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We Recommend…

April 11, 2019

We are very lucky because we work with fantastic businesses, doing all manner of design projects. The vast majority of them are like us – small enterprises, who’ve taken a risk and followed a dream. The kind of people, and businesses, who can’t hide behind a vast team, or ignore phone calls and emails, or basically treat customers and clients in a shoddy fashion. They – and we – can’t do this (even if we wanted to) – because reputations rest on our actions.

Because of what we post via this blog and social media we tend to attract the kind of clients we want – namely, those referenced above. We rarely get enquiries from large, blue collar companies – and if we do, both parties soon realise that we’re not really right for each other. Which for us, is good news, because it means we get to work with the kind of people who really inspire us.

Another benefit of collaborating with quite small, independent businesses is that through the design process, we really get to know who we are working with. We get to to know them as friends, rather than just clients, and this enables us to develop long term connections. We also get to know what their clients and customers think about them, as we encourage the use of real, well thought out and considered, testimonials on their websites. In this way, we get a real feel for their business, their ethos, their ways of dealing with people – and we think this puts us in a pretty unique position, to do what we are about to do.

Many of the people we’ve designed for, have also done work for us. We’ve collaborated with Jonny Draper on various professional photography shoots for websites. We’ve had property work done by Paul Andrew Jones Interiors and Monkey Wrench Plumbing Services. We’ve worked with Words Inspire, to create tantalising copy for websites. We’ve been delighted to have the legal services, and advice, of Ruth Sutton and LLB Solicitors, when we’ve needed them. When we’ve had aches and pains, Link Chiropractic is always there to help, and for a bit of pampering, Claire Jones, Evie’s Retreat, Conley Hair & Beauty and MacleodBradley are our go-to people.

We could go on and list more clients whose services we use, but we think you get the picture. We use them because they are superb at what they do and we trust them. However, we’ve been missing a bit of a trick here. Although we blog about the work we do, which will mean that from time to time, other people may contact our clients because they see something we’ve posted, we’ve not really done any kind of strategic promotion of them. Until now…

We’re going to be more regularly sharing the expertise of the diverse group of people and businesses we have the privilege to work with. We’ll mainly be doing this via our Didsbury Life Twitter and Facebook pages, so if you think you might ever the need the services of a plumber, a landscape gardener, a caterer, a solicitor, a bridal boutique, an exercise class, a tutor, a wedding venue, to name but a few, we suggest that you keep an eye on what we post.

Hopefully, you will understand that we will only ever recommend businesses we have personal experience of – and this will be by means of us getting to know them inside out through the design work, and additionally, on occasion, by paying for their services. We absolutely believe that this is the best way to get the best people. As we said, right at the beginning – 

The kind of people, and businesses, who can’t hide behind a vast team, or ignore phone calls and emails, or basically treat customers and client in a shoddy fashion. They – and we – can’t do this (even if we wanted to) – because reputations rest on our actions.

You can find out more about us and our clients over on our website, or if what we have said here, piques your interest, do drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you…

I Need A Website. How Much Will It Cost?

April 4, 2019

OK, so we’re completely honest here. If this is one of the very first questions you ask us, we have absolutely no idea. None whatsoever. Sorry if this unnerves you a little bit, especially if you’re probably thinking we should know because it’s what we do. We’ve designed many websites, so we must know what they cost. Right?

Wrong! And here’s why…

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The thing that will ultimately determine what your website will cost, is down to you, not us – because it all depends on your budget. And this is why, even though it’s often the subject that most people don’t want to discuss initially, we encourage you to do so. If you have big design aspirations, but a small-ish budget, this isn’t a problem – we just need to know so that we can deliver you something which will make you very, very happy but won’t break the bank.

This is why you won’t see a section on our website, detailing our prices. We’re not trying to be secretive, or are unsure of pricing our services, or trying to pull the wool over your eyes. (If you really want to find out what people have paid, we’d encourage you to contact clients of ours – as well as finding out the kind of figure they paid, they will probably also give you the lowdown on us).

We very, very, very rarely use off-the-peg-templates. If we do, we adapt and tweak and add individuality to the template – but it’s extremely rare for us to do this. Our design work is therefore…

bespoke

We are aware that this word will put people off. There will be potential clients who pursue enquiries no further than reading this blog as they will be of the opinion that BESPOKE = EXTORTIONATE.

But, in our design world, it doesn’t. If you’re still reading, we have a very simple belief – you and your business are unique and so your design should be, too. We absolutely love designing and so starting projects from scratch is what ticks our boxes. There will definitely be companies out there who do charge a lot more than us for their services – sometimes people seem to *trust* designers more if their prices are high. We don’t get this, as we don’t like conning people. We’re lucky that we work from home and so don’t have huge overheads to cover, so we don’t need to factor in swanky office rents and fancy car repayments, to the price we give you. There are also only two of us – me & Pete – so we also don’t need to factor in staff wages. If you feel you’d better off in the hands of a design team who work in a swish, trendy office, and being passed from pillar to post as your project progresses, don’t waste your time on us. Honestly. We really mean it. You’ll be wasting your time.

However, if our clients on our website strike a chord with you, we may just be the people you need, design-wise. All of these clients came to us, with a budget in mind – although very few told us initially what it was 😉 – and a vision. And together, we worked out what we could do, to achieve that vision, on budget.

So, we hope you don’t think we’re being vague or hiding anything when we can’t give you a price for a website, straight away. We can’t do that on our own – we need to determine that with you. And if you like the sound of how we operate, maybe we can just work out how much that website of yours is going to cost. Pop your details in the box below and we’ll come back to you, as soon as we can.

 

Time For An Update : Maths & Physics Tuition

January 23, 2019

Screenshot_2018-10-01 Maths and Physics tuition in Manchester - Didsbury, Chorlton, Withington, Burnage, Northenden(1)

The original website for Didsbury based Maths & Physics Tuition, was one of the first sites we built and designed, that did not use tables. At the time, we felt it was pretty cutting edge. But, as happens with progress, it soon started showing signs of age. It wasn’t mobile friendly. It just looked a bit tired and dated. But Peter and Fiona, who ran the company, were very busy, tutoring their students, and so updating the website wasn’t the highest of priorities, as it was still actually working well for them.

Over the years, as we do with the vast majority of people we work with, we’ve kept in touch with Peter and Fiona. As our clients, they are on our mailing list and so have received regular updates from us about things we think our clients need to know about. And so, even though it had been ages since we designed their first website and had also moved abroad (so were no longer just around the corner from them in Didsbury), we think that this regular contact, meant that they came back to us when they were ready to update the website.

As well as updating the content, we redesigned our original logo and freshened up the whole look. Like all of our websites now, the new version was rigorously tested across all devices and browsers to ensure that whatever it was being viewed on, it was perfect. Peter and Fiona wanted to keep things simple and uncluttered, and we think that they very much approve of their new look

We are delighted with We Are Life’s creative work on our website. Pete’s design process was surprisingly fast and the result was, not only technically very effective, but also artistically very pleasing. We think his work is very good value and would more than happily recommend his services.

screenshot_2018-11-07 maths and physics tuition in manchester - didsbury, chorlton, withington, burnage, northenden

What Now?

Well, if you too would like to have a bit of a new look, online-wise, why not get in touch? The first thing we’ll do is find out what YOU want and then look at ways to help you to achieve your new vision. If your budget doesn’t quite match your vision, we’ll also discuss options with you. We are firm believers in the idea that if you have a vision – if you know what you want – a way can always be found to make this a reality.

If, after our initial contact, you decide we’re not right for you, that’s absolutely fine. We won’t take offence. We’d much rather you decided this early on, than embark upon a project with us and then decide you’d prefer not to continue with us. The right person to take your design forward, is out there, and if it’s not us, we’d prefer that you told us sooner rather than later. There’s nothing more irritating, to be honest, than spending quite a bit of time discussing a project, emailing proposals and idea, and then…nothing. To us, it’s just a bit rude if communications are just suddenly ignored. So, get in touch by all means. Discuss your project with us, until you feel happy and reassured that we “get” what you want. And then make your decision. But do please have the courtesy to let us know if you decide not to proceed.

How to…

contact_us

You can do this in a variety of ways :

Call us on 0161 445 7759

Email helen@wearelife.co.uk

Complete the design enquiry form on our website

Or, pop your details, and a little bit of information into the contact box below, and we’ll get back to you, as soon as we can.

 

 

What Kind of Websites Do We Design?

January 17, 2019

This may seem a bit of a daft question, because surely we should design any kind of websites. Whatever clients want. But the thing is we don’t. We are very, very clear about the kind of websites we design. And the kind we don’t. So, just so you know, here goes…

We don’t design, using off-the-peg templates. It would probably make our lives a whole lot easier if we did do this, but then you’d end with a website which could bear a remarkable similarity to a fair few others out there. And, as you’ve probably come to us because you are a pretty unique and independent business, the last thing you will want is for your online presence to look suspiciously like someone elses. What we sometimes do is adapt our own designs – we may take an idea we have previously designed, but which was not carried forward, and use that as a starting point. Just because we don’t purchase and use pre-designed templates, it doesn’t mean we reinvent the wheel for every project. But, if we design a website for you, you can pretty sure it’s bespoke. Tailored to you and designed with your brief and thoughts and opinions, well in mind.

bespoke

We don’t do bog-standard, boring, repetitive design. We challenge ourselves with each new project. We take the time to get to know you and your likes and dislikes, what makes you tick, what makes your business unique – and this informs the kind of design we work up for you. If you’re an accountant, we’ll try and avoid the familiar corporate blue. If you’re a bridal boutique, we’ll try and avoid the familiar pinky tones. If you’re a plumber, we’ll try and avoid the stock images of white vans and a perky guy giving a thumbs-up. We’ll try and get you to think outside of the box, whilst still ensuring that we represent your business/brand in a way that will hopefully attract more visitors and therefore more custom. (But, if you are determined that you want corporate blues/dusky pinks/cheesy thumbs-ups, we think that, in the nicest possible way, we’ll probably realise, hopefully sooner rather than later, that we’re not really right for each other).

So what is it we do actually do?

  • We listen
  • We advise
  • We get to know you
  • We design, as far as we’re concerned, consistently beautiful websites
  • We design websites which are functionally beautiful, too
  • We communicate regularly with clients – either individually or via our mail outs, which keep you up to date with news and information which we think you should know about
  • We collaborate with you every step of the way
  • We work with you to make your budget go further, and when we can, we exercise flexibility so that what you really want, becomes achieveable

Our website (and this blog) will give you a lot more information about us and the way we work and the kind of websites we design. If you are now beginning to research designers and are looking for those people who can turn your vision into an online reality, we would love to hear from you. It may go no further than an initial enquiry as you might find someone much more suited to you and your needs. However, it may turn into something very long-standing, just like it has done for these clients…

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Sometimes though, you just want to cut to the chase. What are we actually like to work with?

“We approached We Are Life Design after seeing some of the other websites they had designed and being impressed by their portfolio. As a small, independent business, we wanted designers who understood us and our ambitions for our website. We are delighted that We Are Life ticked these boxes. As well as producing a professional website, they also initially discussed with us, the options we had available to us for the budget we had allocated. We found this to be extremely helpful, as it meant that we knew exactly what we were getting. Most of our communications were done by email, and we found the design process to be very smooth and uncomplicated.” Aquarius Plumbing

“We received an extremely professional service from We Are Life and are so grateful to them for their help and guidance- we are a start up restaurant and needed an organisation who could understand our needs and also work within our budget. Despite them not being geographically the closest agency we could have chosen, they were very responsive with emails and calls and have an excellent understanding of the local area. Their hard work and effort to put together our fantastic new website in a short timeframe is much appreciated!” Sofra Restaurant, West Didsbury

“Helen and Pete have been amazing since day one of working together.  When we initially chatted re the redesign of my website, I found they ‘got’ the brief straight away and indeed strengthened it which meant that the end result was better than I could have ever imagined.  In my line of business, first impressions are everything.  I wanted to avoid a template look and they certainly delivered with the beautiful design, totally unique to my business.  We are now about to embark on a website update and I can’t wait.  The additional support that Helen gives in terms of spreading the word is also invaluable and very much appreciated. Thanks guys!” Pebble In The Pond, Manchester

“Having known Helen in a former teaching life, I knew that she was organised, diligent and had a great eye for detail. I also knew that she had impeccable taste and that for me meant that We Are Life Design were the first port of call for my new forest school playgroup business. I was clueless and Pete guided me patiently, professionally and honestly. What a dream: I had found support and integrity in a world I felt completely adrift in. Communication was easy and therefore the process of which I was so very fearful was painless and the end result, more than I could ever have hoped for. Helen and Pete took my novice and amateurish ideas and produced some professional and slick marketing designs. They held my hand, worked with my modest budget and actually cared about my business. As Conker Crew grows, I know that We Are Life Design will be a key part of our future and I can’t wait to work together again.” The Conker Crew, South Manchester

“I have known Helen & Pete at We are Life Design for some years now. What they offer goes well beyond a usual project remit to produce a website, for example. Should you choose to work with them, you will encounter a rich ethos of creativity & partnership; they get into the soul of a business & work from that place, bringing out what truly matters to you & conveying that effectively in words, images & style. You become part of a family of businesses, as who they are is also ‘community’. Through them I have met others who they have championed, inspirational people, who remain friends to this day.” Lawrence Yusopoff, Didsbury

“Helen and Pete are true craftspeople, their attention to detail is meticulous and extraordinary. They create bespoke, beautiful and completely unique websites. They take time to get to know you and your business, what you like and want, what you don’t like and want, they take time to get to know you as a person – that’s so important as you are your business! They are also lovely people, they are easy to talk to, their communication is quick and straightforward. They have designed two websites for me, created my logos, ordered stationary and pop up banners etc and I have no hesitation whatsoever is recommending them.” Relaxing Reflexology, Manchester and Cheshire

“I’ve worked with We Are Life for years as a copywriter, and know first-hand the thought and care that goes into each and every one of their projects. They really get to know their clients and understand what makes them unique, then translate that into beautiful design work with clear commercial vision. When I decided to re-brand my business and set up a new website, they were the obvious choice for me, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results.” Words Inspire, Manchester

“We have worked with Pete and Helen at We Are Life Design for a number of years now. They designed our original website for the deli and when we decided it was time to refresh the website, we had no hesitation in going straight back to them. Our deli has developed and evolved over the years and we wanted a more cool, contemporary website and this is exactly what was delivered. We also commissioned We Are Life to design and build a separate website for our catering company – this was a lot more involved, but Pete and Helen ensured that communication was clear and concise and regular, so we always felt involved and in the loop and part of the process. We now have two websites which complement each other and give our company overall a feeling of cohesion. Although Pete & Helen are no longer just around the corner, communication is still very easy and as regular as we need it to be. They are very proactive and swift in responding to any requests we have for changes/updates and also keep us posted with relevant news and information via regular emails which they send to all clients. We feel in safe hands with We Are Life and would not hesitate in recommending them for your design needs.” Thyme Out, West Didsbury

“Being a bespoke events florist, I struggled to find website designers who would really understand me and my business. I wanted something different and unique something that would reflect my brand and attention to detail. Helen and Pete are absolutely amazing at what they do. From the first time I met with them, I knew they were right for what I visualised my website to be. They created such a beautifully bespoke web-site that was so unique to my business. I feel so proud when I now tell people to have have a look at my website, because from the moment the first page appears, it captivates you into my flowery world!The comments I have received, and still receive, just go to show what a wonderful job they did. They are such ease to work with. Nothing is ever too much trouble. I love everything about them!  I also love the fact that I was also supporting a small unique business! I  would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone thinking of a beautiful personally designed website.” Kelly Louise Floral Artistry

“Helen and Pete helped us with the designing of our website, branding, and everything else, as we were completely clueless before we came to them! We were recommended to use them by a local business and we’re so pleased we took their advice. They are friendly and approachable and we are thrilled with the end result. We are also going to get them to redesign another website we have. 10/10.” Solutions for Japanese Knotweed

“I first met Helen a few years ago and immediately liked her! I knew that if I was to pay for a web designer to update my business website I needed to know the person and feel they would ‘get my business’ and the client group that I work with. It was therefore a no-brainer that I would chose Helen and Pete at We Are Life Design. Right from the start I was in the driving seat, I decided on how much I had to spend on the website, the look and content and at every stage I could review, tweak and sometimes start-again! But what I loved was that Helen and Pete offered advice on a new colour scheme, updated logo and suggested professional photography – these were aspects I never expected to get, so the finished result is the content I wanted plus the sleek look I could never have achieved on my own. I would have no hesitation in recommending We Are Life Design to any business and Pete and Helen have continue to offer support going forward. Plus I feel I’ve joined a great local community of We Are Life Design clients 🤗Thank you!” For Baby & Me, Manchester

We would really like to hear from you if you are considering a new website, or if you’d like to have a current website revamped and updated. You can contact us in a variety of ways – via our website design enquiry form, or email helen@wearelife.co.uk, or call 0161 445 7759 or pop some details in the contact form below.

 

 

SSL…

January 16, 2019

It seems no time ago that we were informimg all of our clients about GDPR. Remember that panic? Previous to that, it was that all websites must be mobile friendly, or the sky would fall in. Previous to that, something or other that was probably vitally important but was superceded by everything else that was vitally important to stop your website from dissolving into a cloud of dust. Get the picture? Yes, developments are crucially important – you don’t want to be left behind website-wise, and you definitely don’t want to be penalised for something that can quite easily be effected. But there’s always something… So, what’s the next thing that we need to to know about?

ssl

That’s right – it’s that little padlock which appears to the left of some website URLs. So, what’s it all about? Known as SSL, (Secure Sockets Layer) this is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.

In short, and simply, the SSL Certificate is effectively a digital public document, which verifies that the appropriate, legitimate company ie you, owns the website which is being accessed, by visitors, by proving relevant ownership. If you are an e-commerce business these certificates are especially important, as they help prevent attackers from impersonating your company and your website. For customers and visitors to your website, an SSL Certificate establishes a secure connection between their web browser and your site server. This protects important information like passwords and credit card details by adding a layer of encryption when the data is sent.

However, it’s not just e-commerce websites that will benefit from having the visible padlock icon, meaning that you have a certificate and that your website has been configured. If you have an online presence, and you are relying on visitors to your website to connect with you, you need to do everything you can to demonstrate that your website is secure and trustworthy. In the words of our go-to SEO guy…

…SSL certification is now a major ranking factor and word on the street, from places I trust, is that Google will soon be putting an “unsecure” warning in search results for all none https websites in a bid to force all sites to go to https. This will reduce clicks on websites, as the public will think something is wrong and that lower click rate (the most powerful seo metric) will kill rankings. Just a heads up of what’s likely to be coming soon…

We are always wary of publishing blogs like this as we are aware that it could come across as us scare-mongering and/or touting for work. Believe us, this is NOT the case. We have more than enough work to be doing at the moment, and we definitely do not need additional work like this, on top of the lovely design projects we’re developing. But, we would be failing our clients if we did not keep them informed and give them the information to make decisions.

Some of our clients have acted swiftly and have asked us to ensure that they are all SSL’d up. Some haven’t. However, we’ve notified all about this situation. And that’s how we try to do things. Keep in touch with clients, provide what is needed for them to make informed decisions, and then act if they require it. We don’t hassle. We don’t keep sending emails about the same thing. What we hope, is that as well as providing the best design service we possibly can, we also communicate with our clients and grow those relationships. Because as far as we’re concerned, our design is not just about designing. It’s about being nice people, who try to add value.

If you think we might sound like your kind of designers, and would like to get to know us a little bit better and maybe take forward your design, why not drop us a line, either below, or via our design enquiry form? If you’ve got this far, we think we’d like to hear from you 🙂

Happy New Year

January 7, 2019

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After a long festive roadtrip, where we got see family and friends and recharged our batteries, we’re back doing what we love – designing.

2018 saw us working with some fab new clients and creating new designs for long-standing clients. We feel very lucky to work with the people we design for – the vast majority understand how we work and are completely unphased by us not being just around the corner any longer. Those who don’t get us, eventually move on – which is the right decision all round, as it means we get to focus on the positives.

2018 also seemed to be the year when people decided that they needed to revamp. We worked on new designs for a number of clients, which we’ll be blogging about separately – and there are a fair few revamp projects in the pipeline for 2019. We love this kind of work, as we can incorporate new styles and trends, as well as ensuring that sites continue to be robust and fit for purpose. Design moves on so quickly, and what was probably quite cutting edge when the website was originally done, may no longer be quite as up to date.

We’re also going to be taking a leaf out of our book and doing what we advise clients to do. We’ll be updating our own website and adding some new features, which we hope will add value to the service we offer. More of this later though, as we are going to be heads down for the next few days, ensuring that 2019 gets off to an organised start. In the meantime, here’s a flavour of what we’ve been working on…

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If you are looking to kick start your design this new year, we offer the following advice – do your homework. Check out a variety of designers. Look at their websites – but look behind the scenes. Read blogs. Read client testimonials. Check out social media accounts. Contact clients – one of the best ways to find out if what is claimed on a designer’s website is true! We would urge that you do all of this with us – because the last thing we want is for you to waste your time if we are not the right people for you. To make it easy, here’s where you can check us out…

Our website, which showcases our work, what we do, and what clients think about working with us…

Our Twitter account and our FaceBook page give you short snippets of information. And of course, this blog. Trawl back through it, as it’s not all about design work.

If you like what you read, do get in touch. If you’ve done your homework and then make this move, then we’re pretty sure you’re the kind of person we’d like to work with 🙂