Just So Festival announce the winners of their great photo competition 2011

Attenborough Nature Centre invites visitors to join in their Christmas crafts activities on 4th December for children aged 6 and over.

Greenhouse PR share their highlights of the 'Feeding the 5000' event to raise awareness of the problem of food waste.

Cherrygorgeous post their winter warmer wedding mood board and their range of pretty winter eco stationery.

Rob at The Social Business discusses the Occupy Movement and how he identifies himself as the 99%

Grasslands Trust launch 'Nature's Tapestry' an in-depth report into the state of England's grasslands.

Photographs above © Foxglove Covert LNR and Ted & Miki c/o Just So Festival respectively

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Our clients’ websites are green, good and effective

Tuesday, November 22nd 2011 | Short URL

Switched-on businesses and organisations like our clients are well aware of their social responsibilities and that they have an important role to play in reducing their impact on the environment.

Many other businesses are also reviewing their energy consumption, the waste they produce, the activities they support and the suppliers they choose. Consider your suppliers for a moment. Have you thought about the company that creates, maintains and hosts your website and how they address the environmental issues of their industry? Using an environmentally responsible web design company means that your online presence, a significant and growing aspect of your business, has positive eco-credentials too.

Green & Ethical Web Design
Since Make Hay was founded in 2004 we have employed both ethical and environmental policies in our everyday work. It’s the only way we wanted to do business but it is also a means of supporting our clients to be greener and think about the impact of their website too. Our ethical policy demonstrates that there are some activities that we just won't support through our services, we don;t want to make money from businesses who deal in the exploitation of people, animals or the planet, simple as that.

Our websites and our office are powered renewable, wind generated electricity which we use efficiently, switching off idle equipment and lighting. Waste from our office is minimal and when we need to dispose of equipment we recycle as much as we can, including stationery, furniture and computer components. Most of our communication is digital but stationery we do use is made from recycled or FSC paper as are printed publicity materials, which also use vegetable-based ink. We seek out ethical suppliers and eco products when possible, use The Cooperative for our business banking and a motor insurance company which offsets all of our car’s carbon emissions. We are Wildlife Guardians at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, members of Gedling Fairtrade Group and sponsors of Creative Nottingham and All Ours for people experiencing mental ill health.

100% Wind Powered Website Hosting
As well as web design we supply green website hosting powered 100% by renewable electricity. Using Green Hosting means that our clients’ websites are powered by the wind, not fossil fuels which contribute to the rising carbon emissions of non-green data centres, reported to have an equivalent carbon footprint of the aviation industry!

Excellent Web Design and Hosting Service
Providing an excellent service and beautiful, standards compliant web design is equally important to us as running a green and ethical business. We genuinely care about the work we produce, using modern techniques and careful processes in our craft. We handle all of our web development projects personally and foster long-term business relationships. This is why we continue to attract clients who care about quality as well as social responsibility. Take a look at a our portfolio to see some of the great organisations we're fortunate enough to work with and please do get in touch if you would like to know more.

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My Week

Tuesday, November 15th 2011 | Short URL

The Nottingham Post ran an article in their business section recently on my week (a few weeks ago) at Make Hay.

The My Week features follow local business owners and professionals from a range of industries. This was an interesting experience for me because, like most people, I'm too busy getting on with the job to stop and reflect on the past week. Maybe its something we should do more.

Here's the My Week article.

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Client News Roundup October 2011

Thursday, October 20th 2011 | Short URL

Happy Halloween! Here are lots of treats and no tricks from our clients this October...

New Green Hosting Clients:

Angels HousekeepingAngels Housekeeping - Cleaning and domestic services for older people in Leeds.

Chinese Calligraphy Society of Europe - Promoting the skills of Chinese calligraphy.

Douglas Lee Dental Practice - A caring family dental practice.

Marumi - Creations inspired by Viennese and Japanese art of cake making.

In other client news...

Climate East Midlands launch a series of workshops to support local councils to implement carbon management plans.

Ethical Weddings gives an interview to Environmental Protection magazine on how to reduce your carbon footprint at the altar.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust needs moo! They are looking for support to raise funds for a herd of grazing cattle.

Foxglove Covert Nature Reserve enjoyed a day of spooky Halloween activities.

Halloween pumpkin at Foxglove Covert

Seal Protection Action Group reports huge reductions in Scottish seal killings

Creative Nottingham introduce their new guest blogger from Nottingham Hackspace

Hanna's Orphanage covers school volunteers, droughts in Ethiopia and fundraising in their October newsletter

Factory Design continue their winning streak. They've now won the DBA Design Effectiveness Award!

Just So Festival are delighted to share the great family reviews of this year's event.

Cherrgorgeous gives us inspiration for Autumn weddings ideas.

Orbis Marketing shares their expert advice on blogging best practice.

Greenhouse PR tells us about 5 interesting green products that run without electricity.

Grasslands Trust trustees publishes new book 'Wildflower Wonders of the World'.

Photographs above © Angels Housekeeping & Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve

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Guest Post by Dr Isobel O’Neil - Thoughts on the Role of Authenticity in Careers Transitions

Wednesday, October 5th 2011 | Short URL

Welcome to my guest blog! Let me introduce myself, I’m Dr Isobel O’Neil a lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Nottingham University Business School. You might be wondering what I’m doing hijacking Make Hay’s blog? Well, Vicky was kind enough to take part as a case study for my research and invited me to share this with you all. I happily accepted as too often PhDs just sit on shelves getting dusty! So in this, the first of two blog entries, I’ll be outlining the background to my research. In a few weeks time, I’ll be sharing some of the key findings and the implications of these findings with you.

The story begins back in late 2006, when I was in the early stages of designing my PhD research. Being a bit of a greenie, I wanted to bring this into my scholarly endeavours so I enrolled on the PhD with the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ICCSR) at Nottingham University and drew up my plan to explore environmental sustainability and start-up business.

Subsequently I found myself scanning the internet for recently established, UK-based ethical and environmentally sustainable businesses to take part in the research. Make Hay caught my attention, not least as they seemed pretty much the only such start-up in my near vicinity! Without delving into too much academic jargon, I began to interviews founders with the joint aim of (1) understanding what motivates such business founders to embark upon setting up this kind of business, and (2) determining the key sources of tension they encountered as they introduced new ethical and sustainable practices to their respective sectors.

Due to time and space restraints, I’ll focus on talking about the first aim - motivations. This seems even more relevant for these pages as it was during my first interview with Vicky from Make Hay that a concept which ended up anchoring my research – authenticity – first captured my interest. Vicky had spoken with passion about the decision to cement their own values and principles firmly in the very essence of Make Hay; she hoped it would be a route towards more authentic careers/lives. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of authenticity, it can be understood as the pursuit of one’s inner voice to live one’s life in a way true to oneself (Taylor, 1991 ). In terms of careers, authenticity is about working in a way is consistent with your inner values. However, it is not simply about satisfying yourself alone but authenticity demands consideration of our external responsibilities to other people and our surrounding natural/ social environment.

With other interviewees apparently also searching for greater authenticity, I sought insights into whether other academics had explored the role of pursuing one’s authenticity as a driver for entrepreneurship. Surprising, there was very little that explicitly linked the pursuit of authenticity with entrepreneurship. Passion, determination, self-efficacy, creativity - these all offered insights into the drive to launch one’s own business. But the role of authenticity? I found had not been adequately discussed.
Whilst not being directly applicable, existing work did turn up some interesting insights that I’d like to share with you. Firstly an inspiring piece tracing the career of the Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar, demonstrated that a sense of being authentic had characterised his career path: “Experience has taught me that the more honest and personal my work is, the more successful I am” . So authenticity has been recognised as a motivation for those with untraditional careers, such as those in the creative industries. However, even here restrictions on bringing one’s authenticity to life through one’s work exist. For example, this research showed that in the creative industries the journey to being able to truly portray oneself in one’s work has to be understood as an enduring struggle.  A struggle which is gradually overcome as someone, such as Almodóvar, becomes more established and is hence freer to express their own ‘voice’ as they see fit.

Secondly, a body of research on authenticity has focused on the experiences of individuals employed in constraining workplaces such as call centres and in well-established professional roles such as management consultants. The focus of this research has been on an emerging trend for organizations to encourage displays of an authentic self in the workplace as a means to alleviate the mundane nature of the work. However, the ability to portray oneself by dressing as one likes or by a blurring of the boundaries between one’s social life and the workplace only allows for a superficial portrayal of authenticity. In this work there have been discussions on the sense of self-alienation experienced by some employees, such as junior management consultants . Where a ‘corporate culture’ penetrates all aspects of these consultants’ lives, it was found not only that some experienced an inability to ‘be themselves’ but also that they were out of touch with their inner voice almost entirely. The demands of work had led the loss of a sense of authenticity. I believe this is worrying as it sends a signal that those within certain job roles would be less able and indeed willing, to challenges the superficial nature of some corporations’ values. Such a scenario seems gloomy if we are to rely on values-driven and inspired employees to initiate and deliver progressive social and/ or environmental activities through, for example, genuine CSR programmes.

To summarise the background to my research it can be said that our understanding of authenticity as a career driver (1) had been concerned with the constraints that working life places on being able to portray a sense of your true self, and (2) had given little consideration to the activities of individuals to remove some of these constraints by leaving a prior role/ workplace. Vicky at Make Hay and my other research participants had set me on a path to try to better understand authenticity’s role in driving people’s careers transitions to self-employment and to running their own businesses. I will share some of my insights with you in part two of this blog.

References:

1) Taylor, C. (1991). The Ethics of Authenticity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
2) Pedro Almodóvar in Mata, 2003, p. 38, see Svejenova, S. (2005). ‘The path with the heart: Creating the authentic career’. Journal of Management Studies, 42, 947-974.
3) See Costas, J. and Fleming, P. (2009). ‘Beyond dis-identification: A discursive approach to self-alienation in contemporary organizations’. Human Relations , 62, 353-378.

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Client News Roundup September 2011

Wednesday, September 28th 2011 | Short URL

It's that time again! Here's what our web design and Green Hosting clients have been up to in September...

New Green Hosting clients:

Planetary Collective - Filmmakers and visual media creatives working with cosmologists, ecologists, philosophers and futurists to inspire people to look deeper.

Marie Krag Therapy - Psychotherapist and counsellor with a specialised interest in working with the field of universal energy.

In other client news:

Ethical Weddings celebrate National Cupcake Week by listing their top 10 cupcake companies.

Cupcakes

Leicestershire Support for Carers announce set up of new local carers' support groups.

Climate east Midlands ask for your help to shape support for climate change adaptation.

Green Guardians awards logoNottinghamshire Wildlife Trust are looking for nominations for their Green Guardian Awards 2011.

Creative Nottingham publish a special feature from their sponsors - That's us!

Grasslands Trust have published new free advice leaflets on how to create and manage wildflower meadows.

Just So Festival have put together a photo gallery of this years' event and launch their photo competition.

Cherrygorgeous create DIY wedding stationery options for crafty couples or those on a budget.

Greenhouse PR talks about Estethica, London Fashion Week's eco hub

Cycle Hire UK gets involved in our 'Meet our clients' feature

If you're one of our clients and have exciting news you'd like to share here on our blog then do get in touch.

 

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Meet Our Clients… Cycle Hire

Monday, September 12th 2011 | Short URL

Cycle Hire use our Green Hosting to provide an online service to help get more people on their bikes. Meet our client...

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.
We launched our website in June 2011 with the aim of making it easier for people to hire bikes. As regular cyclists ourselves, often travelling around for work and fun, we recognised the need for a simple-to-use online directory bringing together all the information about cycle hire companies across the UK.

Cycle Hire UK

How is your business different to that of others in your industry? How do you stand out from the crowd?
We like to think that our website is about as user-friendly and intuitive as you could hope to be, and a lot better than anything already out there.

How would you say your work is ethically and / or environmentally responsible?
We have an environmental policy that clearly sets out our aims for minimising the impact of our business on the environment. So as well as hosting with Green Hosting, we look at everything else we do in association with the business with the aim of making it as ethical and environmentally responsible as possible.  Added to this, the whole business is about encouraging people to cycle more for recreation and as a utility transport option, so by making information on hiring bikes more accessible, we can help this happen.

What motivates you to do business this way?
As well as running this website, we both work full-time for a sustainable transport charity, so these issues are very close to us. We want more people to cycle because it's good for their health and better for the environment, both locally and globally.

How do you communicate your positive work with clients and potential clients and how do they respond?
Working within the cycling sector, many of our current and potential clients are aware of environmental and ethical issues. So our policy is readily available through our website and approach and beliefs are transparent. Response from clients has been positive and our environmental / ethical credentials have also helped to open doors in the way we have publicised and promoted the business.

Do you see your work as part of a movement of ethical business?
We see our work as helping people to live a healthier lifestyle, with the added benefit of supporting businesses with environmental benefits. We therefore consider ourselves part of a network moving in the same direction.

Share your top 3 tips on how other businesses can work more responsibly.

  1. Having a 'day job' aside from this project means we don't have to put profit above service, so we can afford to offer excellent value to our clients and follow our principles in sourcing our support services like hosting, banking, promo materials, etc. Not everyone is in this position of course, but it certainly helps!
  2. Be transparent and celebrate your achievements, but make sure you are consistent as people can spot 'green wash' a mile away
  3. Choose who you bank with carefully as where you put your money can undo a lot of the good work you do yourself.

How do you see the future of your business and what are you most excited about?
Our aim is to have every cycle hire provider in the country listing their services with us. We're about a quarter of the way there after 3 months, so give us a year and we'll have achieved this aim!

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your work?
If there are any Green Hosting clients who would like to work with us, please get in touch (contact through www.cyclehireinfo.com). We are particularly keen to hear from businesses who have a service they can offer to our clients, that we can help promote as a special discount. We already work with a couple of like-minded businesses in this way and would like to develop this aspect of our service further.

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Meet Our Clients… cherrygorgeous

Friday, September 2nd 2011 | Short URL

We welcomed cherrygorgeous to Green Hosting earlier this year. They use our hosting to make their already green business a little greener. Meet our client...

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.
cherrygorgeous logoWe are cherygorgeous. We’re an eco-friendly (or eco-chic, if you’re feeling trendy) wedding stationery company. We were the first carbon neutral wedding stationery company in the UK and with our new site being powered by green hosting, we just got a little greener.

How is your business different from others in your industry? How do you stand out from the crowd?
Well, as we said we were the first UK wedding stationery company to go carbon neutral and unlike many other wedding stationery companies, we get all our stuff printed in the UK to cut down the air miles and our impact on the environment. Our designs are a little different too: they’re not you’re average ‘horseshoes and hearts’ clichéd stuff you get on the highs treet.  You can take a look at cherrygorgeous.co.uk

cherrygorgeous wedding stationery

How would you say your work is ethically and / or environmentally responsible?
We’re carbon neutral, we use you guys for our web hosting, we get all our stuff printed individually in the UK (as opposed to getting loads printed in China and shipped over on a container ship) and we do all the best practice stuff around the office to keep our use of resources and our footprint as low as possible. We even cycle into the office whenever it’s not raining too hard in Leeds.

What motivates you to do business this way?
We set the business up after traveling around Asia for six months and we felt a little guilty about all the air miles we racked up. Since then we do everything we can to minimise our impact and tread as gently as we can.

cherrygorgeous baby stationeryHow do you communicate your positive work with clients and potential clients and how do they respond?
We mention it wherever we can on the site. It’s a big part of what we do and many of our couples choose us because they are trying to have as green a wedding as possible.

Do you see your work as part of a movement of ethical business?
Over the last few years, I think there has been a big swing towards ethical business practices and social responsibility, which can only be a good. However, there are a growing number of companies out there that are just jumping on the eco-bandwagon.

Share your top 3 tips on how other businesses can work more responsibly.

  1. Whenever possible source your materials from the UK
  2. Implement green working practices in the office
  3. Kermit the Frog once said “It ain’t easy being green”. And he was right! So you need to truly believe in what you’re doing. If being green is just a marketing ploy, you’ll get found out in the end

How do you see the future of your business and what are you most excited about?
Our new website is pretty exciting. It’s ace, and now it’s powered by wind power, it makes us just a little bit happier. We’re also going to try to find a few more eco-friendly wedding favours and get them launched by the end of the year and increase our range of stationery.

Visit cherrygorgeous at www.cherrygorgeous.co.uk

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Client News Roundup August 2011

Tuesday, August 30th 2011 | Short URL

They say that August is traditionally a quiet month but that's not the case for our busy clients. Take a look at what some of them have been up to...

Support for Carers are beginning a new project to help carers find and set up support groups in Leicestershire.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust launch the new nature reserves smart phone app

Climate East Midlands publish the new guide and online resource to help local communities get involved in planning for climate change.

Planning for Climate Change image

Ethical Weddings share news of upcoming green wedding events this autumn

Attenborough Nature Centre - By popular demand ANC are running wildlife photography courses this September

Foxglove Covert welcomes their new Deputy Reserves Manager to the team

Transition Vert interviews Fred Bass, 'King of Energy Savings Lights'

Anna Guyer from GreenhouseGreenhouse is profiled in The Ecologist Green Business section, August edition.

Factory Design are nominated for a D&AD award for their superlight aircraft seating design

Second Wednesday's next web industry social event will enjoy a talk from web designer, author, speaker and creator of New Adventures in Web Design, Mr Simon Collison.

GreenTalks now have all of their videos of green talks online

Images above © Climate East Midlands and Greenhouse

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Future Factory, Supporting Sustainable Design

Thursday, August 25th 2011 | Short URL

Future Factory logoThis morning I had a very interesting meeting in the beautiful Newton Building at Nottingham Trent University. This is the home of Future Factory, an impressive project set up to support sustainable product and process design in the East Midlands. As Debra Easter, Project Manager, explained this project aims to help SME businesses to become more environmentally and economically sustainable.

For very little or no cost Future Factory puts businesses in touch with the professional input and resources they need to plan sustainability into their design project. The type of support available covers a range of business needs such as marketing strategy, sourcing materials, supply considerations and developing sustainable packaging. The support comes in the form of access to expertise and consultancy from professionals and students, funding, graduate placements, events, use of meeting space, the library and much more, too much to list here. For a full list of services and support download the FF brochure at their website.

This is a great opportunity for all businesses to tap into specialist industries which they may not otherwise be able to afford and take steps towards a more sustainable future.

Find out more at www.ntu.ac.uk/future_factory and spread the word if you think this would be useful to a business you know in the East Midlands.

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Support for Carers - New Website

Monday, August 15th 2011 | Short URL

Here is our newly launched website for Leicestershire Support for Carers.

Support for Carers website

LSFC supports full-time and part-time carers across Leicestershire via independent online information and a telephone helpline.

Support for Carers website directory

This brand new website is a full content management system, allowing LSFC staff to manage and publish content to the various dynamic website sections, inlcuding the 'In Your Area' directory, News, FAQs and Resources. Service users can register online to access further support and update their profile via a secure log-in.

Support for Carers website news

Find out more about the development of Support for Carers in our portfolio.
Visit the website at supportforcarers.org

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The Manual

Friday, August 12th 2011 | Short URL

It landed with a loud thud when it hit the floor through the letterbox this morning, the very pretty first issue of The Manual.

The Manual Issue 1

This brand new printed journal promises to give a fresh view of design on the web. Over several issues it will document voices of web craftsmen and women about our maturing industry as it defines itself as a 'distinct discipline'. Sounds pretty exciting to me!

Copies of the first issue are initially being sent out to everyone who supported the project via Kickstarter but it will be available to buy later.

alwaysreadthemanual.com

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Client News Roundup July 2011

Thursday, July 28th 2011 | Short URL

Here's the latest from a few of our web design and Green Hosting clients:

Newly launched websites using Green Hosting:

Clarendon Press - Environmentally friendly printing services in Gloucestershire.

Planetary Collective - A collective of filmmakers and visual media creatives working in partnership with cosmologists, ecologists, astronauts, philosophers and futurists to wake people up to their place in the cosmos.

Ideas that Change Lives - Ideas to help people to live independently

In other client news:

Foxglove Covert celebrate their annual open day with many activities for children and adults and a grand opening of their wheelchair accessible hide by Professor David Bellamy.

Professor David Bellamy at Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve
Picture above © Foxglove Cobert LNR

Gertie & Mabel get their lovely products in the glossies again. This time their beautiful 'Happy Glow' tea light holders have been featured in the August edition of Vogue.

Climate Change Gardening confirms that our urban gardens can help combat climate change.

Vintage at Southbank Festival posterLondon Insight are looking for experienced organisers to  help put together an exhibition of visual art by contemporary Buddhist teachers and practitioners.

Ethical Weddings tells us about eco bride workshops taking place at the 'Vintage at Southbank' festival on 29-31st July

Campaign Whale share news from the Internataional Whaling Committee meeting.

Cherrygorgeous' Tea & Cakes poster is picked up by Laurence Llewelyn Bowen for a cup cake garden party theme and featured on ITVs This Morning

The Social Business attends the launch of a pioneering eco village in Leeds.

If you're one of our clients and would like to share your news here on our blog, do get in touch.

 

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Nottingham Green Network & Eco Show

Monday, July 25th 2011 | Short URL

For folks in Nottingham, here's some great green news:

Nottinghamshire Green Network

First of all, the fledgling Nottingham Green Network has just taken flight, newly launched a couple of months ago and looking for members and supporters to join them. I only found out about them a couple of weeks ago and have recently joined the team as the green business editor for their blog. I'll be writing an eco business related article there at least once a month.

The website, nottsgreennetwork.com, is new and there are plans in place to develop something more permanent in the near future but in the meantime you can find out about green events, local projects and 'everything you need to know about' guides.

If you live in Nottingham or Nottinghamshire and would like to get involved please contact me and I will put you in touch with the lovely chap who runs the group.

Nottingham Eco Show

This is the first eco show to take place in Nottingham and will be held on Friday 7th & Saturday 8th October at The Edge, Curzon Street, Nottingham.

Aimed at business owners, public sector organisations and house holders the show will hold a wealth of information on how to green up your home and workplace.

If you run a business in Nottingham and are looking to take your first eco steps then go along and find out how other businesses have incorporated green practices into their work.

Book your free ticket or find out more about exhibiting at nottingham-eco-show.co.uk

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Our Web Design in Showcase Gallery

Friday, July 22nd 2011 | Short URL

Show-ee "the official ExpressionEngine showcase gallery for the best designed and built ExpressionEngine sites on the internet" has included our design of the Foxglove Covert website in its showcase gallery.

We are delighted of course to have our site listed alongside other stunning designs from some great developers.

You can see our entry on the Show-ee web page. There is also an accompanying case study write-up explaining the various features of the website and the technologies used to achieve them.

Screenshot of the Foxglove Covert website in the Show-ee gallery

 

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12 Acts of Kindness for Businesses

Monday, July 11th 2011 | Short URL

Business isn't usually associated with kindness, in fact, it's often associated with quite the opposite. The idea that bosses are mean and companies are greedy are almost accepted as the status quo. But isn't that sad? The virtue of kindness doesn't need to be linked only to charities and non-profits, business has a great capacity for helping improve quality of life for people on a local and global scale, it just sometimes chooses not to. In choosing not to though, it may well be missing out on a fantastic opportunity.

Kindness is infectious, if someone is kind to you it opens you up to doing a good turn of your own, ultimately rewarding you with that lovely warm feeling you get when you've just made someone smile. The idea that kindness also helps you and others around you to be more productive and creative may not seem surprising. However, for commercial organisations these wellbeing and happiness 'side effects' that empathy and compassion bring can lead to added bonuses in the workplace which are definitely worth considering further. Studies have shown that employee happiness and wellbeing leads to to improved health, loyalty, performance and decision making, and in turn the business's bottom line.

InKind Notts Event

InKind Notts are looking to "inspire people in schools, homes and communities as well as workplaces, to recognise that actions motivated by empathy, self awareness and kindness not only make others flourish but they are also are incredibly strong mechanisms to help us feel engaged, well and happy."

InKind Notts will be committing Random Acts of Kindness in Nottingham city centre for 12 hours on Saturday the 16th July from 9am to 9pm. Go along to chat with them, find out more or share your thoughts. Listen to an interview with co-founders Kaye Brennan & Jeff Buck about the event.

12 Acts of Kindness for Businesses

So, inspired by the InKind Notts folk, here's my 12 acts of kindness for business ideas:

  1. Give your time - offer the paid services you usually provide but as a volunteer.
  2. Teach someone a useful skill or be a mentor to someone keen to get into your profession.
  3. Find out if a charity or community group needs a piece of equipment and buy it for them.
  4. Find out about your employees' hobbies and give them a little time to explore and share them at work.
  5. Send kind messages to your colleagues or employees - make a positive comment on a piece of work they did or thank them for their time.
  6. Look after your team for the day - make the tea for everyone and do the lunch run.
  7. Give your customers a compliment - we business owners thrive on positive feedback and shining testimonials but what about the other way around? If you're a B2B company take the time to pay a client a professional compliment and share their work with others.
  8. Help someone with a task they don't enjoy, especially if its not your responsibility.
  9. Spread the word about your favourite suppliers
  10. Along with your work colleagues collect good quality but unwanted items and donate to a charity.
  11. Business owners often treat themselves like machines. If that's you - be kind to yourself.
  12.  Ask your employees, colleagues, suppliers & customers for their ideas on how a business can be kind.

Find out more at inkindnotts.org and www.randomactsofkindness.org

Interesting reading: Science News - Happy Employees Are Critical For An Organization's Success.

I'd love to hear your ideas on how a business can spread kindness so please share them in the comments below.

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New Adventures in Web Design Audio & Slides

Friday, July 1st 2011 | Short URL

New Adventures in Web Design logoYou may remember that back in January we wrote a very enthusiastic post about a most inspiring conference that took place here in Nottingham. The conference was New Adventures in Web Design. 'Colly' (Simon Collison), web designer and creator of the conference, promised that the event would have "inspiration, thinking, and intelligence at its core." It did not disappoint.

The audio and slides of the talks from the conference are now available online and we thought we'd signpost you to them because we'd like you to get a glimpse into, perhaps, an unexpected view of our world. You don't have to be a web designer or a technical person to appreciate the concepts highlighted in the talks. In fact most of the ideas discussed are useful and enlightening to non-technical website owners.

Presentation screen from NAConf - Andy ClarkeNone of the talks or presentations mention complex techniques or code but cover a range of thought provoking concepts from defining the language we use when talking about website and the web to using storytelling methods in web design - and a whole raft of ideas in between.

If you own a website, work with a web designer or just want to listen to some really intelligent and inspiring thoughts then this is well worth checking out:
2011.newadventuresconf.com

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Client News Roundup June 2011

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.

pickIT - Bespoke IT and e-learning training company with a green and ethical ethos. Read pickIT's client interview.

Client news:

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust launch City Butterfly Watch!

Attenborough Nature Centre anounce upcoming wildlife art exhibition by Paul Dyson.

Wildlife art exhibition poster

Climate Change Gardening encourages us to plant trees wherever we live.

Social Enterprise Support Centre plan to open a Deaf Visitor Centre in Bradford in partnership with the Deaf Association. Help them by voting for them in the 'Small Step Competition'.

Climate East Midlands seeks contractor to facilitate better understanding of the impacts of small scale hydropower installations.

Magazine coverFactory 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

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A week in the life of Make Hay

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 9th May

Competitions and New Designs

lightbulb imageMonday 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!

Tuesday

Project Management & Writing Guides

Climate East Midlands logoThis 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.

Wednesday

Writing Quotes & Finding Green Suppliers

Print Revolution logoWe 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.

Thursday

Planning & Publicity

Erin McDaid from Notts wildlife Trust & Vicky from Make HayThis 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.

Friday

Time for our Websites

Wind turbines illustrationI 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.

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Meet Our Clients… pickIT

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.

pickIT logo

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.

Pratish Kotech pickIT4. 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.

  • make your printers print double-sided by default!
  • ensure your PCs and more importantly monitors/screens are switched off each night – you can get software to do this for you automatically – contact us to help you with these top two!
  • give time to your staff to volunteer, help communities and small voluntary organisations

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…!
www.pickit.co.uk

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Updating Wordpress

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.

Wordpress logoUpdating 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

Download the Wordpress guide here.

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Client News Roundup May 2011

Thursday, May 26th 2011 | Short URL

It's that time again! Check out what some of our clients have been up to.

Newly launched websites using Green Hosting:

Barnes & Adams - artisan apple products & cider

Green Talk - Short talks, big ideas from leading thinkers and doers on climate change, energy and food security and the natural world.

Bradford Personalisation - a network of organisations that are actively involved in developing services that people who receive support from Adult Social Care could buy with an Individual Budget

Client News

My Climate Change Garden asks "How green is Chelsea Flower Show?"

The much anticipated 'Dummy Jim' film is underway. This is a great story, set in a cold place, guaranteed to warm your cockles.

Dummy Jim

Car Free Walks share their top tips for cheaper train travel

Greenhouse PR introduce their brand new blog editor

Those Gertie & Mabel ladies have done it again, with a feature of their Soda Boxes in Country Homes Magazine

Ethical brides & bridesmaids can find out where to get *that* famous 'P Middy' dress via Ethical Weddings

Just So Festival magazine article imageJust So Festival named the 'Best Family Festival' by Green Parent Magazine - well done guys!

Help Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust receive their share of a £35K grant. Also see our NWT news story about tripled website visitor numbers.

Creative Nottingham asks if being creative makes us happy

Transition Vert provide a beginner's guide to recycling

The Sustainability Centre share their inspirations from the South Downs Green Fair

Book now for the Scottish Ecological Design Association EGM and Sustainable Communities Event on 3rd & 4th June

Images above © Dummy Jim & Just So Festival respectively

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Wildlife charity celebrates after teaming up with Make Hay

Tuesday, May 24th 2011 | Short URL

We were in the news yesterday with a story about our work with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. Here's what it said:

Visitor numbers to Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's website have nearly tripled since a new online presence was unveiled. The number of people signing up online for membership has also increased as a result of the new-look website, the charity reports.

Nottingham-based ethical website developer Make Hay, who created the website in conjunction with the environmental charity, said it was delighted by the news, which comes as the website celebrates its second anniversary.

Vicky from Make Hay & Erin McDaid from Notts Wildlife Trust at Attenborough Nature Centre
Pictured above: Victoria Stevens, from Make Hay, and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's communications and marketing manager Erin McDaid

"The web is an incredible medium, which can be used to spread a message far and wide, and it's crucial that an organisation has a website that reflects its values and its aims, and one which is also easy and convenient to manage and keep up to date," said Make Hay director Victoria Stevens.

"We're extremely pleased to hear that Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has been using the online tools created by Make Hay to market and promote the charity so successfully, and that this has been reflected in increased online membership applications and thousands of extra visitors to their website."

Make Hay, which specialises in green and ethical website design, as well as web hosting which is wind powered, had previously created a website for Attenborough Nature Reserve, which is run by the Wildlife Trust.

The charity, which is the county's leading conservation charity and is part of a national network of 47 local trusts working to protect wildlife, said its new website changed the way the organisation looked at its internet presence.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust communications and marketing manager Erin McDaid said: "We've seen a tripling of visits to our site, and a rise in the number of online memberships. The new platform makes it far easier for us to promote our work and events.

"We find working with Make Hay a real pleasure. Understanding the technological aspects of creating an attractive and functional website can be quite daunting, but their friendly, straightforward approach makes it a lot easier. Working with Make Hay means that we can concentrate on deciding what we want our website to achieve without having to worry about how to make it work."

Make Hay, run by Victoria Stevens and Jez Swinscoe, was founded in 2004. Its green web hosting arm was launched in 2006.

Clients include the Uganda Carbon Bureau, Climate East Midlands, Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve and London Insight Meditation.

Pretty nice story eh? We are continuing to work with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, developing the website and online strategy alongside their work and campaigns.

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Great Green Printers

Thursday, May 19th 2011 | Short URL

Its a lovely thing when you find a local business that reflects your ethical ethos, provides a great service and is good value to boot!

Print Revolution

I was so pleased to find green printers, Print Revolution, the other day. They're just down the road from us here in Nottingham and I couldn't believe we hadn't crossed paths before. After chatting to the director, Adrian Collier, I realised that these guys aren't just about about talking the eco talk, they walk the walk too. Not only do they use recycled paper and card and employ a waterless printing method (which also means less harmful chemicals and much more efficient printing), their work is green throughout and is a big part of how they believe business should be done - just like us! They use a green electricity provider, carbon offset for paper production and distribution and use the brilliant 'We Go' carbon neutral couriers for their deliveries.

I came away from their printing offices yesterday a happy bunny, with a fab new Make Hay poster and having found a great green local printer.

Check them out at www.printrevolution.co.uk

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We have a winner!

Monday, May 16th 2011 | Short URL

We have a lucky winner of our Green Office Week competition prize - one year of free Green Hosting.

An e-mail has been sent to to tell them the happy news so if you entered our competition then check your inbox now. It could be you!

Once we've got them all set up with their new Green Hosting account we'll announce the winner here.

A huge thank you to everyone who took part and everyone who helped us spread the word about our Green Office Week celebration.

xx

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Win one year of free Green Hosting!

Monday, May 9th 2011 | Short URL

Today is the start of Green Office Week. To celebrate we've decided to help one of you green up your business with one year of free green website hosting worth £120!

For a chance to win this prize all you need to do is sign-up to our free e-newsletter using the form below.





Sign-ups during green office week (that's Monday 9th to Friday 13th May 2011) will enter our prize draw. On Monday 9th May we will randomly select one lucky winner!*

The prize hosting account is our Zephyr hosting package, free for one year.

We will contact the winner via the e-mail address provided via the above form.

All of our usual Green Hosting terms and conditions will still apply. For more details about Green Hosting visit www.green-hosting.co.uk.

Good luck!

*This Green Hosting prize is eligible only for:

  • a website not already hosted with us at Green Hosting.
  • website technologies compatible with Green Hosting. Please check hosting account specification against your website requirements before entering this prize draw. We cannot be responsible for incompatabilities between your website technology or requirements (e.g. disk space, bandwidth etc) and our hosting specification and there is no alternative prize if this is the case.

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Green Office Week

Friday, May 6th 2011 | Short URL

Did you know that next week is Green Office Week? Well, we would advocate making moves for a greener office all year round but this a good time to think about how to save energy, reduce waste and purchase greener products.

Green Office WeekThe organisers of GOW are encouraging businesses up and down the UK to take action in their offices, tackling a different area each day of the week.

Here at Make Hay & Green Hosting there are various things we do to try to make our office greener. We're always learning and looking to improve but here's a run down of GOWs suggestions and the things we do in those areas:

Monday

light bulb image

GOW say 'Act on Energy - Encourage measures to reduce energy consumption in your company'.
What we do - First of all, we use a renewable (wind powered) electricity provider to power our office, we're not using a fossil fuel source. We don't want to waste that wind power though, so we only switch on equipment that we're using. At the end of the working day computers, lights, laptops and printers are switched off and have a well-earned rest. Where we can we try to buy energy efficient IT components, such as 'green' storage hard drives and we always use low-energy light bulbs. Our websites are also powered by the wind because our hosting servers use renewable energy too. We provide this green website hosting service to our clients, as you may already know!

Tuesday

bicycleGOW say 'Act on Transport - Encourage measures to reduce your company's environmental impact through travel'.
What we do - We're very lucky that our business doesn't require lots of travel. Our office is home-based, so there is no daily commute, polluting the city and we can liaise with our clients most of the time via e-mail, telephone and other methods online. Sometimes we do need to meet up with clients face to face and we will use both public and private transport to do this. If we're heading to London for example then we'll use the train but for clients in more remote places we'll drive. To help counter some of the impact of our car use we use a green motor insurance company who offsets 100% of our carbon emissions through forestry projects throughout the UK.

Wednesday

waste binGOW say 'Act on Waste - Encourage the 3Rs: reduce/reuse/recycle and benefit from the cost-reductions'.
What we do - Due to the nature of our work, which is carried out digitally for the most part, we do not need to buy much materials and really have minimum waste moving through the office. However, we try to re-use or recycle office resources as much as we can. Non-confidential paperwork is either re-used to make notepads or recycled. Confidential paperwork is shredded and recycled but sometimes composted.  Non usable electrical items are taken to our local e-waste recycling centre and printer ink cartridges are also recycled via charities such as Age UK. Tea bags and coffee grinds from staff drinks are composted too.

Thursday

shopping bagGOW say 'Act on Purchasing - Encourage a review of purchasing habits and switching to eco-friendly office products'.
What we do - We use the Green Stationery Company to buy recycled office products such as pens, folders, paper etc. Publicity materials are printed on FSC certified paper with vegetable based inks. The printer we use partners with a carbon offsetting project in the UK to plant a tree for every order we make. For computer equipment we try to purchase low-energy products as much as possible and from companies with positive eco-credentials and we look to accreditation organisations like Gooshing to find out about this. We recognise though that this is probably the trickiest part of the office to green-up as no IT supplier is perfect and we need to make sure we have secure and reliable equipment to provide a good service to our clients.

Consideration of the supply chain goes both ways for us as we also have an ethical policy which outlines the types of organisations we will and won't supply our services to.

Friday

gift bagGOW say 'Act on Opportunity - Everyone that took part got that Friday feeling by sharing their successes with colleagues, the media and others involved in GOW. It was a celebration of UK officers being greener.'
What we'll do - We'll be running a special competition all week, in which one lucky business can win Green Hosting for their website for a whole year! Watch this space on Monday for more details.

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Client News Roundup April 2011

Tuesday, May 3rd 2011 | Short URL

Well, with all of the recent bank holidays and festivities our April round-up has been slightly delayed. Where did April go anyway? If you have exciting news to share let us know. Here's the latest from some of our fab clients...

Vote for Climate Change Gardening in the 'One Small Step' business competition. Climate Change Gardening provides information and inspiration about gardening in a changing climate, helping to preserve gardens in an uncertain future. Winning this competition would help founder Debbie Anderson develop her business further so that gardeners may access more advice and support resources such as videos, expert knowledge, green gardening products and local climate data. Gardeners will also be able to share experiences of their gardening challenges online. Voting opens on 30th May but you can find out more and send Debbie messages of support at her Climate Change Gardening competition entry page.

Climate Change Gardening

Attenborough Nature Centre are making plans for an exciting new phase of developments at the reserve which was originally opened by Sir David Attenborough in 1966. Can you help them by giving your views on the suggested developments in their online survey?

Ask Iris is looking for footballers with cerebral palsy in support of the Notts FA's search for new squad members to represent the East Midlands in the National Cerebral Palsy Football structure for the 2011-12 season

Bradford Personalisation launches their new website, hosted by Green Hosting. A network of organisations involved in developing services that people who receive support from Adult Social Care could buy with an Individual Budget.

Climate Conversations during Climate WeekClimate East Midlands reflect on the success of their climate week events in March across the East Midlands.

Ethical Weddings asks 'is the Royal Wedding green?'

Creative Nottingham tells us about local art events over the coming months with an ethical theme.

Notts PPS opens a new drop-in service for parents of children with special educational needs.

SESC announce the Big Venture Challenge award. A competition for social entrepreneurs to win up to 150K

Images above © Climate Change Gardening and Climate East Midlands respectively

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Happy Spring Update Newsletter

Wednesday, April 20th 2011 | Short URL

Our latest newsletter 'Happy Spring News Update' is out now.

As the weather is sunny and we're heading into a long weekend we thought we'd keep this newsletter light with some nice updates including:

  • Welcome to our new clients
  • The UK Aware Show & Finding Services for Green Businesses
  • New Adventures in Web Design Movie Ident
  • InterNational Downshifting Week starts Saturday 23rd April

Read our newsletter here.

 

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Finding green & ethical businesses

Tuesday, April 5th 2011 | Short URL

Directories logosRecently a couple of clients have asked me where they can find other types of green services, such as energy providers, banks and printers. When I'm looking for a green service or product I turn to directories that specifically register ethical and eco-friendly businesses and I've built up a little list of them over time. So, I thought I'd share them here with you.

I hope you find these directories useful and if you know of any more which are not listed here, let me know and I'll add them:

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UK Aware 2011, the sustainable living show

Monday, March 28th 2011 | Short URL

Last Friday I hopped on a train headed to the big smoke for a day out to the UK Aware show. Despite this being the longest running sustainability lifestyle exhibition in the UK, this was my first time attending and I was curious to learn what the two days of workshops, seminars and exhibition stands had to offer.

Seminar at UK Aware 2011

I arrived at London Olympia, the venue for the show, just in time for an interesting seminar entitled 'How can organisations and businesses cut costs whilst reducing carbon emissions and engaging their customers at the same time?' with a panel of representatives from Second Nature, Google, Global Action Plan, BT and People Who Share. I felt two of the most pertinent points made during this debate were about addressing self-image and selling an alternative way of living. Chris Large from Global Action Plan explained that tapping into an individual's self-image and championing alternative options to break old habits in business is the key. The example he gave was the prestige associated with flying abroad to important business meetings. These meetings could alternatively take place via video conferencing but that doesn't necessarily fit with the preferred self-image of the business person and this is what needs to be addressed. Benita Matofska from People Who Share said that there needed to be a large cultural shift across society but that shift won't necessarily take place unless the reasons for the change of lifestyle is sold effectively, such as the financial benefits of lowering carbon. Both points certainly worth pursuing and considering further I think.

The swishing (clothes swapping, if you're not familiar with the term) area filled one corner of the exhibition space and was busy with ladies rummaging and trying on new-to-them clothes. As I walked past and clocked a lovely dress I made a mental note to myself to take a few items to swap next time. At the back of the hall a green machines expo showed off some shiny new low emissions vehicles and visitors had lots of fun testing the bikes out on the indoor cycle track.

Greenfinder stall at UK Aware 2011

Exhibitors included a wide range of organisations from charities such as the Wildlife Trusts and animal welfare groups to businesses selling allsorts from eco baby products to green printing services. There were familiar faces like the lovely Kate from Greenfinder (the Greenfinder stall is pictured above), Inspired Times Magazine and Onya Bags as well as some new and interesting products that I hadn't come across before. New to me was Ice, a loyalty scheme with a difference. Partnering with retailers such as Vintage Roots, Frank & Faith, OrgaiPets and Green & Black's Ice provides rewards to shoppers making sustainable choices. Other products I wasn't aware of before the show were Green Oil - eco friendly bike maintenance products, eco Wizard - tough, biodegradable plant pots and KleeNap - bathroom tissues made from sugar cane and bamboo waste, not trees, and so soft they'll easily give Andrex a run for their money!

The UK Aware show really does cram a lot into the two days and into the exhibition centre and has something to please all different interests. If you pop along next time you might see us exhibiting there!
www.ukaware.com

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Client News Roundup March 2011

Thursday, March 24th 2011 | Short URL

Here's the March edition of our client news round-up. If you're one of our lovely clients and you would like to share your news here, just get in touch.

My Climate Change Garden celebrates Climate Week with a post-a-day on things you can do in the garden to combat climate change.

Foxglove Covert and their volunteers prepare for the massive task of extending the nature reserve's lake.

The lake at Foxglove Covert LNR copyright Foxglove Covert

Ethical Weddings marks Fairtrade Fortnight with Fairtrade wedding offers and ideas on the blog.

Gertie & Mabel's Esmerelda document boxes featured in the March 2011 issue of Living Etc Magazine.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's  Idle Valley launches its Ecominds Project to help improve the mental health and wellbeing through conservation, food growing and wildlife gardening.

London Insight says thank you to everyone who raised funds which helped buy a vehicle for Khuphuka, the HIV and AIDS project in South Africa

Cherry Gorgeous, experts in eco-chic wedding, birth & social stationery helps readers find a green wedding supplier and launch their new website!

Cherry Gorgeous green wedding suppliers copyright Cherry Gorgeous

Creative Nottingham searches for 'golden nuggets' of creative news in Nottingham.

Factory Design are proud to announce that they were winners of the Design Week Awards Industrial Product Design - Congratulations chaps!

Greenhouse PR meet their Eco Hero, Kate Andrews, founder of Loco2

Colbha Consulting considers a green business dilemma and how they tackled it.

Photographs above © Foxglove Covert LNR & Cherry Gorgeous respectively.

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Meet Our Clients… Car Free Walks

Friday, March 18th 2011 | Short URL

Meet another of our great Green Hosting clients...

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.

Car Free Walks is a website for people who love walking but want to reduce their impact on the environment. We offer 100s of free, easy-to-use walking guides that show you the best places for a walk that buses and trains can take you in the UK. The project was the brainchild of Tim Woods, a freelance editor specialising in sustainability and development, who met business partner Gary Shipp through a mutual love of the outdoors. Patrik Germann brings the IT and application design & development skills to the team.

The Car Free Walks Team

How is your business different to that of others in your industry? How do you stand out from the crowd?

The whole project is a good old fashioned ‘labour of love’ - we all work full time as well as running the website and writing articles and publications to support our work. So we stand out because we don’t make any money!

How would you say your work is ethically and / or environmentally responsible?

We set up the project because we wanted to help encourage people to think about the way that they travel to get ‘outdoors’, and we wanted to show there is an alternative to reliance on private transport and all the negative impacts that reliance on cars can create. We also wanted to relate this to wider environmental issues, helping people to make the connection between their lifestyle choices and the implications for the natural environment that they enjoy.

What motivates you to do business this way?

As the project is a not for profit venture, we are free to make decisions based on our ethics rather than compromises due to economic decisions. Quite a lovely position to be in!

It’s been wonderful to see our project grow. The number of visitors to our site has increased steadily, and we’ve started to forge links with some major national organisations that are helping us to promote what we do. So the reward is more in a sense of achievement than anything else.

How do you communicate your positive work with clients and potential clients and how do they respond?

We like to wear our hearts on our sleeves so our beliefs and passions are a common thread throughout our website and publications. However we also are conscious not to alienate people by being preachy or self-righteous as there’s fewer better ways to turn people off.

Do you see your work as part of a movement of ethical business?

We are pleased to have built up some great relationships with similarly minded businesses and organisations, where we try to trade skills, knowledge and support, rather than exchange money. This seems to be working really well and means we can continue to operate the project on a very small budget.

Share your top 3 tips on how other businesses can work more responsibly.

  1. It’s always easier when you aren’t trying to make money!
  2. Be consistent and honest and don’t oversell your achievements
  3. Avoid ‘green wash’  - it’s so transparent!

How do you see the future of your business and what are you most excited about?

Our website re-launch, and some important new partnerships with a few large NGO’s should see the number of visitors increase sharply over the coming months. We hope this momentum will be sustained and the whole site will grow, both in size and popularity. At the same time we are hoping to start writing more articles and features for magazines and newspapers about car-free walking, with the potential to diversify into producing publications of our own.

Find out more at www.carfreewalks.org

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Meet our Clients… Opulent Ethics

Tuesday, March 15th 2011 | Short URL

Opulent Ethics uses our Green Hosting service for the website they created about their ethical jewellery...

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.

We are Opulent Ethics, an up and coming ethical jewellery company. Our jewellery is produced mainly in 100% recycled UK silver, Fairtrade or recycled gemstones and some Oro Verde gold (pre-fairtrade certified gold). We blog about current ethical jewellery issues and trends. Our vision for the future is to to bring ethical jewellery more into the mainstream and to increase the ethical jewellery consumer base.

Nepenthes silver pendant with peridot stone copyright Opulent Ethics

How is your business different to that of others in your industry? How do you stand out from the crowd?

The jewellery industry is one of the worst industries for its impact on the environment and people. Opulent Ethics tries to limit this impact by carefully sourcing our materials.  We use recycled metals and stones, are working towards becoming licensed to use the new Fairtrade and Fairmined gold and also spend time researching and using new materials such as vegetable ivory. Alongside this we combine traditional hand skills with new technologies in our work.

We stand out from the crowd with our innovative designs and by being fully transparent in every part of our business. We are constantly striving to improve our ethical credentials.  

How would you say your work is ethically and / or environmentally responsible?

All the materials used in our jewellery are carefully sourced to ensure that they are recycled, from the UK (for a low carbon footprint) or adhere to Fairtrade and Fairmined principles. Printing is kept to a minimum but when done, all advertising materials are printed on FSC certified recycled papers. Our packaging is recycled and recycleable. Opulent Ethics lend our name to various campaigns which work towards improving the lives or environments of areas affected by the jewellery industry. And to top it all off we now have a wind powered website!

What motivates you to do business this way?

Whilst travelling across Africa and Asia we saw how hard life was for some people. Just being able to support and feed their families is a struggle and this life below the poverty line is totally incomprehensible to many of us. Supporting Fairtrade work means supporting not just the worker but their local community as the Fairtrade premiums are put into improving health and education infrastructure in the local community. Opulent Ethics is motivated by the idea of helping establish and promote trade which works towards improving the lives of workers. Opulent Ethics also support programmes such as the Green Gold programme as it works to re-establish the natural eco-system of an area which is mined. This is done as an on-going process so that indigenous plants and crops are established in the area providing an additional source of income.

How do you communicate your positive work with clients and potential clients and how do they respond?

Ethical jewellery is still relatively unknown so many people simply want to know the cost implications for our business. Once we explain that for recycled silver there is no price difference and the premium from Fairtrade materials is a reasonable amount which works towards making grass-roots improvements within communities our consumers respond positively.

The Opulent Ethics blog is becoming more established and recognised within ethical jewellery circles. We have had very positive feedback about articles that we have researched and written. We hope that the Opulent Ethics blog will also become more widely read by non-ethical jewellers.

Sakura Silver Bud Bracelet copyright Opulent Ethics

Do you see your work as part of a movement of ethical business?

We definately do see our work as a movement of ethical business. Ethical jewellery is still in its infancy but there are many up and coming future deveopments. With the recent release of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold came the projection that Fairtrade and Fairmined gold will account for 5% of gold sales within the next 15 years. This will amount to a massive amount of revenue over the period. It will also, hopefully, bring about changes in other parts of the industry. Ethical jewellery is an exciting industry to be in at the minute.

Share your top 3 tips on how other businesses can work more responsibly.

  1. Be transparent about what you do. No-one expects companies to be able to work 100% ethically from the start but being honest about what you are and aren't able to do and how you are working towards making on-going improvements builds trust with your customers.
  2. Start small. Trying to change everything at once would be expensive and disruptive. Set yourself targets for making small changes over 1 year or 5 years. If you are office based this could be to limit printing, use 100% FSC certified papers or changing to soya inks. In a jewellery studio you could swop harmful chemicals for natural alternatives.
  3. Put the time in to research and find more responsibly sourced products for your business. It can take a bit longer and cost a bit more but as consumers are making more informed decisions on their purchases your business will stand out from the crowd.

How do you see the future of your business and what are you most excited about?

Opulent Ethics is excited about the future and are hoping to see ethical jewellery become more of a mainstream product with less consumers having to ask what it is. We are also hoping to see ethical jewellery become more established in high street stores. The ethical section of London Fashion week is sure to help this happen. Opulent Ethics is most excited about establishing relationships with our consumers and seeing them return to the brand over time.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your work?

Opulent Ethics' jewellery ranges are very different and unique. Our classic Sakura Range is based on Japanese cherry blossom and is quite classic. We also have a range produced using laser cut vegetable ivory. This is a world first and can't be found anywhere else. We are constantly designing and producing work so please keep popping back to see what we have been up to lately. You can also keep up to date with what we're doing through the Opulent Ethics blog.

Find out more at www.opulentethics.com

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Uganda Carbon Bureau - New website

Wednesday, February 23rd 2011 | Short URL

Here's our newly launched website for The Uganda Carbon Bureau.

Uganda Carbon Bureau website

UCB provides a range of services around carbon management and offsetting. They help organisations measure their carbon footprint and take steps to reduce its size. They also provide advice and support to projects planning to develop and sell carbon credits and carry out a range of education and training to increase awareness about climate change.

Uganda Carbon Bureau website

A new Content Management System has been implemented to allow UCB staff to edit website content when and wherever they need to. This is especially useful for their busy News, Events & Resources sections. The visual design brings the website in-line with their strong existing brand, already used in printed materials and displays.

Uganda Carbon Bureau website

Find out more about the website development of UCB in our portfolio.
Visit the website at www.ugandacarbon.org

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Share your Make Mail Newsletters

Thursday, February 10th 2011 | Short URL

If you use our Make Mail e-newsletter system then why not try its clever new social sharing facility?

Social sharing button imagesUsing the Quick Links inside your newsletter editor you can add Facebook 'Like' and Twitter 'Tweet' links so that your readers can share your stories in their social networks. You don't even need to worry about creating the icons because the links come with their own nifty little images which appear as soon as you add them to your newsletter.

That's not all. You can also share your sent newsletters with your Facebook and Twitter friends from inside your Make Mail account. Just visit the 'Reports' section, choose the newsletter you want to share, click the 'Share' button and off you go!

If you have any questions about using these features in your Make Mail account, just shout up.

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Client News Roundup February 2011

Thursday, February 3rd 2011 | Short URL

We love what our clients do and so we like to talk about them. Here's the latest news from a few of them:

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust launch their wildlife photography exhibition at The Museum of Nottingham life.

Gertie & Mabel get their Danish ribbon featured on the cover of Not on the High Street's latest catalogue. Well done ladies!

Gertie & Mabel's Danish Ribbon

Social Enterprise Support Centre begin their annual search for the most dynamic and innovative social enterprises with their Social Impact Award.

Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve open their new outdoor classroom and science station.

Winkworth Farm give guided tours of their beautiful green venue and grounds at their 2011 open days.

Winkworth Farm, green venue for weddings and corporate events

Unscene Production Company release the trailer for their latest short movie thriller 'Peanut'.

London Insight Meditation's - Director appears on Radio 4's Woman's Hour.

Just So Festival - 2011 festival tickets are now on sale. Take your family on a journey of the imagination.

If you're one of our web design, Green Hosting or Make Mail clients and have exciting new to share, let us know!

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reecovid: waste not chaste

Thursday, January 27th 2011 | Short URL

reecovid, the stylish, eco-friendly stationery company, first came to my attention when our friend Katie at Ethical Weddings wrote about them. I'd been looking for exactly this sort of thing for ages.

When I learned that their products are made entirely from post consumer waste, and being a bit of a stationery geek, I had to find out more. You can read full details of their green credentials on their website but I was impressed to hear that no virgin fibre is added to the stationery at all. That’s why they have the slogan ‘Waste, not Chaste’. Clever eh?

Daryl eco-friendly notepad by reecovid

The reecovid line which includes refillable notepads, personal organisers and address books (coming soon) is designed especially for women. They have really pretty covers that feel tough and durable enough to withstand getting thrown into my bag and carried around everywhere. I treated myself to the 'Daryl' notepad pictured here. Usually I like to do things digitally but you can’t beat a good notebook can you?

www.reecovid.co.uk

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Wildlife in the City

Wednesday, January 26th 2011 | Short URL

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust have started an exciting new project to help people in Nottingham discover and explore wildlife in the city's green spaces.

We've launched the new holding page for Wildlife in the City which will be in place until the full website is ready.

Wildlife in the City Nottingham Website

Visit www.wildlifeinthecity.org to sign up to the newsletter, follow them on Facebook & Twitter and find out more.

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New Adventures in Web Design

Monday, January 24th 2011 | Short URL

On 20th January 2011 at the Albert Hall the plans of Mr Simon Collison’s New Adventures in Web Design were realised here in Nottingham.

New Adventures in Web DesignThis conference (‘naconf’) had come to our attention last summer and we pounced upon the tickets as soon as they were available. We knew from the line-up of speakers (web industry leaders we had followed for years) and topics that this was going to be a high quality event. We were certainly not disappointed.

‘Experimental’ was one of the words Simon used to describe the conference and its themes. We would add ‘exciting’ and ‘inspiring’ to that. With each of the presentations it felt as though you were being led into another level of thinking about the craft of web design and the industry as a whole. There was not one stitch of code placed up on the screens but there were plenty of ideas guaranteed to stimulate discussion and apply to our practice. We particularly enjoyed the abstract nature of some of the subjects.

Dan Rubin at New Adventures in Web Design

Dan Rubin’s ‘New Language of Web Design’ was a brilliant choice for the first talk. He encouraged us to think about the power of language and the need for our now grown up industry to develop its own lexicon, rather than continue to borrow misleading vocabulary from elsewhere. This set the tone of intelligent, thought provoking talks for the day. Other highlights were Jon Tan’s insight into our lizard brain, looking at how we might better appeal to those instinctive judgements when making design decisions, Andy Clarke’s examples of movies and comics to invoke storytelling, pace and rhythm and how that may be used in our designs and Brendan Dawes’ amusing and captivating look at what it takes to be a better maker. I swear I could listen to that guy all day!

Speakers at New Adventures in Web Design Conference

There were ten talks in total, about 30-40 minutes each and the time just flew by! They all provided something thought provoking and useful to take away. They left our brains fizzing with ideas and so much to talk about.

New Adventures in Web Design paperIt wasn’t just the talks that made the day really special, it was the obvious care that had been taken for the whole thing. For example, the exhibitions and book stalls at the hall, the competitions and the pre & post conference social events; One of which was organised by our 2nd Wednesday chums. The conference packs included lots of goodies, the biggie being a New Adventures newspaper full of commentary and articles, written especially for this event, nowhere else. If you weren’t lucky enough to go along you can treat yourself to a pdf or hard copy of the naconf paper.

All that’s left to say is a thank you to Simon Collison, a proper gent, for working so hard in putting on this great conference and for making it affordable and accessible to folks like us.

Oh and if it’s on, we’ll definitely be there next time!

See what people are saying about #naconf on Twitter
Take a look at the New Adventures Flickr group

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New Year, New Look, New Website

Wednesday, January 19th 2011 | Short URL

Happy New Year! Welcome to our brand new website. As you will see we have freshened our look up, with an updated logo and pretty new colours.

We are still the same Make Hay, an ethical web design team, creating beautiful websites for positive organisations. We still run Green Hosting too! Aside from our new brand we have lots of exciting plans in place this year, starting with the New Adventures in Web Design conference this week. More on that soon.

In the meantime, please take a look at our work portfolio and do get in touch if you would like to know more.

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Happy Holidays & Christmas Break

Monday, December 20th 2010 | Short URL

Christmas bunny pictureThe Christmas holidays are nearly here and we would like to wish you all a very happy festive season and a prosperous New Year!

We’ll be taking a break over the holiday period and so the office will be closed from 5pm on 22nd December until 9am on 5th January.

For emergency hosting queries only please use our helpdesk at www.green-hosting.co.uk/support. For any other queries, please do feel free to contact us and we will get back to you on our return.

Thank you to all of our lovely clients for your continued support. We look forward to working with you in 2011 and beyond!

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Beat the VAT with Green Hosting

Friday, December 17th 2010 | Short URL

Green Website HostingAs you know the UK VAT rate is due to increase in January 2011 to 20%.

If you’re currently paying for your Green Hosting on a monthly basis, why not switch to an annual subscription now and pay the 17.5% VAT rate until December 2011?

If you’d like to arrange the switch, all you have to do is contact Vicky at hello@green-hosting.co.uk before 20th December and we’ll deal with the rest.

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Foxglove Covert – New website!

Thursday, December 16th 2010 | Short URL

Here is our latest website, Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve.

Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve Website

Situated in North Yorkshire, this beautiful 94 acre reserve is home to more than 2000 species. With a range of habitats from woodland and wetland to heathland and meadows it really is a special place to discover and enjoy wildlife.

Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve Website

Foxglove Covert commissioned Make Hay to develop their website, bringing their existing online presence up to date and adding further features. The website has a new design for improved usability and which is now in-line with their strong visual brand.

Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve

A content management system is also now in place. Additional features include the interactive habitat map, searchable species lists, educational activity sheets, picture galleries, blog and much more. Visit the website at www.foxglovecovert.org.uk.

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Goodies for Green & Ethical Businesses

Thursday, October 28th 2010 | Short URL

Good businesses deserve good stuff, right? That’s why we’re sharing a little round-up of new goodies for green & ethical businesses:

Climate Change Business GuideBusiness Guide to Climate Change Adaptation
Produced by Climate East Midlands, this free guide “Weathering the storm: saving and making money in a changing climate” provides practical advice for SMEs on how to prepare for climate change and protect all areas of their business, including premises, supply chain, staff, equipment and data. Check it out at www.climate-em.org.uk

Ethical Community
A brand new social network described by the folks at Ethical Community as “Facebook meets eBay, but for green people”. Buy, sell and advertise green products and services whilst networking with like-minded businesses.
www.ethicalcommunity.com

Social Investment Speed Dating
Hosted by ClearlySo. This ‘speed dating’ event gives social entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business directly to a range of social investors. The deadline to apply is 5th November so you need to hurry to get a place!
www.clearlyso.com

Changing Climate Weeks
November brings Changing Climate Weeks in the Midlands with a wide range inspiring of events for business, groups and individuals looking for ways to lower their carbon.
http://bookwhen.com/ccweeks2010

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Our 10:10 Carbon Cuts

Wednesday, October 27th 2010 | Short URL

10:10 Business logoAs we mentioned in our last newsletter, we have been involved in the 10:10 Project to cut our carbon emissions by 10% in a year. Our action year is now over and the results are in and we’re very pleased to say that relative to turnover our carbon emissions were reduced by 22%!

Our actions to cut our carbon emissions this year included installing new insulation and double-glazing and as a result our electricity usage was down. Our mileage was slightly increased on last year which is due to visiting a couple of clients farther afield. However, we also began working with new local clients and continued to keep much of our communication to telephone and e-mails when possible, so as not to travel unnecessarily.

Although our action year with the 10:10 Project is over our aims to reduce our emissions and waste are not. Take a look at our environmental policy to find out more about how we work green.

Remember: If you’re a 10:10 participant too then you’re eligible for a 10% discount on our Green Hosting. See our 10:10 special offer for more details.

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Special Offer for 10:10 Participants

Monday, September 27th 2010 | Short URL

10:10 Global Day of DoingIf you are involved in 10:10 – the excellent project to cut carbon emissions by 10% in a year – you’ll know that 10/10/10 is the global day of doing.

So, to celebrate the day and help others lower their carbon emissions we have a special offer!

Businesses or organisations registered to take part in the 10:10 project get 10% off their Green Hosting subscription! With Green Hosting your website is powered by the wind, not fossil fuels.

How to Claim the Green Hosting offer

  1. Your business, organisation or personal project must be registered with 10:10 and displaying the 10:10 logo on the website you’ll be hosting with us.
  2. Sign up before the end of 2010 and we’ll get things set up for you. Simple as that!

Questions? If you have any questions then just shout up!

Please note: that this 10:10 Green Hosting offer applies to annual hosting subscriptions only and must be taken up before midnight on 31/12/10. Our usual hosting terms apply too.

Find out More

To find out more about Green Hosting visit www.green-hosting.co.uk

For more on the 10:10 Project www.1010global.org

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Ask Iris – New website!

Monday, September 20th 2010 | Short URL

The Iris Project is a new service in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire which provides information and advice to parents of children and young people with disabilities.

Ask Iris - Information for parents of children with disabilities
The remit of the Iris website was to deliver the vast amount of useful information on many issues such as health and social care but to also involve service users online and allow them to support each other via the website.

The Ask Iris site holds pages of information about legal issues, disability rights, statutory and voluntary services and how parents may access support. The resources section includes an extensive directory of over 900 organisations, a jargon buster tool, frequent questions and useful links. Website visitors can take part in polls and give their views about issues which affect them and their family. They can also ask Iris to help them with a problem as well as sign up for the newsletter (using our Make Mail system).

The Ask Iris website is hosted by Green Hosting.

Visit them at www.askiris.org.uk

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New Green Hosting Support & Terms

Wednesday, September 8th 2010 | Short URL

This is important information for any of our clients whose websites use our Green Hosting service.

We have a brand new and more comprehensive support service in place should you need any help with getting started and managing your Green Hosting account.

In our new support section on the Green Hosting website we’ve provided some useful answers to common queries. If the answer you’re looking for isn’t there we have a helpdesk system where you can request support from the Green Hosting team. If you need to request support for your Green Hosting account, please use this system: http://makehay.zendesk.com/tickets/new

Check it out at www.green-hosting.co.uk/support

There is more information on our website about what type of support we provide for Green Hosting and how but if you have any questions please do contact us.

Updated Terms & Conditions

The new support system is in effect right now as well as our updated Green Hosting Terms & Conditions. Please take a little time to pop over to the website and read these terms
www.green-hosting.co.uk/terms.html because they apply to all of our clients using the Green Hosting service.

As you’ll see they have been re-written with less legalese and more clarity, which we think is important so that everyone understands the terms they are agreeing to.

Thank you

We also just want to say a big thank you to all of our clients using our Web Design, Green Hosting and Make Mail services. When we look at all of the amazing, positive things you’re doing we are so pleased to be a part of it.

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Gertie & Mabel – New website!

Wednesday, August 4th 2010 | Short URL

We are very happy to introduce to you Gertie & Mabel and their brand new online shop!

Gertie & Mabel online shop

At Gertie & Mabel you will find a range of beautiful homewares and gifts for anyone who loves country chic. They are inspired by English, French and Scandinavian design and their products include kitchenalia, natural soaps and smellies, garden supplies and hand crafted sewing goodies as well as lovely refurbished and hand made furniture. They’re clever folks over at G & M you know!

This is the first website for the new business and their objective was to sell their products online as well as having a means of keeping in touch with customers via their news page and e-newsletters. Join their mailing list if you’d like to know more!

The Gertie & Mabel website is also hosted by Green Hosting. So it is powered by the wind!

Visit them at www.gertieandmabel.co.uk

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Free Facebook Business Page Guide

Friday, June 18th 2010 | Short URL

Well those web marketing gurus HubSpot have done it again, they’ve produced another free guide to help you create and promote your business pages on Facebook.

The ‘Who’s Blogging What – Facebook Page Marketing Guide 2010‘ is useful for Facebook newcomers and existing users alike. The e-book includes:

  • How to build a business page that stands out
  • How to build a loyal following
  • Examples of effective pages
  • How to track the progress of your Facebook marketing efforts

Visit the Hubspot website to download the Facebook guide.
www.hubspot.com

Do you ‘like’ our Facebook page?

Make Hay & Green Hosting on Facebook

On our Make Hay & Green Hosting Facebook page we share useful info, articles, offers and guides on ethical business, web design, web hosting and online marketing. Visit our Facebook page and ‘like’ us to keep up to date.
http://www.facebook.com/MakeHay

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Ethical Weddings in ’30 Beautiful Green Websites’

Monday, May 17th 2010 | Short URL

We had a lovely message from our client Katie at Ethical Weddings this morning to let us know that the ethicalweddings.com website has been listed in greenmarketing.tv’s top ‘30 Beautiful Green Websites‘. In fact it comes in their top 10 and they describe it as “soft, informative and stylish

Ethical Weddings website

Check it out for yourself at www.ethicalweddings.com

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Meet our Clients…Elio Studio

Friday, May 7th 2010 | Short URL

Leonora of Elio Studio has worked with Make Hay for some time, being one of our longest-standing Green Hosting and web design clients. She is also a good friend of Green Girls Global. So, a warm welcome please…

Leonora OppenheimPlease introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.

Hello, my name is Leonora Oppenheim and I’m the director of Elio Studio, a design consultancy that crafts narratives to inform and inspire.

Our work can be described as design storytelling – in other words, we use word, image and form to tell local cultural, environmental and community stories to wider audiences.

We work in collaboration with architects, designers, curators and scientists on creative projects that promote engaging conversations around sustainability issues.

I also regularly put finger to key to tell epic tales of design derring and sustainability do for TreeHugger.com and other online and print publications.

How is your business different to that of others in your industry? How do you stand out from the crowd?

Elio Studio - Carlos and Equadorian chocolateFrom working on plans for a chocolate factory with cacao farmers in the Ecuadorian Amazon to reporting on biogas toilets from the mountains of northern Ethiopia, we tell many an adventurous tale of beautiful and inspiring encounters with creative minds around the world.

With an unusual combination of design, writing and sustainability skills Elio Studio tells cultural stories through several disciplines, including public design installations, journalism and brand consultancy.

This diversity gives us multiple platforms to communicate from and we often enjoy blurring the boundaries between them, which makes for a pretty dynamic and unique approach to storytelling.

How would you say your work is ethically and / or environmentally responsible?

Every project that Elio Studio is involved in has its root in ethical and environmental responsibility, we take that as a given. If the project is not making a positive contribution in some way then it’s not the right fit for us, and moreover it’s just not fun to work on.

Leonora lifting a jerry can

What motivates you to do business this way?

I like a good challenge! And I really believe that forging emotional connections between individuals and their local environment is one of the greatest design challenges of our time.

At the studio we’re excited by the possibilities of creative collaboration with local communities. We take local stories at a grassroots level and promote them on global platforms, inspiring businesses & individuals to create positive change.

How do you communicate your positive work with clients and potential clients and how do they respond?

We try to take a light, engaging tone that shows we’re as passionate about good design as we are about environmental issues, and that the two are not mutually exclusive.

We communicate using word and image through multi-media channels of email (hello [at] eliostudio.com), website (www.eliostudio.com – thanks to Make Hay) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/ElioStudio).

Occasionally, when we really want to grab someone’s attention we like to be old school and send a beautiful hand written note. Sometimes we even turn up in person!

Each medium is useful in it’s own way. For example Twitter is an excellent tool, not only for promoting your own work, but also to curate content of others you trust and admire. It gives you the opportunity to create a dynamic ‘brand voice’ that gives potential clients an impression of what your business is about.

Do you see your work as part of a movement of ethical business?

Yes, absolutely.

It’s difficult to say whether there is any body else doing exactly what Elio Studio is doing right now, but there is certainly a fantastic community of sustainable design thinkers locally in London, and globally in the blogosphere, working in all sorts of different disciplines – fashion, products, architecture, service and systems design.

Map at the Creative Data project in Norfolk

We all bounce ideas off each other regularly and often form fantastic collaborations. I feel very lucky to be part of this community that keeps me inspired and motivated every day.

My top 5 UK ethical design business picks:

Worn Againwww.wornagain.co.uk
Imaginalswww.imaginals.net
Thomas Matthewswww.thomasmatthews.com
Exploration Architecturewww.exploration-architecture.com
New Frontiersnewfrontiers.uk.com

Share your top 3 tips on how other businesses can work more responsibly.

Cradle to Cradle – learn to embrace systems thinking and close the loop.

Act local. Think Global – get involved in your local community and tell everyone about it online.

Work for ‘More joy per person’ – always ask how your business decisions affect people, from supplier to consumer and everyone in between.

How do you see the future of your business and what are you most excited about?

The future of my business is multidisciplinary and multi platform storytelling, finding creative ways of communicating the important issues of our time to people locally and globally.

I’m most excited about the possibilities of working with commercial brands to communicate their sustainability initiatives to their customers in fun and engaging ways. I think there is so much potential to inspire people through design storytelling.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your work?

You might like to check out one of Elio Studio’s projects that’s currently in development. It’s a series of public design installations called Creative Data (www.creativedataprojects.com) that are taking place around the UK over the next few years.

Creative Data project - The Butterfly Effect

We’re working in collaboration with climate scientists with the aim of the communicating local environmental issues to local people in their local environment.

You can watch the short film of our pilot project The Butterfly Effect,  and watch out for the up coming Creative Data projects in Wales 2010 (coastal), Cornwall 2011 (Eden Project) and London 2012 (Olympics).

If you are interested in finding out more about Creative Data or would like Elio Studio tell your design story please do get in touch (hello [at] eliostudio.com)

Visit Leonora’s website at www.eliostudio.com

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Meet our Clients…Fifi Bijoux

Wednesday, April 28th 2010 | Short URL

Ethical jewellery label Fifi Bijoux runs their website on Green Hosting

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.

Vivien Johnston at Fifi BijouxVivien Johnston, Director and founder of Fifi Bijoux. I set up the brit brand in 2006 to offer consumers jewellery made exclusively from ethically sourced materials; fairly traded gold, platinum and silver mined without mercury or cyanide.  The jewellery is crafted in London by master goldsmiths. Our diamonds and gems also come from ethical sources, small scale co-operative mines where possible and carefully selected mining and cutting projects which practice exemplary social and environmental responsibility standards.

How is your business different from that of others in your industry? How do you stand out from the crowd?

Fifi Bijoux is a design label, we show at London and Paris Fashion Weeks and have been readily accepted by the fashion press. It’s a luxury product; with the unique new luxury of known provenance of all our materials. Our customers are a mixture of hip ethical shoppers and fashion-forward trend setters.

Sex on the beach pendant by Fifi Bijoux

How would you say your work is ethically and / or environmentally responsible?

We take great care to partner with mining programmes which demonstrate a strict code of conduct for social standards, including no child labour, fair advancement for all workers, living wages to employees or co-operative projects which invest back into the communities where possible. Environmental standards are tough and they have to be. Standard mining practices rank 2nd in the world for environmental damage and the consequences to water sources, fish, flora and fauna, as well as local communities who depend on these for their food sources can be devastating.

Gold workers

Fifi Bijoux was founded on the principle of maximising the positive impacts for the local communities.

What motivates you to do business this way?

Precious stones - Fifi BijouxI experienced the lack of transparency in the typical jewellery business model and saw that the value chain was heavily weighted after export of rough or unrefined goods, meaning a raw deal for the producers. The extreme problems in the jewellery industry have been well documented; a lack of traceability in the supply chain ultimately allows for conflict situations and for corruption to flourish. The film Blood Diamond shows the civil war which was funded by diamonds in the 1990’s; but similar atrocities occurred as recently as Nov 2009 in Zimbabwe when Mugabe’s troops murdered miners in the diamond fields. The DRC and Cote d’Ivoire remain volatile.

At worst, diamonds and precious minerals remain an easily smuggled hard currency. At best, mining companies who do actually fulfil high standards of CSR remain invisible and often lumped together with the worst offenders because of the lack of traceability. I think consumers should be able to make informed choices, especially on something as precious and sentimental as an engagement ring for example.

How do you communicate your positive work with clients and potential clients and how do they respond?

The press have been kind and have shown great interest in Fifi Bijoux and my business model. I meet with private clients and work on design briefs with them, I also design ready to wear collections which are sold on-line and through our stockists. Currently, we have around 30 stockists across the UK and also export to France, New York and Australia.

Do you see your work as part of a movement of ethical business?

Yes, most certainly.  I see forward thinking business and sustainability being critical to the global economy.

Acorn Pendant and the Entebbe water tower - Fifi Bijoux

Above image: Little Acorns – 10% profits to Child Sponsorship Project, Entebbe, Uganda

Share your top 3 tips on how other businesses can work more responsibly.

Know your supply chain. Use your purchasing power to make ethical choices. Accept that ‘being ethical’ is about making a journey; you have to start somewhere and don’t be discouraged if certain things elude you to begin with. Companies like Make Hay didn’t exist 10 years ago; but now boast a very lively client list and provide a green choice for business.

How do you see the future of your business and what are you most excited about?

We launched our own on-line boutique last year and it’s going from strength to strength. Export is also growing, so we hope that Fifi Bijoux will develop its international reputation in the next few years as well as the UK has received our designs.Diamond Ring by Fifi Bijoux

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your work?

We have just launched a silver collection and a collection of 18ct gold engagement and wedding rings.

Visit the Fifi Bijoux website at www.fifibijoux.com

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Meet our Clients… Bloom Psychology

Monday, April 12th 2010 | Short URL

Bloom Psychology logoIn the first of our interview features we are very happy to introduce one of our lovely Green Hosting clients, Bloom Psychology. Find out what motivates them to help people discover their ideal career and how they stand out from others in their field.

So please give them a very warm welcome…

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.

We are Rob and Amelia, co-founders of Bloom Psychology.  We’re psychologists who help people make and deal with change.  We realise this may sound a bit vague, but for example we do a lot of work with people wanting to identify their best career.

Both of us made a career change ourselves (I was a management consultant and Amelia a TV Producer) so this has real meaning for us.

We also help leaders who want to improve their performance at work, Mums who want to return to work, people who want to improve their health and wellbeing, and teams that wish to work more productively together.

We think that the barriers to change are usually in the mind, so we use psychology to help people understand what’s going on and act more consciously towards what they really value.

How is your business different to that of others in your industry? How do you stand out from the crowd?

Bloom Psychology speaking at a conferenceThis may sound like a cliché, but our values really do set us apart.

Psychologists are all about evidence, and having proof for what you say.  So being evidence based is a key value, because otherwise it’s difficult to make an informed decision.  Another key value is to be remarkable, that is, we want to do work with people in a way which is inspiring and energising.  We want to ‘bring psychology to life’.

We always work in the direction of someone’s strengths – ensuring that the change we make is authentic.

Finally, we gave up our jobs to do something that makes a difference.  I remember too many jobs as a consultant which simply did not need doing.  The client was being sold something they didn’t need.  We don’t want to be like that, it has to be about more than profit.

All this doesn’t mean that we’re perfect, but it does mean that we try to do the right thing through what we do, not just what we say.

How would you say your work is ethically and / or environmentally responsible?

For the ethical stance, see above.  We want to look back on this adventure and know that we stood for something beyond just success in the market.  For example, we do cut price work for people on low incomes, pro bono work for good causes, and we also help businesses work out how they can change employee and consumer behaviour towards environmental issues.
But for the environment – other than using Make Hay and using public transport we think we could do a lot more!  Any ideas from your readers?

What motivates you to do business this way?

Because if we can’t look back on our work, knowing we really did our best to take a stand for what we believe in….then really what’s the point?  We see a lack of real leadership in this country with too many people looking after only their own interests.  We want to stand for something more and set an example.

Ironically, we think that doing this will bring us more meaning and fulfilment and we reckon we’ll be more successful because people can see we mean it.

How do you communicate your positive work with clients and potential clients and how do they respond?

Bloom Psychology - The Bloom WordleWe’ve just completed an e-brochure of our services for organisations and we also have a great newsletter, Bloom Vine.

We also have a Blog, where we try to give as many career change exercises and resources away for free.  We also feature an inspiring series of people who’ve changed careers on our Blog.  If any of your clients would like to be featured please get in touch!

Follow us on Twitter, here. And finally we have a rather nice website, hosted by Make Hay!

Do you see your work as part of a movement of ethical business?

Yes.  Organisations have the power to change the world.  But it will take small businesses and their consumers to lead the way, it will take us to show them how it can be done.  It’s all about being authentic to a set of values beyond mere profit.  If this sounds wishy washy to anyone, there’s strong evidence that organisations that operate in this way also outperform those that don’t.  Quite simply, people want to trust the people they work with.

Share your top 3 tips on how other businesses can work more responsibly.

Clearly, we all have a responsibility to think about the resources we consume.  Making this the default setting in your life (think ‘Nudge’) by making good habits easier is key.
But we have only 1 proper tip.  Most people make decisions automatically, almost on auto pilot.  But this means we tend to make choices based on short term comparisons – how’s he or she doing, am I missing out?

Our tip is to identify the things that are really important to you in terms of values.  Then to live more consciously in pursuit of these.  Money is not a value, it’s the values that it buys you (think about security, freedom, status) that really matter to people.

How do you see the future of your business and what are you most excited about?

Right now, we’re trying to bring the cost of our career services down by introducing a brilliant online career decision making tool called CareerStorm Navigator (see pic).

Bloom Psychology CareerStorm Navigator

Bloom Psychology working in Abu DhabiIn terms of our work for organisations we’re looking forward to delivering more of the services which we are good at – employee engagement, change management and coaching.  Our recent clients include Directgov, the School of Life, The Arts Council and working out in the desert for the Abu Dhabi Civil Service (see pic)!

In terms of our own development, we are pioneering the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in our work.  This is a new, evidence-based way of helping people deal with change and stress which is incredibly effective in helping people identify and make progress towards the things they value most.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your work?

We don’t love it all the time.  Seriously, running your own business isn’t about becoming happier, which many people think it is.  Since starting, we’ve been more stressed, more tired, more anxious and every day we face new challenges and frustrations.

But the difference is we know that we’re doing something that matters.  We’ll have no regrets…and there’s no happier thought than that.

Visit Bloom Psychology at www.bloompsychology.co.uk

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Latest Newsletter – An Interview with an Ethical You

Wednesday, April 7th 2010 | Short URL

Our latest newsletter ‘An Interview with an Ethical You‘ is out now and we’re looking for your views on a new client interview idea.

Make Hay has always been about working to raise the profile of environmentally and ethically responsible businesses and organisations. We like to talk about the positive work that our clients do.

We really want to go above and beyond the services of a regular web design and hosting company to spread the word about all of your positive work. So we’re starting a new way of helping our clients get their message out there, through our own regular streams of communication. It won’t cost clients anything extra at all and it will mean that you tell our audience (and like-minded folk), in your own words, what you’re all about. Read our newsletter to find out more.

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Leeds Parent Partnership Service – New Website

Wednesday, March 31st 2010 | Short URL

Leeds Parent Partnership Service provide education information and advice to parents and carers of children with individual educational needs.

Leeds Parent Partnership Service Website

We originally began working with PPS Leeds in 2007 and created their very first content management website. Since then the team have been using the site to provide useful information to service users, such as details about local support and events. In this next wave of development we added further functionality, new sections and a parent discussion forum. Updates were also made for further ease of use for site administrators. PPS Leeds have also recently undergone a service re-brand across all publicity materials and needed a website re-design to bring it in line.

The PPS Leeds website is also hosted by Green Hosting.

Visit them at www.leedsparentpartnership.co.uk

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Climate East Midlands – New Website!

Monday, February 1st 2010 | Short URL

“Once again, thank you, it has been a genuine pleasure to work with you.”

This is what the lovely folks at Climate East Midlands said about working with us on their brand new website.

Climate East Midlands website

Climate East Midlands is one of nine partnerships throughout the UK working to coordinate action on the causes and consequences of climate change.

As a relatively new organisation they were starting completely from scratch in terms of an online presence. They needed to launch with a content management system allowing them to update information about their work and activities as well as useful resources for learning about climate change. Most importantly the website had to allow for further growth and development in the future – and so that’s what we did.

Climate East Midlands will also use our Make Mail e-newsletter service to keep in touch with colleagues and interested subscribers.

The website is powered by the wind, using our Green Hosting.

Visit them at www.climate-em.org.uk

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Wakefield Riding for the Disabled – New Site!

Thursday, January 28th 2010 | Short URL

Here is one of our latest websites to launch in 2010, Wakefield Riding for the Disabled.

Wakefield RDA provide horse riding and carriage driving sessions to children and adults with disabilities.

Wakefield Riding for the Disabled website

We were asked to re-vamp their old, out of date site with new visuals and clear navigation. This website is simple yet effectively communicates the work of WRDA. The added photo gallery brings their activities to life too.

The Wakefield RDA website uses our wind powered Green Hosting service.

Visit their website at www.wrda.org.uk

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Using a copywriter to get your ethical message heard

Wednesday, January 27th 2010 | Short URL

Its always good to hear from fellow businesses and organisations interested in raising the profile of positive and ethical work. Recently we came into contact with Rob Morley from Fountain Partnership, a copywriting business, who do just that. Having similar values when it comes to doing business responsibly we invited Fountain to share the benefits of professional copywriting services here on our blog.

Over to you Rob…

Using a copywriter to get your ethical message heard and acted upon

Fountain Partnership logoIn these times when ethical and green voices need to be heard more than ever, it’s important to stand out from the crowd.

When it comes to writing the text for your website or promotional material, the chances are your natural instinct is to write it yourself. After all, it’s your organisation and you know what you want to say.

The question is, do you know what people want to read?

Copywriting is the art of using proven principles from psychology and marketing to engage with the reader and persuade them to take action.

With a website, on average, you have 5-10 seconds to connect with a reader and keep them engaged.  The title you use and the way you write will determine whether the reader stays or goes.

With flyers, you need to get the reader’s attention and make your message relevant to them, before persuading them to take it on board.

Whatever you’re writing, the words you use will determine whether you get your message heard or not.

So, if you’re investing in a new website or promotional material, it’s worth considering a copywriter to ensure you get a great return on your investment.  And, perhaps more importantly, to ensure people are aware of your cause.

Want to know more?  Here are some of the benefits of using a copywriter:

  • Your words will connect with the reader straight away – making them want to read on.
  • The benefits of your product or service are clear, with the reader actually imagining what life would be like if they used it.
  • Sales and leads are generated by the reader being persuaded to take action.
  • The value of your product and service is clearly demonstrated
  • Your organisation will come across as trustworthy and credible
  • You can rest easy, knowing that a professional has combed the text for grammar and spelling
  • Your copy will flow and be a joy to read
  • Your online text will be full of keywords for SEO (search engine optimisation) but not read like a shopping list.
  • A Copywriter is an objective eye, able to present your organisation in a way that will appeal to potential clients

Get your message heard – talk to a professional copywriter!
www.fountainpartnership.co.uk

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VAT rate change reminder

Monday, January 11th 2010 | Short URL

Happy New Year! We hope 2010 is proving to be productive and prosperous for you so far.

This is just a little reminder to our Green Hosting clients, who pay for their hosting service on a monthly basis, about the change in VAT rate from 1st January 2010.

You should have received an e-mail directly from me about your Green Hosting subscriptions. If you have not received my e-mail or have any questions about your Green Hosting subscription please do get in touch.

Thank you to all of our clients for your continued custom and support!

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Season’s Greetings and Happy News

Friday, December 11th 2009 | Short URL

Festive baubleOur latest newsletter ‘Seasons Greetings, Happy News and Festive Break‘ is out now.

We’ll be taking a short break over the Christmas holidays so please note our office closing ours will be from 5pm Weds 23rd December to Mon 4th Jan 2010.

Wishing you all very merry holidays and a happy New Year!

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Cutting Costs and Carbon Newsletter

Thursday, November 5th 2009 | Short URL

Our latest newsletter ‘Cutting Costs and Carbon‘ is out now.

If you are one of our monthly subscribers to Green Hosting here you will find a way to cut your hosting costs next year. We’re also planning on cutting our carbon in 2010, why don’t you join us. Read our newsletter to find out more.

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Midlands Green Pages launches

Wednesday, October 28th 2009 | Short URL

Midlands Green Pages logoGreat news for the good people of central England. Newly launched this week is the directory of midlands eco businesses large and small, the ‘Midlands Green Pages‘!

At Midlands Green Pages you will find green services and products of all kinds from jewellery, gardening and woodland burials to training courses, weddings and B2B.

Of course, being a Midlands based business Make Hay is included. We are also very happy to provide our Green Hosting service, run on wind power, for this exciting new website.

If you run a green business in Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands or Worcestershire add your listing to get involved.

www.midlandsgreenpages.co.uk

Midlands Green Pages is run by Kate, founder of the national eco directory GreenFinder

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Cutting 10% of emissions in 2010

Thursday, October 22nd 2009 | Short URL

Here at Make Hay we’ve just signed up to the 10:10 project. The project to cut carbon emissions in the UK by 10% in a single year.

10:10 logoWhy? Well, as the folks at 10:10 explain:
“…while politicians argue about targets for 2050 and 2020, the scientists say world emissions must peak and begin to fall within the next few years. That means we need deep cuts in the developed world as quickly as possible. The longer we leave it, the smaller our chance of avoiding disastrous warming. 10% is approximately the right amount for Britain to cut next year if we are to play our part in keeping global temperatures from soaring out of control…

I don’t know about you but I would rather have a good go a using the car less, turning the heating down and consuming less electricity than face what may happen if global warming gets much worse. Although 10:10 is an ambitious project, the things we need to do are quite simple. I can’t see any reason not to at least try. I mean, its not asking much is it really?

The 10:10 project is for everyone, not just businesses. It’s about uniting individuals, organisations, schools, companies, everybody to get behind this idea and get things on track for the future. We can’t keep putting this off or rely on the government to do it for us, because they won’t.

If you do run a business you can find out more on the 10:10 website. Because 10:10 recognise that progressive companies have already made significant cuts the aim for us business types is to cut at least 3%. As we’ve already implemented quite a lot of everyday practices at Make Hay to reduce our carbon it will be a challenge but we’re up for it!

The 10:10 project is run collaboratively by the team behind the film Age of Stupid, The Guardian, ActionAid, Comic Relief, the Energy Saving Trust, the Carbon Trust, the Public Interest Research Centre and many more. These guys know what they’re talking about when it comes to climate change so let’s listen to them.

Why don’t you sign up to 10:10 too? You can get help and support along the way and you might even save some money! 1010uk.org

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Nottingham & Notts Parent Partnership Service – New Site!

Friday, October 16th 2009 | Short URL

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Parent Partnership Service supports parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Parent Partnership Service

The previous PPS Notts site was out of date and using old technology. They needed a new site which they could update frequently to ensure they could share news of their activities and events, volunteering opportunities and projects. They also needed much more control over their content to reflect the their dynamic and growing service and provide resources for parents looking for support. At the same time the site needed to be clear, easy to use and clean in design whilst incorporating a large amount of information. RSS feeds are included so that visitors can keep up to date with all the latest at PPS.

The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Parent Partnership Service website is also now hosted on our wind powered Green Hosting service.

Visit the PPS Notts site at www.ppsnotts.org.uk

See our other client websites in our portfolio.

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Domain scam…again!

Monday, September 28th 2009 | Short URL

Please be aware of any letters or invoices you receive asking you to renew or transfer your domain name. There seems to be yet another round of false reminders from a company called ‘Domain Renewal Group‘. Their paperwork is suspiciously similar to the previous company (Domain Registry of America / Europe / Canada) we warned about in our November ’08 newsletter.

If here at Make Hay we have registered a domain name for you then we will remind you in plenty of time when it is due for renewal. The correspondence will come from us and only us.

Even though their letters look official please do not pay the ‘Domain Renewal Group’ any money as this is a scam.

I shall send the false letters we receive to Trading Standards Institute so they are aware of the scam.

Update 5th Oct 09 – Another new domain scam – look out for e-mails from ‘ISP Renewal’ with the address ‘…@onlinereminder.org’ and don’t fall for it!

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5 Years of Green Business

Monday, September 21st 2009 | Short URL

Happy 5th birthdayThis month Make Hay turns 5 years old. The time has flown so fast but at this milestone it makes us very happy to take a look back and a look around, to reflect on how we’ve grown and how responsible business is becoming more mainstream. There’s still a great responsibility for the business world (including us) to increase and improve our green and ethical habits but we should celebrate the achievements too!

Business Driven by Purpose

Make Hay was officially founded in September 2004. Long before then though it had had been whirring around in our brains. Disillusioned by traditional business models and encouraged by the potential of business driven by purpose, not just profit, we decided it was time to take our combined positive experiences and skills and make our contribution to changing the world. I know that might sound a bit cliché but that was, and still is, the driving force behind our business.

Back in 2004 the world was a different place. It was quite unusual for a new business to say they would turn work away if it meant making money from a particular industry or market or seek out suppliers with positive ethical credentials even though they may be more expensive. As we excitedly told friends and family what we were planning to do we were often met with bemused looks or remarks like “that’s crazy, you’ll never make any money”. Concerned supporters suggested “why don’t you start off without an ethical policy and when you’re established then go down the ethical route?” – There was no question of that. We did have positive encouragement too and to those people we are hugely thankful. Without it the beginnings of our fledgling business would have been difficult and isolating.

It wasn’t long before we found a few other businesses that we could look to for collaborations and support. I remember very well one of the first businesses we discovered was Ethical Junction. In great anticipation of meeting more greeny business types we added our details to what was then a humble directory ran by a handful of folks. Now, I’m happy to say, Ethical Junction are a mighty force, connecting responsible business owners all over the UK and we’re very proud to still be members.

How Things Have Changed

Personal highlights in our Make Hay journey include setting up Make Noise, to help promote the work of our amazing web design clients and adding the Green Hosting arm to our business, which enabled us to provide websites powered on renewable energy. We also co-founded and became host to the Green Girls Global blog and later Green Guys Global and joined the steering group of a local Fairtrade campaign as business representative. More recently we launched our Make Mail service, providing clients with e-mail marketing newsletters so that they could reach out even further and our blog, another useful voice in sharing the work of our clients and news and views on responsible and sustainable business.

More widely we’ve noted some vast changes in the business world as you will have too. Nowadays we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to green stationery, equipment and furniture. We can have our offices powered by the wind and become listed in a wealth of useful directories and networks working hard to get green to the masses. Gone are the days when shop keepers look at you aghast for bringing your own bag and even the big supermarkets are hiding their plastic carriers under the till.

Let’s not be fooled or get complacent, there is a still a long, long way to go and it won’t be easy. But we can be buoyed by the way that green business has begun to seep into the mainstream, even in Make Hay’s short lifetime, and use that to drive us forward. Let’s see what we can achieve in the next 5, 15, 50 years!

Thank You!

All that remains to say is a big thank you to our clients, colleagues and friends for your support over the years. As a way of showing our gratitude we have a prize for one lucky client to win. Please see the details in our latest newsletter.

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Social Enterprise Support Centre – New Site!

Thursday, September 17th 2009 | Short URL

The Social Enterprise Support Centre provides support and consultancy to the social enterprise sector and are one of our longest-standing clients. We’ve worked alongside them as they’ve grown and developed over the years, providing web design, newsletter services, green hosting, support and training.

Now SESC have moved forward into another new era, we’re happy to show their newly launched, bigger, better website.

Social Enterprise Support Centre

This new site provides more ways for social enterprises and community businesses to get useful information and advice and allows them to give their feedback too. New features include polls, the info hub, the SESC blog and a free members’ area.

SESC have also recently opened a second office in Bradford so I’m sure they have many more plans for the future and we’re looking forward to being involved!

Check out their website at www.sesc.org.uk

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Important: WordPress Security Exploit

Tuesday, September 8th 2009 | Short URL

This is very important information for anyone using WordPress for their website or blog.

It has come to our attention that there is a new security exploit attacking WordPress sites using old versions (i.e. versions before 2.8.4).

This new exploit seems to create a ‘fake’ administrator (which you cannot see) within WordPress which may change URLs or abuse other parts of your site. Please see the following links for reference:
WordPress 2.8.4 Security Release
Mashable – WordPress Attack Underway
Lorelle on WordPress

Protect your site – upgrade WordPress

To protect your WordPress site you should upgrade the software to the newest version (2.8.4). If you do not know how to do this we can do it for you for a small fee of £25 ex VAT (our current clients).

Please contact us to ask about your WordPress update.

Upgrading WordPress now could save a lot of problems and heartache later so please do not ignore this message.

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‘Getting’ Green Business Newsletter

Wednesday, August 19th 2009 | Short URL

Our latest newsletter ‘Getting Green Business‘ is out now.

In this issue you’ll find a handy way of adding your Make Mail newsletter sign-up form to your Facebook page, news of a green directory and an international site connecting sustainable businesses. There’s also a link to a handy free image editing tool and an article about how one company showed how they really did not ‘get’ green business. As always there’s news about our latest clients too.

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Winkworth Farm – New Site!

Monday, August 17th 2009 | Short URL

Newly launched this morning is the Winkworth Farm website

Winkworth Farm website

For couples planning a gorgeous green countryside wedding Winkworth Farm is a lovely venue in an idyllic location on the edge of the Cotswolds. The owners of the farm, the Newman family, are in the process of renovating a group of the Cotswold stone barns to provide an all-weather function venue. The building will be powered by a renewable energy source and they implement a green policy to make sure all weddings held there are kind to the environment.

This Winkworth Farm website is a ‘first phase’ site providing information about plans for the new venue and services which will be available to book for summer 2010. They provide a useful ‘recommended suppliers’ list and rates for venue hire. Anyone interested can make initial booking enquiries and view a picture gallery of previous weddings at the farm too.

We worked with the Winkworth Farm team to implement their new logo and branding into a clear, easy to use website focusing on the beauty of the location. The site is also run by our wind-powered Green Hosting.

Visit Winkworth Farm at www.winkworthfarm.com

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