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Mezzanine floors: going up!

Posted on Monday, January 14th, 2013 by Richard

Mezzanine floor manufacturer Storplan Racking Ltd, based at Full Sutton near York, has grown to become one of the country’s most respected mezzanine floor manufacturers and storage equipment specialists. Castlegate IT has been working with Storplan on their corporate website, giving it some SEO treatment to improve their organic Google rankings.

Industrial mezzanine floors can provide valuable additional space in a warehouse or yard situation, but Storplan also provide innovative mezzanine floor solutions in more picturesque settings such as a recent project in a grade-2 listed dove cote. Storplan devised a 3-tier mezzanine floor solution to turn the dove cote into a luxury holiday let.

Although the main part of the business is mezzanine floors, Storplan also manufacture Industrial Staircases, Handrails, Pallet Racking, Shelving, Garment Hanging, Security cages, Mesh Partitioning and Screens, Lockers & Staircases and Mezzanines for Retail spaces. All of these areas needed to be considered in the SEO plan for the site.

Initially, we did some keyword research which identified key phrases to focus on. These were used to describe page content in the title, descriptions and H1 headings, and allocated to landing pages. This phase resulted in some terms rising in the rankings by as much as 8 pages. A second phase has concentrated on optimising the text. It was important that this was done sensitively, to maintain the quality of the content. With many of the phrases now on page one of Google, the project is showing great results.

New Barry Crux & Co. Site Launched

Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2011 by Richard

Chartered Surveyors Barry Crux & Co have a long-established reputation as one of the top independent commercial property agents in the North of England. Here in York they are stalwarts of the local business community and the leading independent agent for city-centre business property. They manage sales and lettings of hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and pubs in the hospitality sector, as well as office, retail and industrial properties. They also have a thriving business in the residential lettings market.

Their website was in need of an overhaul, and we were very glad to be commissioned to give it a makeover and improve their online property catalogue. We think the design is one of our best so far.

This is a business with many strings to its bow – from business appraisals to expert witness reports, EPCs and property valuations – and the site had to reflect that. As well as showing off their many and varied professional services they wanted to be able to show off the range of properties for which they are agents. Many of these are beautiful historic residential properties in the centre of York, owned by York Conservation Trust.

Their old website had been operating faithfully for years, and we were able to work with the previous developers to export and transfer their existing catalogue into the updated system that we had built. This saved them an enormous amount of time.

We also developed a system which creates informal user accounts – in order to view full PDF property particulars people have to enter some brief contact details. This only happens once per visitor, so it isn’t too obtrusive, and no subsequent logging in is required. We hasten to add, of course, that no contact details are passed to any third party, it simply allows the company to be able to report on the level of interest shown in the properties and businesses being offered for sale to their clients.

Pubs and Hotels for Sale

When something goes wrong: how to report a bug

Posted on Friday, May 21st, 2010 by Richard

We don’t really do much tech support here, but we always try to be helpful to our clients when they’re experiencing problems.

Whatever the problem is, and whether it’s with hardware, software or a website, there are a few things you can do to help the techies of this world help you.

The golden rule, of course, is: don’t panic! And before you turn-it-off-and-on-again -

1. Grab that error message!
When something goes wrong, make a note of what it says. That error report may not mean anything to you but it will to someone. If it’s on a web page, chances are you’ll be able to copy-and-paste it into an email. A half-remembered error report can confuse the issue no end.

2. What’s going on?
A clear, step-by-step description of what you were doing when you got the error helps enormously. If you got the error on a webpage, let us know exactly which one it was – copy the contents of the address bar into an email. If you were uploading a file, send us the file. If it was something on your computer, remember all the programs you had open at the time, and tell us the last thing you did before the error showed up.

3. Your machine
It’s vital to know what you’re using – which browser, which operating system. Is it Windows, Linux, or Mac? Are you using Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Opera? The first thing a techie will try to do is replicate the error. Chances are it’s not something that happened when they tested it, so what’s the difference between your machine and theirs?

Here’s a great resource to get all this info quickly: www.supportdetails.com from Imulus, who earn serious brownie points for this site. It gives you all the details about your own system and lets you download them as a CSV or PDF, or just send it all in an email straight to your local techies.

4. Even better: show us!
The best you can do: as soon as anything goes wrong, grab that screen! On a Windows machine, pressing Print Screen (often labelled “PrtScn”) actually does just that – it grabs the current screen and puts it in the Windows clipboard. You can then paste it into an image file and save it using MS Paint (under ‘Accessories ‘) or – your favourite and mine – IrfanView, the free image viewer. In Mac OS X, I’m reliably informed, Command-Shift-3 will take a screenshot and save it as a file on your desktop.

Send this screenshot to your helpful techie friends and it’ll help them no end.

This has the added benefit of showing us what you’ve got open and what operating system you’re using. It’ll tell us – roughly – what version of what browser you’re using, and which operating system. They tell a thousand words, you know!

All About Bicycles

Posted on Thursday, November 26th, 2009 by Richard

Whilst I’m waiting for a big upload to finish, I thought I’d take a moment to talk to you all about bicycles.

We’ve been working for some time with Get Cycling – nationally renowned cycling promoters and purveyors of all manner of pedal-powered fun. We also took on the task of developing a site for their sister company, Company of Cyclists.

The site was launched last week: Cyclorama – a guide to all things pedal-powered. It’s an ambitious project, an online bicycle (/tricycle/quadricycle…) exhibition featuring high-quality specialist cycle manufacturers and retailers worldwide, backed up with the results of a lifetime of work in bicycle journalism. If you like bikes – and I do – you’ll probably love it.

The site is being launched in stages – right now you can read over 250 articles, essays and technical guides in the bike culture section. Over the next few months we’ll see the exhibits appear: the retailers, manufacturers and bikes on exhibition, as well as blogs, discussion boards and an online shop.

The site has been coded to be entirely multilingual, so that exhibitors can upload their profiles in their own languages, and in as many of them as they like. Translations are being added to the existing site.

That’s one of the complications of the site: the other big one has been not getting absorbed in reading all the articles!

The Cyclorama Homepage

The Cyclorama Homepage

Lets Get Automated

Posted on Friday, November 13th, 2009 by Richard

York letting agents City Lets, one of our growing number of property clients, are now enjoying a feature on their website that allows their properties to be featured on a range of other websites in addition to on their own.

National property portals such as Rightmove, PropertyLive and Fish4 are well advertised and receive a huge amount of web traffic. City Lets had been advertising their catalogue on some of these portals by manually maintaining the details of each property. A time-consuming task, given that the data essentially replicates the content of their website.

So the solution is obvious: have our website database automatically keep the national property portals up-to-date on the latest changes.

Setting up the feeds wasn’t as straightforward as you might hope: of course, the various portals have a range of wonderfully incompatible specifications for data transfer, but that’s the kind of problems we get paid to sort out.

So, our brand spanking new server (which Andy will be telling you all about soon enough) gathers all the data together every night and uploads it all to Rightmove, PropertyLive, Zoopla! and (coming soon:) Fish4.

This means much broader publicity for all City Lets properties, and City Lets save a heck of a lot of time by not having to maintain their catalogue manually.

In other City Lets news, they are also currently promoting their York serviced apartments service, so this has meant some new SEO adjustments to give the relevant pages on the site a boost for search phrases related to this.

Serviced apartments in York

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