Cannock Web Design – RB Windows
10 Years of S7 Media
Wow! Where has that 10 years gone!
In November 2008 my brother Ritch, James and I started S7 Media from a back bedroom in our family home, Ritchie was 21, James 18 and I was 24.
Our idea to launch our business came on a family holiday a few months before. Ritchie, James and I were enjoying a beer and they were talking about starting a web design and videography business up together. I at this point was working for a local IT firm, and although loved all the people I was working with, had started to get the Sunday night dread in the pit of my stomach, after serving 7 years there. I was ready for a change, so barged my way into their business plan!
We had to grow up pretty quickly and work out how to incorporate a business, run accountancy software and make sure enough money was put a side for the tax man, but we managed. During our 10 years our little start up went from strength to strength but like most businesses has had some ups and downs a long the way. We opened our business in the midst of the recession when the government was bailing the banks out, we’ve seen a coalition government come and go, the country vote to leave the european union and much more. Who knows what the next decade has in store.
After starting up in our make shift office we moved in to a temporary office for a year, whilst we built “The Loft” and we have been homed there ever since. That was a tough year, juggling designing websites, sometimes to the early hours of the morning, whilst answering phones and digging footings, erecting stud walls and laying floorboards any spare minute we had!
A long the way James, has become more freelance with his Videography work as he is based in London these days, taking on exciting projects for a range of huge clients, whilst still taking on local projects with S7. During this time James has also worked on various personal projects and has had some of his short films nominated for awards by Virgin Media Shorts and the LA Short Film Festival.
Ritchie started coded as a little self confessed geek as an 11 year old, and 20 years on is now a grizzled young veteran. The web has changed quite a lot in all that time, as the range of technologies from when we started until now is astounding, this as well as the rise of the smart phone and tablet, has completely changed how we set out to start a project these days.
When we first started, Print wasn’t a big part of our offering, but that side of the business has grown exponentially over the years and has become my passion and the part of the business I oversee. I really enjoy seeing an idea come to life, whether it’s something as simple as a flyer, brochure or business card, when done right, it’s great to see and have a physical copy of.
During our 1o years, we have met some fantastic people and are pleased that to this day the vast majority of clients we have looked after after are still supporting us, and for that we are truly grateful.
One of favourite parts of the job is dealing with startup businesses and thankfully we still get lots of start up businesses come to see us, we take great pleasure in shaping their brand, creating their printed materials, website or whatever they need and help them bring their vision to life. It is nice to be involved at the ground level when they come to see us, as they are excited and passionate about getting started, and it takes us back to the time we were first starting out.
Although majority of our clients are based here in Cannock and surrounding towns in Staffordshire and the West Midlands, we have grown our client base the length and breadth of the UK, having clients as far south as Devon all the way up to Aberdeen in Scotland and everywhere between, we’ve even got clients in Canada. It’s hard to imagine 10 years on that that we would have hundreds of clients all over the place, when we were plotting world domination in our Mom and Dad’s spare room.
So, all that’s left to say is a massive thank you to our loyal clients who have helped us and supported us on our way to 10 years old, its is very much appreciated! Here to another 10!
First quarter 2018 – websites & snow storms
It’s been a very busy first few months of the year for us here at S7 Media, plenty of print projects have gone out of our doors along with several new website projects to boot.
Talking of boots, welly boots to be more precise! We have had our fair share of snow days this year that haven’t helped!
The Beast from the East, Mini Beast from the East and the potentially impending Beast from the North East, have meant we couldn’t always get to the office, but we managed to make sure all of our deadlines for our clients were hit as we proudly haven’t missed a deadline in 10 years of trading!
Although the 4 year old child in me likes to dust the sledge off and go and find a big hill, it starts to wear thin in March! Fingers crossed Spring has finally sprung!
We have been particularly busy this year with new web projects, which is exciting. According to our records we have seen an increase from this time last year, so hopefully the doom and gloom that we see on the news about business being down nationally etc, is starting to halt and businesses are starting to recover. It is encouraging that we are seeing more startup businesses than we did this time last year, who are really giving it a good go. We have also helped several established businesses that were looking to improve their web presence in order to entice new clients this quarter too.
We have just put a new website live for a bespoke woodcraft company in Cannock which we will do a case study for soon, as well as this we have just put a new electrical contractor’s website live and hope to put an estate agent and funeral directors website live in the coming weeks too.
Printing and branding have seen a big rise too this quarter. We have seen a big increase in presentation folders and exhibition stand sales, as many of our clients are out exhibiting at shows looking to win new business.
Talking of exhibitions, we will be exhibiting at this years Midlands Expo at Villa Park on Tuesday 24th of April. We will post more information about this along with more case studies about our latest projects soon.
Web Design Wolverhampton – AJB Media
We have recently put a new website design live for Wolverhampton based AJB Media.
We were approached to create a brand new website and branding for the media business, that specialises in a wide range of advertising including outdoor, digital television and radio advertising.
We first created a brand new logo. The logo has been created to use corporate colours which features a multicoloured wave, which ties in with how the website has been designed – each service has a different colour page. The logo is in a white format for the website, as we have used some clever technology on the website which makes the header colour ever changing.
As mentioned as part of the website design, we implemented a colour changing header, so when on the home page the header cycles through a spectrum of colours which ties in with the service pages.
The homepage is very image driven to get across the quality of their advertising services, further down the page we have created simple icons to link easily through to AJB’s core services.
Each service page on the website has been designed to incorporate a scrolling colour, for instance the digital and mobile media page is pink, and the outdoor advertising page is Blue. We wanted to tie this all back to the branding and the result is a fun but professional looking website which stands out from the rest.
As well as completing web design and branding for AJB Media, we have also printed their corporate stationery for them too.
To visit AJB Media’s website, click here.
Web Design Cannock – EDS Couriers
We have recently put a brand new website live for Cannock based couriers EDS Couriers.
We met Matt and the team a short time back over a pint at a network meeting and got chatting about how he felt their website was really poor and outdated and wanted a nice new fresh website, that would include functionality to track and book pallets and parcels through their APC and Palletforce networks.
Using their corporate colours of Red and Blue, we set about creating their new website. We have implemented a large video that runs in the background of the website, this video shows parcels on the conveyor belt underneath this we have created a very simple to navigate booking area using simple icons that we have created.
The website allows employees to log in to website and make changes to information and also allows them to blog on the all the good deeds that they do for charity.
The main objectives of this project were to make sure that the website looked clean, corporate and easy to use and all the feedback EDS Couriers are receiving, proves that it’s a job well done!
As well as designing their new website, we have created printed collateral including leave behind literature such as brochures.
EDS Couriers Managing Director had these kind words to say;
Brilliant company, brilliant people really happy with the work been done at a fantastic price. They have done our website and other printed marketing material and we are really happy with everything they have done for us. I have and will continue to recommend this company.
To check out the new EDS Couriers website click here
It’s our 9th Birthday
S7 Media is 9!
We opened our doors 9 years ago this week, and have been busily creating websites, doodling logos and printing all sorts for our loyal clients ever since.
My brother Ritch and I started our business up in our early 20’s and in the midst of a recession, although we are both now the wrong side of 30 and are finding more grey hairs than we would like, S7 has thankfully gone from strength to strength, thanks to our lovely clients and their willingness to refer us onto to other people they know and so on.
To this day we still get lots of start up businesses come to see us, who have a cool idea and a name and we take great pleasure in shaping their brand, creating their printed materials, website or whatever they need and helping them bring their vision to life, we have met some very interesting and lovely people on our journey so far.
Although majority of our clients are based here in Cannock and surrounding towns in Staffordshire and the West Midlands, we have grown our client base the length and breadth of the UK, having clients as far south as Devon all the way up to Aberdeen in Scotland and everywhere between.
To say thank you to our loyal clients who have helped us to reach 9, we are offering 9% discount off any print, graphic design or new web projects until the end of the year, we will also honour this discount to new clients that are referred too.
It’s only took us 9 years to remember to blog about our Birthday on time, so hopefully for the big ONE ZERO, we’ll have a party!
Cyber Security Month – It’s Time Your Website Had SSL
Earlier this year we wrote to all existing web design customers about Google’s plans to push website owners into securing their website using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. We’ve had many customers take the appropriate action, and, as it’s Cyber Security Month, we are reminding those who have not yet done so, to do so. If you’re here, the chances are you probably haven’t opted for SSL just yet. You might even be asking, what is SSL, and why should I have it? I’ll do my best to explain below!
Well, what is SSL?
Secure Sockets Layer, SSL, is a type of encryption method that is used across the internet. When we apply SSL to a website, essentially what it does is it encrypts the connection between your visitor, and your website.
So when a user visits your website, that connection is encrypted, meaning that any information passing through from their device is encrypted, and decrypted when it reaches the server. Your website might collect some personal data such as names, addresses, passwords, even credit card information. If some nasty hacker or identity thief was to be ‘listening in’ on that connection, and it wasn’t encrypted, it could cause problems for you and your customers, financially and legally.
Finding out whether a website has SSL (in other words, it’s been given an SSL certificate), is quite simple: when you are on the website, take a look at the address bar in your browser. It’ll say https:// (note the ‘s’ – Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), and, depending on your browser, will have a padlock somewhere. Google Chrome has a green padlock, and will say ‘secure’.
Why should I have it?
Let me be completely honest. The internet is, by it’s own design and nature, a pretty insecure place. Encryption is incredible technology, and though it can never be claimed to be a 100% silver-bullet answer to a security concern, it’s certainly the best shot we have at securing this avenue of information transfer. That’s why, when you do your online banking, or you buy something from a big online shop, they always have SSL – the green padlock in the corner.
It would be easy to say that, as a lot of our customers are small businesses, that hackers might have ‘bigger fish to fry’. There might be some truth in that, but cyber criminals are going to take any opportunity which presents a financial gain to them.
If I’m doing some shopping on an e-commerce website, and there’s no green padlock when I come to log in, or when I come to enter my credit card information, I’m out of there. To me, that’s very concerning – my sensitive details are being transmitted without encryption. By having that padlock – an SSL certificate – you’re giving your customer a bit more assurance with their transaction or visit.
Even if your website is not an e-commerce system, or even just a static website, then consider this: Google Chrome – the browser used by over 55% of the world, has started to mark websites as ‘not secure’ if they do not have an SSL certificate. This month, any forms, including contact forms, will also show as not secure.
Search Engine presence
Developing the point just above, it’s also beneficial for your search engine optimisation (SEO). Google are moving in the direction of favouring websites with SSL – just do a Google yourself and you’ll see how many websites have https:// at the start of their web address.
How do I get an SSL certificate, and how much is it?
If you’re interested, just drop us a line through our form or give us a shout on 01543 573329, and we can get the ball rolling. There’s typically two types we offer – a standard SSL certificate, appropriate for static websites and those using our content management system (CMS), and there’s one designed for e-commerce websites. The standard just gets the job done and encrypts, where as the e-commerce SSL also offers a warranty.
The cost really isn’t much at all. The standard SSL has a low, one-off payment for installation, plus a very low yearly renewal. Our e-commerce level SSLs are a little more money, due to their warranty, and the yearly fee includes the installation. Just drop us a line and we’ll go through the pricing with you.
Customers on our Peace of Mind hosting and maintenance package, and SEO customers, receive a standard SSL certificate as part of their plan. Want to know more about our maintenance package? Scott posted on our blog a little while ago talking about how we can maintain and host your website, and the price is very reasonable indeed.
Please note: if we’re your web designers, and we host your website, we will do it for you. If we don’t host your website, I’m afraid we cannot install an SSL certificate for you – you’d need to speak to your current hosting provider.
Let us know if you want any more information, and thanks for reading!
Introducing our “Peace of Mind” website support package.
This year we introduced a website maintenance and hosting package that gives you “Peace of Mind” that your website, is up to date and safe.
Our support package starts from just £35 a month and really should be considered a must with the internet’s ever changing landscape.
For the monthly fee you get your standard web hosting package, you will also get a monthly back up of your website ensuring you always have a fall back if something goes wrong, and we will also install any security updates when released to make sure your web installation is as safe as it can be from hackers.
On top of this you get 30 minutes of time to be spent in a range of ways, so if you need phone support on any issues you may be experiencing, you need us to enter content or design imagery for sliders and web banners etc then it can be done as part of your support. If you do not have a support contract it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your website is secure and backed up, and considering the small difference in fee between this and our standard hosting-only package, it is certainly more cost effective and gives “peace of mind.”
The small print
Content Management System websites and static website hosting only, a different band of support is required for E-Commerce, email hosting not included. Monthly minutes rollover up to one hour, then expire. If more minutes are required per month these can be purchased at an extra cost. Full terms and conditions available, minimum of 12 months contract.
New website designed for Cannock based Barns Hotel and restaurant
S7 Media at the Midlands Expo
The S7 Team took a field trip to the Midlands Expo in Birmingham last week to meet with other business owners and take in some seminars from industry leaders.
It was an excellent event, where we met some cool people, it was a packed house all day!
We hope to have some new case studies to present you soon, thanks to a couple of new Content Management System Website orders we received as a result of the Expo.
Whilst at the Expo, we took in a keynote session from Richard Woods of Apprentice Fame. Although Richard missed out on Lord Sugar’s money he made quite an impact on the show. Richard shared some good Search Engine Optimisation ideas and we look forward to trying these out this month, every day’s a school day!
If you are interested in learning more about how S7 Media could help your website climb the Google rankings, please get in touch and let us run analysis on your website – so we can show you how you can get more views and ultimately more conversions.
As well as Search Engine Optimisation, we build all sort of websites for companies across the Midlands and the UK and can design and print practically anything you can think of, so if you have a project you feel we can help with please get in touch.