Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dragon's Tooth Capped!

It's always nice when someone says something nice; even better when it's someone respected throughout the industry. We've recently completed a website for Laurence Young who was known for building the Freedom of the Glens Hotel business. Amongst other things he's now developing the Dragon's Tooth Golf Course near Fort Wiliam and we developed the course's online presence during November.

He wrote to us recently, "Ian, now that the Dragon's Tooth Golf Course site has gone live, could I just say a warm "thank you" from the team and I? We really appreciate how you have driven this project forward to ensure we went on-line in a reasonable timeframe. Plus we appreciated all the practical advice and help given along the way. Getting a new web site together from scratch is a daunting task and we've been wanting to do it - and stepping back from the brink - for months.

But having taken the leap of faith with The Edge, we're delighted with the way things have gone. The Claymore Project is proving to be a brilliant way of managing content and has provided a framework for us to quickly take control and build a website that we feel represents our business. And we like the idea that we can "get in there" and develop it so easily (and without paying developer fees at every turn!).

So thanks for all the help, creativity and hand-holding!

Laurence Young, Director, Ossian Development Limited and Dragon's Tooth Golf Course"

It has been our pleasure Laurence - thank you for your support

Friday, November 27, 2009

Interviews Support Online Marketing

Golf Tourism Scotland, the industry body representing tourism businesses from accommodation, travel providers, tour operators and golf course sectors celebrated its annual awards dinner recently at Turnberry.

In the aftermath the usual press and PR was generated by the organisation with Flash banners for each winner's website, Hi res images downloadable from a specially created media page and hi res logos of the awards for printed media.

New for 2009 however was a series of live interviews of each of the winners. The interviewer was Yvonne Alexander of Word Association and all the winners give their opinions on the market and their own sector. These interviews were then loaded onto YouTube and GTS' own website.

It's a nice touch and Ian McCaig of The Edge Studios explained the benefits, "The GTs awards dinner has become an annual celebration of the best of the golf tourism sector and the work done since the awards ceremony has raised the profile further. The interviews have helped personalise the whole process and offer a different dimension to the normal. We took Yvonne's Interviews and easily uploaded them using our CMS, The Claymore Project, into www.golftourismscotland.com "

The new site was launched in time for the awards ceremony and is unique in that 85% of the copy is Business generated Content.

Listen to the GTS Interviews online now and perhaps get an idea of how you could use some audio clips to promote your products or projects.

New Online Bite for Dragon's Tooth

We're delighted to have gone live today (Friday 27th of November) on the web and online marketing project for Dragon's Tooth Golf Course at Glenachulish near Ballachulish (which in themselves are both within touching distance of Glencoe and Fort William!)
We were approached by Laurence Young who owns the course to look at what we could do with the online presence and make some suggestions.

The result we believe is pretty impressive but that in large part is down to the product and the work put in by the team at the golf course itself. The website is driven by our own content management system The Claymore Project and this allowed Laurence the ability to go online with his staff and update the content, images and metatags while we concentrated on pulling together the design that reflected this unique golf course.

The nine hole course is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most beautifully located courses in the country - have a look at the image from above - and really should be played if you're in the area. The facilities are excellent and would put many larger clubs to shame. Golf's Hidden Gem category is overused (and we hate it!) so let's call Dragon's Tooth an Undiscovered Diamond!

The site itself was designed by Steven and incorporates a sympathetic layout powered as we said by The Claymore Project. It also incorporates a new Dragon's Tooth Facebook Page and a redesign of the ConstantContact email features. Twitter will follow as will integration of Traveline Scotland information and the possibility of accommodation reservations using a fully integrated Bookassist model.

The main thing about the website however is that old truism about images making the difference. The layout only emphasises the beauty of the location through the images. The words support, the metatags assist the searcher but the images sell the product almost on its own. When you have such tools to work with web design and online marketing gets a wee bit easier.

Thanks for your trust Laurence and we look forward to a long term relationship.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Golf Nominations for Edge Clients

The nominees for the Golf Tourism Scotland Gold Awards have just been announced ahead of the Annual Awards dinner to be held at Turnberry on the 5th of November.

We're delighted that five of our online clients have been nominated for an award including Gailes Hotel and The Inn at Lathones in the Large Hotel Category, The Old Loans Inn in Small Hotel category and McLaren Travel in the Transport Operator of the Year Category. In addition we are delighted to also provide Ogstons on North Street in St Andrews with the Bookassist online reservations engine for their website - Ogstons have been nominated in the small hotel category as well.

We wish them all the very best of luck in their respective categories.

The 5th of November is also the target date for The Edge in realtion to ensuring that the new Golf Tourism Scotland website explodes with proverbial fireworks onto the internet with the planned unveiling of the new design and content at the AGM before the dinner.

Energy Agency Prepare Online Survey

One of our clients, the Energy Agency,  has recently signed up to use ConstantContact to drive their online newsletters. The Edge have provided the training and support in getting the system up and running but also introduced the Ayrshire based team to the joys of online surveys and questionnaires. As a direct result the Energy Agency are using the survey tool within Constant Contact to monitor the effectiveness of their recent Sustainability Fair.

They have created the questionnaire which will be linked to in an email sent to all attendees of the fair asking for their opinions on a variety of issues relating to the show.

The questionnaire was easy to set up mixing open and closed, subjective and objective, ranking and multiple choice questions and will give the EnergyAgency live results as the responses are made online.

The results can then be downloaded in both spreadsheet and graph format for the client to present and further analyse.

If you need some help with your online marketing simply drop The Edge an email or call us on 02192 521404

Friday, October 9, 2009

Two Years On and We're still Singing Loch Lomond!

How time flies, eh? It's now been two years this weekend since The Edge hit front page headlines in the newspapers with our Loch Lomond Children in Need Campaign and we thought it was as good time a time as any to reflect on the experience.

Sometimes it's difficult to define your business. Design, marketing, web development, e-commerce, promotions, PR, product development?

Daily Record get The EdgeThey all have a place but sometimes it's projects and clients that explain things better than we ever can. And to some extent that's just what our "Sing Loch Lomond for Children in Need" campaign did a couple of years back.

The project, even for us, was a big bit of out of the box creative thinking, lots of project management, developing strong and mutually beneficial partnerships, having focussed objectives and targets, strong design, effective web presence, positive e-marketing, good strong copy writing. When they all come together - and they can come together - it describes our business and our thinking and ethos better than any number of words could.

So when you secure front page Daily Record, double page spread and editorial, BBC Scotland coverage, live broadcast from a Scotland international, 500% increase in web traffic, enquiries for website advertising opportunities and a major jump in e-commerce sales through the website and a UK Top Ten record for Runrig and The Tartan Army then perhaps we should be reminding our clients that this is indeed what we can do!

Pudsey and Loch LomondThe project from start to finish was great to be involved with. Simply pitching the idea to Runrig of recording a new version of Loch Lomond was the first hurdle and it was with some considerable fortune that Steve Cullen, Runrig's manager saw the potential just as much as we did. BBC Scotland were next and likewise the opportunities of a fantastic campaign tied in with the Tartan Army's final match against Italy hit the net in style!
So we now had the lead artists, the full support of BBC Scotland. All we needed to do was convince the SFA that we could mic up Hampden and record 52,000 Scottish football fans at half time! Easy? Well actually it was and Colin Banks pulled out all the stops to make that part no problem either. He even allowed us to record the squad singing the track at Cameron House on Loch Lomond.

The Edge even produced a karaoke version of the track for the big screens at Hampden to ensure the crowd sang in time!

After that it was a rush job to get the single remixed which Runrig looked after at their Danish studios while we designed the CD and promotioanal artwork for the campaign including a Loch Lomond downloads page.
The Daily Record loved the concept and for the whole period of the campaign supported the whole thing from start to finish. Front page features were followed by double page spreads and artist interviews and readers competitions making sure the entire nation knew what was going on.

The highlight for all involved however was an unforgettable Children in Need night at the BBC Studios in Glasgow. The Edge had been asked to get three hundred Tartan Army to the studios on the night for a live rendition with Runrig; not a problem given that it was the evening before Scotland's biggest Hampden occasion in years and if you were one of that group it will live long in the memory from the march along the Clyde from the Renfrew Ferry into the studios and the most amazing piece of live television which even now raises hairs on the back of the neck watching  it.

The ending however was as usual the same. Scotland failed to qualify against Italy and the Euro Dream was over; even an early morning phone call from the record company on the Sunday morning with the amazing news that the song had charted at number nine in the UK charts couldn't lift that cloud! It must be said however that listening to Fearne and Reggie introduce Runrig and The Tartan Army was pretty cool!
Anyway, it's always worth having a look at that video all over again - it's had more than half a million views on YouTube - and if you wish buy the track on iTunes!

It was an achievement and a half and showed what collaboration can achieve. Thanks for the memories again to Steve and Runrig, Colin and the SFA, Donald and Grigor at BBC Scotland, Alex McLeish and the Scotland Squad, The Daily Record, Nigel at Active Media and of course the wonderful Tartan Army! 

New Site For Ayrshire Golf Course

Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club are now owners of a shiny new website designed by The Edge.
We've been looking after Barassie's online presence for a number of years and the new design and structure simply builds on the progress made over the years.

The site is powered by our tourism content management system, The Claymore Project, and allows club secretary/manager  Donald Wilson to update everything and anything he wishes to. He can upload minutes and files into the secure members' Section or publish visitor information and updates, change images in his gallery or even publish YouTube footage directly to the site.

New content includes a History and Heritage section which over the coming months will increasingly feature archive materials from the golf club's history - the first phase includes a PDF version of the 1937 Jubilee Book celebrating the golf club's first fifty years.

New image galleries, pro shop pages and a Short Breaks section are all aimed at increasing the visibility of the golf club to visitors as well as keeping members' informed.

The club has even taken a grip on the Social media media bandwagon and now has its own Facebook page where visitors can be come Fans of Barassie!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sharpened Edge for East Kilbride Skaters!

East Kilbride based Olympia Skating Club are this week celebrating the launch of a brand new website. The club approached The Edge in September with a view to giving the club an on-line profile and as part of our ongoing support for youth sport and development we were delighted to help with a discounted proposal for the club's committee.

The result appears to be a positive outcome for the club who were delighted with their new on-line presence. The site is powered by The Edge's content management system The Claymore Project and allows the club's organisers the ability to update their own news, events, images and even picture galleries. They can also embed YouTube video footage as well.

The site completes a trilogy of sites The Edge have done in the past month for youth sports clubs in Scotland having redesigned the website for Young Killie and a new site for Kilmaurs Thistle youth football club.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Make Sure Your Landing Page is Working For You

We got an excellent feature through yesterday from a blog we subscribe to in The States about ten things to do with your landing page. As usual however (as we do with almost everything) we cut it back to three things to do. Three things always seem to be manageable for most businesses even the busiest!

Firstly Don’t Lose Them

How often have you heard that your homepage needs the WOW factor? Well first of all that’s pretty subjective and in all honesty the WOW factor that can be most felt with websites is “Wow that’s bad!”.

Click. Closed. Gone.

In the past it used to be about web developers selling their design first; flash images, creating a Wow Factor. We think that’s changed. On the basis that you only have a few seconds to keep the attention of the visitor there has to be an immediate comfort zone which the site visitor feels immediately; that doesn’t not need to be based on moving images or weird and wonderful navigation.

Content precedes design. Every time.

Brilliant design and Brilliant content will achieve this but so on most occasions will Good Design and Brilliant content. What’s the difference? Well normally several thousand pounds for no major increase in conversion rates.

As a small, medium or large operator all you can really do in the first five seconds is lose your potential customer. It’s a bit like playing golf at The Open Championship and you’ve heard it a million times in interviews; “All you can do in the first round is stay in contention. You can’t win the event after only eighteen holes but you can certainly lose it!”

The analogy is the same for websites. You can’t secure the sale in the first five seconds but you can sure as hell lose it. Bad design and bad content will do that every time.

So look at your landing page and don’t think what can I do to keep these people but more along the lines of what can I do to ensure they won’t switch me off? Resolve the issue of immediate losses from your site and you’ll then be able to take the nest step and fulfilling their search needs.

Understand Why They’re on Your Website

Is it in response to an advert, an email promotion, Pay per Click campaign, generic search? Whatever the reason for their visit you need to ensure that the reason can be taken to the next level quickly and easily.

If it’s in response to a sales promotion ensure your retail offering or availability checker for accommodation providers is prominent – converting to sales is the bottom line after all. Ensure it’s as easy to do as possible from your landing page.

Your sale is dependent on the content you have pushing that sale; equally your availability checker should ensure easy checking from the landing page. Don’t just say click here to book; an availability calendar will always gain more clicks.

Web 2.0 tools and social media are great but only if they are driving sales. They should also be used wherever possible to drive traffic TO your landing page not away from it. Unless you have a very good reason for driving potential sales towards your social media sites DON’T!

Remember it has to be Social Media with Purpose.

Make the call to action clear

Your sales tools must be on view on the screen or above the fold as it is known. The top left corner is the most viewed and receptive area on any webpage and your key sales tools should be positioned here including where possible your availability checker. Top right also ranks highly.

All your key messages however should be on the screen and not require scrolling. Non sales messages, no matter how cute should not be given the same level of prominence.

Special features and promotions should be well navigated. The use of a three column layout has helped many of our clients in the past with graphical calls to action for weddings or festive information sitting below the availability checker. The call to click on them being very clear. A good example of clear navigation is in the recently redesigned website for Gailes Hotel in Ayrshire.

Similar use of bold banners pronouncing Best Available Rate or Sign up for E-News, Facebook or Twitter can all generate action.

So there it is. Three things to do this month...

  1. Balance Design and Content
  2. Interpret why the visitor is on YOUR Site
  3. Make action easy
Read more at The Edge 2010

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Edge serves up a little Blue Spinach

September's been an incredibly busy time so far for Ayrshire tourism marketing company The Edge and the most recent upload is the addition of a website for Management Consultancy firm Blue Spinach.

London based Blue Spinach is fronted by Lee Derrick who is well known to many in the tourism industry for his work previously with DeVere Cameron House and The Old Course Hotel. He's gone out on his own now and we were delighted to be asked to develop a website to showcase what he's currently up to.

The site is fully content managed and is powered by our own database, The Claymore Project, allowing Lee to update his site whenever he needs to.

We wish him all the very best for the ongoing growth of his business.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Simpsinns Update from the Edge

Over the past couple of months we've been working closely with owner Malcolm Simpson and Gill Gallagher on bringing the company's online presence up to date.
The project has now passed a few important milestones and some of the results are now starting to come through. The project with Simpsinns is mapped out over a two year period to ensure that we can progressively develop the on-line presence of the group, the individual properties and the profit centres with the properties.

In doing this return on investment for the online spend can be better analysed and tracked.
The first phase of the project is approaching completion with only secondary navigation to be added for the hotels to give a deeper level of information for the guests and site visitor.

At this stage the new websites have been designed to reflect the design work completed by the hotel's own graphic team. At The Edge we've never been precious about working with others; it is essential that positive partnerships are created and collaborations worked upon and when we're provide with the palette of colours and quality of corporate branding as we were from Lynart then it is our job to ensure that the branding remains continuous wherever viewed on-line. Add to this a portfolio of wonderful images to play with we were delighted with what we had to start the project.

The result to date therefore is a brand new website for the brand new product; an updated website for the existing product and a new Blog for the joint product.

After discussion with Malcolm and his team it was readily decided to provide different websites for each business unit; different styles of operation and location we believe merited different contents and designs. However we decided to keep the layouts and navigations similar to ensure that the visitor going to both sites was able to find their way around easily.

Old Loans Inn Website went live a few days after its opening in the middle of July and with the help of an early push with Google Adwords and early submissions to the search engines the site is now performing very well for a start up. The site is driven by our own Claymore Project content management system which means that the team at Simpsinns have full control over their content, images and even metatags and uploads. The image gallery is even automatically updated from their Google Account.

The site also features fully integrated booking engine Bookassist and the group function here means that any enquiries not fulfilled by Old Loans are offered availability at Gailes. Complete with Google map and guest reviews Bookassist is already converting site visits to online sales at a highly competitve cost.
The Gailes Hotel website benefits from all of the similar functionality to Old Loans and since it's relaunch the increase in online bookings has been very impressive. Having switched over from another system the hotel's conversion rate has increased substantially confirming much of what is a given already and that is that in order for an on-line sales strategy to be successful it needs not just a good looking site with relevant content, nor a world class booking engine nor only good levels of optimisation and site traffic. No it requires a balance of all three; without any one the other two are it could be argues almost worthless in bottom line terms.
The final stage of phase one was the launch of the Simpsinns blog which is being used to drive up to date news, information offers and even things such as vacancies and guest images.

We're really happy with the seamless integration of the off line design into the new sites and look forward over the coming two years to extend the ongoing development yet further. The phase running up to Christmas 2009 will include the launch of the company's YouTube, Twitter and Facebook content. We'll keep you up to speeh with how it's all going.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Refresh of Young Killie Website for New Football Season

With a new season comes an upgrade to our sponsor website for Kilmarnock FC's Young Supporters the website has a new cleaner and easier to navigate design and includes content management to keep parents and players alike up to date on fixtures and vital travel arrangements.

View the website at http://www.youngkillie.co.uk/

Monday, June 29, 2009

Nelson Civil Engineering Website Launch

Nelson Civil Engineering recently launched an upgraded version of their website. Changes made to the original website included modernising the graphic look and integrating the Claymore Content Management System. Benefits of running a content managed website include the ability for the Client to update any part of the website content including news and managing the photo gallery at any time and at no cost all through an intuitive online control panel.

The website now runs on the new Edge web servers and care was taken to ensure that there was no interruption to Nelson's email service which is provided through their IT provider.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Web Servers at The Edge

We are pleased to announce that on Sunday 24rd May 2009 we successfully completed the migration of our main hosting services to a new network with brand new hardware.

We have invested in the new network with brand new Dell servers and Cisco network equipment. All servers are new state-of-the-art machines and much more powerful than any we have used before. This means your hosting services will be faster than ever and equipped to move forward for the future.

We have invested heavily in this move to provide you with the best available equipment and network connections to move forward into the future with.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hotel Content Management System for Rowardennan

Rowardennan Hotel relaunched their website today having integrated the Claymore Project Content Management System. The Claymore Project, a tourism focused database, allows the Hotel to update the content on any page of the website at any time. The CMS integrates seamlessly into the existing website design, which was originally produced by another developer, providing a low cost but valuable upgrade to the Rowardennan online presence.

Key Benefits:
  • Add new pages on demand at no cost
  • Control the key meta tags for search engine optimisation
  • Add images and files eg. Restaurant Menus
As part of the change The Edge were also contracted to provide their website hosting and domain name management services.

The Rowardennan Hotel is situated in the magnificent Queen Elizabeth Forest at Loch Lomond. Offering breathtaking views of Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond and the mountains to the North the Rowardennan Hotel is a notable milestone on the West Highland Way. Located virtually at the base of Ben Lomond the Rowardennan is the ideal place to meet fellow travellers and share tales of adventures over a malt whisky. www.rowardennanhotel.co.uk

Useful Links: The Claymore Project, The Edge

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What does the Nominet Annual Report 2008 mean for your business?

Nominet published it's annual domain name industry report recently and whilst the majority covers domain name statistics and the UK registrar market it does include some interesting research on trust and awareness of UK domain names.

Based on their own research and a survey of 2352 people carried out by Opinion Matters the report makes the following points:
  • the .co.uk domain suffix is the most trusted in the UK
  • when searching for travel and entertainment information 82% of consumers from Belfast prioritise .co.uk over .com domains and 79% of consumers from Sheffield prefer .co.uk domains believing them to be local
  • twice as many women as men regularly use social networking websites
  • 75% of women compared to 66% of men prefer to use websites with a .co.uk domain
  • over 85% of people know that a domain name is related to a website, email or an online identity
  • the Confederation of British Industry [CBI] supports the use of .co.uk domains
  • over 50% of businesses see .co.uk domains as critical or very important
This provides some important guidance for businesses to consider as part of their online strategy. For example, using Social Networking to further your online presence is especially valuable to those businesses with a high proportion of female customers. Those involved in the UK travel and entertainment market should take note that a very high percentage of consumers prefer to use websites on a domain with a .co.uk suffix. This will be especially important in 2009 when it is expected that the current economic situation in the UK will lead to more people holidaying at home.

For further information about you domain strategy and how these statitics affect your business please contact Chris Dempsey on 01292 521 404 or email chris@gettheedgeonline.com.

The full Nominet Annual Report 2008 is available at: http://www.nic.uk/intelligence/industryreport

Keeping print costs down in the current economic conditions

The current deterioration of the general economic conditions in the UK combined with increased cost of raw materials and the fall in value of Sterling against the US Dollar, Euro and the Yen have forced print costs to rise recently.

For example the cost of some inks went up 13.5% and vinyl 5.5% at the start of 2009 and paper and vinyl costs have been climbing steadily for the past six months or more. Additionaly, fuel surcharge costs applied by several of our suppliers are still in place even though the cost of diesel fell sharply towards the end of 2008.

The Edge are committed to maintaining our highly competitive pricing structure and through careful negotiation and strengthened relationships with local printers will ensure that any increse in costs are passed to our clients only where this absolutely cannot be avoided.

For further information on the Print and Design services offered by The Edge please contact Steven Timpson by telephone 01292 521 404 or email steven@gettheedgeonline.com.