Peacock Carter Ltd — all blog posts

Proud to be a web design agency in the North East of England

Jul 2018
Richard Carter, North East web design agency owner. Photo: North East LEP

As an web design agency based in the North East of England for the past 11 years, I’m pleased Peacock Carter still retains its North East roots.

I’ve found the North East a great place to be based for business. In particular, I’ve found the digital and creative community in Newcastle to flourish beyond what was already a great community of talented people in Newcastle and the North East, with regular meetups and talks throughout the year. Indeed, I organise two monthly meetups myself, for the WordPress and Magento platforms.

So, when the North East Local Enterprise Partnership enquired about getting me involved in a campaign to retain more graduates of North East universities in the region, I was more than happy to help.

The beginnings of a North East web design agency

The company had humble origins, starting in a bedroom in Durham in 2006. Founded by 2 Durham University students with a passion for website design and development, we quickly moved in to offices in Felling, Gateshead, before making the jump to Newcastle city centre a few years later. The company has changed its focus a little – like any good business! – since we started, and we’re now a very capable web design agency and ecommerce agency.

Today, Peacock Carter works with clients around the region – and throughout the world – and we are proud to remain in the region with our base at Northern Design Centre on Gateshead quayside.

Work, Live and Stay in North East England

My small feature is part of a much wider campaign by the North East LEP to showcase graduates from North East universities (from Newcastle and Northumbria, to Durham, Sunderland and Teesside) who have remained in the region and been able to contribute to its continuing successes.

You can read more from me and my thoughts on staying to live and work in the North East of England in the NELEP’s PDF here.

Our web design trends for 2018

Feb 2018
Web design trends in 2018

As a web design agency who have been around since 2006, we’ve seen a lot of website trends come and go in our time, from skeuomorphism to flat design and the rise of responsive web design.

So, here are our 2018 web design trends to watch out for this year – from more animation to greater use of vibrant colours and a change in direction for typography.

1. More web animation

Animation has been used on websites for decades now, in various forms. Formats such as GIF allowed early web designers to create animations for logos and other uses, but the format could only support a limited range of colours. Then came Flash – a format now largely gone from the web, thanks to the rise of web users adopting their smartphones, which largely did not support the format in favour of more modern technologies.

Web designers now have a broader range of animation tools available to them, making animations, but also more efficient in terms of file size – allowing us to keep website loading times to a minimum. An ideal pairing!

2. Moving away from “the grid” of web design

Mobile-friendly websites have been around for a relatively long time now – in the scheme of the digital world, anyway! – and many are built on a grid system which denotes the relative width of columns for content for different screen sizes.

We suspect that 2018 will see a move towards more assymetric, quirkier layouts for pages, allowing more creative art direction on pages.

3. Vibrant colours

We’re expecting to see much bigger use of bold colours and unusual and striking colour contrasts on websites in 2018.

One thing to beware of with unusual colour palettes is their contrast – poor contrast between text and background colours can cause a lot of issues for accessibility, particularly for those website visitors with colour blindness.

4. A larger focus on serif typefaces

Web designers have typically stuck largely to sans-serif typefaces (i.e., more rounded fonts without “feet” (serifs) on letters) for the web, as they tend to be easier to read. We think 2018 will see more prevelant use of serif fonts, especially with the development of web fonts via tools such as Google Fonts.

Whatever 2018 brings, we can be sure it’ll be another exciting year in web design and development.

5 reasons we love Shopify for ecommerce

Jul 2017
Shopify logo

If you’ve been researching ecommerce platforms for your business recently, you will almost certainly have come across Shopify.

As an established ecommerce agency, Peacock Carter love Shopify, and here’s why!

One of the world’s leading ecommerce systems, Shopify provides

1. Hassle free software updates

One of Shopify’s major benefits is that it is a hosted solution. This means you don’t need to worry about keeping your website’s software up to date, and you can focus on selling!

If you’re used to costly and disruptive software updates in other ecommerce software, this may well be a breath of fresh air for your business and worth the investment in Shopify alone.

2. Integrate your business in to Shopify

As a well-established ecommerce platform, Shopify can integrate with other aspects of your business. From accountancy packages to CRMs, Shopify is designed to help you run your business smoothly.

This means you have more time to run your business, and less time worrying about transferring your data between your ecommerce website and other tools in your business.

3. Easy Point of Sale

All of Shopify’s plans come with the ability to use their “card machine” feature which runs from an app on your smartphone. This is really handy if you also have a physical store location, or attend trade fairs or other events where you make sales.

4. Easily customisable emails

Shopify comes with a number of email templates your store can use out of the box, so you can easily customise what your customers see when they order from your store.

5. Shopify is easy-to-use

Yes, really! Merchants seem to love Shopify’s easy-to-use admin panel to manage their product catalogue and process customer orders.

So, is Shopify for you? Talk to us to find out how Peacock Carter can help with your next Shopify ecommerce project.

Improve your WordPress website today

Jul 2017
WordPress logo

Having a website is just one step is a long journey for many businesses, and yours is likely no different. You’ve had your WordPress website designed and developed by a WordPress agency (just like us!), but having a website alone isn’t enough.

Here are three tips from the WordPress at Peacock Carter – we’ve been working with WordPress for 10 years+ now and have been designing websites for 11 years – and help clients make the most of their websites. These are just three small tips to help you give your website a quick push in the right direction again – important if you’ve been neglecting your website recently!

1. Speed your website up

When was the last time you checked the speed of your WordPress website? You can use tools such as GtMetrix and Pingdom’s Full Page Test to get an idea of how long it takes for your website to load.

In an age of busy customers, if your website is slower than a competitors’, you may lose out on that new customers. There are a few quick tasks you can do to help improve the speed of your website:

  1. Remove unnecessary images from your content
  2. Resize unnecessarily large images to a more suitable size
  3. Check your web hosting – cheap hosting can cause your website to be slow to load as it’s shared with many other websites. Paying a little more can make a big difference!

2. Review your WordPress website’s content

When was the last time you updated your website’s content, and checked it for accuracy? Over time, businesses change the services they offer, and pricing structures – is your website’s content up to date? Log in to your website and review your key pages. Here are a few tips for content we see in need of updating on our own client’s WordPress websites:

  1. Contact details – does the phone number on your website work? Is it your current number, and not redirected to a new one?
  2. Email address – does the email address on your website come through to you? Do you use a different email address?
  3. Contact form – does this still work? Do messages still go to an email address you check regularly?
  4. Pricing – are any prices on your website up to date?
  5. Services and products – do you still offer all of the services or products on your website?

3. Refresh your website’s design

Does your website look a little tired? Have you changed your logo in the last year, and not updated it on your own website? It may be worth considering a design refresh for your website. This doesn’t have to be a huge change – just.

A good guide is to compare your website to your competitors’, and ask yourself what your website looks like in comparison. Is your website a step above your competitors’? If not, you may be missing out on business. Think about what your customers will be looking for – is your website’s design giving a potential customer enough confidence to pick up the phone and ring you?

There are plenty of other points for improvement for your website you can consider; if you want your website to drive more sales for your business, you could consider a WordPress SEO audit. And, of course, if you’d like any help getting your WordPress website up to scratch, we’d be more than happy to help!

4 ideas to increase customer spend on ecommerce websites

Jun 2017

You have an ecommerce website, and it’s generating a comfortable number of orders, but you’d like to increase your website’s turnover.

You have a few options open to you – sending more potential customers to your website via digital marketing such as search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising, or increasing spend from your existing customers.

Here North East ecommerce agency Peacock Carter provide ideas to help you increase your existing customers’ spend with you.

This article was originally posted on bDaily.

1. Set your free delivery threshold carefully

Do you offer free delivery on orders over a certain amount? It may be wise to review this. If you set your free delivery threshold to just above the average order value, you may be able to entice customers to add another item to their order and increase your turnover – just beware of raising this too high and putting customers off entirely!

2. Introduce a loyalty points system

If increasing your average order value isn’t working, you could try starting a loyalty points reward scheme for your store. These can work by simply allowing customers to accrue a certain percentage of their purchase (say, 5%) in points which can be redeemed on your store; the extra incentive to gain enough points for an additional “free” order can become a powerful driver for increasing your store’s turnover.

Leading ecommerce platforms such as Magento and Shopify have the ability to launch these systems relatively easily, and the rewards can be huge.

3. Offer a free sample

There’s something humans like about receiving a free sample without asking – it appeals to our curiosity, especially if it’s from a brand or company they’re already familiar with. Sending customers a free sample may tempt them to buy an additional product line, or even help upsell them to a superior brand of the same product from you with a better margin, whilst providing a more personal touch for your customers.

Just be sure to target the free samples carefully, ensuring the product offered will appeal to the customer!

4. Email your customers if they don’t check out

This is an often-missed trick for smaller ecommerce businesses, and can yield great results. If your ecommerce software is worth its salt, it will likely have the ability to see abandoned carts – that is, customers who have added products to the cart without completing checkout. You can wait a set period of time (say, a few days), and then email the customer to check if they have any queries, and remind them they have products left in their shopping cart. Sometimes, all you have to do for more sales is to ask!

As with any email communication, be careful with how frequently you contact customers – some can find it intrusive and that may cost you future sales.

This is just a small sample of what is available to ecommerce merchants to help them to sell more, and it’s worth measuring and refining your processes as with anything in your business; if you’d like to discuss your ecommerce project further with us, please get in touch.