New website design for the Eden Killer Whale Museum

EKWMThe Eden Killer Whale Museum was looking to update their website recently and chose Excell for the design and website development. Working closely with Bob at the museum, we created a list of needs the new site would have. Given the extensive pages that had been developed over many years of operating the previous site, there was a substantial amount of information that needed updating. The previous site was HTML based and therefor difficult to easily update for the museum staff.

We moved the new site over to a WordPress based system which enables non-tech-savvy users to add, edit and update information on their site quickly and easily without having to know a single line of code. In addition to the website platform, we created a custom WordPress theme specifically for the museum. This enables the look and feel of the site to remain consistent while the supporting staff members can focus on adding new content over time. Because the museum manages an extensive library and research facility we made it easier for viewers and the museum staff to support the requests that come in for research material.

Over the years, the Killer Whale Museum has made many improvements and updates to their facility and exhibits. We supplied location photography for the museum that was used on the website as well as several print projects we supplied for them. The new photography fit well with the new and updated design. Information and navigation was also greatly enhanced so the most important info has a prominent and static place on the site and the numerous site pages are easy to navigate. In addition to this, we coded a responsive mode for their theme that accommodates screen sizes of all kinds. The code was extremely streamlined to help reduce the bandwidth requirements of mobile devices.

Overall, the Eden Killer Whale Museum was very happy with the end result. We were happy to help them launch their new site and it’s already getting quite the traction!

If you have web, design or print needs, give Excell a call today at 02-6495-7320. We can help provide a cohesive and attractive marketing plan that includes web and print media all from one source!

Website design and development for Tween Waters in Merimbula

Tween Waters in MerimbulaTween Waters in Merimbula was needing an updated website and so they came to Excell in Pambula. Working closely with our client, we developed a plan to update their design and incorporate some additional functionality that will make their website a useful tool.

Their previous design was getting dated, and so we created a bright, fresh design to appeal to families looking for a fun, water-themed getaway. Using large, bold buttons we developed a simple way for their viewers to be channelled to exactly what they want to see. Approaching the new site from a practical maintenance point of view, we developed some scripts to automate a lot of the updating for them. Because they offer specials throughout the year, we created a custom wordpress theme that automatically updates their monthly deals button so they never have to change anything on the homepage. This button uses a special script to direct end-users to the correct page each month so they can see what deals are available to them. Doing this, reduced a great deal of headache for the staff as they did not need to continually modify content on their site. All they need to update are the actual specifics of each deal and thats it.

To help them offer their visitors a handy events page, we tied our Gem Attractions website into their “What’s On” and “Local Attractions” pages. Our Gem Attractions website is kept up to date each day with the current activities and local businesses. Since this was a burden for them to keep up, we incorporated a WordPress plugin that funnels the data we provide into the Tween Waters website seamlessly. This way, each and every update we make to Gem Attractions is reflected on Tween Waters automatically.

When you come to Excell for website design and development we don’t just create a website for you, we create a website that will work for you. We do this by examining ways to make the user experience better for your website. This creates a site that visitors want to come back to and ultimately a site that helps make you money.

If you have need for website design why not give Excell a call? We have an experienced, professional web developer who can guide you through the process. Not only do we create fresh and unique designs, but we’ll help you in the planning stages so you can trust that your site will look and function great for years to come.

Web design: What it is, what it’s not, and what’s involved

We get a lot of enquiries for our web design and development services. While website design has been around for nearly two decades, many businesses find it difficult to find their footing when it comes to their online presence.

The vast majority of issues come down to purpose. What is the purpose of your website? For most businesses, a website is used as an online brochure that is available globally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For some businesses thats completely fine, but for a lot of companies, their website can do a whole lot more.

When we take on a client in need of website design and development services, we explore the different needs of their business first. Are they established in the community? Are they looking to expand their reach beyond their immediate area? What message does their site need to communicate? What is the makeup of their existing user base? These are a small sample of the questions we try and answer in our first meeting. What we’re finding is that the vast majority of companies looking to rejuvenate their existing website are suddenly open to a whole new world of potential. Instead of looking to create an online brochure, they have the ability to communicate more effectively with their ideal audience, automate services and have their website work for them.

Not all web designers are equal

There are many web “designers” out there who charge for free or inexpensive themes from services like WordPress Themes, Wix Templates or Weebly Themes. While there is nothing wrong with using off-the-shelf themes, it’s not ethical to do so without the client’s knowledge especially if one is selling web design. There is a big difference between custom web design and free theme-based services. We try and educate our clients as to the pro’s and con’s of each so they can at least make an educated decision as to the direction they want to go.

Every design project we take on is a custom project. With web design, this means we design the site to your specific needs. This also means that we code your site by hand. While the vast majority of sites we develop are based on a WordPress framework, we still hand-code your custom design as your very own WordPress theme. The advantages to this are the fact that we can custom develop unique features. Do you want to randomise graphics or content? No problem. Would you like your design or content to change according to the time of day, season or month? No worries. We understand HTML, PHP and CSS and hand code features and effects so that they run smoothly and efficiently.

Plugin and turn on

One of the advantages to website frameworks like WordPress and Joomla is their support for plugins. You can think of plugins as small web applications that run specific functions for your site. A classic example of this are the common “Contact Form” plugins that add an email form to your site. Ten years ago if you wanted to have that function, you typically needed to utilise a CGI (Common Gateway Interface) script. Your web developer needed to hand-code your form, connect your form to a specific CGI script, then setup the script to work with a mail gateway to process the emails being packaged within the web form. This potentially opened up your website to nefarious users who would search for “open” CGI scripts and exploit them for sending SPAM. As a result, many web hosting companies limited the use of CGI scripts.

Fast forward to 2015 and adding a contact form to your website is as easy as clicking “Install Now” and entering a few lines of code. The plugin architecture of WordPress and Joomla mean that when it comes to developing your website, common functionality no longer needs to be hand-coded. We can complete a website setup and installation in as little as a few hours depending on the site. We focus our hand-coding skills on the features that are most important to you and that is what we deliver at Excell.

Custom design not within reach?

Thanks to WordPress and other CMS (Content Management System) style platforms, the development costs for websites has fallen drastically. Despite this, not all clients can afford custom design. In that scenario, we recommend individuals utilise free or near-free website builders such as Wix, Weebly and Square Space. Their simple to use interface and easy setup make it a perfect fit for individuals seeking a free or inexpensive website. All that is required is the filling out of a couple of forms and inputting some copy and images. Within minutes, you have a website.

The flip-side to free

These free site builders lose their advantage once you require a specific functionality that is not included in their system or you need your company to stand out in a competitive environment. The main disadvantage to using off-the-shelf themes is that you are not the only one using that theme. Chances are, if the theme looks good, then a lot of people are probably using it. Free site builders also involve some kind of advertisement for the service which means your company site becomes a mascot for that service – not ideal in some cases.

At Excell, we pride ourselves in the level of service we provide our clients. Whether the budget is large or small, we help all customers find the right fit. When it comes to web design and development we take special care to educate our clients so they understand what they need, what we are giving them and how they can reach their goals.

Website Design for ChefSmart Food Safety

ChefSmart Food Safety Website DesignWe recently completed a new website design for ChefSmart Food Safety. Our client Rob is a professional chef in the local area who has created an innovative iPad app for fellow chefs, restaurants and food processing facilities around the world. The app helps manage the safety of food products and equipment and keep aggregated records backed up to a safe cloud based storage system. This remarkable app brings food safety to a whole new level making it easier (and more likely) that the restaurants you eat at employ a safer and reliable food safety program. An app like that, requires a strong web presence and that’s another area we excel at.

We created a simple website design to help promote the app while showing off its many features. We built into the custom theme strong Search Engine Optimisations (SEOs) to help Rob maximise his online visibility. A website designed for an app offering such innovative tools needs to be precise and clear about its message. We created several video tutorials to help educate potential customers on the many benefits the app and back-end system has to offer.

The final result was very well received. While the promotional road ahead is long, we are continuing to work with Rob to help get the message out there and ensure the right message is being received.

Whether you need professional design for print, video, web or you need printing or marketing services – Excell is the local choice you can count on. With three locations in the beautiful Sapphire Coast of New South Wales, we are a convenient and reliable resource that has been providing quality design, print and web services for over 2o years! If we can help you with an upcoming project, why not give us a call and see what we can do for you!

Website Design for Mallacoota Images

Website design for photographer Martin Ascher was looking for a way to promote his photography, he came to Excell. From the very beginning we helped brainstorm ideas that would help him protect his work while making it possible to get beautiful large format prints of his work.

Starting with his amazing photography of the Mallacoota countryside, we made the primary goal to make Martin’s images the focal point. Using large samples for background images on the homepage, viewers are able to get a taste for the quality and colour of each of Martin’s photos. We created a custom design and hand coded a custom theme for the site. As a collaborative move, Excell arranged to offer gallery quality prints of all of Martin’s work available on the site. We setup a shopping cart system that facilitates the purchase and inventory of each image. Visitors of the site are given a range of print options including various sizes and two high quality paper options – SIHL Masterclass satin stock or GICLEE canvas.

We are continuing work with Martin to help promote his site and have a plan in motion to achieve these goals. This project highlights the value that Excell offers to clients of all kinds. Not only do we offer excellent custom designs for print and web, but our printing facilities compliment our design and web services beautifully. We have expert staff that handle the careful printing of all large format projects – ensuring the clarity and colour accuracy of each print meet our high standards. Our designers can create complimentary designs that work extremely well with artists of all kinds. Our web developers hand code custom web designs ensuring a unique final product that works very well with end users on any platform or device.

If you have a web design or large format project coming up, contact Excell today and get the benefits that partnering with a diverse company like us can bring.

New website design for Merimbula Mowing

merimbula-mowing-websiteWe recently completed a website design for our client Merimbula Mowing and Maintenance Services. Owner Andy Gibbs was looking for a website to put his new lawn and garden maintenance service on the map. We provided Andy with a custom design – incorporating our location photography service and coded his new design as his very own WordPress theme.

Tying in his web design style to print designs we created for him recently helps create a solid image especially for a new business. We worked very hard to incorporate a solid SEO strategy as well which has already started to show results for Andy.

Going beyond a basic web design though, we evaluated Andy’s needs for his site and came up with a creative solution to a common problem faced by many maintenance providers. Every garden and maintenance service provider who is online requires an in-person assessment before a price is given and we felt that this creates a potential roadblock for acquiring new customers. Our solution was to create an online quoting system for Andy that can compile – in real time – an estimate for people so they can know what it will cost to have a service done. This system not only helps give people the freedom to know what it will cost to hire Merimbula Mowing any time of day, but it also helps free Andy up so he can spend time doing what he does best.

The online quoting system calculates a multitude of variables that can affect the cost and even helps people see how they can save money by eliminating some of the obstacles that can cause a maintenance service to cost more. Once filled out, if a user would like to schedule a service, the system will automatically notify Andy so he can schedule new customers on the fly. All of this was automated using a creative use of off-the-shelf products so the cost to Andy was minimal.

If you are interested in the suite of web and design related services offered by Excell, feel free to contact us. Not only do we custom design every site to our clients needs, but we also hand code the site by our web staff here in Pambula – meaning we don’t simply re-sell free or inexpensive pre-designed website themes. In addition to our web and design services, we also offer location photography to provide real images of our clients and their business giving that extra touch of sincerity to all of our sites.

We pride ourselves on our work and make every effort to go beyond the obvious and create unique sites that stand out and are useful to our clients and their customers. If you have need for web design services, contact us today and see how much Excell can help you.