Devstars Website Let our expert coders and consultants help you to join the dots. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:37:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Multilingual Site for Saliena Group Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:21:14 +0000 Fresh of the Devstars press is this new WordPress site for the Largest Property Development Project in Latvia.

For more info click here or

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5 Tips on Writing Excellent Copy for Mobile Users Fri, 04 Jul 2014 10:24:35 +0000 Read more]]> With the ever increasing number of customers and visitors opting to view websites from their mobile devices, copywriters have been faced with a new challenge: how best to write for a responsive web design. Responsive web design is the approach adopted by millions of companies worldwide, which alters the appearance of a site to make it easier and more accessible for mobile users. A perfect example of RWD is if a webpage changes position as you flip your device horizontally. Adjusting format and copy for these new, compact designs takes careful consideration, so here are 5 ways you can make your mobile copy effective and accessible to the mobile user.

1. Keep it short, sweet and succinct

Firstly, your opening sentences must be to-the-point and eye-catching. Reign in your love for longer words, using shorter ones when possible, while keeping on topic throughout the article. Mobile customers are usually on the site to either find an answer or complete a transaction, so flowery copy is the last thing they want to trawl though. Short sentences will minimise reading on behalf of the user, as well as creating a more aesthetically pleasing and simple responsive design.

2. Bullet points

Use bullet points for these reasons:

  • They allow the reader to quickly skim through a page
  • Readers pick up key information in minimal time.
  • Bullet points are also easy to spot whilst scrolling, so essential information won’t be missed.
  • Using them can cut paragraphs from lengthy copy.

3. Calls to action

Your CTAs must be strong, and if possible, placed at the top and the bottom of the page, with minimal form filling and strongly worded language. We’re going for more of an ‘APPLY HERE’ button, than a ‘Please fill out the following fields to apply for this course’.

4. Be direct


Top heavy pages are ideal when writing for a mobile user. Don’t make your reader scroll to find the information they need – instead, make it easy and keep the important info at the top. It’s also useful to give an insight into the contents of the body text if possible within the first few sentences, which will save the reader time scrolling through and article which is unrelated to their search. Headers must also be used properly to break up your copy into quickly readable chunks.

5. Font smart

As a copywriter, the font in which you choose to write is also an essential part of writing for Responsive Web Design. If you have the power to govern the font that your copy appears in, ensure that it is easily read regardless of font size (within reason), and avoid flamboyant fonts – stick to something safe and widely used. With these points in mind, writing for a mobile user needn’t be too much of a challenge. Providing that both copy and design are applied with RWD in mind, a pleasant user experience should result. Feel free to give us a call on 01784 772405

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Rebel Kitchen Launch Wed, 19 Mar 2014 10:20:35 +0000 Read more]]> Rebel Kitchen are a new brand producing healthy drinks and snacks targeted initially at a younger market. We’ve worked with our design partner Mystery to create an image rich site that supports the brand but still loads fast.

Vistors can buy the product via the site or find local stockists while the CMS built using the Yii framework allows the client to update product and and ever growing number of stockists.

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An inspirational site for young children (that like Lego!) Wed, 12 Mar 2014 16:36:16 +0000 Read more]]> We are very pleased to announce the launch of a new site, developed alongside our favourite design house Mystery.

Mini Engineers is going to be a hot bed of keen young minds, eager to develop their building skills. Yvette has put together a wonderful business to help young minds express their creativity through hands on learning.

If you are on the west side of London you will be lucky enough to find a local engineering hub first. Hopefully, the rest of the capital, then country will be able to join in the fun too.

The site is robustly built in a YII framework, whilst making good use of WordPress, Google Mapping and plenty of javascript to bring the classes to life. Mystery certainly set us a challenge designing the ‘school desktop’ feel of the site. We think the end results are stunning.

Mini Engineers birthday parties

Please head on over to the site here to see what you can build.

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Don’t switch off completely this Festive season Tue, 17 Dec 2013 14:48:18 +0000 Read more]]> Reviews – The Bad, The Good and The Ugly

It’s a fantastic idea for businesses to allow customers to post reviews on their site to advise future customers on how and what to purchase. It looks great for your business, making you seem honest and open, whilst also helping you to sell your products and services better by including unbiased views from previous customers. But what happens when you get a bad review? Bad reviews are inevitable sometimes, especially when selling products, and they shouldn’t necessary reflect your business. It’s very important to keep track of customer reviews on your site, not only to monitor content, but to also keep a track of what works within your business and what keeps falling flat.

Here are a few key things that you as a business can do to enable your company to benefit fully from customer reviews:

  1. Have someone on guard to monitor reviews daily. Should a bad review show up, someone is there to quickly assess the content and decide whether it’s helpful to leave on the site for the benefit of other customers, or to remove and personally reply to the review privately. If you are planning a Christmas close down then maybe move reviews to require authorisation whilst you are out.
  2. A delayed post system could be employed should your company feel that daily review checks are unnecessary. A delayed post system allows a set amount of time to elapse before the review is posted live onto your site, giving you time to check through before it’s too late. (for Christmas see above)
  3. Finally, a truly safe option is to only allow reviews to be posted to your site once they’ve been approved by your team. This way, you have total control over what your customers read and make no room for potentially off-putting bad reviews or risky content.

Remember that it’s worth considering the actual content of a possible bad review before you discard it from your site. Is the customer simply saying that the product didn’t work for them personally, ie, a beauty product or appliance? If this is the case, you can turn the negativity on its head, post the review and publicly recommend something which might work better, making you look honest, attentive and hands-on.

Make sure that the reviews that make it to your site are content safe and won’t raise the hackles of other businesses. Ensure that other companies are never mentioned in your customer reviews as this could land you in hot water.

Most importantly, remind yourself that bad reviews can often be helpful, both to your customers and to your business. Bad reviews can help you to select stock more effectively next season, it can help you decide what to promote, and it allows customers to make the right choice for them when buying from you.

Once you’ve decided on a review method that suits you best, it’s all about handling complaints professionally and carefully, and most importantly, not taking them all to heart.

We are always here to go through the options and get you up and running confidently 

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How To Hit The Big Time and More Wed, 27 Nov 2013 12:53:26 +0000 Read more]]> Tips for small retailers on branching out into the online world 

It’s tough being a small business. Sometimes the e-world seems so intimidating that you start to relate more to Dylan Moran in Black Books than Sir Alan Sugar. What you may not know however is that getting started online is actually incredibly simple, and creating an online presence can increase your customers, improve your reputation and allow your little business to develop a unique character to stand out from the rest.

There is a UK national day to help highlight you as one of the country’s invaluable  small businesses. Maybe send off for a pack and get involved to get some free publicity.

Here are a few little hints and tips that you can take to expand your business into the wonderful world wide web.

Jump on the Bandwagon

Firstly, this may seem obvious but, do you have a website? If not, then you probably should get one before you read on. Starting up your website is simple. Web development can be simple and simple CMS systems such as WordPress are there to help artists, businesses, writers, and anyone who wants their own website. If you already have a website, consider letting us add some fuel to the fire; there’s no harm in giving your site a re-vamp.

google-map-marker_designWhere’s Your Head At?

Something that can be achieved in half an hour is to register your company on Google Maps so that people can locate your business. This is easy, quick and any results of this can only go in your favour. After all you’ve got to be seen in order to reap the rewards. We can help with the Google Local account.


Socialize, Cyber Style

The next rung on the online ladder is to get yourself a facebook page. Yes, we know you have one, we mean one for your business! Set it up, add your friends, ask them to share you around and you’ll soon have a tonne of facebook fans to direct your subtle marketing ploys towards. Perhaps go a step further and set up a Twitter account. Twitter is great for small businesses as it allows people to quickly link them into comments, which others can see, but that you can quickly and easily respond to. As a rule of thumb, Twitter lets your customers understand the ideals of a business whilst Facebook is a good way to build a visual connection and drive events.

Get Your Numbers Hat On

Once you’re happy with the look of your website, you must consider monitoring the flow of traffic on your site. Monitoring traffic is essential if you want to keep track of what people are clicking into most – and least. Firstly, it’s important to consider SEO, which are key words used on your website which allows your site to come up in Google searches when people type in certain words. It is essential to get a grasp on how to use SEO effectively, as businesses which appear on the first page of natural listings (unpaid ads) are more likely to receive traffic than those on the second or third page.


The second thing you may want to consider is using Google Adwords and Analytics. Both services are free to sign up for, and while it may take some time to get your head around, Adwords can be very useful to get ahead of your competitors. Adwords is a service whereby companies bid money on certain key words that a customer might type. The company who has best rated ads and bid will come in the top sponsored listings which usually come up in orange at the top of a Google search. Analytics will also help you greatly to keep an eye on where traffic is coming from and what they’re looking at on your site.

Earn Your Supporters

It’s a great idea to get a customer database together. You can even do this in your shop by asking people to pop their emails in a hat – or some other object of your choice – with the given incentive of winning a prize of sort. You get lots of email addresses with which to build up a mailing list and some lucky customer gets a free prize hat. It’s always useful to have a mailing list, or somewhere on your website for people to sign up for newsletters, as this poses as another method to flaunt your business and products.

Consider also setting up a loyalty scheme where regular visitors to your store get something out of each purchase – like a stamp card method that most coffee chains employ nowadays.

Re-brand your Brand

The best small businesses are the ones who establish a look, a character and a tone of voice early on in their development. It is essential that you know who your target audience is and appeal to them in your appearance as a brand. It may be worth doing a few quizzes on your friends, different sexes and different ages to see what style of writing or what web layout appeals to them most.

feedbackEncourage Online Feedback

In a similar way to the method in which you may start your emailing list, give customers an incentive to add reviews of your products or store to your website. Customers love it when they feel that a company genuinely appreciates their feedback, so use your language well to make them feel great. Encourage online reviews through sites like Feefo, which will allow you to pick and choose the best reviews to display on your website.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid of the web. As a small business, delving into the chasm of the internet can only benefit you, making your business better known and well-remembered. Sign up, blog away and keep in mind that even Apple was first born in a garage of a uni drop-out nicknamed Woz.

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Official Taylor Swift Store Thu, 21 Nov 2013 09:02:24 +0000 Read more]]> We’ve just added a new merchandise store for multiple Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift. Built for leading music merchandise company Chris Cooke Management the site is part of our multi site e-commerce engine which allows clients to add new sites and manage inventory from one location.

The same system is already in use by Cooke Management for The Specials, Bob Dylan and west end musicals like Singin’ in the Rain .


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We’ve Got a Ticket To Ride Thu, 31 Oct 2013 14:30:37 +0000 Read more]]> If you have a problem or a query on a website, who you gonna call? Well, you’ll probably scrabble around searching for a suitable email address or you’ll scour the pages for what appears to be a customer support hotline.

We’re all used to sending one-off emails to companies, whether it be to complain, to enquire, or to report something, and sometimes it can feel a little like fumbling in the dark. We agonise over the accuracy of an email address and debate whether attaching an angrily gratified screen shot of the specific malfunction is a little too forthcoming. Recognising this common issue, Devstars have introduced a new support ticket system for its clients as well as its own use.

The ticket system is a genius little way of keeping monitored control over customer questions, reports and problems. It works by implementing a link near the bottom of your home page which leads to a short form in which the customer can quickly and easily text away.

The ticket system then stores the customer’s information as well as cleverly recording their IP address, their current browser and details of the system from which the ticket came. All customer questions, complaints and flags will then come straight to Devstars’ central ticket system and we can assign each ticket to our relevant client to be followed up accordingly.

Our nifty tickets even feature a severity drop-down so that we’re briefed on how urgent a ticket is even before we view it. It also enables the customer to upload that red-pen violated screen shot that they took in a rage just moments before – we promise we don’t take it personally! Just give us the URL of the page in question and our system and bright folks at Devstars will do the rest.


Implementing this feature on your own website will unquestionably simplify C2B emails, and will help to sort mail alerting you of site issues and problems from general notices and business emails. Helpful and convenient, the ticket system takes up little space, fits the theme of your website and also creates an uncomplicated system by which to answer your customer’s every notice and question.

Feel free to give us a call on 01784 772405

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How To Grab A Mobile Consumer Mon, 07 Oct 2013 16:30:35 +0000 Read more]]> Next time you find yourself on the bus or train, perhaps during your commute or leisure time, look around and observe one of the most important developments of the modern age: mobile internet. People exist every day with their device bound to their palms as though possessed, with fingers scrolling through emails, websites, endless documents and check-outs, absorbing a myriad of online data.

We live through our phones, communicating, purchasing, browsing and posting, and we expect every result and page to come to us in an instance. While it’s all very well to sit and observe, it’s all the more important to understand the business advantages to be gained.
Here are a few pointers and tips to help your website make the most of those scrolling fingers:

The Times They Are A Changin’
First and foremost, if you haven’t already, make sure that your site is mobile accessible in that it’s geared up for use on a tablet or smart phone. You’ll need a RWD (responsive web design) which is clever, compact and simple to navigate, some scrolling but not too much pinching.

Life In The Fast Lane
You must ensure that your website is up to speed and fast to navigate – These days, people expect pages to load within two seconds before the service is considered slow.

Big Love
Ensure that buttons, links and especially pictures are large and easy to click and view. The more time the customer spends pinching and zooming into different products the less likely they are to bring you valuable conversions. Amazon mobile and now Ebay are championing larger buttons and simple userjourneys


Get On With It
Try and keep form-filling to a minimum for mobile devices. Customers want quick transactions that they can speed through, enabling them to get on with their day. If they find themselves faffing for eons entering masses of personal info on tiny keyboards, they’ll become irritated, lose interest and kaput goes your sale.

Hello, I Love You…
Okay, maybe ask for a name, but reign in your craving for data and resist asking your mobile customers for registration. No one wants to miss their bus stop because they were too busy creating a whole online account with the website that they just wanted to quickly buy a jumper from. Ask for minimal details – If they appreciate your service they may sign up on their own accord when they have more time.

White Room
This goes without saying but keep your mobile web design stylish, spacey and uncluttered, not only will this look a lot better but your customers will thank you for the simplicity too.


Boldly Go Forth
Ensure that your site is unique and engaging to keep the customer on the page. Surprisingly, mobile customers are easily distracted by their outside world, and captivating colours, pictures and stylish fonts and copy will hold their attention even whilst that woman falls over the curbside opposite.

Is It This You’re Looking For?
Everyone loves an easy access search bar that works, and when your time and screen space is limited, it’s all the more useful. Provide your customers with a prominent search bar where they can find exactly what they need with minimum effort on their part.

If You’re Gonna Do It – Do It Right
Devstars have helped a number of forward thinking businesses become mobile-ready using techniques which enable you to see the whole screen regardless of browser size and casually flip the layout horizontally with a twist of your device. Creative Director Martina Langer’s site was designed with a deservedly chic, stylised look which is completely mobile friendly, perfect for those viewing from a tablet. Simple features such as the mobile drop down implemented by Devstars made the difference for mobile users, providing a speedy and convenient experience..

Please call us on 01784 772405

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Get smart with rich data and microformats Fri, 20 Sep 2013 10:00:28 +0000 Read more]]> A few years back Google CEO Eric Schmidt confidently predicted that it would only be a matter of time before Google would be able to give you your search results before you typed in the query. Thankfully, this rather alarming prediction has not come to pass, mainly due to the simple reason that Google, and other search engines, are not as smart as he (and us for that matter) seem to think they are.

Let us explain. Search engines do not read and fully understand the content of your Web site. This applies no matter how well the site has been designed and written. All they are able to do is match the words to a specific search query. You will realise straight away here that the problem is context.

Say, for example, your Web site has the words “based in Birmingham, we sell sinks all over the world”. Google et al will pick up Birmingham and sinks as specific to you and possibly world (but try typing that into Google and seeing how many results you get). The rest of the statement is meaningless to it.

Whereas, a person reading the site who is based in Australia and looking for a sink supplier will understand immediately you are able to help but will they get to see the page? Just by typing the search in Google will not match the supplier with the customer in this case.


Rich snippets

So, what can we do to get round this? Fortunately there is something that can be done to overcome this and it’s called ‘rich snippets’. They are the few lines of text that appear under every search result and are designed to give users a sense for what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to their query.

If Google understands the content on your pages, it can create rich snippets. For example, the snippet for a restaurant might show the average review and price range. In the example we used above it could detail what you provide (sinks) and where you provide them to (globally).

Below we have a good example where a show’s website is built without rick snippets but the ticket sales site adds in the event rich snippet, resulting in a more informative summary in Google.


Existing code on web sites can be adapted by wrapping certain content with tags that tell Google if the item is a product, place, person, news article, event etc.  The list is growing rapidly with Google now supporting specific tags for reciepes, films and songs for example.

If you’d like your web site adapted to support rich data and microformats or are have any questions about this please give us a call on 01784 772405 or click here to email us.

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