Last week, we launched one of our favourite projects to date, The Great British Wildflower Hunt from Plantlife – an interactive guide aimed at families and young people to help them learn more about the fantastic wildflowers you can find around your own town and the nearby countryside.
In just eight weeks from start to finish, we spared sleep, fuelled ourselves with gallons of tea, and lovingly designed and built the website using the ever increasingly powerful and popular WordPress CMS. Features include:
Automatic HTML5 location detection and integration with Google Maps
Colour filters on species charts to narrow down identification of spotted wildflowers
Calculation of score based on rarity of species found and ability to share the score achieved with friends on Facebook and Twitter
Plot and display of submitted results on Google Maps including details of score achieved and species found at that location
Although it’s possibly not the most ideal social media channel for all businesses, if you produce or sell something that photographs well, create interesting imagery or you frequently attend events that would be of interest to your followers, then it could turn out to be a good fit for your business…
As a major part of what we do here at Lumous is graphic/visual/web design, we decided to setup our own Instagram profile last week. Unlike most other social media channels, you can’t share links or articles with your followers on Instagram, so it requires a slightly different approach and encourages you to be more creative with your status updates.
Here’s our top tips for those that are completely new to Instagram and looking to get started:
Use the mobile app
Install the app on your phone/tablet and use your Facebook account to login – this allows you to automatically follow all of your Facebook friends and those from your phone’s contacts that are already using Instagram.
Already have a Facebook page?
If your business already has a Facebook page, there’s also an option to link your Instagram account to the page – this will import essential information about your business that you’ve already given to Facebook; a nice little time saver! As a minimum, make sure you include a short bio so people know what your business is about and also add your phone number, e-mail and website address so they are able to get in touch.
Link to your Twitter account
You can also link your Instagram profile to your Twitter account too so that whenever you post a new image, you have the option to automatically post the same content to your Twitter and/or Facebook account – another useful time saver.
Try to include relevant hashtags whenever you post an update. Think of them as keywords that people might use when searching for images or topics that your post relates to. For example, if we were to post a screenshot of a new clothing website we’ve just launched we might include the hashtag #webdesign to help promote our company, but also we could include the hashtag #fashion to help promote our client’s business.
Over the last three months, we have steadily rolled out new improved web hosting for all our clients at no additional cost to ensure that all of our websites benefit from the improved performance and reliability of 20i’s new, state-of-the-art cloud hosting platform.
Previously, our web hosting was provided by Heart Internet, but last year, their original co-founders, Jonathan and Tim Brealey, moved on to form a new web hosting company, 20i.com
The new offering from 20i.com boasts a number of improvements over the standard hosting available through Heart Internet, including:
Top of the range servers with solid-state drives (SSD) for blazing fast speeds and exceptional reliability.
Autoscaling cloud hosting platform that dynamically scales resources on demand to ensure websites stay online and fast, even during the busiest times.
Load balanced, fully redundant and secure UK data centre with 24x7x365 onsite technicians, biometric security, CCTV & firewalls, with redundant power supplies, UPS & generators.
Exceptionally responsive support staff and a live chat system so we can get instant support and resolve issues for our clients even faster than before.
Integrated support for free SSL certificates (provided by Let’s Encrypt) so we don’t need to charge our clients an additional annual fee for secure HTTPS hosting.
IPv6 enabled web hosting with HTTP/2 support to be enabled later this year.
We hope our clients enjoy the benefits of this new improved web hosting platform. We’ve already noticed a marked improvement in performance and we’re extremely impressed with the support we’ve received so far. Please get in touch if you have any questions about these changes – we’d love to hear from you!
With the news currently so grim with day on day reports of global suffering, injustice and hatred, you’d be quite justified in turning off completely and taking the decision to live in blissful ignorance…
However, if you dig a little deeper, there’s always a story somewhere about lovely and amazing people doing lovely and amazing things, and if that involves helping other people or animals, then so much the better. We think you’ll like this one very much indeed.
If you have stories about kindness, inspirational acts or anything else that shows us humans doing amazing things to benefit others, let us know and we’ll post it up : )
One of the most cost-effective ways to market your business and services is to send e-mail campaigns to your existing customers (often referred to as email marketing). If you’d like to send professional and beautifully crafted e-mails, but don’t know where to start, we can help!
Different types of email campaigns
Stuck for ideas? Here’s a few examples of email content you could send out to your customers:
Newsletters (just to keep in touch and make sure you’re at the forefront of your customer’s mind)
Welcome packs (to give customers a handy reference with useful links and contact details)
New product/service launch (why not sell to existing customers or ask them to spread the word?)
Competitions or incentives to get them to refer your business to others or review your business online
Our email marketing system of choice is Campaign Monitor as we feel they offer the best template builder that empowers our clients to create their own e-mails. Of course, not all our clients have the time to do this themselves so, as Lumous is one of Campaign Monitor’s Agency Partners, we can help by managing email campaigns on your behalf.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a one-off setup, we can create bespoke templates designed just for you so you can edit the text and images yourself and easily send out regular emails to your customers, with no ongoing fee from ourselves.
Here’s a screenshot of their fantastic template builder to give you an idea of how easy it is…
Earlier this year, Google Chrome and other browsers started to make subtle changes to security warnings on websites that don’t use the secure HTTPS protocol. They are pushing everyone to adopt a more secure web, and they haven’t finished yet…
Current warnings in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox
Google Chrome and other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox have started to display subtle warnings on all websites using the standard HTTP protocol…
If your website has a login form that requests passwords or a checkout procedure that asks for credit card details, the warnings are worse (a padlock with a red strikethrough or the words “Not Secure” right next to the website’s address)…
Upcoming warnings in Google Chrome
Eventually (widely expected to be at some point later this year) the warnings will become even more severe in Google Chrome, as per Google’s blog post at the end of last year…
If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably already seen this, but just in case you haven’t we thought it was well worth sharing…
Lewis Hine was diagnosed with a brain tumour at 17 months and has just celebrated his 16th birthday by making the following video which has spread virally across the Internet. It explains how he copes with the various challenges encountered by his disability and talks about his Friend Finder project that helps children, who miss a lot of school, to make friends.
It’s my turn (Steve the designer) to take the blog chariot for bit of a spin this week, as Julian is doing proper paid work, so I’m not going to disturb him.
I bet that most people reading this will say, ‘oh no, not meditation… haven’t got time for that…’. Well, that’s exactly what I used to think until, finally, it got to a point where I couldn’t ignore the fact that I wasn’t sleeping, and I was starting to get ill! Why? Because I wasn’t allowing myself to take time out to just slow down and look after my own wellbeing; ‘we’ve got too much work on’, ‘that deadline is far too important for me to take a break’, etc etc. This year that has all changed, and I’ve genuinely discovered the importance of ‘taking time out’ and the many benefits of meditation with the help of a fantastic app called Headspace.
I’ve also taken up yoga, and just like meditation, I would recommend it to anyone finding that ‘it’s all getting a bit too much’. No matter where you live, there’s bound to be a yoga or meditation class close by – here’s a great resource to do just that. Don’t drive yourself into the ground, ‘cos it’s not worth it. After all, there’s only one of you, and if you break, then nothing gets done. As Bobby McFerrin says, ‘don’t worry, be happy!’ : )
In basic terms, net neutrality is the idea that all content on the Internet should be considered equal and as such Internet Service Providers (like Sky, BT and Virgin) should not be allowed to prioritise traffic to certain websites. Back in June 2015, the FCC’s Open Internet rules came into effect to protect the notion of net neutrality.
What exactly is net neutrality?
The following video explains the concept of net neutrality…
How is it under threat?
President Donald Trump recently appointed Ajit Pai (a known adversary of the Open Internet rules) as the new chairman of the FCC. It is therefore widely feared that these rules, put in place less than 2 years ago in order to protect net neutrality, are now under threat.
Why is this important for small businesses?
Net neutrality allows smaller businesses the same access to their market (via the Internet) as larger companies/organisations and therefore keeps things on a level playing field. This article on entrepreneur.com explains the threat in more detail.
Here at Lumous there’s nothing as satisfying as being involved with an organisation from the point when the very first seeds are sown. Working with Michael New from New Wildlife Tours not only allowed us to do this, but we also got the chance to work with a thoroughly nice bloke with an absolute passion for wildlife and the environment.
New Wildlife Tours offer a selection of day trips to see wildlife, landscapes and archaeology in the South West and selected areas. Michael organises days out to some of Britain’s best wildlife sites such as the South West Coast, Somerset levels, the Cotswolds and Wiltshire’s nationally important chalk downland, and our shared values and passion for the great outdoors made this a particularly pleasurable project to work on.
As well as designing and developing a bespoke responsive website that allows you to search available tours, book and then pay for them online, we also created branding, including designs for polo shirts and tour jackets, and produced adverts for sector magazines.
Half-way through the project, Michael and Steve (from Lumous) realised they shared a love of 80s electronic music, so, apart from the many work mails going hither and zither, there’s also been quite a few YouTube links to long forgotten gigs from the likes of Depeche Mode, Talk Talk and The Human League; eyeliner, frilly shirts and lop-sided haircuts were optional.
If you fancy spending a day in a beautiful English countryside with a first rate wildlife expert and extremely nice chap to boot, then visit the sparkling new site and book yourself in. We guarantee you won’t regret it!