2014: What a Year

2014 has been a great year at Rade, here's our review of the exciting projects we've been involved in over the past 12 months. We look forward to working with you in 2015!

January:We launched a new online store for John Catt Bookshop, the leading publisher of educational guides. Work also started on re-platforming Lighting for Gardens, another site using Magento eCommerce software, this time more complex with distributor, wholesaler, retail and trade accounts.

Linx China

February: Reflecting growth in overseas sales, our new site for Simtech Aitchison, the direct drill specialists, included a dedicated French language site. Amongst other multi-language sites, later in the year we rolled out a new version of Linx China.

March: Many of our clients are enjoying the benefits of upgrading their IT infrastructure. In April, we installed new equipment for a garden centre, the London office of a charity and a Suffolk hotel. Building networks with firm foundations for future growth.

April: RSPB Minsmere is right on our doorstep and it was a great challenge helping to setup a communications network for BBC Springwatch. Adding to our green credentials, we also created an action plan in response to the Energy & Green Procurement report from Groundwork Suffolk.

May: BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today ran a feature on the innovative Practical Pig app which we created for BPEX. The app is responsive, to work on all screen sizes, fully content managed to allow the resource to grow and was designed to work out in the field, away from an internet signal. Also this month we helped the World Land Trust, a charity we have long supported, with coding for the Carbon Calculator on their Great Garden Give.

EBLEX Mobile app

June: EBLEX Mobile gives livestock producers market prices at their fingertips with a feed providing statistics from +140 auction marts. The app also allows farmers to create a library of technical manuals, which they can access even when internet coverage is patchy.

Also in June, we were interviewed by ITV Anglia about the impact of high speed broadband (or the lack of it) on the local economy.

July: In July, Jake was on stage when Rade were announced winners at the EADT Business Awards; in the Business Broadband category which recognises initiatives to make better use of broadband to support business improvement.

We're also pleased when our online marketing services help to raise profiles and lead towards increased trade and bookings. 

Fram Farmers Mobile

August: Fram Farmers Mobile is a light-weight app used by members to order crop inputs and general supplies. It is designed to function with just GPRS coverage, to be used away from the office, and securely links to the member’s account - a great benefit when you don't want to be stuck at your desk. 

September: Adnams can now control their core branding while allowing landlords to show the individuality of their pubs on their new pub website system which we designed. The first sites to go live were Five Bells at Wrentham and Kings Head at Orford

October: People on the Suffolk coast can now benefit from hi-speed broadband with our new wireless internet service. We’re offering speeds of up to 100Mbit/sec up and down – without the need for a landline. Services are already live in Benacre, Darsham, Dunwich, Hinton, Leiston and Westleton and we have lots more sites to survey.Broadband speedtest

November: Coinciding with Agri-Tech Week, we were featured in the launch issue of the a new farming journal, East Anglian Farming World. Under the heading ‘Growing app-etite for in-field technology’ the article explains how the popularity of smartphones and tablets has enabled us to design apps which give access to information whenever and wherever it’s needed.

December: Earlier this month we relaunched the DairyCo Breeding+ site with new functionality. The original site was developed back in 2005, the redesign includes access to new reports, more filters for easier search and completely revised factsheets. The very large data sets are automatically imported to provide a current resource on the genetics of the national herd.

A full year and lots of variety of projects, we think you'll agree. Give us a call on 01502 478000 with your ideas for web projects and online marketing and we'll be pleased to be involved.


Even More Domains

Nominet is contacting .co.uk owners to remind them of their rights to register the .uk version of their domain. Uptake of the new domain has fallen short of expectations, with only a handful of companies moving over to use .uk for their marketing. Having said that, it’s important to protect your brand and that is why our July blog article recommended you register your .uk before the free-for-all in 2019.

400+ choice

Over the past year, a stream of new domains has been released to the market. Amongst the most popular are .club, .guru and .photography, as well as .berlin and .london. There are many descriptive domains being launched - .agency, .gallery and .repair - with many more on the way.

Promoted as the alternative to .com, without any business connotation, .xyz is also receiving a lot of press. Yes, it has had more registrations than all the others, but those numbers have been inflated by free registrations. That has gained .xyz a lot of publicity, not all positive. Trying to bolster legitimate sales, you’ll now find you can register a .xyz for just 99p – a tenth of the price of a .uk. At that price, many people are choosing to register for the short term, to see if it can live up to the hype.


With many of the new domains registered to individuals, rather than companies, there are concerns about brand hi-jacking. Take macdonalds.xyz and calvinklein.xyz as examples. You won't find a website at that address but the owners are hoping a decent offer will be made one day.

The expansion of domain names is an opportunity to grab a keyword domain. It's not expensive to register a .xyz domain but it has become costly to protect all domains for your brand. Give us a call to check the domains associated with your name or trademark.



It's time to go mobile

For the first time, mobile online shopping has overtaken desktop. Figures for April to June 14 show 52% of traffic to retail websites came from smartphones and tablets.

The IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Report also reveals that 36% of online sales are now made via a mobile device. Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “Considering that as recently as 2010 mobile visits to e-retail sites accounted for less than 3% of traffic, this latest milestone represents staggering growth of 2,000% over the past 4 years.”

So what is the best way to cater for your mobile visitors? We recommend using mobile-friendly, responsive design. The layout adapts to the visitor’s screen size, ensuring they see your site as you want them to, whatever the device. Plus, unlike having a separate mobile website, you only have one site to maintain.

5 things to consider when planning a responsive website:

* Adapt the navigation for touchscreen users - easy to select buttons and links.

* Identify the essential content – what information is most important to your mobile visitors?

* Make your message clear - rethink your text.

* Simplify the layout and functionality; turn off features which won’t be used on a smartphone.

* Reduce images – make your site faster to load and free up screen space.

Responsive design helps you to future-proof your website by allowing it to transform from one screen size to another. You want your site to look good on any platform, whether a desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, and you don’t want any visitors to miss vital information.

Having a mobile-friendly website is becoming an essential part of any business and you’ll be amazed at what is achievable on a small screen.

Is your website working hard enough?

Rather like an employee review, pose these questions to assess your website's potential as part of a winning team:

Does your website communicate clearly?
Visitors need to find key information without too much searching. Consider design, layout and content to make proper use of your online presence; not forgetting your mobile visitors. Make contact details and CTA (call to action) buttons prominent, to help convert your visitors into leads.

Is your website working efficiently?
Visitors won't hang around if your site takes a long time to load. Making adjustments to the coding, images, layout and the running order of scripts can make your website work far more efficiently. Also, make sure you are investing in professional web hosting to support such an important part of your business.

Is your website customer focused?
Reviewing your website traffic and visitors' behaviour patterns will give you vital clues to how well your website is performing; what's proving most effective and what needs attention. Analytics tools can help gauge the success of a promotion, monitor which pages are most popular and which areas are being overlooked.

Do you need to expand your website's skills?
Keep an eye on your competitors and try to keep one step ahead by introducing new features that increase interaction with your website visitors. This could be by using video clips to demonstrate a product, adding event booking to save you admin time or including an area for secure document access, whether by clients or sales teams.

Does your website comply with the law? 
The Disability Discrimination Act made sure websites were accessible to all. Since then, accessibility has become a fundamental of website design, improving user experience for everyone. The EU e-Privacy Directive is one of a list of legal requirements for your website and email database. Make sure you comply with the law.

You may already update your website by posting news, offers and tweaking pages, but there is good reason to include a broader appraisal. For a little time invested, your website can make an even bigger contribution to your business.

New .uk Domain Names

Last month saw the launch of .uk, a new choice of domain in addition to .co.uk (and .org.uk, .ltd.uk and .me.uk). While it releases many more domain names onto the market, they are not all immediately available.

Someone else already owns your favoured .co.uk or .org.uk? It’s going to be a long wait to find out if you can register your top pick.

Own the .co.uk and interested in buying the .uk domain? If so, the .uk version is reserved for you until June 2019. If you haven’t registered the .uk by then, though, it will be open to everyone to buy and start using.

A word of advice, reserved registrations must match the original domain, so you first need to check the contact details on your Nominet record.

In the months ahead we will see how popular .uk becomes. Many organisations will register to protect their brand but will they start using .uk day to day?

Like .co.uk, the new domain is reasonably priced to register for up to 10 years at a time. Give Tish a call on 01502 478000 if you want to discuss or follow this up.

Rade Digital Award Winners

At last night's EADT Business Awards, RadeDigital were announced as winners in the Business Broadband category.

This category is for initiatives which make use of better broadband to support business improvement.

The award recognises the success of the innovative Practical Pig App training tool which we designed for BPEX. The App allows pig unit supervisors to download video clips to a tablet or mobile device whilst in range of a broadband connection which they can watch and discuss with their stockmen in the working environment without the need for an Internet connection.

Rade Digital Business Awards finalists

RadeDigital is celebrating being selected as finalists in the EADT Business Awards.

We have been shortlisted in the Business Broadband category for the Practical Pig training app we created for BPEX. We designed the app to utilise faster broadband connections within the office to download video clips which farmers can use as a training tool out in the field; the ability to work offline when broadband is not available. The judges said: “response from farmers and the industry has been very positive.”

“I’m delighted that our talented team has been recognised by these awards” said Jake Barton, Rade's MD, “The award highlights the importance of access to better broadband to help businesses to grow and do business together. Here at Rade, we have spent the past 18 years helping people benefit from web technology; building websites to support their growth and IT systems to facilitate better communications.”

Market prices at your fingertips

Beef and lamb producers now have access to latest market prices on their mobile or tablet. The EBLEX Mobile app brings together data gathered from markets throughout the UK so you can compare prices from your nearest auctions or choose favourite markets for quick access to results.

RadeDigital built the app by engineering multiple data imports into reports, comparison charts and graphs to display both on the EBLEX website and the new app. We embedded the new Market reports in EBLEX’s existing website and worked with the Market Intelligence team who provide statistics from 141 livestock markets taking place each week.

Visit Apple’s App Store or Google Play and search for EBLEX.  

More info: EBLEX Market Prices at your fingertips

Practical Pig app on Farming Today

Following this week’s Pig and Poultry Fair, BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today ran a feature on the innovative BPEX Practical Pig app.

Practical Pig promotes best practice pig production. The app was developed by RadeDigital and works on smartphone and tablet or download the videos on a PC or laptop from practicalpig.bpex.org.uk the fully content managed website which allows BPEX to manage the addition of new video content themselves. 

Pensions Policy Institute migrate to ESM Content Management

We have successfully migrated the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) to our Enterprise Site Manager (ESM) content management platform.

The PPI is an educational charity which provides non-political, independent comment and analysis on public policy on pensions and the provision of retirement income in the UK. They publish regular research reports, briefing notes and hold policy seminars on a wide range of topics.

Rade developed their original site way back in 2002 when the PPI was formed. This was developed on our previous MediaStream platform and has been developed over the years with a site refresh in 2006.

ESM brings the key advantage of being able to edit site content from the front end of the website by using "in-context" editing (right clicking on content and editing it!). 

A case study will follow shortly.