Look A Million Dollars on Mobile

This Christmas will see hundreds of thousands of laptops, tables and mobiles unwrapped and switched on on Christmas day. If you or your organisation have a web site you want it to look fantastic on all those devices and you know how important it is that your site looks a million dollars on mobile. Web design and mobile optimisation are also important to Calm Digital, Middlesbrough’s leading web design and digital agency. www.calmdigital.com  have been working hard at developing a team of dedicated individuals who are the best at what they do so that they can help their clients with the best responsive website design, ecommerce web development and web design.

The web, and mobile technology have had a massive effect on nearly everyone’s way of life and work in the last couple of decades. If you have a business, it needs to have a web presence so your potential clients can find it; if you have a hobby or a family spread over the county, county or continents, the web has revolutionised the way you communicate with people. From the most formal company site to the smallest of blog sites, we all have the same aim, which is to look fantastic and be as interesting as possible whilst keeping the development and design as successful as possible.

At this time of year there is a rush to select and buy last minute gifts for family and loved ones. This means that ecommerce websites are being swamped by shoppers checking for gifts and ready to spend their money. If your ecommerce web development is short of the mark you may miss out on the businesses retail season of the year. The lovely people at Calm Digital hate to think of you missing out and make it their business to be the best at creating responsive website design, ecommerce web development and mobile web design to make it really easy for people to navigate your site and spend their money on your goods – the rest is up to you.

The sign of a really successful strategy from an organisation or brand is one that moves seamlessly across all types of platform. In a world where branding has become the most important aspect of marketing in so many ways, your visual message must be consistent all the way from your brochures, letterheads and business cards, thorough to your web site (ecommerce or otherwise), mobile (responsive) site, social media and on line newsletters and moblie apps.

Calm Digital love to develop and they love to design. They have many years of experience in Middlesbrough, throughout the UK and internationally, so you can trust them with your project and they will work with you to make effective use of your budget and goals, making 2016 a very successful year all round. Visit www.calmdigital.com to find out more.

Getting Started with Pay Per Click Marketing

Pay Per Click Marketing – or PPC – can be tricky, especially if you’ve just started out with your business or you’re looking for new ways to promote your brand online. It’s a term usually used to describe services offered by Google Adwords, whereby a business owner pays Google a small fee every time a user clicks on an advertised link to their website – paying per click, if you like!

In order to get the most out of PPC, you will normally need some sort of training, which can be time consuming and a little complicated. You’re having to deal with brand new metrics that can require a bit of thinking – like ‘average cost per click’, ‘quality score’ and ‘impressions’. Many, and we don’t blame you, choose to boycott the learning of this stuff all together, and hire a PPC Management team (like Zebra!) to look after it for them. However, if you’re feeling brave, and want to give the world of PPC Marketing a go, then here’s a few handy tips to get you started.

To start off with, you need to establish a strategy and work out how you’re going to measure your success as accurately as possible. First of all, you need keywords which relate to the most popular products or services that your business has to offer, and ones that you want to be found for online. So, for example, if you own a gift shop you could choose ‘birthday cards’ or ‘wrapping paper’ as a search term that your target market would use to find you. You can then input these words, and variations of the phrases, into Google Adwords who will tell you how much, these words will cost you to rank for every time someone clicks on your ad.

Sounds simple enough so far? We’re just getting started! Google Adwords also allow you to add ‘modifiers’ to you keywords, to help you access a broader demographic or eliminate terms you don’t want to appear for from your portfolio. Back to the gift shop example, you may not sell ‘flowers’, so you could use this as a negative keyword, eliminating your appearance for those searching for that term.

Within your Adwords account, you’ll create ‘campaigns’, usually split between the product types you offer (like cards, wrap, etc) and then by sub category (birthday, get well, Valentine’s etc), which will help you decide and track your budget allocation on a daily basis.

Starting to sound a little more complex? Don’t panic. We know it’s a minefield, which is why Zebra offer full PPC Management Courses to help you get up to speed with managing your account, and fast.

We can also offer in-depth keyword research and PPC strategy definition which will tell you the popularity of certain keywords surrounding your business, the average cost-per-click and the competition for that particular search term, all of which are vital snippets of information in those early strategy-construction days.

PPC is a great way to help you find out what works for your business and give you some deeper insight into what your customers want. If this sounds like something that would be useful to you, contact Zebra today to discuss your options. If you’d rather free up some time, you can even leave it to us and we’ll even manage your whole account for you!

We’re a sociable bunch over here at Zebra and we’d love to have a chat and hear your ideas if you need some advice. Give us a call on 0191 261 2252 or come and say hello on Twitter @the_zebras!

Are you looking for a sweet surprise for your Valentine?

Love is in the air around this time of year and Bah Humbugs aim to make it one to remember!

Retro_table_RS_ReSizedBah Humbugs are a traditional sweet shop in Yorkshire with scrumptious sweet treats to satisfy your sweetheart’s sweet tooth.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time of year to show how you feel, and traditional sweets are a quirky and thoughtful way to let someone know how truly special they are to you.

Maybe you have your eye one someone but you haven’t made your move? What are you waiting for! Give them a hint with Love Hearts – an old classic and a fun, fruity and fizzy way to say how you feel.

Or perhaps you feel like spicing things up with something a little different this Valentine’s Day? Give your Valentine Bah Humbugs Swedish Cherry & Chilli Liquorice – a real tempting tongue-tingling treat! The unique combination of sweet and spicy are a perfect match of mouth-watering flavours.

If you’ve found your perfect match and you’re already planning your beautiful wedding, Bah Humbugs wedding favours are the ideal addition to make your day extra special and give day the extra wow-factor. Wedding carts come with a selection of treats sure to delight your guests and add flair to your colour scheme. With over 400 different sweets, chocolates, toffees and lollipops and jellybeans to choose from, you and your guests will be spoilt for choice!

retro_sweets_hamper_re_sized2Maybe you’re looking for something as unique and sweet as the person you have in mind? As a leading supplier of retro sweet hampers in the UK, you can select up to six sweets for your sweet hamper gift from the sweet shop online and let Bah Humbugs work their magic and do the rest. Bah Humbugs also offer thoughtfully created assortments of mints, toffee and fudge to indulge your Valentine with their favourite treats. For a love of sweets that’s sure to last a lifetime, The Giant Sweet Hamper will surprise your loved one with an arrangement of boiled sweets, sour sweets, lollipops, toffees and fudges.

Shop now in time for Valentine’s Day at the Bah Humbugs website at www.bahhumbugs.com and be sure to catch up with new and offers on the Bah Humbugs Twitter page @bahhumbugs.

Forklift Trucks: The 100 Year Success Story

logoWe all know what a forklift truck is and what it’s used for, but what some of us don’t know is that not all equipment is the same so it’s important that you find the right one for the job.

There are a number of different classifications, sizes and power sources that go into these machines. Whether for use inside or outside, this piece of equipment is a vitally important part of many industries.

Consider the mechanics of a forklift – a relatively small piece of equipment, with the capability to lift maximum loads of thousands of pounds into the air reaching the upper stories of buildings, without suffering from the strain. Without them, construction, manufacturing, automotive, shipping and many other industries would not be able to function.

In 1917, the earliest version of forklift truck – originally known as the Tructractor – was created by the Clark Company who manufactured axles. They made the equipment to quickly, safely and efficiently move heavy loads and materials around their warehouse. In its early days, the Tructractor was not able to move materials off the ground, only from place to place at ground level. Soon this started to have a boost in productivity and revenue for the Clark Company, and other businesses became keen to have their own. In 1923 the machine progressed to lifting loads off the ground to just above the height of the truck itself.

Between the 1950s and 1980s lift capacity and health and safety support was developed, and by this time the machine was used all over the world. The forklift truck has been a relatively quick success story over the last 100 years or so, and continues to improve.

Complete Material Handling Ltd provide new and refurbished forklift trucks for sale in Sunderland and across North East England. CMH Limited also offer forklift servicing and maintenance on all of their trucks for sale and hire. All machines are serviced to the highest standard by a team of expertly trained, well-experienced technicians in their in-house workshop.

As customer service is first priority to Complete Material Handling, the team are on hand for call outs to support you if you have issues on-site to help you to avoid lost time. All machines come with a guaranteed 24 hour breakdown service, 7 days a week. You are guaranteed to have an engineer with you within 4 hours, any time day or night.

For businesses who are taking on new staff, Complete Material Handling are one of the only forklift truck companies in the North East to offer complete forklift training courses which provide operators with all of the essential skills necessary to work safely and efficiently. After completing the training, your business will be provided with a legal certification and the knowledge that the job will be done safely and well.

So, if you require forklift rental, new or second hand forklifts in Sunderland and across the North East, or any other service, visit the Complete Material Handling website or call 0191 447 2770 and the one of the team will be happy to help.

Panel Products and Sheet Materials Directly to the Trade

North East Sheets and Panels Ltd (NESP) are a favourite of tradesmen who are looking to supply their customers with kitchen, bathroom and lighting solutions that reflect the highest quality at the fairest price.

For almost 20 years, NESP have been supplying panel products created by some of the world’s leading manufacturers, including Blum, Reginox, Getacore and are a Mistral worktop supplier.


Blum’s TANDEMBOX, METABOX & LEGRABOX box systems are designed to meet the different design demands placed on furniture. Blum drawers operate using motion technologies make opening & closing furniture easier, matched with award winning design to ensure full satisfaction for your customers.


As a Getacore Worktops supplier, NESP can give you full access to a range of products constructed using only solid surface materials, food safe to EN 1186 and EN 13130 standards. Processed like solid wood, Getacore worktops are modern in appearance, and offer a hygienic alternative to real wood worktops.


As one of the oldest chipboard and MDF manufacturers in the world, it’s clear to see why FINSA is the number one choice for MFC sheets and boards, flat-pack cabinets and carcasses here in the UK. As a FINSA supplier, the NESP website, www.nesp.co.uk contains a comprehensive catalogue of base units, wall units and tall units, PVC edged with 18mm self-assembly. NESP even offer a cut and edge service for the MFC sheets and boards, and are one of the stockists in the North to have the popular FINSA Superpan MFC.

FINSA Superpan is an exclusive product manufactured and patented by FINSA, combining the advantages of both MDF and chipboard panels.  SuperPan consists of two thin external MDF faces and a chipboard core coated with a decorative paper so the surface is flatter and enables easier cutting, significantly reducing the likelihood of surface chipping, giving a better finish and increasing tool service life for our customers.


NESP are a Thermopal supplier, offering a range of 18mm MFC products ideally suited to planners, interior fitters and architects, meeting BS EN 14322 requirements. These moisture resistant grade panels are low-cost, and can be sealed with colour matched ABS. All Thermopal products are PEFC accredited.

For more information on the extensive range of panels, sheets, accessories and lighting solutions offered by NESP, please visit www.nesp.co.uk.

Increase your visibility in search engines

Calm LogoResponsive Design means you can manage one website with a single set of hypertext links; therefore reducing the time spent maintaining your site. This allows you to focus on link outreach with a consolidated Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. SEO campaigns can be time consuming and costly, but by creating a responsive site, all of your efforts can be focussed on a single site, with unified strategy and tactics across devices.

Content is vital in SEO, good quality content which is regularly released improves your search engine ranking page positioning, therefore a further advantage of responsive design is that fewer resources can be wasted in low-level duplication of content across sites, the content need only be applied to a single site, increasing your chances or a higher search engine ranking.

Additionally Google suggests that mobile optimised, responsive sites are featuring prominently in localised search results. This is obviously of huge significance to high street and online retailers, amongst other burgeoning mobile use cases.

Save time and cost on mobile development

A primary benefit of adopting a responsive design is that it takes less time than creating an additional stand-alone mobile site, which has been the traditional approach. Testing across a number of websites also increases your development, support and maintenance overhead. As styles are re-used and optimised by device standardised testing methodologies can also be used.

Save time and cost on site management

Clients will also find it much easier and less time consuming to manage and maintain a single site,  with much less content to manage. Additionally a single administrative interface can easily be optimised, using layout and workflow tools to manage the correct content, or site templates that are being used for different devices. Business logic can be applied such that the overall multi-device experience can be significantly enhanced within a single administration.

Enhance user’s offline browsing experience

Responsive design allows site owners to deliver quality content to audiences across devices, the offline browsing capabilities of HTML5 mean that sites can be easily accessed ‘on the go’. As HTML5 enabled tablets and smart phones proliferate this will become increasingly important.  Email newsletters, and content contained in hybrid HTML5 web applications will increasingly be consumed on the move and in the absence of an internet connection.

For more information on the web design services offered from Calm Digital such as websites and web applications, visit http://www.calmdigital.com/.

Minsteracres Retreat Centre in 2016

Minsteracres Retreat Centre is looking forward to the year ahead – 2016 will be a good one. The North East rest centre, situated in stunning countryside on the borders of Northumberland and County Durham in the midst of the land of the Northern Saints has a full year of events for you to peruse on their web site, www.minsteracres.org, so you can decide which you’d like to attend. Here are highlighted a few of the events taking place in the first half of the year at the popular Christian retreat centre.

Whether you want to spend some time in individual contemplation or to join one of the spiritual growth retreats Minsteracres is waiting to welcome you. You can stay the day, the night or even the week – or if you would like you can organise your own self-led group. There is space at Minsteracres to accommodate up to 80 people across two houses, bunk accommodation for up to 36 in the youth centre and many rooms for meetings and events, together with 110 acres of beautiful gardens and fantastic woodland and parkland for you to enjoy.

The Minsteracres year begins with ‘Life in the Psalms’ with Patrick Woodhouse on 23rd January 2016, a study day exploring how the ancient texts can be re-imagined for our contemporary secular world. Followed by a retreat for ‘Friends of Minsteracres’ in February together with the start of the day long ‘Walking retreats’ that are held throughout the year starting on 17 February 2016. During these days you can enjoy a walk of seven to ten miles through the beautiful countryside around Minsteracres, with time for prayer, reflection and sharing of the beauty of creation.

The start of Lent is welcomed by a series of ‘Quiet days of reflection during Lent’. These days are held at the spiritual growth retreat and are spread throughout the period up to Easter. They run from 10am to 4pm, are led by either the Minsteracres team or a visitor, and a Lenten lunch is provided while you enjoy a quiet day of reflection in preparation for the journey towards Easter.

Between 24th-27th March, Minsteracres Retreat Centre offer you a chance to join their community on their journey towards Easter, including time for reflection and the opportunity to take part in the ceremonies of Holy Week. What better way to spend this special time in the year than in the tranquil surroundings of this spiritual growth retreat in the North East.

You may enjoy taking part in the ‘Pentecost Renewal’ with Anne Liddell held on 13th-15th March 2016; Anne is a music and worship leader with great interest in the role of praise and intercession and brings tremendous enthusiasm to this call on the Holy Spirit to renew individuals attending, and regional parishes and churches.

Further events are held throughout the period so you can take time to reflect, meditate and pray. From a ‘Quiet Day’ to listen to God’s scripture, ‘Icon Painting’ weekends as an expression of personal prayer, to ‘Singing for Your Soul’ with Janet Swan, a weekend during which you can sign songs from faith traditions around the world in simple three or four party harmony no matter how confident you are in your voice.

A small charge is suggested for each event, this is just to help cover the costs. Minsteracres are keen that no one should feel excluded for financial reasons and concessions are available. Get in touch with the team at http://www.minsteracres.org/contact-us/ or Minsteracres Retreat Centre, Nr Consett, County Durham, DH8 9RT; tel  01434 673 248.

Boost your online reputation with Surge Marketing Solutions

Surge Marketing Soultions LogoSurge Marketing Solutions, a digital marketing agency based in Middlesbrough, is dedicated to helping you and your business maximise your online presence and drive sales. Using industry knowledge and expertise and a passion for online marketing, Surge Marketing Solutions will work with you to understand your business and what currently works for you to attract new clients. After that, we can begin working on a plan to further grow your business and offer new ways to improve on current methods.

There are many different ways to build a stronger online presence. It all depends on what areas you believe could be improved upon and how you want us to do that. Surge Marketing Solutions offer responsive website design from our team of expertly trained web designers, Ecommerce solutions, AdWords Management, SEO, Email Marketing and Social Media management.

If you’re new to business and you want to get noticed online, Surge Marketing Solutions offer some great business packages to help to get you started. Our start-up packages are suited to businesses which have been trading for less than 12 months and will help to create an effective online strategy which will deliver measurable results at a fraction of the cost.

In business, online reputation is extremely important, we’ve worked with many start-up businesses, SMEs and more established businesses to build their online presence and we love to see excellent results. If you’re looking for a quick check up on your existing website, Surge Marketing Solutions offer a Free Website Health Check which will ask you a few short questions, then we’ll provide feedback on our recommendations for your website. It’s free and it’s a good place to start!

So, if you just feel like your website could do with a bit of updating or you want to drive new traffic, we have solutions to help you. Surge Marketing Solutions offer web design in Middlesbrough but serve clients across the whole of the UK. We’re happy to hear from everyone and we’re sure to be able to help you to achieve your business goals. Get in touch and speak to one of the team today on 01642 243 265, or contact us on Twitter @SurgeMSLTD. To leave us a message, email us via our website and we’ll be in touch soon!

The Importance of Social Media for your Business

Today, social media is everywhere. It’s a big part of how we interact with friends, family and colleagues in day-to-day life.

In recent years, social media has become a more fun, quick and convenient way for people to interact with businesses. One of the real benefits for you as a business is that social media marketing is an easy, cost effective way to maintain relationships with your customers and boost your online reputation to a wide audience.

The areas for engagement on social media are practically limitless. Whether your business is small or large, or you’re quite new to business in general, you can reach the people you want to speak to. Of course, all businesses want to grow, so this is good news for attracting new customers! People love to talk and social media is an excellent way to make conversation. When good feedback is shared, your customers are promoting your business from an unbiased point of view, which is great for brand awareness.

Using social media from a learning point of view, it’s important to stay competitive and up to date with what is going on in your industry at the moment. Social media is a useful way to see what your competitors are doing, how they’re engaging with their customers and what their customers are saying to them.
While social media is easy to monitor, we understand that keeping on top of your accounts can be a time consuming task which can mean engagement falls behind when you have so many other things to focus on. If this sounds familiar, then we have a perfect solution! Zebra Internet Services offer a full social media management service which means you can rely on us to engage with your customers, monitor and respond to their feedback and comments. Whether you’re quite a small business, or you’re not fully familiar with social media for business, we can help to keep you on track. Of course, if you’d still like some input into your social media, this doesn’t mean we’d fully take over. You’ll still be able to post whatever you’d like on there too and advise us on the content.

We also offer a full social media training service if you’d prefer to stay in full control of your accounts but feel you could benefit from some training. Our training will provide you with the skills you need to make the most out of social media and make it work for you.

Whatever you’re looking for, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call on 0191 261 2252 or contact us on our website.

Different Methods For Bidding At Auction House North East

Auction House North East are a franchise of Auction House UK Ltd, a national property and land auctioneer. The aim of Auction House is to allow any seller or local estate agent to sell properties by Auction including house auctions in Newcastle. The company also allows potential home and land buyers to bid at both traditional and online auctions. Auction House North East have offered their top methods, for buyers wanting to bid at an auction.

If you’re a first time bidder it can be quite a daunting and overwhelming experience; people react differently with some bidders turning nervous and very anxious once in the auction room. All of the property auctions in Middlesbrough and throughout the North East are made to be as friendly and welcoming as possible and aren’t as strict as those which appears on TV. For example, if you were to accidently lift your hand during the bidding process, the auctioneers are expert enough to judge whether your bid was genuine. There are four ways in which you can bid at auction House events.

In Person: as obvious as it sounds, this would be the bidder attending an auction in their area for a property they are interested in. Upon arrival, bidders are provided with an addendum sheet, which highlights any last minute sales, withdrawals or material alterations. Bidders can also collect a catalogue if they don’t already have one, if they wish to view other properties to bid on. Property auctions in Darlington are ran throughout the year, with many bidders attending this event.

Proxy Bidding: this method is used when a bidder is unable to attend an auction. The bid for a property is submitted on a proxy bidding from and it also authorises the expert team at Auction House to act for you. It should be noted that the team at Auction House will not immediately offer your maximum bid, they try to keep your bid to the lowest amount as possible.

Telephone: this method is also available to those who are unable to attend an auction. The bidder bids on their preferred property whilst on the phone to a member of staff at Auction House. The team informs the bidder on the phone and repeats what the auctioneer is speaking during the auction.

Internet Bidding: this service is still being trailed by the team at Auction House, and is currently only being offered at a few events across the UK. To find out more information about this method, you can email the team, details can be found on the website.

For more information on property auction North West or to view the areas which Auction House operate in, visit www.auctionhouse.uk.net/northeast today.

Hosted Exchange Email Solutions from Aero Networks

Aero Networks are cloud and IT specialists based in the North East of England who offer a range of cloud solutions to businesses across the UK. The company was established in 2006 and the experts work with a range of clients, from both large and small businesses. Aero Networks offer a range of cloud solutions to businesses across the North East including hosted email North East and hosted telephony systems North East.

Hosted email North East is an essential area for any business and is part of the hosted exchange solutions offered from Aero Networks. The hosted email unifies all of an employee’s business tools, perfect if employees work in remote areas or are always travelling with the business. The tool combines email messages, meeting, contacts, tasks and schedule, which can be accessed over a network, from a range of devices including smartphones, tablets and via Microsoft Outlook.

Using hosted email in your business comes with many benefits, as briefly mentioned above, one of the advantage is that employees have constant access to the cloud solution. The application can be accessed 24 hours a day from almost anywhere in the world.

All of the business data in the cloud is stored at multiple, secure data centres across the UK, so should there be any disruptions such as bad weather or signals in one location, your data will be safe and protected across the other data centres. The hosted exchange email service is managed 24/7 by Aero Network’s team of experts, meaning there is minimal disruption to your email and business communications.

You needn’t worry about threats such as spam and hackers accessing your email either. The email solutions is 100% fully protected by Aero’s cloud Anti-Virus North East and Anti-Spam software which denies threats before they even try to enter your network, keeping all of your data protected.

If you want to find out more from the experts about the hosted exchange email solution, contact the team today by visiting www.aero.net. The team are more than happy to answer any queries you may have regarding their other services including cloud backup in Sunderland and cloud telephony systems.

Cheviot Holiday Cottages – Winter Couple Breaks In Northumberland

With Christmas just over a week away, many businesses will be closing down for the festive period. During your time off you may be very busy visiting relatives and friends, or on the other hand, you may be just be relaxing enjoying your time off. If you want a break between Christmas and New Year, why not visit Cheviot Holiday Cottages, based in the beautiful Northumberland countryside.

Cheviot Holiday Cottages are made up of a selection of luxury cottages which overlook the famous Cheviot Hills. Some of the cottages can sleep as many as six people, however if you’re looking for a romantic cottages for couples, Cheviot Holiday Cottages have a number of luxury cottages for couples.

The retreat self-catering cottage with swim spa is the latest addition to the cottages and has an indoor 5 metre swim spa with twin Jacuzzi. The spa is overlooked from the luxurious kitchen which is separated by a clear glass wall. Upstairs you’ll find an oak-floored open lounge which also overlooks the spa. The bedroom includes a super-king sized bed with a luxury en-suite. The romantic escape retreat has its own private drive and south facing garden which comes complete with a complimentary pair of bicycles should you wish to explore the woodland and countryside.

The Gate Lodge cottage comes complete with an infrared sauna and is the perfect romantic hideaway for two. The one bedroom luxury retreat is all on one level and when the winter sun shines, the kitchen is nice and bright with its high glass roof-light and south facing position. The luxury cottage is surrounded by quiet country lanes and woodland if you wish to explore the countryside by foot or cycle.

The Dovecote Cottage is luxury self-catering in Northumberland. New to the cottage which was only installed later in 2015 is the double-ended hydrotherapy bath with whirlpool jets and kinetic underwater lighting. This cottage is perfect if you just want to relax and soak up the beautiful surroundings.

If you are interested in a cottages for couples break, contact the team today by visiting www.cheviotholidaycottages.co.uk. There are many nearby villages and towns to visit should you wish to explore the local history including Alnwick, Chillingham and Rothbury.

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